Well it’s that time of year again – on Friday my Top Ten will post but honestly I’ve read SO MANY great books in 2017 I thought I’d do a quick round up of the best of the rest to get the bookish juices flowing. Since I cut off my top ten considerations and locked it down, I’ve read even MORE great books – not the least of which was Sarah Hilary’s Come and Find Me – so already the list for next year is looking difficult to manage. But it’s what we live for right?
I will have missed books that I adored. The only way to get everything in that I would like to mention would be to relist nearly everything I’ve read this year, I haven’t honestly had that many misses – but I will, of course at the time, have written my true feelings review so if you are not on this list or the next one it is not indicative of anything. I would like to shout out a HUGE thanks to all the brilliant authors whose words I have devoured this year so far. And I still have a month to go.
So the best of the rest:
Well of course in any normal year the undoubtedly talented Chris Whitaker would have my no 1 spot because nobody NOBODY writes like he does. Tall Oaks had my No 1 last year – this year, our friendship having developed to the point that putting All The Wicked Girls in my Top Ten would feel like nepotism, instead I’m giving him the first and the most important best of the rest spot. All the Wicked Girls is quite simply a stunning piece of literature. Read it, love it, you won’t be able to help it. Read my review here.
Our Kind of Cruelty from Araminta Hall is my pick of the psychological thrillers I’ve read this year, a twisted tale with a sympathetic yet dangerous main protagonist and a book that makes you think it is doing one thing when actually it is doing quite another. Out in 2018 any fan of this genre should be putting it on their must have list. Read my review here.
Matthew Blakstad’s Lucky Ghost is another rock and roll novel and a truly brilliant follow up to Sockpuppet – I call him the punk rocker of the writing world because the prose is banging good, the storytelling addictive and clever and if you haven’t read these yet then you should. Any other year of course this would be top ten…but every year those decisions get harder. Don’t miss Lucky Ghost though. Read my review here.
I read both of this books within this year’s time frame and the Matt Hunter series from The Rev (as I call him) Peter Laws is definitely one to watch. Scary, witty, dark as you like, you should read these with the lights on or preferably during the day if you can – otherwise you never know what might jump out at you. These come very highly recommended from me. Read my Unleashed review here.
Colette McBeth’s An Act Of Silence is an intuitively insightful piece of storytelling that has a psychological thriller tone but actually does so much more than that. Her best novel to date, I devoured it in huge chunks of reading time and it was an emotionally affecting read that has stayed with me. Read my review here.
Sarah Stovell’s “Exquisite” IS Exquisite both in writing and in immersive, cleverly obfuscated plotting with two dangerously engaging women playing a cat and mouse game that is totally unpredictable. Read it in one sitting then ponder it for days. That is how it gets you. Don’t miss it. Read my review here.
Three top Fantasy reads right here – each one getting my blood up at various times of the year. LOVED them all and I wish that I could just put them all in the top slots but I can’t (Maybe I’ll do a top 100 next year!) Different reasons but same recommendation here. Age of Assassins and it’s top notch plotting, Godblind and it’s tendency to make you grimace whilst desperate for the next chapter and The Tethered Mage with it’s brilliantly drawn politics are just simply wonderful reads.
Three of the twistiest tales for you now – Gillian McAllister’s brilliantly speculative sliding doors with death novel Anything you Do Say, Corrie Jackson fast catching up to the queen of the twisty tale Sophie Hannah with her brilliantly unpredictable “The Perfect Victim” and of course then Sophie Hannah herself with the undoubtedly clever Did You See Melody?
Three literary delights for you now – The emotionally resonant and beautiful “The Immortalists” from Chloe Benjamin, M L Rio’s Shakespearean inspired dark tale “If We Were Villains” and Paul Bassett Davies with the darkly comic “Dead Writers in Rehab” – honestly don’t miss any of these.
The Young Adults have had a great year – here are three of my top picks but I could have had many many more. Sara Holland’s Everless is so addictive and promises much more to come, Emily Suvada’s This Mortal Coil was fast, furious and brilliant and Karen M McManus wrote the twistiest tale I’ve ever seen outside of adult psychological thrillers with the genuinely unpredictable “One Of Us is Lying” Whatever age you are go pick at least one of these up!
The best of the rest of the best of the rest in crime for me this year – Amer Anwar’s incredibly insightful and highly entertaining “Western Fringes” then Emma Viskic’s “Resurrection Bay” which had me sitting engrossed for an entire afternoon and has a terrific main protagonist and I CERTAINLY couldn’t do a top book round up without including James Hazel’s “The Mayfly” which may make you shiver and is probably my favourite one sitting read of the year. You just can’t look away!
Need a thrilling thriller? Look no further. Adam Hamdy’s follow up to Pendulum which is twice as fast and ups the ante “Freefall” will have you on the edge of your seat. Haylen Beck (AKA Stuart Neville) and the psychological thrill ride that is Here and Gone will steal a few hours of your life and finally batten down the hatches with one from my favourite thriller series featuring the extremely cold but really very hot anti-hero Victor, Tom Wood’s “The Final Hour”.
Some top legal eagles now with lawyers turned writers who are in my top “most entertaining reads” category when it comes to crime – Try William McIntyre’s “Last Will” with his funny Scottish main protagonist and wittily brilliant plots, then of course I cannot EVER miss the incredibly talented Steve Cavanagh and Eddie Flynn with The Liar another edge of the seat rock and roll legal thriller – finally well we know he’s one of my top 5 favourite authors when he’s behaving himself and Neil White’s “From the Shadows” started off his new series in his usual indomitably excellent style.
Wow. That’s 28 brilliant reads. No wonder my Top Ten was so hard to pin down this year. Perhaps then just two more to round it up to a even 30 I mean why not? Maybe a couple that I just fell in love with for no really good reason whatsoever…
Rowan Coleman broke my heart and made me melancholy happy with her brilliant, gorgeous and heartfelt tale “The Summer of Impossible Things” – then we have Matt Haig’s “How to Stop Time” which is a wonderfully full of heart story about a man who lives a long long long life. These two actually go together well – I could easily recommend that you pick them both up and hunker down for a weekend in front of the fire and just lose yourself in the beautiful writing and magical heart of both these stories, written by true storytellers.
There that is your lot for now. Find out on FRIDAY which books made my top ten reads of 2017 – although like this list, you’ll have to wait to get your hands on one or two – It was genuinely almost impossible to pick both those and these – every year the talent grows, the reads get better and if you search for my “Ones to Watch in 2018” posts you’ll get a feel for how difficult it will be to pick next year too. Every single book mentioned here could easily have been in my Top Ten and many that are not mentioned here could have been too. But this is Best of the Rest – I hope you find something to love.