Memorable Books from 2011

Whilst I can normally manage to cobble together one of those dreaded "Top 10" listings for some of the mailing lists or, just before Christmas, on the Sisters in Crime website, I hate doing them.  It's such an arbitrary number, and doesn't even allow me the luxury of a favourite book per month.  So instead, a few reminders to myself on what really stayed with me from last year's reading list of 135 books.

R.J. Ellory

This author has launched himself into my favourite author territory astoundingly quickly.  This year I was lucky enough to read SAINTS OF NEW YORK and BAD SIGNS.  Both of these are classic Ellory books - not necessarily easy or straight forward reading, and in the case of BAD SIGNS, actually quite a difficult book to read.  But both, in their own ways, were outstanding books, and whilst there were a lot of fantastic books in this year's Memorable Moments, if I'm pushed to the edge of teetering on a possible declaration - then BAD SIGNS is probably my most memorable book from last year.

Vanda Symon

I kind of binged on Vanda's books this year - not just because she was one of our International Guests of Honour at SheKilda, but because I really like her series.  Apart from a bit of stupid hoarding of the last book published thus far, BOUND, I read (and re-read in some cases) all four books OVERKILL, THE RINGMASTER and CONTAINMENT as well as BOUND.  These books are very different in style from Ellory's writing, but I just love the tone and the strong female central character.

Tony Black

I'm never sure whether it's race memory or what (surname is Chisholm after all), but I'm a sucker for Scottish noir - as long as it's good mind you and TRUTH LIES BLEEDING was my absolute favourite in one of my favourite genres - nudging out the wonderful Christopher Brookmyre by an eyelash.

Sulari Gentill

Sulari is a wonderful writer and she's probably singlehandledly managed to convince me that historical settings are something to get excited about (being a little notoriously adverse to it in the past).  A DECLINE IN PROPHETS was an excellent follow-up to the first book and I'm currently clutching MILES OFF COURSE with considerable glee

Christopher Brookmyre

Okay, so I'd read his To Do list if he published it, but rumours of him going straight with his latest book had me sweating concern.  Should have trusted the man.  WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED was superb.

Fred Vargas

I do love the Adamsberg books - they combine fabulous plots with a wonderfully eccentric and individual central character.  Each of the books takes you further into the mind of Adamsberg, and each of the books seem to just keep getting better and better.  This year I was lucky enough to read both THIS NIGHT'S FOUL WORK and AN UNCERTAIN PLACE (which reminds me, I've not posted the review of the second book yet). 

Garry Disher

Really a master of Australian Crime fiction, the Challis and Destry series is good, but the WYATT series is my favourite.  This year's new Challis book was WHISPERING DEATH, and because there wasn't a new Wyatt, I went back and started rereading the old ones!

Standalones that Stood Alone

Adrian McKinty - FALLING GLASS - fantastic book!

Y.A. Erskine - THE BROTHERHOOD - extremely powerful debut.

Derek Hansen - A MAN YOU CAN BANK ON - hilarious

Sylvia Johnson - WATCH OUT FOR ME - another powerful, tremendous debut.

Jennifer Rowe - LOVE HONOUR AND O'BRIEN - not the normal sort of book I would like, but good, and so pleased to see Jennifer Rowe's name back on the published lists.

Alan Carter - PRIME CUT - extremely good Australian outback crime fiction debut.

Katherine Howell - VIOLENT EXPOSURE - probably should be in the individual author mentions, but I only had one book to talk about.....

Wendy James - WHY SHE LOVES HIM - an author to keep an eye on

Adrian Hyland - KINGLAKE 350 - not crime fiction, but should be mandatory reading for all Australians

Denise Mina - THE END OF WASP SEASON - yet more excellent Scottish noir.

Kel Robertson - RIP OFF - a series that deserves a lot more attention.

Miranda Darling - THE SIREN'S STING - Australian women writing Australian female characters in thriller format.  Should be more of it.

And as is the problem with all these sorts of posts this doesn't mention the great books by Anne Holt, Karin Fossum, Asa Larsson, Margie Orford, Mark Abernethy, Paul Thomas, Peter Corris, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Shamini Flint, Michael Stanley, Ian Rankin, Matthew Dicks, Kim Westwood, David Owen, Chris Allen, The Sisters in Crime Australia's Scarlet Stiletto collections and everything else that I managed to read this year that just made my reading year!


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