Authors’ Top Reads of 2016 – Part One.


I am delighted to kick off this end of year 2 part special feature, in conjunction with Vicki Goldman, with the first group of authors giving us their top pick of 2016.

For Day One I have  Mark Hill, Daniel Pembrey, Lisa Hall, Alex Caan, John Connolly, Paul Hardisty, Thomas Enger, David Ross, Yusuf Toporov and Matthew Blakstad telling us their ONE top pick from the books they read in 2015. Well mostly their one. SOME OF THESE GUYS ARE REBELS…

Pop over to Vicki’s place to see who she has for you today!

Mark Hill, author of The Two O’Clock Boy published in 2016 by Sphere picks:

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott. It’s a menacing and heartbreaking story of corrupted ambition and how, sometimes, we barely comprehend the ruthless desires of the people closest to us. Watch your fingers, people, the prose is diamond-sharp. 

Book Blurb:

Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate.

Click HERE to purchase You Will Know Me

Click HERE to purchase The Two O’Clock Boy.

Follow Mark on TWITTER.

Daniel Pembrey author of The Harbour master series published by No Exit picks:

It would probably be David Young’s Stasi Child. I have a fascination with that setting — former GDR, in the shadow of the Berlin wall. It features a great lead character in Karin Müller and is a cracking story, well told.

Book Blurb:

East Berlin, 1975

When Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.

Click HERE to purchase Stasi Child

Click HERE to purchase The Harbour Master

Follow Daniel on TWITTER

Lisa Hall, bestselling author of Between You and Me published by Harper Collins picks…

The short answer is Tall Oaks by my foxy little mate Whitaker!

Book blurb

When three-year-old Harry goes missing, the whole of America turns its attention to one small town.
Everyone is eager to help. Everyone is a suspect.
Desperate mother Jess, whose grief is driving her to extreme measures.
Newcomer Jared, with an easy charm and a string of broken hearts in his wake.
Photographer Jerry, who’s determined to break away from his controlling mother once and for all.
And, investigating them all, a police chief with a hidden obsession of his own . . .

Click HERE to purchase Tall Oaks

Click HERE to purchase Between You and Me

Follow Lisa on TWITTER

Alex Caan, author of Cut to the Bone published by Twenty7 (Bonnier) picks..

If you haven’t discovered the Kim Stone series yet, you are in for one serious treat. She is one of the most exciting characters to come out of the crime universe in recent years, and her creator, the amazingly talented Angela Marsons, deftly weaves her through some thrilling/harrowing cases. Bloodlines is the latest, and it brings back Kim’s arch nemesis Alex Thorn. Seriously, when these two are on the page it’s electric. You will love to hate Alex (but read Evil Games first!) and will learn to love Kim. It’s a masterpiece of a page turner, and quite simply a must read. 

Book blurb:

How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?
A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.

When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Click HERE to purchase BloodLines

Click HERE to purchase Cut to the Bone

Follow Alex on TWITTER

John Connolly (the first of the rebels) , author of the Charlie Parker novels published by Hodder and Staughton picks…

“Mine is something of a dual recommendation. One of the most pleasant literary surprises of the year for me was Becky Chambers’s The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, which I’ve passed on to people who don’t usually read science fiction with the assurance that it’s science fiction for people who don’t like science fiction, or just think they don’t. I thought it was funny, and moving, and beautifully imagined, and therefore I was very much looking forward to the sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit, which wrong-footed me – in a good way – by evoking a very different mood in the same universe. It managed the considerable feat of being both intimate and epic, and left me with a smile on my fact. She really is a talent to be reckoned with, and has made my year a brighter one with her work.”

Book Blurb:

Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.

But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.

Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

Click HERE to purchase The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Click HERE to purchase the latest Charlie Parker novel

Follow John on TWITTER

Paul Hardisty (another rebel) author of the Claymore Straker thrillers published by Orenda picks…

My favourite reads of 2016 (tied) were Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus and Jihadi by Yusuf Toropov. Both bend the genre, are intelligent, well written, and just well different from your normal fare.

Book Blurb:

EJ – Jerry has a traumatic past that leaves him subject to psychotic hallucinations and depressive episodes. When he stands accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh painting, he goes underground, where he develops an unwilling relationship with a woman who believes that the voices she hears are from God. Involuntarily entangled in the illicit world of sex-trafficking among the Hollywood elite, and on a mission to find redemption for a haunting series of events from the past, Jerry is thrust into a genuinely shocking and outrageously funny quest to uncover the truth and atone for historical sins.

