Big drum roll please to announce the ceremony for the Annual Mysterious Yarns Books of the Year Awards. I hope you all have your posh frocks on in readiness.
I've not read as many books as usual this year, with work conspiring against me. I am constantly amazed by people telling me who lovely it must be to work in a bookshop, with all those books to read. Wouldn't it be great to be able to read all day, they say. If only. Somewhere in amongst serving the customers, stocking the shelves, doing the paperwork, returning the unsold books, ordering more books to replace them and wrangling the team, I'm lucky if I can snatch 10 minutes of my lunch hour to actually read a book. Which is a shame as there is that constant flow of interesting and tempting books through my hands all the time, with not enough time to read any of them. But I digress.
My Crime Novel of the Year this year goes to Dark Water by Caro Ramsay. It was a close run thing, not many votes in it, but this just edged it over the competition. A well written, smartly plotted book with an interesting and developing team of characters. It's all I ask for in a crime novel really, so why is it so difficult to find?
Non-Crime Book of the Year goes to The Small Hand by Susan Hill. I've read remarkably few non-crime books this year, despite my avowal earlier in the year to read more general fiction. It seems that when I just want a good read I will still always pick up a crime novel, so there weren't too many nominations in this category. Runner up was also by Susan Hill with Howard's End is on the Landing, so she's done very well.
The Fiat Punto Memorial Award for the Book Hurled into the Back of the Car with most Vehemence goes to The Twelfth Card by Jeffery Deaver. Now generally I like Jeffery Deaver's books but this was an audio book, so was listened to mostly in the car (sadly not the Fiat Punto which died a horrible and expensive death this year, to be replaced by a smart VW Golf who's backseat has not yet had a book hurled at it). It seemed to go on for ever (that's the audiobook, not the car), and became very tedious with it's innumerable plot twists. That bit Deaver does in all his Lincoln Rhyme books where he sums up the clues they have on their board - let me tell you that gets very old very quickly when you've listened to it 6 or 7 times. So this audio book very nearly was actually hurled into the backseat on several occasions and it was only the fact that it was a library book that stopped me.
Sadly there is no winner this year for the I Can't Believe I Paid Good Money for That Award. Looking back over the list of books I read, there were very few on the list that I actually paid for - and those that I did buy I enjoyed. That's not to say that I didn't buy any books this year - of course I bought books, I just haven't read many of them yet. I expect there will be a few candidates for next year's award among my TBR pile.
Honorable Mentions need to go to the following books which I loved -
The Language of Bees by Laurie R King, latest in the wonderful Mary Russell series.
Sweetsmoke by David Fuller which was the first book I read in 2010 and was a fantastic read
Saints of New York by RJ Ellory which is the first of his I've actually read, despite having several of his earlier books. It's an interesting study of a cop in meltdown.
Rome by Manda Scott, taking the characters from the end of her amazing Boudica series and moving them on in time and place. I loved it and am eagerly awaiting the next installment which is not out until May.
There are some more great books to look forward to this year, with Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane at the start of February - he returns to his roots with this one which features Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, some 12 or so years after Gone Baby Gone. I got a proof of this and it's definitely been worth the wait. Most exciting for me is the news of a new James Sallis book in August. Roll on Summer.