Read and Enjoyed 2017
I love Spinetingler’s format because trying to put these books in some sort of order of preference would be a hard task. If you haven’t read something on this list, I strongly suggest you pick it up now and get to it. Here are some of the most amazing crime/noir/mystery books I enjoyed in 2017:
Chupacabra Vengeance by David Bowles – I like them weird, and this one delivers plenty of that. Sure, there are strange beasts and brujas, but there are also plenty of criminals, guns, violence, and even a cameo by Al Capone. Definitely one of the best collections I read this year.
What We Reckon by Eryk Pruitt – Dirty and packed with drugs and insecurities, this is my favorite Pruitt so far. The man can spin a sentence a lá Joe Lansdale and get inside his characters’ heads like nobody’s business. If you don’t like any of that, just buy it for the humor.
Heathenish by Kelby Losack – I grew up doing hoodrat shit, and this is a book about those things with an extra dose of drugs, broken hearts, desperation, and homemade tattoos. Losack will be a household name soon, and this book proves he has talent in spades.
She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper – Man, this one better show up in a ton of lists. This novel is entertaining, sharp, funny, hyperviolent, and has enough heart to become unforgettable. Hope there’s more Harper coming soon, and I hope there’s another bear in there.
Nothing Short of Dying by Erik Storey – Storey is writing the kind of books that have synopses that land them in airport bookstores, but the core of them are as special and inimitable as anything being published by your favorite indie crime press. Plus, he has a love for nature that bleeds off the page and a knack for violence that will surely make him one of your favorites as soon as you read him.
Lightwood by Steph Post – I’ve spent a lot of time in Florida, and this book captures it all. Bikers, guns, drugs, hidden agendas: you name it, it’s here. I loved Post’s pace and style. She’s the kind of author that writes shining novels about grimy, ugly places. Looking forward to whatever she publishes next.
Heaven’s Crooked Finger by Hank Early – Early is one of those author who spends a lot of time putting every piece of his narrative in place, and this book shows that. Fortunately, that careful construction is just the tip of the iceberg. This is weird, full of religious extremism, and packed with things that will make you feel rotten and claim for justice.
The Student by Iain Ryan – In a way, I guess Ryan is part of my generation of writers, and he’s the one I love as a reviewer and hate as an author. His prose is lean, sharp, and constantly moves forward at breakneck speed. The rest of us are moving just as fast trying to catch up to him.
Darkansas by Jarret Middleton – This is what a wonderful marriage between grit and literary fiction looks like. Middleton shows us a family and then explores humanity using them, and the way he does it is marvelous. This guy has serious chops. Read this and you’ll start waiting for his next release as eagerly as I do.
Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan – As funny as it is devastating, this one fully embraces pulpiness while dealing with some dark, dark stuff. I’d never read Kurniawan before, but now I want to read everything he’s ever written.
The Weight of This World by David Joy – Joy is sitting at the top of my go-to names whenever someone asks for a quick recommendation. He knows people. He knows crime. He knows writing. He knows the impact of race, environment, and geography on people. Most importantly, he knows how to tell a damn good story. More from him in 2018, please.