Steve Mosby's CRY FOR HELP-unsettling edge of the seat stuff. I slept with the light on after I'd finished it.
Again, another tough category for me since I love comic crime fiction. I think though, that my vote would have to go to Donald Westlake's THE HOT ROCK-probably the funniest book ever written. When you think it can't get any funnier, Westlake twists it even further. Brilliant stuff. I re-read it every year.
Joe Lansdale's THE BOTTOMS- a coming of age novel set in East Texas during the Depression. A serial killer, racial tensions, vivid evocative descriptions and memorable characters. I love his writing.
I'm not really a big reader of straight thrillers, so my choice here would be Kevin Wignall's WHO IS CONRAD HIRST?
The short answer to that question is that Conrad Hirst is a hit-man who wants out of the business, the long answer is much more involved, so much more poignant, so much more human. In the first couple of pages of the book the reader learns that Conrad has decided to kill his way out of the business, by doing what he does best, and disposing of the few people who know about him. Running in parallel is another thread telling how and why he became a hit-man in the first place. To say any more would be to spoil what is a gradual peeling away of the layers that slowly reveal who Conrad Hirst really is, and the truth of his world. A wonderful book- a look at the meaning and value of life to someone who is existing, rather than living.
CRIME IN TRANSLATION-
Arnaldur Indridason's JAR CITY [TAINTED BLOOD]. Intriguing, great characters, and a really excellent translation. But don't read it if you're feeling miserable on a rainy day :o)
THE WILD CARD-
The toughest choice, so I warn you in advance that I am definitely going to cheat here :o)
Daniel Woodrell's WINTER'S BONE set in the malevolent Ozarks-country noir with fascinating characters and the most gorgeous writing that brings a lump to my throat is one choice. One of my favourite books ever.
Or should I choose William Lindsay Gresham's NIGHTMARE ALLEY (the noir film with Tyrone Power was based on this book , but had a slightly upbeat ending that just doesn't appear in the book). Shadows and sleaze at their best.
Or maybe I should choose one of Richard S. Prather's brilliant romps featuring PI SHELL SCOTT. The books are sexist, funny and totally over the top. Shell can fight off 6 bad guys and suffer horrendous injuries, but still has the time and the energy to bed several hot tomatoes [usually a blonde, a brunette and a redhead] all before breakfast.
There are some great one-liners: "she wore a V-necked white blouse as if she were the gal who'd invented the cleavage."
Thanks very much Donna for your stimulating comments along with your very interesting choices. Some more books for my TBR Everest.
If I have left anyone out apologies and please let me have the link and I will add it to the list.