The following is a list of 2007 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 2006
DP List 2005
DP List 2004
DP List 2003
DP List 2002
DP List 2001
DP List 2000
**THE SONG IS YOU, Abbott, Megan E. (Simon & Schuster $23.00). From Edgar Award-nominated novelist Megan Abbott, who makes ("devotees of Cain and Chandler fall down and beg for mercy" )"The Hollywood Reporter"), comes an imaginative new novel about the mysterious murder of an actress that remains unsolved today. Kirkus
**NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, Barclay, Linwood (Bantam, $22.00). Cynthia Archer wakes up one morning in high school to discover that her entire family has disappeared. Twenty-five years later, she begins to notice odd and sinister signs. As dark secrets unfold, the shocking truth slowly emerges. LJ & Kirkus
**CHRISTINE FALLS, Black, Benjamin (John Banville) (Holt $25.00). In the debut crime novel from a Booker Prize-winning author, a Dublin pathologist follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of a conspiracy among the city's high Catholic society.
Kirkus, LJ & DP
**BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, Blunt, Giles (Holt $19.95). In Blunt's most masterful and thrilling novel yet, Detective John Cardinal is on the hunt for an ingenious killer even as he mourns his own wife's tragic death. Kirkus, LJ & BL
**FREE FIRE, Box. C.J. (Putnam $24.95). In this newest mystery, former game warden Joe Pickett returns to investigate a murder in the wilds of Yellowstone National Park. PW, LJ & Booklist
**BANGOK HAUNTS, Burdett, John (Knopf $24.95). Sonchai Jitpleecheep— the devout Buddhist Royal Thai Police detective who led us through the best sellers Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo—has seen virtually everything on his beat in Bangkok’ s District 8, but nothing like the video he’ s just been sent anonymously: “ Few crimes make us fear for the evolution of our species. I am watching one right now.” PW & BL
**THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN, Burke, James Lee (Simon & Schuster, $26.00). Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux returns in an adventure as timely as real life. Detective Robicheaux, driven by a keen sense of right versus wrong in the fight against crime following Hurricane Katrina, has his own demons of alcoholism and rage to contend with as well. Booklist, PW, LJ & DP
**NEW ENGLAND WHITE, Carter, Stephen L. (Knopf, $26.95). Stephen L. Carter returns to the New England university town of Elm Harbor, where a murder begins to crack the veneer that has hidden the racial complications of the town’ s past, the secrets of a prominent family, and the most hidden bastions of African-American political influence. Booklist, Kirkus & LJ
**THE YIDDISH POLICEMAN'S UNION, Chabon, Michael (HarperCollins $26.95). The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay pens an homage to the stylish menace of 1940s noir, in a novel that imagines if Alaska, not Israel, had become the homeland for the Jews after World War II. LJ, Booklist & Kirkus
**SACRED GAMES, Chandra, Vikram (HarperCollins $29.95). Set in present-day Mumbai, this work tells the story of a notorious Hindu gangster and a police inspector whose lives unfold and eventually intersect with cataclysmic consequences. A gripping epic saga, the tale is filled with humour, tragedy, and characters who prove to be all too human. Booklist & DP
**BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE, Child, Lee (Delacorte $26.00). The latest Jack Reacher has him reuniting with his group of special investigators from his years in the Army – to find the killer of one of their former comrades. LJ, Booklist, Kirkus & DP
**HIDDEN MOON, Church, James (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $23.95). Inspector O returns from a mission abroad to find that there has been a bank robbery--the first ever in Pyongyang--and his new police commander wants action. Set in North Korea, this follow-up to A Corpse in the Koryo takes readers into an unfamiliar, perplexing universe, seemingly so alien that the rules are an enigma. LJ & PW
**THE WOODS, Coben, Harlan (Dutton $26.95). Twenty years ago, four teenagers at summer camp walked into the woods at night. Two were found murdered, and the others were never seen