Raven's favourite reads of 2013
5. Steffen Jacobsen - When The Dead Awaken tr. Charlotte Barslund
An exceptionally good crime read from a new-to-me Danish author appearing for the first time in English, When The Dead Awaken is a thriller not to be missed. Drawing on the influence of Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah, Jacobsen has fashioned an enthralling thriller set in Naples and focusing primarily on the criminal activities of this feared criminal organisation, but also the frustrations of and danger to those that seek to bring them to justice…
4. David Thomas - Ostland
To simply label Ostland as a crime thriller would not only do a great disservice to the sheer power and scope of this novel, but would in turn devalue a book that truly encompasses the very best elements of both the crime and historical fiction genres. With its skilful melding of both the hunt for a serial killer and the unflinching depiction of the atrocities of The Final Solution, this is a novel that unerringly stimulates the thoughts and emotions of the reader, compounded by the harsh realities of human history that form its foundation.
3. Kevin Sampson - The Killing Pool
The mean streets of Liverpool loom large in this, the first, of a projected series featuring Kevin Sampson’s newest creation DCI Billy McCartney - a veritable conundrum of a character that you are guaranteed to love or loathe in equal measure. Opening with the discovery of a mutilated body exhibiting all the hallmarks of a gangland hit, the reader is instantly transported into a dark and gritty read that makes you feel positively grubby, but in such a good way.
2. Pierre Lemaitre - Alex tr. Frank Wynne
Every so often a crime thriller comes along that leaves you breathless and takes you on a disturbing journey into the darkest recesses of human experience- Alex is one such book and you are guaranteed a tale of the unexpected from start to finish. With its mesmerising female protagonist, and unique detective this is an absolute gem of a crime novel that is wonderfully dark, scary, mad, bad and dangerous to know, but just far too good to miss.
1. Derek B. Miller- Norwegian By Night
From the first few pages, I was totally immersed in the life of Sheldon Horowitz, our curmudgeonly hero of the piece: a man haunted by the ghosts of his former life and coping with the daily frustrations of growing old. From the synopsis, it is impossible to harness all the themes and subtlety of prose that this book conveys to the reader. On one level, not only does the book contain all the quintessential elements of a Scandinavian crime novel, it also encompasses the Korean, Vietnam and Balkan conflicts, and on a more emotional level, presents a poignant and meditative examination of ageing and regret, that unusually for this cynical reader, really touched me, engaging me even more with the characters and the multi-faceted plot. A book that still strays into my thoughts and my Euro Crime pick of the year...