From the Booking Desk:

During the holiday season, it is always tough to keep up with blogging work along with all the demands of the day job, family obligations, festive appointments, and just general life. But I don’t want to let the days pass without mentioning a few more books that should be on your radar as the year draws to a close. Don’t miss these great reads.

How the Dead Speak by Val McDermid

Fans of the long-running Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series wondered how these stories could continue after the explosive and game-changing conclusion to Insidious Intent, but Val McDermid is a master of the crime genre so rest assured she has it all under control. She starts each chapter with an excerpt from the criminal profiling manual Tony Hill is writing – while, shall we say “indisposed.” Meanwhile, Carol is trying to figure out where her skills are the most useful and discovers a new passion related to wrongful conviction cases. As readers have witnessed over the last few books, this series continues to evolve into an incredible ensemble piece, so when Paula McIntyre’s latest case grows ever more complex, McDermid crafts a stunning and believable way for all parties to once again work together for justice. As always, a Val McDermid book shines in terms of both character development and exquisite plotting.

Say Her Name by Stefani Deoul

Stefani Deoul’s young adult mystery series continues to impress with this third book. Sid Rubin, our lesbian heroine and wunderkind, is goofing off with her friends in Central Park when they stumble upon a collection of long-buried skeletons. With society’s recent obsession with family trees, genealogy, and making amends for the past, Sid and her gang of misfit-helper’s latest investigation weaves these elements together in an emotionally-affecting and well-structured plotline. Stefani Deoul manages to craft extremely fast reads without sacrificing depth in terms of either plot elements or character development. Just three books in and this rag-tag collection of “kids” feel like old friends.

The Network by L. C. Shaw

L. C. Shaw is a new pen-name for Lynne Constantine, one half of the sister-duo that comprises psychological suspense favorite Liv Constantine. It makes sense to use another pen-name since The Network is very different from her writings with her sister. This book is a thriller tailor-made for conspiracy fanatics. It’s globe-trotting plotline never allows for a moments rest between elaborate and exciting set-pieces, but somehow also interjects just enough character development to counter-balance the action elements. This is the start of a series, so jump on-board at the beginning as all evidence points to this being a very popular “new yearly” addition to the thriller genre.