At this stage last year, my lockdown-influenced reading tilted more towards nonfiction and the thriller/mystery genres than is customary. This year’s first half reading highlights are both of higher impact (all are rated 9/10 except The Premonition, which I gave a perfect 10/10 score, and one 8-rater) and spread out across the spectrum of categories. One rare occurrence – two books in a trilogy both hit my Top 10, signaling, of course, consistent excellence, but also an extremely rapid publication rate. The links below take you to my review.
The Premonition (10/10) by Michael Lewis—a riveting, illuminating tale of a group of analytical American officials and analysts who understand Covid-19 as soon as it hits their shores.
Garry Disher’s Consolation—the crown of top Australian crime fiction author rests on Disher’s head and this is one of his most propulsive and haunting.
The Cold Millions (8/10) by Jess Walter—a captivating, swaggering literary novel set in the American battle for unionism a century ago.
Mick Herron’s Slough House—buckle up for a brilliant ride with the seventh in the Jackson Lamb spy thriller series.
Untraceable by Sergei Lebedev—plucked from the headlines of Soviet nerve poisons, this literary thriller is just as much about the characters.
Charlie Newton’s Canaryville—no one pens a thriller as stylishly as this author and Canaryville is his incendiary, unputdownable pinnacle (so far).
A Man at Arms by Steven Pressfield—the writing guru can also write, and write brilliantly, with a raw, thrilling tale of early Christianity.
The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey—the second instalment in this remarkable author’s Rampart science fiction trilogy, told in Koli’s unforgettable voice, unfolding a post-technology epic and riddle.
The Fall of Koli by M. R. Carey—the triumphant capstone to a trilogy of classic status.
Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future—hard science fiction addressing near-term climate change, but stellar story-making as well.