My favourite books reviewed in 2011

I am going to have to make my list a top 20, I am afraid, as I find it impossible to choose a “best” from the books I reviewed last year. Of these books, 9 are translated. Thirteen are by men, seven by women. There is a fairly good geographical spread: USA (5), Sweden (3), South Africa (2), Norway (2) and one each for Iceland, England, Estonia, Italy, Ireland, Argentina, Japan and Denmark. The list is in no particular order: each title is linked to my review at Petrona or Euro Crime.

The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
The Quarry by Johan Theorin, translated by Marlaine Delargy
Till Thy Wrath be Past by Asa Larsson, translated by Laurie Thompson
Dregs by Jorn Lier Horst, translated by Anne Bruce
Trackers by Deon Meyer, translated by Laura Seegers
Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen, translated by Lisa Hartford.
Mixed Blood by Roger Smith
Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason, translated by Anna Yates
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
Intuition by Allegra Goodman
The Drop by Michael Connelly
The Rage by Gene Kerrigan
All Yours by Claudia Pineiro, translated by Miranda France
Any Human Face by Charles Lambert
Villain by Shuichi Yoshida, translated by Philip Gabriel
Burned by Thomas Enger, translated by Charlotte Barslund
Open Season et seq. by C. J. Box
Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder, translated by Marlaine Delargy
Purge by Sofi Oskanen, translated by Lola Rogers

So hard was it to winnow the list to 20 that I’d also like to mention some other books I very much enjoyed this year: Witness by Cath Staincliff, Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, Ashes by Sergio Gakas (tr Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife), Headhunters by Jo Nesbo (tr Don Bartlett), The Hand that Trembles by Kjell Eriksson (tr Ebba Segerberg), Misterioso by Arne Dahl (tr Tiina Nunnally), Death on a Galician Shore by Domingo Villar (tr Sonia Soto), Why Don’t You Come for Me? by Diane Janes, Prime Cut by Alan Carter, The Caller by Karin Fossum (tr Charlotte Barslund), The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell (tr Laurie Thompson), The Last Lie by Stephen White. Even with all these added, there are some that I am sad to omit from this post!

My favourite reads of European books in 2011 are listed at Euro Crime, together with the choices of the other Euro Crime reviewers. The aggregated favourite books, authors and translators are collected by Karen in this Euro Crime blog post.

All the books I reviewed in 2011, ranked from 1-5 stars. Of these 128, 49 are by women (single authors), one is by two women and four are by a man/woman duo. Forty-six in total are translated.

17 thoughts on “My favourite books reviewed in 2011

  1. Thanks for the list. I think I have listed most of those on my TBR list which I haven’t yet read. This should be a good reading year. I have to track down some of these books, which are not in the library, but it’s worth it. Also, the good reads, which I get from the library or break down and buy, end up going to several friends. So global crime fiction has more fans.
    Can’t wait to see what’s coming up this year in these reviews! Your incisive reviews are always helpful, in that I can figure out if I want to read a book or not.

  2. I’ve read quite a few of those books Maxine and I agree with you on most of them. I’ve still got mixed views on ‘Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter’ but I’m glad I read it. I personaly loved Mankell’s last Wallander, a fitting swansong for a great detective.

  3. I’ve read 12 of your list, have another on the go and have four more as definite want to reads – am trying not to acquire any more physical books until I sell the house and move, so am relying on the library or eBooks for new stuff which is requiring some creativity

    I think I liked BURNED a little less than you and am not sure about TRACKERS yet (it took me a long while to get into it but that could be my fault and I’m still only half way through) but there’s nothing on your list I could argue with.

    • I am lost with admiration for anyone who could follow Trackers on audio, Bernadette 😉 Burned was not the greatest crime plot by any means, but I just loved the main character as well as the depictions of the way the journalism profession has evolved.

      • Well Saul Recihlin (fellow cat fan) is narrating Trackers then you’re in good hands. I really liked the last “book” but I struggled to get into it too.

  4. P.S. Regarding the discussion at FF, your honest appraisals of books are what’s needed, not sugar-coated magazine-type reviews. That’s what readers want: First, to think about what is inside the pages, and second, to decide if one will look for the book, even purchase it.

  5. Maxine – I’m so glad you found so many good books this past year. Far better than one of those years where there’s a lot that left you disappointed. Thanks, too, for taking the time to link to your reviews. What a treasure trove!

  6. I read 2 in your list, Ara Larsson’s and Yoshida’s. Look forward to read 4 recommended in your list. 🙂

  7. I haven’t read any of these, but so many are in my TBR that I’m feeling really silly for leaving them there for so long. I have Purge, Mercy, Villian and Any Human Face waiting to go. I’m looking forward to reading them and hope that I love them as much as you do.

    • It’s always nice to have a good TBR, though – I get quite neurotic when I am down to one or two! I hope you like some of these. Intuition and Turn of Mind are very good books & not crime. Turn of Mind recently won the main science book prize of the year – amazing for a novel.

  8. Oh how I agree with the inclusion of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. Quite simply the best book I read in 2011, and possibly the best in many a year.

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