Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ruminating In My Pants #7: Best Books of 2008

Okay so I have thought long and hard (ha!) about this and have finally come up with my own little categories for the best books of twenty-aught-eight. Yeah, I know: I'm fucking awesome, but I pale in comparison to these books, these tomes of blood, guts, and - above all - massive fucking cojones.

Enjoy, discuss and fucking COWER in fear at the powerful prose that is about to singe your fucking eyebrows and smooth out your wrinkly, demented brains!

Best New COMIC series: SCALPED by Jason Aaron, R.M. Guera

There ain't much going on in crime comics at the moment (hopefully that will change with Vertigo's Crime Line in 2009) but what's there is fucking CHOICE. Scalped is not just the best thing going in comics but the best thing in crime PERIOD. This stuff is raw and completely uncompromised. Every character gets their time to shine and none of their storylines disappoint at all. If this were even half-way properly adapted into a television show it would hold its own with Deadwood, The Sopranos, and The Wire without a fucking doubt.

Best New STANDALONE Crime Novel: Savage Night by Allan Guthrie

Yeah, my love of Guthrie peppers every line of this little blog so this is probably no surprise - shit, I even predicted this would win back when I first reviewed it - but god damn this book kicked my ass. Guthrie is leading the pack as far as going all the way, taking the genre farther than we ever thought possible. Savage Night is extremely violent, agonizingly suspenseful, pathetically tragic, and absolutely hilarious. It seems the only way he could shock me next go around would be to write a sunny little book about an old lady and her crime solving cats. That said, he'll probably prove me dead-fucking-wrong.

Best New SERIES Crime Novel: Toros & Torsos by Craig McDonald

The Hector Lassiter novels are so ambitious, so meticulously researched, so ingenious that just about anybody who enjoys good fiction can appreciate them. Thankfully for hard-ass pulp fans like me, McDonald also fucking BRINGS IT with the noir goodies as well. For all its scope and history, Toros & Torsos never forgets to first and foremost entertain sick fucks like the Nerd with it's badass lead character, its shocking violence and its twisted, dread-filled plot. This guy covers all the bases in an unforced, refreshing, beautiful way. Hector Lassiter LIVES!

Best NEWLY DISCOVERED Crime Novel: Black Friday by David Goodis

It is always exciting to pick up an old gold standard of the genre and find that yeah, it actually IS a fucking gold fucking standard! The only thing about Black Friday that makes it stick out amongst the great novels of the present is an overall lack of cell phones and the word "fuck," otherwise this shit is as badass as a crime junkie could ask for. It hums along at a breakneck speed with a tight plot and gives you tons of fantastic, darkly shaded characters along the way. Kudos to Serpent's Tail for making more of Goodis's shit available. Keep that shit up!

So there you have it, my meaningless-yet-apparently-necessary list of the best crime novels I read in 2008. Naturally, if you've even glanced at this site before you can tell that I loved the shit out of a ton of other novels last year, but these are the greatest of the great, if such a distinction is possible. I didn't bother with honorable mentions or any of that shit because the Nerd's time is precious...which is why he has a rinky-dink blog...

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