The following is a list of 2000 titles which have garnered excellent reviews from critics, booksellers and library journals.
The purpose of the list is to make available to you, the reader, current information of what books are generally considered to be among the best of the year.
If any of the following novels received a glowing review in Deadly Pleasures, or a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist or Library Journal, it is indicated at the end of each entry. [From DP #29]
DEEP SOUTH, Barr, Nevada (Putnam, $23.95) The handwritten sign on the tree said it all: Repent. For Anna Pigeon, this should have been reason enough to turn back for her beloved Mesa Verde. Instead she heads for the Natchez Trace Parkway and stumbles upon a gruesome murder with frightening racial overtones. Booklist & PW
COVER STORY, Boyle, Gerry (Prime Crime, $22.95) Who killed the mayor of New York City? The answer lies in award-winner Boyle's biggest and boldest novel yet. Booklist, PW & Kirkus
PURPLE CANE ROAD, Burke, James Lee (Doubleday $24.95)While helping out an old friend, Dave Robicheaux is stunned when a pimp looks at him sideways and asks if he is Mae Guillory's boy, the whore a bunch of cops murdered 30 years ago. Thus begins Burke's finest Robicheaux novel, a work with all the dimensions of a classic. Library Journal, PW & DP
THE SYBIL IN HER GRAVE, Caudwell, Sarah (Delacorte $23.95) Aunt Regina and her friends seem to be connected to capital fraud--and capital crime. And when someone connected with Aunt Regina's equity investments turns up dead, things look even more dire. But Regina couldn't have a better champion than the erudite supersleuth Professor Hilary Tamar, who is determined to solve this murderous muddle before someone else is killed. Booklist & Library Journal
DARKEST FEAR, Coben, Harlan (Delacorte, $23.95) Sports agent and amateur detective Myron Bolitar plunges into a search for a missing bone-marrow donor to save the life of his college sweetheart's 13-tear-old son--whom she has just revealed is "his" son as well. PW & DP
VOID MOON, Connelly, Michael(Little Brown, $24.95) Cassie Black is lured back to a profession she'd left behind--robbing casino gamblers of their winnings - by a setup that looks too good to pass up, and is soon caught up in a scam that may cost her the one thing she holds dearer than her own life. Booklist, LJ & DP
GRIEVANCE, Constantine, K.C. (Mysterious Press $23.95) When a steel magnate is found shot to death, the town of Rocksburg is suddenly overtaken by a wave of murderous violence that touches the ranks of the local union hierarchy and threatens public order. This won't be an easy case for Rugs, who is dealing with one personal crisis after another. Kirkus & Booklist
PLACES IN THE DARK, Cook, Thomas H.(Bantam $23.95) From the Edgar Award-winning author of The Chatham School Affair comes an unforgettable novel about two brothers and the woman they both love - a tale of brotherly bonds and damning betrayal, a story of the terrible deeds done in the name of love. Booklist & DP
DEMOLITION ANGEL Crais, Robert (Doubleday $24.95) On the heels of the bestselling and critically acclaimed L.A. Requiem, Crais returns to the City of Angels with the most ambitious novel of his career, a stand-alone thriller featuring a complex and engaging female protagonist. When Carol Starkey, a bomb squad technician, survives an explosion designed to kill her, she is pitted against a frighteningly brilliant mastermind for the modern age. Kirkus, PW , Library Journal & DP
REMORSEFUL DAY: The Last Inspector Morse, Dexter, Colin (Crown, $24.00)
The final Inspector Morse mystery finds the cunning detective and the long-suffering Sergeant Lewis in pursuit of nurse Yvonne Harrington's murderer . . . two years after her death. Kirkus & PW
