My Top 10/12 Books of 2016

Ok, so it was meant to be my top ten but there were two books that just wouldn’t leave me alone. They kept bugging me and reminding me of how awesome they were so I relented and let them in. To be honest I could have a top 50, it’s been such a difficult choice, but no one has time to read that. So, as it’s nearly Christmas and we’re all busy, I’ll cut the preamble and get on with it!

In no particular order, here are the first nine books!




Willow Walk by SJI Holliday. This is the second book in a trilogy (look below for details of the third) based in the fictional Banktoun. A deliciously creepy read about (il)legal highs, sinister letters and Lego – yes, really! Read my full review here. You can buy the book here.



The Birdwatcher by William Shaw. Set in Dungeness, this book wins my award for best opening paragraph of the year. ‘There were two reasons why William South did not want to be on the murder team. The first was that it was October. The migrating birds had begun arriving on the coast. The second was that, though nobody knew, he was a murderer himself.’ Read my full review here. You can buy the book here.




In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings. Another great coastal setting for this psychological thriller, this time in Cornwall, as Bella discovers the truth about her life. To be adopted is one thing, to be abducted is something else entirely. Read my full review here. You can buy the book here.




My next three books are more than just police procedurals; all three detectives are far more complicated than that.


Beneath The Ashes by Jane Isaac. The second book in the series and we’re beginning to learn more about DI Will Jackman as he balances work, promotion prospects and caring for his ill wife. I adore DI Jackman, not least because I imagine Rufus Sewell playing him on TV. Read my full review here. You can buy the book here.





We move to the Continent (I’m tempted to write, while we still can), Amsterdam to be precise, for the next book – The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey.  Detective Henk van der Pol is close to retirement but he shows no sign of slowing down. He takes on anyone, no matter who they are – local gangs, corrupt officers or even politicians, much to the despair of his put upon wife, Petra.  Read my full review here. You can buy the book here.




Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary, is the third book in her DI Marnie Rome series. When you have a character called Harm, you know that things aren’t going to go well. The great thing about this book is that DS Noah Jake comes more to the fore. His partnership with DI Marnie Rome is set to run and run. Read my full review here. You can buy the book here.





And from one Marnie to another!  Marnie Riches third book in The Girl Who series is The Girl Who Walked In The Shadows and features my favourite kick ass heroine, George McKenzie. Set in the coldest winter across Europe for years, George has to face a serial killer known only as Jack Frost. Read my full review here. You can buy the book here.





My last two books in this group of nine, are both debuts and shared a blog post in the summer, titled Two Dazzling Debuts. You can read it here.

Cut to the Bone Cover Art[804868]

Alex Caan’s Cut To The Bone, was my book of the summer for Sainsbury’s Entertainment. Introducing DCI Kate Riley and DS Zain Harris, this is an impressive thriller exploring the seedier side of vlogging and fame. You can buy the book here.





Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington just makes it into my 2016 list as it’s released in paperback this Thursday 15th December. Karen knows that her daughter, Sophie, is in grave danger. But how is she going to protect her daughter when agoraphobia keeps her confined to her house? You can buy the book here.




So, we’re down to my final three books and they are my top three reads of 2016, and are in order.

BNF Hi res [216819]

Coming in third, is Black Night Falling by Rod Reynolds. This is the sequel to The Dark Inside and features journalist Charlie Yates. Set in 1940s USA, this is a fantastic American Noir novel. William Shaw has won the best opening paragraph but Rod wins the best closing. And as it’s Christmas, and it’s not a spoiler, here it is. ‘She looked at me. Her pupils were shrunken and hard from the light in a way I’d never seen before. Half her face was in shadow. A reminder that even the brightest sunset was only the herald of night falling.’ Stunning. Read my full review here. You can buy the book here.



Second, is The Constant Soldier by William Ryan. Set in Germany towards the end of WW2, this book simply took my breath away – utterly beautiful, incredibly moving and cinematic in description. Even thinking about it now, I’m still aware of all the emotions I felt when reading it. Based on photographs of a SS Rest Hut, Ryan has created an authentic storyline that balances tension and love. Read my full review here. You can buy the book here.




And finally, in at no.1 is Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus. I made this decision back in June when I first read the book and though I’ve read some amazing books since then, nothing has dislodged this book from the top slot. Dealing with almost unspeakable topics, Grothaus’ range and depth of writing is astonishing. I could tell you more but this picture that Michael created after my review in June, says it all. Read the full review here. You can buy the book here.



2016 may have been one of the worst years in living memory but in literary terms, it’s been wonderful. This is my final blog of the year as Christmas is coming and I have so much to do! But I can’t go without giving a little shout out to three books being published in the New Year.

Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb – pre-order paperback here

Rattle by Fiona Cummins – pre-order hardback here

The Damselfly by SJI Holliday – pre-order paperback here


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



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