My Favorite Books of 2012

My favorite books of 2012

My favorite books of 2012

At this time of year everyone seems to be making lists of their top ten, twenty, fifty or hundred things of 2012.

So, just to be a little different, I’m not going to make a list.

Instead, I’m going to talk about my five favorite books of 2012 and why I loved them. And I’ll talk about them in the order that I read them in.

Here goes …

Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham (Orion). This part police procedure, part psychological thriller follows Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths on her first murder case. It’s beautifully written, darkly quirky, and leaves you wanting more. And luckily for us there will be more. I believe the second book in the Fiona Griffiths series will be out in 2013.

The Fall by Claire McGowan (Headline). This  crime thriller tells the interwoven stories of three strangers – Charlotte, Keisha, and DC Matthew Hegarty – who are thrown together in the aftermath of a murder in a nightclub. With hugely compelling characters, a super-rapid pace and numerous twists and turns, it’s a real page turner. Claire McGowan’s next book, The Lost, is definitely one to look out for when it comes out in April 2013.

The Affair by Lee Child (Bantam Press). Another great Jack Reacher novel. This one is set six months before the opening of Killing Floor and follows Reacher on a mission in a small town in Mississippi. It’s everything you’d expect – quick-paced action, imaginative problem-solving, a love interest, and the bad guys getting Reacher’s very own brand of justice.

Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (Headline). This young adult crossover novel is a real rollercoaster read. In diary form, it tells the story of Emily Koll, Archway Young Offenders Institution’s most notorious inmate. It’s sad yet funny, tense yet light-hearted, chilling yet warming, and fragile yet powerful. Through Emily’s story of love, grief, hate and revenge, you discover what drove her to do what she did.

Sleepwalkers by Tom Grieves (Quercus). This gripping psychological thriller follows the stories of adult Ben and teenage Toby – two strangers experiencing vivid and terrifying dreams – as they try to make sense of the jumbled up fragments of forgotten memories that haunt them. A real edge-of-your-seat read, I found this story un-put-downable.

So, there you have it. My favorite books of 2012.

What were your favorites?

Left Coast Crime 2013 add Lou Diamond Phillips to their line-up

Lou Diamond Phillips

Lou Diamond Phillips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Left Coast Crime is an annual mystery and thriller enthusiast event for readers, writers and librarians and next year it runs March 21 – 24 in Colorado Springs, CO.

2013 Guests of Honor are Craig Johnson and Laura Lippman, Toastmaster will be David Corbett and “Last Resort” Troubadour is Parnell Hall. In addition, they’ve got Fan Guests of Honor Tom and Enid Schantz attending and have selected Stephen J. Cannell as their Ghost of Honor.

And – news flash -they’ve just announced that Lou Diamond Phillips will be joining them to interview Guest of Honor Craig Johnson.

If you live in the area, or fancy a trip to Colorado next March, you can find out all the details on their website:

Love books? This could be the perfect Christmas gift …


#christmas (Photo credit: Isselmuden)

If you’re looking for a last minute Christmas gift for the book lover in your life, and you’d like to give them something unique and rather quirky, this could be for you.

From the twitter feed of the fabulous Emma Darwin (@emma_darwin) via @shelleywriter I’ve just heard about this fabulous reading spa experience offered by Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath.

This award winning, independent bookstore offer two types of spa gift – the ‘Delightful Reading Spa’ and the ‘Extravagant Reading Spa’.

I’ve not tried one myself, but they sound amazing. I think I might need to treat myself to a little trip to Bath in 2013 …

Click here to find out more:


Just finished reading: The Uninvited by Liz Jensen

The Uninvited book cover

The Uninvited book cover

 A vivid, unsettling look at a possible future

What the cover says: “As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry. He has never been good at relationships. Asperger’s Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioural patterns, and an outsider’s fascination with group dynamics.

Hesketh has no obvious reasons to connect the South East Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behaviour of his beloved step son, Freddy. But when his Taiwan contact dies shockingly, and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, Hesketh is forced to make connections that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career and – most devastatingly of all – his role as a father.”


The Uninvited isn’t the usual type of book I read. Is it crime, thriller, paranormal, science fiction or something else?

I’m not sure.

But whatever it is, it’s an interesting and thought provoking read, with an unusual take on the impact of environmental change.

It’s summarised on the dust-jacket as ‘part psychological thriller and part dystopian nightmare’. And I guess that’s right.

Either way, if you’re looking for something rather different – with engaging characters, a set of seemingly unconnected and unnervingly brutal incidents to piece together, and a theme that will keep you thinking long after the story is finished, this could be for you.

Indie Spotlight: The Missing by Karl Vadaszffy

The Missing cover image

The Missing cover image

What the cover says: “John Simmons is en route to London with his girlfriend, Jennie Michaels, whom he intends to propose to that evening. He pulls into the London Gateway Services, leaving Jennie in the car. But when he returns, she has disappeared. Frantic with worry, he turns to the police for help. The police doubt that Jennie exists: there is no trace that she ever existed.

John, convinced Jennie was not a figment of his imagination, sets out in a desperate attempt to find the woman he fell in love with. He has the help of Detective Sergeant Kate Nielsen, herself haunted by a botched undercover operation that led to her being raped four years earlier.

Everything he can remember of Jennie – where she worked, where she lived – turns out to be untrue. Nielsen, following John as he lurches from one lead to another, begins to wonder if Jennie could be the eleventh victim of a serial killer. Their investigation becomes increasingly urgent and threatens to bring back dark and murky images from Nielsen’s past.”

John Simmons is in a nightmare situation. His fear for Jennie and his determination to find her make him a sympathetic and compelling character. Even though everything he thought was true about his girlfriend turns out to be false, he won’t give up. Finally, he persuades DS Kate Nielson to help him.

But as John becomes increasingly desperate to find Jennie, and his behaviour becomes more and more erratic, DS Kate Nielson’s challenges grow. Her boss thinks John is delusional, and Kate herself begins to doubt if Jennie ever did exist.

But when another woman is brutally attacked and murdered, John’s convinced there’s a connection. As John and Kate hunt for the killer, they become targets themselves.

The race is on. Can Kate find Jennie and catch the killer before she becomes the next victim?

The Missing is an action packed, high tension read. The stakes continue to rise, and the list of suspects continues to grow, while the question ‘Did Jennie Michaels really exist?’ adds further complications.

Part police procedural, part action thriller, part psychological thriller, with more than enough twists to keep the reader guessing until the end, this is a debut novel well worth checking out.

Debut novelist, Karl Vadaszffy, is published by Peach Press in eBook format. You can find out more at his website:

The Missing is the first book in the DS Kate Nielson series.