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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Best Books Read in 2018

We are finally getting some actual snow. It was pretty wet to try skiing, but maybe tomorrow.

pearly snow

I made up for not reading as much last year. I think I read 102 books this year. The computer crash mid-year forced me to try to recreate some of the list, but I know I didn't read fewer than 102. That's 28,588 pages. 31 of them were non-fiction. Most of the fiction were mysteries (cozy, thriller, traditional, whatever). I doubt you'll be surprised by that!

Anyway, here are the ten I have selected as the best reads of 2018, in alphabetical order.

Brief Review
A Certain JusticeP.D. Jamesmystery
This is classic James, but one of her best. She explores the twists of the legal system and the depravity of human morals while spinning an intriguing story. Really a literary work as much as a mystery.
Crimes of LoveDonald Levinmystery/police procedural
Don is a "new" author friend of mine. We met this summer, and I've become a huge fan of his books. This is the first in the Martin Preuss series. The main character of Preuss is truly well-developed and complex. The plot was compelling and fast-paced, trying to locate a little girl who has gone missing.
Escape from Camp 14Blaine HardenHistory
The account of the only person known to ever escape from the North Korean prison camps. These are not military prisoners, but citizens who have been deemed political liabilities. Shin Dong-hyuk was born there, as were many children. He had never known any life except the living hell where one lived and ate only through betrayal and self-preservation. He heard of the "outside world" from another prisoner, and they attempted to escape. Shin succeeded. The remarkable story includes the young man's continuing struggle to adapt to a world where freedom and love exist.
Facing Down EvilCliff VanZandtHistory
This is a memoir by Cliff VanZandt, the chief hostage negotiator and profiler for the FBI for many years. Although we've now become used to profiling through popular television series, this is the real deal, and much of what he shares is from the early days when it was a brand-new technique. He was involved in capturing the Unabomber, and correctly profiled Timothy McVeigh.
IncursionJ.D> ColemanHistory
I never expected to like this book as much as I did. In the first place, it's a straight-up war history, filled with dates, details, place names, military terms and minutiae. I picked it up because it covers the period of the Viet Nam War when the US went into Cambodia to root out North Vietnamese supply bases. I have some reason to believe that this is the time period when our Joshua was airlifted to Saigon, so I thought there might be some general information in the book relative to actions like that. There was not. Nevertheless, I was fascinated with learning about a period of that war when we were actually winning, and how the realities there were so much in contrast to the ways my generation was strongly protesting our presence there.
The Onion FieldJoseph WambaughTrue Crime
This is the true story of the kidnapping of two policemen, and the subsequent murder of one of them. The title refers to the place where the murder occurred. Although the events happened in 1963, and since then many better practices to protect policemen have been established, this is a frightening story of what can go wrong on any given night. The court battle at the end is enlightening as well.
Original SinP.D. JamesMystery
What can I say? I read through a whole pile of James' mysteries this year. This one really stood out. She manages to bring all the expected menace and evil of a turn-of-the-twentieth-century book to a more modern setting. This setting is a publishing company located in London and rigidly controlled by the old guard. Reference the title for plot possibilities!
The Sign and the SealGraham HancockSpeculative History
Hancock is a journalist who takes on a personal quest to find the lost Ark of the Covenant. Although this was over 500 pages, I could not put it down. I love a good real-life mystery!
The Suspicions of Mr. WhickerKate SummerscaleTrue Crime
This was an absolutely fascinating account of a murder which took place in England in 1860. A three-year old child was found with his throat slit and thrown into a privy. Real detecting by the police was just beginning to be implemented, and this case became the downfall of perhaps the best detective of the times, probably through no fault of his own.
Winter PreyJames SandfordThriller/Mystery
I like Sandford's style, and this was a fast-paced thriller with multiple suspects chasing through the frozen landscape via snowmobile, jeep, etc. Just a good solid read.

In other news: I spent all day doing bookwork, and then running errands and shopping. It's all part of the indie author life, even though no actual writing occurred.

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1 comment:

Ann said...

I like a good mystery and the ones you listed here sound like good ones

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