Best Reads of 2019

Over the course of the last twelve months, I’ve read 97 books. This includes paperbacks, eBooks, hardbacks and a few audiobooks, but doesn’t include those where I gave up after the first couple of chapters.

What follows is a list of some of the more memorable reads, though isn’t intended to be definitive or in order of preference, but does, I think, illustrate that my reading preferences do (occasionally) lean towards subjects other than murder. Follow the links for the full reviews:

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
Graham Green’s classic tale of a vacuum cleaner salesman who gets drawn into a world of secrets and espionage through the simple need to earn a little extra cash. A totally absorbing read that had me hooked from the start.

The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley
Agatha Christie said of Anthony Berkeley that he was ‘the master of the final twist’, and I’d have to agree with her. A classic crime story that doesn’t follow the rules and will delight anyone who loves a good murder.


Out of the Silence by Owen Mullen
Former golden-boy reporter Ralph Buchanan spends too much time wallowing in whisky and self-pity, so when Doctor Simone Jasnin asks for help, it takes him a while to summon up the energy to get involved. A cracking good read.

Blacklands by Belinda Bauer
Twelve-year-old Steven spends all his free time digging holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. An unsettling and thoroughly gripping read.

Predators by Michaelbrent Collings
Struggling to deal with an abusive relationship, Evie Childs hopes an African safari will make her life more bearable, but when the tour group she’s travelling with are kidnapped by freedom fighters, the experience she’d longed for turns into a terrifying ordeal. A thrilling and gripping read that’ll please anyone who loves adventure.

Heavenfield by LJ Ross
When DCI Ryan receives a text message urging him to the isolated church of Heavenfield, he finds himself in the spotlight as a possible murder suspect. Another winner from a highly talented author.

Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden
Visiting the wartime village where she and her younger brother were billeted following the evacuation from London, a grown-up Carrie Willow tells her own children of her adventures. An absolute delight from start to finish.

Altered Life by Keith Dixon
Private Investigator Sam Dyke is offered a job that doesn’t really interest him, but when his prospective employer turns up dead, Sam is forced to reconsider. Like Robbie Coltrane in a classic TV series, this is an absolute cracker.

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
January 1947, Los Angeles: the body of a beautiful young woman is found drained of blood and cut in half. A fantastically exciting, strange, scary and totally enthralling book that anyone who loves gritty, noir crime stories should read.

Akea. His Mother’s Son by Elizabeth Jade
As she proved with the first book in this series, Elizabeth Jade has a gift for writing for children. With the follow-up, she has created another heart-warming story that continues the saga of Akea, Kazakh and their husky/wolf offspring. Together with delightful illustrations by Anthony Wallis, this is a lovely book that will have a wide appeal.

  7 comments for “Best Reads of 2019

  1. 28/01/2020 at 10:07 AM

    Our Man in Havana is one of my favourite books. It was especially good re-reading it when visiting Cuba sometime back in the 90s.


    • 28/01/2020 at 10:28 AM

      Thanks Chris, yeah, mine too. I also really like Alec Guinness in the movie version. Class.


    • 12/01/2020 at 9:34 AM

      Thanks for the shoutout, Phil, much appreciated 😉


  2. 30/12/2019 at 4:04 PM

    A wonderful selection, Colin. Wishing you all the very best for 2020.


    • 30/12/2019 at 4:17 PM

      You too, Robbie, and thanks for all your support over the last year 😉


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