My Top 15 Books of 2011

On December 19, 2011, in book reviews, Books, by Milo

After reading in excess of 120 books this year it was never going to be easy whittling the list down to just 15 favourite books of the year let alone 10! Following last year’s top 15 books of 2010 I thought I’d keep to the same formula but before I list my top books of 2011 I wanted to take time out and mention a handful of titles that narrowly missed out.

Alison Bruce’s The Calling, the third in the DC Goodhew series, is a strong police procedural and an incredibly entertaining crime novel. If you are looking for a standalone novel with an evocative story, stunning landscape and vibrant characters then look no further than Peter Robinson’s Before The Poison. We change the pace a little with two books I struggled to put down Death Mask by Kathryn Fox and Already Gone by John Rector. Finally we have The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz a throwback to Arthur Conan Doyle and the first Sherlock Holmes title to receive the blessing of the Conan Doyle estate.

And so without further ado my top 15 reads of 2011:-

Beauty and the inferno – Roberto Saviano

Few people have had to endure – or will ever have the courage to do so – what Roberto Saviano has since the release of Gomorrah in 2006. In Beauty and the inferno he continues to name names and never shies away from adversity or death. The fact that this book took two years to publish is testament to the dogged determination of Roberto and the crew at Maclehose Press. Exceptional.

Published by Maclehose Press- Review

Before I Go To Sleep – SJ Watson

There’s something so powerful and natural about this book that makes me want to read it again and again. His Staccato styled narrative is beautifully written and hooks you in from the very first page and never lets go until its conclusion.

A spellbinding offering from a rising star – SJ Watson is clearly here to stay. Get it now – before you forget!

Published by Transworld – Review

Herring on the Nile – LC Tyler

An incredibly light summer read, best served with a nice chilled white or a fruity Pimms, Herring on the Nile – despite the murder – will have you yearning for a sojourn up the Nile taking in everything the Egyptian landscape has to offer. Highly infectious, thoroughly entertaining and most definitely recommended. Take a bow LC Tyler, you’ve gained a fan in this reviewer.

Published by Macmillan – Review

Sequence – Adrian Dawson

The construction is breath-taking and a book of this magnitude deserved a well thought out and structured dénouement. It never once felt rushed and it was as if I was watching Dawson sitting in an armchair, feet up with a glass of Jack in hand, reciting his very words, slowly yet deliberately, just so that those following would understand. Every minute detail cared for, every miniscule and insignificant number dealt, every sequence of events finalised and every character accounted for – this is one bang on finish.

Published by Last Passage – Review

Someone Else’s Son – Sam Hayes

“Someone Else’s Son” is a well-crafted psychological thriller that examines many of today’s troubling issues and will leave you emotionally drained – The final fifty pages will leave you breathless.

Highly recommended this is a wonderful read, beautifully written and a title not to be missed.

Published by Headline – Review

Mercy – Jussi Adler-Olsen

Re-visiting the crime element for a moment I’d like to applaud Jussi himself. It always amazes me how authors come up with these ideas – I often find myself wondering if they themselves are a little unhinged! – or a tad depraved – but it’s this imagination that serves as the foundation for any good book – Mercy is no exception.

Wonderfully written, and a sublime translation, this is one book – one series – not to be missed.

Published by Penguin – Review

The Terror of Living – Urban Waite

The Terror of Living” is a complex tale of survival, greed, drugs and brutality – leaving nothing to the imagination, Waite has a sure fire hit on his hands

Published by Simon & Schuster Review


Sanctus – Simon Toyne

A stunning debut from an exciting new author, “Sanctus” isn’t your average high octane thriller – it’s more than that. If Ruin actually existed I would have booked the first flight to Turkey by mid-morning – if only for the bottled water!

Published by HarperCollinsReview


The Affair – Lee Child

An enthralling prequel, The Affair commands your attention from the moment Reacher walks through the corridors of power at the Pentagon and receives his orders for the very last time. Highly recommended, this is the book Reacher aficionados will return to time and time again. Brilliant.

Published by Transworld – Review

Girl 4 – Will Carver

Considering Girl 4 is Will Carver’s debut it’s hard to imagine how he’ll top this book. The book reads like a runaway train – no matter how hard you try to stop it – you just can’t! Just when you think the driver has control of the train, Carver adds more coal to the fire, stokes the narrative up a notch and we set off on another journey! Enough train talk?! You get the point!

Brilliant debut, highly imaginative and so compelling.

Published by ArrowReview

Julia – Otto De Kat

It’s very rare for me to give marks out of five or ten for any review but this book – for me – is faultless. With that in mind there’s only one score I could award this wonderfully evocative tale of lost love – 5 out of 5. I can’t say much more than that. If you’re looking for a little escapism on a dreary winter’s night then look no further than Julia by Otto de Kat, beautifully written, you won’t be sorry.

Published by Maclehose Press – Review

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford

With a wonderful characterisation, mesmerising relationships, a breathtaking narrative and a story that will most certainly leave you wanting more, Hotel on the corner of Bitter and Sweet is one of my highlights of the year. I cannot rate this title any higher – a remarkable read and a voyage not to be missed. Spellbinding.

Published by Allison & Busby Review


The Leopard – Jo Nesbo

As with previous novels, there’s so much depth to Nesbo’s narrative that it’s never a simple case of shoot, kill and detect. Personal trials and tribulations withstanding, the Scandinavian police procedural is taut, as is the prose, and one never feels let down upon reaching the conclusion. Set over 600 pages of majestic writing, “The Leopard” is a complex fast paced crime novel with all the hallmarks of the noir tradition.

A simply divine book, bounteous characterization and a plot to die for – Nesbo has done it again.

Published by Random House – Review


11.22.63 – Stephen King

A truly wonderful book, 11.22.63 is without doubt a masterpiece and a story that will remain with me for years to come – unless I travel back in time – and should I begin to forget I will simply pick up the book and start from the very beginning. Highly recommended.

Published by Hodder – Review


Perfect People – Peter James

A brilliantly imaginative and thought provoking thriller, Perfect People is an incredibly engaging scientific thriller that will have you debating long into the night. With numerous twists and turns, well developed characters and a solid plot this is one not to be missed, highly recommended.

Published by Macmillan – Review



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2 Responses to “My Top 15 Books of 2011”

  1. Nikki-ann says:

    Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson is one I’ve been meaning to pick up since I first saw reviews for it. It sounds like an excellent read.

  2. stujallen says:

    great selection Miles the Saviano is on my top ten ,all the best stu

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