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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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*Blog Tour* The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

Today I’m really excited to be hosting the next stop on Agnes Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal blog tour, published by Orenda Books and translated by Rosie Hedger.

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First the Blurb:

Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape…

TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough.

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Meet Allis Hagtorn, a chaotic 32 year old woman who decides to cut herself off from her past life to take a job as a housekeeper and gardener in a remote and isolated house, on a secluded fjord where she is essentially living in exile. Her employer, Sigurd Bagge is a 44-year old surly man who seems to control every moment of his day, and that of Allis’. But the more Allis spends in exile the more she seeks approval from Bagge – but is there something more sinister at work?

This is the first book in a while which has actually stumped me, leaving me lost for words (in a very good way).

How can I even begin to describe this novel? I adored the haunting and claustrophobic atmosphere the author creates where everything is shrouded in mystery with hidden, locked rooms, a foggy, harsh environment and a character simmering with danger. It really unsettled me as a reader which made this such a superb read, and what a shocking twist at the end – I had my heart in my mouth!

I loved the unreliable narration of Allis who is both chaotic and hypnotic as she slowly loses control and allows Bagge to dominant her. The strong narrative voice really stands out in the novel for me with Allis constantly having an internal struggle with herself which really gave me an insight into her troubled character. She is a character who observes her own faults which is very refreshing to see but the longer she spends under the spell of Bagge the more she obsesses over him.

Sigurd Bagge is a handsome but mysterious character who seems to flit through a range of emotions and mood swings making his actions unpredictable and dangerous for both Allis and the reader. There were actual times where I was unsure what was going on and kind of still am which I loved!

I felt the novel had a dream-like quality to it weaving in the fictional fairytales into the the ‘fictional reality’ and also the characters’ dreams which made it such a disturbing, powerful, haunting and mysterious story. But I cannot review this book without mentioning the brilliant descriptions littering throughout which really showcased the author’s talents and just how beautiful but treacherous the fjord is as well as the claustrophobic world Allis and Bagge is living in.

This is a story about obsessive power-dominated relationships and how you can never truly know a person. This is not only creepy but an atmopsheric story which was just magic. I can only describe it as truly mesmerising – I spent a whole day with this novel but what a day it was and will take a few days to recover from. I just cannot recommend this novel enough.

Go buy a copy and don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this epic blog tour!

To buy this book from Amazon click here.

To buy this book from Waterstones click here.

About the author:

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Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is a Norwegian author and columnist. She made her literary début with the novel Week 53 in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing, Popular Reading and Operation Self-discipline, in which she recounts her experience with social media addiction, and how she overcame it. The Bird Tribunal won the cultural radio P2’s listener’s prize for this novel, a popular and important prize in Norway, in addition to The Youth’s Critic’s Prize. The Bird Tribunal was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015.