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I will decide what is 'Best' for you.

Well here we are. For 2008 it is all over but the shoutin'. I have decided to keep my 'Best of' list to a petite three titles. I will call it the The Given Day Memorial List of 2008. I struggled long and hard with the decision to strike the Lehane book from the list. On another day I would put it on this list, but in the end I felt it would be stretching the boundaries of Crime Fiction too far to include it here. It is a great book. A wonderful book and you should read it.

I was a bit dismayed to discover how few 2008 releases I did read. As of right now I have read 41 books. Only 38% were released this year. I need to up that number in 2009 with a primary goal of reading all 2009 releases in the calendar year.

After the top three, I have included one additional book. This book is the best book, excluding 2008 releases, I read this year.

The Given Day Memorial List of 2008

Mr. Chercover had this spot locked a while go. I knew about half way through that this was going to be th…

Winter 2008/09 Preview

Yesterday, The Hungry Detective had to get up early to shovel the driveway. I would have the intern handle this menially task but he is planning a pagan Winter Solstice party. In any case, it seemed like a good day to look forward to a few books that will be releasing in the coming months.

Dead or Alive - Michael McGarrity (December 26)
Book 12 of the Kevin Kearney series. Many, many times I have said how much I enjoy this guy's work. Glad another one is on the way. With Tony Hillerman now riding that old Appaloosa in the sky, I assure you that Michael McGarrity will cure your hankering for Southwestern Mystery.

The Chalk Circle Man - Fred Vargas (January 6)
Yet another complicated release history. The Chalk Circle Man is Vargas's first book to feature her rumpled creation, Commissaire Adamsberg. A closer check reveals this may only be a Canadian release.

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death - Charlie Huston (Jan 13)
Great title. Great Cover. What's the book about? No…

The end is nigh...

The end of the year is nigh, and there are a few books left to read. I have been focusing on 2008 releases for the last month... month and half, and I am about to call it quits. I am past the half way point on The Black Dove, and after that I will gut, clean and kill Michael Connelly's and Robert Crais's 2008 entries. I tend to read both authors very quickly, so I think I'll be able close out 2008 with Easy Rawlins's swan song, Blonde Faith. The Hungry Detective will be visiting Walnut Creek, California for Christmas, and the second Wallander book will accompany me. No matter what around the new year I'll be taking a break from reading... just a couple weeks. The beginning of the year will see me knock off a few more of the Ross Macdonald books that have been purchased.. but not blogged about... in the recent weeks.

In anticipation of creating a 'best of' list I publish the list of all the books I read this year. Books in red were released in the US this y…

I have been reading... at least

The Given Day - Dennis Lehane

The Hungry Detective was there at the beginning. I read A Drink Before the War before the world cracked the first pages of Mystic River 5 or 6 years later. The Kenzie and Gennaro books built a legion of Lehane fans, but I suspect that Mystic River, Shutter Island, and The Given Day out sell the K+G books. Easily. 2 to 1? 3 to 1? So I have had a strange relationship with the non-series books. When someone mentions how much they like Mystic River or Shutter Island I reflexively respond by saying "You should read Gone, Baby, Gone." An admittedly a snobby way of turning up my nose at those books as not the real Dennis Lehane. Silly, but Pat and Angie are my friends and I want them to be your friends too. The people in Mystic River and Shutter Island are generally, but not all, unpleasant to the extent that I was happy to say goodbye to them once the last word was read and the book closed. Great stuff to be sure, but one night stands definitely.

The Gi…

Well, these things happen...

Sorry nothing to see here. But I feel obligated to write something. Words and The Hungry Detective are just not seeing eye to eye right now. I have a post, one that I have been working on for 5-6 days, and I can't stand to read it or write it. It was meant to be a quick little review of a couple books, but...... it just is not happening.

I'll have some good stuff soon. End of the year Top Ten List. Winter Book preview. Keep and eye out for THD to get his head out of his ass soon.

