I shook hands with Brad Parks a few years ago at Bouchercon (in Baltimore, I think), where he told me that he had a book, Faces of the Gone, coming out soon and he just wanted to see what the whole crime-fiction biz was like. When I saw him again at last year’s Bouchercon, he was walking around with a Shamus Award for Best First Mystery under his arm. (Not only that, his book won the Nero Award, too.) When the second Carter Ross mystery, Eyes of the Innocent, was published earlier this year, our reviewer, Don Crinklaw, wrote: “The novel reads like a bit of investigative journalism: told in reporter’s prose, with dollops of humor, suspense, and violence. Like his creator, Ross is aware of the pain in the things he writes about. He’s also aware that that makes for darned good reporting.” With books three and four already in the pipeline, I have a feeling we’ll be reading about Ross for years to come.
Recommending Michael Connelly feels a bit like giving someone a tip to go see a show at The Metropolitan Opera. It’s got that, “Well, duh,” feel to it—and, let’s face it, Connelly doesn’t exactly need my endorsement. At the same time, it’s hard to deny that the best book I’ve read in the last year is The Fifth Witness, the latest in the Mickey Haller series. In this one, Haller, also known as the Lincoln Lawyer, is forced by post-recession economic realities to scrape up foreclosure cases. But when one of his new clients is accused of murdering a bank executive trying to take away her home, Haller is plunged back in his element, doing criminal defense. The story, from there, is vintage Connelly: told with a strong, authoritative voice—and a mastery of subject matter—in spare and efficient prose that keeps the pages flying by. And, sure, I’m not exactly out in front of the curve with Connelly anymore than I would be telling you to go see Pavarotti in his prime. But sometimes you have to pay homage to one of the best in the business at the top of his game.
Share your favorite read from the last year in the comments, on Twitter (#mysterymonth), or on our Facebook page. May is Mystery Month at Booklist!