again. Four families had their lives changed forever. Now, two decades later, their lives are about to change again. LJ & DP
**THE OVERLOOK, Connelly, Michael (Little, Brown, $21.99). In his first case since he left the LAPDs Open Unsolved Unit for the Homicide Special squad, Bosch is called out to investigate a murder that may have chilling consequences for national security. PW & DP
**THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING, Cook, Thomas H. (Harcourt $24.00). Following the death of her schizophrenic son, Diana refuses to accept the authorities' conclusion that his death was accidental. She begins to send her brother David faxes and e-mails about ancient murders, and David soon fears for his own family's safety as the seductive qualities of Diana's manic energy become impossible to ignore. BL, DP & PW
**SWEET REVENGE, Davidson, Dianne Mott (Morrow, $25.95). The best-selling author of Dark Tort and Double Shot delivers another knockout novel featuring Colorado caterer Goldy Schultz. PW & LJ
**CHAIN OF EVIDENCE, Disher, Garry (Soho Press, $23.00). Inspector Hal Challis has been summoned to Mawson's Bluff, his childhood home in the Australian Outback, where his father is dying. Sergeant Ellen Destry is left to head an investigation into a ring of pedophiles that has descended on the peaceful Mornington Peninsula, a resort community near Melbourne. Kirkus, BL & DP
**THREE SISTERS, Doss, James (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). A local woman, one of three daughters of a wealthy rancher, is found dead, mauled beyond recognition. Soon afterward, the womans two sisters, one of whom is a popular TV psychic, show up and begin to demand answers. Ute tribal investigator Charlie Moon enlists the help of his aunt Daisy Perika, a shaman, as he tracks down a killer. Kirkus & PW
**THE ARSENIC LABRYINTH, Edwards, Martin (Poisoned Pen $ 24.95). After 10 years, Guy--a drifter with a taste for deception--has returned to Coniston in England's Lake District. A local journalist, Tony di Venuto, is campaigning to revive interest in the disappearance of Emma Bestwick, and Guy knows what happened to her. LJ
**DIE WITH ME, Forbes, Elena (MacadamCage, $24.00). A new detective series in the style of Prime Suspect from a great new talent from the UK. A series of deaths -- apparent suicides -- of vulnerable young girls is baffling police in London: the bodies are found in the naves of churches after having fallen from a great height. Booklist & LJ
**THE INDIAN BRIDE, Fossum, Karin (Hartcourt, $23.00). In this brilliantly conceived, dark novel from one of Europes most successful crime writers, Inspector Konrad Sejer understands that good people can commit atrocious deeds, and that no one is altogether as innocent as he or she may appear. PW & Booklist
**WHITE CORRIDOR, Fowler, Christopher (Bantam, $24.00). For uniquely atmospheric, richly rewarding, and teasingly thrilling mysteries, there's nothing better than the latest adventure of crime fiction's oddest couple, Bryant and May, and London's Peculiar Crimes Unit. PW & BL
**FOOLS RUSH IN, Gorman, Ed (Pegasus, $24.00). In America's heartland, Sam McCain seeks justice for a black college student who's found dead in a car trunk at the drive-in, while thousands gather in the nation's capital for the March on Washington with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. LJ & DP
**T IS FOR TRESPASS, Grafton, Sue (Putnam, $26.95). The latest Kinsey Millhone. Though set in the late eighties, T is for Trespass could not be more topical: identity theft; elder abuse; betrayal of trust; the breakdown in the institutions charged with caring for the weak and the dependent. It reveals a terrifying but all-too-real rip in the social fabric. Kirkus, PW & LJ
**THE BOOK OF AIR AND SHADOWS, Gruber, Michael (Morrow $24.95). Hidden in the binding of a charred and ruined book is a cache of letters. They are encrypted and the key to unlocking the mysterious code has been lost for 400 years. If the letters are read, they will lead to one of the most valuable items in the history of the world. PW, Kirkus & BL
**MAGIC CITY, Hall, James W. (Minotaur $24.95). Like the film Chinatown, Magic City evokes a time in our nation's history when powerful men were willing to do whatever they thought necessary