The year so far……..

Posted: October 22, 2012 in Book Awards

Up to this September I had been reviewing every crime fiction book that I read, and after six years that amounts to a lot of reviews. It has also meant that my non fiction reading has been very limited. The fact that the last three Swedish crime fiction books I have read: Dark Angel-Mari Jungstedt, Silenced -Kristina Ohlsson and Autumn Killing-Mons Kallentoft* [* this one I will review later] have been so dark and miserable making one wonder if there are any normal functioning people in Sweden has made me reconsider my reviewing policy. 

I will probably now not review every book I read from now on unless there is something particularly interesting to which I want to draw attention. Loud cheers from some authors. This will give me a chance to catch up with my non fiction reading. But I will be reading the 2013 International Dagger Shortlist, and the 2013  Ellis Peters Shortlist and giving my opinionated views. 

My crime fiction reading total has reached 39 books so it is time to weed out some and consider the most enjoyable so far in preparation of a final pick of the best at the year’s end.

My top ten in no particular order:

The Potter’s Field- Andrea Camilleri

Deadheads- Reginald Hill

Seven Days- Deon Meyer

Another Time, Another Life- Leif G.W. Persson

Last Will- Liza Marklund

The Blind Goddess- Anne Holt

Outrage- Arnaldur Indridason

Burned- Thomas Enger

Prague Fatale- Philip Kerr

Icelight- Aly Monroe

Seven translated three in English, seven men three women authors, and representatives from Italy, England , South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Scotland. Interestingly of the 39 crime fiction books I have read so far this year the breakdown is 25 male and 14 female authors, and 25 translated and 14 in English.

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – You’ve got such a nice variety there – I’m impressed! And I am very much looking forward to what you think of the International Dagger shortlist and the Ellis Peters list too.

  2. Jose Ignacio says:

    I’ll be missing your excellent reviews Norman, but I fully respect your decision to reduce the amount of reviews you post. Love your list. I’ve only read three of your top ten so far but the other seven are in my wish list as must reads. Cheers

  3. Maxine says:

    I’ve stopped reviewing all the books I read, too. Too many of them are same-y. I have just finished Autumn Killing – why 500 pp instead of 250? Nothing happens to plot or characters (except same as previously) in about 200 of those pages.

    Anyway, I have read 7 of your top 10 and agree completely!

  4. Norman Price says:

    Maxine, too same-y is exactly right. It sounds as if you also agree with me about Autumn Killing? I am trying to formulate a review which is not actionable. 😉
    Raymond Chandler said something about the average crime novel being published while the average novel would never see the light of day. We have the situation now that it seems any Scandinavian crime novel can make it on to our shelves. I don’t blame the translators, they have to earn a living, but some of these books have rehashed plots and stereotypical characters.

  5. Peter says:

    I’m shocked — shocked! — that you find Swedish crime writers dark and gloomy!
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

    • Norman Price says:

      Peter, nice to hear from you. There is dark and gloomy and then there is supergloom. My favourite Swedish crime writers have blended some humour into their stories;Sjowall and Wahloo, and Hakan Nesser for example. Even Professor Leif GW Persson adds some lightness to his dark tales, and the delectable Liza Marklund puts her photo on her books.
      But my recent reads have lacked any subtlety, and in the last two both had detective’s wives dying from cancer just in case the reader hadn’t got the message that life in Sweden was “miserable”.

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