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Here it is – my Top Ten Best Reads of 2016!

Compiling this list has been really fascinating, not just as a chance to revisit some fabulous books, but because it has also made me identify a hole in my reading. I’ve stopped reading contemporary fiction, and I think that is a real shame. So my reading resolution for 2017 is to broaden my horizons again. From now on I want to experience a real mix of genres, though I will still concentrate on crime.

So with that in mind, I wonder if any of you have any suggestions outside the crime genre that I should read? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what your favourite book of 2016 was, and I’ll add it to my TBR pile for next year.

In the meantime, though, in no particular order, here are my Top Ten Best Read of 2016! If you want to know more about the books, click on their titles and you’ll be taken to my full reviews.

 

BEHIND HER EYES, Sarah Pinborough

A recent read, but one that I know will stay with me for a long time. It
throughly deserves its #WTFthatending. Ingenious, dastardly, devastatingly well-plotted, and totally unique.

 

THE BEAUTIFUL DEAD, Belinda Bauer

This book ticks a lot of boxes for me: fast-paced, intelligent, dark, twisted, yet with the occasional light touch of humour that is perfectly judged. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to come across a crime novel that can make me chuckle one minute and shiver the next.

SEE HOW THEY RUN, Tom Bale

Read. This. Book. That’s all I need to say, really, because this is an absolute belter that has tension, drama, nail-biting high-speed chases, and is brilliantly written.

THE BIRDWATCHER, William Shaw

Brooding, atmospheric, and full of subtleties, rather like the Kent marshland in which it is set, The Birdwatcher is a slow-building story rather than a breathless read. Each turned page is the turning of a screw that ratchets up the tension, and I found myself lost in the world William Shaw had created.

THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, Joanna Cannon

This is a gentle crime novel that will make you smile as you savour – and fall in love with – every word. Joanna Cannon has such a clever way of making vivid sketches with simple sentences. Natural, flowing language used with incredible imagination, and understated power; wow, this is an author with a brilliant future ahead of her.

 

THE RUNNING HARE, John Lewis-Stempel

The only non-crime book, this is also non-fiction – and totally stunning. John Lewis-Stempel conveys the truth of the modern countryside, simply, beautifully, honestly; and he wears his heart on his sleeve as he shares his hopes and dreams with the reader. Simple but glorious language perfectly captures the natural world and one man’s vision of it. John Lewis-Stempel has a rare and exceptional talent that moves me to tears.

INTO THE DARKEST CORNER, Elizabeth Haynes

I’m so very late in discovering this novel, but as I have finally discovered it I also have to include it in this list. EVERYONE who loves psychological thrillers should read Elizabeth Haynes. Into The Darkest Corner got under my skin and into my head.

 

RATTLE, Fiona Cummins

Rattle is a fabulously different detective story, that I am very much hoping is going to be the start of a series. What is so well captured is the fact that sometimes children can be stronger and more resilient than adults…

BLACK-EYED SUSANS, Julia Heaberlin

A compelling and different take on a serial killer book, both told from the same person’s point of view – but decades apart. The brilliance of the writing is that the two versions both work as the same character, but there are also enough differences for you to believe the span of years that has passed. When I finished it, I wanted to go back to the start and read it all over again from my new perspective.

HER EVERY FEAR, Peter Swanson

Chilling, well-written, cleverly plotted, and characters who are uncomfortably, realistically horrible. The final confrontation had me literally gasping out loud.

 

So there we have it, my favourite reads of the year. Don’t forget to let me know your suggestions for best reads of 2016 outside of crime. Thanks! x

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