My Favourite Reads from 2016

So, for the past fortnight I have ended up taking an unplanned blogging break to concentrate on a big assignment I had to hand in for my MA so apologies for not hearing from me – but I’m happy to say it went well.

Anyway, I thought it was high time I picked my favourite books from this year, so today I’m going to do just that and reveal my top reads I have read in 2016. It was a very hard decision and I couldn’t narrow it down to ten so I have been very cheeky and picked twelve.

So here are my twelve favourite reads from 2016 which I heartily recommend for any crime fan:


Number Twelve


See How They Run by Tom Bale

Oh I loved this breath-taking thriller, which sees the two main characters running for their lives just because of a package. It has a tightly weaved plot and a number of twists and turns which left me breathless and wanting more.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.


Number Eleven

Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson

What can I say about this novel? This is the second novel in the Dark Iceland series and boy does it pack a punch. I love the small world of Siglufjörður which the author paints as well as the small cast of interesting characters. This is a classic murder mystery infused with dark undertones which really brings the beautiful and eerie setting of Iceland to life.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.


Number Ten

 Before I Let You in by Jenny Blackhurst

This is a fantastic read where the author slowly weaves each of the characters pasts into the main narrative without giving anything away. This led up to the fantastic and explosive ending which I never saw coming. This novel really showcased the author’s brilliant writing and her clever but devious mind at work.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.



Number Nine

The Constant Soldier (Hardback)

The Constant Soldier by William Ryan

When I started reading this, I knew it was something special. This novel is set in 1944 with an injured German Soldier as the protagonist which I found inspiring. It is a novel littered with beautiful descriptions and historical facts, which the author skillfully weaves into the story without it overpowering the narrative. It made it feel haunting, emotive and very authentic.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.


Number Eight


Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes

This is the fifth instalment in the Alice Quentin series which features Forensic Psychologist Alice Quentin catching a new killer – one that leaves behind blood packets. I found the characters compelling and sympathised with many of them. I also loved how the author manages to fuse an historical event, The Tainted Blood Scandal, with a modern day killer.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.


Number Seven

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

This is a debut novel which is set in London in 1837 and explores the real life story of Sarah Gale, sentenced to hang for her involvement in the murder of her lover’s fiance. This was a gripping story full of murky secrets. The author also weaved beautiful and vivid descriptions throughout which really brought Victorian London to life for me.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.



Number Six

NEVER ALONE cover v9-front

Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes

This story is full of bone-curdling creepy drama which I couldn’t stop reading. I felt the author came into her own by bringing the creepy and atmospheric setting to life for me, and loved the descriptions of the harsh and claustrophobic Yorkshire landscape which hindered the characters and added something sinister and somewhat special to the novel.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.


Number Five

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

This was a novel I was glued to from the very first page. It was told over fifteen years which led to the eventual downfall of the character(s). I especially loved the shady character of Joe Thomas whose charm and complexities won me over, despite his faults and just general creepiness.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.


Number Four


The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

Wow – The Bird Tribunal. This is such a haunting and claustrophobic read! The author did a superb job of making me, as the reader, feel truly creeped out (in a good way). It is only a short novel but man does it pack a punch. By the end of it I was truly lost for words, which doesn’t usually happen to me.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.


Number Three

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

This was without doubt a read I didn’t see coming. The characterisation in this novel is superb, with each character having their own twisted logic of death which made for a boiling pot of deceit and betrayal. The author managed to lull me into a false sense of security only to go WHAM! This novel literally had me screaming out loud.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.


Number Two


Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb

This is Steph’s debut novel which features Lori Anderson, her daughter Dakota and the charismatic JT. This had all the ingredients for a superb thriller, it’s fast-paced, full of high-stakes, has a kick-ass heroine and has a tightly weaved plot. It also deals with hard-hitting themes and has pure emotion at the heart of the novel. I honestly couldn’t put it down.

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.


Number One

Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary

Without a doubt, Tastes Like Fear is a police procedural at its very best! It is the third in the DI Marnie Rome series featuring Marnie Rome, an empathatic and intelligent DI who is still struggling with her past. It is a novel jammed packed with suspense, has beautiful vivid descriptions and compelling characters you can relate to. What’s more it has a tightly weaved plot and an amazing twist I didn’t see coming – it made for a killing read. I couldn’t just couldn’t stop reading and for anyone who hasn’t read the series I would recommend you read them immediately!

You can read my full review here. And buy it through Amazon here.

Killer Review: The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer

So last month Belinda Bauer featured on the November First Monday Crime Evening Panel, so when asked whether I would like to review this book I jumped at the chance.


Image result for the beautiful dead

‘I give you the art,’ he said, as if he’d read her mind. ‘And you put on the show.’

Eve Singer needs death. With her career as a TV crime reporter flagging, and increasing pressures at home, she’ll do anything to satisfy her ghoulish audience. Her career is built on the bones of the dead; her one aim to secure that perfect shot of the body bag. And luckily for Eve, there is a serial killer at work in London…

The killer needs death too. He sees beauty in death and revels in watching his victims take their final breath. For the killer, the line between artist and executioner is irrevocably blurred. He even advertises his macabre public performances, inviting the public to see his ‘show.’

When he contacts Eve and offers her unpresented access to his plans, she welcomes the chance to be first with the news from every gory scene. Until she realizes that the killer has two obsessions.

One is public murder.

And the other one is her . . .

The story centres around Eve Singer, a TV crime reporter who is always looking for the next big exclusive to keep her at the top of her career and to satisfy her viewers. But the sight of blood and gore makes her sick, which in her line of her work makes her a target of her colleagues. So when the killer starts messaging her with hints at his next kill, Eve jumps at the chance to get the story first – but little does she know that the killer has set his sights on her.

I loved this story!

I have previously read Backlands by Belinda Bauer which I adored, so when I was recommended this novel I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this.

The story opened with an absolute corker – I won’t spoil it for you here but what I will say is it really sets the tone to this novel and hooked me into the story right away.

The story is told from the point of view of Eve and the killer, who I must say is such a fascinating character and not your average murderer. He had such a twisted mindset and acted in such a way that I couldn’t guess what he would do next! I was so engrossed in his crimes I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page.

Eve is such a strong character I couldn’t help but rooting for her and her determination to keep her job in order to care for her father comes through the narrative and makes her actions realistic if somewhat questionable.

I also loved the characters of Eve’s father Duncan, who suffers from dementia but has such a sweet soul, Mr Elias, Eve’s bumbling and lonely neighbour and Joe, Eve’s cameraman, who she has a lot of banter with. I was so absorbed in the lives of these characters I couldn’t get enough of this book.

I found myself sympathising with all the characters throughout – I know worryingly even with the killer. I thought Eve’s relationships with both her dad and Joe made this an emotive and pacey story.

The story is a slow burner where the pace really ratchets up towards the last third of the novel but this just kept me on my toes.

I thought this was a new twist on the classic serial killer thriller making this a refreshing and exciting criminal read. I would recommend this for any crime fan who loves a good psychological thriller with a difference.

With thank to Becky Short at Penguin Random House for my advanced review copy.

To buy this book on Amazon just click here

Or to order this book from Waterstones click here.
To find out more about Belinda Bauer follow her on Twitter at @BelindaBauer.

First Monday is a crime night devoted to readers, writers, hard core crime fans or industry professionals a chance to mingle and to hear about the latest crime books. First Monday happens on the first Monday of each month with a different panel of authors designed to cater to a wide-range of tastes. I love First Monday evenings which never fails to deliver!

For more information check out the Goldsboro Events page here or follow them on Twitter @1stMondayCrime.