My Favorite Books of 2012

My favorite books of 2012

My favorite books of 2012

At this time of year everyone seems to be making lists of their top ten, twenty, fifty or hundred things of 2012.

So, just to be a little different, I’m not going to make a list.

Instead, I’m going to talk about my five favorite books of 2012 and why I loved them. And I’ll talk about them in the order that I read them in.

Here goes …

Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham (Orion). This part police procedure, part psychological thriller follows Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths on her first murder case. It’s beautifully written, darkly quirky, and leaves you wanting more. And luckily for us there will be more. I believe the second book in the Fiona Griffiths series will be out in 2013.

The Fall by Claire McGowan (Headline). This  crime thriller tells the interwoven stories of three strangers – Charlotte, Keisha, and DC Matthew Hegarty – who are thrown together in the aftermath of a murder in a nightclub. With hugely compelling characters, a super-rapid pace and numerous twists and turns, it’s a real page turner. Claire McGowan’s next book, The Lost, is definitely one to look out for when it comes out in April 2013.

The Affair by Lee Child (Bantam Press). Another great Jack Reacher novel. This one is set six months before the opening of Killing Floor and follows Reacher on a mission in a small town in Mississippi. It’s everything you’d expect – quick-paced action, imaginative problem-solving, a love interest, and the bad guys getting Reacher’s very own brand of justice.

Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (Headline). This young adult crossover novel is a real rollercoaster read. In diary form, it tells the story of Emily Koll, Archway Young Offenders Institution’s most notorious inmate. It’s sad yet funny, tense yet light-hearted, chilling yet warming, and fragile yet powerful. Through Emily’s story of love, grief, hate and revenge, you discover what drove her to do what she did.

Sleepwalkers by Tom Grieves (Quercus). This gripping psychological thriller follows the stories of adult Ben and teenage Toby – two strangers experiencing vivid and terrifying dreams – as they try to make sense of the jumbled up fragments of forgotten memories that haunt them. A real edge-of-your-seat read, I found this story un-put-downable.

So, there you have it. My favorite books of 2012.

What were your favorites?

Review: Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

Book Cover

An utterly gripping read from the first page to the very last

“When Archway Young Offenders Institution is closed down a notebook is found in one of the rooms. Its pages reveal the dark and troubled mind of Emily Koll, Archway’s most notorious inmate.”

Heart-Shaped Bruise is the debut novel of Tanya Byrne, and it’s a real corker. This young adult/adult cross-over story, is emotive, compelling and highly absorbing.

It tells the story of eighteen-year-old Emily Koll, through the diary she kept while at Archway Young Offenders Institution. As well as chronicling daily life as an inmate, Emily confides in the pages the things she can’t bring herself to tell the Institution’s therapist, Doctor Gilyard. Emily tells her story in her own style – cynical, witty and with more than a touch of dark humour. She might not be ‘likable’ to all, but she’s certainly very ‘readable’.

It’s hard to write a review without giving the story away, but I’m not going to tell you what Emily did or why she did it – it’s just too big a spoiler. What I will say is that as Doctor Gilyard tries to persuade the fragile-tough Emily to tell her why she did what she did, Emily’s barriers gradually crumple and she confides in the diary all the things that happened to tear her family apart and how she decided to take her revenge on the person she saw as responsible.

It’s a story of opposites – it’s sad yet funny, tense yet light-hearted, chilling yet warming, fragile yet powerful. Through Emily’s story of love, grief, hate and revenge, you go through the full rollercoaster of emotions. And it’s beautifully written, with a strong narrative voice that pulls you into Emily’s world, immerses you in her reality, and pulls a hard emotional punch at the end.

This is one of the most remarkable and unique books I’ve read this year. Whether you’re an adult or a young adult, this is a fantastic story that I think all fans of psychological thrillers will enjoy.

Highly recommended.


Heart-Shaped Bruise is published by Headline and is available now.