The Last Best Book — an occasional series highlighting books I’ve loved.
It’s a bit disheartening to see how many books on my 2017 reading list were published in 2015 or 2016 — I’m always playing catch-up! But I suspect you are, too, so my list of top reads in 2017 isn’t confined to those actually published in 2017.
Best Mysteries (in no particular order):
Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz (2017) Horowitz created two much-loved mystery series for British TV, Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War, and his knowledge of the genre helps make this mystery-within-a-mystery smart, clever, and fun. I read it over the holiday break, and the cat was thrilled because it actually kept me in my chair for hours at a time.
Fogged Inn, Barbara Ross (2016) One of the best contemporary cozy series. In this installment, Ross sets herself a well-met challenge and flips a convention of the genre in a surprising but utterly satisfying way.
Wicked Girls, Alex Marwood (2012) I went searching for books that wove together past and present story lines, and this was one of the best. The ending still chills me — not for physical horror but for its internal impact on the protagonist.
Sunburn, Laura Lippman (2018) Watch for this book, a bit of a departure for Lippman, in February.
Best First Mystery: Hollywood Homicide, Kellye Garrett (2017) Not your typical cozy — more caperish, with a fun premise and an appealing protagonist.
Best Other Fiction: Not surprisingly, all three weave together past and present story lines, although the lapse of time varies from several hundred years to just a few months.
Truly, Madly, Guilty, Liane Moriarty (2016) If you enjoy audio books, this performance will knock your socks off.
The Savage Garden, Mark Mills (2008) Travel by armchair from 1958 England to Italy in 1958, at the end of WW II, and during the Renaissance. Pop the cork on a nice Italian wine and be doubly happy.
Love and Other Consolation Prizes, Jamie Ford (2017) Did you know Seattle hosted two worlds fairs, in 1909 and 1962? Ernest, an accidental immigrant at four who becomes houseboy to an infamous madam, then loyal husband and father, attended both. Ford, author of The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, really shines in the voice of a young boy.
Here’s to another happy year of reading! What were your favorites of 2017?