J – A former intelligence agent stands accused of terrorism, held without charge in a secret overseas prison. His memoir is in the hands of a psychologist with her own agenda, and her annotations paint a much darker picture. As the story unravels, we are forced to assess the truth for ourselves, and decide not only what really happened, but who is the real terrorist. Peopled by a diverse and unforgettable cast of characters, whose reliability as narrators is always questioned, and with a multi-layered plot heaving with unexpected and often shocking developments

Click HERE to purchase Epiphany Jones

Click HERE to purchase Jihadi

Click HERE to purchase The Evolution of Fear

Follow Paul on TWITTER.

Thomas Enger, author of Cursed (Henning Juul novels) published by Orenda picks...


For me it must be Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. The opening sentence alone is worth buying it for. Listen to this: «The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house”  It’s just a great story, told both brilliantly and beautifully. What more could you possibly ask.

Book blurb:

In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left townMore than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they’ve buried and ignored for decades.

Click HERE to purchase Crooked Letter Crooked Letter

Click HERE to purchase Cursed.

Follow Thomas on TWITTER


David Ross, author of The Last Days of Disco published by Orenda picks..

Hugo Wilcken’s ‘The Reflection’. I even broke with all form of tradition and wrote some words in praise of it.

‘It’s a very simply but beautifully written book with a straightforward, if cyclical structure. Paradoxically, it’s plot is complex and contradictory. It messed with my head. It explores the fragile relationship between trauma, reality and the often fluid nature of identity. It is never less than fantastic from beginning to end.’

Book Blurb:

When psychiatrist David Manne is asked by a friend who’s a New York City Police detective to consult on an unusual case, he finds himself being asked to evaluate a criminal who’s the exact opposite of himself—an uneducated laborer from the Midwest who seems overwhelmed by modern day Manhattan circa 1948. But when that laborer tells David that he’s not who the police say he is, David slowly begins to believe it may be true

Click HERE to purchase The Reflection

Click HERE to purchase The Last Days of Disco

Follow David on TWITTER

Yusuf Toropov, author of Jihadi, published by Orenda picks..

My favorite read this year was Edward Wilson’s brilliant A VERY BRITISH ENDING. Devastating, all too accurate examination of Cold War paranoia.

Book Blurb

An MI6 officer, haunted by the ghosts of an SS atrocity, kills a Nazi war criminal in the ruins of a U-boat bunker. The German turns out to be a CIA asset being rat-lined to South America.

As a hungry Britain freezes in the winter of 1947, a young cabinet minister negotiates a deal with Moscow trading Rolls-Royce jet engines for cattle fodder and wood. Both have made powerful enemies with long memories. The fates of the two men become entwined as one rises through MI6 and the other to Downing Street. It is the mid-1970s and a coup d’état is imminent.

Click HERE to purchase A Very British Ending

Finally for today, the most rebellious of all, Matthew Blakstad, author of Sockpuppet published by Hodder picks…

This year I’ve chosen three very different books which are all in their own ways about escaping into the wilderness. Why, I wonder, have I accidentally landed on that theme at the end of a year like 2016? Hmm… *strokes chin* Anyway, the titles are:

Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers. Top of my list. A story about a woman who scoops up her two young kids and tries to escape from an American dream gone sour. Eggers is master of an effortless, joyful prose that’s uniquely American in register and this book pinpoints the present moment with smart-bomb accuracy.

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. A dark, uplifting coming-of-age tale about a survivalist father who takes his daughter into the woods and persuades her the rest of the world has come to an end. It manages to be both compassionate and bleak about individual obsession and family love. Highly recommended.

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis. Man, I loved this book. A classic adventure story of the West, except this time it happens in a post-apocalyptic America that might almost have come to be. Plus the shoot-from-the-hip protagonist is not some grisly male gunslinger, but a sharp-witted girl named Elka with a sharp knife and a dark secret in her past.

Click HERE  to purchase Heroes of the Frontier

Click HERE to purchase Our Endless Numbered Days

Click HERE to purchase Wolf Road

Click HERE to purchase Sockpuppet

Follow Matt on TWITTER

SO that is your lot for today!

Remember to pop by Vicki’s  blog to find some more Authors’ Top Reads of 2015.

Join Vicki and I again on WEDNESDAY for some more great picks!

Happy Reading Folks!



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One Response to Authors’ Top Reads of 2016 – Part One.

  1. crimeworm says:

    Nice pick, Yusufi – I love Edward Wilson, and some Cold War paranoia. I’ve just finished Helen Dunmore’s Exposure, which has a similar theme. Also loved Stasi Child, and can’t wait to tear into Stasi Wolf. And I’ll be reading You Will Know Me and The Two O’Clock Boy before the bells, as I’m at 88 books and I want to make it to 100. A paltry number to you Liz I know! Great stuff, can’t wait for part two!

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