Frankly, I would have loved to read a lot more books this year, alas life and all other shit sometimes get in the way of those wonderful hours of immersing yourself into a story.
I am being brief, the new year is advancing fast, keeping it down to just a few books on this short list but there were many others I read and enjoyed.
The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz started the year with an absolute blast of a book and, to be honest, it was hard for any author to follow up. The Nowhere Man sees Hurwitz’s hero Evan Smoak in dire straits, being abducted by a nefarious and strange businessman that has his own perverse plans with Evan. The Nowhere Man has everything a story could possibly need: a great hero, a nasty villain, an extraordinary location, enough action to make you forget to breathe and more surprises than your heart can take. Literary action can’t get any better than this.
he by John Connolly has been a labour of love for Connolly, as it has the beloved figure of Stan Laurel as the narrator. Laurel is reminiscing about how he became famous and remembering his time with his other half, Oliver ‘Babe’ Hardy. While fictive when it comes to Laurel’s musings it is grand and accurate storytelling about Hollywood’s golden era and the rise of Laurel & Hardy and their often less than perfect private lives. Connolly has done his research and the words just speak to the heart of any reader, Connolly’s wonderful prose elevating reading to the highest pleasure.
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski revolves around the murder of a teenager that happened a long time ago. Now the renowned host of the podcast Six Stories tries to unearth what really happened back then, letting six people that knew the victim have their say while digging deep in their memories. Taking unexpected turns and presenting very nice plot twists Six Stories is told in a completely new structure and is a harrowing pleasure to read. Wesolowski is a huge horror fan and he surely knows how to push the right buttons to make you shiver and almost hide behind a cushion while reading.
Sirens by Joseph Knox was a real surprise for me and a very nice exception to the usual detective thrillers. His protagonist Aidan Waits gets entangled in the dark part of Manchester, being shoved like a pawn in chess by his superiors and an important politician, whose daughter he is supposed to find. Wright and wrong, hero and baddie – there are more than just a few shades of grey in Knox’s twisty, gritty and enthralling debut. One of the best crime thrillers – not only of this year.
House of Spines by Michael J. Malone starts with his troubled protagonist Ran McGhie inheriting a large house from his estranged great-uncle. Ran instantly falls in love with the mansion that is Newton Hall yet strange things are starting to happen that might either be just in Ran’s imagination or of a supernatural origin…House of Spines is the perfect example of a sinister and sexy gothic tale that is an absolute pageturner.
The Children by Wulf Dorn is unfortunately only out in German to this time. Psychiatrist Robert Winter is being called in to assist the police with a strange case. A young woman has been found in a car wreck in the mountains, a disfigured body in the boot of her car. She came from a village where over one hundred people seem to have vanished from the face of the earth. It is now Winter’s task to find out what happened there. The Children is a spine-chilling mystery unlike any other that hooks you right from the start and keeps you up all night.
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave gives blind teenager Joshua the chance of a lifetime when he is offered the opportunity to see after a breakthrough new surgery method. Little does Joshua know about the circumstances that led to his good luck and how after his surgery he gets into the focus of a ruthless killer. Cleave is cleverly playing with the expectations of the reader regarding story and characters, putting out false leads so the terrifying twists and turns of the nerve-wracking story start piling up to the ultimate heart-stopping killer finale. A brilliant, exceptional thriller.
Finally, I have to mention a book I had the pleasure to read that hasn’t even reached publication status yet. But I bet that Milo – Angel of Death will be a sure hit once it’s unleashed into the world. Marcus, an overworked and stressed out young man, almost cracks under the daily pressure his work and repressed memories of his past put on him. While on a job in San Francisco a chance encounter with a mysterious woman puts everything he knows in question and he quits his former life to follow her and to become her apprentice – as a killer! And this is just the start of an awesome entertaining story set in breathtaking locations all around the world, with great and quirky protagonists and larger-than-life villains. An enthralling, Tarantinoesque, violent and sexy joyride that will have you yearning to read part two and three of the trilogy right away.