MarinaSofia: Top five reads of 2016

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2016 has been the year of championing the underdog, at least when it comes to reading and reviewing crime fiction. Yes, I have one major international name and one bright new star of British crime on my list of top five crime reads, but the other three choices are all books by authors who deserves to be far, far better known.

Perfect Days by Raphael Montes
Meet the most unlikely psychopath and the craziest roadtrip you’ve ever come across in this story of a deluded stalker who kidnaps a young scriptwriter and tries to convince her they are made for each other. Disturbing, at times almost too graphic, yet also very funny, this book could only have been written by a Brazilian. It will horrify you, entertain you and challenge all your expectations of crime fiction tropes.
Buy now on Amazon

All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage
From the over-the-top exuberance of Raphael Montes, we move to the understated elegance of rural New England and a house where a double suicide took place many years ago. When a new family moves in, they are irreversibly drawn into the stifling atmosphere of small-town life and the dark secrets of the house – and ultimately damaged by it. Part rural noir, part Gothic horror, with a dash of the supernatural, this is a genre-straddling slow burner of a book, which will linger in your mind long after the last sentence.
Buy now on Amazon

Thin Ice by Quentin Bates
Another unusual roadtrip, this time in snowbound Iceland, in this latest entry in the series featuring the motherly, no-nonsense Officer Gunnhildur. Thrills and laughs mix in this suspenseful read, as a rather incompetent pair of kidnappers struggle to follow through on their original plan. A delightful romp without ever descending into farce or cosy.
Buy now on Amazon

Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary
We return to city life in Britain with a vengeance: London under the shadow of Battersea Power Station, to be precise. The author is already beginning to make her mark as someone unafraid to tackle controversial social issues. The contrast between rough council estates and swanky new apartment complexes are clearly marked, but readers will never feel they are being addressed from a soapbox. We find ourselves irresistibly drawn into Hilary’s urban nightmare of runaway teenagers and homelessness.
Buy now on Amazon

A Climate of Fear by Fred Vargas
A new Fred Vargas novel is always eagerly anticipated, but there have been a few ho-hum ones of late. Happy to report that this novel is a return to form and offers two investigations for the price of one. The first takes place within a historical re-enactment society and the other in the more typical Vargas location of a remote village hidden deep in the woods. We also get a trip to Iceland thrown in for good measure, as Inspector Adamsberg examines a cold case which seems to have a bearing on the present. The connection between the three strands does make sense eventually, and along the way we are party to many tense and funny moments which threaten to tear apart Adamsberg’s quirky team.
Buy now on Amazon

Click here to see which books I chose in 2015. And you can see my colleagues’ top five picks of 2016 here.


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