For me, 2011 was the ‘year of the Kindle’. Having a Kindle led to me reading far more books, and discovering new authors, than in previous years. Also, the link with social networking sites has helped me to discover new authors and their latest creations.
In general, I go for books on crime and espionage, as well as some with a political dimension.Here’s a list and brief discussion of what I’ve read over the last year.
The first book I downloaded was the second in Stieg Larsson‘s Millenium Trilogy,’The Girl Who Played With Fire‘ (having read the first one in paperback form in 2010). I subsequently read the the third book, ‘The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest‘ later in the year, and last week I very much enjoyed the film adaptation of the first book in the trilogy, ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo‘.
I have read and enjoyed Val McDermid‘s books, and I read two in 2011. The first was ‘Trick Of The Dark‘, which is one of her books that doesn’t feature Tony Hill. The second was the latest in the Tony Hill novels, ‘The Retribution‘, which features a former adversary, Jacko Vance. It was gripping and exciting, although as I commented after I read it, I was rather disappointed with the ending.
I read two books by Peter Robinson in 2011. The first ‘Bad Boy‘, involved DCI Alan Banks, and the second, ‘Before The Poison‘, was a stand-alone story about a Hollywood composer who moves back to England, to a house in Yorkshire, and is drawn into the history of the house and its former occupants.
Peter James is another one of my favourite authors, and I read three of his books in 2011. The first was ‘Dead Like You‘, featuring DS Roy Grace, which was followed by ‘Dead Man’s Grip‘, in the same series. ‘Perfect People‘, however, was a stand-alone story that looks into the future and the potential peril associated with ‘designer children’. This was an amazing book, with a totally unexpected twist at the end. I’m looking forward to ‘Say Grace Once Again …‘, the next Roy Grace novel which is due out in 2012.
I’ve been a long devotee of Ruth Rendell, and I enjoyed reading ‘Tigerlily’s Orchids’, and ‘The Vault‘. In the latter, Wexford comes out of retirement to advise in solving a case. I wonder if this will be the last book featuring this very interesting character?
Stephen Booth is another favourite author; I enjoyed reading ‘Lost River‘, and look forward to ‘The Devil’s Edge‘ which has just become available as a Kindle edition.
Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler novels are always good, and the sixth in the series, ‘The Betrayal Of Trust’ carried on this tradition. John Le Carre’s ‘Our Kind Of Traitor‘ showed that this author can still write compelling and absorbing books. Interestingly, 2011 was the year when one of his earlier novels, ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘ came out as a film (which I enjoyed greatly).
I also tried a couple of Jo Nesbo‘s books, ‘The Leopard‘ and ‘The Snowman‘, mainly because they were highly publicised, but I found them rather hard going. Perhaps I’ll give them another try in the future!
I’ll turn now to the new (i.e. new to me) authors that I came across in 2011, partly through Kindle recommendations, but also through social networking sites. Twitter is particularly good for this, and Facebook is good for keeping up with authors who have pages that you can ‘like’. I”ll just give a list of authors and book titles, as many of these I have mentioned on Twitter/Facebook, and in a couple of cases, reviewed on Amazon.
Adam Blake: ‘The Dead Sea Deception‘
James Craig: ‘London Calling‘, and ‘Never Apologise, Never Explain‘
James Douglas: ‘The Doomsday Testament’
Glen Meade: ‘The Second Messiah‘
Julian Noyce: ‘Tomb Of The Lost‘
Emlyn Rees: ‘Hunted‘
Guy Saville: ‘The Afrika Reich‘
Steven Savile: ‘Silver‘
Simon Toyne: ‘Sanctus‘
All of these are highly recommended! And if like me you travel a lot, and/or are running out of bookshelf space, e-books are the way forward.
P.S. another outstanding read in 2011 was ‘Grey Wolf’ by Simon Dunstan and Gerrard Williams, which describes a scenario where Hitler escaped to Argentina at the end of WWII, It’s not, as far as I know, available in Kindle format (yet), but I made an exception and bought the hardback! Again, it is strongly recommended.