My Top 5 Books of 2018

I have read some brilliant books this year. Here are my top 5

1) The Secret History — Donna Tartt

When I started reading this The Secret History I looked at many of the reviews. Many people stated that they could not get on with the book as they didn’t like the lead characters. They couldn’t relate to any of them. I have to agree the main characters are deplorable throughout. There was not one I had a connection with or felt I could be friends with. However, that didn’t stop me from loving the book. The story is so engaging it doesn’t matter whether you like the characters or not, the story still flows.

Having said how much I loved the novel it still took me a while to read. The prose is so in-depth and beautifully written you need to take your time to enjoy it. The novel features around a group of young people who go to college and study Greek, with the enigmatic Julian Marrow. The group is made up of our narrator Richard, Francis, Henry, Bunny and the twins Charles and Camilla. All are as spoilt as each other. The book follows their lives as they go through 3 years of college and through the death of Bunny. No spoiler there you find that out in the first page.

The story continues through the repercussions of Bunny’s death and how they cope. The book includes beautiful quotes from both English and Greek literature. As much as it is a good read, it is a book lovers book through the references and quotes to literature past.

“he clung to it with a fierce Pavlovian tenacity.”

There are also many thought-provoking quotes. These could have you and your book club talking for years.

“But the idea of losing control is one that fascinates controlled people such as ourselves.”

I loved this book and enjoyed reading it. I look forward to trying more by Donna Tartt when I have the time to once again revel in her prose. I urge you to ignore the negative reviews and take a walk in ancient Greek with The Secret History.

2) Jamaica Inn — Daphne Du Maurier

Occasionally I like to dive into what I would call a classic read. Having read Rebecca and needing a J for my A-Z challenge Jamaica Inn was an easy choice.

I’m very glad I did pick it up this is one of my best reads this year. The main character Mary Yellan is engaging, you really invest in her life. The story is well paced and the writing is beautiful. I have to admit to working out the ending some 3/4 of the way through, but this didn’t stop my enjoyment.

This is a brilliant read and I will definitely be picking more up from this author.

3) Killing Floor — Lee Child

Tom Cruise put me off Jack Reacher. I’m not a fan in case you didn’t realise. I remember Lee Child fans not being happy with Tom Cruise being selected. I can see why now Tom Cruise is not 6’4”.

In the Killing Floor Jack Reacher has just left the army and is travelling around America. A nomad with no fixed route in mind. Buying clothes when he needs to change and sleeping in cheap motels.

That is until he is drawn to the town of Margrave, a tiny town in Georgia. Within a couple of hours of arrival he is arrested for a murder, he didn’t commit. The first murder in the town for thirty years. A couple of hours later he is detained in a local jailhouse on the killing floor. So starts his adventure to clear his name and unravel the mystery of this perfect town.

As a series of 23 books, there were parts of me that didn’t want to like this book. I, however, couldn’t help falling in love with it and Jack Reacher. The image of Tom Cruise is well and truly gone.

The book is fast-paced and entertaining for all 500 pages. You will not be able to stop reading once you start. The support characters are equally as well written as the main character.

The book has twist and turns throughout. I have to admit to putting the mystery together at the same time as Reacher. A fact I am very proud of. For those that don’t get it, Child leads you to the conclusion along with the other characters. You almost have to deduct the solution for yourself. A factor I loved, if only more writers used this technique.

I am now thoroughly addicted to Mr Jack Reacher and am embarking on a quest of my own. To collect all the rest of the books in the series.

4) Knots and Crosses — Ian Rankin

As a crime fan, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to read this series. I am, however, pleased that I have now embarked on my journey with Rebus in Knots and Crosses.

Rebus is the perfect leading man. He is intriguing, engaging and flawed everything you want in a leading man. The story is fast paced and keeps you guessing right to the end. The book also introduces a number of supporting cast who I hope we meet in future novels.

I can’t wait to read more in the series now.

5) No Rest For The Dead — Various

No Rest For The Dead has a unique perspective, every chapter of the book has been written by different crime authors. Some get more than one to write but as you progress through the story you need to keep in mind it was written by different authors. Authors who never saw any of the other chapters just had a rough outline of what had to happen.

What a story it is as well. Christopher Thomas has been murdered his body hidden in an iron maiden. Rosemary Thomas, his wife is the number one suspect. She is convicted and executed for the crime. But, was she guilty?

So spins a wonderfully crafted tale of deceit and intrigue. With one killer twist. The story is well crafted and told from multiple points of view. I simply couldn’t stop turning the pages.

This is an amazing novel I can’t thank my mum enough for gifting it to me. The only negative I’m thinking a sequel might be difficult to organise.

What are your Top 5 Books of 2018?

Published by Sam H Arnold

Sam H Arnold is a writer of True Crime, Parenting and Writing Tips articles. If you have enjoyed her work you might consider donating her a coffee on Ko-Fi. Links to this and all her other work can be found on the about me page.

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