Best Books of 2016 – Nancy’s Picks
When Skyhorse Publishing asked me to read Just One Damned Thing After Another and write about it for their blog, I kind of dreaded it. It’s not often that I get sent a genre book by a small publisher that turns out to be very good. I was terribly, joyfully wrong. The entire “The Chronicles of St. Mary’s” series by Jodi Taylor is just wonderful. I was happy to discover this world and these characters. Max, the Chief and the other characters are the kind of characters you miss when the book ends. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
I’m an avid Inspector Gamache fan, so I read Louise Penny’s A Great Reckoning as soon as it dropped into my Kindle account. I wasn’t disappointed. Although Reckoning takes us a little out of our normal comfort zone of Three Pines, it fills in some of Gamache’s back story and adds some wonderful new characters, whom I hope we’ll see again. The mystery itself is intriguing, and Gamache, as always, is delightful.
Amazon and Audible kept recommending Lian Moriarity’s books to me every time I searched for my next book. I don’t generally read the kind of books that are front and center when you walk into a bookstore. However, when I listen to a book, I try not to choose one that’s so heavy on prose or thought-provoking that I either get sleepy or can’t pay attention to the road and the book at the same time. I decided that Truly Madly Guilty might be light enough to keep me interested, but not too taxing on my mental capacity. The short story is that I was blown away. Liane Moriarity is incredibly talented at creating unique characters, with distinct voices, while weaving together everyday occurrences into a tragedy that’s Greek in proportion. The miles blew past.
Dan Vyleta’s Smoke is an altogether unique and individual book. I’ve never read anything like it. It’s set in late 19th Century England, but in an alternate world, where sins are manifested by smoke. Meaning, if you have a sinful thought or emotion, you smoke. As it turns out, of course, it’s not as simple as that. The story is so well written, and the world so well realized, I can’t believe we’re not hearing more about it.
Career of Evil is the third book by Robert Galbraith, a.k.a. J.K. Rowling. I absolutely love the Cormoran Strike series. It’s gritty, thoughtful, entertaining and cynical. It’s the most delicious of P.I. books. Career of Evil moves the overall story of Cormoran and Robin forward, all the while digging into a seedy mystery that takes the P.I.s to Scotland. Engrossing from start to finish.