2015 is the year when I read a lot more older books than usual, and a good chunk of my favorites were not published this year. My list is all crime fiction except for one true-crime book, and it’s heavy on female authors.
- Margaret Millar is my favorite discovery of the year. Her books are shorter, more twisted psychological fiction than what I usually read. Beast in View and How Like an Angel were outstanding, and I’ve read a few more that were good as well.
- I’m still a fan of the Martin Beck series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. The two installments I read this year were good in terms of plot, and I”m still hooked because of the bits of Beck’s backstory that came in in these books. I’m a sucker for serialized stories, even if they don’t end on cliffhangers. The Laughing Policeman and The Fire Engine that Disappeared are quite great.
- Continuing the theme of series/ authors I love, Anne Holt’s stuff is so good. I’m not blown away by any particular book, but I am hooked on her two series set in Oslo, the Vik/Stubo and Hanne Wilhelmsen books.
- My favorite book I read this year that was published this year was In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward. It has great intertwining mysteries involving a current suicide and a long-ago missing-child case and interesting characters.
- Jayne Keeney is my favorite character, still. The Dying Beach was a strong entry in the PI series set in Thailand by Angela Savage.
- Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain was a big surprise. A story about a complicated woman and her complicated daughter. It’s great.
- The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith was also a surprise to me (it’s been years since I saw the Minghella movie). I have a lot more Highsmith waiting for my on my TBR.
- Echoes from the Dead by Johann Theorin was a great first entry in the Öland Quartet.
- A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine– ingeniously plotted. She and Millar win the plotting contest among the books I’ve read this year. Also, this book beats Donna Tartt’s The Secret History in terms of criminal undergraduates: Vine’s is more effective because it’s not so long.
- This House of Grief by Helen Garner has stayed with me the longest. It’s true-crime following the trial of a man accused of murdering his children, and it’s deeply sad.
11 thoughts on “My Favorite Reads of 2015”
Glad you’re enjoying the Martin Becks – I still think they’re the best of the Scandi-crime.
I’ve tried to read them slowly, but I’ll probably finish them in the next year 🙂
Glad to hear you enjoyed The Talented Mr Ripley! Will you continue with the series, do you think? (Ripley’s Game is excellent too.)
I think so, but I’ve collected a few other Highsmith books I may try first (ie The Price of Salt)!
Good to see some variety in your list compared to a lot that are coming out at the moment. A few new ones for me to track down!
Enjoy, Suzi! This year I went on reading jags with an author so my list is a bit different.
Very interesting list, Rebecca. I read two Millar books in 2015 and plan to read more in 2016. And I have got to get to Mildred Pierce also.
And I forgot to say that In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward is one of my top reads this year also.
I’m giving it to a few people for Christmas this year as well 🙂 Hope you find more good Millar as well. I just picked up the Ross Macdonald biography, which I hope to get into soon.
Thank you, both!
Thrilled to see so many crime fiction female authors listed here 🙂 I have definitely added quite a few of these to my TBR list (Thanks for sharing!). I think a book that definitely needs to make it on a future list of yours is “Uncontrolled Spin” by Jerry Summers (http://www.jerrysummersauthor.com/) <—– you can read an excerpt from the book on his website. This book has crime, romance, suspense, and it's an awesome murder mystery. It's been compared to Moonlighting, Dexter, Remington Steele and Bones. I also like the fact that he goes in depth with character development so you actually get wrapped up in their lives and the main focus isn't on just the crime scene. I really hope you will check it out! It's a must read for sure