It was hard to pair down my list for this year with great books this year. Books that would have been here on any other year and are sure to be on other people’s list had to be sacrificed, like Craig Johnson’s latest Walt Longmire, Land Of Wolves, Rob Hart’s great dystopian thriller The Warehouse, and David C. Taylor’s fifties cop turned political thriller Night Watch. Even with the elimination, I had to find a way to squeeze twelve into my top ten. All these books share a great storytelling skill that delivers the goods of their subgenre while also provoking thought or delivering a different perspective to the reader.
A Friend Is A Gift You Give Yourself by William Boyle
If you follow MysteryPeople, you need to read this. Boyle’s road trip of a retired porn star, a mob widow, and her granddaughter in a stolen 63′ Impala with a bag of mafia cash is often funny, at times terrifying, and always defying expectations. This book is much more than it’s great buddy premise as it looks at how we deal with life’s choices and the strength of female friendship. Once again, two actresses over fifty need to snap this property up.
Dry County by Jake Hinkson
Hinkson examines small town life and the many forms of faith as we follow a domino effect of crime, sin, and violence on the Easter weekend of 2016 when the local minister is blackmailed by one of his parishioners. Hinkson shows a true understanding of his characters and delivers my favorite last line in a book this year.
The beautiful swan songs of three of my favorite private detectives. Addict detective Frank Marr deals with his new found sobriety and develops a relationship with a new partner that has me hoping Swinson will return to him. Ken Bruen finds a grace note to leave his beleaguered Galway “finder” Jack Taylor and delivers one of the best endings of the year, and Phillip Kerr, knowing he was dying, summed up Bernie Gunther in a poignant fashion, by taking him back before any of the previous books, putting him on his first case as a homicide detective. If you have to say goodbye, these three authors show you how to do it.
Conviction by Denise Mina
Mina delivers her most accessible book without compromising in this thriller about a dumped trophy wife traveling with a male anorexic former pop star to do a podcast that will exonerate a man from her secret past. One of Mina’s funniest books, it never backs away from the messiness of her characters, creating an ode to the power of broken people.
End Of The Ocean by Matthew McBride
McBride fuses Graham Greene and Elmore Leonard together with his own unique voice as he looks at love and smuggling in Indonesia. His rich character study leads into a harrowing thriller that culminates it one heartbreaker of an ending.
The Border by Don Winslow
Winslow winds up DEA agent, now director, Art Keller’s involvement with the war on drugs, bringing the history to the present and our country’s sins on our doorstep. The author juggles several story lines and a dozen characters, keeping you involved, informed, and enraged.
Paper Son by S.J Rozan
New York private detectives Lydia Chin and Bill Smith return in a mystery that takes them to the Mississippi delta to clear Lydia’s cousin of a murder rap. Rozan delivers a well crafted detective tale while giving us a tour of the Chinese-American culture in the deep south.
The Book Artist by Mark Pryor
Pryor pushed his craft by telling two stories featuring his hero, Hugo Marston, head of security for the U.S. embassy in Paris. In one, Hugo has to clear his lover, Claudia, of murder and he has to deal with a killer from his friend Tom Green’s and his FBI past. The author deftly pulls them off, using both stories to question love and friendship.
The Swallows by Lisa Lutz
When a new teacher at a second rate boarding school learns about the secret of “dark room” that diminishes the female students, she sets up a plot with some of the girls that lead to dire consequences. Lutz’s deft use of humor and her examination of gender politics creates a perfect thriller for our times that may become timeless.
Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin
A podcaster looks into the thrill killing couple responsible for his mother’s death and opens up a string of violence when he learns one of them could still be alive. Gaylin creates a thrilling novel, delving into media, family, and perception.
Look for these thrilling reads and more when you shop with us in-store and online!