As ever split into fiction and nonfiction. Fiction first.
5. Deception Point by Dan Brown
Brown isn’t the best writer and some of the characterisation and dialogue is wooden but you can’t deny he crafts an easy pageturner and I ploughed through this.
4. Lady Killer by Ed McBain
When the detectives get a note taunting them about a murder which will be committed in twelve hours it kicks off a ticking clock thriller as they try to work out who the killer is, as well as their target. Proves writing under pressure works.
3. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
A warm easy read about life, death, fate and the connections we form in our lives. A nice read and wonderfully unpretentious. Review.
2. Ex-Purgatory and Ex-Isle by Peter Clines
Clines’ superheroes vs zombies series gets better and better with two clever installments. The first sees a bizarre parallel universe and the second sees the heroes discover a new group of survivors while tensions mount back at home. Quality stuff and the full reviews are here and here.
1. Killer’s Wedge by Ed McBain
I am loving McBain’s Precinct 87 series and this is probably the best yet. It starts with a woman entering the detectives’ office and announcing she has explosives in her bag. The rest of the book is a tense face-off as the cops try to work out what to do and Steve Carella, her target makes his way for the precinct. Full review here.
Honourable mentions, all the other Precinct 87 books I read and Adrian’s Undead Diary by Chris Philbrook.
And now nonfiction.
5. Spectacles by Sue Perkins
Perkins’ memoir is warm, funny and incredibly moving in places. I liked her going in but I liked her even more afterwards. A real gem. Review.
4. A Life Inside by Erwin James
An honest, clever look into the life of a prisoner James has a knack for observation and telling quick, short stories which are still insightful. Full review.
3. Are You Dave Gorman?/Too Much Information by Dave Gorman (and Danny Wallace)
Massive fan of Gorman and his funny, fussy and friendly writing. Whether looking for his namesakes or examining the weird customs and conventions of modern life, he is an affable, funny narrator and I enjoyed both books.
2. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Ronson delves into the world of online jobs and shaming in a clever, funny and well researched book. He writes with compassion and he goes off in different directions. Review.
1. Playing the Enemy by John Carlin
A book that moved me immensely, delving into the political and personal stories behind Nelson Mandela’s ambitions for the 1995 Rugby World Cup. The great man comes across wonderfully and the optimism and healing powers of sport had me quite misty eyed. My full review here.
Honourable mentions The Football Neutral by Jim Smallman and D-Day Through German Eyes by Holger Eckhertz.
Any recommendations for the coming year? Let me know in the comments. BETEO.