to achieve their goals. This character-driven thriller exposes decades-old secrets in the place. LJ & Booklist
**DOWN RIVER, Hart, John (St. Martin’s, $24.95). John Hart takes readers into the heart of a small Southern town, where he explores the lengths to which people will go for money, family, and pure greed--and just whether or not forgiveness is ever attainable. PW, Booklist, LJ & DP
**DEATH COMES FOR THE FAT MAN, Hill, Reginald (HarperCollins $24.95).Award-winning author Hill returns with an explosive new novel featuring his popular Yorkshire policemen Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe. Kirkus & DP
**THE PURE IN HEART, Hill, Susan (Overlook, $24.95). In this follow-up to The Various Haunts of Men, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler is on vacation in Venice, trying to come to terms with the brutal murder of a young woman who had been in love with him. His trip is cut short after he is summoned home to the cathedral town of Lafferton, where a little boy has been snatched. Kirkus, LJ & Booklist
**LETTERS FROM CARTHAGE, James, Bill (Severn $27.95). A fresh and original take on a mystery within a mystery -- Fresh from the inner city, Vince and Kate are new to the suburbia of Tabbett Drive, delighted to have accessed this middle-class paradise. They've even found the neighbors remarkably friendly Jill and Dennis Seagrave seem particularly affable. However, Kate begins to detect all is not as it seems with the Seagraves. Can it be that beneath the facade of this perfect suburban calm lie secrets as dangerous as any inner city? Is everything is anything as it seems? Kirkus & BL
**LOOKING GOOD DEAD, James, Peter (Carroll & Graf $25.95/14.95). Tom Bryce did what any decent person would do. But within hours of picking up the CD that had been left behind on the train seat next to him, and attempting to return it to its owner, he is the sole witness to a vicious murder. Then his young family are threatened with their lives if he goes to the police. PW , LJ & Kirkus
**TROUBLE, Kellerman, Jesse (Putnam $24.95). Following up his critically acclaimed debut Sunstroke, Kellerman pens a brilliant new thriller--twisted, sexy, and unrelentingly gripping. Kirkus
**THE COLDEST BLOOD, Kelly, Jim (Minotaur $24.95). In this fourth entry in Kelly's highly praised series, small-town newspaper reporter Philip Dryden's wife Laura is slowly emerging from her coma, but she's not sure she wants to go on living. Meanwhile, Dryden follows a trail of betrayals to a brilliantly executed crime--and a half-remembered mystery from his own past. Kirkus & BL
**DEAD EX, Kozak, Harley Jane (Doubleday, $21.95). When David Zetrakis, the producer of a popular soap opera, is found shot to death the day after Christmas, Wollie Shelley finds herself caught up in a murder in which there is no shortage of suspects. PW, DP & LJ
**A KILLER’S KISS, Lashner, William (Morrow, $24.95). Two police detectives pay Philadelphia DA Victor Carl a late-night call to inform him that Dr. Wren Denniston, the husband of Carl's former fiancée, Julia, was found shot to death in his Chestnut Hill mansion earlier that evening. Since Carl, known for his malleable ethics, had been entertaining Julia at his apartment shortly before the detectives' arrival in an effort to revive their relationship, he becomes a prime suspect. PW & Booklist
**DOWN INTO DARKNESS, Lawrence, David (St. Martin’s Minotaur, &24.95). The naked body of a young woman is found hanging from a tree on a London roadside with the words dirty girl scrawled across her back. With no means to identify the victim and no apparent motive, Detective Stella Mooney is baffled. Until a man is found dead by the river: another body, another message. PW & Booklist
**DEXTER IN THE DARK, Lindsay, Jeff (Doubleday, $23.95). Crime scene investigator Dexter Morgan is not unaccustomed to seeing evil deeds--particularly because he commits them himself. But at a particularly disturbing scene, he realizes hes being hunted by an adversary more sinister than he’ ever faced. Booklist & LJ
**WHAT THE DEAD KNOW, Lippman, Laura (Morrow $24.95). Lippman returns to the compelling terrain of Every Secret Thing and To the Power of Three with this indelible story of crime and vengeance in which the past becomes all too present. PW & Kirkus
