It is January and therefore the time of year to reflect on the highs and lows, and all things in between. I have to admit because of work on my current novel, I have had less time for the guilty pleasure of reading, but none the less, on review, there are certainly some tasty treats in my 2018 mix!
I have a serious amount of Irish crime fiction books in my ‘To Be Read list’, so apologies in advance to all the amazing Irish writers whose pleasure still awaits me and who have proven yet again that Irish Crime Fiction is up there with the best in the world.
Anyhow, these are the books which gave me the most pleasure in 2018, if you fancy having a look.
Jaw dropping writing, a story with deeply flawed characters that you can’t get enough of. This is Modern Noir at its best!
‘Polly and Adam at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal. Something—or someone—has to give.’
An utterly engaged story which held my attention throughout. Cross Her Heart is full of surprises, and is at times quite beautiful. I felt bereft when it was over.
‘Lisa lives for her daughter Ava. When Ava rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are all over the news for everyone to see, Lisa’s world explodes, and she finds everything she has built threatened, including her many secrets. Not knowing whom she can trust, it’s up to her to face up to her past to save what she holds dear.’
Not quite up there with ‘The Dry’, Jane Harper’s acclaimed debut novel, but another tour do force all the same. A novel where the landscape becomes alive, and the dangers it holds are utterly deadly for its characters.
‘Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along a muddy track. Only four come out on the other side. The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and encourage teamwork and resilience. At least, that’s what the corporate retreat website advertises, but as Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk delves into the disappearance of Alice, the missing woman, he begins to suspect some dangers ran far deeper than anyone knew.’
A dark tale of secrets, and the fall out from keeping them. Fast paced and compelling with female characters you never doubt are the real thing.
‘Kit Owens had modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane’s academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship, until Diane shared a secret that changed everything. More than a decade later, Kit thinks she’s put Diane behind her forever, fulfilling her scientific dreams, but the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet, and the two former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to destroy them both.’
Black Water is a novel which pulls you into the dark underbelly of Dublin city with great characters, chilling dexterity and unflinching truth – it is harsh, but tender, steely and authentic.
‘I killed the boy…
Jig loves football and his dog, hates school, and knows to lie low when his Ma’s blitzed on the vodka and tablets. An ordinary boy on the mean streets alongside Dublin’s Grand Canal, ruled by Ghost and his gangland crew. But now Ghost has a job for Jig, one that no one can afford to go wrong- not the gangs, the police, the locals, and least of all Jig.’
An extremely fast paced novel with some black humour fired into the mix, a story full of lies, danger and intrigue, it will keep you hooked until the very last page.
‘In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…
Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.’
Full of mystery and uncertainty, a twisty well structured tale which will grip you from the get-go, filled with secrets you are compelled to unravel as the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart— is told in reverse.
‘It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.’
First up, this is NOT a CRIME NOVEL, but I simply can’t mention my best reads of 2018 without including this one. An absolutely joyous novel and if you dare to venture out of the crime genre into literary fiction, this is a great place to start. I adore the sparseness of Strout’s prose, and the delicate pathways she brings the reader on as we travel the lives of such richly layered characters.
Again, NOT a CRIME NOVEL, but I have recommended this series of essays by Emilie Pine to practically everyone I’ve talked about books to last year. Hands down, the best thing I have read in a very long time….
HAPPY READING IN 2019!!