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Tag Archive for ‘detective fiction’

From Connie Willis satire that doesn’t make me laugh

Bellwether, by Connie Willis @@ (2 out of 5) I’m a big fan of satire. For instance, I love Christopher Buckley‘s books. Some of them make me laugh almost nonstop. But there’s nothing worse than a satirical tale that. Just. Isn’t. Funny. Unfortunately, that’s what I found in Bellwether by Connie Willis. Apparently, Willis wrote… Read More ›

My 15 favorite detective novels

The 15 detective novels listed below may not be the 15 “best” detective novels, even by my uniquely idiosyncratic criteria. I’d read a lot of work in the genre even before I began writing these reviews in January 2010—and there are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of detective novels I’ve never read. This list consists… Read More ›

Solving a cold case in post-war England

The Death of Kings (John Madden #5), by Rennie Airth @@@@ (4 out of 5) South African author Rennie Airth has written seven novels, five of which feature Detective Inspector John Madden. The Death of Kings is the fifth. Set largely in southern England in 1949, The Death of Kings brings John Madden’s story well… Read More ›

Another engrossing mystery from Camilla Läckberg

The Stranger (Fjällbacka #4), by Camilla Läckberg @@@@ (4 out of 5) It’s easy to see how Camilla Läckberg has become Sweden’s bestselling native author—and how her detective novels have proven so popular in translation. Her Fjällbacka series is peopled with complex and interesting people who grow from book to book, and each mystery is… Read More ›

An anti-hero ex-cop takes on drug traffickers

The Second Girl: A Novel, by David Swinson @@@@ (4 out of 5) Frankie Marr is not a good guy. After seventeen years on the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police, he was forced to retire when the brass discovered he had been helping himself to the drugs recovered in narcotics busts. Now, he works as a… Read More ›

Everybody’s favorite African-American detective

Charcoal  Joe (Easy Rawlins #14), by Walter Mosley @@@ (3 out of 5) Walter Mosley’s hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins roamed the streets of Watts from the 1940s through the 1960s. If there was someone of note in the region unknown to Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, he could turn to a wide range of friends and acquaintances,… Read More ›

A clever murder mystery revolving around amnesia

Upon a Dark Night (Peter Diamond #5), by Peter Lovesey @@@@ (4 out of 5) A young woman turns up at a private hospital with total amnesia of the incident that left her in a coma — and of everything that came before. She remembers nothing of her life, not even her name. Social Services… Read More ›

Sherlock in the hood: an inner-city crimesolver

IQ: A Novel, by Joe Ide @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Most readers of detective fiction are well educated and live in comfortable circumstances. So it’s not surprising that most novels about people solving crimes involve well-educated investigators who live in at least middle-class homes. There are many exceptions, of course. George Pelecanos and James Lee… Read More ›

Shell shock, madness, and the Great Depression

Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs #6), by Jacqueline Winspear @@@@@ (5 out of 5) If your taste in crime fiction runs to blood, guts, and gore, you’re unlikely to enjoy reading Jacqueline Winspear‘s Maisie Dobbs series. If, instead, you favor a more cerebral approach focused on three-dimensional character development and psychological insight, you’ll find exactly… Read More ›

A sophisticated thriller from Canada

Seven Days Dead (Storm Murders Trilogy #2), by John Farrow @@@ (3 out of 5) Seven Days Dead is the second of three novels by the Canadian novelist John Farrow featuring retired Detective-Sergeant Emile Cinq-Mars of the Montreal city police. The common thread that ran through the first book, The Storm Murders, was that each… Read More ›