July was a relatively quiet month for reading and reviews. Two reviews were published at Euro Crime and eight at Petrona. Of these ten, five are by women and five by men. The geographical spread is: USA 3; UK, 3, and one each for Canada, Germany, Norway and Sweden. Four are debut novels (to the best of my knowledge).
A smaller number of books means that, in principle, it is easier to select a book of the month. All the novels I read in July are good, and I can recommend any of them. So far as picking a “best” is concerned, I am not able to choose between two of the titles I read, so I’ll make one award for a debut author, and one for an author who has published novels before.
My non-debut award for July goes to Pierced, by Thomas Enger. From my review: “I urge you to read this novel (ideally after reading Burned), and hope you enjoy it as much as I did, even though it is written in the present tense. Its pleasures are enhanced by the excellent, colloquial translation by Charlotte Barslund.”
And my debut award goes to A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller, a wonderfully well-observed novel combining an evocative portrait of impoverished life in small-town West Virginia, with a crime investigation by a prosecuting attorney and her colleague, the sheriff. The author, a journalist, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for her account of the deadly tornado in Utica, Illinois.
The full list of books reviewed during July is below. Click on the book’s title for the review.
Meltwater by Michael Ridpath (UK author, set in Iceland – Fire and Ice #3). “….those looking for an exhilarating yet light read with a difference – provided by the Icelandic setting – will be well satisfied by this book.” 3/5
Border Run by Simon Lewis (UK author, set in the China/Myanmar borderlands). “Perhaps this book is best suited to a teenage readership because of its “coming of age” themes, or for those who prefer to read a simple adventure story without much else to it.” 2/5
Murder at the Mendel by Gail Bowen (Canada) 3.5/5
Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain (USA) 4/5
Gone in Seconds by A. J. Cross (England) 2.5/5
Pierced by Thomas Enger (Norway) 4.5/5
Playing Dead by Julia Haeberlin (USA) 2.5/5
A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller (USA) 4.5/5
The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach (Germany) 3/5
Death of a Carpet Dealer by Karin Wahlberg (Sweden) 3/5
For other bloggers’ choices of their books of the month, see the round-up post at Mysteries in Paradise.