From the Booking Desk:

I feel like a broken record, but every year I say that compiling my Top Reads list gets more and more difficult.  2016 was a stellar year for crime fiction and as such, I had to make some very difficult cuts to my final list. I could easily compile another list of books that just missed being included on this official round-up.

I will remind readers that this is my Top Reads list – not necessarily a Best Of list. Certainly these books are worthy of any Best Of list, but since I did not read everything published this year, I always hesitate to call it that. These are just the Top Reads of those that I experienced.

I limited the list to ten books this year. I cheated a bit by including one extra book below the official list. This is because I read that book in 2015 – and it was included on BOLO Books’ Top Reads of 2015 list – but for most readers it was not available until 2016, so it rightfully deserves to be on this list as well; call it a bonus book!

Follow the links on the book titles to see the full review as it appeared here on BOLO Books. Without further ado, I present to you my Top Reads of 2016 (in alphabetical order):


Darktown by Thomas Mullen:

“Inspired by – and dedicated to – the legacy left by the first eight African-American officers hired by the Atlanta police department, the novel does much to explain the problems of institutionalized racism inherent in law enforcement today. That Darktown manages to tackle this massive undertaking without ever losing sight of its main goal of telling a compelling and concise story for entertainment purposes is a testament to its brilliance.”

A Great Reckoning

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny:

“It has long been said that readers are shaped by the books they read. Those who dive into A Great Reckoning, or any of Louise Penny’s novels, will hope that even a small part of her wisdom will find its way into their hearts and souls. If that happens, the world will be well on its way to the healing it so desperately needs.”

Ending Things

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid:

“Original and organic is tough to pull off. Too often, an author will lose control of a story in the effort to make it seem different and unique, but when it does work, it can be a beautiful thing. Case in point: I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. Within this slim volume, Iain Reid tells a tale laden with depth and insight all wrapped in a nail-biting and gut-wrenching psychological suspense plot.”

Orphan X

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz:

“Evan Smoak is a vodka connoisseur and readers should immediately recognized Orphan X as a top-shelf thriller. It is time to belly up to the bar and consume this well-crafted series debut from Gregg Hurwitz.”

Red Right Hand

Red Right Hand by Chris Holm:

“Chris Holm is a master at finding the median between a hard-edged thriller and a dramatic novel that touches the heart. Treading this line is tough – the potential risk of alienating one of these reader groups or the other lies at every junction – but Holm instinctively knows when to dodge right instead of left. Both sets of readers are in on the game and exposure to something different makes them all more well-rounded individuals.”


Revolver by Duane Swierczynski:

One city – Philadelphia; One family – the Walczaks; One history – Ours. In the simplest of terms, this is a description of Duane Swierczynski’s Revolver. By documenting three generations of one family, Swierczynski manages to speak universally about the struggle to be human in turbulent times.”

Say No More

Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan:

“In true Hank Phillippi Ryan style, these multitudinous threads intersect in surprising ways – ultimately coalescing into a harmonious whole. Because Say No More is fascinating, surprising, and keeps readers on their toes, it will no doubt entice new readers to the Jane Ryland series – readers who will quickly join the existing fan base in longing for the next novel.”

The Second Girl

The Second Girl by David Swinson:

“David Swinson’s writing style is eminently readable; even the passages which are intended to give leisurely insight into Frank’s character contain a spark of energy that will keep readers turning the pages.”

Wilde Lake

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman:

“…astute readers will certainly see the echoes of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as they reverberate through Wilde Lake. However, make no mistake about it, this novel is no imitation. Laura Lippman has merely used that classic as a springboard for this new work that is as much an homage as it is a ground-breaking masterwork all its own.”

You Will Know Me

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott:

“Few writers – in crime fiction or otherwise – are able to penetrate the mind to the depth and understanding that Megan Abbott attains – not only in You Will Find Me, but in all of her work. Each new release only adds further cachet and clout to her already stunning oeuvre.”


The Darkest Secret_US

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood:

“…these people reflect the parts of ourselves that we like the least. The Darkest Secret is not a novel for those who prefer good and evil to be easily separated and clearly defined. It is precisely because each of the people involved is flawed in their own way that the actions of that fateful summer were able to occur in the manner in which they did. And as readers begin to suspect the truth of what happened and who was responsible, the more difficult it is to accept.”

From the Booking Desk:

Readers have been very lucky this year. If you enjoyed this list of Top Reads, be sure to stop by BOLO Books next week when I will be sharing a very special post in which the authors of my Top Reads suggest a book from 2016 that they particularly loved. How exciting is that? And of course, we can all use more books on our To-Be-Read piles.  😉