Best of 2012: Crime Fiction Offers Entertainment, Social Commentary

By Cogdill, Oline H | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), December 21, 2012 | Go to article overview

Best of 2012: Crime Fiction Offers Entertainment, Social Commentary


Cogdill, Oline H, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The best crime fiction offers equal parts entertainment and social commentary -- stories that we remember long after the final chapter.

Of the more than 125 or so novels I read during 2012, these are my favorites.

"Live by Night" by Dennis Lehane. Morrow: A lean, tightly focused epic that looks at Prohibition and the organized crime that flourished because of it. Mr. Lehane's 10th novel goes beyond the life of crime, skirting that fine line between glorifying the illegal and showing the humanity that exists even in mobsters. With action that moves from Boston to Ybor City, Fla., to Cuba, the novel examines our history and morality in an amoral world.

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn. Crown: A wife's disappearance leads to the disintegration of what seems like a perfect marriage.

"The Drop" by Michael Connelly. Little, Brown: Twenty years of Harry Bosch still seems fresh.

"And When She Was Good" by Laura Lippman. Morrow: A suburban madam comes to terms with her career choice.

"The Cutting Season" by Attica Locke. Harper: The changing face of racism and classism intersect with the past and present on a Louisiana antebellum mansion that's managed as a tourist stop by an African American woman whose ancestors were slaves on the plantation. This artificial look at the past may be impinged by a corporation that has been buying up the surrounding land and hiring illegal laborers instead of local workers.

"A Killing in the Hills" by Julia Keller. Minotaur: An insightful look at the ennui of a community paralyzed by poverty and despair and the pride of people who refuse to succumb to the insidiousness of drugs.

"The Lost Ones" by Ace Atkins. …

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