A SMILE ON THE FACE OF A TIGER, Estleman, Loren D. (Mysterious, $24.95) Detroit P.I. Amos Walker investigates a deadly secret as old as World War II when he tracks down Eugene booth, a crusty old writer hammering out a novel in a rustic motel cabin. When the writer winds up hanging from his own belt, Walker must discover the connection between the apparent suicide and the murder of Booth's wife 40 years before. Booklist & PW
HOT SIX, Evanovich, Janet (St Martins $24.95) In this sixth Stephanie Plum adventure, Ranger the super bounty hunter is on the lam and Stephanie has to team up with vice-cop Joe Morelli to find him. But has Ranger really broken the law? Is he a psychotically dangerous criminal? Kirkus , Booklist, PW & DP
CROSS DRESSING, Fitzhugh, Bill (Morrow, $24.00). Twin brothers: one grows up to be an ad executive, the other a priest. The priest becomes very ill and goes into the hospital disguised as his brother in order to use his brother's medical insurance. He dies and the ad exec is faced with jail or becoming a priest. DP
CODE TO ZERO, Follett, Ken (Dutton, $26.95).At Cape Canaveral, a countdown has begun in January 1958. On launch pad 26B sits Explorer 1, America's best hope to match the Soviet Sputnik and regain the lead in the race for the skies above. In the meanwhile, a man wakes to find himself lying on the ground in a railway station. And until he remembers who he is, he may be left powerless to save the launch of Explorer--and with it, America's future. Booklist, PW & DP
THE WINTER OF THE WOLF MOON, Hamilton, Steve (St. Martin's, $23.95) In this hardboiled sequel to A Cold Day in Paradise, Alex McKnight has retreated from his private eye business on the frozen shores of Lake Superior. But events have begun to spin out of control, and he'll soon have to deal with drug-crazed hockey goons, mysterious men wearing hunting caps and guns, and a cold-blooded killer from the other side of the world. PW & DP
ALL THE LUCKY ONES ARE DEAD, Haywood, Gar Anthony (Putnam, $23.95) L.A. private eye Aaron Gunner investigates a rap artist's so-called suicide and comes face-to-face with some of the music business's most notorious power brokers -- who don't seem to like Gunner's presence on the case. PW & Booklist
MURDER@MAGGODY.COM, Hess, Joan (Simon and Schuster, $22.00) E-mail provides the clue to murder in the newest entry in the madcap Maggody series - starring mystery fans' favorite offbeat sleuth, Arly Hanks. Booklist & PW
SICK PUPPY, Hiaasen, Carl (Knopf, $25.00) Litterbugs, eco-terrorists, easy politicians, greedy folk, righteous folk, a kidnapped (but cheerfully oblivious) Labrador retriever, and thousands of squashed toads -- that's only a partial accounting of the characters who inhabit this unbridled and outrageously funny novel that is Hiaasen at his riotous and muckraking best! PW & LJ
BLOOD AND GUILE, Hoffman, William (HarperCollins, $24.00) Not an avid hunter, Walter Frampton II, Esq., is invited on a grouse hunting trip by his best friend, Drake Wingo and Cliff Dickens, another old friend. One grouse is bagged when Walter and Drake hear three shots -- a distress signal from Cliff. The fourth member of their group, a polite stranger, has been accidentally shot and killed, but the details don't add up. Kirkus, PW & DP
HOT SPRINGS, Hunter, Stephen (Simon & Schuster $25.00) The undisputed master of the tough thriller delivers a masterpiece of crime fiction. In the summer of 1946 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a lawman is called upon by the district attorney to help bring down the mob. As casino raids erupt into nerve-shattering combat, the body count mounts -- along with the suspense. PW, Kirkus & Booklist
PAGAN BABIES, Leonard, Elmore (Dell, $24.95) A female ex-con teams up with a sort-of priest, recently returned from Africa to exact money and revenge from her ex-husband.
