Sam Wiebe


Starred Reviews, Year-End Awards, and my own best-reads list

It's nice to end the year on a high note: Publishers Weekly gave Cut You Down a starred review "a cleverly tuned commentary on a society that forces its citizens to choose between doing the wrong thing for the right reason and doing the right thing for the wrong reasons," and "Wiebe convincingly brings Raymond Chandler into the 21st century." Read the full review here. 

Invisible Dead was awarded two spots on the Sons of Spade year-end best list: Best PI Novel and Best New PI for Dave Wakeland. The book is in good company, with Sheena Kamal's The Lost Ones and Steve Hamilton's Exit Strategy

I don't have a best-of list, but looking back at what I read this year, here are a few books that stood out to me:

George Saunders's Lincoln in the Bardo took a conceit that could have been nothing but postmodern walking and made it a touching and original polyphonic experience.
Eden Robinson's Son of a Trickster was equally terrific, describing hardscrabble living and unpleasant stuff in a fun, funny, and thoughtful narrative.
They're friends, but I can highly, highly recommend Janie Chang's Dragon Springs Road, David Swinson's Crime Song, and Sheena Kamal's The Lost Ones. The reunion scene in The Lost Ones was incredibly powerful. Crime Song continued and deepened rogue cop Frank Marr's adventures from Swinson's awesome The Second Girl. And Dragon Springs Road was a touching, beautifully-wrought melding of historical fiction and magic realism, in a way that brought out the best of both.


For thrillers, Jordan Harper's She Rides Shotgun, Meg Gardiner's Unsub, Don Winslow's The Force, John Le Carre's A Legacy of Spies, and Linwood Barclay's Parting Shot were all really enjoyable. David Chariandy's Brother and Roxane Gay's Hunger were both good, too.

Charles Campisi's Blue on Blue is one of the most fascinating nonfiction books I've read. Campisi was head of the NYPD's Internal Affairs division, and he talks about the methodology and problems in policing the police. Very timely and interesting.
Naben Ruthnum's Curry covers race, literature, pop culture, the uses of a pseudonym, and the purpose of thrillers, in a readable and personable style. I'm highly anticipating his pseudonymous thriller, Find You in the Dark.

Slightly older books that might have been overlooked: Steve Hamilton's The Lock Artist, Reed Farrell Coleman's Where it Hurts, Bill Buford's Heat, Paul Hawken's Growing a Business, Jill Leovy's Ghettoside and Akhil Sharma's Family Life were all great reads. And I finally got around to reading a few classics: Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, David Morrell's First Blood (yes it is a classic), Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son, and especially Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. Every thirty year-old male writer should be forced to read two Morrison books for every Cormac McCarthy he's allowed.

Thanks for reading this, and happy holidays. 


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