Favorite Books of the Year: 2018

With 2018 coming  to a close ‘tis the season for lists so I thought I‘d share a list of my favorite crime/mystery books I read this year. Most were published this year, but there are a couple old-timers in there I read for the first time in 2018. The first two are my topped ranked. Other than that they are in no particular order.

The Woman in the Window

Woman

Read my review here.

Sunburn

Sunburn

Read my review here.

The Neighbor

Neighbot

Read my review here.

Two Kinds of Truth

Two Kinds

November Road

November

A beautifully written road trip/conspiracy thriller that will surprise you right to the end. Read my full review here.

 

The Killer  Inside Me

Killer

Read my review here.

Early Autumn

early

Read my review here.

The Man Who Came Uptown

Uptonw

Read my review here.

Colorblind

Colorblind

Read my review here.

Dark Sacred Nights

Dark Sacred

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Fugitive Red – Jason Starr

Blood Feud – Mike Lupica

Old Black Magic  Ace Atkins

The Chill of the Night – James Hayman

Don’t Let Go – Harlan Coben

Then Came Darkness – D.H Schleicher

The Deep Blue Good-by – John D. MacDonald

The Hangman’s Sonnet – Reed Farrel Coleman

The Girl in the Green Raincoat – Laura Lippman

 

Favorite Quotes on Writing

Twelve favorite quotes on writing from ten authors I admire.

Thompson-jim

There is only one plot – things are not what they seem. – Jim Thompson

Truman-Capote

You can’t blame a writer for what the characters say. – Truman Capote

elmore-leonard

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. – Elmore Leonard

Kurt-Vonnegut

Every sentence must do one of two things: reveal character or advance the action – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Edgar-Allan-Poe-Charles-Smeldon

A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.  Edgar Allan Poe

I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat. –  Edgar Allan Poe

Block

One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off. – Lawrence Block

King

When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done. – Stephen King

If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write – Stephen King

laura-lippman

There’s always time to read. Don’t trust a writer who doesn’t read. It’s like eating food prepared by a cook who doesn’t eat. – Laura Lippman 

RaymondChandlerPromoPhoto

The more your reason, the less you create. – Raymond Chandler

Parker

Sure, I have advice for people starting to write. Don’t. I don’t need the competition. – Robert B. Parker

Recent Read: The Killer Inside Me

 

Jim Thompson’s protagonist, deputy sheriff Lou Ford, is slow thinking and a bit on the corny side, at least, that is what he wants everyone in the small Texas town he lives in to believe. He bores people with dull platitudes so he can watch them squirm, and he gets a laugh for himself as they all get sucked into his game. Everybody sees Lou as a good guy, a good ‘ol boy, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. However, in truth, Lou is a violent psychopath with a dark history and a streak of violent behavior that he keeps in control under his regular guy facade…until he can’t.

The novel was published in 1952 when post-war America was drawn to Eisenhower, conformity and white picket fences in the suburbs. Americans were reading books like My Cousin Rachel, The Silver Chalice, and The Caine Mutiny. They weren’t in the mood for cheap paperbacks dealing with alienated,  psychologically damaged killers. It’s easy to see why. Thompson’s first-person narrative forces the reader to go inside the blistering mind of a diabolically crazed killer in a way that most writers cannot even fathom. It’s a chilling, nasty, and at times hard to stomach journey. The Killer Inside Me is noir at it darkest.

Note:

This is the second novel I have read by Jim Thompson. I mistakenly told a few folks on-line The Killer Inside Me was my first. Writing this review reminded me I wrote an article, a few years back, on the film version of After Dark, My Sweet, and at that time had read the book. Okay, that’s about it for true confessions. 🙂  I have attached a link to the After Dark, My Sweet article here if you are interested.