Books

Summer reading: Crime novelist Mark Billingham's top three book picks

The author of the Tom Thorne crime novels casts his thoughts to the perfect summer reads for Chatelaine readers; not surprisingly, perhaps, they’re books that go down dark paths where evil lurks in the shadows…

What It Was by George Pelecanos

What It Was by George Pelecanos

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Good as Dead by Mark Billingham

Good as Dead by Mark Billingham

Author Mark Billingham

Author Mark Billingham (Photo by Charlie Hopkinson)

The author of the Tom Thorne crime novels casts his thoughts to the perfect summer reads for Chatelaine readers; not surprisingly, perhaps, they’re books that go down dark paths where evil lurks in the shadows…

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, $30.
Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects, was almost supernaturally good and this is even better. The story of a missing wife and a husband under suspicion for what may or may not be a brutal murder is narrated in alternate chapters by seemingly perfect couple Nick and Amy. A deliciously twisted peek inside the dark heart of marriage and simply unputdownable.

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina, $25.
What connects the brutal murder of a woman in a grand Scottish house with the suicide of a massively wealthy banker in the south of England? DS Alex Morrow tries to put the pieces together in a tense thriller where spot-on characterisation and insight are far more important than blood and gore. Mina is absolutely at the top of her game and this is about as good as crime fiction gets.

What It Was by George Pelecanos, $11.
Pelecanos takes one of his regular characters, Derek Strange, back to 1972 and the summer leading up to Watergate, when gunman Red Fury wreaked havoc in a sweltering Washington. Fans of Pelecanos, who wrote for The Wire, will be delighted that the music and the muscle cars are present and correct, and anyone new to his work will be thrilled by this hot and hardboiled tale.