Crime fiction to give (or read) for Christmas

Give books for Christmas, wrote Kerrie of Mysteries in Paradise last November, and who am I to disagree? Giving crime fiction for Christmas, though, seems slightly counter-seasonal. I am never quite sure how the generalist recipient (as opposed to a dyed-in-the-wool addict) really feels when presented with a dark tome.

As in my post on this subject from last year, therefore, I’ve divided up my (global, natch!) recommendations for gifts, or simply for reading for pleasure, into two categories, as below.

Presents for crime-fiction addicts:

Mixed Blood by Roger Smith (South Africa)

Blood Sisters by Alessandro Perissinotto (Italy)

Nairobi Heat by Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Kenya, Uganda, USA)

Dregs by Jorn Lier Horst (Norway)

Misterioso by Arne Dahl (Sweden)

Open Season by C J Box (USA) et seq

Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Denmark)

I chose the above titles because they are not by standard, well-known authors in the genre, but are distinctive (and not nth in a series).

Presents for “generalists” or those new to the genre:

Villain by Shuichi Yoshida (Japan)

Witness by Cath Staincliffe (England)

Purge by Sofi Oksanen (Estonia/Russia)

Headhunters by Jo Nesbo (Norway)

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (USA)

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes (England)

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (USA)

I chose these titles because they all tell a very good story, as well as involving a “crime”. Some of them might not strictly be considered as “crime fiction” but I think any of them would encourage a novice to try a few more in the genre, and any of them would encourage those against “crime fiction” to agree that it isn’t all stupid.

18 thoughts on “Crime fiction to give (or read) for Christmas

  1. I would add Haruki Murakami’s surprise bestseller in the States, 1Q84, which is a mystery, a metafiction, science fiction, a love story, and just about any other genre you can throw into 925 pages that simply zip by. Truly masterful storytelling. Reg sez ‘Wow!’ Had to get it on my Kindle because the book was too heavy to read in bed…

  2. I think I would add Declan Burke’s Absolute Zero Cool for crime fiction addicts because it is something different from the norm. There are plenty on your list I haven’t read too – I will look at some of your reviews and see which I fancy.

  3. Maxine – Such a wonderful list of suggestions! I couldn’t have sorted them (well, the ones I’ve read) any better. Might have to present the top part of your list to some people in my own life😉.

  4. Finally pulled myself together to write a wish list. I have more than enough books to read, but if someone else buys them, I cannot be blamed, can I?

    I have read Adler-Olsen and Arne Dahl, of course, but I have added Jørn Lier Horst to the list together with several other Petrona temptations🙂

  5. Yes! It’s hide the credit card over at the neighbor’s time. I’ll print this out and keep it, mostly for my own list, however, anything I purchase ends up being loaned out to friends.

  6. FYi: The Book Depository has Dregs and it’s not expensive. Since they do not charge for shipping, it’s worth buying it from them. Also, no tax on purchases.

  7. Well, I have a list of books to buy, mostly by Australian women authors, but Dregs and Ashes (oh, no, is that a theme here?) are now on my list, too, thanks to the compelling reviews.
    I’m loaning out Outrage to women friends, and they want more books about Elinborg!

  8. Thanks belatedly for list – am having an exhausted evening at home with hunger for good crime fiction, have just of course bought four or five of these for MYSELF rather than as Xmas presents! I think Mercy’s US title is “Keeper of Lost Causes,” at any rate they seem to be the same book…

    Maxine, have a wonderful holiday! And here’s to lots of good books in 2012…

    • Belatedly, sorry Jenny, yes Mercy is the UK title and Keeper of the Lost Causes the US title. Hope you enjoy it and them! Have a wonderful holiday yourself, too, of course.

  9. Maxine, Thanks for the lists ! Like most of the people commenting above, I will cull several titles here to add to my 2012 reading. And – I must confess – I feel like I’ve earned a little gold star for each title that I have already read !

    Happy holidays. Ken

  10. Thanks for the list. I’ve had this post marked and now that I am on vacation can properly read all the posts I’ve been saving up. Many of these authors are totally new to me, but I do have Mercy on hand and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on my Nook. Now the problem is how to choose which books to read over my week off from work–it’s longer than I have hours in the day to read, it seems! Happy Holidays and thanks for all the great reading suggestions.

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