Crime fiction columnist Adam Woog shares more of his favorite books of 2018.
Following up from my last column, here are more notable examples from the wealth of 2018’s crime fiction.
Kate Atkinson, “Transcription.” A richly rewarding and compassionate story of a British woman recruited to root out Nazi sympathizers during World War II, who must revisit the spy world a decade later.
Flynn Berry, “A Double Life.” In this exquisitely paced thriller, inspired by a real case from 1974, a reclusive physician is haunted by the memory of her father, a dashing British aristocrat who disappeared after her mother was savagely attacked and her nanny murdered.
Karen Cleveland, “Need to Know.” A CIA analyst is stunned to discover that her beloved husband is, in fact, a Russian mole. The palpable tension between patriotism and family love — domestic life versus the drama of espionage — powers this sure-footed debut.
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Elizabeth George, “The Punishment She Deserves.” In Northwest resident George’s skillful telling, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers (working class, rumpled and smart) takes the lead probing death in a medieval market town; her boss, Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley (aristocratic, cultured and smart), takes a back seat.
Howard Michael Gould, “Last Looks.” A slyly funny debut starring Charlie Waldo, a quirky ex-LAPD detective who, despite his compulsion to live a solitary existence with exactly 100 possessions, is talked into returning to the city to exonerate an actor accused of murder.
Martha Grimes, “The Knowledge.” Detective Superintendent Richard Jury’s look into a brazen double murder is anchored by two exclusive and intriguing establishments: a swank casino/art gallery and a secret pub patronized only by London’s cabbies.
Anne Holt, “In Dust and Ashes.” Left disabled after a severe injury, Oslo police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen continues to team up with her eccentric protégé Henrik Holme on two cases, one stretching back years, another providing a chilling preview of future danger.
Anthony Horowitz, “Forever and a Day.” A shrewd romp starring Bond … James Bond. It’s a prequel in which Bond (newly promoted to 007 status and already ultra suave, worldly and oversexed) swans around the French Riviera while breaking up a wicked drug syndicate.
Laura Lippman, “Sunburn.” This tale of death, betrayal and simmering desire, set during a brutal summer in small-town Delaware, is a sharp-witted homage to noir classics like “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”
Lawrence Osborne, “Only to Sleep.” Raymond Chandler’s iconic gumshoe Philip Marlowe is brilliantly re-imagined as a 70-something retiree in Baja California, frail but still up for another interesting case.