BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR --2010


The following is a list of 2010 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 you are so inclined to vote for fan awards such as the Barry Awards, the Anthonys, the Agathas and the Macavitys, then this list will give you a head start.

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 with the abbreviations of the periodicals which gave such reviews.

Looking for good recommendations for paperback purchases or good all-around recommended reading lists?   You may want to look at:

DP List 2011

DP List 2010

DP List 2009

DP List2008

DP List 2007

DP List 2006 

DP List 2005

DP List 2004

DP List 2003

DP List 2002

DP List 2001

DP List 2000

Best Mystery/Crime Novels of 2010

BEST NOVELS

**PAGANINI’S GHOST, Adam, Paul (Minotaur, $25.95). Violinmaker Giovanni Castiglione searches for a long-lost instrument that was possessed by famed violinist Niccolo Paganini. Full of remarkable history and musical lore, Paganini's Ghost will enchant music lovers and Italophiles alike. PW & LJ
**NO MORE HEROES, Banks, Ray (HoughtonMifflinHarcourt, $26.00). It's the hottest summer on record in Manchester, England, and down-at-heel private eye Cal Innes is struggling to keep cool. He has taken a job evicting families on behalf of local slumlord Donald Plummer, while the English National Socialists bring racial tensions to the boiling point. A firebomb attack on a Plummer property thrusts Innes into the spotlight as he rescues a child from the burning building. But when Plummer hires him to track down the arsonists, Innes finds himself dealing with more than neo-Nazis and his rapidly worsening painkiller addiction. BL & LJ
**ELEGY FOR APRIL, Black, Benjamin (Henry Holt, $25.00). Quirke, the hard-drinking, insatiably curious Dublin pathologist, is back, and he's determined to find his daughter's best friend. Both an absorbing crime novel and a brilliant portrait of the difficult love between a father and daughter, this is Black at his sparkling best. PW & BL
**NOWHERE TO RUN, Box, C.J. (Putnam, $25.95). Joe Pickett's in his last week as the temporary game warden in the town of Baggs, Wyoming, but there have been strange things going on in the mountains, and his conscience won't let him leave without checking them out: reports of camps looted, tents slashed, elk butchered. And then there's the runner who simply vanished one day. BL, LJ, PW, DP & Kirkus
**THE GODFATHER OF KATMANDU, Burdett, John (Knopf, $25.95). Sonchai Jitpleecheep--Burdett's inimitable Thai police detective--is summoned to the most shocking and intriguing crime scene of his career. Sonchai is more interested in finding Nirvana than in solving murders, in Burdett's most inventive, darkly comic novel yet. Booklist & Kirkus
**THE GLASS RAINBOW, Burke, James Lee (Simon & Schuster, $26.00). Detective Dave Robicheaux returns to New Iberia to solve a series of grisly murders, in this latest installment by a two-time Edgar Award-winning author and Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America. PW & BL
**THE REVERSAL, Connelly, Michael (Little, Brown, $27.99). Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change stripes and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch. DP & BL
**LOVE SONGS FROM A SHALLOW GRAVE, Cotterill, Colin (Soho Crime, $25.00). Three young Laotian women have died of fencing sword wounds. Each of them had studied abroad in an Eastern bloc country. Before he can complete his investigation, Dr. Siri is lured to Cambodia by an all-expenses-paid trip. Accused of spying for the Vietnamese, he is imprisoned, beaten, and threatened with death. The Khmer Rouge is relentless, and it is touch and go for the dauntless, seventy-four-year-old national—and only—coroner of Laos. PW & LJ
**CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER, Franklin, Tom (Morrow, $24.99). In a small Mississippi town, two men are torn apart by circumstance and reunited by tragedy, in this resonant new novel from the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Hell at the Breech.
BL

