A mid year appraisal: my top read of 2012 [so far]

Posted: July 3, 2012 in Book Awards, Scandinavia, spy story, Sweden

While other bloggers, voracious readers all, are picking their best ten reads of the half year I haven’t read enough books to attempt that task. My total is a mere 25 crime fiction books during the first half of the year. Life’s events seem to get in the way of reading, and I have a Himalayan pile of books to read for the rest of the year. 

Of my 25 books; 15 were translated, 8 by female authors, and 8 by new authors to me. Some of my old favourites disappointed me, and some of the new authors will have me looking for their next books. Maurizio De Giovanni, Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis, Sergios Gakas, Kristina Ohlsson, and Gordon Ferris were new writers e who grabbed my interest. Maurizio De Giovanni’s I Will Have Vengeance has been shortlisted for the International Dagger and Ellis Peters Awards, which was especially pleasing as I wrote in my review that:

This is top quality crime fiction beautifully written by Maurizio De Giovanni, who incidentally does not claim pretensions to literature, and admires both Ed McBain and his compatriot Gianrico Carofiglio. It is unobtrusively translated by the experienced Anne Milano Appel and is a easy read. The story is packed with incidents and larger than life characters. It has a simple but gripping plot  that cleverly blends in with the operas. It is also full  of information for those who are not opera buffs, and is a commentary on the vast social divides that existed in the 1930s. As an amateur reviewer I am at liberty to say I really enjoyed this novel, especially the intriguing character of Ricciardi and the promise of romance for him in the future with the shy woman Enrica, who he watches through his window.

Among my “old friends” there were some excellent books from Asa Larsson, Aly Monroe, Andrea Camilleri, Gianrico Carofiglio, Arnaldur Indridason, Liza Marklund, Hakan Nesser, Rebecca Cantrell , Reginald Hill, and Philip Kerr. I still can’t understand why Indridason’s Outrage wasn’t on the CWA International Dagger shortlist. 

But surprisingly the most enjoyable book I have read so far in 2012 was one I was expecting to struggle with, but it greatly exceeded my expectations. 

Leif G.W. Persson’s Another Time, Another Life: The Story of a Crime has a blurb on the back cover from Dagens Arbete telling the reader that it is ‘one of the best detective novels ever written in Sweden’, and this amateur reviewer agrees with that opinion. I really enjoyed this superb crime novel and recaptured my reading ‘mojo’ polishing it off  in four days.

Read the full review here.  

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – It’s quality, not quantity. You’ve had some terrific reads it seems, and I’m glad for you.

  2. KerrieS says:

    I have that one on my Kindle to read Norman. Must get to it

  3. Great list of reads Norman and I am looking forward to reading your pick of the year so far. I have it in the TBR somewhere…just need to unpack some more boxes after my move and I’m sure it will tumble out

  4. kathy d. says:

    Yes, it’s definitely quality, not quantity. I haven’t read as many books as many esteemed bloggers, but I’ve torn through one good book after another: Indridason, Nesser, Camilleri, Marklund and more, not a bad or boring book in the group. And, what’s more, I have hooked a friend on Indridason’s works and Marklund’s books, have shared Camilleri’s and am about to loan out Nesser’s Hour of the Wolf and expect good responses. IIt is quite gratifying to contribute to friends’ reading experiences.
    I, too, am puzzled about why Indridason’s Outrage didn’t make it to the Dagger shortlist. I thought it was terrific. Friends concur. An added point is how well he writes about a woman protagonist in dealing with a crime against women. It’s very sensitively done.
    Wonder if we’ll ever know.
    The credit card has taken a beating this year; that is for sure. And I don’t see any relief in sight.

  5. Maxine says:

    how interesting, Norman. I now have a copy as Karen was sent a finished copy as well as the proof she already had, so she kindly gave me her proof. I’m slightly daunted by it but I am revitalised and re-encouraged by your pick!

  6. Norman Price says:

    Margot, you are so right, quality over quantity in most things in life.

    Kerrie, I usually disagree with gushing blurbs, but this one was spot on.

    Bernadette, we have been in our house for ten years and I still have stuff packed away in boxes! We downsized just before I retired, and we piled everything into a small garage, which is now full of books and other stuff. 😦

    Kathy, Indridason having Elinborg as his main protagonist was a nice change, and the plot was very good as well. As far as the International Dagger shortlist apart from picking the Johan Theorin The Darkest Room I have failed to agree with the judges every year!

    Maxine, I had Prof Persson down as a crusty old misogynist after his clashes with Camilla Lackberg and Liza Marklund, but his trio of female detectives in Another Time, Another Life were a very nice surprise. And it is only 404 pages long, and from memory Between Summer’s Longing and Eternity was over 500 pages and read longer than Middlemarch. 😉

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