Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Gift-Giving Recommendations - Part 1

I'm posting over at Buy Books for the Holidays today again, but this time I wanted to put my post up here as well. I asked a slew of folks from the crime fiction community to share their recommendations with me for holiday gifts this year. I received such an overwhelming response (no surprise from this amazing community), that I decided I would divide the post into two separate posts. So here is the first half of recommendations from authors, bloggers, reviewers, booksellers, etc.

Louise Penny, author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, recommends an assortment of Maigret books by Georges Simenon. She says, "They're gems. Novella length, most of them, and brilliantly evocative of Paris mid-century."

Robin Agnew, owner of Aunt Agatha's Mystery Bookstore in Ann Arbor, says her entire family recommends AWAKENING by S.J. Bolton.

Sophie Littlefield, author of A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, thinks AMERICAN RUST is a great choice for "the serious, literate reader who loves a challenge but is also firmly rooted in crime and contemporary noir." Plus she adds, "it makes you look smart, and being big and heavy, it's a perfect anchor for a tumbler of scotch."

Jason Pinter, author of the Henry Parker series, think Charlie Huston's Hank Thompson trilogy is a great idea this season. About the third book in the trilogy, A DANGEROUS MAN, Jason says it "is like watching a high-wire act for hours: every moment is just filled with suspense. And if the ending doesn't wrench your heart you simply don't have one." Jason recommends reading books one and two, CAUGHT STEALING and SIX BAD THINGS, before A DANGEROUS MAN, though.

Lesa Holstine is a librarian in Arizona, but she is also an avid blogger of mystery at Lesa's Book Critques. Lesa's is passing along a recommendation for your younger readers, THE HANGING HILL by Chris Grabenstein. Lesa says, "it's the perfect late-at-night book for readers nine to twelve. Creepy, with some humor, The Hanging Hill, has a heroic young man, a terrific stepmother, and, Zack's dog, Zipper. It's a story of ghouls, and blood, and mad killers, and kids will love it!"

Jane Cleland, author of the Josie Prescott mysteries, recommends any of the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout written in the 1950s or 1960s. Some specific titles include: SILENT SPEAKER, MURDER BY THE BOOK, PLOT ITSELF, THE DOORBELL RANG, and SOME BURIED CAESAR. Jane says these "exemplify Stout's character-driven mysteries - filled with wit and fun."

Robert Dugoni is the author of four legal thrillers, most recently WRONGFUL DEATH, and he is recommending SEEN THE GLORY by John Hough, Jr. Bob says SEEN THE GLORY "is a story of two brothers who join the Union army to fight against slavery and end up at Ghettysburg. It is literary, and I thought a fantastic story, beautifully written."

Bill Crider writes the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series. This holiday season he's recommending BEAT THE REAPER by Josh Bazell. "It starts out over the top, and builds from there. It's outrageous and hilarious. Even the footnotes (yes, footnotes!) are funny. Just out in trade paper if you don't want to spring for the hardback."

Reviewer David Montgomery believes that "Ross [Thomas] was as close as we'll get to a perfect writer and [CHINAMAN'S CHANCE] is one of his best books to start with."

Craig McDonald pens the Hector Lassiter series and he has a couple recommendations for your non-fiction reader. (I need to pick these up, too!). First he recommends A BRIGHT AND GUILTY PLACE by Richard Rayner. According to Craig, A BRIGHT AND GUILTY PLACE is "an examination of the birth of Los Angeles and the noir sensibility through an early 20th Century prism. Well written, evocative...a revelation for crime fiction fans."

And Craig also recommends L.A. NOIR by John Butin. It is "similar to Rayner's approach, but focusing more on the middle part of the century and a kind of nonfiction tour of James Ellroy's Los Angeles, with a cast of characters including Mickey Cohen, evangelist Billy Graham and LAPD chief William H. Parker."

Anyone looking for my Christmas gift...yeah - hint, hint!

Brad Meltzer probably doesn't need an introduction from me being as his thrillers are regular visitors to the New York Times Bestseller list; his most recent, THE BOOK OF FATE, being no different. Brad recommends TEN LITTLE INDIANS by Agatha Christie for your younger readers because it is the book that hooked him. And then he also recommends REPLAY by Ken Grimwood and WATCHMEN by Alan Moore.

Craig Johnson is, of course, the author of the Walt Longmire series. He says that three of the twenty best-selling Penguin Classics are written by John Steinbeck. AMERICA AND AMERICANS, AND SELECTED NON-FICTION is not one of those three, but it should be. Craig also recommends a book that he thinks has flown a little under the radar, and that's THE MIRACLE LIFE OF EDGAR MINT by Brady Udall.

Craig says he's recommend anything by Ron Carlson, including his most recent THE SIGNAL, which Craig classifies as "elegant." And he'd also throw Rennie Airth's THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE or RIVER OF DARKNESS. Rennie, Craig says, is a "charming man and a limitless talent."

Karen Olson writes the Tattoo Shop Mysteries and the Annie Seymour Mysteries; this year she's recommending THE CRYING TREE by Naseem Rahka. Karen says, "This amazing, beautifully written debut about forgiveness is centered around a crime, but the crime is not the focus of the book. Months after reading it, I am still haunted by the characters and their stories."
Whew! Can you believe I still have more? There's just so many great books out there; I can't fathom a legitimate reason not to buy books as gifts. They truly are the perfect gift. If you check back tomorrow, I'll offer up the second half of the recommendations from the crime fiction folks. See ya then!

Happy Reading!


3 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks November 27, 2009 at 8:47 AM  

What a great list! Thanks so much for compiling it. (needless to say, I like it for ideas for myself, not just for gifts!)

Jen Forbus November 27, 2009 at 6:45 PM  

I KNOW! I was just saying to Jenn the other day on Twitter that I'm thinking my holiday buying is going to go "one for them, one for me, one for them..." :)

Naomi Johnson November 27, 2009 at 11:25 PM  

I need to just hand the list to my family and say anything on there, I'll take it.

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