Last year I read 21 novels, my absolute top picks from these were:
I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist
This book was just stunning. From the premise it was hard to imagine how Lindqvist could pull this off (a group of holiday makers awake in their caravans to discover there is nothing but grass and sky as far as the eye can see), but he totally did! He created something wildly imaginative and downright scary. The characters were excellent. Lindqvist has a gift for creating a smorgasbord of game players – some who you love and some who you hate. Such a complex story that was subjective in nature and left me thinking about it for days afterwards.
The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements
An atmospheric ghost story set on a sheep farm in Yorkshire in the 16th Century, this one has all the ingredients for cosy wintry evenings in. Descriptions and tension-building were beautifully done, depicting Mercy’s tough lifestyle so well that I could picture myself being there alongside her. Loved this one.
Wakenhurst by Michelle Paver
A gothic tale of demons, madness and social injustices. Not so much a ghost story, but the setting and style reminded me of The Woman in Black. Must admit, I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Paver so far. Addictively good.
Night After Night by Phil Rickman
At first I found the writing style a bit jarring, but once I got used to it I really enjoyed this book. Excellent ghost story which was modern and fresh (incorporating reality TV), while weaving in a well-known historical figure and some interesting historical facts. A fun, enthralling page-turner.
The Three by Sarah Lotz
Three plane crashes, one sole survivor on each – all three of them children. This story unfolds from several different viewpoints, all of it utterly absorbing, believable and terrifying. The way the adult characters behave in The Three is true horror.
The Terror by Dan Simmons
This book took me ages to get through, and there were times, I admit, I almost gave up. Overall, the story is massively detailed (think George RR Matin’s A Song of Ice & Fire Series). The characterisation was expertly done, especially given there were so many different characters, and the terror tremendous (and in many forms). Just when you think it can’t get any colder and the characters can’t be any hungrier, Simmons ratchets up the despair a notch. It’s an absolute beast of a book and I’m not sure it would be to everyone’s taste, but I thought it was an extremely satisfying experience and am thoroughly pleased I stuck with it to the end. Will definitely try out more Simmons.
The Painted Darkness by Brian James Freeman
A really enjoyable fast-paced novella (just what I needed after The Terror, ha!) I liked the whole concept and style. Very nicely done.
The Outsider by Stephen King
King builds up a cast of believable, quirky characters as always. Love his usual dark humour and seemingly effortless style. This one kept me guessing and held my interest till the end. Definitely recommended.
What were your reading highlights of 2019?