Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tana French's top ten maverick mysteries

Tana French's first novel, In the Woods, won a Mystery Writers of America Edgar award earlier this year, and her second, The Likeness, has just been published.

For the Guardian, she named a top ten list of "books that defy all the thriller's conventions - but remain thrilling."

One title from her list:
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

Old crimes cast long shadows; an attack on a child decades ago leads, by a dark winding road, to the murder of a young woman. This is another one that smashes huge holes in the walls that used to surround the genre. A lot of people used to look down on mystery; the assumption was that it was basically about cheap thrills and roller-coaster plots, with no character depth, no thematic depth, no high-quality writing and no thoughtful exploration of ideas – in other words, that there was a huge wall between mystery and 'real' writing. If anyone still believed in that barrier, I'd say Mystic River finally blew away the last remnants of it. It's a cracking good whodunit and a tight police procedural, but it's also a family saga, a social history, a coming-of-age story and a beautifully written book with vivid, unforgettable characters.
Read about another title from French's list.

Read a brief excerpt from In the Woods, and learn more about the novel and author at Tana French's website.

The Page 69 Test: In the Woods.

--Marshal Zeringue