These are a Few of my Favorite Books (a list in five acts)

Let’s talk about the Chicks. What a year. On the tip of everyone’s tongue Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL, Megan Abbott’s DARE ME, Laura Lippman’s WHEN SHE WAS GOOD and Karin Slaughter’s CRIMINAL. These ladies are in top form. Lisa Unger’s HEARTBROKEN also had my heart racing. Secluded island , family drama and small town grifters comingled in what I can only describe as a neo-gothic style. Alafair Burke’s NEVER TELL featuring Ellie Hatcher is the other book about today’s teenage girls that I recommend highly to all except perhaps those parents faint of heart with a teenager of their own. As the high pressured academic world for teenagers grows much more competitive and markedly smaller, parts of this book are far too real. Mo Hayder’s BIRDMAN solidifies her “read always” spot on my list. For atmosphere, compelling character and original plotting I return to and respectfully submit to your reading pile author Carol O’Connell and CHALK GIRL. Anyone who reads crime fiction needs to read Mallory. Long before Lisbeth Salander, Mallory made her way into readers’ hearts. Never mind she’s a sociopath. Mallory is a great detective who through her step mother’s eyes long ago saw the right path. She just doesn’t travel there in the normal way. It surprises me that there’s a whole group of really broadly read book lovers who’ve yet to discover this series. You owe it to yourselves people and I believe any of the other women I’ve mentioned in this paragraph will agree.

I delighted in Deborah Crombie’s NO MARK UPON HER. I chuckled madly and maniacally with Lisa Lutz’s TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS; DOCUMENT #5. THE OTHER WOMAN from Hank Phillipe Ryan was an adventure. Hilary Davidson, Joelle Charbonneau, Amanda Stevens are my femmes to watch out for. Across the board these ladies have a strong skill set and their voices are shining bright. Katherine Hall Page and Sarah Graves are the go-to quality every outing, cozy writers.

Long time favorite femme, Val McDermid’s THE VANISHING POINT is saved for last because it a.) had the most remarkable 1st chapter of any book read this year and b.) it made reality television relevant to me. A mother separated from her son, a dying woman assuring her son’s future and the pulling together of the story are masterfully done. McDermid is in top form.

Next up: What’s up with all the dead guys?

RUTH JORDAN