**THE SECRET HANGMAN, Lovesey, Peter (see listing under Best British).
**BLOODSHOT, MacBride, Stuart (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95). Scottish series featuring detective Logan MacRae. PW & Booklist
**THE FOURTH SACRIFICE, May, Peter (Minotaur $24.95). From the author of The Firemaker comes a mystery that again links American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell with Chinese police detective Li Yan. The two are necessary partners investigating an outbreak of gruesome murders that shake Beijing. LJ & DP
**THE GOOD HUSBAND OF ZEBRA DRIVE: NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY, McCall Smith, Alexander (Pantheon $21.95). For Mma Ramotswe, there is rarely a dull moment, and in her newest round of adventures, the same certainly holds true. One thing above all else is keeping her occupied--her estimable husband has been hinting that he intends to do something special for their adopted daughter. PW & Booklist
**SECOND SIGHT, McCarry, Charles (Overlook, $25.95). In this seventh book in the series, which spins its way from pre-Nazi Germany to Vietnam, legendary spy Paul Christopher is pulled out of retirement to engage in a global manhunt that swiftly turns into something far closer to home. BL & LJ
**LONE CREEK, McMahon, Neil (HarperCollins $24.95). In this edgy thriller set on his home turf of Montana, McMahon interweaves the story of family dynasties and an unsolved mystery, all against the backdrop of the beautiful, hard Western landscape. PW & BL
**THE SAVAGE GARDEN Mills, Mark (Putnam $24.95). Set in the Tuscan hills, this new work by the of Amagansett is the story of two murders, 400 years apart--and the ties that bind them. Kirkus, LJ & PW
**THE EVER-RUNNING MAN, Muller, Marcia (Warner, $24.95). Sharon McCone is hired by her husband's security firm to track down "the ever-running man," a shadowy figure who has been leaving explosive devices at their various offices. He is dangerously close--and anyone connected to the firm seems to be within his deadly range. PW & Booklist
**FIND ME, O'Connell, Carol (Penguin $24.95). From one of the most acclaimed crime writers in America comes her most astonishing novel: a story of love, loss, death, and discovery. Kathy Mallory will find herself hunting a killer like none she has ever known, and will undergo a series of revelations not only of stunning intensity, but stunning effect. BL & LJ
**STORM RUNNERS, Parker, T. Jefferson (Morrow $25.95). From the Edgar-Award-winning author of California Girl comes the powerfully wrought novel of a damaged former cop who must outwit a brutal and cunning adversary. LJ, BL & DP
**KILLER WEEKEND, Pearson, Ridley (Putnam, $24.95). Eight years ago, in Sun Valley, Idaho, all that stood between U.S. Attorney General Elizabeth Shaler and a knife-wielding killer was local patrolman Walt Fleming. Now Liz Shaler returns to Sun Valley as the keynote speaker of billionaire Patrick Cutter's world-famous media and communications conference, a security nightmare for Walt Fleming, now the county sheriff. LJ & BL
**A FATAL GRACE, Penny, Louise (St. Martin’s Minotaur $23.95). From the Dagger and Arthur Ellis Award-winning author of Still Life comes the second Gamache mystery set in the stunning countryside of Quebec. LJ & Kirkus
**THE REINCARNATIONIST, Rose, M.J. (Mira, $24.95). A bomb erupts in Rome and photojournalist Josh Ryders world will never be the same. As he recovers, his mind is invaded by emotionally intense and vivid memories--but they are not "his" memories. LJ & PW
**PLAY DEAD, Rosenfelt, David (Warner, $24.99). Edgar Award finalist and "Today" show Book Club pick author David Rosenfelt spins a tale of crime and courtroom theatrics where the only witness to a high-profile murder is a golden retriever. PW, LJ, BL & DP
**SALT RIVER, Sallis, James (Walker, $23.95). The poignant and surprising new thriller by one of Americas most acclaimed writers