Here are my top reads of the year, featuring some honourable mentions. I’ve read 294 books so far this year and so many of them were fantastic that i’ve separated out the graphic novels and made them their own list although some Barefoot Gen and Lumberjanes could have featured here as well. In no particular order here are my top 10 reads of the year.
1) Alice Teale is missing by Howard Linskey – I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this at the Harrogate crime festival and it is a fantastic read. Featuring diary extracts from a young girl who goes missing alongside the story of the police investigation this is one of the finest crime novels i’ve read in a long time. It keeps you hooked and wanting more. Here’s my original review of the novel it’s a real treat of a read. I love the characters of black and winter and would avidly read anymore novels they featured in, even the background characters are rich and alive I cared about the diner opening for instance. Tied with that is a fantastic plot that unravels with a combined police procedure and extracts from the missing girls diaries. This is one of those cases where you wish you could give more than 5* to a book
2) The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth – this is the story of a young girl trying to come to terms with being a Lesbian in the deep south. Her parents/guardians discover she has had a relationship with a girl and send her to a camp to straighten her out, as awful as you would imagine this is a fascinating read.
3) Dumplin by Jill Murphy – the story of a young girl who is traditionally built, and feels that her beauty queen mum is disappointed in her. She signs up for the beauty pageant her mu runs with her misfit group of friends as a protest and learns a lot along the way. Featuring drag queens and a huge love of Dolly parton it’s a fabulous read and watch.
4) Black Summer by M W Craven – The follow up to the Puppet show and just as phenomenal, M W Craven is a fantastic writer and with the characters of Tilly and Poe he’s created a dynamic duo. It start’s with a description that is not for the squeamish but soon picks up pace and delivers fab characters and a taut plot. Here’s my original review – What a follow up, Washington and Tilly are both back and as likeable as ever and the plot is fascinating and very different from the first. I really enjoyed this read it has all the hallmarks of being a great series and I’d love to see the movie adaptation of it.
5) The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths – Ruth Galloway is one of my favourite characters and Elly Griffiths is no stranger to my top 10 lists. This is a fabulous series that mixes archaeology with modern police investigations and develops the characters over the series to the point where you care about them as much as you do the rest of the plot. The follow up due out next year is awesome too. Here’s my original review for the book – Another fantastic read from Elly, in it we have some answers about Michelle’s baby and some thoughts about the future of harry and Michelle. A fascinating story with a good plot and at this point in the series it feels like returning to old friends. A solid 5* read for me
6) The Expanse series by James S A Corey – I discovered the TV adaptation and novels of these books this year and have already read most of the series. Science fiction at it’s best, they are an amazing read. They reflect on how people spread across space, can still find reasons to fight and hate. The main characters and crew of the Rocinante in this are amazing and you truly grow to care about them over the series. With enough external threats and plotlines this is a rich and varied series of books and one that I hope will continue for a long time to come
7)Murder Undeniable (Kat and Mouse series) by Anita Waller – I love Anita waller’s writing she is a fabulous author but in Kat and Mouse she has created characters worthy of a TV series or film. The characters of Kat, Mouse and Doris, lift Anita’s writing to another level. The whole series is a cosy treat that you will want to wrap yourself up in. a set of fabulous reads.
8) The Martha Gunn Series by Priscilla Masters – Priscilla Masters was a new to me author this year and in the character of Martha Gunn the coroner she has created a likeable and interesting protagonist who tackles crime solving in an unusual way. Set in and around shrewsbury they feature beautiful towns and countryside to. These are fascinating novels with rich characters and plenty of plot twists and there are lots of books in both this and her other series, I heartily recommend them and i’m looking forward to reading more of them in 2020.
9) The wolf in the whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky – if you love mythology this is an enchanting and wonderful story, based on inuit and norse myths and customs. I loved this book, it feels like masterful storytelling and you feel utterly absorbed into the world of the main character. I adored this book and it’s well deserving of a place on this list
10) Whatever Happened to Betsy Blake by David B Lyons – I read this as an ARC and loved it a fascinating look at a child abduction story. I don’t really know what I expected from this novel but this really engulfed me in the story and shocked me with some of its twists and turns. I did not expect the ending that occurred. Well written with fascinating characters and some fantastic chapters written from the child’s point of view. This novel is really atmospheric it reads like an action movie and I would genuinely pay to go and see this at the movies.
I really enjoyed the fact that apart from the child in the story none of the characters were likeable people especially our protagonist Gordon. This I think is a truer reflection of real life, people are complex and not necessarily likeable and you see this really reflected in the story.
the author is new to me this year and i’m upset that I have only just discovered him now, this may be one of my crime reads of the year. I heartily recommend this if you like a clever well written but unusual thriller, this one is smart, dark and fascinating in all the right amounts, a read in one go type of novel.
The honourable mentions – I’ve read a lot of amazing books this year and these just missed being in the top 10 so are still worthy of making the honourable mentions list
11) Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd – Another fascinating new to me author and one who writes a seriously good all action private investigator thriller much better than the robert galbraith chaps writing in my opinion. Here’s my original review – This is very different to my normal reads, full of action but the characters are fascinating and well developed and have flaws which make them very readable. I liked the main character Danny and would read more from the author
12) 2001 A space odyssey – I love a bit of classic sci-fi and I’ve never read Arthur C Clarke, this is fantastic and bizarre but a truly enjoyable read nonetheless.
13) Legacy by Jim Napier – Another New to me author this year and another great new discovery, A recommended read if you like old school crime novels think a modern version of an agatha christie style novel, this was a fab read. I originally described it as very enjoyable gently paced and with more than a few twists and turns, the police trio of investigators are all great characters and the novel is well written, I’d read more by this author
14) Stitched by Cheryl Elaine – I love Cheryl Elaines books, Stitched is a gruesome and fascinating read. Here’s my original review – his author was a new discovery for me last year and what a revelation she was. This like her other crime story is not for the fainthearted, and at times skirts close to the boundary of Ok. However it needs to do that because it makes the story so much more powerful as it reflects the monsters in humans, and makes you think about the deep impact of certain types of crimes on their victims. This novel is a read in one sitting kind of read probably during the day, and it will leave you thinking. I love Cheryl Elaines books and really hope that she continues to write for a long time to come a solid 5* read for me