Sod goodwill, give me crime
ATIME for old mates, Christmas is a good reason to renew acquaintance with saved-up favourite genre authors, friends who can still provoke our attention. These are the guys we know won’t let us down, their books tightly plotted with tough, likable characters, some romance and a bang at the end.
Take for example. Chasing Darkness ( Orion, $ 32.95), Crais’s latest in the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike private eye series, has all the wit, misdirection, violence and brutality that fans enjoy so much, the perfect Californian private eye novel for the holiday pile.
While doing the Los Angeles thing, pull out the new The Brass Verdict ( Allen & Unwin, $ 32.95), a Mickey Haller legal thriller with the momentum of a hard-boiled police novel easily leaving the one-dimensional John Grisham in the dust of Haller’s Lincoln town car.
is always handy, too, another doughty Christmas friend when there’s time for a long read with a glass in hand and everyone in your house is at the beach.
Swan Peak ( Orion, $ 32.99) has Burke’s quixotic Dave Robicheaux and his ex-partner in the homicide squad, Clete Purcel, heading to Montana to fish, quietly seeking a panacea, escaping the desolate mood of post-Katrina Louisiana. A perverted serial killer is at work, an escaped jailbird and his sodomising tormentor are locked in a bizarre dance of bitter revenge. Burke writes with his usual hypnotic grace.
best-selling US master of the speculative narrative, contributes Hold Tight ( Orion, $ 32.99) to our beach-chair pile. It’s a fast read, one for that time between lunch and the first bridging wines to get you to dinner.
No one does the ‘‘ what if this happened to me?’’ narrative with more energy than Corben. Here he examines a child’s right to privacy and a parent’s right to know. And when it comes to your children, is it possible to know too much? After reading this, go inside and pull apart your children’s computers, plant surveillance devices and bug their mobiles.
And don’t forget the blockbuster you’ve been hoarding. brilliant The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ( Quercus, $ 32.95) is the book to build the rest of your reading around this holiday. Possibly the crime novel of the year, this recently translated Swedish epic is a seriously addictive fusion of violent political thriller, sinister family saga and ambiguous love story.
It possesses all those ingredients crime addicts love: a locked-room mystery at its heart, a ruthless heroine, an unlikely team of sleuths, the