Ring in the Noir Year: 8 Promising New Crime Titles For 2015
Winter is a good time for crime fiction. The snow has lost its whiteness, all the holiday decorations are back in the attic, and by February it feels like spring will never come. What’s left to do? Crack open a book and try to stave off frostbite. For your depressed reading pleasure, here’s a New Year’s roundup of some promising noir, mystery, and true crime to ring in 2015.
Quarry's Choice is the latest installment in a series that's been ongoing since the seventies by the author of Road to Perdition. It follows a hitman protagonist down a rabbit hole of Dixie thugs, alligators, and small Southern towns. Several other pulptastic titles are arriving through Hard Case Crime in the coming months, including Thieves Fall Out, the first reprint of Gore Vidal’s twentieth-century classic in sixty years.
Bantam released Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves at the beginning of January, a thriller set deep in the North Woods of Maine (I’m noticing a theme with these names. Further proof of my point, you don’t see many crime titles about the summer sun or running through sprinklers). If you want to really embrace the essence of cold and the spirit of winter, this might be the book for you.
The Honest Folk of Guadeloupe from Soho Press promises a unique setting and some poignant social issues about cultural tourism and whitewashing in crime reportage. If you missed it, Japanese hard-boiled master Fuminori Nakamura (The Thief) has a new title through them that was released earlier this fall.
Newly released The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is being hailed as a “Hitchcockian thriller” that takes place on a commuter rail, which sounds messy. A whole smattering of new Nordic noir recently hit the U.S. market as well, just in time for the cold weather. Included are some moody, icy works by Arnaldur Indridason and Karin Fossum.
Little, Brown and Company’s crime imprint, Mulholland Books, has a number of promising titles on its 2015 roster. I was lucky enough to obtain an advance reader copy of Serpents in the Cold, out on Jan. 20. The story follows two friends on the tail of a serial killer in bleak, 1950s post-war Boston. So far it’s been a highly atmospheric glimpse into some of the city’s darkest corners.
Brazilian novelist Daniel Galera’s intriguingly named Blood-Drenched Beard is another one to watch, if you like vigilante gauchos and characters with unusual neurological conditions. After learning the truth about his grandfather's death, a young man moves to the seaside village where the event took place to piece together answers.
I’ve had my eye on The Buried Life by Carrie Patel (Angry Robot) for a while now, ever since it came up on one of my recommendations lists. I admit that the cover drew me in, but the summary is what held my interest. Murder investigations in a vast underground dystopia? I’m game. For those who like a touch of the fantastic in their mystery, Angry Robot is also publishing a sequel to steam-driven detective tale, The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter.
If true crime is your poison of choice, keep a weather eye on the horizon for Master Thieves by Stephen Kurkujian, a look at some of the recent updates on the Gardner Museum art heist. There are some tantalizing hints in the summary— might we finally find out who pulled off one the biggest museum heists in history?
And lastly, this list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of film noir somewhere. For West Coasters, the 2015 San Francisco Film Noir Festival is happening…approximately now, on Jan. 16-25 at the Castro Theatre.
There’s so much to choose from, you could grab some whiskey and plan an entire winter wallowing party. Invite the neighborhood and let us know how it turns out.
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