This blog post is part of a series that the RT Editors will be taking part in during the month of December. Please check back all month long for each editor's installment!
With 2012 winding down, the RT editors thought December would be a good time to reflect on what each of us read this year and which books stuck with us long after we finished them. While this year's RT Awards winners won't be announced until our convention in May, we've decided to share our personal favorites of 2012, in no particular order. Today RT's mystery aficionado and managing editor Liz French brings us her year in books:
2012 was a happy/sad year for me. My dear co-worker, Stephanie Klose, left the RT fold, which I mourned almost daily, but: I got to step up to be RT’s mystery editor in her stead. So I took the bitter with the sweet, assumed the mantle of mystery maven and read even more thrillers, suspense titles and mysteries than ever before this year.
A few standouts:
Live by Night
I also adore the work of Dennis Lehane. Lately he has moved from suspense/mysteries to historical fiction with a big dose of political, and I’m all for this move. He does it well. His 2008 historical fiction title, The Given Day, blew me away. I looked back at my review of that book just now and I seriously wish I could revise my rating upwards — way upwards. Anyway, that’s in the past. I read and enjoyed the follow-up, Live by Night — actually, I still have a few pages to go. I almost can’t stand to finish it, because who knows how long before Lehane pens another novel this good?
|And When She Was Good
by Laura Lippman
Speaking of shifting between genres, I read a favorite suspense-y writer who occasionally dips into the mainstream: Laura Lippman, whose And When She Was Good concerned a suburban madam who tries to balance motherhood with a questionable — and dangerous — career. Lippman takes big chances in her writing. Sometimes she falls and sometimes she shines, but she's an author who always makes you think.
|The Vanishing Point
by Val McDermid
Val McDermid, an author that dear Stephanie turned me on to, wrote a fantastic stand-alone this year that is rollicking, amazing, well plotted and fantastic — until the very last pages. I can forgive her, though, because The Vanishing Point is well written and gripping up till that problematic finale.
And on the literary fiction front, I tried! I truly tried to like Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling’s adult fiction debut, The Casual Vacancy, but found it hopeless and bleak. Truly, we needed a little magic! It was the same with Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue, which had a lot of good parts but didn’t move me the way his previous titles have. That book felt like vignettes loosely thrown together to make an unsatisfying whole. And while Gillian Flynn can somehow make you care about unsympathetic characters for the duration of a novel, Chabon didn’t manage to elicit that feeling in me about his motley crew of utopian Oaklandites.
- Liz French
Do you and Liz share some favorite books of the year? Which reads did you love in 2012? Let us know in the comments, and check back all month for more editors' picks!