Derek Raymond for the first time in 2011, and I now understand why noir lovers love Raymond. In the Classics Division, I read four more books in Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö's Martin Beck series, and I'm awed at how apparently effortlessly they pulled off the sort of crime-cum-social criticism that many of their successors strive so laboriously for.
I liked Harri Nykanen's Raid and the Blackest Sheep for the deadpan humorous narration of its odd on-the-road story. And once I've strayed close to Scandinavian territory, Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis's The Boy in the Suitcase is moving, suspenseful, and well worth a read. The Dagger-winning Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström, is a thriller with a conscience, yes, but mainly a pretty damn good thriller.
Charlie Stella's rough, funny fictional world for the first time, but it's back abroad and to the alphabet theme for perhaps the year's most delightful crime fiction surprise, Anne Zouroudi.
I might not have read Zouroudi's Messenger of Athens had she not been on one of my panels at Bouchercon 2011, but boy, am I glad I did. Zouroudi is a master of slow, languid pace, of lives stoically lived, and of wrongs righted without sentimentality. What a sense of phsyical and human place.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011