Saturday, December 12, 2009

Best of 2009, Part Four: Books

This will be the last "part," I promise! Lots of great books this year, and these were the ones that I enjoyed the most:

1. Blood's A Rover by James Ellroy: Like most Ellroy stories (notably L.A. Confidential) this story has its root in loneliness - desperately lonely men haunted by the violence of their past willing to risk it all for love and that one final chance at redemption that has eluded them.
2. The Coldest Mile by Tom Piccrilli:
Piccirilli has a great gift for dialogue and characterization and uses that ability to his fullest in creating a great story that is highly recommended to all fans of crime fiction.
3. The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville: This haunting and thought provoking thriller about violence and its consequences will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
4. Rain Gods by James Lee Burke: With his extraordinary eye for detail and thoughtful and sympathetic characterizations, this is crime writing on a sublime level and is very highly recommended.
5. Haiku by Andrew Vachss:
The plot and action is pure Vachss, streetwise and tough, yet humble and thoughtful. It is a masterful story and and you will never look at the homeless the same way again after reading it.
6. My Dead Body by Charlie Huston:
If you've had you're fill of touchy-feely vampires by the likes of Stephenie Meyer and Charlaine Harris, give Joe Pitt a try.
7. Sanctuary by Ken Bruen:
Still in Galway, Ireland and trying to care for an ill and despondent friend, Jack Taylor is taunted by a letter claiming that the writer will kill a policeman, a nun and then finally a child unless Taylor can put a stop to it.
8. Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk:
Funny, shocking and terrifying, he holds up a mirror to America and the reflection is vain, shallow and gluttonous. While certainly not for the feint of heart, those with the wherewithal to finish it with find it a remarkably thoughtful and challenging story.
9. Another Lifeby Andrew Vachss:
Vachss's cut-to-the bone writing style is pitch perfect for this dark tale, which rolls along like an out of control freight train. Burke is a dark hero for dark times and this is one of his finest hours.
10. Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett:
Slapstick comedy and puns with a touch of class is the order of the day, and this makes for one of the best Discworld tales in quite a while.

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