Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Book Gifts

Terry Shames here:

I remember when I was in the second grade I got books for Christmas, and it made my day. Still does. I especially love to get unexpected books—books I wouldn’t normally pick out for myself. In our traditional mode here at 7CriminalMinds, here are books I recommend this year:

For your mystery fans, if they haven’t read Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowlings), they should start with The Cuckoo’s Calling. For my money, the first page is the best opening of a mystery novel that I read this year. Love the characters and the story. I whizzed through all four in the series, and now am impatiently awaiting the next.

Matt Coyle’s new book, Lost Tomorrows is coming out today, December 3. I’ve read every one of Matt’s books, which says it all. I read them as soon as they come out and can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

If you like brilliant writing that isn’t necessarily in the mystery genre, I highly recommend Warlight, Michael Ondaatje’s latest. It doesn’t get much better than this tale of war and yearning.

For your thriller reader, anything by Thomas Perry will do, but I especially enjoyed The Bomb Maker. Perfect pacing and well-drawn characters.

And speaking of the Perry’s, Jo Perry writes a wonderful series about a dead duo that solves crimes—the duo is a man and a dog that he didn’t know in life. You can’t go wrong with any of them, the latest of which is Dead is Beautiful…a beautiful book. The books are deceptively light. You can’t stop thinking about them afterwards.

For your English mystery lovers, you must gift them with Deborah Crombie’s latest, A Bitter Feast. I’ve loved all her books, but this one is special.

The Widows of Malabar Hill, Sujata Massey. Okay, this is last year’s book, and I feel like an idiot for not having read it sooner. But this is a book with legs. You don’t have to be a mystery reader to love it. It’s full of interesting historical and cultural tidbits.

The same is true of A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles. I was late coming to it, and was richly rewarded. It’s a special book. Not easy settling into, but sometimes really good books are that way.

The Guest Book, Sarah Blake, might be the best book I read this year. Absorbing. Fascinating. It takes a little work to get into it, but it’s worth the trouble. Not a mystery….except it is in some ways.

If you have giftees who like science The Power, by Naomi Alderman is A Times Notable Book of the Year, it packs a wallop, growing larger the more you read. It’s about the nature of power, how it can be wielded for good or ill, how it corrupts…how it surprises. It’s also about history. And it’s an unabashed feminist remake of history. Or maybe a look forward?
fiction/fantasy/apocalyptic novels, this is the best I’ve read in a while.

So many books, so little time. I can’t wait for James Ziskin’s next Ellie Stone novel. Turn to Stone comes out January 21. You can use your Christmas money to buy it.

I haven’t gotten my hands on Catriona McPherson’s latest, Strangers at the Gate, so I’ll probably ask for that in my stocking.

If you love historical mysteries, this has been a strong category the last few years. Here are a few writers to consider:

Rhys Bowen (both her series, one set in pre-World War II England and one in the US, and her standalones, wonderful World War II thrillers)
Susan Spann—her books are set in 16th century Japan. Gorgeous writing.
Ann Parker—her series is set in the Silver Rush era in Colorado. Wonderful historical detail and her plotting is impeccable.

And last, you could also try my series, The Samuel Craddock series, set in small-town Texas. The latest, A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary, came out in April.

I’ve left off too many good writers, but these are few. (As I read back over this list, I keep adding, so I have to stop now!) Happy Holidays, everyone. And happy reading!


Leemarie2183 said...

Thanks for your recommendations, Terry. Selfishly, I've just purchased the first book in Jo Perry's series for myself! ;-)

Terry said...

I love her series! They are not like anything else.