Monday, December 14, 2015

Best Mystery and Crime Novels of 2015

This year was another strong year for new books in the Mystery and Crime genre. These are the best novels, including two by one author, reviewed by this blog in 2015:

The Crossing by Michael Connelly - Former LAPD detective Harry Bosch returns in a new police procedural novel in this popular continuing series. Bosch is now retired and ends up reluctantly crossing over to the other side to help defend an accused criminal defendant. But as Bosch starts digging, too many things don't fit and it looks like someone inside the LAPD is behind it. A riveting, outstanding read.

Endangered by C.J. Box - New entry in the series that features Wyoming state game warden Joe Pickett. Joe's step-daughter, April, is found beaten and unconscious, and his friend, Nate is gunned down in a cold blooded ambush. As Joe investigates these attacks, he comes up against a roughneck, violent backwoods clan. A fast paced read set against a rugged western landscape.

Badlands by C.J. Box - Introduces main character Cassie Dewell, a Sheriff's Department investigator in her new job in a rowdy shale oil boomtown in North Dakota. Cassie soon finds herself dealing with violent drug gang murders and corruption in her own department. Set on the frigid plains, with a realistic and appealing character, it's a nice start for a new continuing series featuring Cassie Dewell.

Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo - A short, stand alone novel by the popular Norwegian crime author. Main character Oleg is a "fixer," a contract killer for his boss. But when Oleg is ordered to kill the wife of his boss, it creates an impossible dilemma, because Oleg himself is in love with her. A philosophical, gripping crime tale that races to a harsh finish.

Gathering Prey by John Sandford - Latest in the crime thriller series that features Minnesota State Police investigator Lucas Davenport. Lucas gets onto the trail of a roving, rag-tag band led by a sociopathic guru name Pilate. These drifters move around the country, luring and killing random victims to suit their whims. Lucas follows the killers, along with a police posse, in a multi-state chase. A terrific thriller with a plot that moves at breakneck pace.

The Beat Goes On by Ian Rankin - This is the complete collection of Inspector Rebus short stories, featuring the cranky Edinburgh, Scotland detective. The stories are presented in chronological order, spanning the years as John Rebus moves from young Detective Constable to veteran Chief Inspector. An entertaining treat for fans of the Inspector Rebus novel series.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Private Eye Elvis Cole Returns in THE PROMISE

The Promise by Robert Crais is a latest crime novel in the popular series featuring L.A. private eye Elvis Cole. Cole is an unconventional, wise cracking detective who drives a vintage yellow Corvette and has a Disney wall clock in his office.

Cole's new client hires him to find a missing woman who embezzled some company funds. But the case immediately goes wrong. A brutal murder, missing explosives, and a cold blooded killer named Mr. Rollins all make Cole realize he has been hired under false pretenses and something much bigger is going on.

The story allows Cole to meet LAPD officer Scott James, who is part of a K-9 unit along with his police dog, Maggie. Cole and James work leads together to find the explosives, but this makes James himself a target of the sadistic Mr. Rollins.

The Promise is not one of the stronger novels in the Elvis Cole series. The pairing of Cole with Scott James and Maggie adds a new element to the plot. But the storyline feels forced and over-padded at times and the climactic scenes are a let down. For a better taste of the Elvis Cole books, try The Forgotten Man and Chasing Darkness.