**FAITHFUL PLACE, French, Tana (Viking, $25.95). Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was 19, growing up poor in Dublin's inner city, and he and Rosie Daly were all ready to run away to London together. But on the night when they were supposed to leave, Rosie vanished. Twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank is going home whether he likes it or not. BL, LJ & PW
**BRYANT & MAY OFF THE RAILS, Fowler, Christopher (Bantam, $25.00). To catch the most ingenious killer they’ve ever faced, the beloved oddballs of the Peculiar Crimes Unit must venture into the London Underground. PW & BL
**THE GOOD SON, Gruber, Michael (Henry Holt, $26.00). A taut, multilayered, riveting novel of suspense focused on peace activists who are being held hostage in Pakistan. Kirkus, BL & PW
**THE QUEEN OF PATPONG, Hallinan, Timothy (Morrow, $24.99). Poke and his live-in girlfriend, Rose, have finally married, but a specter from Rose's past as a dancer on Bangkok's notorious Patpong Road comes back to haunt her. As a naïve country girl named Kwan, Rose fell for the charms of American Howard Horner, never suspecting that Horner's true interest in her involved something far darker than romance. Long thought dead, sly predator Horner is back in Bangkok to stalk Rose and all who are dear to her. Kirkus, BL & DP
**FALSE MERMAID, Hart, Erin (Scribner, $26.00). Hart's chilling new suspense novel brilliantly combines forensics, archaeology, and history with Irish myth and mystery. Kirkus, BL & PW
**THE DIVINE SACRIFICE, Hays, Tony (Forge, $24.99). Malgwyn ap Cuneglas is a solider who lost his arm in battle but was saved by his king. Malgwyn hated Arthur for this gift, but he has come to grudgingly acknowledge that he yet may have some purpose in life. Arthur and Malgwyn are called to the abbey of Glastonbury to settle a matter of great political importance—tin is being mined for export to the Empire. While there, Malgwyn and Arthur meet St. Patrick, a legend in the Church who is there on a mission of his own, to root out the heresy of Pelagius. LJ & PW
**CEMETARY ROAD, Haywood, Gar (Severn House, $28.95). When Errol 'Handy' White returns to his native Los Angeles to attend the funeral of his old friend R.J. Burrow, who has been brutally murdered, a terrible secret threatens to reveal itself. Twenty-six years earlier, Handy, R.J. and O'Neal Holden pulled a heist that went horrible awry, and Handy's been waiting for it to come back and haunt them ever since. Was the murder linked to the past? PW & BL
**STAR ISLAND, Hiaasen, Carl (Knopf, $26.95). Meet twenty-two-year-old Cherry Pye (née Cheryl Bunterman), a pop star since she was fourteen—and about to attempt a comeback from her latest drug-and-alcohol disaster. Now meet Cherry again: in the person of her “undercover stunt double,” Ann DeLusia. Ann portrays Cherry whenever the singer is too“indisposed” — meaning wasted — to go out in public. And it is Ann-mistaken-for-Cherry who is kidnapped from a South Beach hotel by obsessed paparazzo Bang Abbott. Now the challenge for Cherry’s handlers (über–stage mother; horndog record producer; nipped, tucked, and Botoxed twin publicists; weed whacker–wielding bodyguard) is to rescue Ann while keeping her existence a secret from Cherry’s public—and from Cherry herself. BL & DP
**GUNSHOT ROAD, Hyland, Adrian (Soho Crime, $25.00). Half-aboriginal amateur detective Emily Tempest in her second investigation set in the Australian outback. BL & PW
**HYPOTHERMIA, Indridason, Arnaldur (Minotaur, $24.99). Inspector Erlunder has spent his entire career struggling to evade the ghosts of his past. But ghosts are visiting him, both in the form of a séance attended by a dead woman and also in the reemerging puzzle of two young people who went missing 30 years ago. And there’s the ghost of the detective’s disastrous marriage, which, despite the pleas of his drug-addled daughter, he is unwilling to confront. In addition, he’s still obsessed with the disappearance of his brother, who vanished without a trace when they were boys. PW, BL, LJ & DP
**VELOCITY, Jacobson, Alan (Vanguard, $25.95). Detective Robby Hernandez, FBI profiler Karen Vail’s boyfriend, has vanished into the dense air of a Napa Valley evening. There are no clues to his whereabouts, other than blood stain and tenuous connections to a vicious serial killer operating it the wine country. PW & LJ
**IF THE DEAD NOT RISE, Kerr, Philip (Putnam, $26.95). If the Dead Rise Not Rise features twisted intrigue, tight plotting, quick-witted one-liners, and, most significant, a richer, wiser Bernie Gunther. PW, Kirkus & DP
**VERMILION DRIFT, Krueger, William Kent (Atria, $24.99). When the Department of Energy puts an underground iron mine on its short list of potential sites for storage of nuclear waste, a barrage of protest erupts in Tamarack County, Minnesota, and Cork is hired as a security consultant. Deep in the mine during his first day on the job, Cork stumbles across a secret room that contains the remains of six murder victims. PW, Kirkus & DP
**THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, Larsson, Stieg (Knopf, $27.95). Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. BL, Kirkus & DP
**A LILY IN THE FIELD, Lawton, John (Atlantic Monthly, $24.00). Vienna 1934. Ten-year-old Meret Voytek becomes a pupil of esteemed musician professor Viktor Rosen, a Jew in exile from Germany. Three years later, aware that the Nazis are advancing, Rosen tells his promising pupil that he must leave Vienna for London. When Vienna quietly comes under Nazi rule, Meret witnesses the repercussions for the city’s Jews, but when her orchestra becomes a division of the Hitler Youth, she complies and wears the uniform. Meanwhile, across Europe, Dr. Karel Szabo, a Hungarian physicist, has been interned in a camp on the Isle of Man. Shortly thereafter, Szabo is transported to Canada and rescued by the Americans, who recruit him to join the team in New Mexico building an atomic bomb. BL & LJ
**OUR KIND OF TRAITOR, LeCarre’, John (Viking, $27.99 ). Perry and Gail are idealistic and very much in love when they splurge on a tennis vacation at a posh beach resort in Antigua. But the charm begins to pall when a big-time Russian money launderer enlists their help to defect. In exchange for amnesty, Dima is ready to rat out his vory (Russian criminal brotherhood) compatriots and expose corruption throughout the so-called legitimate financial and political worlds. Kirkus & PW
**A QUESTION OF BELIEF, Leon, Donna (Atlantic Monthly, $24.00). Brunetti must contend with ingenious corruption, bureaucratic intransigence, and the stifling heat of a Venetian summer. With his hometown beset by hordes of tourists and baking under a glaring sun, Brunetti's greatest wish is to go to the mountains with his family, where he can sleep under a down comforter and catch up on his reading. But before he can go on vacation, a folder with court records has landed on his desk, brought by an old friend. It appears that cases at the local court--hardly known as a model of efficiency--are being delayed to the benefit of one of the parties. A creative new trick for corrupting the system, perhaps, but what can Brunetti do about it? And just when it looks like Brunetti will be able to get away, a shocking, violent crime forces him to stay in Venice. BL & PW
**DEXTER IS DELICIOUS, Lindsay, Jeff (Doubleday, $25.95). Dexter Morgan has always lived a happy homicidal life. He keeps his dark urges in check by adhering to one steadfast rule . . . he only kills very bad people. But now Dexter is experiencing some major life changes —don’t we all?—and they’re mostly wrapped up in the eight-pound curiosity that is his newborn daughter. Family bliss is cut short, however, when Dexter is summoned to investigate the disappearance of a seventeen-year-old girl who has been running with a bizarre group of goths who fancy themselves to be vampires. PW & LJ
**I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE , Lippman, Laura (Morrow, $25.99). Eliza Benedict cherishes her peaceful, ordinary suburban life with her successful husband and children. But her tranquillity is shattered when she receives a letter from the last person she ever expects—or wants—to hear from: Walter Bowman. There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. Still, I'd know you anywhere. In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza was kidnapped by Walter and held hostage for almost six weeks. He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well. Now on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition as his execution nears. BL & PW
**FREEZE FRAME, May, Peter (Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95). A promise made to a dying man leads forensics ace Enzo Macleod, a Scot who's been teaching in France for many years, to the study which the man's heir has preserved for nearly twenty years. The dead man left several clues there designed to reveal the killer's identity to the man's son, but ironically the son died soon after the father. So begins the fourth of seven cold cases written up in a bestselling book by Parisian journalist Roger Raffin that Enzo rashly boasted he could solve (he's been successful with the first three). PW & LJ
**RED HERRING, Mayor, Archer (Minotaur, $25.00). VBI (Vermont Bureau of Investigation) head Joe Gunther and his team are called in to investigate a series of violent deaths that appear unrelated until telltale clues reveal a linkage between them and that all of the deaths are, in fact, murders. However, apart from a single drop of unexplained blood left at each crime scene, there are no obvious connections between the victims or the cases. LJ & BL
**CRIMSON ROOMS, McMahon, Katherine (Putnam, $25.99). Still haunted by the death of her only brother, James, in the Great War, Evelyn Gifford is completely unprepared when a young nurse and her six-year-old son appear on the Giffords' doorstep one night. Kirkus & LJ
**THE LAST DAYS OF PTOLEMY GREY, Mosley, Walter (Riverhead, $26.00). Ptolemy Grey is ninety-one years old and has been all but forgotten as he sinks into a lonely dementia. His grand-nephew, Ptolemy's only connection to the outside world, was recently killed in a drive-by shooting, and Ptolemy is too suspicious of anyone else to allow them into his life. until he meets Robyn, his niece's seventeen-year-old lodger and the only one willing to take care of an old man at his grandnephew's funeral. But Robyn will not tolerate Ptolemy's hermitlike existence. She challenges him to interact more with the world around him, and he grasps more firmly onto his disappearing consciousness. However, this new activity pushes Ptolemy into the fold of a doctor touting an experimental drug that guarantees Ptolemy won't live to see age ninety- two but that he'll spend his last days in feverish vigor and clarity. With his mind clear, what Ptolemy finds-in his own past, in his own apartment, and in the circumstances surrounding his grand-nephew's death-is shocking enough to spur an old man to action. PW, BL & Kirkus
**COMING BACK, Muller, Marcia (Grand Central, $25.00). P.I. Sharon McCone is recovering from being shot in the head and is suffering from locked-in syndrome: almost total paralysis but with an alert mind. When her friend from physical therapy goes missing, she must call upon her closest friends to find out the truth behind the disappearance. LJ & DP
**DEVIL’S STAR, Nesbo, Jo (Harper, $25.95). Assigned to investigate a series of bizarre murders, detective