Monday, December 01, 2008

Vicki's Five Suggestions for Gift-Giving

My turn, yeah! Ever since Charles had the wonderful suggestion that we recommend five books for gift giving, I’ve been thinking of little else. Which either means that I take books seriously, or I don’t have much of a life. Perhaps a bit of both.
Next week I am going to write about a book I am not recommending, which, although it is excellent and received high praise from everyone and their dog, is so riddled with errors, and sheer writer and editor laziness, that it makes a mockery of the hard work we as writers do to make our books as realistic as possible.

But this week, it’s all positive. One of the rules of our little game is that we can’t recommend books by people we know personally. I would like to say that I read a couple of splendid books in 2008 from the small Canadian publisher Rendezvous Crime, and leave it at that.

Red Knife by William Kent Krueger. Atria. The dilemma of a kind man in a violent world. I have always loved the Cork O’Conner books (and perhaps Cork himself, just a little bit) and this one is the equal of any of the others. It is hinted in the story that this may be the last Cork book. I hope not.

Kill All the Judges by William Deverell. McClelland & Stewart. I have a serious weakness for gentle humour when done well, and Deverall does it very well indeed. This is a follow-up to the equally good April Fool.

Fear of Landing by David Waltner-Toews. Poisoned Pen Press. Waltner-Toews is (here I quote from Wikipedia) “an epidemiologist, essayist, poet, fiction writer, veterinarian, and a specialist in the epidemiology of food and waterborne diseases, zoonoses and ecosystem health. He is best known for his work on animal and human infectious diseases in relation to complexity.” And on and on they go. In his spare time, he wrote an unusual mystery that is so good it was one of Publishers Weekly’s best for 2008.

The Vows of Silence by Susan Hill. Knopf Canada. The fourth in the Simon Serrailler series. Hill is probably my favourite British-police-procedural writer, and that’s saying a lot. Once again she has made me break my ‘no serial-killer’ rule.

Easy Innocence by Libby Fisher Hellman. Bleak House Books. Dark and disturbing, and just excellent.

• And... just because I can, this was the year I discovered two new (to me but probably to no one else) authors and I’ve been reading steadily through their back list. The charming, humorous yet complicated DI Charlie Priest series by Stuart Pawson (introduced to me, not incidentally, by Linda Wiken at Prime Crime Books), and the dark, serious, psychologically-intense Inspector Erlendur books by Arnaldur Indridason, translated from Icelandic.

Where I have given the publisher, in some case it may be the Canadian publisher. Books are often published by other houses in other countries. Happy reading to all!

1 comment:

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