- Denis Johnson - Tree of Smoke. A big, ambitious Vietnam novel that recalls the best of Robert Stone. Don’t hate on this because it won the National Book Award. Occasionally those folks get it right.
- David Benioff - City of Thieves. A funny, violent, and moving adventure story, set during the siege of Leningrad. Benioff’s dark fable had me reading deep into the night.
- John Williams - Stoner. First published in 1965, Stoner is a revelation: unassuming, superbly crafted, topnotch American fiction.
- David Benioff - City of Thieves
- Matthew Goodman - The Sun and the Moon
- Lawrence Block - Hit and Run. Because I really liked the way this one turned out, and I've never had a stronger response from readers and reviewers.
David J. Montgomery, critic (Chicago Sun-Times, etc.)
- Richard Price - Lush Life. Best thing I read all year. Straddling the line between literary and genre fiction, Price crafted one of the year's most impressive and entertaining books, a gritty crime story with incandescent prose and razor-sharp dialogue.
- Tom Rob Smith - Child 44. The best debut of the year and almost worth all the hype it got. Although the thriller aspects of the plot are only average, overall it's a fascinating, dark and impressive novel.
- Gregg Hurwitz - Trust No One. I read this last summer and it's not coming out until next summer, but it's one to watch for. Hurwitz has written some good thrillers in the past, but he surpasses himself with this one.
- Louis Bayard - The Black Tower. A first rate historical with an element of suspense.
- Wilke Collins - The Woman in White. A classic!
- Paul Elwork - The Tea House. A debut ghost story that blew me away and I became an evangelist for. It's going to be republished by Penguin.
- Megan Abbott - Queenpin. A gritty poem with heart. I loved this book.
- Ross Macdonald - Instant Enemy. No wonder Eudora Welty thought the man was a genius. One of Archer's best cases.
- Elmore Leonard - Up in Honey's Room. The man gets better and better. He's an absolute master writer.