For some reason, I always take particular care when choosing my first crime novel of the new year. I like it to be a good one, and one that’s perhaps a little different to crime novels that I’ve read recently. This year I opted for a classic that I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time and was lucky enough to find under the Christmas tree: Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. Originally published in 1955, it’s still brilliant and chilling in equal measure.
Just for fun, I asked some crime aficionados on Twitter for their first crime novel of the year. Please do feel free to add your own below in the comments. It’ll be interesting to see what kinds of patterns emerge, if any.
- Belinda Bauer, Rubbernecker, 2013 (@scorpio0901)
- Jacques Berndorf, Eifel-Bullen, German-language, 2012 (@twcroke)
- Tony Cavanaugh, Promise, 2013 (@bernadetteinoz)
- Ann Cleeves, White Nights, 2008 (@_alisongray)
- Patricia Cornwell, The Bone Bed, 2012 (@VistaSpa)
- Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl, 2012 (@writermels, as a treat for finishing the first draft of her new book, and @JanetOkane, as a book group choice)
- Arnaldur Indridason, Arctic Chill, 2009 (@moorealj, currently working through the Erlendur series)
- Philip Kerr, Prague Fatale, 2011 (@puzzledoctor, whose review is already available here)
- Val McDermid, A Place of Execution, 1999 (@dmcnsp)
- Val McDermid, Fever of the Bone, 2009 (@callumcollins, prompted by VM’s appearance on Celebrity Mastermind)
- Adrian McKinty, I Hear the Sirens in the Street, 2013 (@RobKitchin)
- Stuart Neville, Ratlines, 2013 (@ravencrime, who has also already produced a review)
- Sara Paretsky, Killing Orders (in German translation), 1988 (@GesineSchulz)
- Ian Rankin, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, 2012 (@crimescraps)
- Kettenroman – Der Mopp ist Weg, German-language, 2010 (@KaroRutkowsky)
I’m off now for my annual adventure on the outdoor ice-rink at the Winter Wonderland. I’ll report back on my bumps and bruises a little later…
Michael Connelly – The Black Box, (@jiescribano)
Thanks, Jose Ignacio. Do you know, I’ve never read any Michael Connelly. It’s a bit of an omission that I really should correct.
Brave Mrs Peabody, hope you survive unbruised your ice-skating outing.
I am looking forward to reading Domenico Cacopardo’s new novel (officially out in mid January, in Italian), Agro’ e il maresciallo La Ronda (Agro’ and Marshal La Ronda), which narrates the very first adventure of Judge Agro’ as a newly qualified investigating magistrate trying to help out a seasoned Carabiniere with his enquiries.
Thanks, Nicoletta, and a Happy New Year to you! You’ll be pleased to hear that I’m back in one piece from the skating.
I’ve not heard of Cacopardo before. Is he well known / in translation?
Not available in English translation, unfortunately. Cacopardo is one of the former judges turned crime fiction authors I have been working on. His Agro’ series ( about seven novels so far) centres in the figure of this public prosecutor who tries to bring some ethics into the much maligned ( by some) Italian justice system.
Hope to see you soon!
Sounds very interesting. Just working on an article about conceptualisations of justice in my Nazi-themed crime collection – there’s a German barrister turned writer who’s getting a lot of attention – Ferdinand von Schirach. We’ll have to compare notes soon 🙂
I am reading the “Martin Beck “Novels at the moment by SJOWALL & WAHLOO I have read the first three and just ordered the next three in the Series I cannot help but gallop my way through them must try to savour these books and make the reading last longer I am enjoying these Books so much.
Excellent choice, Vivien, and I must say that I’m very envious of you having the pleasure of this series for the first time. I did the same as you, and read them pretty much all in one go; it was one of my very best reading experiences.
For me, the first book of 2013 is also the last book of 2012: C. J. Sansom’s Heartstone. At page 333 I’m a little under halfway through… (@westwoodrich)
Now that’s what I call value for money! I remember trying the first in the Shardlake series and not being overly impressed, but see that this one has got very good reviews. Perhaps I should give them another go?
