Best Sellers

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Kirkus Best Popular Fiction of 2015

This is the time when many of the 'Best of 2015' lists are published. Kirkus is a monthly magazine that is dedicated to reviewing books before they are published. They get together with all their reviewers and come up with several different lists. What I have included below are the Top 10 Popular Fiction Titles from 2015. All are available at the library. Here we go.

Spy Games by Adam Brookes. This was Brookes' second published novel. He writes spy fiction. His stories are fast paced and intricately plotted. Both titles feature journalist Philip Mangan. Mangan's cover was blown in Brookes's work and he is hiding in Ethiopia from Chinese agents. Unfortunately, a terrorist bombing puts in in the middle of a cyclone. If you like up to date spy fiction, give this one a try. Both of his titles (the first is Night Heron) have been very highly reviewed.

The Stranger by Harlan Coben. Coben is my favorite author so I talk about him a lot. His characters are ordinary people placed in extraordinary circumstances. The stories are fast paced and suspenseful. In this story, Adam Price has a good job, a beautiful wife and two sons when a stranger comes and whispers in his ear that Corinne, his wife, faked their first pregnancy. When confronted by Adam, Corinne disappears leaving Adam a text to take care of the children but not to try to contact her. Of course, he has to try. Did he ever really know her?

X by Sue Grafton. Grafton's 24th in the series and she is only up to 1989. David Baldacci says she has "created in Kinsey Milhone one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time. In this entry a serial killer is doing his thing and leaving no trace of his crime. Kinsey quickly identified him but can she prove it before she becomes his next victim.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. This is Hawkins' first thriller and she really got her money's worth. It has remained on the best seller list for months and months. Really, I thought I would like it but when I started it ...I found the lead person so unattractive I could not finish it. Anyway, Rachel Watson is a divorced alcoholic who still loves her ex-husband. She rides a train to work each day and has fantasied about a particular couple who she always sees. When she loses her job and the female turns up missing, she is drawn to investigate what happened. Suspenseful and compelling but not compelling enough for me to finish (of course there were lots of people who told me what happened.)

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny. Penny is a perennial award winner. Her pace is leisurely, her characters introspective and the mysteries quirky and complex. I think I like her for her descriptiveness. This is the 11th in the series of Armand Gamache, former head of homicide at the Surete du Quebec. Gamache has moved to the central place in the series, Three Pines, and is learning to enjoy retirement. In town, there is a 9 year old boy who is known for crying wolf - aliens in the forest, dinosaurs, etc. When he turns up missing - the town's people wonder if one of this stories was true.

The Blondes by Emily Schultz. Schultz's fiction has flawed characters, fast pace and are suspenseful with perhaps some satire thrown in. Hazel Hayes (no relation to me) discovers she is pregnant by her married professor on her first day in New York City. She also sees a business woman drag a young girl to her death and then she dies her hair orange. An infection is running rampant and blondes (natural, dyed, or highlighted) are filling the streets, killing people. Hazel escapes across the border back to Canada looking for the professor's wife. This may sound like a B-movie but on reading appears to be a wry political commentary.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. Slaughter's stories are suspenseful, character-driven and gritty. She has written a popular series but this is her second stand alone. In this, a teenage girl disappeared 20 years ago and her body was never found. That act destroyed her family. 20 years later, Lydia is a single mother estranged from her sister Claire, due to accusations Lydia made against Claire's wealthy husband Paul. Paul has been murdered and Claire has found snuff films featuring the torture and murder of young girls on his computer. Lydia and Claire come together to determine just what kind of man Paul was.

Dietland by Sarai Walker. This is Walker's debut novel and could be described as funny, moving mainstream fiction. Plum Kettle is a advice columnist for a popular teen girls' magazine but she is biding her time till she saves up for weight-loss surgery so her 'real life' can begin. She finds herself involved with a dangerous guerrilla group called "Jennifer" that is beginning to terrorize a world that mistreats women.

My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh. This is Walsh's debut work so it's kind of hard to say he writes a certain age. What we can say is that this is a coming of age story with flawed characters and a touch of Southern Gothic thrown in. I heard Walsh interviewed and he said that the title came from the traditional song " You are my sunshine, my only sunshine". What I always thought of as a happy song, he thought of as threatening because of the last verse "I'll always love you and make you happy If you will only say the same But if you leave me to love another, You'll regret it all one day." I am not even sure I knew that verse existed. In this work, Walsh describes an upper class Baton Rouge neighborhood in 1989. Everything changes when a 15 year old beautiful golden private school track star was brutally raped. Four suspects emerge, including the nameless narrator, who leaves the reading wondering how reliable the information is.

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams. Williams writes historical, character driven fiction with a strong sense of place. I am a sucker for a strong sense of place so this is a must read for me. The story takes place in 1966 focused on Pepper Schuyler. She is on the run from a powerful politician trying to protect her unborn child. She sells her newly restored vintage Mercedes at auction and the new owner takes Pepper under her wing. Then she discovers the provenance of the car while the father of her unborn baby tracks to down to a remote town in coastal Georgia.

OK - there you go. The 10 top works of popular fiction in 2015. There are some good ones up there. Hope you find something that interests you.

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