Friday, December 26, 2008

Best Crime Fiction Reads of 2008 (Kerrie's Challenge)

Kerrie of Mysteries in Paradise ( has proposed that her readers submit a best reads of 2008 list (crime fiction we've read in 2008, regardless of publication date) and I'm cross-posting my list here as well as in a comment on her blog. But here, I'm including comments on a few items on the list (and here as in the cross-post I can't resist listing some films & TV shows as well):

* Peter Temple, Bad Debts (I'd have listed The Broken Shore but I read it at the end of 2007--Bad Debts was the first I got my hands on from his other series, also excellent)
* Giancarlo De Cataldo, Crimini (best anthology of the year)
* Jo Nesbø, The Devil’s Star (I re-read this one after the immediately previous novels in this series were published in English--and The Devil's Star, excellent though it was on first reading, is even better on second reading, with the background of the story finally filled in by the publication of the earlier books)
* Dominique Manotti, Lorraine Connection (not a police procedural, but as excellent in its own way as her police procedural series)
* John McFetridge, Dirty Sweet (the first of this Canadian writer's books will stand in for both novels released so far, each equally excellent)
* Håkan Nesser, Mind’s Eye (the first of the Inspector Van Veeteren novels but only released in the U.S. after two others)
* Jakob Arjouni, Kismet (German crime of a pure noir sort)
* Magdalen Nabb, Vita Nuova (regrettably the last of the Marshall Guarnaccia novels, and perhaps the best of them)
* Carlo Lucarelli, Via Delle Oche (the end of the De Luca trilogy)
* Arnaldur Indridason, Arctic Chill (this is the title from this excellent Icelandic series released here this year--any of the series would be among the best books of whatever year it was released)
* Allan Guthrie, Savage Night (comic, violent, rapid)
* Adrian Hyland, Diamond Dove (fully realized social context, characters, story, as with the other Australian novel on my list, but in a different vein)

* Proof (the Irish TV series
* The Wire (the HBO series, and maybe the best police procedural ever on TV)
* The Brush Off, director Sam Neill (from Shane Maloney's Murray Whelan novel, and a better film than the first of the Whelan movies adapted for TV by Neill, The Brush Off)
* Jar City (Myrin), director Baltasar Kormákur (from Arnaldur Indridason's Erlendur novel, and a wonderful bleak adaptation of the original
Noise, director Matthew Saville (not an adaptation, but an offbeat, off-center movie about a cop's personal and professional difficulties)
* Pars Vite et Reviens Tard, director Regis Wargnier (from Fred Vargas's Adamsberg novel, maybe not a great movie but a good adaptation of a series that is difficult to encapsulate in a film)
* In Bruges, director Martin McDonagh (black humor of the first rank)
The Lookout, director Scott Frank (pure old-fashioned noir that turns a character who would have been a minor figure in an old-fashioned noir story into the central figure, as he grasps for the limits of a life and a world narrowed by tragedy)
* And an old movie I saw again this year that has to be the all-time worst adaptation from a great crime novel, The Laughing Policeman, 1974, director Stuart Rosenberg, a travesty of the wonderful Sjöwall-Wahlöö book, and one of the worst cop movies ever.

Both lists are restricted by the time-limit: There should be more from Ireland and Sweden that show up here, but I actually read more of the excellent books from those two countries before this year. You may notice that there are 2 books and 2 films from Australia on the list: only a hint of the excellent crime fiction coming out of that country.
Comments? Agree or disagree?
And Happy New Year!

1 comment:

Kerrie said...

Thanks for taking up the challenge Glenn. There is just so much good crime fiction around to read at present that I am sure we will all come up with widely differing choices. For me the standout novel of the year was Michael Robotham's SHATTER but I don't think that has been published in the US yet.