My Top Ten Reads of 2019 @LouiseWriter @deboc77 @adrianmckinty @JoGustawsson @FionaAnnCummins @callytaylor @writer_north @HayleyThough @william1shaw @LauraSRobinson

Oh man, this just gets harder every year. Just when I think I’ve nailed it I remember a particular book or read another great one. But I do have a definite top three. These three have stuck in my memory for different reasons and I’ll explain why later. Before we get to the top ten though, here are some others that were in the running – Red Snow by Will Dean, The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor, Black Summer by M.W. Craven, Violet by SJI Holliday, I Dare You by Sam Carrington and Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb. You can see now why it was so hard to choose! They’re all fantastic books and well worth adding to your Christmas list. So without any further ado, here are the first seven books in no particular order.


Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Although this novel came out in the spring, I had an early copy which I read last Christmas. It was a little present to myself. Even now, almost a year on, I can still feel the tension of this book. Told with multiple viewpoints and timelines, it weaves together the  past and the present for Stella with devastating results. It kept me guessing to the end. A beautifully written book. You can read my full review here.

To buy click here.


The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

I really connected with Jessamine, the protagonist in this novel. Not least because we’re a similar age and experiencing the same things – someone pass me a fan! But that’s where the similarity stops. Jessamine is an investigative radio DJ looking at Cold Crime cases. Sacked for an on-air rant, she decides she can’t let go of the latest case she’s been given. This is an incredibly moving book dealing with a traumatic crime. You can read my full review here.

To buy click here.


The Chain by Adrian McKinty

I think you’d have to be living at the North Pole not to have heard about this book. And even then there’d probably be someone with a copy in their rucksack. This was a massive and very well-deserved hit for Adrian McKinty. This is the most tense book I’ve read all year, tapping into parents’ fears all over the world. The premise – you get a phone call. Your child has been kidnapped. To get them back you have to pay a ransom and kidnap someone else’s child. Your own child will be returned when your kidnapped child’s parents do the same. And so the chain continues. Don’t break the chain. If you do, your child dies. You can read my full review here.

To buy click here.


Blood Song by Johana Gustwasson

I’ve really enjoyed the Castells and Roy series but there was something extra special about Blood Song. The Spanish Civil War and what happened afterwards is often overlooked because of WW2 and the Cold War. And yet it’s a huge part of Spain’s history and as we saw recently with the removal of Franco’s body, it’s still part of a national shame. Johana has her own personal reasons for telling us about what happened to Republican women and children in the camps after the war. The suffering didn’t finish with the end of the war – it was only just beginning. Teaming it with a current murder case in Sweden makes for an emotive read. You can read my full review here.

To buy click here.


Sleep by CL Taylor

I’ve read a lot of CL Taylor’s books but this one grabbed me from the beginning. After being involved in a terrible car crash, Anna leaves London for the Isle of Rum and a job in a hotel. She hopes that here she can escape her guilt and the person who’s been leaving her sinister messages. Maybe she can finally sleep. This has all the ingredients for an excellent murder mystery – guilt-ridden protagonist, isolated hotel cut of by a storm and a long list of suspects in the form of guests. You can read my full review here.

To buy click here.


Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Blood & SugarLaura Shepherd-Robinson

This is an outstanding novel and my favourite debut of 2019. I don’t even want to think about how much research Laura had to do for this because the level of detail is incredible. But more than that it’s a cracking story looking at slavery in the 1790s when it was still considered acceptable practice. You can read my full review here.

To buy click here.


Deadland by William Shaw

Well, it’s not a top ten of mine if it doesn’t feature William Shaw! It’s his own fault for writing such fantastic books. DS Alex Cupidi is back and this time investigating a particularly bizarre crime – a severed arm hidden in a piece of art. Really. Add to that the glorious Tap and Sloth (two teenage thugs) and Deadland is truly amazing. You can read my full review here.

To buy click here.


That’s the first seven. Now for my top three. And we start off with a proper Christmas book.

Coming in third…


One Christmas Night by Hayley Webster

Oh my. I’m not too sure where to start with this one. Beautifully written, keen observation and incredible empathy. This is a book that goes to the core of your heart. You’ll even forget that a crime has been committed because you’ll be so wrapped up in the lives of the residents on Newbury Street. It’s simply stunning. If you want a Christmas story to read then make it this one. You won’t regret it. Just make sure you have some tissues nearby. You can read my full review here.

To buy click here.


In second place (keep hold of the tissues) is…


The Whisper Man by Alex North

Why the tissues you may ask? Well, it is creepy. It is tense. Like The Chain, it also taps into parents’ fears about abduction. But moreover it’s a story about fathers and sons and there is one passage towards the end that made me bawl. And Alex North does not apologise for that. It’s also about grief and I thought this was handled particularly well. Although this is Alex North’s debut, we all know that’s a pen name for Steve Mosby. Like Adrian McKinty, Steve has not had the critical acclaim he deserves until now. Hopefully for both authors this is the start of an upward trend. You can read my full review of The Whisper Man here.

To buy click here.


So who’s my top read of 2019? Who was worthy of the word ‘extraordinary’? Like William Shaw, this author has featured a couple of times before. And each time, been so close to being my no.1 read. This year it’s finally happened.

In first place, my top read of the 2019 is…



The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

I loved Rattle and The Collector and wondered how Fiona could possibly improve. Well she’s managed it in The Neighbour. Full of creepiness, atmosphere, a fantastic cast of characters and twists that just keep coming. It’s a masterclass in Crime writing. After reading this you might never look at your neighbours in quite the same way again. It is extraordinary. You can read my full review here.

To buy click here.


So there you have it – my top ten reads of 2019. It’s been so difficult to choose and 2020 isn’t looking any easier with some amazing novels due. I can’t quite believe that not only is it the end of the year but also the decade. This is me signing off for Christmas and New Year. I’ll be back in 2020 with more blog tours, library events and First Monday Crime. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2 thoughts on “My Top Ten Reads of 2019 @LouiseWriter @deboc77 @adrianmckinty @JoGustawsson @FionaAnnCummins @callytaylor @writer_north @HayleyThough @william1shaw @LauraSRobinson

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