As is my custom, as the year winds down I like to assess the books I've read and make some recommendations.
Since I'm a voracious reader of both fiction and non-fiction (reads and re-reads nearing a hundred and the year isn't quite over), I'm limiting to just 10 books in the mystery genre this time around. Note, they weren't all published in 2017 either. Here they are, in no particular order:
A RECKONING IN THE BACK COUNTRY by Terry Shames. The vicious murder of a doctor from out of the area poses a perplexing mystery in this seventh in the Samuel Craddock series. I don't know why, but this was my first experience with this series. It won't be the last.
SEE ALSO PROOF by Larry D. Sweazy. This Marjorie Tremaine mystery takes the reader on a harrowing journey back to the 1960s--which weren't as wonderful as some would have you believe.
ROBICHEAUX by James Lee Burke. It's been far too long since the last visit with Dave and the gang. Burke has given us other novels in between, but Robicheaux remains my favorite of his creations.
THE LINE by Martin Limon. This page-turner with Army Criminal Investigation Division agents Sueno and Bascom takes the reader on a nail-biting jaunt to the DMZ where a South Korean soldier has been murdered and their investigation threatens to set off an international incident.
A KNIFE IN THE FOG by Bradley Harper. I'm not a fan of writers appropriating the character(s) of others for their own stories. But rather than "borrowing" Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Harper has employed Conan Doyle, his creator; Dr. Joseph Bell, Doyle's mentor, and Margaret Harkness, a remarkable woman, whom I'd never heard of before, for a brilliant and plausible joust with Jack the Ripper, whose bloody exploits continue to fascinate and remain as shrouded in mystery as the foggy streets of 19th century London.
THE WITCH ELM by Tana French. I've enjoyed her Dublin Murder Squad series but this stand-alone with an unreliable narrator may be my favorite of her works. Psychological suspense at its best.
FIVE DAYS, FIVE DEAD by Carole Crigger. I've been a fan of Crigger's China Bohannon since reading the first in the series. This fun romp in the Wild West is a good introduction if you haven't yet read any of the previous novels.
THE STRANGER HOUSE by Reginald Hill. This standalone by the late, lamented author of the superb Dalziel/Pascoe series isn't new (published in 2009) but it's erudite, witty and highly entertaining.
BODY AND SOUL by John Harvey. This is the final episode in Harvey's Frank Elder series and, based on his own comment, his last novel. As always, it's sharp and gripping. Personally, I hope there are more novels to be written by Harvey. If not, there are still a good many I haven't read.
SMOKE AND ASHES by Abir Mukherjee. This is the third outing for Captain Sam Wyndham and his sidekick Sergeant "Surrender-Not" Banerjee and I hope there are many more. Sam's addiction put his career in jeopardy as he tries to solve several ritualistic murders and Banerjee grapples with family and personal issues amidst the turmoil of Gandhi's Indian independence movement.