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:
A busy book receiving week. I have already had a sneak peek at a couple of the titles here; Anatomy Of A Scandal captures the epitome of Entitlement, Maggie’s Recipes For Life is a new favourite, Salt Fat Acid Heat – is a book that will be on my best of list for 2017, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is one I am really looking forward to reading, The Wanted – Robert Crais has been on my want to read list forever, really looking forward to this one. Fallow looks intriguing, I Love You In Five Languages is delightful, The Hangman appeals, The Collector – psychological thrillers are my favourite type of read, The Secret Vineyard – set in our very own Margaret River, The Book of Summer – a dual timeline read. Where to begin? Any of your favourites here?
You see and hear a lot of things as a journalist. You sit in court, you stand at crime scenes. You talk to investigators, lawyers, witnesses. You talk to families, grieving families who have lost someone.
So many things stay with you. I once walked into a house set up for a kid’s 18th birthday party. There were balloons and streamers and presents. But he’d died that morning – along with two of his mates – in a car crash on a country road.
But there is nothing quite like the total immersion that comes with writing a book. Day after day I sat reading through research, court transcripts and articles on an eight-year investigation into the kidnapping and murder of a 13-year-old boy. Thousands of pages. Many, many phone calls.
I wrote The Sting after sitting through the trial into Daniel Morcombe’s murder. Covert police had spent months posing as members of a criminal gang, convincing their suspect, Brett Peter Cowan, that he was on his way to being one of them. Soon he would be earning big money, living a life of fast cars and parties – a brotherhood. He’d never been part of anything, so by the end, he was hooked.
It was incredibly rare to get such an insight into the workings of a covert operation. In court we heard recordings, testimony from covert officers and had access to pages and pages of transcripts. Later, I was given access to one of the covert officers and gained more insight through my own research.
It’s a horrible thing to enter that world. To listen to the things a man like Brett Cowan likes to talk about. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like for those covert officers. I know they hated him, hated having to laugh along every day, join in on his jokes. And the secrecy of the operation meant they had nobody to talk to at the end of each day. The judge talked about it in court before some of the recordings were played. Just be aware, she told Daniel’s partners who sat in the public gallery, that these covert officers are saying things and responding to things in order to further the investigation. They don’t really find him funny. They don’t really mean the things that they say. This is not who they are.
I dedicated the book to those guys. Because of the work they do, their identities can’t be revealed. And that means they can’t get the public recognition they deserve for the incredible work they did.
But we can read about it…
In the mail this week I received some fantastic reads – a few by authors I have rad before, a few that are new to me. In this stack are a few works of crime fiction; some Australian crime fiction, a couple of true crime, some international crime writers, crime with a paranormal twist, crime written by local author (Ian Andrew) and…some contemporary reads. I have started reading “When the Music Is Over” by Peter Robinson – my first DCI Banks read and I am looking forward to reading the new offering from Australian author Fleur Ferris “Black”- I loved her first book “Risk“. So many great reads ahead of me.
Have you read any of these? What did you think? Any favourites?