Larsson, Stieg. The Girl Who Played with Fire.

NY: Knopf, 2009.

More than a decade ago, I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first in Larsson’s best-selling posthumous trilogy set in Sweden, and I loved it. A very complex, multi-plotted murder mystery with involving and highly original characters — especially Lisbeth Salander, the near-genius hacker with a decidedly warped view of the world (with good reason) and a very strong sense of justice. But for a variety of reasons, I never got around to reading the two subsequent books.

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Ingolfsson, Viktor Arnar. Daybreak.

Las Vegas: AmazonCrossing, 2013 (first published 2005 in Icelandic).

I don’t know what it is about Scandinavian mystery writers, and about Icelandic writers in particular, but they’re both very similar to and very different from the classic Anglo-American police procedural. And Ingofsson is one of the best of them, so it’s a puzzle why this one had to wait eight years to be published in translation.

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Hamilton, Peter F. Manhattan in Reverse and Other Stories.

NY: Ballantine, 2012.

Hamilton is best known for the “Void” trilogy and a number of other works about the Confederation and the Commonwealth universe, but his short fiction is much less well known — perhaps because he has written relatively little of it. This collection is only his second, containing the six short stories he created since 1998, plus the title story, written especially for this volume.

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Scalzi, John. Head On.

NY: Tor, 2018.

Scalzi is a purveyor of idea-based science fiction who can almost always be relied on for highly original concepts combined with a fluent and frequently cheeky style of writing. That was certainly the case with Lock In (2014), in which an influenza-like global pandemic killed hundreds of millions and left millions more fully awake and aware but completely paralyzed and dependent on machines for life. The U.S. government poured billions into developing ways of coping (helped by the fact that the First Lady, Margaret Haden, was one of the victims) and now, a couple decades later (not far in our own future), things have settled down. And “Hadens,” as they are now known, are being reintegrated.

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Perry, Thomas. The Bomb Maker.

NY: Mysterious Press, 2018.

Perry has written some two dozen books, most of them thrillers of one variety or another — but not “mysteries,” because you always know whodunit from the beginning. It’s more a matter of witnessing what the Bad Guys do, how that affects those around them, and how their assorted nemeses attempt to stop them. (And they don’t always succeed.) This one involves a nameless killer with no political or other outside motivation who is very, very good at building bombs. Why? He wants to lure in and kill off the LAPD bomb squad, and he manages to get appalling close to his goal.

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Lovesey, Peter. Beau Death.

NY: SohoPress, 2017.

This series about Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond of the Bath CID has been generally pretty good. The first couple of volumes were problematic, frankly, but then the author got a handle on his characters and now he’s up to adventure no. 17. Diamond runs into oddball situations in nearly every book, and this one is no different.

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Sjowall, Maj & Per Wahloo. The Laughing Policeman.

NY: Pantheon, 1970.

Scandinavian police-procedural crime novels are a fixture for American lovers of mystery yarns now, but when this one was first published in the U.S. in 1970, it was considered exotic. It also won an Edgar. It was the fourth of ten novels featuring Stockholm’s Detective Superintendent Martin Beck, a rather dour character with marital problems and a teenage daughter who gives him heartburn.

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Robinson, Peter. Sleeping in the Ground.

NY: Morrow, 2017.

Robinson’s first-rate mystery series featuring DCI Alan Banks of Yorkshire has always been heavy on police procedural details when it comes to crime-solving, and this 24th episode is no exception. Banks is coming home from the funeral of a woman he hasn’t seen in forty years — the first girl he was every really in love with, back in college — when he gets word there’s been a shooting at a country wedding on his patch.

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Lovesey, Peter. Another One Goes Tonight.

NY: Soho Press, 2016.

When this series started, back in the early ’90s, I wasn’t at all sure it was going to work. Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond, head of Bath CID, in the West Country, was an abrasive and overweight bully. In fact, his high-handedness got him sacked and he spent the second book working security for a London department store. But Lovesey got him under control and Diamond settled down to a continuing and successful police career chronicled in writing and plots of generally high quality.

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Griffiths, Elly. A Room Full of Bones.

NY: Houghton Mifflin, 2012.

This is the fourth in the series featuring Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist — a bone specialist — working in Norfolk and living in near-isolation out on the edge of the Saltmarsh. She’s become a regular consultant for the cops, in the person of DCI Harry Nelson — by whom she also managed to get pregnant, but he’s married so she’s now also a single mother, something that doesn’t really come naturally to her.

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