follows ex-cop, ex-con, and war veteran John Turner as he goes in search of a truth hes not sure he can live with. Kirkus & PW
**STALIN’S GHOST, Smith, Martin Cruz (Simon & Schuster, $24.95). Gorky Park's Detective Arkady Renko returns to his Moscow base in Martin Cruz Smith's latest entry in the series about Russian crimes, broken hearts, and the mysteries of the soul. PW, LJ & DP
**VICTORY SQUARE, Steinhauer, Olen (St. Martin’s, $24.95). One of the earliest cases of the People’ s Militia reemerges to torment all of the inspectors, including Emil Brod, now the chief, who was the original detective on the case. His arrest of one of the country’ s revolutionary leaders in the late 1940s resulted in the politician’ s conviction and imprisonment, but Emil was too young in those days to understand what it meant to go up against someone so powerful— and win. Booklist & LJ
**THREE BAGS FULL, Swann, Leonie (Doubleday, $22.95). A witty philosophical murder mystery with a charming twist: the crack detectives are sheep determined to discover who killed their beloved shepherd in this internationally bestselling tale
**THE BROKEN SHORE, Temple, Peter (FSG $25.00). Winner of the Colin Roderick Award as well as Australia's major prize for crime fiction, the Ned Kelly Award, Temple has written a transfixing and moving novel about a place, a family, politics and power, and the need to live decently in a world where so much is rotten. PW, BL & DP
**ASPHALT MOON, Tierney, Ronald (Severn House, $27.95). The murder rate in Indianapolis is climbing, and someone wants to add 70-year-old private eye Deets Shanahan to the citys crime statistics. Who is it? Why? While the veteran investigator is willing to take on the mysterious stalker, he fears that the love of his life, live-in girlfriend Maureen, is in the killers sights as well. DP
**A FALSE MIRROR, Todd, Charles (Morrow $23.95). A love triangle turned deadly sends Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge to Hampton Regis, a small harbor town that simmers with secrets. Accused of beating the husband of a woman who jilted him, Rutledge's former trenchmate takes her hostage to escape arrest, and he demands Rutledge prove his innocence. PW & DP
**SLIVER OF TRUTH, Unger, Lisa (Crown $23.00). Love hurts, sometimes it even kills. Just as Ridley Jones, first introduced in Beautiful Lies, begins to move on with her life, a seemingly mundane act--picking up a few prints at a photo lab--puts her at the nexus of a global network of crime. BL & PW
**WHAT'S SO FUNNY?, Westlake, Donald (Warner $24.00). Hapless crook John Dortmunder is back with all the wrong moves in another tale of larcenous greed. Booklist
**THE RELIGION, Willocks, Tim (FSG $26.00). Willocks, a novelist (Bad City Blues) and screenwriter (Sin), strikes gold with this epic account of the Turkish siege of Malta in 1565--the first of a planned trilogy featuring Mattias Tannhauser, the son of a Saxon blacksmith. Kirkus, LJ & PW
BEST FIRST NOVELS
**ORIGIN, Abu-Jaber, Diana (Norton, $24.95). A fingerprint expert's investigation of a series of crib deaths leads her back to the mystery of her own childhood. The beauty and originality of Diana Abu-Jaber's writing are here accompanied by deft, page-turning narrative tension and atmosphere, tugging the reader to an unforgettable conclusion. PW & Booklist
**WILD INDIGO, Ault, Sandi (Berkley $23.95). Jamaica Wild, an agent with the Bureau of Land Management, witnesses a Tanoah man being trampled to death by stampeding buffalo. Was it an accident? Suicide? Foul play? LJ & PW
**RED SEA, Benedek, Emily (St. Martin’s Press, $24.95). Based on real intelligence, this debut novel takes readers on a frighteninglyplausible thrill ride into the dark heart of international terrorism. LJ & DP
**HEARTSICK, Cain, Chelsea (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $23.95). Between the humanity of Portland cop Archie Sheridan and the chilling