Friday, May 20, 2011

My HOS crime round-up

This year I've been asked to provide a monthly crime fiction round-up for the Herald on Sunday, one of New Zealand's most well-known newspapers. I'm very pleased to be able to contribute in my small way to getting crime fiction into the books sections of some local media.

My fourth 'column' was published while I was away in Turkey and Greece, in the 'Detours' lifestyle supplement to the newspaper, so I apologise for the delay in sharing it with you here. Here is my latest column.

Crime picksBook blogger Craig Sisterson reveals his top picks from his recent reading

Live Wire
By Harlan Coben (Orion, $39.99)
When her musician husband vanishes following internet rumours about her fidelity, a pregnant former tennis starlet turns to sports agent-cum-amateur sleuth Myron Bolitar for help. Meanwhile Bolitar’s dealing with his own family crisis; a dying father and the possible return of his long-lost brother, with trouble close behind. Then things take a deadly turn. Bolitar is a fascinating, at times funny, hero who’s easy to follow. Coben’s storytelling hooks early, then takes us on a twisting ride towards a thrilling conclusion.

The Fifth Witness
By Michael Connelly (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)
‘Lincoln Lawyer’ Mickey Haller, who’s happy to use a few tricks to help clients facing the might of the state, has been hit hard by the recession; he’s now defending clients more from mortgage foreclosures than criminal charges. But then an outspoken protestor is arrested for murdering a bank CEO, and Haller is back in criminal court, fighting a case that will cause him to reexamine everything. A legal thriller about much more than its plot, Connelly shows once more that he’s right at the top of the crime writing tree.

Shadow Sister
By Simone van der Vlugt (Text Publishing, $39) 
Lydia and Elise are twin sisters, identical in appearance but not in personality. Lydia’s an opinionated teacher with a husband, daughter, and relatively settled life. Elise is a photographer: quieter, darker, and troubled. However, it’s Lydia’s life which becomes truly troubled, starting when a student pulls a knife on her, and ending with a violent death. The second novel from ‘Holland’s Queen of Crime’ to be translated into English, this psychological thriller conveys plenty of creepiness and a brooding sense of unease.

Craig Sisterson was one of the judges of the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel last year. He blogs about crime and thriller fiction at


This column was first published in the Herald on Sunday, and is reprinted here with permission.


What do you think of my mini-reviews? Of having such a regular column in one of New Zealand's major newspapers? Have you read (or do you intend to) any of these titles? What are some of the upcoming titles I should definitely include in future columns? Comments welcome.


  1. Craig - I'm very happy that a major paper is carrying crime fiction reviews. I think that's so good for the genre. And I like your reviews, too. Of course, I'm a Connolly fan... :-).

  2. Craig - Like your mini-reviews. Looking foward to read them all.

  3. The mini-reviews are good. Sometimes one doesn't want to read a long book review; also a reader always worries about possible spoilers, or knowing too much ahead of reading a book.
    Yours are just right.
    And I like Connelly, too, and have always liked legal thrillers since I began reading Perry Masons in high school a millennium ago, or so it seems.