New (to me) authors read in 2011

Seeing Bernadette’s list of new (to her) authors whose books she has read in 2011 reminded me that I must do the same, as I always like to try new authors and to see how many I’ve managed to discover each year. I have to admit, though, that this process does inevitably involve a few duds and even DNFs (did not finish). Nevertheless, I am usually lucky thanks to the various website and blog reviews I follow. It seems as if 2011 was no exception, from the 56 new (to me) authors I tried. I found eight books truly excellent, nine very good and ten good – a pleasing total of 27 authors whose other books I am keen to try (or will be when they are written and, where appropriate, translated). A further nine books were a bit “meh” and ten more less compelling than that. Finally, I did not enjoy (or did not finish) eleven more – a total of 29 authors that I possibly or probably will not read again.
The books listed below are not ordered within each category. Where I’ve reviewed the book (in most categories except the last) I have provided a link to the review.

Excellent:

Smith, Roger Mixed Blood (South Africa)

Lambert, Charles Any Human Face (Italy setting)

Franklin, Tom Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (USA)

Horst, Jorn Lier Dregs (Norway)

Yoshida, Shuichi Villain (Japan)

Adler-Olsen, Jussi Mercy (Denmark)

Goodman, Allegra Intuition (USA)

LaPlante, Alice Turn of Mind (USA)

Very good:

Oksanen, Sofi Purge (Estonia setting)

Tegenfalk, Stefan Anger Mode (Sweden)

Gakas, Sergios Ashes (Greece)

Enger, Thomas Burned (Norway)

Dahl, Arne Misterioso (Sweden)

Haynes, Elizabeth Into the Darkest Corner (England)

Carter, Alan Prime Cut (Australia)

Staincliffe, Cath Witness (England)

Ceder, Camilla Frozen Moment (Sweden)

Good:

Perissinotto, Alessandro Blood Sisters (Italy)

Kallentoft, Mons Midwinter Sacrifice (Sweden)

Kaaberbøl, Lene & Friis, A The Boy in the Suitcase (Denmark)

Arion, George Attack in the Library (Romania)

Watson, Nicole The Boundary (Australia)

Moorhead, Finola Still Murder (Australia)

Ngugi, Mukoma wa Nairobi Heat (USA/Kenya setting)

Jones, Stan White Sky, Black Ice (USA)

Templeton, Aline Cold in the Earth (Scotland)

Symon, Vanda Overkill (New Zealand)

Neither good nor bad:

Ohlsson, Kristina Unwanted (Sweden)

Arvas, Paula and Nestingen, A (ed) Scandinavian Crime Fiction (various; non-fiction)

Sipila, Jarkko Helsinki Homicide: Against the Wall (Finland)

MacLeod, Torquil Meet Me in Malmo (Sweden setting)

Gazan, Sissel-Jo The Dinosaur Feather (Denmark)

Schwegel, Theresa Officer Down (USA)

Stabenow, Dana A Cold Day for Murder (USA)

Himes, Chester A Rage In Harlem (USA)

Sub-average:

Porter, Henry The Dying Light (England)

White, Neil Fallen Idols (England)

Walker, Blair S. Up Jumped the Devil (USA)

Vichi, Marco Death in August (Italy)

Roncagliolo, Santiago Red April (Peru)

Parot, Jean-François The Châtelet Apprentice (France)

Clark, Marcia Guilt by Association (USA)

Logue, Mark and Conradi, Peter The King’s Speech (Australia/England, nonfiction)

Nicholls, David One Day (England)

Kepler, Lars The Hypnotist (Sweden)

Poor, not to my taste, and/or DNF:

Black, Benjamin Christine Falls (Ireland)

Hanif, Mohammed Our Lady of Alice Bhatti (Pakistan)

Culver, Chris The Abbey (USA)

Hancock, Penny Tideline (England)

Lapidus, Jens Easy Money (Sweden)

Webster, Jason Or the Bull Kills You (Spain setting)

Hilliard, Sam The Last Track (USA)

Byatt, A.S. Ragnarok: the End of the Gods (England)

Gallagher, Stephen Rain (England)

Miller, A.D. Snowdrops (Russia setting)

Fitzek, Sebastian Splinter (Germany)

Fuller Jr, John Grant The Airmen Who Would Not Die (England setting)

19 thoughts on “New (to me) authors read in 2011

  1. oh dear, there are 12 authors in your top 3 categories I haven’t tried yet and as I agree with you about most of the others in the same categories it seems like I should give them a go. I have got 3 books by authors in those categories here in the TBR pile so shall use them to get off to a good start.

