What a week last week was – as well as being #BookWeekScotland I also participated in #TheBookClubonFacebooks #Bloggers event – where 20 bloggers were asked to share their top 20 reads (of any time span) over a period of 4 days! Wow what a four days that was! Amazon allegedly reported a spate of unusual activity from #TBConFB members from 21st-24th Nov!
I have compiled this post to share my top 20 reads (crime/psych thriller)- though I am sure that it would change every time I was asked to do it! (I will be sharing my #BestReads2016 at the end of the year and that will focus entirely on books I have read in 2016).
Not all these books have full reviews as many were read before I started blogging; however for those were there is a full review you will find it here on my blog!
- Val McDermid – A Place of Execution – a standalone McDermid novel about the disappearance of a school girl in the 1960s, a murder mystery that cleverly intertwines the past with the present and will have your head turning! This book is in my top 20 as Val McDermid sits up there in my Goddesses of Crime Fiction throne and this book, for me, has always stood out a mile. It haunts me still!
- Douglas Skelton – Open Wounds, the last in the Davie McCall Series; Davie is a Glasgow gangster, Davie wants out of the life…but at what cost! The reason I chose this book out of the whole McCall series is that Douglas Skelton made me greet with this book, seriously he actually made me cry! I’m still in a state of shock! Besides this I chose it as I think Douglas Skelton is probably one of the most underrated Scottish crime writers out there – I cannot understand why people are not shouting his name from the rooftops! Buy this book – hell no – buy the whole damn series!
- Lin Anderson – The Reborn – alongside Val McDermid, Lin Anderson is joint Goddess of Crime Fiction and undisputed Queen of Tartan Noir. Reborn is the 7th in the Rhona McLeod series. When the body of a pregnant teenager is found in a Hall of Mirrors with the full-term foetus surgically removed, forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod is called in to assist the police. Suspicion falls on Jeff Coulter, a psychotic inmate at a nearby hospital whose hobby is making Reborns – chillingly realistic baby dolls intended for bereaved parents or those unable to conceive. But how could he have orchestrated the murder from a secure mental facility? I have chosen this book as it chilled me to the bone as I read it and still I can reflect back and feel that chill seeping through me again. Can’t recommend the whole series highly enough.
- Steven Dunne – The Unquiet Grave, 4th in the Reaper/Damon Brook series and even though the books just keep getting better and better this one remains my all-time favourite. DI Brook is a detective with a dark past, he is an enigmatic character and The Unquiet Grave sees Brook just back from suspension and relegated to the Cold Cases Unit – but he isn’t going down without a fight. The book covers a series of murders dating back to the 1960s and Brook is determined to bring the killer to justice. It’s in my top 20 as it is thrilling, full of suspension, claustrophobic terror, twists, turns and a glimpse into the darkness of a damaged detective! A complex but compelling read!
- Michael J Malone – A Suitable Lie – having read all of Michael’s books I was hard pressed just to pick one to sit in my top 20 but I am going with his most recent – A Suitable Lie – domestic noir with a twist – what happens in a relationship where one partner is the abuser and that partner is the woman. A Suitable Lie blows open the reality that is domestic abuse and that is a reality for men! I this book was a definite for my top 20 as it is one that is going to stay with me for a long time and one that provokes some very deep thinking.
- William McIlvannay – Laidlaw – the original damaged detective from the fondly remembered Godfather of Scottish Crime Fiction. A young woman is found brutally murdered in Kelvingrove Park, only Laidlaw stands a chance of finding her murderer from among the hard men, gangland villains and self-made money men who lurk in the city’s shadows. It would be impossible for me not to include at least one of William’s books on my list. He was the man who inspired many, his intelligence, his dignity and his deep belief in social justice will always be remembered with fondness and respect.
- Alan Jones – Bloq – Bill waits in Glasgow’s Central Station for his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train has pulled in, and she doesn’t get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why. His search for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again. This has got to be in my top 20 because there is a real depth and truth to the characters Alan creates; I lived their every emotion while reading the book. I cannot go to Central Station now without shedding a silent tear for Bill.
- Anne Cleeves – Raven Black is the first in the Shetland series and the body of teenage girl is found on a cold and bitter snowy January morning in Shetland. Raven Black is Jimmy Perez’s first investigation in the series that is now an award-winning BBC drama. I chose this to be in my top 20 as there is something intrinsically dark in the beauty of the Shetland Isles – the very landscape lends itself well to this genre and despite never having visited the islands reading this series makes me feel as though I know them like the back of my hand.
- Elizabeth Haynes – Into the Darkest Corner – a horrific yet compelling tale of domestic violence that goes well beyond any physical damage. This book is bound to be in a few top 20s of my fellow bloggers – but this is with me for the long-term as the fear instilled by that book crept through every element of my very being. If you haven’t read it then you seriously must!
