Updated: Jul 8, 2020
These picks are based on how hooked I was on reading these books. Most of the listed below are page-turners that you can't not finish! This rating is not based on how accurate the book is, whether politically, scientifically, or even true to their genre. Simply personal taste.
Here is my list of the best books I read in 2019:
10) Ragdoll by Daniel Cole
This riveting, gruesome, and well-written thriller will leave you on the edge of your seat the whole time you're reading it. A crime novel that, while following the cliche of a broken cop, is original in that it presents a new way of assessing those who don't have the full picture. Things are not what they seem to be.
A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the 'Ragdoll'. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William 'Wolf' Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.
The 'Ragdoll Killer' taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?
9) The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
This is definitely not the best book by Patrick Ness. It was my first book by an amazing author. The storyline is amazing, whilst I found the sidelines of the otherworld each chapter starts with a bit annoying. Definitely worth a read!
What if you aren't the Chosen One? The one who's supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?
What if you're like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.
Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week's end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.
8) The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom
Deviating from the norm of a badass male protagonist and creating a badass female character is something Scott Bergstrom does so well you would wish all the thriller books were written by him. This is by far the best book of the genre.
Gwendolyn's father kept his life a secret from her. When he goes missing, she's plunged into a world of assassins, spies, and criminal masterminds.
When Gwendolyn Bloom’s father vanishes, she sets off on a journey she never bargained for. Traveling under a new identity, she uncovers a disturbing truth: to bring her father back alive, she must become every bit as cruel as the men holding him captive.
7) Two Soldiers by Roslund & Hellstrom
I cannot tell you how genius the Swedish duo is. You'll have to see it for yourself. This was the second book I've read by them - I started with Three Minutes, which was not the first in the series, but oh well. I read this as a standalone and was amazed at how detailed and realistic the books they write are. Maybe because one of them was a former convict?
In a bleak Stockholm suburb where juvenile gang crime is rapidly on the rise, two 19-year-old boys, best friends since third grade and drug addicts since age 9, have spent their young lives establishing a ruthless criminal enterprise—known as the Råby Warriors. With the recruitment of children as foot soldiers, the Warriors are now poised to become the most powerful syndicate in the region.
Twenty years on the force, José Pereira now heads the Organized Crime and Gang Section in Råby. If it was not so deadly, Pereira might appreciate the absurdity of watching boys like Leon and Gabriel, raised on Hollywood images, morph themselves into characterizations of gangsters.
After Leon and Gabriel execute a maximum-security prison break, in which a female guard is kidnapped and feared murdered, Pereira is joined in his investigation by Chief Superintendent Ewert Grens, whom Roslund and Hellström readers will recognize as the maverick detective who never gives up. For Grens, this case awakens troubled ghosts from his past. Soon all four men are on a violent collision course that will irrevocably change all their lives.
6) Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz
Gregg Hurwitz needs no introduction. His Orphan X series has grown to five books now, and they all start with this phenomenal book. It felt better than watching a Jason Statham movie, which should tell you how good they must be (unless you hate Jason, then I pity you.) The book is set to become a movie starring Bradley Cooper sometime in the future.
Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as an Orphan, an off-the-books black box program designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence asset: An assassin. Evan was Orphan X―until he broke with the program and used everything he learned to disappear. But now someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training who will exploit Evan’s secret new identity as the Nowhere Man to eliminate him.
5) The Thirst by Jo Nesbo
Original concept? Check. Phenomenal writing? Check. Amazing protagonist? Check. Scary antagonist? Check, check, check! This Harry Hole novel is - for me - the best in the series, followed by The Snowman.
The murder victim, a self-declared Tinder addict. The one solid clue—fragments of rust and paint in her wounds—leaves the investigating team baffled.
Two days later, there’s a second murder: a woman of the same age, a Tinder user, an eerily similar scene.
The chief of police knows there’s only one man for this case. But Harry Hole is no longer with the force. He promised the woman he loves, and he promised himself, that he’d never go back: not after his last case, which put the people closest to him in grave danger.
But there’s something about these murders that catches his attention, something in the details that the investigators have missed. For Harry, it’s like hearing “the voice of a man he was trying not to remember.” Now, despite his promises, despite everything he risks, Harry throws himself back into the hunt for a figure who haunts him, the monster who got away.
4) The Fix by David Baldacci
The third installment of the Amos Decker series, The Fix, was my most awaited sequel. It has all the great components of what I like to see in a crime thriller. One of the few books I could not put down.
Amos Decker witnesses a murder just outside FBI headquarters. A man shoots a woman execution-style on a crowded sidewalk, then turns the gun on himself.
Even with Decker's extraordinary powers of observation and deduction, the killing is baffling. Decker and his team can find absolutely no connection between the shooter -- a family man with a successful consulting business -- and his victim, a schoolteacher. Nor is there a hint of any possible motive for the attack.
3) The Last Mile by David Baldacci
But wait a second! The Fix does not count if not for its prequel The Last Mile. Take what's good in The Fix and quadruple it.
Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution--for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier--when he's granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.
Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars's case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men's families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.
The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars--guilty or not--a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?
But when a member of Decker's team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger--and more sinister--than just one convicted criminal's life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed.
2) Chaos Walking (trilogy) by Patrick Ness
I am not a fan of dystopia or sci-fi. But Patrick Ness is a great writer. I would read anything a great writer offers, and surely Ness does not disappoint! This YA novel is set on another planet and has amazing characters and storylines. The series is being shot as a movie series starring Tom Holland, and is probably set to come out next year!
Patrick Ness is the New York Times best-selling author of A Monster Calls, which was made into a major motion picture, won both the Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal, and was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. He is also the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy and More Than This. Born in Virginia, Patrick Ness lives in London.
1) Three Minutes by Roslund & Hellstrom
If I was left on an island with only one fiction book to read over and over? This would be my pick. This is literally my all-time favorite book. And for good reason: the Swedish duo got me hooked from the first few pages. It felt like I was living every moment of the book.
I will fight you over the rating.
Presumed dead by the Stockholm police, master criminal and undercover informant Piet Hoffmann is now on the run from the Swedish authorities, living with his wife and two young sons under an assumed name in Cali, Colombia. Only Hoffmann's former police handler, Erik Wilson, knows where he is--and that he has accepted two dangerous new jobs: one as a high-level enforcer for a Colombian cocaine cartel and one as an infiltrator for the DEA, working to bring the cartel down. The FBI even lends credence to his cover story by adding Hoffmann's alias to the Most Wanted list.
But when the Speaker of the House is kidnapped by the cartel during an official visit to Colombia, everything changes--fast. Hoffmann is party to the highest-profile political kidnapping in years and therefore directly in the firing line in what is quickly dubbed the "Final War on Drugs." Suddenly, the Most Wanted list becomes a kill list and the DEA cuts off all contact on orders from the top, leaving Hoffmann and his family stranded.
Hoffmann must walk a delicate line as he tries to protect his young family and keep up his dual role as a cartel enforcer and a deniable intelligence asset for the US government. It soon becomes clear that his only chance at getting out alive is to rescue the Speaker of the House and bring him back to the States--but to do it he'll need the help of Ewert Grens, the stubborn, dogged Stockholm detective who hasn't forgotten Hoffmann since the explosive showdown in Aspsas prison years ago.
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