The Wall Street Journal had an interesting section on books for 2013 including inviting 50 well known people to choose their favorites. But they also had a mystery column with Tom Nolan and his list of 10 best mysteries. What I found most appealing about his list is its international flavor. Here are his recommendations:
Holy Orders by Benjamin Black – When the body of his daughter’s friend is brought to his autopsy table, Quirke is plunged into a world of corruption that takes him to the darkest corners of the Irish Church and State.
Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye – 1846: In New York City, slave catching isn’t just legal—it’s law enforcement. Six months after the formation of the NYPD, its most reluctant and talented officer, Timothy Wilde, learns of the gruesome underworld of lies and corruption ruled by the “blackbirders,” who snatch free Northerners of color from their homes, masquerade them as slaves, and sell them South to toil as plantation property.
The Dinosaur Feather by S. J. Gazan – Winner of the Danish Crime Novel of the Decade and a national bestseller, S.J. Gazan’s debut novel The Dinosaur Feather is a classic of Scandinavian noir. With keenly observed and deeply flawed characters, this scintillating thriller uniquely employs one of the most controversial and fascinating areas of contemporary dinosaur and avian research in its diabolical twists.
Kinsey and Me by Sue Grafton – In 1982, Sue Grafton introduced Kinsey Millhone. Today, Kinsey is an icon of detective fiction and her creator is at the top of her form. This collection is both a look at Sue Grafton’s own early life in the guise of the character Kit Blue, and a fascinating glimpse of Kinsey Millhone in nine tales featuring “the spunkiest, funniest, and most engaging private investigator [in] the entire detective novel genre.”—Entertainment Weekly
The Rage by Gene Kerrigan – Vincent Naylor, just released from jail, resumes doing what he does best, planning for an armored car robbery. Bob Tidey, an honest policeman, discouraged by his colleagues making deals with criminals and about to commit perjury, is investigating the murder of a crooked banker. A call from an old acquaintance will change his course of investigation. Maura Coady, a retired nun living on regrets and bad memories, sees something that she can’t ignore and decides to tell someone. She makes a phone call that sets in motion a violent fate. Winner of the 2012 Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel
Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina – It’s the week before Christmas when a lone robber bursts into a Glasgow post office carrying an AK-47. An elderly man suddenly hands his young grandson to a stranger and helps the gunman fill bags with cash. He opens the door for the gunman and bows his head; the robber shoots the grandfather, tearing him in two. DS Alex Morrow arrives on the scene and finds that the alarm system had been disabled before the robbery. Yet none of the employees can be linked to the gunman. And the grandfather is above reproach. As Morrow searches for the killer, she uncovers a hidden, sinister political network. Soon it is chillingly clear: no corner of the city is safe, and her involvement will go deeper than she could ever have imagined.
Evil and the Mask by Fuminori Nakamura – The second book by prize-winning Japanese novelist Fuminori Nakamura to be available in English translation, a follow-up to 2012’s critically acclaimed The Thief─another fantastically creepy, electric literary thriller that explores the limits of human depravity─and the powerful human instinct to resist evil.
Under Tower Peak by Bart Paul – A missing aviator’s billion-dollar fortune and a fool’s mistake bring mayhem down on a small-town ranching and resort community in this unrelenting, tautly written debut thriller.
The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach – The internationally bestselling courtroom drama centering on a young German lawyer and a case involving World War II
Enigma of China by Qiu Ziaolong- Zhou Keng—a trusted princeling, son of a major party member—was head of the Shanghai Housing Development Committee when a number of his corrupt practices were exposed on the internet. Removed from his position and placed into extra-legal detention, Zhou apparently hanged himself while under guard. While the Party is anxious to have Zhou’s death declared a suicide, and for the renowned Chief Inspector Chen to sign off on that conclusion, the sequence of events don’t quite add up. Now Chen will have to decide what to do – investigate the death as a possible homicide and risk angering unseen powerful people, or seek the justice that his position requires him to strive for.