And, just a reminder. If you're here for the book giveaway, check the previous post. And, if you're really here to see what Glen read, you're also welcome to mention your books read this week. Thanks for joining us.
And, thank you, Glen, for sharing what your read last year.
This year I somehow managed to read 370 books. That's an awful lot of fodder for a list. I tried to format the list to something manageable, comparing apples to apples, instead of apples to oranges or kumquats.
Best Espionage Novels:
Use of Force by Brad Thor
Starting with a gripping scene taking place during the Burning Man Festival, Scott Harvath has to stop a conspiracy by a Tajik terrorist. It's very exciting, and humanizes the antagonist to an unusual extent.
Trap The Devil by Ben Coes
Dewey Andreas is framed for the murder of the Secretary of State. There's a gripping scene on a train that will really stick with you.
Oath of Honor by Matthew Betley
When a Russian Black Ops team is discovered in Alaska, Logan West and company pursue a conspiracy of stolen technology. A lot of breakneck action.
Hong Kong Black by Alex Ryan
A bit different than the others on this list, as it features a romantic couple, Nick Foley and Dash Chen. As bodies wash up on a Hong Kong Beach, and someone murders a CIA agent, Nick and Dash uncover a conspiracy in which organ harvesting is just the tip of the iceberg
Best Hit Man Novels:
Zero Sum by Barry Eisler
Returning to Tokyo in 1982, John Rain tries to go back to work in his vocation as assassin. Unfortunately, another killer, named Victor has cornered that market. To get back in the game, Rain has to assassinate a government minister.
Quarry's Climax by Max Allan Collins
Quarry is sent to Memphis by his boss, The Broker to find out who is trying to kill a publisher of pornography. This is a strange book, with not one, not two, but three layers of nostalgia. Like most of the series, the book in set in the 1970's. By the subject matter, it seems like it was first conceived in 1998, back when they made a movie about Larry Flynt. The book was published right before the "ME-TOO" movement started. I can't help but wonder if it would be published today.
Best Martial Arts Thrillers:
The Spy Across The Table by Barry Lancet
Some might say the Jim Brodie series is not a martial arts thriller, but in the first book, Japantown, he confronts a village full of ninjas. Case Closed. In this entry, Jim Brody runs afoul of the North Koreans, and he finds out what his way of life can cost him.
The Aikido Caper by Daniel Linden
Parker is an aikido instructor in Florida. When things get a little lean, he also works as a PI. He gets a gig as a bodyguard to a movie star because accidents keep happening on the set. As much a meditation on the place of Aikido and Steven Seagal in the popular culture as it is a mystery.
Best Mystery (Non-Cozy)
Dead To Begin With by Bill Crider
A wealthy recluse restoring the old opera house by staging A Christmas Carol is murdered. Sheriff Dan Rhodes investigates and finds the roots of the crime stretch back into the 1950's. All of the books in this series are great.
Torn and Restored by Austin Williams
Magician Rusty Diamond has to return to Las Vegas, a city he fled after accidentally injuring the daughter of a mob boss. Someone has found Diamond, and blackmailed him into coming back. Someone who is killing people and showing it on the dark web.
The Crack in the Lens by Steve Hockensmith
Old West cowboy sleuths Big Red and Old Red head down to San Marcos, Texas, to find out who killed Old Red's paramour. They found the town is a lot different than the one they left, but there are still people desperate to keep them from solving the crime.
Antiques Disposal by Barbara Allan
Brandy and Vivian participate in a storage auction, and win a compartment that contains a vintage coronet and a dead body!
Dying for a Diamond by Cindy Sample
Laurel McKay and her husband Tom Hunter go on a honeymoon cruise. Somehow the entire supporting cast goes on the cruise too! Laurel thinks she sees a body fall into the ocean...or does she? Nobody seems to be missing, but some jewels are!
The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper by Sally Carpenter
Former teen idol Sandy Fairfax tries to clean up his act and make a comeback. The only gig open is playing at a Beatles convention in Evansville, Indiana. While there, a member of a tribute band is shot. Sandy decides to sing with the band and solve the mystery.
Murder Has Nine Lives by Laura Levine
When Jaine Austin's cat is picked to be in a cat food commercial, Jaine is ecstatic. Maybe she'll finally have some extra money. Of course, nothing goes quite right, and there's a murder. Jaine's personal life is crazy, and she has to deal with that as well.
Best Psychological Thriller
Force of Nature by Jane Harper
I read something like 30 books in this genre, and this is the only one I really remember. Five women go out into the wilderness of the outback, but only four come back. The police try to find out what happened, but nobody's story really matches with the others. Quite good.
And there it is! I tried to keep the list relatively short, but also include some lesser known books.