Here are just a few of the wonderful books I’ve had the privilege of reading this year. I always think a good book is one that makes me feel something; joy, fear, laughter, anything that compels me to read on. After studying the “look inside feature” Amazon offers, usually about 15% of the first few chapters, including the strapline and blurb, I can usually tell if the book is for me. You can “hear” the voice, relate to the characters and “see” exactly where the protagonist is in terms of setting. What did I learn? Did something about the book leave a residue for months to come? A captivating story and character development are always key indicators, and I think the books below have provided all this and so much more.
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendriks and Sarah Pekkanen is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year. So well written and brilliantly plotted, it was impossible to put down. Hardly surprising when you have two collaborative minds. I loved every chapter. As Avery doesn’t know what to expect when she opens her door to new clients, I didn’t know what to expect when she opened the door to Marissa and Matthew Bishop. What I loved about this book is that, although Avery is a hero, her clever techniques have certainly met their match with the Bishops. The challenges and struggles she faces are all very real. Very believable.
Lucky by Marissa Stapley is a pacey read, taking you inside the life of grifters Luciana (Lucky) Armstrong and her father. It alternates between past and present, from when Lucky was left outside a nunnery in New York City in 1982, to present day in a gas station bathroom in Idaho, where she changes her appearance and name, and buys a winning lottery ticket.
I was thrilled to be offered an advance copy of Her Perfect Family by the author. Like all Teresa Driscoll’s books, the writing style is easy to read, fast-paced and with enough description to drop you right into the action. You can’t help relishing such an addictive read, a brilliantly sustained psychological suspense.
A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham is another debut author I’ve enjoyed reading this year. Told from Chloe’s perspective the story alternates between past and present. Beautifully written and highly engaging, this was a book I found hard to put down. I read a lot of mystery and thrillers and this definitely stands up to the high quality popular established authors are writing. A sharp, twister thriller that has also been optioned. No surprise there.
The Apartment is the third Lucy Foley book I’ve read and one of the best. A psychological suspense, set against the Paris riots in 2019 that follows Jess Daniels to France after an invitation from her brother. But when she arrives at 12 Rue des Amants, he’s not there. Told mainly from Jess’ point of view there are other residents whose stories are interspersed with hers. The concierge, Mimi, Nick and Sophie, all with their shadowy pasts and all hiding secrets.
Complex and riveting from start to finish, The First Day of Spring will leave a pit in your stomach. Many thanks to Hope Butler at Penguin for recommending this book. Debut author Nancy Tucker delivers a nuanced narrative that describes the damage wrought by neglect. A fascinating and devastating read, one of the best this year! Narrated through the voice of the killer, the opening chapters describe the exiled and demoralized life of Chrissie whose Da is absent and whose Ma is unable to provide. I rooted for her and adored her voice which is testament to great writing.
I love Lisa Gardner’s books and One Step Too Far is no exception. Her writing is flawless and her characters are so relatable. Frankie Elkin, a recovering alcoholic and missing person’s locator, narrates the story. The opening is beautifully written, vivid descriptions put you in the middle of the great Wyoming wilderness where Frankie joins an expedition run by the father of a young man who disappeared on his pre-wedding trip five years ago.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these brief reviews for the books I’ve had the privilege of reading this year. (Full reviews in my Blog section.) Highly recommended to those who love a good psychological thriller/domestic suspense novel.
Happy New 2022! May your year be safe, healthy and joyful.