DP LIST 2003
BEST U.S. CRIME NOVELS 2003
**THE DELICATE STORM, Blunt, Giles (Putnam $24.95). The author of Forty Words for Sorrow--winner of Britain's Silver Dagger Award--returns with a crime thriller challenging the most cherished belief: that, in fiction, there is no such thing as the perfect crime. PW & Booklist
**THE DA VINCI CODE, Brown, Dan (Doubleday, $24.95).In an exhilarating blend of scholarly intelligence, relentless adventure, and cutting wit, Robert Langdon (first introduced in Angels Demons) and his new adventure combines the punch of Robert Ludlum, the intriguing historical touch of Umberto Eco, and the nonstop suspense of Michael Crichton. LJ & DP
**THE GUARDS, Bruen, Ken (Minotaur $23.95). In this mesmerizing work of crime fiction, an ex-member of The Guards--Ireland's police force--is approached in a Galway bar by a dazzling woman with a strange request and a rumor about his talent for finding things. Kirkus, PW, LJ & DP
**BANGKOK 8, Burdett, John (Knopf $24.00). Burdett's thriller is razor-edged, darkly comic, crowded with astonishing characters, and thick with the authentic--hallucinogenic--atmosphere of Bangkok. Smart, skeptical, worldly and open-eyed, literary and wildly readable--Bangkok 8is one of a kind. PW & LJ
**PERSUADER, Child, Lee (Delacorte, $24.95). Another Jack Reacher roller-coaster ride. DP
**NO SECOND CHANCE, Coben, Harlan (Dutton, $24.95). Both a white-knuckle thriller and a story about the loyalty of old friends and the love of a father, from a bestselling author (Tell No One, Gone for Good) Booklist
**LOST LIGHT, Connelly, Michael (Little Brown $25.95) The best-selling author of City of Bones and Chasing the Dime brings lone wolf Harry Bosch out of retirement and on a wild excursion into evil, seeking the truth about a cold case that still haunts the LAPD, a movie studio--and Bosch himself. Kirkus, Booklist & DP
**THE LAST DETECTIVE, Crais, Robert Crais (Doubleday $24.95). The New York Times bestselling author of Hostage and L.A. Requiem spotlights his signature character Elvis Cole, whose cocky exterior holds a troubled soul. When the son of his longtime girlfriend, Lucy Chenier, goes missing, Cole's demons threaten to destroy the world he's built. Booklist, PW & DP
**TO THE NINES, Evanovich, Janet (St Martins $25.95). From the blockbuster #1 nationally best-selling author comes the most outrageous and suspenseful Stephanie Plum novel to date. Take a trip down the Jersey Turnpike to the irresistible world of Stephanie Plum--where America's favorite bounty hunter gets into more trouble than ever. PW & Booklist
**THE SMALL BOAT OF GREAT SORROWS, Fesperman, Dan (Knopf, $24.00). In an electrifying tale of international intrigue, the author of Lie in the Dark follows brooding investigator Vlado Petric, who is being used as bait to bring justice to a murderer whose activities in World War II make the current generation of killers look like amateurs. PW, Kirkus & DP
**A BLIND EYE, Ford, G.M. (Avon $23.95). The Anthony, Shamus, Dilys, and Lefty awards nominee weaves a tangled web of mystery and murder in this third impressive volume featuring his "new kick-ass hero Frank Corso" (Harlan Coben). Kirkus & Booklist
**AVENGER, Forsyth, Frederick (St Martins $26.95). In this heart-stopping thriller of murder, intrigue, deception, and revenge, attorney Calvin Dexter is called upon to settle an old score. But the game is changing, and this time CIA agent Kevin McBride must find a way to stop Dexter before his quest for vengeance throws the world into chaos. Booklist & PW
**DEATH IN DUBLIN, Gill, Bartholomew (Morrow $24.95). In Bartholomew Gill's last and most dramatic novel, Irish police chief Peter McGarr is plunged into the ratified atmosphere of Dublin's Trinity College as he investigates the cold-blooded murder of a library night