As with last year I wanted to pick my top ten reads from all of last year. This doesn't mean they were published in 2014 (just that I read them in that year). There is no way I can put them in any kind of order (that's just TOO difficult) but these are definitely the best of the bunch last year for me.
Synopsis: Life is about choices, those already made and those yet to come.
For John Cooper, more than most, this is especially true. Lost, hopeless and alone, he drifts through the Brighton underworld, a slave to his heroin habit and all but forgetting the man he used to be as he succumbs, dose by dose, to the drug that is both sustaining and killing him.
The only people of import in his life are Mandy, a 16 year old prostitute who he cares for like a daughter, and Phil, mid-thirties and suffering from autism, a fact that many of the local drug dealers use to their advantage as they get him to ferry drugs all over the city.
When Phil dies of a suspected overdose, however, John's long-buried instincts begin to rise to the surface. Knowing that his friend would never use drugs, he begins to investigate what he knows is a murder when the police fail to show any interest.
Unwittingly, John plunges himself and everyone around him into a murky world of drugs, violence and betrayal, all the while struggling against the addiction that consumes him.
Synopsis: Malcolm King is a journalist living in trendy Hove on the south coast of England. His days are taken up with video meetings and research on the internet while he writes articles for magazines around the world.
When a solar flare of unprecedented magnitude hits the Earth, effectively hurling us back to the stone age in a matter of hours, Malc is thrust into a terrifying new world as he travels the length of the country to find his young daughter.
Society, a fragile construct at best, shatters as the survivors fight each other for food and water, neighbour killing neighbour as fires rage through the cities, destroying much of what's left.
Faced with difficult choices at every turn, Malc draws his strength from those around him; Emily, a tough, no-nonsense soldier with a soft spot for lost causes and Jerry, a disgraced astrophysicist who may be the only person left who understands what's happening with the sun.
With their help, he must struggle to answer the ultimate question.
Well as the year draws to a close I decided to take a look at the books that I had read and rated as 5/5 from 2013. I have then taken the liberty of sharing them with you so if you are struggling to find a new book, and haven't read one on the list maybe give it a try. The list is NOT in any kind of order as I couldn't possibly decide what books were better as they are all slightly different.
Paul Grzegorzek self-published his first book The Follow which I recently read and absolutely loved. It was a brilliant debut and I was really looking forward to getting stuck into book 2. IN this book we meet Detective Sergeant Rob Steele who is the only bloke in Sussex who is a specialist in Firearms Positioning. He’s called into an investigation where a body is found and it looks like a professional job. The first few chapters waste no time in throwing you straight into the deep end of the crime scene and we meet his two colleagues on the case with him, Karl and Nat.
Pretty soon the standard murder investigation jumps up a notch when MI6 get involved. An MI6 agent Merrington becomes part of the team and the standard murder case starts to become a lot more serious when they try to hunt down terrorists. With Paul’s first book I really liked the lead main character Gareth Bell and was disappointed that I wouldn’t see him again in this book. Well, that was until I started reading about Rob Steele. He’s a brilliant character and although the book is really fast paced and the storyline brilliant, the lead character is what made it for me. Although the book has a serious theme and there are many tense moments where you start to edge towards the end of your seat (well I do anyway), Rob Steele has these genius flashes of dark humour which pop up throughout the book. There is a particular part in the book where Rob Steel has a bit of a wind up with his colleague Nat where he mentions the Peter James ‘Dead’ books. If you have read Peter James and this series in particular it will make you laugh, I thought it was legendary!
The second half of the book I had to do in one sitting as I couldn’t bear to wait and see what happened. Plenty of action, last minute plot twists and enough danger to shake a stick at. How Paul Grzegorzek has not been snapped up by a Publisher is beyond me. This is his second book and it’s and absolute blinder. His books are like a cross between a Peter James and a Simon Kernick, if you get where I’m going with that description. The fact that this book is available on Amazon Kindle for less than £2/$3 means it would be a crime not to buy yourself a copy. Once again I was blown away by how good this book was. I can only hope that next time I read one of his books it’s because his publisher has sent me an early review copy. A highly recommended read!
This latest book was a self-published book by Paul G (the surname is too long to keep typing!) and had been in my `to read' list for months and months. I finally got around to it recently and at only a few chapters in I was regretting not having read it sooner. The first thing that struck me is how similar it was to Peter James books. Not in a bad way, but that great feeling you get when you start a James book knowing it's going to be good!
Gareth Bell is a copper in Brighton and is working with the Drug Squad. The job is run of the mill for him until his partner gets stabbed by the psychopathic dealer Quentin Davey. The case then becomes personal for him. Added to the fact his partner was stabbed, Davey walks away from court without so much as a slap on the wrist. Gareth decides then and there to take matters into his own hands.
Gareth is an incredibly likeable character, and although he's a copper her pretty normal as crime characters go. Don't get me wrong he can handle himself but he's not a walking talking killing machine like many other characters you can read about! It made a refreshing change to see a character that is a bog standard copper doing what I think many coppers would love to do, but wouldn't risk their career for!
The story itself had me hooked in and the writing style was easy to get sucked into and I found myself irritated that not only had I not read sooner, that he doesn't yet have a second book out (very disappointed)! The one thing that was maybe a little different with this book to other is the sheer detail at what police have to endure. You can tell that Paul speaks from experience and it makes the reading experience that bi better. It was almost like I did a bit of work experience with Brighton police.
This book is an absolute bargain at just over a nicker and a half (£1.50 for those that will no doubt ask) on Amazon for the Kindle. If you are a Peter James fan you will love this book. My only disappointment is that a Publisher has not snapped him up and demanded he write a follow up immediately if not sooner. First class debut!