VJ Books Blog

(catholic.org, Dec. 17)

Sun Sentinel (MCT) – In “The Finder,” Colin Harrison combines a strong eye for social details and the intricacies of New York City for a novel that is equally literary fiction and mystery.

A scheme in which office cleaners steal a new pharmaceutical company’s paperwork leads to cohesive plot about greed, power and revenge. “The Finder’s” ensemble features characters from every stratum of New York society as well as sharp dialogue and fresh plot twists. Harrison’s original approach makes “The Finder” the top mystery of 2008.

(1) “The Finder.” Colin Harrison. Farrar, Straus, Giroux. A scheme to steal paperwork erupts into a perceptive, thriller about New York life.

(2) “Envy the Night.” Michael Koryta. St. Martin’s Press. The legacy of violence, the relationships of parents and adult children and the futility of revenge make for an action-packed story.

(3) “Exit Music.” Ian Rankin. Little, Brown. After 17 novels, the perfect sendoff for the complicated John Rebus who’s reached Scotland’s mandatory retirement age of 60 for cops, but refuses to go gently.

(4) “The Turnaround.” George Pelecanos. Little, Brown. A pivotal moment changes and destroys lives in this urban drama.

(5) “The Brass Verdict.” Michael Connelly. Little, Brown. When LAPD detective Harry Bosch meets defense attorney Mickey Haller (“Lincoln Lawyer”).

(6) “Friend of the Devil.” Peter Robinson. Morrow. Violence’s never-ending cycle of cause and consequence receives a provocative look in this follow-up to “Aftermath” (2001).

(7) “In the Dark.” Mark Billingham. HarperCollins. London’s inner-city gang culture mixes with an aging gangster and a middle-class couple.

(8) “Trigger City.” Sean Chercover. Morrow. A private detective tackles homeland security in Chicago.

(9) “The Dawn Patrol.” Don Winslow. Knopf. A surfer/private detective’s obsession with a cold case.

(10) “Another Thing to Fall.” Laura Lippman. Morrow. Hollywood comes to Baltimore and even the most inconsequential the chore comes down to power play.

(11) “A Matter of Justice.” Charles Todd. Morrow. Although set in post-WWI, this look at people and a country recovering from war’s devastation is timeless.

(12) “Red Knife.” William Kent Krueger. Atria. Racial tension between Anglos and Indians simmer just below the surface in a small town in Minnesota.

(13) “The King of Swords.” Nick Stone. Harper. A gritty, brutal look at Miami in the early 1980s, a moral backwater filled with the drug trade and voodoo practices.

(14) “Good People.” Marcus Sakey. Dutton. A couple’s decision to keep found money morphs into a cautionary tale about ordinary people caught up in circumstances beyond their control.

(15) “The Likeness.” Tana French. Viking. An unconventional look at identity; the follow-up to last year’s multi-award winning “In the Woods.”

(16) “The Genius.” Jesse Kellerman. A narcissist art dealer’s views on what is art are turned upside down.



“Child 44.” Tom Rob Smith. Grand Central Publishing. A search for a serial killer in Stalinist Russia is one of the most remarkable debuts, at once gritty, chilling, depressing, hopeful and fascinating.

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Stieg Larsson. Knopf. A disgraced Swedish magazine journalist and a tattooed computer hacker investigate a prominent family.

“A Cure for Night.” Justin Peacock. Doubleday. Legal ethics bump up against racism and a drug culture that thrives on middle-class users and astute dealers.

“City of the Sun.” David Levien. Doubleday. A Midwestern teenager’s disappearance becomes a mission for a grieving detective.