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Ann’s Top Ten of 2009 December 10, 2009

Posted by Ann in Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, Thoughtful Ramblings.
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My end of year reading in 2008 of the newest Kate Atkinson book spurred my beginning year reading in 2009, and I went back to read the two older Atkinson books. Of these, Case Histories gets a nod for my Best of 2009 list. It introduces the private detective, ex-cop, Jackson Brodie, whose life is at loose ends. As her tried to solve three cases revolving around past mysteries, he’s pulled into the moment of real life in a big way.

Shreve Stockton’s The Daily Coyote (which just came out in a trade paperback ed.), is a definite for the list. You will fall in love with Charlie the coyote and Eli the cat in this true-life story about a city girl turned western ranch woman who rescues a baby coyote.

As long as I’m including the coyote book, I have to also include Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper. This is another inspiring animal story about a blind kitten named Homer, adopted by Cooper. Homer is a fearless cat, who ends up taking care of Gwen just as much as she takes care of him.

On the darker side, Arnaldur Indriðason’s Silence of the Grave is a powerful literary mystery set in Iceland. When a corpse is discovered, and thought to be many years old, Detective Erlandur and his team investigate. 2nd in the series.

Stephen White never fails to entertain, and Dead Time is no exception. In this latest novel, Alan Gregory runs into his ex-wife and when he agrees to help her track down a woman who is to be the surrogate mother of her child, he finds himself involved in a wild and dangerous mystery of another missing young woman.

I discovered Nicci French this year. The author is actually a husband-wife writing team, and their newest book is Until It’s Over. Set in London, bicycle messenger Astrid bell finds her world turned upside down when she’s in a bike accident with a car, and the driver of the car who is also a neighbor is later found murdered. This is a can’t-put-down suspenseful story for fans of Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters.

Laura Moriarty’s second novel, The Rest of Her Life is a stunner. During a moment of inattentiveness, teenager Kara Churchill hits and kills a pedestrian, and from that moment on the rest of her life changes. With insight, grace, and pain, Moriarty probes mother-daughter and family relationships in the wake of tragedy.

I’d been saving Steve Hamilton’s last Alex McKnight mystery, Ice Run. (He’s departed from that character in his more recent novels, but assures fans he is now working on a new mystery featuring McKnight.) This one, like the others is set in the UP of Michigan. It’s the dead of winter, and Alex becomes involved with a case concerning an old man he and his girlfriend run into at a Sault St. Marie hotel. Nonstop action, and the ghosts and mysteries from the past will chill you to the bone.

Another book I’d been saving to read is Summertime by Liz Rigbey. Rigbey’s only written two novels, and this one like her previous doesn’t disappoint. I couldn’t put this book down! It’s about a woman returning to California when her father mysteriously dies. As in Ice Run, there are tragedies and stories from the past that muddy the waters of the present in this wonderful mystery-thriller.

And finally to complete my list, there is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Swedish author Stieg Larsson. The book really does live up to all the hype, and it’s a shame that the author died before seeing his three books published. This is the first of a trilogy. The second title is now available in the U.S., with the third due to be published in May, 2010.

~Ann

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