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Best of 2016

Another year is in the books and, speaking of books, this year contained more than its share of books that will blow your doors off. In order to make my Best Of 2016 list, I looked for books that I not only loved at the time I read them, but books that stayed with me and are still on my mind and those that I still remember for either its plot, its characters, or its all-around excellence.

I broke my top reads of 2016 into 3 categories; honorable mention (with the number of books I have read this says a lot about how great they were), my top 10-6 and my titanic top 5. If you missed any of them, dig through my reviews and read a more in-depth analysis of what I loved about each of my picks.
So here they are…

Honorable mentions:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Billingham Forum by Martin Stanley: The Stanton Brothers are one of my favorite series going and this one didn’t disappoint. Another great book by Stanley that let us peek more into the psyche of Eric Stanton and see him evolve. A fun read and a great addition to the series.

Cleaning Up Finn by Sarah M. Chen: A hell of a great novella that seemed to do everything right. A great main character and a great lightning bolt to the heart of a plot. Fun to read and left me wanting more.

Crosswise by S.W. Lauden: A departure from his Greg Salem series, but a hell of a great standalone novel. I loved how this showcased Lauden’s ability to shift into a different type of novel but still show he only possesses an “A” game. Awesome book.

Waiting to be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by the Replacements; Edited by Jay Stringer: This collection will blow you away. This has top-end stories from some of my favorite authors and a lot of authors who will probably join those ranks in the near future. Truly a collection that will have you wanting more.

My Top 6-10 (in no particular order):

Debt Crusher by Michael Pool: My first introduction to Pool and I was beyond impressed. The story flowed like a river; smooth in points, but gushing rapids in others. A book that stayed with me all year.

December Boys by Joe Clifford: The Jay Porter series is a great character driven series of books that has one of the most broken main characters around. I loved the way Clifford brings Porter to life. Porter is real, damaged, and in need of internal salvation. I am salivating at the idea of reading the upcoming addition to this series.

Only Bones by Daniel Vlasaty: This book had an unknown quality that pulled me in from the beginning. The writing was as smooth as can be and I read it in one long sitting. This book is something special.

Ridgerunner by Rusty Barnes: Another book that just had the right feel for me. I loved the setting and the characters felt real. Very intrigued that it is part of a trilogy. Barnes has my attention and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the next offering.

Hustle by Tom Pitts: This was a rerelease that still had the teeth to pull me in; even though I knew the storyline. The writing is gritty and raw and exposes a reality some might rather turn a blind eye to. This is the real deal and needs to be read.

My Top 3-5 (again in no particular order)

A Killer’s Love by Mike Monson: Monson has me hooked. I would mainline his writing if I could. This book has no flaws and is a masterpiece. A quick read that went too quick. Sweet lord did this book floor me.

Rough Trade by Todd Robinson: Boo and Junior are the best team going. Humor, intrigue, and a real chemistry keep this team and this book at the forefront of my mind when I think of best books of the year. A truly special book that needs a wider audience.

Prelude to the Massacre by Stan Miller: This book will kick your ass, wait for you to catch your breath, and then kick your ass again. This book was that good. If his next book is anywhere near as good as this one, Stan Miller is heading to the top of my favorite author list. This book defies a simple synopsis and is the work of a literary genius.

My Top 2:

Suicide Lounge and Road Carnage by Greg Barth: These are not only my top reads of the year, this series is my top series of the decade and, dare I say, the top series I have ever read. Selena is a kick-ass main character who grows with every book and cements herself as one of the top female leads with every book Barth puts out in the series.  I cannot put into words how great this series is. I envy those who haven’t read these yet and will be reading them soon because they are in for the ride of a lifetime.

Thanks to all the great authors who kept me entertained this year. Thanks to anyone who gave me copies of their books to enjoy. Thanks to Out of the Gutter for letting me share my opinions with my fellow readers and thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my humble opinions on the books I love.

Here is to an even better year of reading in 2017; but if you have read the books I have read this year, than you know that’s a tall order.