The New Mystery

Every so often genres seem to take off, or find a renewed vigor. Certainly this seems a hot time for mysteries and crime thrillers, especially those from European countries, particularly Scandinavia. Alas, I’ve missed out on this smorgasbord. While I admire, immensely, the the Swedish Martin Beck police procedurals by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, I’ve not kept up with their descendants.

So who should I read? I’m asking for guidance from the collective wisdom of the Reading Room. If you had to choose the five best crime novels of the past 15 years or so, which ones would you select? Would your list include work by Jo Nesbo or Laurie King, Ian Rankin or John Connolly, Arnaldr Indridason or Michael Connelly, George Pelecanos or S.J. Rozan, Randy Wayne White or Mo Hayder?

In my limited view, the best American mystery/crime novels of the period just before this current Renaissance were George V. Higgins’ The Friends of Eddie Coyle and James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss. Elmore Leonard’s books seem consistently excellent, but none stands out more than others, at least in my memory (and I think they tend to meander a bit too much at times). Alas, I never got round to reading the much admired James Lee Burke. In England this period is, of course, dominated by the inexhaustibly brilliant Ruth Rendell—The Briedmaid!--and the revered P.D. James.

Anyway, I’m hoping that the Reading Room can provide me with a “new mysteries” reading list for the coming year. I’d be really grateful.

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