Along with Jim Nisbet's two books, Overlook also were kind enough to send, amongst others, the following:
The Better Angels by Charles McCarry
One of the best spy writers around, whose work goes back at least some forty years. This one was first published in 1979 and has turned out to be very prophetic. It prefigures nine-eleven with Islamic terrorists led by an Arab prince made rich through oil, using airplanes and America. The novel takes place in an election year matching a liberal against a hard right businessman with ties to the energy industry. I have never been disappointed by a McCarry novel, and this one is no exception.
Double Negative by David Carkeet
Hadn't read anything by Carkeet before. A pleasant surprise and very funny. Jeremy Cook is a genius who works at a linguistics think tank connected to a daycare center. When someone is found bludgeoned to death, Cook is the prime suspect. Consequently he is forced to investigate the case himself. Perhaps the first crime novel which relies on linguistics to unravel the investigation. I'll be reading more of Carkeet sometime soon.
Noir by Robert Coover
The great Robert Coover turns in another cutting-edge novel. Though this one differs considerably from his past work. Existing somewhere between surrealism and Oulipo fiction, Noir examines the formal limits of the genre. With its genre-bending flashbacks, sleazy bars and jazz clubs, protagonist Philip M. Noir is hired by a woman to find the killer of her husband- though we aren't even sure if he was actually killed. Soon the woman is murdered and her body disappears. Noir is a hall of mirrors in which the reader becomes the investigator gathering the shards of a time-honored genre. Though some noir fans might see this as too much of a pastiche for their tastes, any new Coover novel is an occasion to celebrate.
The Man Who Never Returned by Peter Quinn
A novel about the disappearance of Judge Crater in 1930. That was enough to hook me right there. I had never thought about the politics of Crater's life before.The protagonist Fintan Dunne is called out of retirement to return to New York to solve the crime for a wealthy newspaper magnate. Fascinating stuff.
The Caretaker of Lorne Field by Dave Zeltserman
Part noir and part Stephen Cain, with a dash of James M. Cain thrown in for good measure. Zeltserman is one of the more cogent of the neo-noirists, and this might be his best yet. About Jack Durkin, whose family has been weeding Lorne Field for over 300 years. If the field is left untended, a horrific monster will appear. Book by book, Zeltserman is proving himself to be one of the best around.