Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My HOS Crime Picks

This year I'm continuing 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 latest 'column' was published yesterday, in the 'Living' magazine supplement to the newspaper. I actually wrote this column a few weeks ago, using books I'd read late last year, but things were delayed for a while - I should be back on a monthly basis from now on. Here's the latest round-up:


Crime picks
Craig Sisterson

Cold Wind By CJ Box (Corvus, $24.99)
Renewable energy meets murderous motives in award-winning CJ Box’s latest tale starring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett; another example of his impressive touch for thrillers set in America’s rural and wilderness areas. When a millionaire property developer is found murdered, hanging from a controversial wind turbine on his sprawling ranch, the prime suspect is his wife Missy, Pickett’s less-than-beloved mother-in-law. Pickett finds himself caught between his bosses, sure of Missy’s guilt, and his own wife, who wants him to prove her mother’s innocence. Box mixes a gripping plotline with compelling characters, layered relationships, and well-evoked settings.

Red Mist By Patricia Cornwell (Little, Brown, $39.99)
More than twenty years after shaking up crime fiction by bringing forensics to the fore, Patricia Cornwell and her fearless heroine Kay Scarpetta are still going strong, and in fact, are back to their best. Red Mist sees Scarpetta travelling to Savannah, a town draped in history and Spanish moss, to meet a high-security prisoner. Drawn into a long-closed case, her sojourn to the sweltering South takes a truly deadly turn, threatening many lives. Red Mist contains plenty of intriguing forensics, but the highlight is Scarpetta and her perspective on the world, along with the interplay between characters.

A Man You Can Bank On By Derek Hansen (Hachette Australia, $37.99)
If you like your crime fiction laced with plenty of laughs, then this caper-style tale set in the Australian Outback could be just your ticket. Former bank manager Lambert Hampton helped transform the tiny town of Munni-Munni after stumbling across a robbery gang’s stash. Years later, the crims, the cops, a rogue investigator and two hit-men are all chasing the money, converging on the town, causing shenanigans aplenty. Hansen, who grew up in New Zealand, creates an intriguing tale packed with eccentric characters and memorable moments that stay with you long after the final page.

Never Knowing By Chevy Stevens (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)
Canadian author Stevens follows up her excellent debut Still Missing with another cracking story. Sara Gallagher has always wondered why she was given up for adoption, and struggled with feeling different to her family. After months of research she locates her birth mother, only to face rejection, then discover an even more horrifying truth: she is a child of rape, her birth mother the sole survivor of serial killer still on the loose. A killer who contacts Sara after her story ends up online. Never Knowing is a layered tale which is as much about a woman’s search for herself, as the search for a killer.

Craig Sisterson helped establish the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. He writes about crime and thriller fiction for several publications here and overseas, and blogs at http://kiwicrime.blogspot.com/.


Have you read any of these four novels, or authors? What do you think? Comments welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I've read RED MIST and did enjoy it. Toward the end it seemed more like her earlier books to me, full of forensics and intrigue. I'll have to add the others to my wish list, they all sounds good.

    Thoughts in Progress