Saturday, August 2, 2008

Five best: psychological crime novels

For the Wall Street Journal, novelist Andrew Klavan named a five best list of psychological crime novels.

Number One on his list:
Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Destitute and depressed in St. Petersburg, the former student Raskolnikov conceives the idea that an "extraordinary man" should be free of socially constructed moral constraints. Working off that theory, he brutally ax-murders a pawnbroker and her sister -- and discovers, to his horror, that he has violated not a mere social construct but the unfathomable Moral Law Within. His escape from the crime scene is as suspenseful as anything in Hitchcock. The scenes of his psychological duel with the canny police detective Porfiry Petrovich have been imitated endlessly yet never matched. But if Dostoevsky had written only the heart-wrenching scene in which the prostitute Sonya reads to the murderer from the Gospels, he could have retired after a life's work well done.
Read about the other four titles on Klavan's list.

Klavan's latest novel, Empire of Lies (Harcourt), has just been published..

--Marshal Zeringue