“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

My Personal Crime Writing Round Up of the Year

Posted: December 6th, 2017 | No Comments »

Not particularly China, but hopefully of interest to some…

I’ve probably read more crime this year than any other – writing the fortnightly Crime and the City column for The Literary Hub, the occasional article and review for the UK magazine Real Crime and various other bits and pieces of reviewing have all added up to a lot of reading. Much of it of course is not newly published but these are, to my mind, the best…

The Dry – Jane Harper’s debut novel was a master class in small-town tension in the Australian outback.

Police at the Station and they Don’t Look Friendly – Adrian McKinty is just firing on all cylinders with the Sean Duffy series and this, the sixth Duffy book, shows their plenty of mileage left.

The Long Drop – Denise Mina gave true crime literary non-fiction a go and triumphed in this tale of one long drunken Glasgow night with the serial killer Peter Manuel and his associates.

The Shadow District – Arnaldur Indridason’s first historic crime novel (I think) – Reykjavik in WW2 and a city full of American GIs with murder in the town’s darkest back alleys.

The Man Who Wanted to Know – D.A. Mishani’s latest Tel Aviv-set crime novel repeats his previous trick of making seemingly mundane lives in the blandewst of suburbs fascinating.

The Pictures – Guy Bolton’s period piece with an LAPD cop who’s covered up crimes for the Hollywood studios reaching his own personal breaking point.

A Necessary Evil – Abir Mukherjee’s second Sam Wyndham of the Calcutta Police in post-WW1 India tale hit the mark again with the second in what should be a great continuing series.

The King of Fools – Frederic Dard’s novella is not new, but it is new in English. Pushkin Press are translating a few new Dard books a year and, if you like your crime deep noir and consumable in one sitting, then Dard is the master.

The Force – Don Winslow did it again – ‘nough said really.

I would also note that espionage had a good year. John Le Carre’s A Legacy of Spies of course – Smiley returning was always going to be a big event; Adam Brookes’s Mangan trilogy completed with The Spy’s Daughter; and Joseph Kanon’s Defectors proved he is still top of the game.

On TV it was a sad farewell to Ripper Street matched only by an eager hello to The Deuce (episode 7 written by noir maestro Megan Abbott stood out as exceptional) while we kept right on with the Shelby clan and Peaky Blinders. I also enjoyed the Danish show Norskov, got pretty obsessed about the French show Mafiosa (set in Corsica), thought The Last Post (which had some criminal activity) from the BBC better than the critics did, and binge-watched the latest series of Bosch, the adaptation of Michael Connelly’s novels. I am, as we speak, right in the middle of the excellent Babylon Berlin and need to get back to it now. So that’s that for 2017.

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