and twisted design of his beautiful nemesis, Gretchen Lowell, Heartsick is utterly unforgettable. Booklist, PW, LJ & DP
**MISSING WITNESS, Campbell, Gordon (Morrow, $24.95). Phoenix, Arizona, 1973. A beautiful woman, armed with a gun and accompanied by her twelve-year-old daughter, enters a house. Shots are fired. The woman and her daughter leave the house. Inside, her husband lies dead. The case seems open and shut. DP
**INTERRED WITH THEIR BONES, Carrell, Jennifer Lee (Dutton, $25.95). On the eve of the Globe's production of "Hamlet," Shakespearean scholar Kate Shelton is given what is claimed to be the Bards long-lost work. When a killer decides to stage theatrical murders as flesh-and-blood realities, Shelton must decipher a string of clues before anyone else dies. PW & LJ
**BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD, Chercover, Sean (Morrow, $23.95). While working on a movie in Chicago, Hollywood locations manager Bob Loniski saw something he shouldn't have. Now he's a prosecution witness against a suspected member of the Chicago Outfit. Petrified, he comes to disillusioned newspaper reporter turned private detective, Ray Dudgeon for protection. Ray's mob contacts insist that they have no interest in Loniski, so he takes the bodyguard gig. DP
**A SPY BY NATURE, Cumming, Charles (St. Martin’s, $24.95). This debut novel by Cumming introduces Alec Milius, a smart and ambitious economics graduate. When he lands a prime job for a British oil company, Alec finds himself trapped in a world of secrets and lies that could cost him his life. PW
**MEDICUS, Downie, Ruth (Bloomsbury $23.95). Gaius Petrius Ruso is a divorced and down-on-his luck army doctor who has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. When he rescues an injured slave girl, she drags trouble in her wake. BL, LJ, Kirkus & DP
**NEFERTITI: THE BOOK OF THE DEAD, Drake, Nick (HarperCollins $24.95). A thrilling novel set in ancient Egypt in which a savvy detective is secretly assigned to unravel the mysterious disappearance of the world's most enigmatic queen. PW & DP
**IN THE WOODS, French, Tana (Viking, $24.95). Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, this novel marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense. Booklist
**VOLK’S GAME, Ghelfi, Brent (Holt, $19.95). The explosive debut introducing Russian gangster Alexei Volkovoy delivers at every turn, announcing Volk as the boldest hero of a new generation. LJ & DP
**VINNIE'S HEAD, Lecard, Marc (Minotaur $23.95). Lecard's debut novel, a darkly comic whodunit, is quickly drawing comparisons to Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard. After Johnnie reels in the biggest catch of his life--his best friend's Vinnie's head--he finds that Mafia thugs, bounty hunters, and Vinnie's girlfriend are after him. PW
**THE SPELLMAN FILES, Lutz, Lisa (Simon & Schuster $25.00). Meet Izzy Spellman, a 28-year-old private eye working for her family's investigative business--a family that puts the 'fun' in dysfunctional--in this irresistible, laugh-out-loud debut novel. LJ, Kirkus & DP
**THE REDBREAST, Nesbo, Jo (HarperCollins, $24.95). The Redbreast is the winner of the Glass Key prize for the best Nordic crime novel, and has been voted Norway's best work of crime fiction. PW & LJ
**THE COMMISSION, Norman, Michael (Poisoned Pen $24.95). A parole board chair's murder makes both politicians and the press anxious. In his fiction debut, Norman offers a refreshing throwback to the lean, straight-ahead police procedures of the Dragnet era. PW & DP
**THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES, Penney, Stef (Simon & Schuster, $25.00). A man is found murdered and a 17-year-old boy is on the run. While vigilantes and rescue searchers head out to look for the fugitive, all the mother of the boy wants is her son back. She will do anything to see him home safe, even at the peril of her own life. LJ, Kirkus & PW
