The team's top reads

Category: News

We’re all looking forward to our Christmas break, and what better way to spend it than with a good book? To help you out, we’ve put together our thoughts on our favourite books from 2010 – and a few to watch out for in 2011! Happy reading!

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Hannah: This was so impossibly difficult to decide on. How can you have one top crime read over the ENTIRE year? But just for you I’ve narrowed down my list to one to recommend you read immediately – seriously, run out to the shop and buy it – and another to point out as my ‘one to watch’ in 2011.

I’m a big Reg Hill fan, my favourite crime reads are cosy, my murders solved, but with clever plot twists and a splash of humour, so I was really curious to read The Woodcutter to see if a standalone psychological thriller could stand up to his fearsome reputation as the master of the police procedural. And I am extremely pleased to report that it most definitely can. Brilliantly constructed characters that stay in your head for days after you finish the final page, the humour I love him for, the page-turning plot twists that keep you glued to the page long into the night – it’s all there. He is one seriously talented man. So if you haven’t already, then go and pick this up!

As for my one to watch, all I can say is THE HYPNOTIST. I don’t get care how you get hold of a copy, but you have to read this. Coming in May 2011.

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Kate: From our list one of my favourite books this year has to be JA Kerley’s Buried Alive (although I’d like to give a nod to the fantastic Pretty Little Things by Jilliane Hoffman).

Having previously been a Kerley virgin and admittedly a little light on my crime fiction intake, I was compelled to read it as everyone in the office kept telling me I had to. I did. And I literally devoured it. It’s everything you want from a thriller – chilling, gripping and unfortunately only 400 pages long!

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Laura: My top thriller pick of 2010 would have to be The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler. Having waited over a year from Blue Door acquiring the title to receiving the translation my hopes were extremely high and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s a chilling yet utterly compelling novel and the first of a projected eight book series. With a chill factor which lies somewhere between The Shining and The Silence of the Lambs this is my 2011 recommendation!

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Amy: I had heard of Jilliane Hoffman, thanks to Retribution, but I’d never actually read any of her previous work. When Pretty Little Things finally arrived I grabbed it up quickly….It was simply breathtaking….in a scary way!

Child grooming on the internet is such a pertinent subject and so concerning for many individuals. Having younger siblings who are very active on twitter, Bebo and Facebook, this was all a little too close to home and at some points I really thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish it. In fact PLT lay discarded under my sofa (hidden from view) for over a week. I plucked up the courage to try again and couldn’t have enjoyed it more. It was creepy and had my heart hammering in my chest almost the entire way through.

Jilliane is a real story teller and her ability to make you truly believe in the characters is unparalleled, for me anyway.I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with JH when she was over in the UK earlier this year. She was such a warm and friendly person and gave me some really useful tips on how to make the internet safer for those uncontrollable siblings of mine!

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Emad: It’s so hard to choose one title from the many great reads that have come out this year, but the one my mind keeps coming back to (for more than the name!) is Sam Bourne’s THE CHOSEN ONE.

From whichever angle you look at this book, it is a gripping and satisfying read from start to finish. A murder mystery ignites the plot, which then grows into a pacy, paranoid, political conspiracy. From here, the story does not let up one bit – insisting that you turn the pages, twisting through the corridors of power in Washington, and beyond.

I suppose what sets this apart from all the big hitters in similar areas is that Sam Bourne, pen-name for Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland, brings an authenticity and depth to the Washington setting which is rare in big-scale, fast-moving narratives like this. His great ear for dialogue also means he crafts very intriguing and believable characters that play out against the backdrop of an expertly executed, pulse-pounding high-concept thriller.

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My top read is so brilliant that I want to shout about it before it’s even been published! Laura Lippman’s Don’t Look Back is a taught, mesmerising thriller from the queen of US crime. Laura’s won every prize going in the US, and it’s definitely time for us to sit up and take notice of her.

Don’t Look Back is the sort of novel nail-shredding, psychological novel that you rarely see. In the summer of 1985, Eliza Benedict was abducted by serial killer Walter Bowman. Of the many girls he murdered, Eliza was the only one that got away…

Back to present day, and Walter is on death row. Apparently wanting to atone for his sins, he contacts Eliza out of the blue. But as his malign power over Eliza takes hold, Eliza must do everything she can to stop history repeating itself as the battle of predator and prey plays out once more.

Don’t Look Back is one to watch for the new year, so keep your eyes peeled for when it hits the shelves on 3rd March!

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