Harry Hole is partnered with Tom Waaler, a colleague he neither likes nor trusts. Determined to find the killer and expose the crooked Waaler, Harry discovers the two investigations melding in unexpected ways. BL, LJ & PW
**COLLUSION, Neville, Stuart (Soho Crime, $25.00). The line between friend and foe disappears as Detective Jack Lennon stalks a killer haunting the streets of Belfast. LJ, BL & PW
**OCCUPIED CITY, Peace, David (Knopf, $25.95). From the author of Tokyo Year Zero comes a fierce, exquisitely dark novel that returns readers to post-World War II occupied Japan: a Rashomon-like retelling of a murder (based on an actual event), its aftermath, and the hidden wartime atrocities that led to the crime. Kirkus, PW & BL
**BURY YOUR DEAD, Penny, Louise (Minotaur, $24.99). Chief Inspector Gamache receives a letter from the village of Three Pines, where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. The letter proclaims Olivier's innocence, so Gamache must relive the terrible events that killed one of his men before he can bury the dead. Kirkus, PW, BL & DP
**BETWEEN SUMMER’S LONGING AND WINTER’S END, Persson, Leif (Pantheon, $27.95). A young man falls to his death from a window in a student dorm in Stockholm. It seems to be a mundane suicide—at least that’s what the police choose to think. But the young man is American, not Swedish, and there are a couple of odd things about his room when they search it. From these tiny beginnings, Leif GW Persson slowly begins to unravel a puzzle that gets larger and larger as it becomes more and more complex, until it sweeps us into a web of international espionage, backroom politics, greed, sheer incompetence, and the shoddy work of Sweden’s intelligence force that leads to the murder of the prime minister. Kirkus & LJ
**THE SCENT OF RAIN AND LIGHTNING, Pickard, Nancy (Ballantine, $25.00). The man convicted of murdering Jody Lindner’s father is being released from prison and returning to the small town of Rose, Kansas. It has been twenty-six years since that stormy night when, as baby Jody lay asleep in her crib, her father was shot and killed and her mother disappeared, presumed dead. BL & PW
**FEVER DREAM, Preston, Douglas J. & Lincoln Child (Grand Central, $26.99). Special Agent Pendergast embarks on a quest to uncover the mystery of his wife's murder. But as Pendergast probes the circumstances of her death, he is faced with an even greater question: Who was the woman he married? LJ, BL & PW
**INVISIBLE BOY, Read, Cornelia (Grand Central, $24.99). Socialite Madeline Dare is shocked when she discovers the skeleton of a three-year-old boy in her family cemetery outside Manhattan. Determined to see that justice is served, Madeline finds herself examining the class and racial warfare that penetrates every level of society. PW
**PORTOBELLO, Rendell, Ruth (Scribner, $26.00). Walking to the shops one day, fifty-year-old Eugene Wren discovers an envelope on the street bulging with cash. A man plagued by a shameful addiction—and his own good intentions—Wren hatches a plan to find the money’s rightful owner. Instead of going to the police, or taking the cash for himself, he prints a notice and posts it around Portobello Road. This ill-conceived act creates a chain of events that links Wren to other Londoners—people afflicted with their own obsessions and despairs. Kirkus & PW
**WAKE UP DEAD, Smith, Roger (Henry Holt, $25.00). An amphetamine-fueled thriller about a bombshell American widow on the run in Cape Town's violent badlands. LJ & PW
**CITY OF DRAGONS, Stanley, Kelli (Minotaur, $25.95). In San Francisco's Chinatown, private investigator Miranda Corbie stumbles upon the fatally shot body of Eddie Takahashi. The Chamber of Commerce wants it covered up, and the cops acquiesce. All Miranda wants is justice--whatever it costs. Booklist, PW, LJ & DP
**THE NEAREST EXIT, Steinhauer, Olen (Minotaur, $25.99). Milo Weaver has nowhere to turn but back to the CIA in Steinhauer's brilliant follow-up to the bestselling espionage novel, The Tourist. BL
**THE TERRORIST, Steiner, Peter (Minotaur, $23.99). In this third electrifying installment of Steiner's highly acclaimed thriller series, ex-CIA operative Louis Morgon must find useful information for the CIA before a young friend’s fate is tragically sealed in a deadly game of international intrigue. BL & DP
**INNOCENT, Turow, Scott (Grand Central, $27.99). The sequel to the genre-defining, landmark bestseller Presumed Innocent, Innocent continues the story of Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto who are, 20 years later, pitted against each other in a riveting psychological match. PW & Kirkus
**THE DARK VINEYARD, Walker, Martin (Knopf, $23.95). Benoît (Bruno) Courrèges — devoted friend, cuisinier extraordinaire and the town’s only municipal policeman — rushes to the scene when a research station for genetically modified crops is burned down outside Saint-Denis. Bruno immediately suspects a group of fervent environmentalists who live nearby, but the fire is only the first in a string of mysteries centering on the region’s fertile soil. BL & DP
**DEEP SHADOWS, White, Randy Wayne (Putnam, $25.95). Thirty minutes into what should have been an easy dive in a remote Florida lake, the rim of a cave collapses, trapping two of Doc Ford's friends. Ford himself manages to escape and quickly surfaces to find help--but that's when his troubles truly begin. PW & BL
**THE TAKEN, Wolfe, Inger (HoughtonMifflinHarcourt, $25.00). The second novel featuring Hazel Micallef finds the Detective Inspector's recuperation from back surgery interrupted by the case of a body fished out of one of the lakes near Port Dundas--a scenario in a serialized story published by the local newspaper. Kirkus & PW

