DeathBecomesHer: Top five books of 2017

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December, a month of dark nights, last-minute panic buys, festivities… and choosing my top five books of the year. In truth, the latter has been on my mind since January and each year I allocate a shelf where I try to set aside the books I can see making the final cut. This year, that shelf has been creaking – such a wealth of barnstorming books came my way! After much deliberation, here are my fabulous fivesome…

5 – Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

Thinking of buying someone an air balloon experience as a gift? You may want to rethink after reading Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton. From on high, a woman witnesses a murder and the murderer spots her too – firing the starting pistol upon a pursuit that is, literally, to the death in this standalone novel which never lets up on tension. Short, snappy chapters grab the reader and never let go until a denouement that’ll leave you breathless. A psychological thriller that’ll keep you up ’til the wee small hours.
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4 – Insidious Intent by Val McDermid

The Queen of Scottish crime isn’t thinking of abdicating her throne any time soon if this book is anything to go by. It’s the 10th in the series featuring DCI Carol Jordan and psychological profiler Dr Tony Hill and it is Val McDermid at her best. Carol and Tony are stretched to their limits by a killer who is targeting vulnerable women at wedding parties. It’s a tricky case, but Carol has other things on her mind as past misdemeanours come back to haunt her. A masterclass in crime writing, with a shocking final twist, and you can read our full review here.
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3 – Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Ragdoll, Daniel ColeA police officer with a troubled past and a killer with a modus operandi like no other combine in a gut-wrenching debut that haunts me still months after reviewing it. Met detective William Oliver Layton-Fawkes (Wolf to his friends) has begrudgingly been allowed back to work after a period in a mental institution. He’s still fragile, and when a ‘body’ is discovered in an apartment block facing his, Wolf must summon all his inner strength to deal with the crime. A cracker of a read with a central character who’s a fascinating enigma. Read it!
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2 – Rattle by Fiona Cummins

The Bone Collector should win the prize for the creepiest crime fiction antagonist of the year, and his inclusion in this classy read earns Fiona Cummins the honour of highest-placed debut in my list. It’s a dark and creepy tale which introduces troubled DS Etta Fitzroy, a woman once tipped for great things but who is now barely holding onto the career she loves after blotting her copybook. Is she really up to the job of catching a serial killer who’s as nasty as they come? Can it really be January when I reviewed this? It’s still as fresh in my mind as when I turned the final page!
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1 – Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

Oooh, Michael Connelly – you have really spoiled us this year! The Late Show was another of my five-star reads in 2017 and I can’t wait to make Renée Ballard’s acquaintance again, but my heart belongs to Harry (Bosch, that is). He may no longer be a member of the LAPD, but in Two Kinds of Truth our hero is still busy in retirement, keeping his hand in by working cold cases at the San Fernando Police Department. Then a brand new murder requires his skills – until an old murder case comes back to haunt Harry, threatening his reputation into the bargain. I love this older, wiser Bosch but it’s the flashes of the former renegade Harry that give Two Kinds of Truth that added spark. How does Connelly keep up this high standard? I don’t know, but I applaud him for a series and character that just keep on giving.
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Click here for my favourite crime fiction books of 2016.

See what other Crime Fiction Lover reviewers chose as their top five of 2017.

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