Friday, 6 January 2017


This is an odd Books of the Year list, because it basically includes only those books I wrote about on Irresistible Targets, or reviewed on The Crime Vault Live, and the books I read and wrote about were not necessarily written in 2016. And of course, some I haven't yet written about, which means a number of my favourite books of 2016 will, I hope, get mentioned here soon, including Paul Hendrickson's Hemingway's Boat, Reza Aslan's Zealot, Henning Mankell's Quicksand and David Talbot's The Devil's Chessboard. 

I admit I probably should have written about the books I reviewed on The Crime Vault, but once I'd done the podcast, reviewing them in some detail, I had pretty much said what I wanted to say. You can find links to all five of the the CVL podcasts here at IT, just use the search engine.  All the other books I mention you can similarly find in the past year.

My favourite 2016 crime novels were James Sallis' Willnot and Alex Marwood's Darkest Secret (CVL). Runners up were Michael Connelly's Wrong Side Of Goodbye, Robert Crais' The Promise (CVL), Graham Hurley's The Order Of Things, Stephen King's story collection Bazaar of Bad Dreams (CVL) and Johan Theorin's Made In Sweden (CVL).

I was also a judge for the CWA Short Story Dagger award, and John Connolly's Night Music, from which two stories made the judges' (and my) short list, was exceptional. The runner-up story came from another fine collection, Crimes, by Alberto Barrera Tyszka, from Venezuela.

But my favourite crime novel of the year was Sara Gran's Dope, which for some reason I came to late. Read my review; it really is as good as I say.

The other two non-crime books that stand out from the year's reading were Kevin Jackson's study of modernism and 1922, Constellation of Genius, and Joe Abercrombie's hugely entertaining story collection, Sharp Ends, which proves not only that the whole sword and sorcery genre is not dead, but that a good writer can do wonderful things with it.  Serious writing in a not always very serious genre. But then you probably watch Game Of Thrones, right?

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