BEST FIRST NOVELS

**IN SEARCH OF MERCY, Ayoob, Michael (Minotaur, $25.00). Former hockey goalie Dexter Bolzjack is offered a fortune by a terminally ill drunk to find his lost love, the actress Mercy Carnahan. The trail leads to New York. PW
**BLACKLANDS, Bauer, Belinda (Simon & Schuster, $23.00). Bauer pens a psychological thriller about the cat-and-mouse game between a boy desperately seeking the truth about this uncle's murder and the murderer himself. Kirkus & BL
**GUTSHOT STRAIGHT, Berney, Lou (Morrow, $24.99). A fast and funny crime caper in the tradition of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, Gutshot Straight features Shake Bouchon, fresh out of prison and ready for life on the straight and narrow. BL
**THE PERICLES COMMISSION, Corby, Gary (Minotaur, $24.99). Ancient Greece. Nicolaos, son of a minor sculptor, becomes embroiled in murder and political intrigue. PW
**BELLFIELD HALL, Dean, Anna (Mintaur, $23.99). Richard Montague rushes off from his engagement party, never to be seen again. Distraught with worry, his fiance, Catherine, sends for her spinster aunt, Miss Dido Kent, to discover the truth behind his disappearance. LJ & DP
**THE POACHER’S SON, Doiron, Paul (Mintaur, $24.99). Set in the wilds of Maine, this is an explosive tale of an estranged son thrust into the hunt for a murderous fugitive---his own father. LJ, Kirkus, PW & BL
**THE CROSSING PLACES, Griffiths, Elly (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, $25.00). When she's not on the job, quirky archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives in obscurity. But when a child's bones are found on a desolate beach nearby, Galloway is called into action. LJ, Kirkus, DP & BL
**THE SLEEPWALKERS, Grossman, Paul (St. Martin’s, $24.95). Berlin, 1932. In the final weeks of the Weimar Republic, as Hitler and his National Socialist party angle to assume control of Germany, beautiful girls are seen sleepwalking through the streets. Then, a young woman of mysterious origin, with her legs bizarrely deformed, is pulled dead from the Havel River. Willi Kraus, a high ranking detective in Berlin's police force, begins a murder investigation. Kirkus & LJ
**HAZARD, Harris, Gardiner (Minotaur, $24.99). A down-trodden inspector investigates a deadly accident in a coal mine in a town where everyone is protecting a secret he might now want to uncover. LJ & PW
**INTELLIGENCE, Hasler, Susan (Thos. Dunne Books, $24.99). Maddie James and her colleagues are terrorism experts working in a crumbling intelligence agency. They are certain another big terrorist attack is coming, but in a post-9/11 election year the Administration is stressing its victories in the War on Terror—and few want to hear the team’s warnings. PW
**THE FOUR STAGES OF CRUELTY, Hollihan, Keith (Thos, Dunne Books, $25.99). A female corrections officer is working with a young male inmate to uncover a criminal organization that has taken control of a maximum security prison. PW & Kirkus
**RANDOM VIOLENCE, Mackenzie, Jassy (Soho Crime, $25.00). While investigating the car-jacking and murder of a wealthy woman in Johannesburg, Jade de Jong probes into other recent car-jacking cases. Soon, a pattern begins to emerge, one that goes back to her father's murder and involves a vast and intricate series of crimes for profit. PW & LJ
**BAD BOY, Robinson, Peter (Morrow, $25.99). The acclaimed international bestselling author delivers a fast-paced, nail-biting thriller in which Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks must face his most challenging and personal case yet--one in which he must save his daughter's life. PW & BL
**STILL MISSING, Stevens, Chevy (St. Martin’s Press, $24.99). Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape--her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor. BL, LJ & Kirkus
**ONCE A SPY, Thompson, Keith (Doubleday, $24.95). Drummond Clark was once a spy of legendary proportions. Now Alzheimer’s disease has taken its toll and he’s just a confused old man who’s wandered away from home, waiting for his son to fetch him. When Charlie Clark takes a break from his latest losing streak at the track to bring Drummond back to his Brooklyn home, they find it blown sky high—and then bullets start flying in every direction. PW & DP

