My favourite books of 2007

Here are my favourites of the books I have reviewed in 2007, with a link to my review and a taster excerpt for each. Enjoy!

English language Euro Crime

The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill. One of the many delights of this book about ordinary people’s experiences of living under the communist regime are the small everyday acts of subversion and rebellion that avoid the notice of the unimaginative authorities but cause a liberating sense of personal triumph that sustains people through each day.

The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan. Elegiac novel of corruption in Ireland.

Borderlands by Brian McGilloway. As with many of the best crime-fiction novels, the strengths of this book lie both in its convincing portrayal of place, and in the shadows of the past.

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penny. A suspenseful, atmospheric novel set in Canada in 1867.

The Shadow Walker by Michael Walters. "Murder at the edge of the world" – Mongolia, to be precise.

Translated Euro Crime

The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri. The beauty of this book is in the evocation of place.

Reasonable Doubts by Gianrico Carofiglio. An unpretentious, shiningly true book.

Calling out for you by Karin Fossum. One of the best crime novels of its year, undoubtedly.

Voices by Arnaldur Indridason. Masterly in the way the story of each crime is suspenseful yet an elegy for sad and lonely lives of most of those involved.

Ice Moon by Jan Costin Wagner.The main strength of this excellent book is the character study of Kimmo Joentaa, a young police detective trying to come to terms with the death of his even younger wife from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Crime beyond Europe

Echo Park by Michael Connelly.Harry Bosch continues his lonely, almost religious campaign to close old unsolved crimes.

Diamond Dove by Adrian Hyland. As soon as I started reading, I was absorbed in the author’s world.

Triptych by Karin Slaughter An exciting, must-read mystery-thriller.

The Broken Shore by Peter Temple. Drama, sadness and insight. The everyday casual brutalities of racism and ruination of the beautiful, grand environment of this most wonderful continent are compellingly conveyed.

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. A desperately sad book, brilliantly conveying the histories and culture of the people, and one that won’t leave you in a hurry.

Five stars

The Big O by Declan Burke. A fast-paced and very funny book.

I’ve Heard that Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark Wonderful, escapist, uplifting. Utterly reliable, sure in her plotting, knows what her readers like, and delivers.

Red Leaves by Thomas H Cook. A focused, claustrophobic tale of an apparently happy nuclear American family falling apart under psychological stress.

The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Ericksson. Uppsala detectives, the crimes they solve, and their personal lives as they work to keep the peace on those mean, snowy streets.

In the Woods by Tana French. I have often read the word "unputdownable" to describe a book, but in this case it is true.

The Murder Bird by Joanna Hines. A compelling little psychological thriller of dark family secrets.

Borkmann’s Point by Harkan Nesser. The humour is dry and the characters of the local police well drawn.

See all my book reviews in full here; and as a list of links here for 2007, and here for 2008.

Diamond Dove to Moonlight Downs

Via Crime Down Under:

"Kerrie at Mysteries in paradise reports that the fair folk at the Oz Mystery Readers forum have put their heads together to compile a list of their best reads for 2007, with Diamond Dove by Adrian Hyland heading the list. It should be noted that the books in the list are books that were read in 2007, not necessarily books that were published in 2007. She has followed that post up with her review of Diamond Dove. By the way, there has been a lot of discussion about this book here in Australia and it will be released by Soho Press in the US in February under the name Moonlight Downs."

My review of Diamond Dove is here. I highly recommend reading the book. Here is the start of my review: "Adrian Hyland’s first novel, Diamond Dove, is a tale of the Australian outback. The descriptions and atmosphere are so compelling that from page 1 the reader is jettisoned into the heat, the dry dust, the rocks, and the impoverished townships and itinerant camps of the Northern Territories, a place where Alice Springs seems as sophisticated, and indeed remote, as Paris or Milan. As soon as I started reading, I was absorbed in the author’s world. The narrator is a young, motherless, half-white, half-Aboriginal woman; her lack of identity with either culture forms the basis of the book, as she is more of an observer than a member of any of the social groups or places so evocatively described." Read on here!

Although I read this book at the time that I did because I was sent a review copy by a very kind, generous and charming gentleman from Quercus, the UK publisher, I was very keen to do so because of the pieces written previously about the book by Peter at Detectives Beyond Borders. Here is Peter’s review. Peter includes the book in his list of his favourite reading for 2007.