Sunday, January 14, 2007

Before the month ends - a list!

Mes Amis

A few people have said, Russel, where the blimmin' heck is your end of year list?

I say, "Goddamnit, I'm only just back into the swing of this blogging lark, don't push me."

And then I produce a list of my favourite criminally influenced reads published in the last year (in no special order):

Saturday's Child By Ray Banks came out at the beginning of the year and I haven't stopped trying to make people buy it. Damned if Cal Innes isn't one of the best new PIs in recent years and damned if doesn't confound me by being British, too. On the cover, a certain Russel McLean (who he?) says, "Dirty, hard and fast". The book's the same.

King of the Road by Charlie Williams upset me by being the last of the Mangel trilogy. So long, Royston, we're going to miss your particularly smart brand of psychopathy. This marks the end of one of the most original sequences of novels over the past few years. Hot damn, Mr Williams is good.

Pegasus Descending by James Lee Burke continues Burke's unique, ingenious run of Dave Robichaux novels. Yes, there's over-description of the scenery, but once you buy into this hyper-real depiction of the south, you realise that Burke's a true original and the shock that comes in the final third of this latest installment of the Robichaux books is both inevitable and still tragic.

Shakedown By Charlie Stella is beginning to make me forget about Elmore Leonard. This guy does dialogue like no one else and his grotesque and believable cast draw you right into the world of small time mobsters pretending they're big time in this latest tale of New Jersey Italian-Americans (and the Yakuza; Jesus, you can't forget those guys!)

American Skin By Ken Bruen is the man's most stylistically accessible book yet and still manages to outdo much of his other work. Bruen keeps getting better and American Skin deserves to be a huge hit. Not least because it confirms my belief that anyone who listens to Tammy Wynette is a psychopathic bastard.

Honourable Mentions go to: Good Day in Hell by JD Rhoades, Dying Light by Stuart MacBride, Lights Out by Jason Starr, Buried by Mark Billingham, Fifth of Bruen by Ken Bruen, Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith, In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murikami, The Dead Yard by Adrian McKinty

And another list:

Books to watch for in 2007 (either I've read em or I'm just bloody excited about them)

The Strangler by William Landay, Hard Man by Allan Guthrie, The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes, Big City Bad Blood by Sean Chercover, Donkey Punch by Ray Banks, When One Man Dies by Dave White, Broken Skin by Stuart MacBride, The Darkness Inside by John Rickards, Concrete Maze by Steven Torres, Suspicious Circumstances by Sandra Ruttan, The Cleaner by Brett Battles

You know, I bet there's a whole ton I've missed out. But I'm doing the post on the fly, and that's everything that comes to me right away. People say its been a bad year for books, I say, screw that. Good books are there. Or maybe I just got real lucky with my reading list this year.

Au revoir



Sandra Ruttan said...

And well before the end of the month! Not to mention a few new posts recently! We might start getting used to this Russel.

Russel said...

Yes, I am spoiling you, am I not?

Must mean I'm not working hard enough on other things...

Um, Al, if you're there, you never read that part...

Ray said...

Too late - I already grassed you. HA! And thanks for the nod, McLean, as well as the lovely words for the front cover. Much appreciated.

Oh, by the way, did you like COCKFIGHTER?

Sandra Ruttan said...

Your nods got picked up on The Rap Sheet.

I figure everyone named owed you at least one drink.

And Ray has to demonstrate how to do a Donkey Punch. Maybe you could have him to your bookstore. (I amuse myself, at least, with the thought.)

Ray said...

Um, I don't think that's likely to happen. I'm a happily married man. Besides, I'm sure there are plenty of demonstrations on the web. Not that I've checked.

JD Rhoades said...

Honorable company to be in. Thanks!