BEST BRITISH NOVELS


**THE LAST 10 SECONDS, Kernick, Simon (Bantam Press, £14.99). The Undercover Cop - Having worked undercover the last ten years, Sean Egan is used to life on the edge. He's recently infiltrated one of London's most dangerous criminal gangs, and they've just informed him that they want him for a very special job: the daring abduction from police custody of a serial killer known as The Night Creeper. The Killer - Brutally violent yet highly intelligent, The Night Creeper has earned his reputation by torturing five young women to death. Arrested the previous night, he claims that he has a cast-iron alibi for one of the murders, and some highly important information that can prove his innocence - and implicates someone else. The Policewoman Di - Tina Boyd has an instinct for trouble, and a past that continues to haunt her. She was the policewoman who charged The Night Creeper. Now he's been kidnapped, and it's Tina's task to find him.
**CONTROL, Macken, John (Bantam Press, £12.99). Two murders, days apart but clearly linked. Each victim has had the tips of their fingers removed with a hacksaw. The killer is sending a message and wants his next victim to know who they are - and be very afraid. But beside the gruesome nature of their deaths there is no obvious connection between the two victims. Reuben Maitland, freshly returned to GeneCrime, must investigate the case. The forensics come in, DNA is sampled, the clues begin to mount up. Then the killer strikes again. Reuben's young son, Joshua, is snatched from his pram. The murderer sends Reuben a message: 'Stop hunting me. I will kill again, a third and final victim and you must not stop me. Come after me and your son will die.' If your child was kidnapped, how far would you go to get them back?
**THIRTEEN HOURS, Meyer, Deon (Hodder & Stoughton, £17.99). Some would call Detective Benny Griessel a legend. Others would call him a drunk. Either way, he has trodden on too many toes over the years ever to reach the top of the promotion ladder, and now he concentrates on staying sober and mentoring the new generation of crime fighters – mixed race, Xhosa and Zulu. But when an American backpacker disappears in Capetown, panicked politicians know who to call: Benny has just thirteen hours to save the girl and save his career.
**FALLOUT, Moffat, G. J. (Hachette, £14.99). Sequel to DAISY CHAIN. Logan Finch has made a new life for himself with his daughter Ellie. But a blossoming relationship with DC Rebecca Irvine is about to be put to the test when Irvine's old flame, drug-addicted rock star Roddy Hale, enters her life again. And there's the small matter of a professional killer following her every move – unbeknownst to her. Logan’s boss, Alex Cahill, close-protection operative and ex-US army special-forces soldier, hates babysitting celebrities. Maybe this time will be different. Tara Byrne is a Scots girl about to break into Hollywood and is back in Scotland for the premiere of a low-budget film as a favour for a friend. She is the target of a disturbed stalker and needs Cahill and his team to watch her back. As the clouds roll in to blanket the sky at the end of an Indian summer, violence erupts all round, putting everyone at risk.

