I'm behind with everything and bloody hate coming up with Top howevermany's so I'm not pretending to try anymore. Instead, a list of books that just nailed it this year. In no particular order, or quantity, although I have had a go at combining them into geographical locations so you know - result.



Too Easy, J.M. Green (review to come at Newtown Review of Books, but this is the second book in the Stella Hardy series and it's required reading).

Clear to the Horizon, Dave Warner. Brilliant. While you're at it go back and read his entire back catalogue if you haven't already.

An Isolated Incident, Emily Maguire. I'm kicking myself it took too long to get to this which was brilliant, moving, cleverly constructed and perfectly populated by believable, empathetic characters.

A Dangerous Language, Sulari Gentill. It's a Rowland Sinclair novel - how could it not make the list.

Pachyderm, Hugh McGinlay. Second in the Catherine Kint series - these are light, fun and hugely entertaining books.

The Lone Child, Anna George. A strong, and unusual example of domestic noir.

And Fire Came Down, Emma Viskic. Second book in the Caleb Zelic series which is another of those "how could it not" ones.

The Swan Island Connection, Dorothy Johnston. I really really really like this series. Really.

Romeo's Gun, David Owen.  Pufferfish returns and he's back again this year and I know what I'm reading around the Boxing Day test now that our beloved Cliff Hardy has retired. 

Wimmera, Mark Brandi. Read this book. Don't not read this book. Read it now.

The Student, Iain Ryan. Pitch perfect darkest of dark noir set in Queensland. Kid you not.

The Barista's Guide to Espionage, Dave Sinclair. It made me laugh a lot.

Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly, Adrian McKinty. Won the 2017 Ned Kelly Award, latest in the Sean Duffy series. Brilliant as always.

Crimson Lake, Candice Fox. This woman could write a shopping list you'd want her to sign.

Signal Loss, Garry Disher. A masterclass in keeping a long running series fresh, interesting and relevant.

Old Scores, David Whish-Wilson. A bit of a sleeper of a series set in 70's and 80's Perth which is acute, elegant and really excellent.

True Crime

Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, Louise Milligan. Insightful look into George Pell's background, personality and responses to Child Sexual Abuse revelations at the Royal Commission. 

Murder at Myall Creek, Mark Tedeschi. Part history lesson about the structure of our indefensibly embattled Secular State, part analysis of the trial this was eye-opening, informative and utterly compelling reading. (Review to come)

Denny Day, Terry Smyth. The story of the man who chased down the Myall Creek murders, this book would have been a tricky undertaking because of the lack of information about the Massacre of Aboriginal people in the early days of settlement. This, and Murder at Myall Creek, forever bury the idea that somehow we don't owe reflection, apology and consideration of actions back then because there were good people around who knew what was happening was wrong. (Review to come)

The Drowned Man, Brendan James Murray. Joint winner of the 2017 Ned Kelly for True Crime, this is a moving book, approaching an investigation from an unusual perspective, and casting some light on the past. (Review to come)

Getting Away With Murder / Roger Rogerson, Duncan McNab. Getting Away with Murder was the joint winner of the 2017 Ned Kelly for True Crime, another moving book, about a series of murders that were never properly investigated at a time when a perfect storm of impending social change, fear of disease and indifference collided. Roger Rogerson by the same author is the story of a final murder by a notorious, corrupt NSW ex-police officer which is detailed and fair, without pulling any punches. Review of Getting Away with Murder still to come.

New Zealand

Nothing Bad Happens Here, Nikki Crutchley. Excellent debut from the daily reward that is #yeahnoir Crime Fiction.

All Our Secrets, Jennifer Lane. What I said above. This one is a particularly good debut.

Red Herring, Jonothan Cullinane. Read this for the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards - recent history setting, brilliant. Just brilliant. Review still to come with apologies as this is a really good book.

Marlborough Man, Alan Carter. Set in NZ from Australian / English / NZ author Alan Carter this is a very promising first volley in a new series.

Days are Like Grass, Sue Younger. A family drama with a crime motivation in the past, this is an incredibly moving, beautifully written novel.

Pancake Money /  Dead Lemons / The Easter Make Believers, Finn Bell. This author was the find of the year. Dead Lemons won the 2017 Ngaio Marsh for Debut novel and all 3 of them (not a series as such) are just brilliant.

The Last Time We Spoke, Fiona Sussman. Winner of the 2017 Ngaio Marsh this is flat out stunning.

United Kingdom

A Dark So Deadly / Now We Are Dead, Stuart MacBride. One year, 2 Stuart MacBride novels (the second is a Roberta Steel one) and really what could be better.

Ragdoll, Daniel Cole. This one is unusual, confrontational and really good.


The Great Swindle, Pierre Lemaitre. Clever and elegantly done.


Master, Liar, Traitor, Friend, Christoffer Carlson. Third in the Leo Junker series, an extremely good Scandi-noir offering.


Get hold of a copy of Murder and Mayhem: A Limited Edition Thriller and Mystery Collection edited by Nathan M. Farrugia. I've been dipping in and out of this for a while now and it's brilliant.

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Submitted by Karen on Thu, 21/12/2017 - 05:32 pm