A friend asked if I'd read anything recently that stretched my mind. I could have mentioned Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists, but crime is my business -- and his. So here's the short list I sent him:
ALIVE IN NECROPOLIS, by Doug Dorst -- an impressive ghost story (and I usually hate ghost stories, even the Henry James Turn and Get Screwed type) about a cop in the town near San Francisco where there are more dead people than live ones.
THE ANCIENT RAIN, by Domenic Stansberry -- surely the most underrated crime writer of our day.
THE DAWN PATROL, by Don Winslow -- a great surfing mystery which made me go back and read Kem Nunn.
THE BLACK TOWER, by Louis Bayard -- who has the balls and the talent to make Vidocq his hero.
BAMBOO AND BLOOD,by James Church -- a prequel to his fine North Korean Inspector O books.
ENVY THE NIGHT, by Michael Koryta -- a truly impressive standalone from the author of three Lincoln Perry detective novels.