BEST THRILLERS


**THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE, Arruda, Suzanne (NAL Trade, $15.00). Returning from Europe, intrepid explorer Jade del Cameron arrives in Kenya with bittersweet memories-and the certainty that Africa is her home and Sam Featherstone the man she wants to share her life with. When a letter arrives from America, Jade hopes it's Sam sending word of his return. Instead, it's a message written in the hand of her long- dead fiancé, asking "Why did you let me die?" PW & LJ
**NEVER LOOK AWAY, Barclay, Linwood (Delacorte, $25.00). A warm summer Saturday. An amusement park. David Harwood is glad to be spending some quality time with his wife, Jan, and their four-year-old son. But what begins as a pleasant family outing turns into a nightmare after an inexplicable disappearance. A frantic search only leads to an even more shocking and harrowing turn of events. LJ & PW
**THE MIDNIGHT HOUSE, Berenson, Alex (Putnam, $25.95). Early one morning, a former CIA agent is shot to death in the street. That night, an army vet is gunned down in his doorway. The next day, John Wells gets a phone call. Come to Langley. Now. The two victims were part of an eleven-member interrogation team that operated out of a secret base in Poland called the Midnight House. For two years, they put the screws to the toughest jihadis, men thought to have knowledge of imminent threats. The interrogators used whatever means necessary. When they were disbanded in the wake of public controversy, they were given medals for their heroism, Prozac for their nightmares. Now Wells must find out who is killing them. LJ & DP
**THE BRICKLAYER, Boyd, Noah (Morrow, $24.99). Steve Vail is an ex–FBI agent who is been fired for insubordination but is lured back to the Bureau to work a case that has become more unsolvable—and more deadly—by the hour. DP
**BOLT ACTION by Charles Charters (Hodder & Stoughton, £6.99). Following the post 9/11 issues, commercial airliners’ cockpit doors are now locked to prevent any attack by rogue passengers. In BOLT ACTION, the problem is caused by that protocol; as an Al-Qaeda linked steward manages to gain entry into the cockpit and dispenses poisoned drinks to the crew, who die and then the steward ensures the cockpit door is bolted shut with a reset combination. The first problem is that the cockpit door is locked from the inside, and the plane on auto-pilot. The second problem is that the Boeing jet is destined for the US mainland. DP
**61 HOURS, Child, Lee (Delacorte, $28.00). A tour bus crashes in a savage snowstorm and lands Jack Reacher in the middle of a deadly confrontation. In nearby Bolton, South Dakota, one brave woman is standing up for justice in a small town threatened by sinister forces. If she’s going to live long enough to testify, she’ll need help. Because a killer is coming to Bolton, a coldly proficient assassin who never misses. Reacher’s original plan was to keep on moving. But the next 61 hours will change everything. BL, LJ, Kirkus & DP
**THE 13TH HOUR, Doetsch, Richard (Morrow, $24.99). A man is given the chance to go back in time in one hour increments to prevent the murder of his wife--a crime the police think he committed. BL & LJ
**THE EYE OF THE RED TSAR, Eastland, Sam (Bantam, $25.00). Shortly after midnight on July 17, 1918, the imprisoned family of Tsar Nicholas Romanov was awakened and led down to the basement of the Ipatiev house. There they were summarily executed. Their bodies were hidden away, the location a secret of the Soviet state. A decade later, one man lives in purgatory, banished to a forest on the outskirts of humanity. Pekkala was once the most trusted secret agent of the Romanovs, the right-hand man of the Tsar himself. Now he is Prisoner 4745-P, living a harsh existence in which even the strongest vanish into the merciless Soviet winter. But the state needs Pekkala one last time. The man who knew the Romanovs best is given a final mission: catch their killers, locate the royal child rumored to be alive, and give Stalin the international coup he craves. Kirkus, LJ & DP

**THE NETWORK, Elliot, Jason (Bloomsbury, $23.00). In the months before 9/11, former army officer Anthony Taverner is leading a quiet life in the English countryside. But his recruitment for a dangerous mission to Afghanistan by the British Secret Intelligence Service—better known as MI6—shatters his fragile peace and plunges him into the kaleidoscopic world of spying. Under the expert guidance of an old-school hero and veteran of the elite British Special Air Service, Taverner prepares to enter Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to destroy a cache of the CIA 's precious Stinger missiles before they can fall into the hands of al-Qaeda. LJ & DP

**ON TARGET, Greaney, Mark (Jove, $9.99). Four years ago, assassin Court Gentry was betrayed by his handlers in the CIA. Now, an old comrade returns to haunt him-and to force him on a mission against his will. With his ruthless employers on one side, his former friends on the other and a doomed mission ahead, Court Gentry would kill to get out of this one alive. DP
**SILENCER, Hall, James W. (Minotaur, $25.00). Silencer pits brother against brother and wife against husband in a thriller that proves once again that Hall is a master of suspense. PW & BL
**CRASHERS, Haynes, Dana (Minotaur, $24.99). A team of experts from NTSB investigate a major airplane crash near Portland, Oregon. Pilot error or sabotage? If sabotage, will it occur again? LJ & DP
**I, SNIPER, Hunter, Stephen (Simon & Schuster, $26.00). Bob Lee Swagger is back, facing off against one of his most ruthless adversaries yet to clear the name of a fellow soldier-in-arms. BL & PW
**HOUSE JUSTICE, Lawson, Mike (Atlantic Monthly, $22.00). An American defense contractor goes to Iran to sell missile technology, and the CIA knows all about it thanks to a spy in Tehran. But the story is leaked to an ambitious journalist and the spy is burned, brutally tortured, and executed. The director of the CIA isn’t about to let the callous sacrifice of his valuable spy go unpunished. DeMarco’s boss, Speaker of the House John Fitzpatrick Mahoney has his own reasons to get to the bottom of the leak: he once had a fling with the journalist, and now that she’s in jail for refusing to reveal her source, she is threatening to tell all unless he helps get her out. BL & DP
**RED STATION, Magson, Adrian (Severn House, $29.00). Having been made the scapegoat for a botched drugs intercept operation, MI5 officer Harry Tate is dispatched to ‘Red Station’, a remote outpost in the Balkans, ostensibly to avoid press scrutiny, but where in effect the security services send ‘problem’ agents they’d like to be rid of. But the outpost is thrust into the international spotlight when troops begin massing in the area; and, as the situation becomes increasingly dangerous, Tate discovers the real, truly shocking, purpose behind ‘Red Station’ – and decides to fight back. DP & BL
**ONCE A SPY, Thompson, Keith (Doubleday, $24.95). A former spy now ravaged by Alzheimer's is thrust back into danger--and now his son is in deep as well. PW & DP

