My Book of 2015, the contenders

Melbourne

The Cartel by Don Winslow

Extensively researched, Winslow’s war on drugs saga continues with this violent and gripping instalment set between 2004 and 2014. It's an epic story of power, corruption, revenge and justice which picks up the feud between Keller, a long time Drug Enforcement Administration agent and Barrera, the world’s most powerful cartel kingpin.

The Crossing by Michael Connelly

Now in his sixties and suspended from the LAPD, Harry Bosch took retirement. When his half-brother, Mickey ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ Haller, offers Bosch a job he is reluctant to cross over and work for the defence but Haller seems convinced that the client, Leland Foster, is innocent of the murder he’s been accused. Bosch isn’t interested in reasonable doubt; he wants to know if Foster did it, and if not, who did?

Pleasantville by Attica Locke       

Houston 1996, and the mayoral election campaign focuses on Pleasantville, a small African-American neighbourhood known for its swing vote. The son of the district's founding father, former chief of police Axel Hathorne, was all set to become Houston's first black mayor but his lead is slipping. As the campaign intensifies, a girl goes missing, apparently while canvassing for Axel. And when her body is found, Axel's nephew is charged with her murder. Respected lawyer Jay Porter takes the case and becomes embroiled in a dangerous political world in this fine legal thriller.

The Victim by Eric Matheny

Eleven years ago, private attorney Anton Mackey made a drunken mistake in Arizona. His decision, to save himself, cost the lives of a young woman and her son.  Now, with Anton married with his own child, and a rising star in Miami criminal defence, his past is about to catch up with him. This rip-roaring tale has all the twists and authentic court scenes any legal-thriller fan could ask for. 

The Whites by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt

The ‘whites’ are the ones that got away, the criminals that couldn’t be convicted but continue to haunt the cops that fingered them. When Billy Graves - sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch and part of a team attending to the aftermath of a fatal slashing of a man in Penn Station - discovers that the victim was one of their whites - he was a suspect in the unsolved murder of a twelve-year-old boy - , old grievances and relationships are brought back to the fore.

The Wrong Girl by Laura Wilson

Ten-year-old Molly Jackson suspects that she’s really Phoebe, a girl that went missing seven years ago aged three. Unhappy with her ‘wrong’ life, the more desperate she becomes to return to her ‘real’ parents. After her great uncle is found dead in his bed, the deceased’s hippie sister Janice arrives. Janice, who gave Molly’s mother up for adoption when she was a baby, makes some surprising discoveries as the three generational stories unfold. And then Molly disappears.