OK, anyone humming Simon and Garfunkel right now – you’re outed as being over ahem, a certain age. Not that I would know, mind you. Never heard of them myself – is that my nose that’s growing?
Really folks, the reference is to my bracketing this week. I saw it in, and by gum, I’m seeing it out. So there!
This is the time of the year when everyone has a “top books of 2016” list. Newspapers, webpages, magazines, all are full of the “top” books of the year. There’s one thing most (not all-hold the tar and feathers) of these lists have in common. The newbie writer need not apply. If you haven’t hit the NYT best seller list, haven’t got a high-powered agent, and/or have the imprint of one of the last remaining “big” publishing houses in your front matter, you ain’t making the list.
Well, guess what—there are way more books that deserve to be high end listed than those that make the big name top book lists. I thought I would share my list of the best five books I’ve read in 2016. As they say, in no particular order:
White Sky, Black Ice by Stan Jones. Set in Chukchi, Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle, State Trooper Nathan Active an Inupiat by birth is assigned to his home town where it quickly becomes apparent that the suicides plaguing the village are something else more sinister. The story is compelling. Jones has a gift of scene and setting. I’ve never been to Alaska, but I would recognize Chukchi in a heartbeat.
Deadly Dunes by E. Michael Helms. Mike and I met over his first Mac Book, Deadly Catch. I was hooked. Deadly Dunes is the third in the series and it’s quintessential Mac in a story that could happen only in Florida. Seriously, if Mac wasn’t so involved with Kate, I’d make a play. Helms’s characters and stories are that real. Helm’s has an easy, flowing writing style that captures the reader in the story and makes the books impossible to put down.
The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco by Laura DiSilverio. Amy-Faye Johnson lives in Heaven. Heaven, Colorado that is, and the Readaholics are her book club. When one of their own dies, the Readaholics are convinced that it’s not a simple case of suicide. As they chase the clues they discover parallels to the last book they read. DiSilverio is a master craftsman. Her stories are wonderful and intricate, but her writing made me read the rest of this series and all the rest of her books back to back.
Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming. I picked up this book because it had snow on the cover and we were in our sixth straight week of high ninety degree temperatures with ninety-five percent humidity. By the end of the first chapter I was wondering how I missed this writer and this series. I hesitate to say too much since the book I picked up is mid-series and I don’t want to give any spoilers. Rev. Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne are married now with a wee one on the way. Their personal struggles mirror the greater torment going on around them during the ice storm of the century when they are trapped and stalked by a murderer at a deserted lake cabin on their honeymoon. The story is breathtaking.
An Idyllic Place for a Murder by Liz Milliron. This small book (it’s only 26 pages) is a gem. The story is set in a vacation camp in Laurel Highlands, PA, not too far from Pittsburgh. The cleaning woman finds a soon to be divorced woman dead in a rental cabin. This book has two characters, the public defender Sally Castle and Trooper First Class Jim Duncan working from opposite sides of the system to solve the crime. There is not a word wasted in this book. Don’t miss it.
So, those are my top five. What are yours?