Or at least the 5 best books I’ve read in 2015.
I decided to have a ramble through my Goodreads page and reminisce about the books I’ve read over the past year. There were some fantastic ones and some not so fantastic ones (I’m looking at you Crash). So I thought I’d share a list of the books I most enjoyed reading this year.
Gillian Flynn, Dark Places
This was by far my favourite of all the books I read this year. I can’t stress enough how much I love Gillian Flynn. Gone Girl would have topped this list last year without a doubt. She writes such amazing stories that captivate you and keep you on your toes for an entire book. Dark Places was no exception. The story follows Libby Day as she finds out the truth about her family’s gruesome murders twenty five years before. Flynn shows you a character that is pathetic and unlikable and makes you root for her even if you don’t realise you’re doing it. You can’t wait to turn the page while also trying to shield your eyes from the gruesome nature of some of the scenes. It is just absolutely brilliant and if you haven’t read it, do it now, forget about the rest of this blog post and read it. Just read it.
Linwood Barclay, Trust Your Eyes
This was a close second to Dark Places. Another book that keeps you guessing until the last page, and it is literally the very last page. It follows Ray Kilbride who has just come home after the tragic death of his father. His brother, Thomas, is a schizophrenic who spends his time locked in his room obsessively looking at the world through the lens of a computer programme, Whirl 360. When Thomas sees a sinister image on his screen, his brother humours him with a half-hearted snoop around. But he soon realises that they have stumbled upon something deadly that might not end well for either of them. I spent most of a day off work sitting on the couch reading this book, there was no way I was going to be able to put it down until I’d finished it. And when I did finish all I could do was sit back and take a deep breath. The twists and turns in this book leave you exhausted and gasping for air but it is worth every second. As soon as you’re finished reading Dark Places, read this.
Maggie O’ Farrell, Instructions For A Heatwave
This is a slightly more lighthearted read than the previous two. Not too lighthearted, mind you. There’s still a mystery to be solved. Why did Robert Riordan tell his wife he was going out to get the paper and then never come back? This questions brings together the Riordan family: Michael Francis, who is struggling to keep his marriage together through his own insecurities and resentment, Monica, who is trying to overcome the dislike of her stepchildren towards her, and Aoife, who ran off to New York after a falling out with Monica. They all come back to London to help their mother figure out what happened to their father, but is there something that their mother knows that she can’t tell them? I think I enjoyed this book a lot because it was familiar. I love a good Irish book and I could relate to this as they were Irish people living in Britain. Obviously the Irish in Britain had a much more difficult time in 1976 than now, but it was nice to have some familiarity. The story itself is intriguing. The reasons why Robert left are interesting and are revealed to the reader in a way that makes you want to keep reading. It’s a book about family, and how time can change the dynamics of a family, but ultimately the bonds they have stay strong. I would definitely recommend it.
AJ Waines, Girl On A Train
I’m not going to lie, I had heard a lot about The Girl On The Train and then this book popped up in an Amazon Kindle offer page. I bought it without really checking if it was the one I had heard so many good things about. It obviously didn’t turn out to be the Paula Hawkins book, but I definitely wasn’t disappointed regardless. This book follows Anna Rotham, a journalist who is just getting over the loss of her husband to suicide. She meets an agitated girl, Elly Swift, on the train, who she is convinced is asking her for help. When the girl turns up dead on the train tracks everything points to suicide, but Anna isn’t sure. She finds a locket that Elly dropped into her bag and follows the clues that lead her to a discovery about Elly’s lost nephew Toby, and to what really happened to Elly that day on the train. Another mystery book, I’m sensing a theme of 2015. But this book was another one that I couldn’t put down. I have a three and a half hour train journey from Birmingham airport to Aberystwyth when I come back from visiting Dublin, and that entire train journey after Christmas last year was taken up with reading this book. I gasped, I held my breath, I sat on the edge of my seat, and I’ll even admit I shed a tear or two on that train journey. I still haven’t read The Girl on The Train, but Girl on A Train was perfect.
Agatha Christie, Curtain
I adore Poirot. I have loved him since I was a kid and I would watch David Suchet with my Mam. I blame him for my fascination with moustaches. I will admit that I haven’t read as many books as I’ve seen TV adaptations, but I’m catching up. I saw the David Suchet version of Curtain a couple of years ago and loved it. I wanted to wait a bit to read the book so I could try to forget who the killer was, which I did because I have a rubbish memory. I read the book at the beginning of the year and was gripped. Poirot and Hastings return to Styles, the setting of their very first case. Poirot warns Hastings that one of the seemingly innocent guests is a five-times murderer and Hastings has to help him catch him before he strikes again. This is Poirot’s final case, and it’s a good one. I’m never very good at figuring out whodunnit in these books and this was no exception. The ending is unlike any Poirot ending before and as a final case it is amazing. If you’ve never read any Poirot before, don’t start with this one, it doesn’t have the happiest of endings. But I wholeheartedly recommend reading it after you’ve read all the rest. Poirot as a character is funny, charming, quite full of himself (rightly so) and ridiculously clever. He is, in my opinion, the best detective there ever was and ever will be, and Agatha Christie’s writing shows this to the full extreme. Please read the Hercule Poirot books. I promise you won’t regret it.