- Cormac McCarthy - The Road. The most emotionally shattering reading experience I've had in years.
- Dennis Lehane - The Given Day. I was already a huge fan of Lehane before picking up his latest. Gotta admit, I was skeptical. I'm always wary of LONG books. If anything, the hype is understated here. The Given Day really is all that. Brilliant.
- Jonathan Santlofer - The Murder Notebook. I enjoyed the hell out of NYPD sketch artist Nate Rodriguez's debut, but this one tops it. Santlofer is doing some really powerful stuff here.
- Colin Harrison - The Finder. A scheme to steal paperwork erupts into a perceptive thriller about New York life.
- Michael Koryta - Envy the Night. The legacy of violence, the relationships of parents and adult children and the futility of revenge make for an action-packed story.
- Ian Rankin - Exit Music. The perfect send-off for Scottish cop John Rebus who's retiring at age 60, but refuses to go gently.
Cameron Hughes, critic (January Magazine, etc.)
- Colin Harrison - The Finder. Colin Harrison has been destined for the big time for years now and The Finder deserves to be the book that gets him there. A great thriller with a brain.
- Don Winslow - The Dawn Patrol. With so many P.I. novels being mediocre with only a few real stand-outs, this was a pleasure. I love that Winslow tells a P.I. novel and when he does use a cliché, like a powerful criminal trying to pay off the hero, it feels real, not just a device to advance the plot. It’s wonderfully refreshing to read a P.I. novel that feels like it belongs in the present, unlike so many P.I. writers in the past that think they need to emulate Chandler and Hammett to succeed.
- Nathan Singer - In The Light of You. Jesus. I used to think American History X was hardcore, that it pushed the envelope and was a really brave story about what hatred can do to you. Then I read Nathan Singer’s masterpiece about coming of age and how easy it is to go down the wrong road. Now American History X is like a Disney flick to me.
Charles Ardai, Editor at Hard Case Crime
- Paul Auster - Man in the Dark. Though the book's invocation of the Iraq war is a little facile and the dropping of the "alternate history" subplot two-thirds of the way through the book a little frustrating, Auster does an impressive job of bringing his characters to life richly in a very short space and the story packs a surprising emotional punch.
- Peter Blauner - Casino Moon. Not my first reading of this one, but each time I read it I'm reminded of just how good it is. The story of the son of an Atlantic City mobster who wants desperately not to get sucked into a life of crime and for salvation reaches out to the world of professional boxing. Only to discover, of course, that the fight game is dirtier even than the Mob.
- Lawrence Block - Hit and Run. A pleasure to see the master back in vintage form, telling the story of his killer Keller suddenly forced to abandon the props that made his peculiar life livable.