I have to admit that Persuasion by Jane Austen is probably my least favorite, in part because the character of Anne Elliot is so calm, withdrawn, and reserved. She lacks a certain ardent spirit, which most of (many of?) Jane Austen heroines seem to have.
Yet in this book, there's a great deal of insight into character, personality, and yet again the inconstancy of people (in general) who are so quick to say, "they always knew the bad in someone" even when the previous day, they were talking about how great that someone was. That perception in Jane Austen's writing is probably one of her greatest strengths as an author for me. She is compassionate, but wryly understanding of the foibles of human behavior.
Gas City by Loren Estleman : I've read the beginning & the ending of the book. I find much to admire about Estleman's writing & his cleanly written prose. His plotlines are consistently interesting and hard driven, as benefits a book which is very much centered around hard crime.. The strength of Gas City lies in its clear tally of the evil that can lie underneath a corrupt city government and how truly sick at heart people can become. Some of the changes in one man's heart because of the loss of his wife precipitates a lot of changes in this city, and yet, at the ending of Gas City, you're left with an awareness that there is a certain inertia in the city itself that will be very hard to change.
I am looking forward to Frames, which is Estleman's next book out, and which should be out this coming April, if I recall rightly. It is the start of a new series.