The following is a list of 2005 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 2004
DP List 2003
DP List 2002
DP List 2001
DP List 2000
**SEE ISABELLE RUN, Bloom, Elizabeth (Beth Saulnier) (Mysterious $22.95). Combining thrills with attitude, this novel follows a jilted bride uncovering sinister secrets at a multimedia empire. Booklist & LJ
**BLOODLINES, Burke, Jan (Simon & Schuster $24.95). Reporter Irene Kelly covers the groundbreaking of a shopping center--and the discovery of a buried car containing human remains. Old cases are resurrected, and new dangers arise as she pursues a story that may end her career--and her life. PW
**ONE SHOT, Child, Lee (Delacorte $25.00). Six shots. Five dead. One heartland city thrown into a state of terror. But within hours the cops have it solved: a slam-dunk case. Except for one thing. The accused man says: "You got the wrong guy." Then he says: "Get Reacher for me." LJ & DP
**THE INNOCENT, Coben, Harlan (Dutton $26.95). An electrifying thrill-ride of a novel that peeks behind the white picket fences of suburbia, The Innocent is at once a twisting, turning, emotionally-charged story, and a compelling tale of the choices people make and the repercussions that remain. Kirkus, Booklist & DP
**SYMPATHY BETWEEN HUMANS, Compton, Jodi (Delacorte $22.00). In the powerful sequel to The 37th Hour, Compton's Detective Sarah Pribek is drawn into a new investigation even as she is haunted by the case that changed her forever. LJ & DP
**THE CLOSERS, Connelly, Michael (Little,Brown $26.95). Harry Bosch returns to active duty with the LAPD to work along side his former partner in the Cold Case division ("The Closers"). They catch a break on their first case – recent DNA analysis has found a match to murder evidence in an unsolved case of a young girl long dead. Booklist & DP
**THE FORGOTTEN MAN, Crais, Robert (Doubleday $24.95). In his major "New York Times" bestseller The Last Detective, Crais returned to his signature characters, private investigator Elvis Cole and partner Joe Pike. Now, after scratching the surface of Cole's troubled past, Crais returns with a stunning suspense novel that leads to the dark secrets of Cole's own life. Kirkus & LJ
**JASS, Fulmer, David (Harcourt $23.00). In the rowdy red-light district of Storyville, four players of the new music they call "jass" have turned up dead. When Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr begins to investigate, he discovers every victim once played in the same band, and the only one left alive has gone into hiding. LJ & DP
**A WINDOW IN COPACABANA, Garcia-Roza, Luiz A. Holt $23.00). A ruthless group of corrupt cops is playing a lethal game of cat and mouse in the latest installment in the seductive best-selling Brazilian crime series Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. Kirkus, Booklist & DP
**WITH NO ONE AS WITNESS, George, Elizabeth (HarperCollins $26.95). When an adolescent boy's nude body is found mutilated and artfully arranged on the top of the tomb, it takes no large leap for the police to recognize the work of a serial killer. The case goes to New Scotland Yard Acting Superintendent Thomas Lynley, who must pursue the killer despite a devastating tragedy within the department. Booklist & PW
**AWAY WITH THE FAIRIES, Greenwood, Kerry (Poisoned Pen, $24.95). Searching for the murderer of a famous author, sassy Phryne goes undercover--and is up to her ears in fashion gossip and office politics.... Phryne Fisher is asked to investigate the puzzling death of a famous author and illustrator of fairy stories. To do so, she takes a job within the women's magazine that employed the victim and finds herself enmeshed in her colleagues' deceptions. But while Phryne is learning the ins and outs of magazine publishing first hand, her personal life is thrown into chaos. Impatient for her lover Lin Chung's imminent return from a silk-buying expedition to China, she instead receives an unusual summons from Lin Chung's family followed by a series of mysterious assaults and warnings. - Publisher Marketing. BL & DP
**VALLEY OF BONES, Gruber, Michael (Morrow $24.95). Gruber explores the nature of faith and madness in this brilliantly conceived follow-up to Tropic of Night, his dazzling debut thriller novel. Kirkus, PW, LJ & DP
**THE DEVIL OF NANKING, Hayder, Mo (Grove $24.00). Spine-chilling characters take readers on an electrifying ride deep inside the secret history of one of the 20th century's most brutal events--the Nanking Massacre in 1937--as a young Englishwoman obsessively searches Tokyo for film footage of the massacre and its survivors. Published in the U.K. as Tokyo. PW, Kirkus & DP
**THE CRIME TRADE, Kernick, Simon (St. Martin’sMinotaur $24.95). When Operation Surgical Strike, a police sting designed to catch Colombian drug traffickers, goes horribly wrong, suspicion quickly falls on one of the police officers involved: "Stegs" Jenner. Stegs is no ordinary cop. Something of a maverick, he has in the past played the role of a criminal just a little too well. Now suspended from duty, and with his close friend killed in the shoot-out, he determines to go at it alone. Kirkus & DP
**DATING IS MURDER, Kozak, Harley Jane (Doubleday $19.95). With Dating Is Murder, Kozak delivers another sparkling treasure, a laugh-out-loud funny, literate mystery for readers of Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton, and for Kozak's own growing legion of fans. Kirkus, PW & LJ
**BLOOD FROM A STONE, Leon, Donna (Atlantic $23.00). The victim, a Senegalese street vendor, is shot, assassination style, as he peddles fake handbags to tourists. The murder brings out the latent racism of the locals, and as Brunetti attempts to come to terms with his own feelings about the immigrants, he realizes that the crime is only the tip of an iceberg that he will never be allowed to explore. Kirkus, PW & Booklist
**BEFORE THE FROST, Mankell, Henning (New Press $24.95). Already an international bestseller, Before the Frostinaugurates Mankell's new mystery series about Linda Wallander, daughter of Inspector Kurt Wallander, and also features Stefan Lindman of The Return of the Dancing Master. Booklist & DP
**ALICE IN JEOPARDY, McBain, Ed (Simon & Schuster $25.00). Since her husband's tragic death, Alice Glendenning has struggled to maintain a normal life. Things turn nightmarish when her children disappear, and the ransom demand is identical to the amount due from insurance after her husband's death. Kirkus, Booklist & PW
**IN THE COMPANY OF CHEERFUL LADIES, McCall Smith, Alexander (Pantheon $19.95). This time around, the charming and ever-resourceful Precious Ramotswe finds herself overly beset by problems. She is busier than usual at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, when a strange intruder in her house forces her to confront a painful secret from her past. Booklist, Kirkus & PW
**NIGHTCRAWLERS, Pronzini, Bill (Forge $24.95). Pronzini's "Nameless" detective has become one of the longest-lived, and most highly praised private investigators in the annals of American crime fiction. Nightcrawlers finds Vanessa kidnapped during an investigation and carried to a house in the woods. The clock is ticking and it is a race against time for "Nameless" and Jake. PW & DP
**FLESHMARKET ALLEY, Rankin, Ian (Little Brown $22.95). An illegal immigrant is found murdered in an Edinburgh housing scheme. Rebus is drawn into the case, but has other problems: his old police station has closed for business, and his masters would rather he retire than stick around. But as Rebus investigates, he must deal with the sleazy Edinburgh underworld, and maybe even fall in love. Booklist, Kirkus & DP
**STRANGE AFFAIR, Robinson, Peter (Morrow $24.95). Murder cuts close to home for Inspector Banks in this powerful new tale of suspense from "a gifted creator" ("Boston Globe") PW
**THE HEARTBREAK LOUNGE, Stroby, Wallace (St. Martin’s Minotaur $22.95). Ex-state trooper Harry Rane, who first appeared in Stroby's brilliant debut novel, The Barbed-Wire Kiss, becomes caught up with Nikki Ellis, a woman desperate for help. Her ex, Johnny Harrow, has just been released from prison, and he's on his way to settle his accounts. Kirkus
**MR. LUCKY, Swain, James (Ballantine $19.95). Gambling fraud investigator Tony Valentine looks into a gambling winner who just may be "lucky." Great series. Kirkus & DP
**NICKEL PLATED SOUL, Tierney, Ron (Severn $27.95). 70-ish Indianapolis P.I. Deets Shanahan is back with an intriguing case: Hugh Dart has served his 35 years for the killing of his wife and he now wants Deets to find her – he’s convinced that she is still alive. Booklist & DP
**COLD TREACHERY, Todd, Charles (Bantam $25.00). December, 1919: Deep in England's frozen Lake District, constables discover a scene of unimaginable carnage: the bodies of five family members splayed across a bloodied cottage kitchen. Somewhere amidst the peaks and valleys of this beautiful country lurks a murderer who considers so much spilt blood the least of his revenge. PW
**WATCH YOUR BACK!, Westlake, Donald (Warner $24.95). After a year on the lam, the return of bumbling thief Dortmunder is a cause celebre. Kirkus, Booklist & PW
**VANISHED HANDS, Wilson, Robert (Harcourt $25.00). Javier Falcon begins to investigate a case with no solid evidence when suddenly, in quick succession, two suicides occur. Left to discover what made life so unbearable for these victims, Falcon's task is to find the connection--or were they murdered? British title: The Silence and the Damned. BL & DP
BEST FIRST NOVELS
