Tuesday, December 12, 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017

This week's theme from The Broke and the Bookish people is Top Ten Favourite Books of 2017. Nope, not nearly ready to think about favourite books of the year. I read a ton of books this year, and I can easily make a genre top ten list of mysteries from this year, in no particular order. 

Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
I thought maybe I liked the first in this series, The Cuckoo's Calling, because it was a new detective and I was surprised how much I liked it. Nope, the series is top-notch and the second book was just as strong as the first. Ms Rowling can write and plot and create characters you feel like you know. 

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
Usually when I find a series I like, individual books are rated four star out of five, but I think of the series as a 4.5 or 5 star series. The sum of the parts are greater than the parts. But every time I finish a Cormoran Strike book, it's a 4.5. I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

Icarus by Deon Meyers
Bennie Griessel, the South African detective, must have nearly hit rock bottom. Man he has a hard time with life. He's fallen off the wagon in Icarus and trying to solve a high profile murder. Again, it's the plotting and the characters that stand out in these books. If you haven't read any Deon Meyer mysteries yet, what are you waiting for? 

Countdown City/World of Trouble by Ben H Winters
I read The Last Policeman last year and it was fabulous. Combining two of my favourite genres - cop mysteries and dystopian/apocalypsic fiction was definitely going to catch my eye. This trilogy of life as a known asteroid is heading to Earth on a known date means life if a little upside down. Add in a police detective who doesn't know how to do anything else, and he's fighting against the anarchy around him. Another series where each book got rated 4.5 and the individual books had stand alone mysteries but the over arching story was tragic.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
I've raved about this one already. Different from my police detectives, this one is an homage to village mysteries in England and Agatha Christie. I think part of the appeal was that it was just last year I read all the Miss Marple mysteries for the first time, and appreciated the style. 
Oblivion by Arnaldur Indridason
Just like my favourite TV show, This is Us, Indridason has realized that a dead character doesn't limit the stories you can tell. While present day Erlendur can't solve any more mysteries, he was a police detective for many years and the new books look back at old cases. One case is set in the 70s, while Erlendur is also looking into a cold case from the 60s. The conflicted history of American army bases in Iceland is explored as well.
In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear
I was getting ready to give up on Maisie Dobbs after the last two books but Winspear has returned Maisie to all the parts I like best. She's in London, working with Billy and Inspector Stratten, and her father is around again. A new war has begun, but the first war is still having repercussions, as it has in all the good Maisie books. 
Queen of Hearts/Malice in the Palace/On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen
I'm really not a fan of cozy mysteries but I make an exception for Georgie, 35th in line to the throne in 1930s England. The mix of historical information, high society hob-nobbing, and silly romance just works for me. None of the books actually stand out, but here's an example of the whole is greater than the parts. Plus, I've been watching The Crown and David and Wallace Simpson are in both, and they are so much fun when they appear.
Glass Houses by Louise Penny
I've been listening to this series and Penny's latest addition is a stellar read. She plays with the structure a bit here, having the unknown trial happening at the same time as the story is being revealed. The opioid crisis is a major plot point. Some books have had other settings, but this one is in Three Pines, so all the great characters are around. I am enjoying retired Gamauche. 
The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill
First in a series, The Coroner's Lunch is set in 1970s Laos. A former Communist, 72 year old Siri Paibourn has been appointed to be the medical examiner. I really liked this first book in the series. Siri is cynical, and cranky and the setting is so different. I got the second book, Thirty-Three Teeth but didn't find it as similar or as good as it headed off into more supernatural territory. I'll still keep The Coroner's Lunch on my 'Best of Mysteries' list for the year.