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August 4, 2009 / C.T. Henry

The Critics’ Choice for Best Crime Novel of 2008

What was the best book of 2008?  Results vary, especially since no one can read every book published in 2008.  Consequently I’ve compiled the mystery and thriller rankings of many esteemed critics into one list.  The following represents the twenty most cited books from the critics’ lists:
girl with dragon tattoo

1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson Anthony nominee, Barry-British nominee
2. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith Steel Dagger winner, Anthony-1st novel nominee, LA Times Finalist, New Blood shortlist, DILYS nominee
3. The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly Anthony nominee
4. Lush Life by Richard Price PEN-Faulkner finalist, LA Times finalist
5. The Finder by Colin Harrison Barry-Thriller nominee, Hammett nominee, LA Times finalist
Trigger City by Sean Chercover  Anthony nominee, Barry nominee, Macavity nominee, DILYS winner (tie)
7. Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow Barry nominee, DILYS nominee
Envy the Night by Michael Koryta LA Times winner, Barry nominee (tie)
Cruelest Month by Louise Penny Agatha winner, Anthony nominee, Barry nominee, Macavity nominee (tie)
The Turnaround by George Pelecanos Hammett nominee (tie)
11. When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
City of the Sun by David Levien Barry-1st novel nominee, Hammett nominee (tie)
Red Knife by William Kent Krueger Anthony nominee, Barry nominee (tie)
Exit Music by Ian Rankin (tie)child-442
15. The Likeness by Tana French
16. The Black Tower by Louis Bayard
17. Small Crimes by Dave Zeltserman
Another Thing to Fall by Laura Lippman (tie)
Good People by Marcus Sakey Barry-Thriller nominee (tie)
20. The Given Day by Dennis Lehane

The list draws from the following critics and awards:
Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Marilyn Stasio, New York Times
Adam Woog, Seattle Times
Maureen Corrigan, NPR
David Montgomery, Chicago Sun-Times
Otto Penzler, bookseller, publisher, critic
Ali Karim, The Rap Sheetbrass-verdict
Patrick Anderson, Washington Post
Dick Adler, L.A. Times
Cameron Hughes, January Magazine
George Easter, Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine
Publishers Weekly
Booklist Editor’s Choice
DILYS Nominees
Edgar Nominees
Anthony Nominees
Hammett Nominees


Leave a Comment
  1. Oline / Aug 6 2009 5:26 am

    This list shows what a stellar year 2008 was for mystery fiction. At least it was for me. It’s interesting to see so many good books make numerous awards and lists. I also compile my top 20 mysteries of the year and I was a judge for one of the major awards listed here. I am finding that, at least for me, 2009 also has some thought provoking novels. I love it when it’s hard to decide who goes on “the best list” and who doesn’t..


  1. 2010 in review « The Mystery Bookshelf

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