watchman and the baffling disappearance of an Irish cultural icon--the Book of Kells. Kirkus & Booklist
**TROPIC OF NIGHT, Gruber, Michael (Morrow $24.95) One of the most frightening and imaginative novels of suspense to arrive in decades, Tropic of Night pits an anthropologist against a powerful shaman who becomes Miami's most feared serial killer. Kirkus , PW & DP
**BLOOD IS THE SKY, Hamilton, Steve (St. Martin’s Minotaur $24.95). When a longtime friend asks Alex McKnight for help in finding his brother, a hunting guide to rich clients who has vanished in northern Ontario with a group of hunters, they begin the long drive north. Soon, Alex and his friend are stranded in the heart of the Canadian wilderness with no food, no weapons--and no way out. Kirkus & DP
**WHERE THE TRUTH LIES, Holmes, Rupert (Random $24.95). Rupert Holmes seats you gently next to an irresistible narrator only to entangle you completely in her twisted, dark, exhilarating troubles. The ensuing thriller crosses a Dickensian world of deceit and destiny with the slipping glory of 1970s New York and Los Angeles. Every character is so alive with delicious secrets that you'll never suspect Where the Truth Lies." --Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club Kirkus, LJ & Booklist
**DUE PREPARATIONS FOR THE PLAGUE, Hospital, Janette Turner (Norton $24.95). Hospital's electrifying new novel is a tightly woven web of familial and national histories, of sexual and political passions, and of individual and national complicities in the age of terrorism. She probes with astonishing acuity the murky worlds of espionage and intelligence gathering and the painful meaning of survival. Kirkus, Booklist & PW
**A VISIBLE DARKNESS, King, Jonathan (Dutton $23.95).Following up his acclaimed debut that introduced former Philadelphia cop Max Freeman, King delivers another gripping story. When attorney Billy Manchester calls Max about a string of suspicious deaths among elderly women, Max reluctantly pries where he's not wanted to find an unseen killer. Booklist
**KEEPING WATCH, King, Laurie R. Bantam $ 23.95) After years of rescuing children and on the brink of retirement, Alan Carmichael decides to rescue one last teenager from an abusive parent. But, once the boy is safely hidden, Carmichael begins to doubt his decision to intervene: Has he turned a killer free to kill again? Kirkus, LJ, Booklist, PW & DP
**OLD FLAMES, Lawton, John (Atlantic $24.00). Old Flames is a riveting spy novel sparked by historical events, with a twisting, turning plot that The Sunday Times (London) declares "a strange, thoughtful, quiet, intelligent spellbinder of a book, penetrating the very heart of betrayal." Kirkus & PW
**SHUTTER ISLAND, Lehane, Dennis (Morrow, $25.95). Two US Marshalls travel to a federal mental institution on a small island in Massachusett’s Outer Harbor to decipher clues left by an escaped patient. DP
**UNIFORM JUSTICE, Leon, Donna (Atlantic $24.00). Leon is the internationally bestselling novelist whose ever adroit, big-hearted Venetian detective Commissario Guido Brunetti has captivated fans throughout the world. As Uniform Justice opens, Brunetti is called to investigate a parent's worst nightmare: a young cadet has been found hanged, a presumed suicide, in Venice's elite military academy. Library Journal & Booklist
**THE DOGS OF RIGA, Mankell, Henning (New Press, $24.95). Bringing the acclaimed series to a close, The Dogs of Riga takes Inspector Kurt Wallander to Riga, Latvia, to investigate the murder of two Eastern European criminals. Kirkus & PW
**LAST LESSONS OF SUMMER, Maron, Margaret (Penzler $23.95). In this dark and suspenseful departure from her critically acclaimed Deborah Knott series, award-winning author Maron follows a young publisher's search for answers to old murders. Kirkus & PW
