Hmmm…one. I’m supposed to pick one? ONE? Can’t do it. So I’ll pick two. I read a lot. Every night.
I have a list of authors I love, and I will buy their books as soon as they are released. I want those authors to benefit from sales numbers and royalties. Problem is, sometimes I don’t get around to reading those books until the following year. Hence why it is tough for me to pick my favorite book of 2016. Most of the ones I’ve read this year are from 2014 and 2015. I suspect one of my favorites would be The Long Goodbye, the latest Harry Bosch novel. I love me some Harry. But it is on my shelf and won’t get read until 2017.
All that preamble out of the way, there were four books I read—printed in 2016—that I will recommend to you. Because this is a mystery site, my top two will be mystery books.
I attended Killer Nashville in the summer and bought books from attending authors. I especially loved two of the novels, and I recommend them to EVERYONE:
Kevin O’Brien’s You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone
- Publisher: Pinnacle (July 26, 2016)
- ISBN-10: 0786038810
- ISBN-13: 978-0786038817
This is a big, juicy book…536 pages. I LOVE big, juicy books. You definitely feel like it is money well spent. A BARGAIN, in fact. I looked for it in hardcover at Killer Nashville, but Kevin told me (yep, got to chat with this amazing author) that it was only available in mass market paperback. His Andrea Boyle is a fine character. A great character, actually. She feels so real…not fictional…like Kevin is chronicling a piece of her life. The writing is moody and evocative, and his word choice is impressive. It has lots of twists and shivers, and I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice that once you start reading, you will be compelled to keep going. He catches you quickly and pulls you through the story.
Jaden Terrell’s A Taste of Blood and Ashes
- Series: A Jared Mckean Mystery
- Publisher: Permanent Press (September 30, 2016)
- ISBN-10: 1579624359
- ISBN-13: 978-1579624354
Impressive in tone, the story has texture. Jaden knows horses (I know horses, so I know that she really knows horses), and she knows how to craft a perfect mystery. I love Mckean, her PI. I love her setting. I love everything about this novel. In this story she takes you into a world that is both beautiful and ugly and hurtful. You don’t have to be a horse lover or a racing fan to treasure this book. All you need is to appreciate good writing and a well-developed story. I met the author at Killer Nashville, too. Hey…the convention is a great place to buy mystery books and meet the writers.
Since buying the above two books, I had to go out and purchase more by those authors. That’s the mark of great books…making a reader come back for more.
I’d like to suggest two others, not traditional mysteries, but books I loved and that came out in 2016. I had the pleasure of being an advance-reader for these, and they are worth your time. The first is IMP: A Political Fantasia, exceedingly well-written. The pages fly by. Steven Paul Leiva is a master wordsmith, and combines genres flawlessly. As a sometimes-fantasy novelist, I appreciate his choice of creatures.
- Publisher: Crossroad Press; First Digital edition (October 25, 2016)
- Publication Date: October 25, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01M8N5EHL
And for the not-so-squeamish, I suggest Christine Verstraete’s Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. It’s a clever meld of history and horror, and it’s evident she put a lot of work into getting the historical details correct.
- Publisher: Imajin Books (September 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1772232734
- ISBN-13: 978-1772232738
Ya know, thinking about it…Lizzie and IMP have a bit of a mystery about them. But all good books do.
(who recently cracked open Preston & Child’s Beyond the Ice Limit … it’s okay, but not as good as the stuff I recommend above.)