Friday, November 27, 2015

J. Kingston Pierce's ten most arresting crime novels of 2015

J. Kingston Pierce is both the editor of The Rap Sheet and the senior editor of January Magazine. At Kirkus, he tagged ten of the more memorable crime novels he read this year, including:
Little Pretty Things, by Lori Rader-Day

Juliet Townsend was once a high-school athlete with big dreams of becoming a track star. Ten years on, though, she’s trapped in a spirit-snuffing purgatory, half-cleaning rooms at a sordid motel in her Indiana hometown. When her former sports rival and onetime friend, Maddy Bell, suddenly checks into those same lodgings, and asks to share a libation with Juliet, our heroine is as suspicious as she is jealous. Clearly, Maddy has all the trappings of success. Why would she come back to this claustrophobic, nowhere burg or have anything to do with a motel maid? Unfortunately, Juliet doesn’t ask enough questions—until it’s too late. Maddy is found dead the following day, hanging from one of the motel’s railings, and the cops immediately label Juliet a suspect. To prove her innocence, and curious about why her friend’s life ended so abruptly, Juliet plumbs her memories of Maddy, their mutual friends and their respective roads not taken, trying to reveal the killer and make peace with her past. Rader-Day, who recently took home an Anthony Award for her first novel, 2014’s The Black Hour, provides this new book with a carefully constructed and most satisfying story arc that finds Juliet demonstrating her chops as a shamus at the same time as she discovers that she still has other value in the world.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue