Christmas Top Ten 2013

1. Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives - Ed by Sarah Weinman
Penguin £9.88

"I have always advocated those female crime writers who were trail blazers in their day, but forgotten today. This anthology of short stories celebrates those women who were as gritty and innovative as their male counterparts. They were celebrated in their day by the likes of Raymond Chandler. All except one were American or Canadian (the only Brit being Celia Fremlin) and pushed the boundaries of crime fiction. Here is a glittering collection of little Noir gems from some of those women and they are still as fresh and as gutsy today as they were fifty/sixty years ago."

2. The Cry - Helen Fitzgerald
Faber £7.99

" reviewer, Jo Parker leapt on this title when I asked what book she would like to find in her Christmas stocking. This one struck a cord with Jo and the memory of the story still reverberates months after having read it. That is a fine recommendation if ever there was one!"

3. Poirot and Me - David Suchet
Headline £20

"As the world mourns the death of it's favourite Belgian detective and the end of a series that spanned 25 years, we can now relive this phenomenal series through the actor who bought Hercule Poirot to life. Although not crime fiction, this book will appeal to many Christie fans and I am sure is on many people's list for Christmas.

Click on the link below and read reviewer, Michael Wood's nostalgic piece on this book and the Poirot series.

Poirot and Me"

4. The Riot - Laura Wilson
Quercus £20

"This is D.I. Stratton's fifth outing and we are now in 1958. Wilson is magnificent at blending fact with fiction and here she weaves a mesmerising tale dealing with the Noting Hill riots. A rent collector is stabbed and a series of street fights between teddy boys and Caribbean immigrants sparks further unrest. This series gets stronger with every book and this is the book I would like to find in my stocking this Christmas. "

5. Light of the World - James Lee Burke
Orion £18.99

"Not only is this writer THE most charming man but he is also a brilliant writer. reviewer, Michael J. Malone loves Burke's novels and that is what they are - truly stunning novels. His depth of character and astonishing plots are to be envied and applauded!"

6. The Blood Whisperer - Zoe Sharp
Murderati Ink £9.99

"I have noticed that there is a strong female presence in our Top Ten - and that is no bad thing! reviewer and crime fiction fanatic (in a good way), Graham Smith has praised this book very highly. It gripped him from page one and didn't even let go of him after the last page was turned. Any book that whirls round your imagination days/weeks later deserves to be on our Top Ten and deserves to be on your Christmas list!

The Blood Whisperer Review"

7. Touching Distance - Graham Hurley
Orion £16.99

"Sylvia Dixon has been reviewing books on from the very beginning. She loves crime fiction but doesn't suffer fools (or bad crime books) lightly. One author she does love and looks forward to reading every year is Graham Hurley. Sylvia loved his Faraday series and has jumped on board his new series featuring Jimmy Suttle. This is the second in the new series and a brilliant time to join Sylvia on board and start reading this amazing crime writer."

8. Laidlaw - William McIlvanney
Canongate £7.99

"A re-issue of a great classic. McIlvanney is praised as the 'Godfather of Tartan Noir' and rightly so. It is great when a classic is published for the many crime writers of today who haven't yet tasted this bitter-sweet crime classic. reviewer, Jim Gracie loved it the first time around in 1977 and has been singing it's praises now he has re-visited McIlvanney's trilogy. This is definitely one for those who like their crime gritty, dirty and brilliantly written.

Laidlaw Review"

9. How The Light Gets In - Louise Penny
Sphere £19.99

"This series gains new and loyal fans with every book. I loved 'Still Life' and I bet Louise that her book would win the John Creasey CWA Dagger for best Crime Debut Novel. And it did! Now with the books being filmed this lady's books will get wider and wider known. If you love great characterisation with a wonderful intricate plot, then start on the Inspector Gamache books. Set in Quebec these are sumptuous novels. This is how Christie would have been writing if she was alive today. Superb!"

10. Next To Die - Neil White
Sphere £19.99

"This writer was the 'Author of the Month' in October. Graham Smith loved it and this appears to be this author's 'breakout' book. Starring a new cast of characters this is a perfect time to sample this author's work. 'Next To Die' is nail-biting stuff and a perfect present if you want some quiet time from the family. Sit them down with this book and you won't hear a peep from them for ages!

Next To Die Review"