Saturday, July 7, 2012

New-to-me Authors

Today I am joining in on the meme on best new-to-me crime fiction authors 2012 at Mysteries in Paradise. The goal is to share authors that are new-to-us this year, especially the ones we liked. This meme runs at the end of each quarter. Check out other posts for this quarter.

This quarter I have read books by five authors that I have never read before. None of them are new authors. Several of them have established continuing series.
  1. The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo
  2. Cop Hater by Ed McBain
  3. In the Woods by Tana French
  4. The Guards by Ken Bruen
  5. The Information Officer by Mark Mills
I enjoyed all of these books. The first four books are in series and I plan to seek out the next book or two in the series to read.

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo is a complex police procedural, following the story of a Norwegian detective investigating neo-Nazi activities in Oslo, with flashbacks to events during World War II on the Eastern Front. There is a large cast of characters and they are convincingly portrayed. I cared about what was happening to them. I liked the short chapters and the headings for each chapter noting time and place. Nesbo has written nine Harry Hole novels, and this is the third in the series. As yet, the first two in the series have not been published in English. I did not find it difficult to start the series with this book, although there were references to earlier exploits.

The Guards by Ken Bruen is another police procedural. However, the style of writing in that book is very different. It is a dark and bleak book. But it was one of my favorite reads of this year. Jack Taylor was in the Garda Síochána (the police force of the Republic of Ireland), and thrown out because of serious problems with alcohol. He becomes, almost accidentally, a finder, a sort of private detective. One element of the writing is frequent mentions of books, especially mystery novels, and quotes interspersed here and there, often with no apparent connection to the story.  The mystery portion of the plot is slight. The emphasis in more on Jack, his relationships, his life, his battle with alcohol. It isn't a happy book, but it isn't depressing either.

Yes, I read my first book from 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain in May of this year. I anticipated liking the series, and I was not disappointed. The first chapter pulled me into the book immediately.  Although parts of the book were heavy on descriptive sequences, I did find the story compelling and I liked the portrayal of the policemen. They were not perfect, but generally they seemed believable.

It seems that most of the books by new authors I have read recently are police procedurals. That is a sub-genre that appeals to me. As McBain says in his introduction to the book: "In fiction, there is always a quantum jump to be made when anyone but a police detective is investigating a murder."
The only book that was not a police procedural was a historical mystery set on the island of Malta during World War II: The Information Officer by Mark Mills. I just finished that book and enjoyed both the setting and the story.

The main character in this book is in charge of reporting on the events of the war on Malta and controlling and influencing the morale of the islanders. This book successfully weaves a story about the war as it affected Malta with a hunt for a serial killer.


Anonymous said...

Tracy - So glad you enjoyed both The Redbreast and Cop Hater. both of those are terrific series (although of course they're quite different). You made some great choices this time!

Peggy Ann said...

I read 'The Snowman' by Nesbo and really enjoyed it! Quite different from what I usually read but I loved Harry Hole! I have a Tana French waiting for me on my shelves.