Murder, Mayhem and the Return of Patrick and Angie

Back from Murder and Mayhem in Muskego IV. It was an ultimately very good weekend if not for a few hiccups. The original intention was to attend the mini-con with my sister who lives in Appleton. Alas, she caught one of the fifty or so colds she will have in the next three months. Everyone at The Hungry Detective office hopes she feels better, and we are already looking forward to attending the fifth installment with her next year. The second minor disappointment was the, I'm sure, entirely unavoidable absences of Duane Swierczynski and Harry Hunsicker. Bummer. (Ed Note. Duane's twitter feed notes a Christening... Cheers to that Mr. Swierczynski!)

All of this is, of course, is weighted by the very wonderful news that Dennis Lehane, after taking the balance of a year off after finishing The Given Day, is writing a new book. And it is a Kenzie and Gennaro book. Woo-Hoo! In terms of my own education about Crime Fiction, Dennis is an important figure. I was reading a lot by the tim…

Friday's Forgotten Book

In contributing to Friday's Forgotten Book project I was confronted with my beginnings in Crime Fiction. THE BLACK HAND GANG was a children's book I read with my sister when I was 10 or 11. There is THE FIRM or DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS purchased the same day from the Walden Books in the mall. THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD? Over my head. Too young.

The book is A DRY WHITE TEAR by Stephen F. Wilcox. This was the first book in two series that Mr. Wilcox wrote. The hero of this and three other books written between 1989 and 1994 was T.S.W Sheridan. Mr Sheridan is a crime reporter who moves to the Finger Lakes area in upstate New York to investigate the murder of his Uncle. I have not read the book in twenty years, and I always flunked reading comprehension, but I still recall my very strong reaction to it. Not until this book had I encountered a character like Sheridan. Rough, but amiable. Cynical, but hopeful. Sheridan was the first fully realized person I had read in crime fiction,…

The Plus Side of the Economic Meltdown

On the plus side of the recent economic skid is this chart. This chart... well... charts the slide of the British Pound Sterling to our Americano Dollar. From nearly $2.00 in early August to what is today $1.60! For all of my youth the Pound basically converted to $1.50, but as The Hungry Detective's interest in English Premier League soccer grew so did the exchange rate. This made travel and the acquisition of UK released books nigh to impossible. Our cherished Billingham's, Booth's, Connolly's, Kernick's, McDermid's were all a heavy financial burden for this poor soul, and with shipping via the Royal Mail...Oof!

Luckily all of our UK related purchases are being made via The Book Depository. Is there any more magical collision of words than, 'Free Shipping'? Yes, there is 'Free Shipping Worldwide'.

In any case, the latest additions to the THD library have been R.J Ellory'sA Simple Act of Violence, and Tom Cain's The Survivor. THD would li…

Back in le Saddle

Just a couple things to mention. A) My computer has passed on into the great beyond to frolic with the Apple IIc of my childhood. More specifically the hard drive is longer... hard driving. Was the stupid, wasteful service plan purchased? Surprisingly yes it was. Do I want to be without my computer for the next 6-8 weeks? No.

The second thing? The Hungry Detective realizes a post is a bit overdue, so I'll take this rainy Saturday to write a few quick reviews.

The Bookman's Last Fling - John Dunning
Here is a series for which I have a great affection. The series follows Cliff Janeway, a former cop turned bookseller. Mr. Dunning filled his first couple books with book collecting minutia that made for very fun reading... even if the mystery was nothing all that special. Books three and four of the series were distinct disappointments for me as Mr. Dunning abandoned much of the book collecting charm of the previous books. The mystery was at the fore, and sadly I was bored. The Last F…

After Action Report - Bouchercon 2008

Back home, and the lawn has been mowed. Baltimore is already fading behind a haze of husband and home duties that piled up in my absence.

First and foremost let me extend my congratulations (...among the many) to Ruth Jordan and Judy Bobalik. Nothing but great things are being said about the work they did to put on the Baltimore Bouchercon.

As for the experience of The Hungry Detective, I am not really sure how to close this out. Great fun was had, and surprisingly not as many books were purchased. At least financial I feel good about the long weekend.

Perhaps it is best not to look back too much. Nostalgia is both a beautiful and stunting organism. I'll just wait for my FedEx to arrive and look forward Indianapolis. I'll close like I probably should. Here is what I bought.