Anne Holt – “1222”
Aha! My brother’s just finished this one and said that he enjoyed it. He gave me The Blind Goddess for Christmas, which I’m looking forward to reading very much.
I’m reading a Nero Wolfe short story trilogy, which is fine. I have Cath Staincliffe’s Split Second on the top of my pile, along with Anne Holt’s Fear Not.
Of your list, I’ve read Arctic Chill and Killing Orders. Both Indridason and Paretsky never disappoint.
Nero Wolfe always seems to fit the mood of the holiday period for me – a very relaxing and enjoyable read. I was eyeing up Split Second the other day, so would be interested to hear what you think of it. I haven’t read any Paretsky for a while, but she’s a firm favourite of mine too 🙂
Mine will be the new Rankin, ‘Standing in Another Man’s Grave’, which I’m going to pick up from the library in the morning.
Rebus is back… I hope he’s in good form and that you enjoy.
Hooray for our libraries too. Our one here in Swansea has the most fantastic range of crime fiction, both British and international.
One you recommend, & it’s brilliant , ‘The Winter of the Lions’ by JC Wagner. Half way through it & can’t put it down. Needless to say I’ll be purchasing his other two books.
I’m really pleased to hear that you’re enjoying the Wagner, brianbird2012. I think this author is a real find and that the series has proper staying power. Joentaa is such an interesting character, isn’t he?
I’m reading Monsieur Zenith the Albino by Anthony Skene which is apparently a rare and out of print book but I somehow found a pristine copy in my local library.
Thanks, sakura – how interesting! Just looked this one up and saw that it’s on sale for $500! Sounds like a very entertaining read. And again – the wonder of libraries, where you can stumble across and gain access to this kind of rare text.
Interesting question, Mrs. P. Mine is Geoffrey McGeachin’s The Diggers Rest Hotel. So glad it’s finally available in the U.S. 🙂
Enjoy, Margot! I know you’ve been waiting patiently for that one to come your way. I’ve managed to get hold of the ebook now too, and it does look like a good one. My only problem is that there are so many outstanding crime novels at the top end of my TBR list. I’m having a hard time choosing which to read next.
Interesting topicc. I normally save up a book I think I will really enjoy to start the new year on…a new book by an old favourite or something similar but somehow this year I didn’t put any thought into it and plucked a book I thought would be an easy read from the TBR as my brain wasn’t really in top form. I wasn’t well pleased with THE PROMISE (though it was an easy read) and was annoyed with myself for starting the reading year off in such a mediocre way 🙂
It’s a shame that Promise didn’t deliver, though on the plus side, it sounds like things can only improve with your next read 🙂 . I had a few contenders this year, but had already earmarked the Highsmith as my first read, because it’s such a gap in my crime reading. It was a short read, so it feels like I’ve had an appetiser and can move on to something longer and meatier now.
I’m reading a book on writing at the minute but intend to read the last in the girl with the dragon tattoo trilogy (I can’t remember which one it is, but it’s on my kindle).
Ah, The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. I remember this being an extremely satisfying read. Hope you enjoy!
John Sandford, “Mad River”, the latest in his Virgil Flowers series. Got a little tired of his Lucas Davenport series, too much focus on family and not on action, but the Flowers books move at a furious pace.
Hmmm, another author I haven’t yet tried.
By the way, if you do start reading Michael Connelly, go for his Harry Bosch books. Not too impressed with those books with different central characters. But he is good.
Thanks for the advice. I’ve heard lots of readers say good things of the Harry Bosch series, so will make that my first port of call.
My first is “The Lewis Man”, book 2 of “The Blackhouse Trilogy” by Peter May. They are set on the Isle of Lewis and have an almost Scandinavian feel complete with tragic, emotionally stilted protagonist. The descriptions of Outer Hebrides life, history and culture are interesting and add another dimension. Would recommend.
Yes Michael Connelly and yes Harry Bosch!
