Am I the only one who can hardly believe we’re nearing the end of 2017?! It feels surreal to be writing my November 2017 Wrap-Up… and yet, here I am! In many ways, my November reading list pushed me outside my comfort zone: I tried crime novels that challenged my preconceived notions of what subgenres I would (and wouldn’t) like, explored new-to-me authors, and read one hugely anticipated crime book that releases in 2018 and will surely be a favorite of mine next year. Read on for a recap of my reads from the month of November, plus a roundup of the additional blog posts featured on Crime by the Book this past month!
But first, let’s take a quick look at a few fun stats from my month in books:
Books Read: 6
Pages Read: 2,184
Favorite Read of the Month: MACBETH by Jo Nesbo
Least Favorite Read of the Month: A MAP OF THE DARK by Karen Ellis (DNF)
And now, on to my November 2017 Wrap Up!
MACBETH by Jo Nesbø
Hogarth; April 10, 2018
CBTB Rating: 5+/5
The Verdict: a modern retelling in every way worthy of its namesake
Read CBTB’s “Buzzworthy 2018 Books” Post
If there’s one book that has been my most-anticipated ever since I started Crime by the Book, it’s this one. Jo Nesbø’s MACBETH (Hogarth; April 10, 2018) is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare’s collection of modern-day retellings in honor of the Bard’s 400th birthday—and it’s a story worthy of its namesake in every sense. This book doesn’t release until April 2018, but trust me: I wouldn’t bring this book up so early if it weren’t a must-read. Nesbø’s MACBETH is a modern-day crime novel with the ageless beating heart of Shakespeare’s play: it captures the moral complexity, menace, and despair of the original, with a grim, gritty twist that is trademark Nesbø. From its driving plot to its vivid character development, MACBETH will feel like familiar territory for Nesbø fans—and yet this is also a project that illustrates the incredible breadth of Nesbø’s talent in its capacity to encompass the many themes and plots of its namesake play. Retelling one of Shakespeare’s most infamous works is no small task, and Nesbø proves himself more than up to the task here.
DARK PINES by Will Dean
Point Blank Books; 1/4/18 (UK)
CBTB Rating: 4/5
The Verdict: Sparse, stylish, chilling crime fiction
Read CBTB’s Review
If I could move anywhere in the world, I would pack my bags and head to Scandinavia. When I learned of crime writer Will Dean, a former Londoner who did exactly that - moved to rural Sweden with his family - I knew this was an author whose debut novel I had to read. Dean’s forthcoming crime novel DARK PINES is a stylish blend of Nordic atmosphere, small-town life, and dark, chilling crimes - an excellent addition to your winter reading list. Readers of Crime by the Book will know that Nordic crime fiction is above and beyond my favorite, and I was fascinated to see if - and how - Dean’s style of crime fiction set in Scandinavia might differ from the work of the Scandinavian crime writers I know and love. DARK PINES certainly has a style and voice all its own, but Nordic Noir readers will nevertheless feel at home in the dark corners and chilling atmosphere of Dean’s thriller. DARK PINES is a compelling glimpse into small-town life, and a cleverly constructed maze of a thriller.
BLACK WIDOW by Christopher Brookmyre
Grove Atlantic; 11/1/16
CBTB Rating: 4.5/5
The Verdict: a smart, sophisticated web of lies
Read CBTB’s Review
This fall, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Scotland for the annual Bloody Scotland crime fiction conference held in Stirling. One of the highlights of my trip was getting to meet and interview Christopher Brookmyre, an award-winning and internationally-bestselling Scottish crime author. During our conversation, I was particularly intrigued by Chris’ description of his thriller BLACK WIDOW; I finally had the chance to read it, and I was blown away by the sophistication, precision, and complexity of this book. BLACK WIDOW is a far cry from your average psychological thriller. Its intelligence, masterful plotting, and twisty, shocking plot make it a cut above. It’s no surprise why this book was named Scottish Crime Book of the Year in 2016—there’s an undercurrent of intensity running throughout BLACK WIDOW that demands the reader’s attention from first page to last, and an assurance to Brookmyre’s writing that is an absolute pleasure to read. If you haven’t read Christopher Brookmyre yet, now’s the time.
SIRENS by Joseph Knox
CBTB Rating: 4.5/5
The Verdict: a taut, gritty debut thriller
Read CBTB’s Review
Joseph Knox’s debut thriller SIRENS has taken the U.K. by storm, and it’s no surprise why. Knox, a crime fiction buyer for Waterstones in the U.K., delivers a debut thriller that’s mature beyond its years; taut, sleek, and gritty, SIRENS is urban noir at its finest. Crime novels centering around the drug trade aren’t my typical preference, but having heard such outstanding things about this thriller from friends across the pond, I knew I had to give it a shot - and I’m so glad that I did. Knox is an undeniable talent, and SIRENS is a gut-punch of a thriller. Readers will come to SIRENS for its stunning package and grim plot, and they will stay for Knox’s lean, razor-sharp prose and heartbreaking characters. This is an outstanding debut sure to earn Knox as strong a legion of fans in the U.S. as he has already earned in the U.K.
THE LEGACY by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
CBTB’s Rating: 5/5
The Verdict: an outstanding series launch
Review to Come
Iceland’s Queen of Crime Yrsa Sigurdardottir launches her new series, the Children’s House series, in the US in February - and Book 1 (THE LEGACY) is a stunner. Layered and shocking, THE LEGACY draws readers into a web of family secrets, long-held grudges, and grim crimes. Sigurdardottir is known for writing crime novels with a horror edge; readers will find that THE LEGACY falls closer to a police procedural than Sigurdardottir’s previous standalone THE UNDESIRED, but her wicked imagination permeates everything she writes. THE LEGACY proves that Sigurdardottir can write dark - often gruesome - crime fiction with the best of them. Come for this book’s shocking crimes, and stay for its masterful plotting and disturbing revelations. Sigurdardottir is the real deal, and THE LEGACY promises to hook her devoted fans and newcomers alike.
Additional November Blog Posts:
- Author Q&A: Pierre Lemaitre, THREE DAYS AND A LIFE
- CBTB’s Holiday Gift Guide Part 1: Classic Crime
- Book Preview: THE WIFE BETWEEN US by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
- Photo Tour of Siglufjordur with Author Ragnar Jonasson