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I will decide what is 'Best' for you.

Well here we are. For 2008 it is all over but the shoutin'. I have decided to keep my 'Best of' list to a petite three titles. I will call it the The Given Day Memorial List of 2008. I struggled long and hard with the decision to strike the Lehane book from the list. On another day I would put it on this list, but in the end I felt it would be stretching the boundaries of Crime Fiction too far to include it here. It is a great book. A wonderful book and you should read it.

I was a bit dismayed to discover how few 2008 releases I did read. As of right now I have read 41 books. Only 38% were released this year. I need to up that number in 2009 with a primary goal of reading all 2009 releases in the calendar year.

After the top three, I have included one additional book. This book is the best book, excluding 2008 releases, I read this year.

The Given Day Memorial List of 2008

Mr. Chercover had this spot locked a while go. I knew about half way through that this was going to be the book. I felt that many of the books that I read this year were seriously lacking in scope. Plots were razor thin. Character development didn't resonant at all. Now I freely admit this may have more to do with me than the book or the author, but a great book should be engrossing not just while you are reading it. A great book should hang with you for a long time even to the extent that it intrudes on the next book you are reading. TRIGGER CITY was that book for me. It still hangs in my head as the book that tore way the superficial examination of violence and dug at the core of good people caught in a world of evil.

There were a few books this year that looked at the legacy of violence within one's family. THE EVIL THAT MEN DO was the best at capturing that lingering dread. Flashback structures are tricky devices. They are often an author's device as opposed to an organic plot/character development. Here Mr. White is able to sidestep that trap by making the flashback not through the eyes of Mr. Donne, but of his dead grandfather. The lessons Jackson either did or did not learn are not his but his family's, a kind of generational proclivity to seek justice for good and all to frequently ill.

SEVERANCE PACKAGE was the best balls out reading experience I had last year. When I reviewed the book back in June I wrote that 'The book contains an ever amount of escalating violence that strangely becomes only more hilarious.' Gross out humor, only instead of dick and fart jokes there is more and more blood. SEVERANCE PACKAGE found that perfect edge of adrenalin without ever feeling the need to worry about the book corrupting the youth of our nation. Not a serious book, but a seriously fun book.

The Hungry Detective has a backlog of books, and frequently we miss a good one upon its initial release. HAVE MERCY ON US ALL is such a book. The plot was diabolical, something out of a James Bond film yet scarily realist in its presentation. The book was packed with fully realized secondary characters. Many times this year I felt as if I had to fill in the blanks of a character based on the skimpiest of sketches. Ms. Vargas painted those details in very clearly strokes, yet I never felt her hand pushing me one way or the other to like or dislike a character. It was left to me to pass judgment.


Sean Chercover said…
Wow! Thanks so much. I'm honored to be in such company, and I'm thrilled that you dug the book.

Dave White said…
Thanks so much! Glad you liked it!

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