Oh boy, what a year! There’s been more trauma and action in this year than in a crime novel! The one thing that’s helped me get through is reading. I haven’t done as many blog tours this year and next year it will be even fewer. Two of my own novels will be published in 2021 and I hope to bring you details about my debut soon. But I will continue to read! I’ve read some wonderful books that were first published last year so I can’t include them in my top ten. First up is Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession. This is such a wonderful book and if you’re looking for a heart-warming read this Christmas then this is perfect. You can read my review here. If you can cope with a more traumatic story then The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri is superb. You can read my review here. Intensity and passion run through Mine by Clare Empson and you can read my review here.
Moving onto published books from 2020! It’s been another great year for novels but also frustrating. Some books have been pushed back until 2021 while others have made it out into the world but not with the fanfare they deserve. Cancellation of book launches and literary festivals has been hard for the party-loving Crime writers and bloggers. So giving an online shout-out is more important than ever. It’s been a difficult choice, as ever, but here are the first seven of my top ten reads in no particular order.
Grave’s End by William Shaw
William Shaw has been a steadfast feature in my top ten reads over a few years now. The problem is that he writes such fabulous books with my favourite female police detective – DS Alex Cupidi. In Grave’s End though she is upstaged by a very unusual narrator. You’ll need to read my review to find out more.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
The Thursday Murder Club achieved something that no other crime book has done this year – it made me laugh, a lot! It’s a wondrous cosy crime mystery and more are planned! Here’s my review.
The Storm by Amanda Jennings.
This brooding and intense novel deals with the theme of coercive control against the backdrop of Cornwall and is sensitively written. Read my review here.
Black River by Will Dean
We move north to Sweden for my next top ten read but thankfully it’s summer in Black River. Will Dean has brought Tuva Moodyson back to Gavrik to find her best friend, Tammy, who’s gone missing. Here’s my review.
Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb
Lori Anderson is back and reunited with JT. They’re coerced into doing a job for the FBI and what ensues is one of the best locked room mysteries I’ve ever read. Here are my thoughts.
Back to the UK for the next two and in particular, London.
Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds
I absolutely loved Rod Reynolds’ Charlie Yates series set in 1940s USA. But in Blood Red City, Rod has moved into the 21st century and London. His characters Lydia Wright and Michael Stringer make full use of public transport as they investigate a possible murder. To find out more, here’s my review.
Stone Cold Trouble by Amer Anwar
Zaq and Jags are back and it’s not long before trouble finds them again in Southall, this time in the form of a stolen necklace. This is a fast paced book and no one writes fight scenes as well as Amer. Read my review here.
So now we’ve reached the top three. Coming in third is…
Body Language by AK Turner
Cassie Raven is the new girl on the block in forensic crime novels but what a character! As a mortuary technician, she deals with what appear to be mundane cases. However, Cassie has a unique gift that reveals to her how someone may have died. It’s brilliantly written and I hope we hear more of Cassie in the future. Here’s my review.
In second place…
The Lost Lights of St. Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford
I don’t always read crime and my favourite non-crime novel this year is The Lost Lights of St. Kilda. It’s historical and romantic with a touch of thriller. It’s beautifully written with exquisite descriptions of the setting and the way of life for the inhabitants of St. Kilda. It is simply glorious. Here are more of my thoughts.
And so to my top read of 2020. There’s no surprise here really as I’ve been shouting about my love for this book for months now.
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
A sweeping, American saga with the best teenage character you will ever read. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you won’t want it to end. It is extraordinary. Here’s my full review.
There you go, that’s my top ten reads of 2020. If you want to buy any of them then, if possible, please consider using uk.bookshop.org as they’re helping to raise funds for independent bookshops. But of course, other options are available.
All I have left to say is that I really hope you’re able to have a good Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year!