**THE PROTECTOR, Morrell, David (Warner, $25.95).
**SIX EASY PIECES: Easy Rawlins Stories, Mosley, Walter (Atria $24.00) LJ & DP
**COLD PURSUIT, Parker, T. Jefferson (Hyperion $23.95) From the Edgar Award-winning author of Silent Joe comes a new hard-hitting thriller of murder, vengeance, and secret passions that will keep readers spellbound. Booklist, Kirkus & DP
**SOUL CIRCUS, Pelecanos, George P. (Little Brown $24.95). A Washington, D.C., crime overlord is fighting for his life in court. Two younger dealers are fighting for his territory, prestige, and millions of dollars in future profits. It takes only one slip--a kid going out of control with a rented pistol--to push friction closer to wholesale slaughter. Booklist, PW & DP
**RESURRECTION MEN, Rankin, Ian (Little, Brown, $19.95). Inspector John Rebus has messed up badly this time, so badly that he's been sent to a kind of reform school for damaged cops. While there among the last-chancers known as "resurrection men, " he joins a covert mission to gain evidence of a drug heist orchestrated by three of his classmates. Kirkus, LJ & DP
**FOUR FOR A BOY: A John The Eunuch Mystery, Reed, Mary & Eric Mayer (Poisoned Pen, $24.95). John the Eunuch, on his first assignment, investigates a murder involving the imperial heir... Travel back in time from 540 AD to the winter of 525. In Constantinople's Great Church, a crowd has gathered around a recently donated statute of Christ. Suddenly a riot erupts. Three Blues, members of the racing faction favored by heir-to-the-throne Justinian and his intended bride, Theodora, flee. At the base of the marble Christ a wealthy philanthropist lies dead. PW & Booklist
**FIRST DEGREE, Rosenfelt, David (Mysterious, $23.95). In the exciting follow-up to Open and Shut, 30-something defense lawyer Andy Carpenter must solve the crime when his closest friend and the love of his life gets framed for the murder of a cop. Kirkus & PW
**NAKED PREY, Sandford, John (Putnam, $26.95). Lucas Davenport finds some changes--and some nasty surprises--in store, in the chilling new novel by the number one bestselling author. Filled with the rich characterization and exceptional drama that are his hallmarks, this is Sandford's most suspenseful novel yet. Kirkus & PW
**UNPAID DUES, Seranella, Barbara (Scribner $24.00) Kirkus & DP
**CITY OF STRANGERS, Shannon, John (Carroll & Graf , $24.00) In the sixth novel of the series that the Philadelphia Inquirer calls "lean and literate" P.I. Jack Liffey probes the complex ethnic mix of the Persian communities in Los Angeles in a gripping tale that confronts youthful idealism with perfervid fundamentalism. Booklist & PW
BEST FIRST NOVELS IN U.S. 2003
**THE 6TH LAMENTATION, Broderick, William (Viking $24.95). When Father Anselm gives sanctuary to a suspected Nazi criminal at Lakewood Priory, he puts in motion more trouble than he ever could have imagined. PW & Booklist
**HAUNTED GROUND, Hart, Erin (Scribner $24.00). A gifted author who combines rich atmosphere with archeology, history, and extraordinary forensic detail. LJ & Booklist
**THE NIGHT OF THE DANCE, Hime, James (St. Martin’s Minotaur $24.95). A retired Texas Ranger, a good ol' boy sheriff and a hotheaded deputy team up to solve a Texas county's most notorious missing persons case in this jaunty debut crime novel. PW & Booklist
**THE HIT, Hoar, Jere (Context $24.95). Luke Carr is a mental patient in a VA hospital. As part of his treatment, he has filled several notebooks with the details of the events that have brought him here. It is these notebooks we read as we work our way through THE HIT.
**THE BUSINESS OF DYING, Kernick, Simon (Minotaur $24.95). A remarkable first novel from an exciting new British talent-- "the crime debut of the year." (The Independent on Sunday, UK) Cynical and jaded, Detective Sergeant Dennis Milne earns money on the side by doing what he does best: punishing the bad guys. But this time he's been duped. PW, LJ & DP
**MISSION FLATS, Landay, Bill (Delacorte $23.95). In the bestselling tradition of Scott Turow and Dennis Lehane, a former district attorney explodes onto the scene with a blistering debut set in Maine and Boston. Kirkus, PW & DP
**THE DANTE CLUB, Pearl, Matthew (Random House $24.95). When a series of gruesome murders erupts in 1865, only Boston's literary elite realize that the style and form of the killings are derived from Dante's Inferno. Twenty-six-year-old Pearl brilliantly blends fact and fiction in this debut mystery starring Oliver Wendell Holmes and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Kirkus, Booklist & DP
**BRIDGE OF SIGHS, Steinhauer, Olen (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $23.95). In this auspicious debut, an inexperienced homicide detective struggles amid the lawlessness of a post-World War II eastern European city. Kirkus
**THE BARBED-WIRE KISS, Stroby, Wallace (St. Martin’s Minotaur $24.95). In this brooding, blistering debut set against the spare, atmospheric background of working-class New Jersey, retired police officer Harry Rane gets caught between his past and his future, between justice and vengeance. PW
**FINAL WITNESS, Tolkien, Simon (Random $24.95).The grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien makes a thrilling debut as a novelist in this suspenseful family drama about a teenage boy who accuses his stepmother of murdering his mother, Lady Anne Robinson. Thomas's father, Sir Peter Robinson, is the British minister of defense and refuses to believe his son. Instead, he will be the trial's final witness. (This novel has a 2002 copywrite, but didn't go on sale until January, 2003) Booklist
**MONKEEWRENCH, Tracy, P.J. (Putnam $23.95). Haunted by their pasts, Grace McBride and the crew of her software company, Monkeewrench, create a computer game where the killer is always caught and the good guys always win. But their game becomes a nightmare when someone begins duplicating the fictional murders in real life, down to the last detail. Author is a mother/daughter writing team. PW & DP
**WILEY’S LAMENT, Waiwaiole, Lono (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). It takes the violent death of his estranged daughter, a beautiful young woman who ends up gutted in a cheap motel room to give the drifting Wiley a purpose: revenge. DP
BEST BRITISH NOVELS 2003
**LAZYBONES by Mark Billingham ((Little, Brown £12.99). Someone -- a woman or somebody pretending to be a woman, is writing to convicted rapists in prison, befriending them and then brutally killing them when they are released. DI Tom Thorne must discover the link between these killings and a murder/suicide that took place twenty-five years before; a tragedy to which the only witnesses were two small children, now adults and nowhere to be found.
