I was asked recently by the team at Radio National Books and Arts Daily to do a wrap-up of my Top 5 favourite crime reads for 2014.
I’m sure I’m not the only author or reader for whom this is a daunting prospect, akin to naming your favourite child (admittedly, an easier prospect for me as I have just the one!).
The first thing I decided was to focus on Australian crime fiction. This wasn’t about parochialism on my part. Rather, I noticed that reputable sources in the UK and US confined their top crime fiction picks to local authors and figured it was appropriate, since I was ‘appearing’ on the national broadcaster, to tout the local writers — all the more so given that the national broadcaster’s TV counterpart, The Book Club, elected to review only one Australian book in 2014. Happily, Books and Arts Daily supported this approach.
Second, in light of the number of books I’ve read this year (60 so far), I settled on ‘memorability’ as a key criteria. I figured that the novels that stay in my mind do so because they are in some way(s) outstanding.
Third, and this criterion was imposed by Books and Arts, the novels had to be released in 2014.
Based on these criteria, here’s my list in alphabetical order (with hyperlinks to my reviews):
Sweet One by Peter Docker (Freemantle Press)
What Came Before by Anna George (Viking/Penguin)
In The Morning I’ll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty (Serpent’s Tail)
Beams Falling by PM Newton (Penguin)
Life or Death by Michael Robotham (Hachette)
And here’s what I would have added with license to talk about my Top 10:
Through the Cracks by Honey Brown (Penguin)
A Murder Unmentioned by Sulari Gentill (Pantera Press)
A Morbid Habit by Annie Hauxwell (Penguin)
The Lost Girls by Wendy James (Michael Joseph/Penguin)
Quota by Jock Serong (Text)
Listen to Thrilling summer: Best crime reads of 2014 here.
And stay tuned for more end of year wrap ups to come…
You have some great reads there, Angela! It’s so hard, isn’t it, to narrow such a list down. I think that’s especially true since 2014 saw some really fine releases.
These look like good books! Would that the publishing powers that be get them over
to the States! This gets more than frustrating. It’s like looking in a bakery window that
never opens its doors, or that charges $100 per muffin.
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Angela, I have not read any of these authors but Michael Robotham’s fiction is on my reading rader. You read some good crime fiction in 2014.
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Prashant, I am a big Robotham fan. Life or Death is wonderful. I also greatly enjoyed reading an earlier release, The Night Ferry, in 2014.
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A great list Angela – I am annoyed that I read Beams Falling when I did as I don’t think I was concentrating terribly well just then – I used a ‘stickiness factor’ to create my own list of favourites for the year (similar to your memorability one) and I think in any other year Beams Falling would have stuck in my head more strongly than it did. I’ll re-read it someday. I also very much enjoyed The Lost Girls, Life or Death and A Murder Unmentioned – though I am quite convinced Sulari writes those books just for me so I don’t know what you were doing reading it 🙂 Am just reading What Came Before right now – started this morning on the bus – I can see already it is going to be memorable.
I have been reflecting lately how truly splendid the local crime fiction scene has been over the past couple of years (I found it nearly impossible when on a judging panel last year to select a winner). This list is further evidence of the depth and diversity. Wish some of the book stores would notice and take all those James Patterson novels off the shelf.
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I couldn’t agree more with you, Bernadette, re: having more bookstores get behind local crime writers. I was pleased to argue successfully for my end of year crime fiction wrap up on RN Books & Arts to focus on Australian work. As I pointed out to the producers, equivalent media in the UK focused on UK authors, in the USA on American authors. For me, it’s not about being parochial but about being proud 🙂
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