Top Books from 2015

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The last year for me has been a strange mix, with book related activities on the increase and yet with reading taking a back seat to life, and reviews sitting further behind.  My motivation for keeping here updated as been at an all time low, and as such I have a list of reviews that I should get posted which is much longer than I would like.

That said I’ve managed to put together just some of the books that I have enjoyed over the last year. There’s no ranking to this, it’s just a list of those books that I’m still talking about and regularly recommending.

wpid-screenshot_2015-01-20-04-13-34-1.pngThe Liars Chair – Rebecca Whitney

A fabulously dark psychological thriller with a story you’ll love and a protagonist you won’t.

wpid-screenshot_2015-02-21-07-32-30-1.pngThe Ties That Bind – Erin Kelly

Gangster gone good meets Journalist determined to prove his murderous past. Tight and twisty plotting it’s Erin Kelly’s best yet.

IMG_2095Day Four – Sarah Lotz

Re-defining the phrase “Holiday from hell”, no one does fear and hysteria like Sarah Lotz.

IMG_2167Sophie Hannah – A Game For All The Family

Sophie Hannah at her dark and twisted best.  A thriller with a riddle, just who is telling the truth?

imageDoug Johnston – The Jump

I’ve honestly struggled to sum this one up since I first read it a few months ago and I’m not sure why.  It’s a compelling read full of the emotional aftermath of tragedy, the struggle to find understanding and to discover a meaning for existence in the wake of devastating loss.  Suffice is to say however, months later I am still fascinated by it, and think of it often.

imageDavid Mark – Taking Pity

DS Aector McAvoy is fast becoming one of my favourite damaged detectives. In Taking Pity the fourth installment of the series he’s down but not out, and you’ll be cheering his corner with every turn of the page.

imageSteve Cavanagh – The Defence

Love Mickey Haller, The Lincoln Lawyer?  Then this one’s for you, Michael Connelly’s got some competition here, and I can’t wait to read more about Eddie Flynn.

imageMichel Bussi – After The Crash

Well I wasn’t expecting that….

I dare anyone to figure this one out . A truly surprising ending to an addictive and melancholic tale.

screenshot_2015-11-25-14-57-20-1.pngAngela Marsons – Lost Girls

Angela Marsons has been one of this years big winners, with over 1,000,000 e-books shifted since the release of her first book in February.  Lost Girls is the third and best installment in her DI Kim Stone series.

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Christopher Fowler – Bryant & May London’s Glory

The perfect filler.  While we all eagerly anticipate the next full length installment in Bryant & May’s adventures, revel in a collection of short stories filling in gaps, and explaining occasionally mentioned exploits.  Pick it up, put it down, enjoy and repeat.

imageAlex Marwood – The Darkest Secret

Out in e-book now and paperback next week, The Darkest Secret is full of characters you will love to hate, I see this appearing in a lot of top recommendations over the next few months. You won’t put it down.

 

The ubiquitous end of year wrap up.

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Well that’s 2014 over, and what an amazing year that was!

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Picture by Fenris Oswin – Fenris.co.uk

Of course the highlight for me will always be my now fiancé proposing to me at the end of a panel during this years Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate. He couldn’t have chosen a more fitting venue and I will be eternally grateful to the 2014 festival chair Steve Mosby, and the rest of the festival planning committee for helping to make this happen.

Not only that but, I’ve also got the good fortune of being able to re-live the moment whenever I want, as the download of the panel itself (In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream) is available to buy from the festival website and the recording has his proposal (although not my squeaked out answer) on the end of it. That £3 purchase was definitely one of my best of the year!

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Picture by Fenris Oswin – Fenris.co.uk

That was closely followed by appearing with friend and crimesquad.com editor Chris Simmons on this year’s ITV3 Specsavers Crime Thriller Club TV show. Not only did we have two fabulous days out in ‘that London’, meeting new and interesting people, catching up with author friends and laughing with Bradley Walsh, we also WON.

Closer to home it’s been great for me to see this blog really start to increase its traffic (I’m still hoping to break that magic 1,000 followers before the end of the year – sitting at 976 as I write) and getting the opportunity to participate in the blog tours of some brilliant crime reads…

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Then of course there were also these fabulous books

 

20140527-165933-61173231.jpgLand Of Shadows – Rachel Howzell Hall

I have read several highly accomplished debut novels this year, but this is one that sticks in my mind.  Homicide Detective Elouise Norton is someone I’m keen to hear more about. Tough and driven, yet at times insecure.  With a fascinating setting on the ever changing border of a gentrifying Los Angeles, it’s a great debut.

wpid-screenshot_2014-09-11-00-59-25-1.pngThe Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins  

“To everyone else in this carriage I must look normal; I’m doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lists.

Just goes to show”

 Not published until Jan 15th 2015, I am jealous that so many of you have such a fabulous book yet to read and experience.  I urge you all to grab it as soon as it comes out, as I guarantee it’s going to cause quite a stir.

V CoverVendetta – Dreda Say Mitchell 

In a distinct change of direction to the race against time thriller, Mitchell has produced a gripping read, with cracking characters, storylines and a great deal of style this series could really see her giving Simon Kernick a run for his money.

wpid-2014_07_25_08.24.01.png Dead Men’s Bones – James Oswald

The fourth and latest of Oswald’s books featuring Detective Inspector Tony McLean. With its supernatural twists on the standard police procedural, this is one series that just gets better and better with Dead Men’s Bones proving to be the best yet.

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The Killer Next Door – Alex Marwood

Dark, chilling and impeccably plotted, it’s an interesting insight into the secrets that lurk behind closed doors, how little notice we all take of the world around us and asks the question just how well do we ever really know our friends and neighbours? 

These few aside there a are plenty more delightful, intriguing and thrilling books out there, and many of those that are currently featuring on an awful lot of top 10 lists this year are staring at me mournfully from my on the verge of collapse to be read pile.  I’m looking forward to being able to sit down and catch up with just a few of them over the coming months.

My end of year tally for books read came to a grand total of 123 missing out by more that I would have liked, on beating last years total of 130, so I’ll be going all out to exceed both of these numbers next year.

Here’s looking forward to and wishing you all a fabulous, book filled 2015.

A Book A Day, End of month wrap….

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One is for

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One Kick by Chelsea Cain.  After six successful novels with her serial killer / detective duo, Cain is back with a new character and a new direction. Famously kidnapped at age six, Kick captured America’s hearts when she was rescued five years later. Now, twenty-one, she finds herself unexpectedly entangled in a missing child case that will put her talents to the test. 

Two is for

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Two For The Dough by Janet Evanovich.  The second in the now 25 book strong (including between-the-numbers novels) series featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.  Madcap capers, romantic entanglements and explosive adventures are packed into every single one.

Three is for

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The Three by Sarah Lotz.  One of the best books I’ve read all year.

Four is for

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Four of my favourites. Without returning to the Stephanie Plum series, I couldn’t find a book for four, so instead I picked four of my favourite books of the year so far. Dead Men’s Bones by James Oswald, The Girl On The Train by Paula HawkinsCrooked Herring by LC Tyler and The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler.

Five is for

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Five by Ursula P Archer.  In which our author takes a popular hobby, gives it a macabre twist, and produces are thrilling game of cat and mouse.