James Sallis, a master of literary noir, serves up a hallucinatory, almost visionary novel of suspense set in Phoenix, Ariz., The Killer Is Dying. Three alienated characters must each deal with tough personal situations, including a hired gun dying from an unspecified disease.
Another American crime master, George Pelecanos, delivers The Cut, the gripping first in a new series introducing Spero Lucas, a 29-year-old Iraq War vet who does investigative work for a Washington, D.C., defense attorney. An idealist in some ways but no innocent, Lucas accepts a deal from an imprisoned marijuana dealer that nearly destroys Lucas and his multiracial family.
William Kent Krueger never writes the same book twice, as shown by his superb 11th novel featuring PI Cork O'Conner, Northwest Angle. A storm strands Cork and his grown daughter, Jenny, on an island in Minnesota's Northwest Angle, where Jenny finds the dead body of a young Native American woman and her dehydrated but alive infant son.
Forensic anthropologist Clea Koff, author of The Bone Woman, a memoir of her experiences investigating war crimes in places like Rwanda and Bosnia, makes her fiction debut with Freezing. A nonprofit group devoted to identifying missing persons, modeled on the organization the author herself has founded, looks into frozen human body parts that fall off a van on a Los Angeles freeway.
Eoin Colfer, best known for his middle-grade Artemis Fowl series, makes his much anticipated crime novel debut with Plugged, a pitch-perfect comic noir. The murder of a cocktail waitress prompts Daniel McEvoy, an Irish army veteran turned doorman at a sleazy New Jersey casino, to go on the run chased by the cops, a local mob boss, and a smitten psychopath with a thing for casseroles.
Anthony Horowitz, author of the Alex Rider YA series, makes his adult debut with The House of Silk, a Sherlock Holmes novel. Fans of the great detective may feel the way they did the first time they read The Hound of the Baskervilles.
That South African author Deon Meyer happens to resemble Michael Connelly can't hurt when he goes on tour to promote Trackers, his seventh crime novel, which could be his breakout book in the U.S. Lemmer, the bodyguard introduced in Blood Safari, joins forces with Mat Joubert, the veteran cop from Dead Before Dying, in a plot involving smuggling rare black rhinos out of Zimbabwe.
Agent 6, Tom Rob Smith's third novel featuring Soviet secret policeman Leo Demidov, is more of an international thriller than its two predecessors, as much of the action is set in the U.S. Forbidden to accompany his wife and daughters on a "peace tour" to New York City in 1965, Demidov later insists on investigating after his family is caught up in a conspiracy that ends in tragedy on foreign soil.
Arnaldur Indridason, the author of Jar City and other novels in his Icelandic detective series, offers something different with Operation Napoleon, a thriller that's been favorably compared to the work of Stieg Larsson. The present-day discovery of a Nazi bomber that crashed on an Iceland glacier in 1945 threatens to expose a terrible secret from WWII.
Stieg Larsson fans will find a lot to like in The Boy in the Suitcase by Danish authors Lene Kaaberbol and Agnette Friis. Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse who tries to help a three-year-old boy she finds inside a suitcase, will strike many, particularly female readers, as a more appealing version of Lisbeth Salander.
PW's Top 10 Fiction: Mysteries & Thrillers
The Killer Is Dying
James Sallis. Walker, Aug.
George Pelecanos. Little, Brown/
Reagan Arthur, Aug.
William Kent Krueger. Atria, Aug.
Clea Koff. Severn House, Nov.
Eoin Colfer. Overlook, Aug.
The House of Silk
Anthony Horowitz. Little, Brown/
Deon Meyer. Atlantic Monthly, Sept.
Tom Rob Smith. Grand Central, Jan.
Arnaldur Indridason. Minotaur, Oct.
The Boy in the Suitcase
Lene Kaaberbol and Agnette Friis. Soho Crime, Nov.