I read a bunch of lot of great books earlier in the year, but the most recent are naturally, if unfairly, a little more on my mind. So:
- Mark Bowden - Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Read this for background for my new book, and it's an up-close, beautifully detailed, emotional roller coaster ride through the nightmare of modern urban combat.
- Charlie Huston - The Shotgun Rule. I have two words for this book: holy shit! I've heard great things about Charlie from several people I trust, and they were right: fascinating characters, staccato dialogue, and gripping violence, all of it set in motion by secrets that bind a family together, and could tear them apart.
- Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life. A short, insightful, and (naturally enough) at times hilarious memoir of Steve Martin's stand-up years and rise to fame. I listened to Martin reading it on CD, which seems the ideal given the delivery talents of the author.
- Robert Harris - The Ghost. One of the smartest, most suspenseful (and at times cuttingly funny) books I've read in years. Loved it!
- David Ignatius - Body of Lies. A class act from page 1 onward. Clean prose. Great story! As good as the best Forsyth and that says a lot in my book.
- Irwin Shaw - The Young Lions. I re-read it for the fourth time this year. My all time favorite WWII book. Shaw is such a great storyteller; the action scenes come to life with vivid detail. You are literally there - in Italy, in North Africa and during the Normandy invasion.
Kristen Weber, Senior Editor at New American Library
- Lisa Lutz - The Spellman Files
- Jacqueline Sheehan - Lost & Found. Just give me a dog in a book and I'm hooked - but this one had me not even minding my awful flight to Bouchercon in Anchorage.
- John Elder Robison - Look Me In The Eye: My Life with Asperger's
- John Connolly - The Unquiet. A funny, harrowing thriller with a very human heart and unlike most P.I. novels these days, it tries new things with un-reliable narration, the blending of the gothic horror story and gritty crime novel. A gem of a novel.
- Mark Coggins - Runoff. The most surprising novel of the year. Mark Coggins has been around for awhile and while his August Riordan novels are always great, Runoff takes it to the very next level. Paranoid about the Gore/Bush 2000 Election? You'll be twice as paranoid about the state of democracy and the election system after reading this bad boy.
- John Meaney - Bone Song (pub date 2008). A police procedural in a fantasy world, but un-like the Garret novels where it takes place in a world with classic fantasy elements like elves, Bone Song is decidedly steampunk, mixing magic and technology with the best of police procedural noir. Witches and other supernatural creatures co-mingle with scientists and Meaney's world is a truly alien one, with certain familiar aspects like a police force and our hero Donal Riordan is a great dark fantasy version of familiar cop characters like Harry Bosch and John Rebus. Zombies, werewolves, a truly alien fantasy setting that is powered by the corpses of the dead. Who could ask for more?
- Linwood Barclay - No Time For Goodbye. A thrill ride from beginning to end. Read it in two sittings only because I was so tired and had to sleep.
- Haruki Murakami - After Dark. Murakami's not for everyone, but I'm a big fan. And this one does not disappoint.
- Travis Holland - The Archivist's Story. Moscow during the Stalinist period. I went into this one cautiously, but wow. Haunting. Sad. Insightful. I still think about this one.