My favorite writer these days is Kate Atkinson. I bought “A God in Ruins” on the strength of a favorable mention via NPR, then tried a couple of her detective novels: “Case Histories” and “When Will There be Good News?”
All are superb. This woman reminds me a lot of Ruth Rendell: so literate, so much incisive wit, so adept at creating distinct characters and interweaving their stories in ever-surprising ways. I know: that sentence sounds pretty tedious as I re-read it, but trust me: she’s a writer who knows what she’s doing.
When I referred to Atkinson’s “detective novels,” that label doesn’t really do them justice. Yes, there’s a world-weary detective who is a recurring character, and yes, there are some dark deeds to unravel. But you never get the sense that her protagonist and her plots are the main thing. In Atkinson’s novels, the journey is just as illuminating as the destination — often more so. Once in awhile you find an author whose every page is a pleasure to read on its own. She’s one of those.
I started this blog many years ago with an emphasis on crime fiction, and then gradually lost my way. I mention Atkinson’s books because she’s written the best “crime fiction” I’ve read in a long time, and like very few other authors she isn’t constrained by the genre at all. Dave Bob says check her out.