**COLLABORATOR OF BETHLEHEM, Rees, Matt Beynon (Soho $22.00). The Collaborator of Bethlehem is the best-and the rarest-sort of mystery: exciting and compelling, but it is also a deeply moving story that will, for many readers, shed much needed light on the conditions in the Palestinian territories. Matt Beynon Rees's ability to blend the political and the emotional is reminiscent of Graham Greene." – David Liss PW & DP
**THE BLADE ITSELF, Sakey, Marcus (Minotaur $22.95). In an explosive debut thriller reminiscent of the best of Dennis Lehane and Harlan Coben, a young Chicago professional learns that the more he has, the more he has to lose. LJ, PW & DP
**THE CHRYSALIS, Terrell, H.B. (Ballantine, $21.95). An international thriller that spans centuries, this stunning debut traces a mysterious Dutch masterpiece through the clutches of the Nazis and into the dark underbelly of today's art world. Kirkus
**STONE COLD, Baldacci, David (Grand Central, $26.99). Oliver Stone and his Camel Club are back to save the life of a beautiful con-artist, to implicate a shady casino king, and to solve a string of murders of Washington, D.C., political staffers. PW, LJ & Booklist
**BLACK HATS: A Novel of Wyatt Earp and Al Capone, Culhane, Patrick (Max Allan Collins)
(Morrow $24.95). An original thriller that re-creates an exciting and dangerous time in American history and brings together Wyatt Earp and Al Capone--two storied and feared crime legends. LJ & DP
**NAPOLEON'S PYRAMIDS, Dietrich, William (HarperCollins $24.95). An 18th-century explorer travels to Egypt as part of Napoleon's great expedition, where he stumbles into a deadly 6,000-year-old mystery. Dietrich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is also the author of The Scourge of God and Hadrian's Wall. PW & LJ
**MAN IN THE MIDDLE, Haig, Brian (Warner $25.99). Ripped from today's headlines, this novel finds Army lawyer Sean Drummond caught between duty to Washington's elite and the soldiers in Iraq after he's sent to investigate the suicide of one of the most influential defense officials. LJ
**BODY OF LIES, Ignatius, David (Norton $24.95). Roger Ferris is one of the CIA's soldiers in the war on terrorism whose mission is to penetrate the network of a master terrorist. In a scheme that binds friend and foe in a web of extraordinary subtlety and complexity, Ferris finds himself flying blind into a hurricane. PW
**DARKNESS FALLS, Mills, Kyle (Vanguard, $24.95). A number of important Saudi oil wells have stopped producing and Erin Neal is the world's foremost expert in resolving just these kinds of complications. Erin quickly finds himself stuck in the Saudi desert studying a new bacteria with a voracious appetite for oil and an uncanny talent for destroying drilling equipment. Booklist & PW
**SCAVENGER, Morrell, David (Vanguard $24.95). A desperate high-tech scavenger hunt for a 100-year-old time capsule. Frank Balenger, the resolute but damaged hero of Creepers, now finds himself trapped in a nightmarish game of fear and death. To save himself and the woman he loves, he must play by the rules of a god-like Game Master with an obsession for unearthing the past. But sometimes the past is buried for a reason. Booklist & DP
**SILENCE, Perry, Thomas (Harcourt, $25.00). Six years ago P.I. Jack Till helped Wendy Harper disappear. Now someone is charged with her murder and Jack must find her to save the life of an innocent man. But is he being used as a Judas goat so that those who want Wendy dead, can find her?
BEST BRITISH NOVELS
**CROSS, Bruen, Ken (Bantam Press, £17.99). Jack Taylor brings death and pain to everyone he loves. His only hope of redemption - his surrogate son, Cody - is lying in hospital in a coma. At least he still has Ridge, his old friend from the Guards, though theirs is an unorthodox relationship. When she tells him that a boy has been crucified in Galway city, he agrees to help her search for the killer.
