Well, here we are: the world didn’t end, the fiscal cliffhanger is past, and the Library has upped the number of reserves to fifty, so let’s fill up that holds list with some stellar new crime offerings from tried and true authors.
Lawrence Block started writing crime fiction over 50 years ago, (and some of his oh-so-naughty vintage pulps are coming wonderfully back into print; I just downloaded eBook copies of Campus Tramp, Gigolo Johnny Wells and Hellcats and Honeygirls.) His next title – Hit Me – is the fifth outing for stamp collector and semi-retired hitman Keller, who starts picking up contracts again after to help make ends meet. This delicious episodic series (mentioned in a previous post on hit men) just keeps getting better, as the utterly winning antihero Keller sizes up each new target from both logistical and ethical angles.
In The Third Bullet, Stephen Hunter brings his own seasoned gunman out of retirement when sniper Bob Lee Swagger looks into the death of a thriller writer who may have uncovered conclusive new evidence in the JFK assassination. Having been an assassin himself, Swagger is uniquely qualified to step into the shoes of Lee Harvey Oswald, and those of another shadowy figure in a neighboring building. One of the best thrillers on this topic since Charles McCarry’s brilliant 1974 rendition, The Tears of Autumn. (Brad Meltzer also has a similarly-themed though much more fanciful new thriller – The Fifth Assassin).
This January we also have The Wrath of Angels, the eleventh entry in John Connolly’s grim and gothic crime series featuring sardonic supernatural PI Charlie Parker; Stuart Woods’ twenty-fifth Stone Barrington title, Collateral Damage; Robert Crais’ new standalone Suspect, with it’s hardboiled spin on the story of a boy and his dog; Jennifer McMahon’s riveting new psychological suspense novel One I Left Behind; and Dead Aim, the eleventh of genre-hopping Joe Lansdale’s darkly funny Hap Collins/Leonard Pine books.
Fans of British crime fiction have much cause for celebration as well, with Good Bait, a new standalone release from John Harvey (whose Charlie Resnick books remain one of the best hardboiled series out there), and Ian Rankin’s Standing in Another Man’s Grave, the nineteenth title featuring the thistly, skeptical ex-Inspector John Rebus, who was thought to have retired with Exit Music back in 2007. You can’t keep a good man down, nor Rebus neither.
Finally, readers looking to try something new should check out Jenny Milchman’s chilling debut Cover of Snow, in which a policeman’s widow finds there was more than meets the eye to her husband’s suicide.