    Interested to see some of the names in your ‘not to your taste/DNF category’ – I have wondered about Benjamin Black and nearly bought that very book the other day but something stopped me. Think I’ll see if it’s at the library instead then I won’t worry too much if it’s a dud. As for the rest, I think I’ll skip ’em (though already wasted my time with AD MIller’s boring twaddle)

    • The B Black was one I managed to finish but I found it clunky, not well written (oddly, given the author) and the solution very obvious from the start. However, I am told by Declan Burke that the series gets better. 1950s Ireland (setting of the first) not my favourite time to read about, have no patience with all the prejudice, religious, sexist, etc, of that period.

  2. The only one I’ve read on your list is Charles Lambert’s Every Human Face – and I agree it was excellent. Reading your review on Eurocrime makes me want to read it again.

    • I think you’d very much enjoy Intuition if you haven’t read it, Clare. I got a cheap-ish version via Kindle. It isn’t a crime book😉

  3. Maxine – Thanks for this very helpful summing-up! I agree with you that trying out new authors can lead one to find some real treasures, and I’m glad you found more to like than to dislike. Of the authors I’ve read on your Excellent and Very Good lists, I have to say I agree with you.

  4. I read 74 books by 71 new to me authors this year and sadly they little overlap with your list, which might mean I have a whole rake of new to me authors again next year! There are a bunch here I wouldn’t mind trying.

  5. I’ve read Mercy, CLCL and Boy in the Suitcase of your lists, liked them all very much and I add Outrage by Indridason to the mix for great reads.
    I will print this out and avoid all poor, bad and DNF books.
    The new year of reading is exciting.
    I write to Adler-Olsen asking if all his books will be translated into English and available across the pond and he anticipates “yes.” Now if Nina Borg were only available over here, I’d be purring.

    • I think that both authors are available in the USA, Kathy. The next entry in the Mercy series has been delayed in the UK until June, but I hope will be out in the US at about the same time. Glad that Adler Olssen says more will be translated.

    • It was one of those books that I just couldn’t read because of the long description of the bullfight & aftermath at the start followed by the sexist behaviour of men in bars. I think it is well written but just not topics I can read about – for example I could barely finish the Vasquez Montalban book I read and will never read another (sexist detective, young girls are happy to be sex objects, etc), just cannot take those attitudes (even if the author doesn’t approve of them).

      There are several reasons for not finishing a book, or not liking it, sometimes it is mediocre but that is not the case here, I can see it is a good book. Just not one for my taste.

      • Thanks Maxine. I had no interest in bullfighting when I read it, apart from hating the ‘sport’, but found the detail fascinating and unobtrusive in the prose.
        Also interested in what you thought of Penny Hancock’s Tideline as have seen singing praise on twitter during the last 24 hours, albeit taken with a little pinch of salt due to source.

    • Tideline was a dnf for me- mediocre rubbish. And as for “suspense” – my granny’s knitting is more exciting😉

      The first part of And the Bull describes how the protag has to be “head” of the bullfight even though he hates it, but none the less there are descriptions of what people do to the animals, etc, that were too strong for me – but pretty mild compared to much crime fiction I am sure, eg Montalban, also Spanish and regarded as a superb classic author of the genre, has far worse.

  6. Of Adler-Olsen books, I’ve read Mercy or The Keeper of Lost Causes here. The Boy in the Suitcase I have and read and that is available here, but none other by the authors.
    As I mentioned Adler-Olsen says his books will be translated and available over here. I’ve written to Soho Press asking about the Nina Borg series, if any more will be translated and published here. No reply yet.

    • Same for us in the UK, Kathy, for those two authors. The next Adler-Olsen has been put back to June in the UK. No word on the Nina Borg over here either, but the authors are coming over for an event on 17 Jan so we may hear more then (sadly I can’t go but someone may write it up – it is an event of the Nordic Noir people at University College London).

  7. I own copies of Mercy and Villian and look forward to reading them soon. Hopefully they’ll be top of my new-to-me author list in 2012!

  8. Pingback: Best new-to-me authors in 2012 #1 | Petrona

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