Highlights from reading in 2016.
Rank means nothing here, just my favorites from the year.
Mothers, Tell Your Daughters by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Short stories in the inimitable Campbell style.
The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Get ready for Among the Ruins (coming early in 2017) and get to know Esa Khattak.
The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic by Christopher Merkner
Short stories. You want your weird and surreal, Merkner’s got you covered.
Northline by Willy Vlautin
All four Vlautin novels are fantastic.
Shaker by Scott Frank
Beyond me why this didn’t make more of a splash. A crime story in an earthquake zone.
Mortal Fall by Christine Carbo
Thoughtful, in-depth mystery in Glacier National Park. This is #2.
Brighton by Michael Harvey
Movie, please. Great suspense, fantastic finish.
City of Secrets by Stewart O’Nan
I finished this one and started over. That doesn’t happen very often. O’Nan is amazing.
Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
So British, so well written.
Little Pretty Things by Lori Rader-Day
Intense character study and tight crime story. And 2017 brings The Day I Died.
Naked Shall I Return by Christopher Bartley
Hard-boiled gangster stuff (and a main character who contemplates the universe). This one is set in San Francisco. It’s the 1930’s.
Nothing Short of Dying by Erik Storey
No holds barred. For fans of action.
The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton
Great plot, good ending.
The Homeplace by Kevin Wolf
Beautifully written. Out on the eastern plains of Colorado.
Blood on the Tracks by Barbara Nickless
Holy smokes what a book with a big sweep and many layers.
Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall
Attitude, attitude, attitude.
A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
If I had to pick one book from 2016. See, I told you the order meant nothing. Incredible short stories. Life as short story.
Heart of Stone by James W. Ziskin
Long may Ellie Stone run.
Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood
A cautionary tale. And brilliant idea. Hilarious, too.
Forensics by Val McDermid
Crime writers, you have no excuses not to get it right.
Conan the Grammarian by Susan Mackay Smith
Geared for writers. Grammar is good for you.
H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald
If pressed to pick ONE book from BOTH fiction and non-fiction, this might be it. One-of-a-kind memoir.
Immersion by Ted Conover.
For reporters and long-form writers who care about their craft.