**THE GEOGRAPHER'S LIBRARY, Fasman, Jon (Penguin $24.95). This brilliant debut novel takes a young reporter from his small-town paper to the heart of an international smuggling ring, centuries old, that amasses the alchemical artifacts that lead to eternal life. Kirkus
**RUN THE RISK, Frost, Scott (Putnam $19.95). Los Angeles homicide detective Alex Delillo works a case that chills her from the start: a small-time shopkeeper is shot to death. Then a rare, untraceable explosive ignites in a bungalow, hurling the front door across the yard. Finally, a teenaged girl goes missing, her car window smashed, her keys still in the ignition. Even before they tell her, Detective Delillo knows that this girl is her daughter. Kirkus
**CAST OF SHADOWS, Guilfoile, Kevin (Knofp, $24.95). When the teenage daughter of a leading fertility specialist is brutally murdered and her father uses his professional skills and a bit of DNA extracted from the death scene to create a copy of her killer. Unlucky, unlikely Justin Finn is the result of Dr. Davis Moore's faith that one day he’ll look into the eyes and soul of the man who raped and strangled Anna Kat
**YEAR OF THE HYENAS: A Novel of Murder in Ancient Egypt, Geagley, Brad (Simon & Schuster, $23.00). In this evocative murder mystery set in ancient Egypt, an empire's sumptuous glory and intrigue blend seamlessly with timeless themes of greed, ambition, and crimes of passion. LJ & DP
**7000 CLAMS, Irby, Lee (Doubleday, $23.95). Frank Hearn is a down-on-his-luck bootlegger and bruiser looking for the big score in 1920s America. When he loses a shipment of top-quality booze to a double-crossing thief, Frank hunts him down, roughs him up, and finds something that catches his eye. What at first appears to be a scrap of paper is actually a handwritten and unmistakably authentic IOU for $7,000, signed by Babe Ruth.
**COLD DISH, Johnson, Craig (Viking, $23.95). When Cody Pritchard is found dead near the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Sheriff Walt Longmire and the general population of Absaroka County are inclined to think it’s a hunting accident. But two years earlier Cody was one four high school boys convicted of brutally raping Melissa Little Bird, a young Cheyenne girl with fetal alcohol syndrome. The boys were guilty but let off with suspended sentences. Was this a revenge killing?
**THE SUSPECT, Robotham, Michael (Doubleday $24.95). Psychiatrist Joe O'Loughlin's comfortable life begins to crumble when he is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and becomes a suspect in a brutal murder case. Kirkus, LJ, Booklist & DP
BEST BRITISH NOVELS
**CUTTING BLADES, Blake, Victoria (Orion, £12.99). P.I. Sam Falconer is asked to investigate the disappearance of a talented young rower for Oxford University. She hopes the case will take her mind off of family matters: her father, whom she had thought long dead, has popped up in her life. And there are men trying to kill him to bury secrets about his participation in assassinations of Irish citizens.
**A GOOD DAY TO DIE, Kernick, Simon (Bantam Press, £12.99, June, 2005). When ex-cop Dennis Milne (from The Business of Dying) -- now living under an assumed identity in the Philippines - hears that his old friend and colleague Malik has been gunned down in a restaurant, he decides to go back to the violent city he once called home, and bring the murderer to book. Kernick is the next big star to come from the U.K.
**THE FIELD OF BLOOD, Mina, Denise (Bantam Press, £12.99). When Brian Wilcox is found brutally battered to death next to a suburban railway line in Glasgow, it is assumed that the toddler is the victim of a predator. Instead the police are led to the doors of two 11-year-old boys.
**UNKNOWN SOLDIER, Seymour, Gerald (Overlook $24.95) Intelligence agents hunt for the world's most lethal terrorist in this thrillingly suspenseful novel from a master of espionage fiction. LJ, Kirkus & DP
** PRINCE OF FIRE, Silva, Daniel (Putnam, $25.95). Art restorer and sometime spy Gabriel Allon. is back in Venice, when a terrible explosion in Rome leads to a disturbing personal revelation: the existence of a dossier in the hands of terrorists that strips away his secrets, lays bare his history. Hastily recalled home to Israel, drawn once more into the heart of a service he had once forsaken, Gabriel Allon finds himself stalking an elusive master.