The Amateur Spy - Dan Fesperman
The Snake Stone - Jason Goodwin
Scared to Live - Stephen Booth
Mr. Timothy - Louis Bayard
Voices - Arnaldur Indridason
Trigger City - Sean Chercover
Wicked City - Ace Atkins

Anthony Award Winners - 2008

This is the second awards ceremony that I have attended. The other one was 2007 Academy Awards. Slightly better seats for this one. I'll add some commentary on Monday. Columbus Day tomorrow means I have the day to recover.

Let me refer you to our picks... made all the way back in June.

Winners are in Red and bold. THD picks in Blue. I picked against Laura Lippman because why again? Oh yes, stupidity.

Best Novel
Tin Roof Blowdown - James Lee Burke
Bad Luck and Trouble - Lee Child
The Watchman - Robert Crais
Thunder Bay - William Kent Krueger
What the Dead Know - Laura Lippman

Best First Novel
Big City, Bad Blood - Sean Chercover
In the Woods - Tana French
The Spellman Files - Lisa Lutz
Head Games - Craig McDonald
The Blade Itself - Marcus Sakey

Best Paperback Original
Queenpin - Megan Abbott
Slide - Ken Bruen and Jason Starr
Blood of Paradise - David Corbett
Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues - Robert Fate
A Thousand Bones - P.J. Parrish

Short Story
Watch Your Step - Rhys Bowen (The Strand Magazine)
Dear …

Shamus Award Winners - 2008

The Shamus Awards were handed out tonight. Tickets were a cool $60. The Hungry Detective wishes we had enough money in the petty cash fund to afford a ticket. Banquets last for a couple hours.... but book purchases are forever!

More commentary later. Monday.

Winners in Red and bold. THD made some picks about a million months ago; they are in Blue.

Best Hardcover
Head Games - Thomas B. Cavanagh
Soul Patch - Reed Farrel Coleman
The Color of Blood - Declan Hughes
A Welcome Grave - Michael Koryta
A Killer’s Kiss - William Lashner

Best Paperback Original
Songs of Innocence - Richard Aleas
Exit Strategy - Kelley Armstrong
Stone Rain - Linwood Barclay
Deadly Beloved - Max Allan Collins
Blood of Paradise - David Corbett

Best First Novel
The Cleaner - Brett Battles
Keep It Real - Bill Bryan
Big City, Bad Blood - Sean Chercover
When One Man Dies - Dave White
The Last Striptease - Michael Wiley

Best Short Story
Kill The Cat - Loren D. Estleman (Detroit Noir)
Trust Me - Loren Estleman (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazin…

Day 3 - Bouchercon Report

I have nearly 'Been Around the World' in the last two years. Brazil and India so the 8:30 panel on Saturday morning seemed a natural. The focus here was on writers who have chosen exotic locales or who are writing from exotic locales. All five of the authors, Charles Benoit, Jason Goodwin, Arnaldur Indridason, and Michael Stanley are guys I have either read or want to read. They all acquitted themselves very nicely. This was a panel where I got up to dash to the book room in search of books for all the authors I don't already own. I was especially drawn to Mr. Stanley and Mr. Goodwin. Mr Stanley is one half of the writing team that has authored A Carrion of Death. Mr. Goodwin writes about the declining days of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. His first was the 2007 Edgar winner, The Janissary Tree.

(Arnaldur Indridoason)
The PI panel at 11:30 was one of the best I heard this weekend. The two things to be learned is that whether it is 1st person or 3rd person the PI n…

Day 2 - Bouchercon Report

50 Push-ups. 50! That is how many push-ups Laura Lippman did at the 8:30am 'Would I Lie to You' panel. Our five panelists, Mark Billingham, John Connolly, Ms. Lippman, Chris Mooney, and Karin Slaughter challenged a packed room to suss out the truth from the many colorful lies. Best of the bunch was the news that John Connolly wouldn't kick Daniel Day-Lewis out of bed.

(Mark Billingham)The next panel was the TV panel which gave me an opportunity to see one of my favorite authors, Duane Swierczynski. It was a good panel with the highlight being Bill Cameron saying some very unkind things about John-Boy Walton.