**THE DEATH OF DALZIEL, Hill, Reginald (HarperCollins, £17.99). See listing under Best Novels.
**ONE UNDER, Hurley, Graham (Orion, £9.99). Faraday is stumped by the case the mangled murder victim found in a railroad tunnel. How can he solve the murder if he doesn't even know who the body belongs to?
**HOT BLOOD, Leather, Stephen (Hodder & Stoughton, £17.99). Now working for the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Dan “Spider” Shepherd is working undercover to catch some of the toughest criminals in the country. But when the man who once saved his life is kidnapped in Iraq, Shepherd takes time off to help his friend.
**THE SECRET HANGMAN, Lovesey, Peter (Little,Brown, £17.99). Peter Diamond runs over costume researcher Paloma Kean’s groceries in a parking lot and insists on paying, and she reciprocates with an offer of dinner. Paloma, a divorcee, seems smitten with the burly, cantankerous detective, and her son Jerry, a religious fanatic and hospital volunteer, doesn’t object. But romance must take a back seat to the latest scourge of Bath, an unknown serial killer who likes to hang his victims from high, very public places. LJ & PW
**DANGEROUS GAMES, Spencer, Sally (Severn House, £18.99, $27.95). What is first thought to be a suicide by hanging quickly becomes a murder investigation when a second hanging quickly follows the first. DP
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINALS
**QUEENPIN by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster, $13.00). A young woman is hired to keep the books at a down-at-the-heels nightclub and is taken under the wing of the infamous Gloria Denton, a mob luminary. As the roulette wheel turns, both mentor and protege scramble to stay one step ahead of their bosses and each other.
**AMMUNITION by Ken Bruen (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $13.95). When a crazed gunman, hired by persons unknown, pumps a magazine full of bullets into Inspector Brandt, he makes one big mistake – he fails to kill Brandt.
**REASONABLE DOUBTS by Gianrico Carofiglio (Bitter Lemon Press, $14.95). Carofiglio writes crisp, ironical novels that are as much love stories and philosophical treatises as they are legal thrillers".-The New Yorker PW
**AN ACCIDENTAL AMERICAN by Alex Carr (Jenny Siler) (Mortalis/Random House, $9.95). Ex-con Nicole Blake is forced to track down her former lover who is now a suspected terrorist.
**HARD TIME by Maureen Carter (Creme de la Crime, $16.95). British hard-boiled crime at its best. Detective Sergeant Bev Morriss is recovering from the effects of a rape when she finds herself involved in the investigation of a kidnapped 5-year-old boy.
**A KILLING IN COMICS by Max Allan Collins (Berkley Prime Crime, $14.00). When Donny Harrison, the publisher behind the "Wonder Guy" comic, dies at his own birthday party, Jack Starr, a licensed P.I. and V.P. of Starr Syndications, is asked by his boss and stepmother to investigate.
**NO DOMINION by Charlie Huston (Ballantine/DelRey, $13.95). The latest adventure of Joe Pitt, the Bowery-bred vampire P.I. PW
** LOST ECHOES by Joe R. Lansdale (Vintage/Black Lizard, $13.95). Harry Wilkes experiences horrific visions when he visits places where tragic events have occurred. Harry’s childhood crush asks him to help her solve the murder of her father.
**A PERFECT GRAVE by Rick Mofina (Pinnacle, $6.99). Crime reporter Jason Wade investigates the puzzling murder of a beloved nun.
**HAVANA BLUE by Leonardo Padura (Bitter Lemon Press, $14.95). Lt. Mario Conde is asked to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Rafael Morin, a high-level business manager in the Cuban nomenklatura.
**THE CASE OF THE MISSING BOOKS by Ian Sansom (Harper, $12.95). Israel Armstrong is lured to Ireland with the promise of a new career, but is disappointed to find that he has been hired to drive a mobile library around a small town. Then 15,000 of his books disappear. BL
**THE HELLFIRE CONSPIRACY by Will Thomas (Touchstone, $14.00). Barker & Llewelyn are hired to find a missing upper-class girl.