- David Morrell - The Spy Who Came For Christmas. The master, David Morrell, returns with a terrific holiday spy drama. Proof positive that great things can come in small packages.
- William Berhnhardt - Nemesis. A terrific historical thriller dealing with Eliot Ness' final case, from the ultra-talented Bernhardt (to be published in January 2009).
- M.J. Rose - The Memorist. A spooky, action-adventure thriller that leaves you wanting more.
Jon Land, author of The Seven Sins
- Lee Child - Nothing to Lose. Child's latest entry is a quasi-allegorical tale that finds his nomadic series hero Jack Reacher laying waste to the evil in a town called Despair. Riveting, engaging, and masterful, this is Child at the height of his powers. And Reacher is the most original thriller hero since James Bond.
- James Lee Burke - Swan Peak. No year would be complete without an appearance by Burke's ever conflicted Dave Robicheaux. This time the action moves from storm-ravaged Louisiana to Montana where Robicheaux and joined-at-the-hip sidekick Clete Purcell find murder and mayhem lurking amidst the mountains in the form of a serial killer and old enemy. Another sizzling tale from one of America's preeminent novelists.
- Stephen Hunter - Night of Thunder. Bob Lee Swagger, Hunter's exceptional recurring hero, might be aging but his mind and trigger finger are as sharp as ever. This one takes the action to NASCAR country after the near murder of Swagger's daughter and features a colorful array of both bad guys and good. Superb in every way.
- Dennis Lehane - The Given Day. Read it twice and loved it more the second time.
- Michael Cunningham - Flesh and Blood. His sentences are painfully beautiful: "She laughed too knowingly and wore tight skirts and would end in an apartment in Elmont or Uniondale, married to the fiercest, sexiest boy, who'd carve the years straight into her skin with his tempers and habits."
- Andrew Grant - Even. James Bond's got nothing on David Trevellyan. I can't think of a book I read this year that I more thoroughly enjoyed. Well written, perfectly paced, and smart.
Ali Karim, critic (Shots, January Magazine, etc.)
- Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Just when I thought there was nothing new in Crime Fiction, Larsson comes along and kicks me off my seat and proves to me that there are always treasures in the genre to be discovered. Taking the trappings and conventions of the genre he crafts a dark tale that features Lisabeth Salander, a unique protagonist in a crowed field.
- Linda Richards - Death Was the Other Woman. As the world lurches toward a great depression, we need to learn that we've been here before, but rarely with such insight. Blending the Great Depression in California with a cracking PI mystery, Richards is that other woman.
- Tom Rob Smith - Child 44. A remarkably brilliant debut that had me clutching the book with both hands as if my life depended upon me completing the book in a single sitting. Cold, Chilling, Original and with an insight that breaks your heart.
The three books I enjoyed most aren't crime fiction. My favorite novel was Slumberland by Paul Beatty (one of the funniest books I've read in a good while), the second was a true crime book called The Vienna Woods Killer and the third was another true crime read about Meyer Lansky, et al in Havana.