(Duane Swierczynski)

The rest of the morning was spent with Megan Abbott and Eddie Muller discussing the current state of noir. It was a good to great panel that set the table by showing trailers from No Country for Old Men and The Black Dahlia. As the The Black Dahlia trailer played I was reminded just how rancid that film is/was/and continues to be. Bless their heart…

Day 1 - Bouchercon Report

$9.95 per day. That is how much The Hungry Detective is paying for an internet connection. Oh dear. This just proves our commitment to those of you who foolishly decided not to attend.

Sean Doolittle(L) - Sean Chercover(R)

My biggest highlight of the day was meeting Ace Atkins. Here is a guy who I have read from the beginning. THD is definitely in for his historical based novel on Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle. Title of that book will be Devil's Garden. A close second in the highlight department was shaking hands with Sean Chercover. I told Sean that he provided me with my most surreal moment of the year when he phoned me at work. He thanked me for posting the Trigger City widget then, and I was happy to thank him for the ARC now .

Jason Pinter

The book room. Two years ago in Madison I didn't have a plan. This year I had a plan. It was an ill conceived one. Based in Rochester, New York means The Hungry Detective just does not see this kind of quantity or quality of books. I cou…

Macavity Awards - 2008

Mystery Readers International announced their Awards tonight at the opening reception to the Baltimore Bouchercon.The Hungry Detective made no picks for these awards, but we do wish all the nominees and the eventual winners, Congratulations!Winners in Red
Best Mystery Novel:
Reed Farrel Coleman:Soul Patch (Bleak House)
John Connolly:The Unquiet (Hodder & Stoughton*/Atria)
David Corbett:Blood of Paradise (Ballantine Mortalis)
Deborah Crombie:Water Like a Stone (Morrow)
Laura Lippman:What the Dead Know (Morrow) Best First Mystery:
Tana French:In the Woods (Hodder & Stoughton*/Viking)
Joe Hill:Heart-Shaped Box (William Morrow)
Lisa Lutz:The Spellman Files (Simon & Schuster)
Tim Maleeny:Stealing the Dragon (Midnight Ink)
Matt Beynon Rees:The Collaborator of Bethlehem (Soho)
Best Mystery Short Story:
Donna Andrews:"A Rat's Tale" (EQMM, Sep-Oct 2007)
Rhys Bowen:"Please Watch Your Step" (The Strand Magazine, Spring 2007)
Jon L. Breen: "The Missing Elev…

Barry Award Winners - 2008

I'll have some commentary about the winners later. For tonight just the award recipients.

Winners are in Red and bold. The Hungry Detective made some picks awhile ago; those picks in Blue.

Best Novel
Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman
The Unquiet, by John Connolly
Down River, by John Hart
Dirty Martini, by J.A. Konrath
What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman
Red Cat by Peter Spiegelman

Best First Novel
Missing Witness, by Gordon Campbell
Big City, Bad Blood, by Sean Chercover
In the Woods, by Tana French
The Spellman Files, by Lisa Lutz
The Collaborator of Bethlehem, by Matt Beynon Rees
The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey

Best British Crime Novel
A Quiet Belief in Angels, by R.J. Ellroy
Pig Island, by Mo Hayder
One Under, by Graham Hurley
The Death List, by Paul Johnston
The 50/50 Killer, by Steve Mosby
Damnation Falls, by Edward Wright

Best Paperback Original:
Queenpin by Megan Abbott
Black Widow Agency, by Felicia Donovan
Choke Point, by Jay MacLarty
The Mark, by Jason Pinter
Wash This Blood Clean from My Han…

Our Choice Selections Pt. 2 - Bouchercon 2008

Yesterday we posted what we thought were the best of the panel offerings for the first two days of the Baltimore Bouchercon. Below are our selections for Saturday and Sunday. Let's continue

Saturday 8:30a-9:30p
BEEN AROUND THE WORLD (Puff Daddy) Travel the globe with Janet and Friends. Janet Rudolph(M), Charles Benoit, Jason Goodwin, Arnaldur Indridason, Michael Stanley. (International E)

How often can you say you met someone from Iceland? Buy the works of Arnaldur Indridason and be able to say yes to that question. Charles Benoit is probably one of the better authors you are not reading.