Kirkus & PW
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, Lescroart, John (Delacorte, $24.95) San Francisco Defense Attorney Dismas Hardy knows his wife is the most reliable of mothers. So when she fails to pick up their children from school one day, he's convinced something terrible has happened. Kirkus & PW
THE VAULT, Lovesey, Peter (Soho, $24.00) Peter Diamond investigates a murder at the house in Bath where Mary Shelley completed Frankenstein. It all begins when the skeleton of a hand turns up in the vault room and the skull is excavated. Solving this mystery will require Diamond's knowledge of history, 19th century art, and literature. PW, Kirkus & DP
THE FIFTH WOMAN, Mankell, Henning (New Press, $24.95) In an Algerian convent, four nuns and an unidentified fifth woman are found with their throats slit. In Sweden, a birdwatcher is skewered to death in a pit of carefully sharpened bamboo poles. How are the deaths connected? It's up to Inspector Kurt Wallander to find out.LJ & Booklist
A PLACE OF EXECUTION, McDermid, Val (Minotaur $ 24.95) When a 13-year-old girl vanishes from her insular village in 1963, a newly promoted inspector must face a murder with no body and an investigation filled with dead ends. Decades later, the inspector finds new information that threatens the very foundations of his existence. PW & DP
A DANGEROUS ROAD, Nelscott, Kris (St. Martin's, $24.95) In 1968 Memphis African-American P.I. Smokey Dalton is hired by a Northern white woman to find out why her mother remembered Smokey generously in her will. (This is a first mystery, but not a first novel.) DP
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, Pearson, Ridley (Hyperion, $23.95) From the bestselling author of The First Victim comes a new novel in which Lou Boldt, Daphne Matthews, and Sergeant John LaMoia team up to try and save Seattle from sinking into total chaos. Booklist & DP
SHAME THE DEVIL, Pelecanos, George (Little Brown, $24.95) Several restaurant workers are murdered by a robber, whose brother is killed by police during the chaotic event. As everyone struggles to heal after the incident, the gunman is determined to kill everyone involved in his brother's death. PW & Booklist
BLOOD MONEY, Perry, Thomas (Random, $24.95) Jane Whitefield meets her most terrifying opponents ever when she leaves her quiet new life as Mrs. Carey McKinnon to save a young girl fleeing the deadly mafioso Delfina. . Kirkus & DP
SET IN DARKNESS,Rankin, Ian (St. Martin's Minotaur $24.95) As the first Scottish Parliament in 300 years prepares to convene, Queensbury House is in the middle of John Rebus's turf, keeping him busy with ceremonial tasks. But when a long dead body is found in the fireplace, and two more deaths occur, Rebus is led to a confrontation with one of Edinburgh's most notorious criminals. Booklist, Kirkus, Library Journal, PW & DP
INDICTMENT FOR MURDER, Rawlinson, Peter (St. Martin's, $22.95) Jonathan Playfair, Knight of the Realm, stands trial for the murder of a man with whom he had fought side-by-side 50 years earlier in the mountains of North Africa. As he sits in the courtroom, Jonathan is consumed by long-buried memories of North Africa and the recurring scene of a man's death. PW & Booklist
THE LAST KING OF TEXAS, Riordan, Rick (Bantam $23.95) Tres Navarre has a passion for tequila, a Ph.D. in English, and a penchant for trouble. His latest assignment puts him on a carousel-ride collision course with a killer -- one-way ticket to betrayal and death in a novel of suspense in which everyone is guilty of something. Booklist & PW
COLD IS THE GRAVE, Robinson, Peter (Morrow $24.00) After trying to destroy the career of Inspector Alan Banks, Chief Constable Riddle now turns to Banks for help when pictures of Riddle's missing daughter turn up on a pornographic web site. The search for the missing young woman draws Banks deep into London's sordid underbelly of drugs, crime, and sex. Kirkus, Booklist, Library Journal & DP
LAST SEEN IN MASSILIA, Saylor, Stephen (St. Martin's Minotaur $23.95) Julius Caesar and Pompei bring their Roman Civil War to the city of Massilia. Gordianus the Finder seeks his missing son Meto, once a lieutenant to Caesar but now rumored to be a traitor, who was last seen in Massilia, but a gruesome murder interrupts his search. Kirkus, Booklist & DP
GRASSHOPPER, Vine, Barbara (Harmony, $25.00).Ruth Rendell's tenth novel, written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, tells the chilling story of an English woman who recalls her life, realizing her compulsion for climbing and peering into windows saved her life, but admitting it cost a terrible price. Booklist & Library Journal
A SMALL DEATH IN LISBON, Wilson, Robert (Harcourt $25.00) Nazi wartime deals and the murder of a young girl in today's Portugal are linked with stunning originality and suspense in a book that won the Golden Dagger in England for best crime novel of 1999. Kirkus, PW & DP