**BAD MEN by John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99). Three hundred years ago, the settlers on the small Maine island of Sanctuary were betrayed by one of their own, and slaughtered. Now a band of killers has returned to Sanctuary to seek revenge on a young woman and her son, and the only people who stand in their way are a young rookie officer and the island's resident policeman, the troubled giant known as Melancholy Joe Dupree.
**FORGET ME NOT by Mandasue Heller (Hodder and Stoughton, 18.99). Manchester's Westy Lane is no longer a safe haven for the working girl. A killer has made it his local hunting ground and leaving the police a very special gift - a tiny forget-me-not flower placed delicately in victims entrails. Lisa Noone is twelve years old and wise beyond her years. She lives in squalor, close to the ever-approaching poverty line. Pat Noone is her mother, a fearsome woman who just happens to be a member of the oldest profession in the book. Together their lives are far from perfect, but they will always have each other. Or will they?
**DEADLIGHT by Graham Hurley (Orion, July, 2003, £9.99). The 4th Joe Faraday police procedural. Joe is taking some well-deserved time off when a call comes for him to take on a new murder case. "Can’t someone else handle it?" No, because this time the victim is a "screw" at a nearby prison. In other words, high profile.
**THE MURDER EXCHANGE by Simon Kernick (Bantam Press, £12.99). When ex-mercenary Max Iversson is introduced to nightclub owner Roy Fowler, he senses immediately that the man's trouble. Fowler wants security for a meeting with a group of 'businessmen' who are looking to buy his club. Five grand for a couple of hours' work is too tempting a proposition to turn down, so Iversson, who now runs his own firm of freelance bodyguards, takes the job. But when he and two colleagues accompany Fowler to a deserted north London industrial estate to exchange the deeds for the money, it turns out to be not so much a double-cross as a bloodbath. Three men end up dead, and Iversson only just gets out alive. Now he wants to know who's behind the killings.
**THE HOUSE SITTER by Peter Lovesey (Little Brown, £16.99, February, 2003). The title is deceptively calm and innocuous. But the story isn’t. "If you were planning a murder and wanted a place to carry it out, a beach would do nicely... After the deed is done, the tide comes in and washes everything clean. Your footprints, fingerprints, traces of DNA, all disappear. Scenes of crime officers, eat your hearts out." That’s how Chapter 1 begins.
**THE DISTANT ECHO by Val McDermid (HarperCollins, May 2003, £17.99). In 1978, four male students find the body of Rosie Duff half-buried in the snow and their lives are variously damaged by the suspicion that falls on them when the murder is never solved; a quarter of a century later, the case is reopened and suddenly the quartet start to be killed one after the other.
**WEAVING SHADOWS, Murphy, Margaret (Hodder & Stoughton, £17.99). The sequel to the excellent DARKNESS FALLS finds barrister Clara Pascal still suffering from the psychological damage incurred from events chronicled in that book. She has lost her nerve and refuses to take any criminal cases. But a child custody case peripherally touches one of murder and she eventually finds herself volunteering her services on behalf of he accused murderer – a man who scares her.
**HELLO BUNNY ALICE by Laura Wilson (Orion, £9.99). In 1967 Bunny Girl Alice Jones met Lenny Maxted one half of the brilliant comic duo, Maxted and Flowers and fell deeply in love with him. But, like so many great comics, Lenny had a dark side. Their love affair ended when Alice found his body hanging from a beam in a Wiltshire cottage. Seven years after his death, in the long hot summer of 1976, Alice is leading a quiet, almost reclusive life in an Oxfordshire farmhouse when, out of the blue, Lenny's partner, Jack Flowers, turns up on her doorstep.
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINALS 2003
**WISDOM OF THE BONES, Hyde, Christopher (Onyx, $7.50). Christopher Hyde takes us to Dallas in November of 1963, where Homicide Detective Ray Duval is about to collide with history. The President's assassination has sent shockwaves of panic throughout the city. And with six months left to live, Duvall is trying to save one last life before he loses his own.