Saturday 10a-11a
YESTERDAY'S NEWPAPERS (Eddie Rambeau) Reporters in fact and fiction. Bryan Gilmer(M), Rebecca Drake, Jack Getze, Marion Moore Hill, Bob Morris, L.J. Sellers (International A)

Reporters make great amateur sleuths. I don't know any of the panelist, but I am excited to hear what they have to say.

Saturday 11:30a-12:30p
MURDERWHAT FUN (shy calr)Why we love writing Crime Fiction…

Our Choice Selections - Bouchercon 2008

Over the last few days my friend, Jared Case, has been posting what he will be doing at the Baltimore Bouchercon starting on Thursday. If you decide to stalk Jared he will probably be the one in the Blue Jays cap.

The Toronto Blue Jays? The baseball team? Yeah I know. I don't get it either.

What The Hungry Detective is offering is not a blow by blow account of our movements while we are in Baltimore, but our picks for the best panels on all four days. This post contains our selections for Thursday and Friday. While tomorrows post will look forward to Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday 8:30a-9:30a
ROCKIN' ROBIN (The Hollies) Rocking the house with Robin. Robin Burcell(M), James O. Born, Sean Chercover, Vincent O'Neil, Julia Spencer Fleming. (International D)

If this is your first Bouchercon experience go to Bouchercon 101 (International A). It will calm the nerves, otherwise the above is THD approved.

Thursday 10a-11a
GET UP (I FEEL LIKE BEING A) SEX MACHINE (James Brown) Does se…

Trigger City - Review

The Hungry Detective is closing in on two years of blogging. I started this blog because I wanted to involve myself in the 'wonder' that is Crime Fiction.

The secret reason I started this blog is(...clears throat, leans in, and whispers his Old Grand-Dad breath into your ear...) I wanted free books! Not the most high-minded of ideals, but honesty should be valued for something, right?

So I got my first 'free' book a few weeks ago. Trigger City by Sean Chercover. Mr. Chercover was kind enough to send me an ARC. Cheers to you Sean. I owe you a moderately priced beverage of your choice at next week's Baltimore B'Con.

And oh, the book is fantastic. Trigger City continues the adventures of Chicago PI, Ray Dudgeon. Big City, Bad Blood was the first in this series and if you have been paying attention that books is up for a bunch of awards. I hope it snags a couple of them. Trigger City is the second in the series and is just as good if not better. Wonderfully paced, I s…

What am I Bringing... too much.

I'm at 42 books. That is 42 books I am going to bring to the Baltimore B'Con. I have already cut a few books I would have brought. A few Pelecanos, a couple Eisler's, a JD Rhodes here, an Alafair Burke there.

I would love to bring everything, but that is just not practical. As it stands I'm going to try and fit all my books into the carry-on and check the clothes. My flight from Rochester is direct so I am not too worried about missing luggage. However, I probably need to cut this down by another 4 or 5 books. I'm looking in your direction UK editions.

Of course this means I can't buy anything until I get to the show. Yeah right.....

How's your French?

I recently finished Fred Vargas's book Have Mercy On Us All. A book I enjoyed greatly by the way. I don't know what prompted me, but I checked over at IMDB to see if any of her work had been translated to the screen.

As luck would have it Have Mercy On Us All has been translated to the big screen. Another, Wash This Blood Clean From My Hands, seemingly made it to the small screen. With the very successful art-house run of the Harlan Coben novel, Tell No One, I am crossing my fingers that this film will at the very least make an appearance on DVD.

Warning there are no English subtitles.... and maybe a quick flash of nudity. Which is either an enticement or reason to report this blog. Enjoy.

Fall Preview 2008

It is generally understood that the summer is the best time to release books. It seems even more so with crime fiction. The ultimately derogatory phase of 'beach read' gets attached to this genre to the extent that publishers end up believing that these books only sell when readers have vacation time staring them in the face.

THD will say that this fall is a little light. Looking over some of the release schedules there were a few books we left off. Does the new Stephen King really need any publicity? It has also been apparent to frequent readers of The Hungry Detective that we have been out of the loop for over a month. Vacation to Wisconsin, and a somewhat last minute trip to Brazil meant that we have just not had the time to keep in contact with all that has gone on. (You will be missed Cluelass!)

But this is water under the bridge. The Baltimore B'Con is just two and half weeks away. THD will be there with daily reports. We will also post winners of the various awards as…