Monday, December 13, 2010

The Best of Whatever—Patricia Abbott

THE CLOCKMAKER by Georges Simenon, first published as L'horloger d'Everton in French in 1954, is a psychological thriller written without Simenon's most famous character, Inspector Maigret. A father learns his son has probably committed a dastardly crime and considers why and what his response to that act should be.

The ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG by Muriel Burgerry is a French novel about the relationship between a lonely French concierge of a philosophical bent, a Japanese businessman and a young girl.

NEXT by James Hynes. An editor of a small magazine in Ann Arbor travels to Austin on a job interview and spends the day examining his life. What happens NEXT will knock you out.

THE THING THEY CARRIED by Tim O’Brien. Simply the best fictional evocation of the Vietnam War I’ve read. Heartbreaking.

THE IMPERFECTIONISTS by Tom Rachman. A group of linked stories concerning the employees of a small Italian newspaper as well as the fate of the newspaper itself.

TRUE GRIT by Charles Portis. A father’s murder reveals true grit in a number of the characters in this fine novel.

BROKEN SHORE by Peter Temple. Joe Cashin, a city homicide cop recovering from an injury, returns to the town where he grew up to investigate the death of elderly millionaire. After three aboriginal teens try to sell the man’s missing watch, the cops ambush the boys, killing two. Joe decides to find the truth on his own when it’s pushed aside. A terrific book that deserves all the accolades it’s received.

FATHER OF THE RAIN by Lily King. A woman about to embark on her academic career is drawn back through time when her father calls on her for help.

THE CARETAKER OF LORNE FIELD by Dave Zeltserman. The tenth generation caretaker of Lorne Field pushes on despite the town’s disbelief in his mission to save them from a terrible fate. Not a misplaced word or emotion in this terrific horror story.

STONER by John Williams. Simply the finest book I read last year. Written fifty years ago, and seeming ever old-fashioned for then, this is the story of a professor who loves his job too much and the price he pays for that.

I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE by Laura Lippman. A letter from a death row inmate forces a woman to face her long-buried past. This book goes in surprising directions in plumbing the depths of despair of the lone survivor of a series of murders.

CEMETERY ROAD by Gar Anthony Harwood. A work from a mature writer who well understands the effect of regret and guilt on a man's life. Wonderful and wrenching

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patricia Abbott has published more than fifty stories in literary and crime fiction outlets. Check out more from Patti at Pattinase.


  1. I just picked up a copy of Next from the library over the weekend. I've heard about the ending but no what specifically happens so I'm looking forward to it.

  2. Smashing list. The Things They Carried and Simenon I'd champion. And if you're recommending Next and Brian has it from the library, I'm on board.

  3. Some tasty looking stuff there. Cemetry Road looks well good.

  4. I am hunting down DOGS OF THE SOUTH and NORWOOD right now. Portis made a believer out of me.
    NEXT was riveting, but part of it was because I had heard the ending was a knockout. The guy seems pretty narcissistic but who of us isn't on our own on a single day in a strange town.

  5. Patti- every one of these is going on my TBR list, with STONER being first up.