Wednesday, February 12, 2014

If You Belonged to a Book Group

What crime novel would you suggest that has a discussable plot. In other words, a crime novel that is about more than solving a crime. I want to suggest one to my group but I can never think of the right one. What crime novel is rich for discussion?


25 comments:

Jerry House said...

Any of Max Allan Collins' Nate Heller historical mysteries should fit the bill. Certainly books by Joe R. Lansdale, Bill Crider, Ed Gorman, James Lee Burke, Georgette Heyer, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ken Bruen, and many others have several layers of depth worthy of discussion.

Anonymous said...

Any of Louise Penny's novels set in Quebec. Character and setting are every bit as fascinating as plot.

Charles Gramlich said...

I think the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C. S. Harris is a great series with lots of discussion points. It's historical mystery. The first one was called What Angels fear. http://www.amazon.com/What-Angels-Fear-Sebastian-Mystery/dp/B001PIHR5W/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1392216375&sr=8-1

Anonymous said...

If they are interested in American history I'd definitely go with Owen Parry's FADED COAT OF BLUE, the first in his Abel Jones series set in the Civil War. He has one of the great narrative voices. Parry is a pseudonym of retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, who also writes under his own name.

Jeff M.

sandra seamans said...

"A Grave Talent" by Laurie R. King.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

GORKY PARK and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT.

R.T. said...

What could be more fun (and more of a challenge) than Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose? Be brave! Go for it!

Todd Mason said...

To add to these good to excellent recommendations:

DEATH QUALIFIED by Kate Wilhelm
TROPHIES AND DEAD THINGS (even more than most McCones) by Marcia Muller
AMERICAN GOTHIC by Robert Bloch (easily available in multiple editions used; nice contrast with THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY)

Dana King said...

Two that pop to mind right away are The Friends of Eddie Coyle and Scott Phillips's The Walkaway.

Todd Mason said...

(I note that one set of reviews, on BN.com, give the Wilhelm a mediocre rating because only four people reviewed it, and one reviewed their Nook rather than the novel as a 1-star experience.)

Charlieopera said...

The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Who's worse, the law or the criminals ...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Some really good ideas here. I will see what I can do.

Deb said...

Some of the novels Ruth Rendell published under the name Barbara Vine. They usually involve the damage past events have on the present, especially where people of limited economic, intellectual, or social means are concerned. Try A Dark-Adapted Eye or A Fatal Inversion.

Richard said...

Why would a pick for a book group have to be a crime novel about more than solving a crime? After all, that's the point of a crime novel. Do book groups only consider reading novels with "deeper meaning" and "cultural messages"? If so, I sure don't want to be in one!

Language, writing, a good plot are - should be - all that's needed.

Gerard said...

I was going to recommend a couple but I'm drawing a blank because I look for character and use of setting in all the stuff I read - mystery or not.

I thought Sallis's DRIVEN made a great use of Phoenix and the isolation imposed on it's residents by the Valley's heat, transiency, and physical distance with comparison to the lead character's self-imposed isolation.

R.T. said...

Richard, c'mon, a crime novel can certainly be more complex than you seem to allow. Consider these: Crime and Punishment; Bleak House; Moonstone; The Maltese Falcon; Farewell, My Lovely; Name of the Rose; and American Psycho. Even so-called best-seller crime novels need complexity. Otherwise, they read too much like pulp fiction of the 30s and 40s.

Patti et al, FYI, my blog -- a commonplace from eastrod -- was emerged from its grave after a premature and brief burial. Moreover, the "Weekly Reader" feature on Fridays may fit well within your Forgotten Book Friday feature. I may not always be talking in "Weekly Reader" about crime novels, but I will try to post something worthwhile.

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

I echo the vote for A GRAVE TALENT. Also Paretsky's HARD TIME or TOTAL RECALL. Also GAUDY NIGHT.

David Cranmer said...

How about Jim Thompson? I just read Pop. 1280 and think it would be very rich for discussion.

Rob Kitchin said...

If you want a recent one, try Ivy Pochoda's Visitation Street. As much a social commentary as a crime novel.

Scott Parker said...

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

Fatherland by Richard Harris

The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon

John said...

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

It's practically designed for book clubs. I thought it was a dense and very moving novel that just happened to incorporate crime.

pattinase (abbott) said...

So many great ideas here and I am surprised how many of them I have NOT read. Wow!

Todd Mason said...

And while I suspect that Elmore Leonard would seem a bit obvious for your local group, how about Donald Westlake? TRUST ME ON THIS...THE AX...nearly anything but ANARCHAOS.

I have to wonder if Kate Wilhelm tuckerized me a little in THE PRICE OF SILENCE...which might freak you particularly since it involves teen abduction...

Todd Mason said...

(The character Mason, I should add, is a woman who among other things helps an older woman with a computer problem, which I had after a fashion done for Wilhelm and her late husband Damon Knight sometime previously.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Will be surprised if we don't end up reading more books about societal injustice though.