Keith Nixon: Top five books of 2014

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I read far too much, and 2014 has been no exception. As well as going back to old favourites I also like to find new authors too. It’s a special feeling when you read a book and immediately connect. And so this year’s top five reads are absolutely this mix of the old and the new. They’re gritty, uncompromising and often sweary…

Bite Harder5 – Bite Harder by Anonymous-9
Hard Bite was one of the craziest books I read in 2013. Dean Drayhart, is a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair after a drunk driver took his family away. He’s also a serial killer, exacting revenge on other hit-and-run drivers who’ve evaded justice, aided and abetted by sidekick killer monkey, Sid. Bite Harder takes up where the first novel left off. One of Drayhart’s victims was the son of crime syndicate boss Marina and she wants her own slice of justice. She goes after both Sid and Dean, along with the latter’s prostitute girlfriend. This novel really is as crazy as it sounds, but it’s great fun and anything but normal. Read about it here.
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missing2004 – Missing by Sam Hawken
Sam Hawken has been nominated for two CWA Dagger awards and, based on the strength of Missing, it’s easy to see why he’s so well regarded. Jack Searle lives a quiet life in Texas, earning a few dollars as a builder. He has family just over the border in the ridiculously dangerous Mexican town of Nuevo Laredo, a place rife with drugs and run by brutal cartels. Jack’s stepdaughter Marina has a night out in the town, one she doesn’t return from. He must investigate her disappearance, taking increasingly desperate and risky actions to track Marina down as any parent would. Scary and thought provoking. The review is here.
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BryantMayBleedingHeart2003 – Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler
Christopher Fowler has created a rather unusual pair of detectives in Bryant and May, who have with very different styles and work for the London-based Peculiar Crimes Unit, a specialist force which investigates events and occurrences that no-one else will. Bleeding Heart is, incredibly, the 11th in the series and it is as fresh and strong as ever. This time the irascible detectives are investigating a corpse which has seemingly risen from the dead, and the theft of the ravens from the Tower of London. The latter threatens to bring the city to its knees. Read the review of this cerebral yet accessible novel here.
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plagueofcrows2002 – A Plague of Crows by Douglas Lindsay
DS Hutton is an Edinburgh cop who makes John Rebus look distinctly perky. He’s a man with enough baggage to fill the hold of a 747. He’s also an intelligent, tenacious detective with a huge self-destruct button. There’s a serial killer on the loose, one with a particularly gruesome method of dealing with his victims whom, through social media, the whole world is aware of. Consequently, this is a high profile case and Hutton must solve it. The writing is excellent. Sharp, fast paced, gripping. Lindsay manages to be economical with his words, yet delivers a very strong story. Read the review of this edifying novel here.
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Undercover1 – Undercover by Gerard Brennan
And so to Gerard Brennan, a writer I admire immensely and I’ve enjoyed every piece of his work. Until Undercover was published I believed his superb The Point couldn’t be topped. But thankfully I was wrong. Cormac Kelly is an undercover cop. He’s infiltrated a brutal gang who are holding a family hostage as leverage. Their target is a wealthy footballer. The agent, Lydia Gallagher, must betray either her client or her family. How far will she go to save them both? This novel should be called Relentless because it is. Non-stop pace, actions, twists and turns galore. Click to read the review.
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To see what books the rest of the CFL team have chosen in 2014, click here.


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