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINALS

**THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE, Arruda, Suzanne (NAL, $15.00 ). Returning from Europe, intrepid explorer Jade del Cameron arrives in Kenya with bittersweet memories-and the certainty that Africa is her home and Sam Featherstone the man she wants to share her life with. When a letter arrives from America, Jade hopes it's Sam sending word of his return. Instead, it's a message written in the hand of her long- dead fiance’ asking "Why did you let me die?" When two men die under mysterious circumstances and Jade discovers that her old nemesis, Lilith Worthy, has escaped from prison, the deaths and the letter form the most dangerous case Jade has ever faced, pitting her against a ferocious crocodile-and an even more deadly human killer. PW & LJ
**BLACK RAIN, Brown, Graham (Dell, $7.99). Danielle Laidlaw, an investigator for a covert branch of the National Research Institute, heads into the jungle at the head of a small force of mercenaries, renegades, rogues, and scholars to make her bones—and reputation, now that her mentor has been called back to the US—by finding an ancient Mayan city and a possible source for clean energy in some radioactive crystals kept undercover.
**DO THEY KNOW I’M RUNNING, Corbett, David (Ballantine, $15.00). Roque Montalvo is wise beyond his eighteen years. Orphaned at birth, a gifted musician, he's stuck in a California backwater, helping his Salvadoran aunt care for his damaged brother, an ex-marine badly wounded in Iraq. When immigration agents arrest his uncle, the family has nowhere else to turn. Roque, badgered by his street-hardened cousin, agrees to bring the old man back, relying on the criminal gangs that control the dangerous smuggling routes from El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, to the U.S. border. PW & BL
**LONG TIME COMING, Goddard, Robert (Bantam, $15.00). Stephen Swan is amazed when he hears that the uncle he thought had been killed in the Blitz is actually alive. But in this tale of revenge and redemption, justice is an illusion. PW
**THE SERIALIST, Gordon, David (Simon & Schuster, $15.00). A writer is forced to play detective when a serial killer hires him to tell his story--and three women turn up dead. BL & DP
**THE DEAD LIE DOWN, Hannah, Sophie (Penguin, $15.00). Ruth Bussey once did something wrong-horribly wrong-and was nearly destroyed by her punishment. Now, she has tentatively rebuilt her life and unexpectedly found love with a man named Aidan Seed. But Aidan also has a secret-he killed someone years ago, a woman named Mary Trelease. Ruth's horror turns to confusion when she realizes that she knows Mary Trelease, and Mary is very much alive. PW & BL
**FEVER OF THE BONE, McDermid, Val (Harper, $14.99). He is psychologist and criminal profiler Dr. Tony Hill’s worst nightmare—a killer driven by the most perverted hungers and unmoved by youth and innocence, a killer with a long shopping list of victims who leaves no trail. The murder-mutilation of teenager Jennifer Maidment is horrific enough on its own, but Hill quickly realizes that it’s just the beginning of a chilling campaign targeting an apparently unconnected group of young people—victims that the monster has been grooming through a social networking site. PW & DP
**THE RHETORIC OF DEATH, Rock, Judith (Berkley Trade, $15.00). Paris, 1686: When The Bishop of Marseilles discovers that his young cousin Charles du Luc, former soldier and half-fledged Jesuit, has been helping heretics escape the king's dragoons, the bishop sends him far away-to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the prestigious college of Louis le Grand. But on his first day, the school's star dancer disappears from rehearsal, and the next day another student is run down in the street. When the dancer's body is found under the worst possible circumstances, Charles is determined to find the killer in spite of being ordered to leave the investigation. PW, BL & Kirkus
**THE BAD BOOK AFFAIR, Sansom, Ian (Harper, $13.99). Israel Armstrong, one of literature's most unlikely detectives, returns for more crime-solving adventure in this hilarious fourth novel in the Mobile Library series. Booklist
**THE BLACK MINUTES, Solares, Martin (Grove Press, $14.00). When a young journalist named Bernardo Blanco is killed in the fictional Mexican port city of Paracuán, investigation into his murder reveals missing links in a disturbing multiple homicide case from twenty years earlier. As police officer Ramón “el Macetón” Cabrera discovers, Blanco had been writing a book about a 1970s case dealing with the murder of several young schoolgirls in Paracuán by a man known as el Chacal. Cabrera realizes that whoever killed Blanco wanted to keep the truth about el Chacal from being revealed, and he becomes determined to discover that truth. BL & PW