As another year draws to a close, it’s time to, once again, look back at what I’ve read over the past twelve months and try to narrow it down to my ten favourites. Not an easy job! Again, I’ve looked back through my Goodreads reviews to see which books I gave five stars to and have chosen from there. Here are my final ten, in no particular order:
Although I’ve said that my list is in no particular order, this is by far my favourite book of the year. I loved the first two books in the Nathan Cody series but Don’t Make a Sound really is something else. Telling the story of the loathsome Malcolm Benson and the young children he has abducted, this book really did make me gasp in shock as I neared the end. There are not many books that throw me completely off the scent, but David Jackson’s twist succeeded to the point where I had to go back and re-read several pages to ensure that I had read it correctly! I predicted in January that this would be one of my favourite books of the year and I was right!
The eighth in the Kim Stone series and one that had many devoted fans reaching for their tissues! The investigation into the deaths of some of the pupils at a local school saw Angela Marsons taking the story arc somewhere we never expected it to go. This is a series that is showing no signs of slowing down and Dying Truth is definitely up there as one of the best. If you have never read an Angela Marsons book, you don’t know what you’re missing!
I’m a huge fan of her Ruth Galloway and Stephens & Mephisto books, so I couldn’t wait to read Elly’s standalone, The Stranger Diaries. Part murder-mystery, part gothic thriller, when the body of her friend is found with horrific injuries, English teacher Clare is immediately a suspect. Clare, an expert in the author R M Holland, is perturbed when a quote from one of his stories is found nearby. This is soon followed by strange comments in her personal diary. Is someone messing with her mind or is there really a supernatural link to the case? A superb read.
A gruesome murder-mystery that is more of a ‘whydunit’ than a ‘whodunit’. The two main protagonists, Joe and Becca, are investigating a serial killer who is stalking the streets of London, remaining one step ahead of the police at all times. This book has stuck in my mind mainly due to the twist that I most definitely did not see coming and is one that you don’t see very often in books of this genre.
A twisty thriller that had me hooked from the very first page, Jar of Hearts tells the story of Geo, a woman who is about to be released from prison after serving time for her involvement in the murder of her high school friend. Her then boyfriend, Calvin, has escaped from prison and soon there is a trail of bodies all bearing the hallmarks of the Sweetbay Strangler. Is this a message for Geo and is she destined to be the next victim?
This is a bit of a cheat really as I also included it in my books of 2017 but as it wasn’t officially published until 2018, I think I’m allowed to include it again! When a group of boys follow a trail of drawings depicting chalk men, they find a dismembered body in the woods, changing their lives forever. Now, thirty years later, the chalk men have started to reappear… Clever writing and an equally clever ending, I can’t wait to read the author’s next book, The Taking of Annie Thorne.
The fourth in the Eve Clay series is another dark thriller from Mark Roberts set, as in the previous books, in Liverpool, but also, this time, taking in the United States. When a young Czech girl is found abandoned in a park, there is some relief until the call comes in that two Polish men have been found dead in their burnt-out flat. Are the cases connected? There is, again, another chilling climax to the story with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
When a woman is found near a forest singing a childhood song about ‘the bone keeper’, people begin to ask the question – could the urban legend actually be real? A very eerie serial killer story with more than a touch of the macabre, Luca Veste has created another great protagonist in Louise Henderson (although I am still missing Murphy and Rossi!).
The murder of Julia Wallace in 1931 is one of Britain’s classic unsolved cases. Move to Murder examines the evidence, putting forward several theories, asking the reader to take on the role of the jury and come up with a verdict. A well-written and researched book, this certainly made me question my long-held view on the case.
I’ve never been a fan of courtroom dramas, but the tagline, ‘The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury’ was too intriguing to miss. With one of the worst (and ingenious) serial killers I’ve read about for a long time, this was definitely one of the books that lived up to the hype.
So, there you have it. There’s a few that just missed out, but I’m happy with my final ten. Have any of these made your list? Is there anything you think I should have included?