I love reading mysteries, which is probably why I write them. Here’s are ten mini-reviews of books I’ve read this past year. Some were published this year, others almost a century ago. They run the gamut from cozy to thriller, and are in no particular order.
1. LAST ONE TO DIE by Tess Gerritsen
I’m a huge fan of the Rizzoli & Isles TV series, which was why I was surprised to find the characters are so very different in the novels. Though LAST ONE TO DIE was the first of the series I read, I never felt lost—only had the urge to read all the previous novels. Fast-paced and intriguing, LAST ONE TO DIE is a great read by a skilled writer.
2. THE BODY IN THE GAZEBO by Katherine Hall Page
I’ve read every one of the Faith Fairchild mysteries, and this book’s a winner. One aspect I like about this series is that some of the novels are set far from the small Massachusetts town where Faith and her family reside. An out-of-town wedding is the setting of THE BODY IN THE GAZEBO.
3. BROKEN HARBOR by Tana French
I was awed by Tana French’s three earlier novels, but found myself wishing BROKEN HARBOR had been considerably shortened. A family is set upon in their home. Three members die and one survives. The question is: who savagely attacked them and why?
4. THE BIG SLEEP by Raymond Chandler
I led a book club discussion of THE BIG SLEEP, remembering how much I’d loved reading this novel forty years ago. To my dismay, this time I was disappointed. The characters struck me as two-dimensional, and I found it almost laughable how people kept pointing guns at Philip Marlowe. But THE BIG SLEEP is a must read for every serious mystery lover because of its importance to the genre.
5. THE AFFAIR by Lee Child
This Jack Reacher novel takes place in 1997, when Reacher is still an army MP. He and a woman sheriff investigate a murder with close ties to the nearby army fort. THE AFFAIR is exciting and a page-turner, as is every Lee Child novel. I’ve discovered many women are Jack Reacher fans, despite the body count in every book. He’s one of our modern day heroes.
6. THE SECRET SERVANT by Daniel Silva
I suppose the Gabriel Allon series are spy thrillers, but I’m including THE SECRET SERVANT on this list. Allon is an Israeli intelligence agent involved in intrigues around the globe. In this novel, he has to rescue the daughter of an American diplomat before she is murdered. Like every Silva novel, this adventure captures your attention from beginning to end.
7. AUNT DIMITY AND THE VILLAGE WITCH by Nancy Atherton
I adore this cozy series that takes place in a Cotswold English village. In AUNT DIMITY AND THE VILLAGE WITCH, a famous artist comes to Fitch in search of information about an ancestor who might have been a witch. Soon the whole village is helping her unravel the mystery.
8. BELIEVING THE LIE by Elizabeth George
In this, the latest Inspector Thomas Lynley novel, Lynley investigates the death of a man, and discovers all sorts of sordid activities going on among the various people connected to the victim. While I’ve enjoyed reading almost all of her earlier Lynley novels, this one is overly-long and too complex.
9. DEAD CASE IN DEADWOOD by Ann Charles
The Deadwood books are pure delight. Violet Parker--single mother of twins, novice real estate broker, and sleuth--juggles the many aspects of her life. Her zany relationship with the sexy Doc is the funniest romance going. Then there’s the paranormal element. Charles blends them all together with a deft hand.
10. THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD by Agatha Christie
One of Christie’s most famous and certainly most controversial novel takes place in a small English village. Poirot is asked to solve the murder of Roger Ackroyd. We meet the usual array of Christie characters, learn their secrets and past misdeeds. The ending is most unusual. I loved rereading this book. It holds up as the true classic it is.
Please leave a comment and name a mystery or two you’ve read in 2012.