First off I should mention up front and out loud that I'm not a book blogger and these are not awards of any kind. However, I read a lot, probably because I don't watch television and when I'm not marking assignments and writing myself, I'm reading. Just for example, during our five weeks faring in the summer, I read fourteen novels and one or two memoirs as well. I often have three or four books on the go, so writing these 'favourite reads' blogs helps me to remember what I've read during the year.
I'm actually going to write three posts on the subject because there are so many books I want to mention, it will get too mixed up if I put them all here. So for this one, I'll start with my favourite Crime Fiction reads of the year, then do a blog on Memoirs I've read and then another on General Fiction.
So here we go with:
My favourite genre of books is undoubtedly crime fiction. There are several authors whose books I always read, but this year, these are the novels that have stood out for me. They aren't in any particular order, other than as they've come to me.
* LM Krier's DI Darling series: I've read books 1, 2 and 3 of these and have bought the next three. I have thoroughly enjoyed them all, but each one has been better than the last, so I am very happy at the prospect of having three more to read! Ted Darling is a cop with a difference as well as a troubled past, and he's great! Here's a link to the first one, Baby's Got Blue Eyes.
* Deon Meyer's Thirteen Hours. Boy, what a riveting roller coaster ride that was. It stood out for all the right reasons. It's also a detective novel, but it's set in South Africa and the hero, Benny Griessel is a likeable reformed alcoholic struggling to stay that way. I loved the South African setting, of course, and the story was fast paced, intricate and challenging. Excellent.
* Deborah Crombie. I've read two of hers, The Sound of Broken Glass and No Mark Upon Her. I am totally addicted to the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series and loved both of these. Deborah Crombie writes mostly about London, and I feel I am there in all its multi-cultural rich diversity when I read her books. There is always something thoughtful and even poignant about the cases these two have to investigate, but even better are the 'supporting actors' who crop up in every book. They become real to the reader and the back stories, sub plots and secondary characters are major features in this series and provide good continuity too.
* Stephanie Parker McKean's Bridge Back. This is the sixth in the Miz Mike series of murder mysteries. I love this series. It's not your typical crime novel at all as the heroine is a big, buxom, Texan woman who is delightfully bonkers, dangerously outspoken and wonderfully zany. She is constantly getting into 'pickles' and (incapable of) minding her own business, which means she's always falling over murders. Fast, fun, colourful and exciting, Bridge Back has Miz Mike sorely out of her comfort zone in Scotland. Murder mysteries to enjoy!
* Terry Tyler's The Devil You Know. I was amazed by this new approach to crime writing. This is not a police procedural; it's an intense psychological thriller in which five people believe they know the serial killer of several girls in an English town somewhere in the east of the country. Each of the main characters believes it is someone close to them and so the reader has five suspects to choose from. The Devil You Know is a riveting read that is so different from the norm, it is in its own genre.
I have read several other crime novels during the year and may well have missed a goodie here and there, but these are the ones I've really remembered. For the rest, I've read (and continue to read) crime fiction by the following authors whose books I always love:
Donna Leon (Inspector Brunetti)
Christina James (I still have the new one to read) (DI Yates)
Carol Hedges (I still have the new one to read) (Stride and Cully)
Ian Rankin (Rebus)
Henning Mankell (Wallender, but sadly there will be no more of these)
I've also read one by Elly Griffiths (The Janus Stone) which I quite enjoyed and I've read some Dutch crime fiction by De Waal and Baantjer, which I love for their sense of place (being Amsterdam). There have been others that haven't grabbed me so well, so I won't mention those here, but they have included some very well-known names. Generally, I don't like crime fiction that's very gory and graphic, so if I get one of those, I mostly don't finish it. I like the puzzle of working out who, what and why, rather than how!
Okay, that's it for this one. The next instalment will be in a day or so!