I’ve lost track of how many books I’ve read this year – given my book blog often puts up several each Thursday, I’m thinking at least 200. Mostly crime-psychological thrillers, but a smattering of prize winners and shortlisted (Booker, Pulitzer, Stella) as well as a few nonfiction. So my top eleven (tried for ten but Barker and George’s book tied and as they are both Aussie women, had to keep them both!) are from those I’ve published reviews for (have at least another ten sitting waiting) so they are taken from a biased sample – and of course they may not have been published in 2014, that was just when I read them! Part of making the list is how memorable it was—but if I read them more recently that gave a bit of an unfair advantage (sorry).
Alphabetical order (and Australian Women Writers, I have 3 amongst them, and 4 male and 7 female: just the way it worked!)
Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott, a British thriller writer I discovered this year, has a few but this is the best.
The Secret Place by Tana French. Set in Ireland, French is probably my current favourite thriller writer and this one, set over 24 hours in a school, really grabbed me. I am a bit of a sucker for school/university stories…
Let Her Go by Dawn Barker. An intelligent family drama around surrogacy. I wish my fellow psychiatrist the best of luck with it.
We’re All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Listed for the Booker I loved this and it will stay with me for a long time – the winner for the year seen as I don’t think I can legitimately vote for The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion which is wonderful, funny and thought provoking but I’m married to the author. Fowler’s is a well intentioned family who make one decision from which there is no return: the twist is not a thriller variety, so don’t expect that, and when it comes (quite early) don’t let it put you off. This stuff really happened and it tells so much about the human condition.
What Came Before by Anna George. Though less twisty than I usually like, this is a beautifully observed relationship story…the bad sort of relationship, more realistic than Gone Girl.
Ritual by Mo Hayder. She’s a woman in case anyone is counting. Great series that I loved, this being the stand out. Even better is one of her stand alone books but I haven’t posted that review yet!
Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride. Loved the most recent Logan McRae book as well, but only just finished that and haven’t even written the review yet. This book is the winner of his for the year (prefer this series to his other). McRae and his team are brilliant, Great characters, great dialogue and read these and you can save yourself having to travel to Scotland (though I am going walking there this year and MacBride’s character’s will be ringing in my ears).
Life of I by Anne Manne. This nonfiction account of narcissism was well worth the read. Though I didn’t always agree with her, it’s thought provoking and I wish more parents would read and think…
In the Morning I’ll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty. An Irish friend tells me he gets the accent and probably just about everything else right. Certainly for me, the combination of murder mystery and the Irish Troubles is a winner. This definitely the best so far in the series.
Resurrection Men by Ian Rankin. I am a late discoverer of Rankin and managed a few this year—this is the one that stayed with me. Good writing, characters and plot. What else can I say?
Kill Me by Stephen White. This US author, books set in Boulder Colorado, was a find for me this year and I loved the Alan Gregory series with a psychologist and cop: lots of action and twists. This one is a stand out and stand alone one, but don’t stop here!
For full reviews see www.simonesinna.com then Blog – Thoughtful Thursday.