Top Ten Reads of 2018 @ameranwar @SJIHolliday @ClareEmpson2 @WilliamRyan_ @Rod_WR @william1shaw @elisabeth04liz @willrdean @FionaAnnCummins @markhillwriter

It’s come to that time of year again. I’ve been staring at a list of thirteen books wondering how I’m going to reduce it to just ten. And then I think about all the books that I haven’t managed to read yet this year. This is agonising! The good news is that I do have a definite top three. But let’s start with the other seven in no particular order.


I’m going to begin with a book that absolutely has to be in my top 10 reads, not least because I actually read it last year when it was called Western Fringes. This stunning debut was originally self-published by Amer Anwar but then something remarkable happened. New imprint, Dialogue Books, picked it up and it was released in September 2018 under the new title of Brothers in Blood. It’s a gritty thriller set on the mean streets of West London, mostly Southall and Hounslow. I adored this book because I know the area well and I could picture it all. Amer’s journey to publication is almost as complicated as his plot! You can read all about that and my original review here.

You can buy Brothers in Blood here.


I’ve read a few more psychological thrillers this year and the one that impressed me most was Him by Clare Empson. This debut is about obsessive love and the destruction it can cause. It’s wonderfully claustrophobic both in content and intensity. You can read my review here.

You can buy Him here.

It Was Her

My favourite sub-genre of Crime is Police Procedural and there’s been an amazing selection of cop stories to choose from this year. One that sticks out in particular is It Was Her by Mark Hill. DI Ray Drake has to be the most complex and flawed detective I’ve read in 2018. Along with DS Flick Crowley, Ray has to find the Goldilocks killer. You can read my review here.

You can buy It Was Her here.

Next up are two ghostly books that swept me away in genre crossover delight!

The Lingering - ebook cover

The Lingering by SJI Holliday is a truly creepy psychological thriller. Susi has managed to blend just the right amount of fear and creepiness together to create this atmospheric tale. My main piece of advice – don’t read it in the bath! You can read my review here.

You can buy The Lingering here.

A House of Ghosts

A House Of Ghosts by WC Ryan wins the cover of the year award. The gold design is embossed onto the black cover and is very tactile! The novel matches up too with a ghostly/Golden Age murder mystery/spy thriller story. It’s perfect for a winter afternoon’s read. My review is here.

You can buy A House of Ghosts here.

OK, this is getting hard now. Two spaces left but five books in contention. I’m going to mention the three that are so close because they are truly wonderful books – Overkill by Vanda Symons, My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland and After He’s Gone by Jane Isaac. All have amazing police officers (and one amateur detective) and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

So, the next two before my top three. In some respects, these two are poles apart but they’re linked by their protagonists. Both are newspaper journalists.

Cold Desert Sky

Charlie Yates returned this year in Cold Desert Sky, the third in the series by Rod Reynolds. The action moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas as Charlie searched for two missing young women. I love the authentic American style and language that Rod uses – it’s never overdone. You can read my review here.

You can buy Cold Desert Sky here.

Photo courtesy of Will Dean – thank you!

Moving now from the desert to a cold, frozen forest. I think it’s fair to say that Will Dean has burst onto the Crime genre scene with Dark Pines. Tuva Moodyson has captured my heart as the outsider journalist in the small Swedish town of Gavrik. Not bound by allegiance to the town, Tuva sets out to unveil a serial killer no matter what the cost. You can read my review here.

You can buy Dark Pines here.

So, here we go. My top three reads of the year. I think number one might surprise you!

Coming in third…

salt lane cover

Oh how I loved this! I read it very quickly (always a good sign). For me, everything just came together – plot, setting, atmosphere and the wonderful DS Alex Cupidi. I loved the way that William Shaw wove the different threads of the story together to create an intricate tale. The second in the series, Deadland will be out in May next year. I can’t wait. You can read my review here.

You can buy Salt Lane here.

And second… I’m not sure if this author is going to love me or hate me for this.

The Collector final cover

Just pipped to the post again is Fiona Cummins and The Collector. The sequel to Rattle (second last year) is even more breath-taking, tense and incredibly atmospheric. Mr Silver managed to escape the clutches of the police last time but will he evade capture again? It’s simply stunning. Fiona’s new book, The Neighbour is out in April 2019. I’ve had the chance to read it and I have just one word for you – wow! You can read my review of The Collector here.

You can buy The Collector here.

So, which author has managed to squeeze in ahead of the rest to take the number one slot? Well, if you’ve read my reviews this year you’ll have noticed that I haven’t used the ‘E’ word – extraordinary. But there’s a book that’s been in my heart since near the beginning of the year. I keep thinking about it. I read it very quickly at the time. It made me laugh and sob. Officially, it’s not a Crime book. Yet, it’s about the greatest crime of the 20th century.

My Top Read of 2018 is…

The Good Doctor of Warsaw

This is achingly beautiful. Based on the true story of Dr Janusz Korczak and two of his helpers, Misha and Sophia, The Good Doctor of Warsaw brings to life the horrors of the Warsaw ghetto during WW2. This may sound like a heavy topic but Elisabeth Gifford has written this with a lightness of touch that stirs the soul with hope. It’s hard to put into words just how this book made me feel but, with hindsight, it’s most deserving of this word – extraordinary. You can read my full review here and an interview with Elisabeth Gifford here.

You can buy The Good Doctor of Warsaw here.

So, that’s my top ten reads for 2018. It really was a difficult decision and even now there are books popping up in my head – The Chalk Man, First to Die, The Killing of Butterfly Joe, Cross Your Heart…  I’d love to know your favourite read so feel free to comment below. I have a couple more blog tours before the end of the year but I’m going to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year now!

But just before I go, I want to give you a little taster of an event at my local library in January. You can come and meet two of the authors from my top ten and hear more about their books.

USvUK noir

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