Conrad Williams, who is better known as a writer of horror and fantasy fiction, introduces us to ex-cop Joel Sorrel, who is scratching out a living as an investigator in London. He cruises through South London’s dives looking for a journalist’s missing brother but instead finds himself in the target sights of a demented serial killer. I knew 20 pages in that this book would be making my best of list. It is rich in atmosphere, really making the most of its location; Sorrell is a brilliant creation with a vocabulary of sarcastic rejoinders that would put Philip Marlowe to shame, and Williams displays a keen psychological insight into the conditions necessary to make a monster. Dust and Desire is just crying out for a television adaptation, but even if that doesn’t happen there are two more Sorrell novels to look forward to. You can read our review here and an interview with Williams here.