I'm mathematically challenged at the best of times, and never more so than when greeted by the need to come up with a "list" of a certain number. Okay so that's probably less to do with maths and more to do with a pathological hatred of arbitrary rules. So let's just go with this being the best of list of all the books (currently at 147 or so) that I was fortunate (in the main) to have read in 2015.
We're also taking a break from the "day jobs" for a couple of weeks so review posting will slow down a little over the next few weeks as we shift our focus to surviving the long-hot-dry-shocking-awful-stinking summer. We're in severe drought here and it's the books that I'm reading that are helping to keep me sane(ish) and distracted from the devastation outside.
It's Wyatt being Wyatt, and yet there was something a little extra there into the bargain. Love this series at the best of times, loved this book in particular.
A deftly handled plot, strong characters and a sly, dry humour make this an outstanding debut crime novel.
This is exactly the sort of novel that Darian Richards deserves. Let's hope there's a lot more to come.
So thrilled to see Dave Warner back writing strong, clever, highly entertaining crime fiction again.
Latest in a series of intelligent, well-researched and engagingly written crime-fiction novels set amid the suffragette battles of early 1900s England
Brilliant YA pitched book - a shattering, emotional rollercoaster of a book, just as the blurb puts it is all about a mistake that we could all make, and the redemption that some of us deserve.
Okay so I loved this one so much I've read it a couple of times now AND I've got pages marked so I can reread the paragraphs.
Impressive debut, winner of the Best First Ned Kelly this year.
A really good psychological thriller, fast paced, with a strong plot and engaging characters, although if you spend a lot of time in idling traffic you'll probably find yourself locking your doors after reading.
Another really good YA book tackling some confrontational and very real teenage issues head on.
Absolutely cracking dialogue, great cast of characters, strong plot. I just flat out want more of this series.
It's Cliff Hardy okay. As always with these books, Corris takes Hardy to the crux of the problem, puts him in some jeopardy, moves some baddies around on the board, and drags Hardy, sometimes slightly bruised, out the other end in a manner beautifully economical with words, never lacking atmosphere.
Loved this book. Utterly and absolutely. Whilst there is much to be said for the strength of people writing their own stories and telling things from their own perspective, SWEET ONE reminds that an observer's eye can also be acute. When that eye is combined with sympathy, respect and love, then the stories told are strong, and in a language that's accessible, gripping, moving, emotional, provocative and forceful.
An unusual book in many ways, well worth reading, even if the subject matter is a no go zone for you.
The fourth book in the originally intended trilogy that just keeps growing in numbers and quality. This is an outstanding series.
Said at the time - stonkingly good debut, this was a real find this year.
Tito Ihaka is back in this 5th book and it's been simply too long!
This was an absolute standout from this year with characters that have stayed with me.
There's also a powerful sense of pace, and action, and some memorable confrontation scenes - particularly in the Gothic old asylum where you'd be tempted to say "only in a Paul Cleave novel". That sense of pace is part of the strength of all these books, as are the flawed characters and the slightly crazy scenarios.
No idea what it was about this one that just clicked, but I really liked this book. Liked the central character, the way that the plot was constructed and the strong sense of place.
Another of those serendipitious reads that just appealed. Wonderful translation, holding onto a good sense of place and culture.
Could use lots of words - will just go with mesmerising.
Beautifully written, great characters; a wonderful sense of place; a cleverly constructed plot; and that introspective, claustrophobic feeling that often appeals to fans of Icelandic and Scandinavian crime fiction.
The exploration of consequences, beautifully executed.
Any readers looking for something different this could be just the ticket.
A combination of a slightly eccentric, dedicated and very determined investigation group full of strong individuals, who work as a team; and a confrontational and some very pointed crimes and their backgrounds, perpetrated for very believable reasons made this novel a stand-out read.
Puzzle upon puzzle, intricate and utterly fascinating, as an example of Honkaku and the culture from which it sprang.
Fascinating exploration of the grey of motivations and behaviour in a thriller format (more usually known for black and white).
The pacing of this thriller is particularly interesting, somehow achieving massive leaps forward in what otherwise feels rather languid, almost rhythmic style.
Leaning towards hard-boiled in stylings and subject matter, Dolan has created a team of investigator's and a scenario for them to work in that really feels like it's got legs. Certainly hope so.
Brutal, funny, dark, difficult, discomforting and a hell of a ride, THE GLORIOUS HERESIES (and you just know this has to be said) was utterly glorious.