Good choice, Tracey. I’ve read the first one, which I found a bit melodramatic towards the end, but I loved the setting, complete with wonderful descriptions of gannets!
OK, OK, a bit of Bosch it is 🙂
White Heat by M. J. McGrath (following your recommendation). And yes to Harry Bosch. The first one I read was The Concrete Blonde and I couldn’t put it down.
Great! Hope you enjoy – look forward to hearing what you thought of it.
Thanks for the recommendation – will check out The Concrete Blonde…
It will be the first Peter May book if I get thirty essays marked on the train this weekend (the novel’s already on my Kindle); otherwise, it will be the second Ariel Kafka novel (in German), assuming it arrives in the post on time.
May the force be with you on those essays, Lauren, so you can get to one of the books. Sounds like a good choice, either way.
Perhaps you could be the first to report back on the Kafka to us?
Well, I didn’t get the essays done (I have until Wednesday), but the book isn’t here yet either, so no harm done. Actually, since I saw the latest Bond film on Saturday night, I squeezed in a quick re-read of The 39 Steps when I got sick of marking on the train and we had a very long delay (on a trip that was already five hours each way!) – I felt like a bit of espionage, and Buchan was the only suitable author I had on my Kindle. Fun as usual, but I still think I like the Hitchcock film a fraction more.
Will report on the Kafka as soon as it arrives and I have a moment to read it. Should be early next week.
It sounds like there were a few ups and downs on your train journey, though an unexpected bit of 39 Steps is always good. I have quite a lot of marking coming my own way over the next two weeks, and it will, I know, cut into crime reading to a rather distressing extent! Ah well. Look forward to hearing about the Kafka when you get a chance to read it :).
Following your recommendations, I’ve just gobbled my way through White Heat (mostly good but irritatingly written) and Nights of Awe (a bit like reading a jigsaw puzzle) and am about to start Diamond Dove. I need a bit of light relief with Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country however first ….
Wow! Deeply impressed! Hope you enjoy Diamond Dove, though I agree it’s probably a good idea to have a bit of a break, especially as White Heat and DD mirror each other in many ways. Will be interested to see which you like most.
I am absolutely loving Diamond Dove – deffo the best of the three! H’Emily is a great character – funny and sassy (but still feeling real) and as I know nothing whatsoever about aboriginal life or culture it’s a fascinating read – great recommendation,
Excellent! There’s a second novel featuring Emily called Gunshot Road, which I’ve heard is also very good. Another one to track down…
My first novel of 2013 is The Killing by David Hewson. Having missed the first 2 tv series, I much enjoyed the third (and last) series I thought I would catch by books.
Thanks, David. I see that it’s had some good reviews – hope you enjoy. I’d also very much recommend seeing the first series on DVD if you can too – it’s superb.
Such good ideas here from your list and commenters’ suggestions. My second book will be the second in the Precious Ramotswe series, which makes me feel the world is good.
Yes, it’s great to see the variety of choices readers have made and to get some ideas along the way. I haven’t read any McCall Smith in a while, but do remember enjoying Precious’ investigations 🙂
Per your suggesstion, I am reading Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter,Crooked Letter and so far I am enjoying it inmensely.
Thank you very much!
You’re very welcome, Rigoberto. I hope you enjoy the rest of the novel just as much!
I completely agree. Probably one of the most interesting Detectives around, the way he builds the plot is really excellent you just want to keep on reading! His characters are really interesting as well. Yes I think this will build into a compelling series. Have ordered the first one, its winging its way to me as I write this. Also picked up White Heat from Bromley Hse, told its very popular. Will check if they have any JCW, if not will see if they’ll order the 2nd one. Pre ordered the new Leif Persson, out in Feb. Also the concluding book to Another Life.. is coming out in Feb 2014.
It sounds like you’ve been very organised and have an excellent run of crime fiction coming up, with some great support from the good people at Bromley House. I’m very keen to get my hands on more Persson too. Hope you enjoy them all, brianbird2012!