Pile By the Bed lists the Top 5 crime fiction novels of 2019 and 5 more honourable mentions
Pile by the Bed reviews Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke (Highway 59 #2) – Insightful, atmospheric, engaging and tense.
Attica Locke’s Pleasantville, the sequel to her nominated debut novel Blackwater Rising was one of the standout crime novels of 2015. It went on to win the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction in 2016 and was long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction. That book centred around race, politics and crime in Houston. In her latest book, Bluebird Bluebird, Locke moves away from the urban and well into the rural. The majority of the action set in the little East Texas town of Lark where it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. Darren Matthews has followed in his uncle’s footsteps to become a Texas Ranger. The Texas Rangers are a highly respected, statewide police force in Texas. But few in the force are black and this creates challenges for Matthews and the work that he wants to pursue involving the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. When the book opens, Matthews has turned in his badge but is convinced by an old friend in the FBI to take a look at two murders in Lark, the first of a young black man from Chicago and the second of a young, female local a few days…
In 2017, most of the top crime was Australian. Adrian McKinty took out the Ned Kelly Award for the sixth novel in his Sean Duffy series – Police at the Station and they Don’t Look Friendly. Candice Fox was shortlisted for the same award for Crimson Lake – the first book in her new series set in steamy far north Queensland. Michael Robotham’s The Secrets She Keeps was a stand-alone page turning thriller with two intriguing women at its centre. Mark Brandi’s debut novel Wimmera, a story of the impacts of child sexual abuse, not only on the victim but on all those around them, was a revelation. And Attica Locke went to rural Texas and revealed the deep seated vein of institutionalised racism in the United states in Bluebird Bluebird Honourable mentions: Under the Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher Too Easy by JM Green Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyer Corpselight by Angela Slatter