The Best Crime Fiction of 2012

This year we’ve seen a bumper crop of books, music and film and over the next few weeks we’ll be presenting our favourites, voted for and selected by Readings staff.

Here Fiona Hardy shares her top ten crime books from 2012.


best-midnight-promise***The Midnight Promise: A Detective’s Story In Ten Cases* by Zane Lovitt**

A private investigator in Melbourne’s grimy heart charts the slow crumble of his business and personal life via a group of ten stories that range from the devastating to the funny, the brutal to the whip-smart. John Dorn’s spiral into Australian noir is as deeply dark and entertaining as crime fiction gets.

Read our review here.


best-after-the-darkness***After the Darkness* by Honey Brown**

An excellent read that subverts a lot of what you know about crime fiction, this book will leave you completely thrown at the end. After the Darkness sees a middle-aged couple take a relaxing trip which ends in a physically and emotionally violent attack. Someone knows what really happened, but will their resulting paranoia destroy everything?

Read our review here.


best-norwegian-by-night***Norwegian by Night* by Derek B. Miller**

The grouchy and increasingly confused Sheldon Horowitz moves from America to Norway with his granddaughter. When a violent crime occurs next door, he is left in charge of a young boy’s life. The police, the criminals and his family are on their tail, but his own memories and doubts plague their trip to safety. A totally engaging read.

Read our review here.


best-unnatural-habits***Unnatural Habits* by Kerry Greenwood**

Intrepid reporter Polly Kettle has gone missing while investigating the disappearances of other young women. Enter Phryne Fisher, whose detective exploits – both in and out of disguise – continue to be excellent fun. The beautiful Abbotsford Convent also has a starring role in this novel, which delves into a particularly dark past involving pregnant women at the Magdalen Laundries.


best-live-by-night***Live by Night* by Dennis Lehane**

Live by Night is the story of agreeable thug Joe Coughlin’s climb through Boston’s 1920s underworld – a life which sees him end up with his feet encased in a tub of cement on a tugboat in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Carlton manager Robbie Egan says this is ‘as crime fiction should be’.

Read our review here.


best-thirst-larkin***Thirst* by L.A. Larkin**

In the freezing southern continent of Antarctica, a scientific expedition grinds to a bloody halt when invaders arrive – a move which threatens the Earth’s very climate. Australian Luke Searle is the only one able to stop a disaster much larger than even the villains expect. A frenetic, exciting page-turner.

Read our review here.


best-blackwattle-creek***Blackwattle Creek* by Geoffrey McGeachin**

Melbourne, 1957. A widow visits her husband in a funeral home and witnesses something shocking. Charlie Berlin is a policeman on holiday, but a nudge from his wife sees him investigate the case. What starts as humouring a grieving woman turns into something macabre that reaches high into politics and a new kind of warfare.

Read our review here.


best-drowning***The Drowning* by Camilla Lackberg**

Sweden’s bestselling female crime author delves back into the characters of the seaside town of Fjallbacka in The Drowning, a book with one of the most suspenseful finales I’ve ever read. A local man publishes his debut novel and is plagued by menacing letters. The link to a missing husband and father is utterly chilling.

Read our review here.


best-budapest-noir***Budapest Noir: A Novel* by Vilmos Kondor**

A book thick with mid-century Hungarian politics but completely readable for the historically dense (i.e. me), Budapest Noir follows crime reporter Zsigmond Gordon on the hunt after the death of a prostitute. People are determined for him not to care, but he knows there is more to the killing. Blackly humorous and dangerously entertaining.

Read our review here.


best-darkness-on-the-edge-of-town***Darkness on the Edge of Town* by Jessie Cole**

Violence waits below the surface of this book from the start, as middle-aged Vincent comes home to find a woman next to an upturned car, a baby dead in her arms. After the hospital, she is drawn back to Vincent and his daughter, a family scarred but with much to offer someone who, even after such tragedy, remains in peril.

Read our review here.


fiona-hardy-picFiona Hardy sells books and talks too much to customers at Readings Carlton, and puts together Dead Write for the Readings Monthly. She blogs haphazardly about movies and books (and sometimes music) and you can follow her on twitter - @readwatchtweet.

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The Midnight Promise

The Midnight Promise

Zane Lovitt

$22.99Buy now

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