Wasting time this afternoon I came across a top ten crime novels of 1988
list (pasted below) that I must have written for some newspaper (or
possibly even the NME) and couldn't help wondering if maybe things
aren't quite as exciting now as then. Anyone care to come up with a top
ten of this year so far to counter this depressing theory?
_Top Ten Crime 1988
1.Black Dahlia (Mysterious Press £10.95) - James Ellroy with the best
book by the year's best author. Tougher, bloodier and more ambitious
than the rest. Ellroy writes like he /needs/ to write
2.Freaky Deaky (Viking £10.95) - Elmore Leonard back on form, a smart,
fast and funny story of 60s radicals
3.Outlaws (Abacus £3.99) - George.V.Higgins maintains form, a smart
medium-pace and funny story of 60s radicals
4.Cutter And Bone (Blue Murder £3.50) - Newton Thornburg. The best of
the year's re-issues, a classic of post-
'Nam America written by the terminally underrated Thornburg
5.Sleeping Dog (Coronet Crime £2.99) - Dick Lochte has written a great
one-off. The year's funniest book concerns the unlikely pairing of a
broke-down P.I. and a 14 year old Valley Girl.
6.Under Cover Of Daylight (Heinemann £11.95) - James Hall's novel
resembles a Thomas McGuane style piece of American pastoralism hi-jacked
by Charles Willeford.
7.How The Dead Live (Abacus £3.99) - Derek Raymond's book is totally
crazed the nearest thing to an English Jim Thompson.
8.Neon Rain (Pocker Books £3.50) - James Lee Burke mines Crumley
territory in this novel about an alcoholic New Orleans cop
9.Strega (Pan £2.99) - Andrew Vachss vision of New York as urban
nightmare verges on the paranoid, but Strega is at least original
10.Until The Sacred Ginmill Closes (Mysterious Press £2.50) - Laurence
Block writes too many books to be consistent. This is a good novel about
a P.I. on the edge of disintegration in the mid-70s.
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