- Mo Hayder – Poppet – 6th in the Jack Caffery series sees a patient from an intensive psychiatric unit on the loose following an error leading to his discharge. Seriously how can Mo Hayder not be in my top 20 – she writes the sickest, most chilling and disturbing crime thrillers that you can imagine – think of every boundary you have and she will stretch it to the limit! Awesome!
- Graham Smith – I Know Your Secret – I Know Your Secret is a police thriller in which a priest is found crucified to the stone floor of his church. The 2nd in the Harry Evans series and what a twisted rollercoaster ride of a read that was! So many reasons for this to be in my top 20 but I’m picking just one of them – Shouty Joe – I love this character and in this book he gives Evans the voice that he cannot share; every city has a Shouty Joe – the one who is shunned for their outward appearance yet is insightful, elegant and intelligent.
- Ruth Dugdall – Humber Boy B– A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity. Humber Boy B tore my heart into pieces. The tale of Ben released from prison under a new identity after serving 8 years for the murder of a 10-year-old boy when he himself was only 10. This book dragged me on an emotional rollercoaster and despite feeling that I should have a sense of revulsion I was actually left in tears for the lives that were lost by all. Thought provoking and emotional – a must for my top 20
- S Williams – Tuesday Falling – probably one of the darkest books I have read – a fascinating tale of sub culture London and Tuesday who is a girl determined to seek justice. This is book is in my top 20 as it is one that you are not going to forget in a hurry, you are going to take a while to come down after reading this.
- Sarah Hilary – Tastes Like Fear – 3rd in the Marnie Rome series sees DI Marnie Rome up against a man called “Harm “and nothing prepares her for what is coming her way. I LOVE the Marnie Rome series and this one is just brilliant – you can literally taste the fear in every page and I have chosen it as it is a series that gets right under your skin. Once you start reading you are not going to be able to stop!
- David Videcette – The Theseus Paradox What if everything you thought you knew about London’s 7/7 bombings was a lie?David promises us he cannot tell us the truth but he can tell us a story. I’m not usually one for books based on real life cases but this is definitely an exception and that’s why it has to take its place in my top 20; it was a whirlwind of a read where you didn’t know what was real and what was fiction – and well DI Jake Flannigan – he was the bad boy we all wanted to get to know a bit better this year!
- Neil Broadfoot – Falling Fast – A grisly suicide in the heart of tourist Edinburgh piques the curiosity of local journalist Doug McGregor, who’s always had a good nose for a story. When his police colleague and occasional drinking partner DS Susie Drummond reveals that the victim is connected to a prominent Scottish politician, Doug finds himself unravelling a story of secrets, drug abuse, violence, murder… and the ultimate taboo.I only discovered Neil’s books last year and what a discovery – this is the first in the series and it’s in my top 20 as it is a crime thriller with a difference – the main protagonist is a journalist and this works so well – Neil brings a great depth to his characters and a sense of place in the books and they are well worth your read.
- Craig Robertson – Snapshot – A series of high-profile shootings by a lone sniper leaves Glasgow terrorized and police photographer Tony Winter – a man with a tragic hidden past – mystified. Again a protagonist with a difference – this time a police photographer and is the 2nd in the Tony Winters series. Well deserving of a place in my top 20 for his brilliant portrayal of the dark underbelly of my home town of Glasgow – I can smell the streets of the city when I read his books!
- Deborah O’Connor – My Husband’s Son – The plot focuses on Heidi and Jason, a couple brought together with a common bond – their missing children. The story focuses on Jason’s belief that his son, Barney, is still out there and the unbreakable bond that he forged with him from birth. Interspersed is Kate’s story over what happened to her daughter when she went missing. Got to be in my top 20 as it is so damn disturbing – I still feel like scrubbing myself clean every time I think about reading this book!
- Caroline Mitchell – Don’t Turn Around – the first in the Jennifer Knight series – DC Knight investigates a stabbing in her small quiet town but this is an investigation with a difference – there is a message from beyond the grave. I loved this book – loved the link with the supernatural with police detective work; I loved that Caroline writes with personal experience of the paranormal. This ticks all my boxes – a wee bit of fear, a brilliant detective and something that is just out the box!
- Sibel Hodge – Untouchable – A Conspiracy. A cover-up. And a whistle-blower… You think you know who to trust? You’re wrong. Untouchable is a chillingly dark psychological thriller. This book needs to be on everyone’s reading list. Sadly based on reality it tells of the cover up of abuse beyond your imagination that has been going on for years in the establishment and is still happening. It moved me to tears but instilled a deep rage within me at the wrongs that are happening.
So there you go – at the time of the event these were the top 20 reads for me! You have no idea how hard it is to whittle your books down to your top 20 – there are so many more that I wanted to add and were worthy of being in there! Who knows – maybe if I’m asked again next year it would be completely different!
Any of these in your #Top20?