BIRDMAN, Hayder, Mo (Doubleday, $23.95) Five young women with their hearts cut out, gone without a trace; and not a single loved one has filed a missing persons report. All Detective Inspector Jack Caffery has to work with are five mutilated corpses and five little dead birds -- a tiny finch replacing each woman's heart. PW & DP
ALOHA, MR. LUCKY, Hirschfeld, Corson (Forge, $24.95) When a woman answering his personal ad turns up dead on a beach, a Hawaiian journalist is pulled into a conspiracy involving an ex-military sadist, an oddly titillating rock formation, two dim-witted Appalachian twins, and a financier with dreams of turning an earthly paradise into the ultimate golf resort. Booklist & LJ
IN HER DEFENSE, Horn, Stephen (HarperCollins $25.00) A former prosecutor with the Department of Justice capitalizes on his knowledge of law in this debut book which packs all the right ingredients of a classic legal thriller into a tale that's sure to grab fans of this popular genre. PW & DP
CONSPIRACY OF PAPER, Liss, David (Random House, $25.00) "In A Conspiracy of Paper, David Liss has woven a tale of 18th-century finance, murder, and religion that is a remarkable debut and a thoroughly satisfying novel." -- Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha. PW, Booklist, Kirkus , LJ & DP
LOST GIRLS, Pyper, Andrew (Delacorte $23.95) This literary gothic debut, a #1 "National Post" bestseller in Canada, is a chilling tale in which one mystery fractures into many as a young defense attorney, assigned to his first murder trial, returns to the haunted town of his past. PW, Booklist & Kirkus
RAVELING, Smith, Peter Moore (Little Brown $23.95) In a stunning debut novel of psychological suspense, a man must uncover the secret of his sister's disappearance 20 years earlier, or lose his mind trying. (U.K. title is spelled RAVELLING) Kirkus, Library Journal & DP
STREET LEVEL,Truluck, Bob (St. Martin's Minotaur, $22.95) Duncan Sloan is a private eye who works when he feels like it. Now he's been hired to find an as-yet unborn baby in the grimy pockets of Orlando, Florida. What he discovers instead is the three murdered bodies of the mother's relatives. Now, he must find the bad guys or the killing will continue PW, Booklist & DP
DEATH OF RED HEROINE, Xiaolong, Qiu (Soho $25.00) In contemporary China, Inspector Chen Chao is investigating the murder of a National Model Worker, a celebrity of utmost probity. He must rekindle an old flame with the daughter of a Politburo member to keep a murderer from going unpunished. Kirkus & Booklist
DARK HOLLOW, Connolly, John (Hodder & Stoughton, £10.00). Sequel to Every Dead Thing. "Bird" Parker is asked by a divorced woman to get money from her ex-husband. He succeeds but then the woman and her son are murdered and the ex-husband disappears.
THE CERTAINTY OF DOING EVIL, Falconer, Colin (Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99). When a woman is found strangled on a torture rack in the basement of her fashionable Highgate home, DI Madeleine Fox's squad is called in to investigate the murder. On the face of it a bizarre but straightforward case. Or is it? Sequel to Rough Justice.
THE LONE TRAVELLER, Kelly, Susan(Allison & Busby, £16.99). Superintendent Summers of the Newbury police force tries to appease the locals when a young boy goes missing and later is found dead. The chief suspect is a Romany lad.
SILVERMEADOW, Maitland, Barry. (Orion, £16.99 hardback/ 9.99 paperback). Fifth thriller for Detectives Brock and Kolla in which they have to track down a serial killer stalking young women in a shopping mall on the edge of London
THE LONG CLOSE CALL, Martin, J. Wallis (Hodder & Stoughton, £10.00 ) New novel from one of the UK's hottest writers. Revenge thriller involving a Flying Squad officer who shoots a robber.
THE FOURTH SACRIFICE, May, Peter (Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99 ). Murder in China finds an American forensic pathologist teamed up with a savvy Chinese police detective. Their only problem: they are in love, bu this bosses will fire him if he doesn't remain aloof.
THE IMMACULATE DECEPTION, Pears, Iain (HarperCollins, £16.99; also published in the U.S. by Scribner). Flavia de Stefano is now the acting head of the Italian Art Theft Squad and she is handed a very difficult case of art theft. An international art exhibit has made the Italian prime minister to guarantee the safety of those paintings coming from foreign soil. One of the paintings is stolen and Flavia must get it back without letting anyone know that it is missing or the government will suffer untold embarrassment. Kirkus, Booklist and DP
SILENT PLAYGROUND, Reah, Danuta (Collins, £16.99). Dark, psychological thriller in which a routine missing girl report leads to the death of a young woman. a 6-year-old girl may have been witness to the murder and it is her knowledge that might unravel the dark mystery.
THE PUPPET SHOW, Redmond, Patrick (Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99) An orphan, now in his 20s, falls under the influence of a strong father-figure.
WHITE LIES, Salter, Anna (Pocket, $6.99 )
THE KIDNAPPING OF ROSIE DAWN, Wright, Eric (Perseverance, $12.95)
DIVE DEEP AND DEADLY, Alam, Glynn Marsh ($12.95)