Friday, December 12, 2008

NPR: Top five crime & mystery novels of 2008

For National Public Radio, Maureen Corrigan named a list of the "Top Five Crime And Mystery Novels Of 2008."

One title to make the grade:
Small Crimes, by Dave Zeltserman

With the world in financial freefall, there's only one type of mystery that captures the anxiety of the times, and that's crime noir: the jittery genre born during the Great Depression about saps, grifters and sad sacks who ain't got a barrel of money. James M. Cain is king of this genre, but there's a new name to add to the pantheon of the sons and daughters of Cain: Dave Zeltserman. His new novel, Small Crimes, is ingeniously twisted and imbued with a glossy coating of black humor.

This tale is told by one of fortune's fools: Joe Denton is a crooked ex-cop in Vermont who's just been released from jail after serving seven years for stabbing the local district attorney in the face. Since what's past is never truly past in crime noir, no sooner does Joe step out of the slammer than cosmic IOU's begin to rain down on his head. First, the disfigured DA cheerfully greets Joe outside the prison and announces that a local crime kingpin (and Joe's secret boss) is dying of cancer and has found religion. The kingpin's expected confession should send Joe straight back behind bars. Then, the local sheriff (also crooked) orders Joe to murder the DA before the crime kingpin can confess. The plot of Small Crimes ricochets out from this claustrophobic opening, and it's a thing of sordid beauty.
Read about another title on Corrigan's list.

Read an excerpt from Small Crimes, and learn more about the book from the publisher.

Visit Dave Zeltserman's website and his blog.

My Book, The Movie: Small Crimes.

--Marshal Zeringue