Book reviews by country: Unites States of America

For my series this summer, I am providing selections of book reviews by country. Either the author is from the country named in the post, or the book is set there.

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 I'm ending this series with the United States. I've reviewed 46 novels from this country, unsurprisingly as it is a big country, the main language is English, and it is full of people who love reading and writing crime fiction. I read the classic US authors too many years ago to have written up reviews of their books, so among my archives are more recent favourites such as Michael Connelly, Robert Crais and Harlan Coben.

Other gems among the books I have reviewed are the two novels so far published by Margot Kinberg, Publish or Perish and B-Very Flat. I highly recommend these two classic crime novels, each of which displays all the reasons why the genre is popular – good plot, attractive characters, energy and fizz, with a strong dash of humanity.

I'm keen on legal thrillers, so there are several reviews by Oregonian Philip Margolin – who can't be bettered in this genre in my opinion. Another favourite of mine is Mary Higgins Clark, "the queen of suspense" as she is known. Lighter and more commercial than the likes of Connelly, Higgins Clark always delivers a reliable, solid read with admirable, independent female protagonists. 

There is a huge range of crime fiction to choose from anywhere in the world, but perhaps nowhere more so than in the USA. My reviews are a tiny, tiny tip from a hugely massive iceberg.

My USA reviews.

13 thoughts on “Book reviews by country: Unites States of America

  1. Maxine – *Blush* How very kind of you : ). What nice things you say! : ). And I continue to be quite grateful for the way you’ve set up this reviews-by-country organiser. So very helpful! Now of course, what you’ve done to my TBR list is quite another matter ; ).

  2. I am also glad I have discovered American writers like Margot. Sue Grafton was one of the few American writers I followed because most of the ones I picked up in the library were rather fast-paced and hardboiled.

  3. You’re welcome, Margot. Agreed, Dorte, I was very glad to be introduced to Sue Grafton by a colleague at work when she (Grafton) first started writing, so I’ve been reading Kinsey Millhone since the novels first started. I haven’t yet read the latest, U, as I’m waiting for the paperback.

  4. How about Sara Paretsky? I love V.I. Warshawski; she is fearless, smart and independent. And often social issues are involved. And there’s Nevada Barr, for a touch of U.S. regions and environmental issues. On legal thrillers, which I love, are also Steve Martini, John Grisham (whom I know is controversial; some are better than others), Lisa Scottoline (her all-women’s law firm is hilarious), “The Hidden Man,” by David Ellis (legal turns into thriller; author is an attorney). There’s also Paul Goldstein who wrote a good book about a legal feud over AIDS-medicines’ patents, interesting. I need an interesting plot and characters, but most of all–good courtroom banter with wit.
    I was weaned on Perry Mason–books and tv, then the fantastic show “The Defenders,” best legal show. (Also, fyi Linwood Barclay is a Canadian author, Donna Leon, I think is categorized as Italian)

  5. Forgot Scott Turow, who is a great legal mystery writer; his “Presumed Innocent” was quite good (was made into a movie) and now his newest, “Innocent,” is out.

  6. Thanks for these ideas, Kathy – I’ve read all Sara Paretsky’s books except her most recent one (she’s got too preachy for me). I used to read Grisham but not recently. Steve Martini is good (not as good as Philip Margolin, another legal thriller author, for me). I’ve also read many other US authors eg Marcia Muller, Andrew Vaachs, Peter Spiegelman (excellent), Sharon McCone, Hillary Waugh, etc etc, the list goes on…..most of these I read before I started to write up reviews…several predating even the Internet never mind blogging! Like you, I enjoyed reading Perry Mason books in my case when I was around 15 or 16.
    I have put Linwood Barclay in Canada already, and I think I’ve categorised Donna Leon as USA and Italy – some authors can fit into two categories if they were born somewhere but write about somewhere else, I believe (in my system anyway!).

  7. PS also Scott Turow, though after the first three he got a bit ponderous. Still not sure whether to read Innocent.

  8. I notice that “Innocent,” was just named as a contender for the Ian Fleming Steel Daggar; how fun. Margolin is good. I read all of his books until I came to one where a “pair of eyes looked back at me” from the freezer. That was my swan song, over, too scary. Until then I had read his books and liked them a lot. Maybe I’ll retry them.
    Also, for U.S. thrillers, Joseph Finder is good. And “The Hidden Man,” by David Ellis, is worth reading. It is legal/thriller and was nominated for some awards.
    Now on to your summer reading list–yikes! Another page for the TBR pile!

  9. Margolin has returned to less gruesome subjects since then, Kathy – I didn’t like that one either. His last couple have been political thrillers (with a legal theme) and very easy to enjoy. I liked Finder’s first couple but went off him after that. I have heard good things about David Ellis so must try him.

  10. Yes, definitely, try Ellis’ “The Hidden Man.” I have only read one by Finder, “Vanished,” and it was fun.
    I just remembered an excellent legal thriller–“The Lincoln Lawyer,” by Michael Connelly, one of the best I’ve ever read and one of his best. He got a lot of praise for that one and everyone I know who read it liked it.

  11. I liked the Lincoln Lawyer too, Kathy. I’m a big fan of Michael Connelly. I liked Finder’s first but the others I read were a bit derivative of it. Will try the Ellis.

  12. Just spent a relaxing Saturday reading Scott Turow’s “Innocent,” a good, riveting read…could not put it down.

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