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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Chiller Review: Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes

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Blurb:  Sarah Carpenter lives in an isolated farmhouse in North Yorkshire and for the first time, after the death of her husband some years ago and her children, Louis and Kitty, leaving for university, she’s living alone. But she doesn’t consider herself lonely. She has two dogs, a wide network of friends and the support of her best friend, Sophie.

When an old acquaintance, Aiden Beck, needs somewhere to stay for a while, Sarah’s cottage seems ideal; and renewing her relationship with Aiden gives her a reason to smile again. It’s supposed to be temporary, but not everyone is comfortable with the arrangement: her children are wary of his motives, and Will Brewer, an old friend of her son’s, seems to have taken it upon himself to check up on Sarah at every opportunity. Even Sophie has grown remote and distant.

After Sophie disappears, it’s clear she hasn’t been entirely honest with anyone, including Will, who seems more concerned for Sarah’s safety than anyone else. As the weather closes in, events take a dramatic turn and Kitty too goes missing. Suddenly Sarah finds herself in terrible danger, unsure of who she can still trust.

But she isn’t facing this alone; she has Aiden, and Aiden offers the protection that Sarah needs. Doesn’t he?

Sarah Carpenter lives on her own in a big farmhouse where she is still dealing with the fall out after her husbands death. So when Aiden, an old friend messages her on Facebook for a place to stay she jumps at the chance because for her it is a life-line. But when her best friend Sophie becomes distant and Will Brewer, an old school friend of Sarah’s son, starts acting strangely, Sarah realises that she is never alone and underneath the remote wilds of Yorkshire evil lurks.

A chilling page-turning!

I absolutely adored this book. 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 in the novel. I loved the descriptions of the harsh and claustrophobic Yorkshire landscape which hindered the characters and added something sinister and somewhat special to the novel.

The novel is told from the point of view of Sarah, Aiden and also features a disturbing point of view in italics showing snippets of a character who is slowly unraveling – I won’t tell you who it is and whether they are already a POV character as that’s part of the fun of it! What I will say is that I did spend a lot of my time guessing who the ‘creepy’ POV character as I was forever changing my mind. It also really brought out the tension and unsettled me as a reader which is always good in my books.

This novel only has a very small cast of characters which really packs a punch. I enjoyed reading about Sarah who is an ordinary woman struggling to cope with the financial burden of a husband who has left her with a lot of debt but also loved Aiden who has a very secret and unusual job. I found myself gripped by both their stories and the relationship between the two characters kept me glued to the page.

The last half of the novel really ratcheted up the tension for me where the author continually revealed disturbing truth after truth while still managing to keep up the claustrophobic and haunting atmosphere – it had me gripped and gasping aloud over two days! I will now be checking out more of Elizabeth’s other novels.

This is a chilling, pulse-raising read full of tension, pace with a number of twists and surprises you won’t see coming. I would definitely recommend this to all crime fans who love a dark and disturbing read.

With thanks to Emma Dowson and Myriad Editions Publishers for my advanced review copy.

To buy this book from Amazon click here.

To buy this book from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Elizabeth Haynes follow her on Twitter @Elizjhaynes.