My Top Five Reads of 2014

It’s been a strange reading year for me. I read less than I have done in a long while, mainly as I was concentrating on my own writing. It’s actually very hard to do both. I use Goodreads to log my reads and I know I finished 56 books this year which is around one a week.

There were, however, some gems amongst the books. What has surprised me is how much I’ve enjoyed novels written in the English language. You’ll see translated fiction in my list, of course, but I’ve discovered some amazing home-grown writers too.

It was hard to whittle the list down to my traditional five. I apologise for the male bias but that’s the way my reading went this year. I did think about having a top 10 instead. It would have been around a fifty-fifty male-female split. But it has been a ‘top five’ since Crimepieces started. And what’s Christmas without tradition?

1. Thomas Mogford – Hollow Mountain

TM

I’ve come to this series in the third book and I’d love to go back and read the earlier ones. Mogford is an excellent writer. The books are thrillers set in Gibraltar with a hard edge and excellent characterisation. The place comes alive in Mogford’s hands and I wish I’d discovered this author sooner.

 

2. Parker Bilal – The Ghost Runner

Parker Bilal

Another writer that I wish I’d read earlier. The Ghost Runner is set in the Egyptian desert and has the feel of a place existing on the margins of society. The protagonist is a stranger in a foreign country and there’s a feeling of isolation and otherness that make this book a special read.

 

3. K T Medina – White Crocodile

White-Crocodile-cover1

A debut novel set partly in Cambodia. The writing is excellent and a sense of menace dominates the narrative set amongst landmine clearance. I can’t wait to see what comes next from this talented writer.

 

4. Hans Olav Lahlum – The Human Flies

20140619-065221-24741563.jpg

Delightfully retro and with a tightly contained plot, Lahlum’s book was the star translation for me this year. Another writer that I can’t wait to read again.

 

5. Barry Forshaw – Euro Noir 

Euro noir

 

Not a crime novel but an essential guide to what’s available in translation from Europe. There are some excellent recommendations, particularly from countries largely undiscovered such as Greece and Romania. And I love the retro cover.

So a slightly different list than I expected at the start of the year. But that’s the joy of reading. The discovery of new books and writers. Do you agree with my choices? I’d love to hear.

 

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28 thoughts on “My Top Five Reads of 2014

  1. Interesting list, Sarah: I’ll admit I haven’t read any of these yet, but I’m sure the US publication dates are coming up soon for some of them. Merry Christmas!

  2. All of these sound good to me. All in varying locations, which is nice. I was worried the first one was too thrillerish when I read your review earlier, but I liked the location. You know how I love mystery reference books, maybe I will buy myself Euro Noir for Christmas. I had not noticed it was available in the US now, but it is.

  3. I’m ashamed to say I’ve read none of. these authors, never mind the books. But I do have the Parker Bilal on my Kindle. Must say, your cover looks wonderful…you must be getting so excited! xx

  4. Great list. I think I added them all to my TBR list as I read the reviews, but will double-check. Oh, when is there time now to read? It has to be scheduled in. Have a great holiday and new year.

  5. Just been looking at the Kindle sale and White Crocodile and Euro Crime are each 99p – ker-ching! in this house! Don’t know how long it’s going on for, but thought I’d share in case anyone is interested.

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