We have visitors staying for a few days so it’s time to dust off the apron – Silvia Colloca’s Gluten Free Lamington Tart is going to hit the spot!
This was a very easy category for me to decide as two books immediately came to mind – both have left a lasting impression – their stories poignant and engaging. In no particular order, my favourite non fiction reads/listens of 2018 are:
What a fantastic year it has been for readers of all genres. I cannot believe how many 5 star reads I have have had the pleasure to review. Let me start this arduous task of reducing my list to a reasonable number by listing my pick of the best crime fiction reads of 2018. I hope some of these make it onto your shelves.
In no particular order:
Evil Has a Name
The Untold Story of the Golden State Killer Investigation
Paul Holes, Jim Clemente, Peter McDonnell
The Golden State Killer. The East Area Rapist. The Original Night Stalker. The Visalia Ransacker.
The monster who preyed on Californians from 1976 to 1986 was known by many aliases. And while numerous police sketches tried to capture his often-masked visage, the Golden State Killer spent more than 40 years not only faceless, but nameless.
For his victims, for their families and for the investigators tasked with finding him, the senselessness and brutality of the Golden State Killer’s acts were matched only by the powerlessness they felt at failing to uncover his identity. To be sure, the chances of obtaining closure—or any form of justice—after so many years were slim to none, at best.
Then, on April 24, 2018, authorities arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo at his home in Citrus Heights, Calif., based on DNA evidence linked to the crimes. After a decades-long hunt, a suspect was behind bars. Could it be that evil finally had a name?
Delivering all-new details about the investigation and a stunning final act to the events of Michelle McNamara’s haunting bestseller, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, this is the true story of how the suspected Golden State Killer was captured, as told, first-hand, by those closest to the case:
Paul Holes—the forensic criminologist and retired Costa County detective who spent 20 years trying to crack the Golden State Killer case, and finally did.
Jim Clemente (Host)—a retired FBI profiler and former New York City prosecutor who has investigated some of the highest profile criminal cases in U.S. history, including the Unabomber.
**Please note: This work contains descriptions of violent crime and sexual assault and may not be suitable for all listeners. **
Listening to this audio book was like watching a well-made documentary. The cast is outstanding – investigators, police, criminologists, a genealogist, a journalist, a profiler and the poignant voices of some of the victims and family of the victims. The narration was perfectly delivered.
This is a narrative that will remind you that crime, violent crimes in particular, have a heavy impact not only on the victims but on the friends, family, the first responders, the investigators and the community the victim lives in. So many carry the pain, the hurt, the fear. So many repercussions.
Despite numerous warnings regarding the explicit nature of some of the content I was not offended or horrified by the said content; it was not gratuitously presented, it was not sensationalised, it was honest. It was, at times, difficult to listen to the pain the survivors and their families carry with them, but their voices were integral to the completeness of the story. The only person we did not hear from, and of that I am relived, is the voice of the perpetrator. There is no justification for his actions. I do not need to understand his motivations. I am glad he has finally be called to account for his actions.
This is a remarkable true story. I applauded at the ending.
Kingdom of the Blind
A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery
Little, Brown Book Group
The new Chief Inspector Gamache novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.
When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder.
None of them had ever met the elderly woman.
The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane?
When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing.
But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing.
The investigation into what happened six months ago—the events that led to his suspension—has dragged on, into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip though his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception.
Enough narcotic to kill thousands has disappeared into inner city Montreal. With the deadly drug about to hit the streets, Gamache races for answers.
As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. And the terrible things hiding there.
Once again I am transported to Canada; I am hearing the French accents clearly as I read, I see the snow, the storm, the isolation, and the quirky, unique characters. I try my best to solve the many mysteries that are presented to the reader. Before the conclusion I have actually discovered one of the secrets here…I congratulate myself and keep reading.
This is a wonderful exploration of complex relationships, moral dilemmas and the misery of drug addiction. This is satisfaction guaranteed reading!
We have a few quiet days before our family Christmas celebrations and this is what I intend doing:
Lenny’s Book of Everything
Allen and Unwin Australia
Our mother had a dark heart feeling. Lenny’s younger brother has a rare form of gigantism and while Lenny’s fiercely protective, it isn’t always easy being the sister of ‘the giant’. A book about finding good in the bad that will break your heart while raising your spirits in the way that only a classic novel can.
Lenny, small and sharp, has a younger brother Davey who won’t stop growing – and at seven is as tall as a man. Raised by their mother, they have food and a roof over their heads, but not much else.
The bright spot every week is the arrival of the latest issue of the Burrell’s Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia. Through the encyclopedia, Lenny and Davey experience the wonders of the world – beetles, birds, quasars, quartz – and dream about a life of freedom and adventure. But as Davey’s health deteriorates, Lenny realises that some wonders can’t be named.
A big-hearted novel about loving and letting go by an award-winning author.
‘A gorgeous, heartbreaking, and heartwarming book.’ – R. J. PALACIO
‘Such a big heart and not a beat out of place.’ – MELINA MARCHETTA
‘Tough, tender and beautiful.’ – GLENDA MILLARD
‘Unforgettable.’ – ANNA FIENBERG
‘Karen Foxlee, you’re a genius.’ – WENDY ORR
Karen Foxlee is an Australian author who writes for both kids and grown-ups. Her first novel The Anatomy of Wings won numerous awards including the Dobbie Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, Karen’s first novel for children, was published internationally to much acclaim while her second novel for younger readers, A Most Magical Girl, won the Readings Children’s Fiction Prize in 2017 and was CBCA shortlisted the same year.
Karen lives in South East Queensland with her daughter and several animals, including two wicked parrots, who frequently eat parts of her laptop when she isn’t looking. Her passions are her daughter, writing, day-dreaming, baking, running and swimming in the sea.
Karen Foxlee’s novel, The Anatomy of Wings, is possibly my all-time favourite Australian read so when I saw a new novel by Foxlee I had to read it. The advanced press and glorious reviews for Lenny’s Book of Everything are justified. What a bitter sweet read. What a wonderful exploration of what it means to be a family, the importance of community, hope, love and…life (no spoilers here).
This contemporary read can be read and loved by many but maybe not my copy, the pages on my copy are a little damp…*sigh* What a wonderful, poignant, heartbreaking yet satisfying read.