2015: My Top Ten Reads
December already and time to look back over 2015 and draw up my Top Ten reads of the year. Before I start I would like to thank all the authors and publishers that have trusted me with their books, shared my reviews and (on exciting occasions) quoted my reviews. Your support keeps this blog running and I am grateful beyond measure.
Reading and blogging is not the solitary venture as you may believe. I would like to thank all the authors who gave up some of their valuable time to join me during 2015 (answering my Q&A’s and providing guest posts). Special thanks at this time to Marnie Riches for many, many Twitter name-checks and to Alexandra Sokoloff for her phenomenal guest feature on Serial Killers (found here).
I would also thank my fellow bloggers who help my reviews reach a wider audience, give me guidance when I hit a blank and provide the support I need to keep me going – too many to name individually but special thanks to Liz, Sonya, Sophie, Lou and Shaun.
So the books – Ten in all. The ones I recommended most throughout the year or the stories which stick with me long after I have finished reading – with my goldfish memory it takes something special to remain memorable.
They are not ranked in any order…but the last three on the list ARE my three most recommended for the year!
No Other Darkness – Sarah Hilary
The second Marnie Rome thriller from Sarah Hilary and it did everything that I hoped it would do. Terrified, entertained, developed the characters that I had really liked from her debut novel and it left me pining for more. I read No Other Darkness in January so my wait for Book 3 must hopefully be nearing an end! Review here
Hellbound – David McCaffrey
David McCaffrey took the serial killer story and did something totally unexpected – the concept he explored was one I now often consider when I read other murder stories. Hellbound was engrossing, thought provoking and a bloody good story too. David kindly agreed to take part in a Q&A and he was the first to be asked what I came to call my “Serial Killer” question – this question has subsequently featured many times throughout the year (and will be revisited in a special feature post soon). The Serial Killer question only came about because of Hellbound – my thanks to David for that inspiration, every different answer fascinates me. Review Here.
The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die – Marnie Riches
Explosive opening and a punchy heroine in George McKenzie I was hooked on The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die from the outset. I loved the Amsterdam setting, I loved the dynamic between George and the Dutch police. I got frustrated by the characters, I hated the bullies and I was delighted that Marnie Riches did not sugar coat the violence of her villains. Dark and nasty is how I like a crime story. (Review Here)
Evil Games – Angela Marsons
Angela Marsons released three books this year featuring lead character Kim Stone. Evil Games was the second of the three and although I could easily be writing about the third book (Lost Girls) in this space I just felt that Evil Games edged it. The clinching factor in Evil Games inclusion in this list was the character playing the Evil Games – no spoilers but the villain in Evil Games wins my ‘Best Baddie of 2015’ award. If you have not yet read any of the books in this series then you need to put that right as soon as possible. (Review here).
Snowblind (Dark Iceland) – Ragnar Jonasson
Snowblind stands out in my selection of ten as it is the least frenetic of the books but it reads beautifully. The storytelling, the scene setting, the characterization and the sheer sense of being part of the story made Snowblind an easy pick for my list. (Review here)
The Killing Lessons – Saul Black
In the height of summer (while lying beside a Spanish swimming pool) I was transported to a dark, snowy American wood as I read about a young girl fleeing the family home to escape a pair of killers that had murdered her mother and brother. The Killing Lessons just ticked all the right boxes for me. A cleverly written slick thriller that follows the cops, the killers and the victim they missed. (Review here)
Breathe – David Ince
How can you not love a book that is the first book in The Meat Puppet Trilogy? Breathe is non-stop action. A chase scene from first page to last. Random and unexpected deaths, blackmail, terror and a mysterious criminal figure commanding an army of unwilling foot soldiers. It will keep you turning page after page and promising yourself ‘just one more chapter’. (Review here)
The Kind Worth Killing – Peter Swanson
In my Top Three because it just kept blowing me away with the twists I did not see coming. So many clever, clever twists. A nightmare to review without giving away plot twists because it is so damned twisty. Did I mention the twists? If you enjoy a murder story and you don’t mind knowing who the murderer is then this is the book for you. But the police are on the trail of our killer and you start to think that this time you would quite like to see them fail – and it looks like they will! (Review Here)
Tenacity – J.S. Law
In the Top Three because I loved it. From the stunning opening sequence through to the claustrophobic submarine scenes and the brilliant finale which left me screaming for more chapters – I just could not get enough of this book. Everyone should read Tenacity. (Review here)
Untouchable – Ava Marsh
Also in the Top Three this year is Untouchable by Ava Marsh. The protagonist is a high class call girl and the story takes an unflinching look at her lifestyle. Untouchable stood out this year as a book quite unlike any I had read. The treatment of the characters was handled superbly and any judgements on the characters is made entirely by the reader. Contains scenes of violence and explicit sexual content so perhaps not suitable for everyone but if that stops you reading a fantastic story then it is your loss. I recommend this book to everyone (except my mum coz of the rude bits). (Review here)