RARA-AVIS: Re: The best novel you read this year

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 09 Jan 2008

I didn't read a lot of fiction during this last year. I was on MWA's Fact Crime Edgar committee, and, since I was juggling two jobs most of the year, when I had time out for reading, it was one of the true crime books publishers were sending me throughout the year.

So there were few novels, and none from 2007. That said, the best, fairly recent novel I read for the first time was Dan Fesperman's THE SMALL BOAT OF GREAT SORROWS. This was a sequel to his first novel, LIE IN THE DARK, which I read in 2006.

Both books feature Vlado Petric, a Balkan policeman. In the first he's a homicide detective in war-torn Sarajevo, living alone because he's sent his family to Germany to wait out the war, assigned to a investigate the murder of a high-ranking cop. In the second, he's left the Balkans and rejoined his wife and kid in Germany, when the UN War Crime Commission offers him a temporary job as an investigator and assigns him to return to his country to hunt down a WW2 Nazi.

Both books are excellent. Both are winners of CWA Daggers, LIES won the Creasey Dagger for Best First Novel, and SMALL BOATS the Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller.

I also read and enjoyed Rebecca Pawel's THE LAW OF RETURN, featuring Spanish cop Carlos Tejada, set during the early year of the Franco regime. Not as good as her Edgar-winning first, THE DEATH OF A NATIONALIST, but very good, nonetheless.


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