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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Saturday, May 7, 2011 9:30 am
Adrian Magson Cheats a Bit
Posted by: Keir Graff

Mystery MonthAdrian MagsonWith starred reviews for the first two books in his Harry Tate series, Adrian Magson is on a roll. Our reviewer called Red Station (2010) “Superb!” and Tracers (2011) “outstanding.” When we asked Magson to choose his favorite crime/mystery/espionage novel of the past year, the avid reader had a difficult time choosing only one book—but, in the end, he found a winner.

Being asked to choose a favourite book from the last 12 months is more difficult than I thought. So many great reads and hours of enjoyment . . .

The Drop, by Howard LynskeyHowever, I’ll cheat a bit and say, among stand-outs such as Simon Conway’s A Loyal Spy, Matt Hilton’s Cut and Run, Richard Zimler’s Warsaw Anagrams, and David Ignatius’s The Increment, I came across a debut British novel which really caught my imagination: The Drop by Howard Linskey.

Billed by the publishers as Get Carter for the twenty-first century, it’s the story of David Blake, an accountant for a Newcastle criminal gang, who kids himself that he really isn’t a gangster because he never gets involved in any rough stuff. Unfortunately, his innocence is destroyed when a bundle of money (the drop), paid regularly to an even more powerful gang to allow his boss to stay in business, goes missing—and Blake gets the blame. (I mean, criminal gangs paying protection money? Brilliant!)

A tight, gritty story of a man forced to recognise what he is while trying to stay alive, this has everything: pace, tension and characters who don’t just leap off the page—they reach out and grab you by the throat.

Try it.

Stay tuned for more great Mystery Month reading recommendations from authors you should be reading. Share your own recommendations in the comments, on Twitter (#mysterymonth), or on our Facebook page!


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