Sunday, December 29, 2019

Favorite Reads of 2019

This post is always an exciting one for me.  I get to look back over a year of reading and revisit my favorite stories.  This year I divided the amazing books I've read into categories, including "Favorite 2019 Stand-Alones," "Favorite 2019 Novels from Series," "2019 Sequel to a Book," and "Favorite Already Established Series to Start."  They are not listed in any particular order in those categories.

The last category has the only book not published in 2019.  The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson was published in 2013, with the most recent book in the series, The Playground Murders, out this past year.  

You'll see authors that have consistently made my list over the past years, as loving an author's writing and being able to count on their books being outstanding is a reader's paradise.  Recurring authors include Elly Griffiths, Anne Cleeland, Jane Harper, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Catriona McPherson, Hallie Ephron, Deborah Crombie, Rhys Bowen, Lyndsay Faye, Cathy Ace, Kristi Belcamino, Lucy Burdette, Terry Shames, Sara Driscoll (as Sara Driscoll and as Jen J. Danna and Ann Vanderlaan), Louise Penny, Jennifer Kincheloe, and Triss Stein.  If I start talking about these continuing favorite authors and their series and stand-alones, I'll never get to my list.  I think each of them and anyone I can grab a few minutes to talk with know just how besotted I am with the returning characters and new ones from these brilliant authors.  And with two books out, Wendall Thomas and Aimee Hix have made my list both years running now.  

This year, Jamie Mason and her outstanding novel The Hidden Things gobsmacked me and will have me reading Jamie's writing from now on.  Martin Edwards writes so many different aspects of the mystery/crime world's best writings, from thrilling fiction to unequalled (and award-winning) Golden Age non-fiction to editing those extraordinary British crime classic collections, and his novel Gallows Court stole my heart this year, too.  How I'm just now getting to Rachel Howzell Hall's and Lisa Jewell's and Carol Goodman's and Leslie Thomson's and Tim Johnston's and Ann Cleeves' and Tessa Arlen's books is beyond me.  I've been trying to catch up in that area, and discovering a new-to-me author's writing is so much fun.

And, there's Alan Brennert who wrote one of my favorite books of all time, Moloka'i, back in 2003.  He followed that book with two other remarkable reads, Honolulu in 2009 and Palisades Park in 2013.  If he were a mystery/crime writer I would have been pulling my hair out waiting for a new book.  Finally, this year he came out with Daughter of Moloka'i, and I fell in love all over again.  I visited the island of Moloka'i just because of his first book.

So, at last we come to my list, the list that could not be narrowed down.  Each one of the following books was a standout read for me, memorable and thrilling in a number of ways.  As I go through the list and look at the covers, I am once again transported back to the magic that is the adventure of reading, and I just want to hug all these books and sigh.

Favorite 2019 Stand-Alones

The Lost Man by Jane Harper
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths 
The Hidden Things by Jamie Mason
The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron 
The Wrong Boy by Cathy Ace
Strangers at the Gate by Catriona McPherson
The Current by Tim Johnston
Gallows Court by Martin Edwards
The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall
Coming for You by Kristi Belcamino
The Night Visitors by Carol Goodman

Favorite 2019 Novels from Series

The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths
Murder in Just Cause by Anne Cleeland
Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths
A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie
No Man's Land by Sara Driscoll
A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary by Terry Shames
A Deadly Feast by Lucy Burdette
A Better Man by Louise Penny
Drowned Under by Wendall Thomas
Murder in the Blood by Anne Cleeland
The Body in Griffith Park by Jennifer Kincheloe
Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs by Aimee Hix
Brooklyn Legacies by Triss Stein

2019 Sequel to a Book 

Daughter of Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Favorite 2019 New Series Books

Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

Favorite Already Established Series to Start

Leslie Thomson's The Detective's Daughter