The LA Times list features the best of fiction, short stories, pageturners (thrillers), sci-fi and fantasy, and poetry. Much-acclaimed literary giants such as Richard Ford, Margaret Atwood, and Hilary Mantel are on the list, and the line-up of thriller authors is also incredibly high-calibre.
I'm sure for Cleave, one of the biggest thrills will be the fact that two of his all-time favourite authors, writers who have inspired him as his career flickered into early life then grew into a blaze, join him on this year's LA Times list: Stephen King for REVIVAL in the sci-fi/fantasy category, and John Connolly for THE WOLF IN WINTER in pageturners.
When I first interviewed Cleave back in 2010, he told me that King was his biggest influence as a teenager, and that the three crime writers he admired most were Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and John Connolly. "When I think about John Connolly, I think about an amazing writer," said Cleave. "I still love reading Stephen King – I bought his new one, UNDER THE DOME and am really looking forward to reading it."
Cleave's much-praised FIVE MINUTES ALONE is certainly a book that a lot of people are looking forward to reading. Here's the blurb:
"In the latest thriller by the Edgar-nominated author of Joe Victim, someone is helping rape victims exact revenge on their attackers, prompting an edge-of-your-seat, cat-and-mouse chase between old friends, detectives Theodore Tate and Carl Schroder.
Carl Schroder and Theodore Tate, labeled "The Coma Cops" by the media, are finally getting their lives back into shape. Tate has returned to the police force and is grateful to be back at home with his wife, Bridget. For Schroder, things are neither good nor bad. The bullet lodged in his head from a shooting six months ago hasn't killed him, but, almost as deadly, it's switched off his emotions.
When the body of a convicted rapist is found, obliterated by an oncoming train, Tate works the case, trying to determine if this is murder or suicide. The following night, the bodies of two more rapists surface. It's hard to investigate when everyone on the police force seems to be rooting for the killer.
There's a common plea detectives get from the loved ones of victims: When you find the man who did this, give me five minutes alone with him. And that's exactly what someone is doing. Someone is helping these victims get their five minutes alone. But when innocent people start to die, Tate and Schroder find themselves with different objectives, and soon they're battling something they never would've expected: each other."
The other thriller writers on the LA Times list are Connolly, Tana French, Megan Abbott, Chelsea Cain, Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman, Mary Kubica, Ed Lin, Laura Lippman, Val McDermid, and Fuminori Nakamura (translated from Japanese by Allison Markin Powell). As an aside, it's cool to see over half the chosen authors are female. Sometimes the terrific female thriller writers out there get overlooked.
You can see the full list here. Congratulations to Cleave and all the other crime writers.