2022 was a tough bastard. For so many reasons.
With that pointed out, it’s no surprise there wasn’t as much literary action. But there is a top five. There’s always got to be one. And the books I read were all killer.
As always, the top five for the year aren’t made up solely of books that came out in 2022. Some of them did of course, but not all. Follow the links on the book titles to get your copy.
Dark Obsessions by Marie Sutro
San Francisco Police Detective Kate Barnes comes in swinging in “Dark Obsessions,” the second suspense thriller by Marie Sutro and the 2022 recipient of the “Best Suspense Novel” from Authors on the Air. Barnes was first introduced in “Dark Associations” (winner of the 2018 Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Award), and her second outing drops our fearless detective protagonist into the Olympic Peninsula, specifically the town of Eagle’s Nest, Washington, where she meets Sheriff Tony Luchasetti, and she is quickly wrapped up in a new, stormy investigation. Like book one in the Kate Barnes series, each adventure can be enjoyed as a standalone novel. In Dark Obsessions surprises and nail biting suspense are in full vigor. Fans of dark, taut thrillers will find plenty to love in Sutro’s rousing Kate Barnes novel.
Five Moves of Doom by A.J. Devlin
A. J. Devlin’s freshman book “Cobra Clutch” introduced the world to former wrestler-turned-private eye “Hammerhead” Jed. We saw the character evolve in the second book “Rolling Thunder” and in 2022 readers were treated to “Five Moves of Doom,” the third muscle-flexing entry in Devlin’s tough-as-nails, banana-shaking mystery series. This time, a more seasoned Jed faces his toughest challenge yet, his own shortcomings. When he’s hired to retrieve a missing UFC Championship belt, he sets out to infiltrate the world of mixed martial arts and hits his limit in the process. Dirt Harry in the movie Magnum Force uttered the words “A man’s got to know his limitations,” and we get a glimpse of what that means in Devlin’s superb new book.
The Mysterious Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie
While published back in 1930, “The Mysterious Mr. Quin” grabbed me just as easily in 2022 as it did for Agatha Christie’s fans back then. Her readers themselves continue to grow in numbers. Quin follows the Sherlock Holmes and Watson formula, or for Christie fans, the Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings formula. In Quin we’re introduced to Mr. Satterthwaite, a bored English socialite looking for a bit of adventure. That wish is quickly realized when he meets up with a strange gentleman named Mr. Quin. The story of their relationship is told through a series of short stories that only adds to Quin’s oddly alluring persona. The two suss out various crimes by simply talking about them and the resulting stories are charming and provocative. A lesser-known Christie classic but not one to be missed.
Poser by Nevada McPherson
Nevada McPherson creates a memorable cast of low life characters in her debut novel, “Poser.” The book is the first in McPherson’s Eucalyptus Lane series, delivering a stark portrayal of life on the San Francisco streets. Poser introduces readers to Ambrose, who is a bit of a rogue, but his charm and snazzy looks keep him out of trouble most of the time. Only nothing lasts forever. A charade of secrets has a way of returning with a vengeance, not just for Ambrose but for the supporting cast introduced along the way. Be on the lookout for the second book in the series, “Cracker,” due out in 2023.
Sands of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Dune is nothing new to lovers of science fiction, particularly Frank Herbert’s original 1965 Masterpiece. With the success of the recent Dune film, that popularity has hitched a ride with a Guild Navigator and rocketed to the stars. Brian Herbert, Frank’s son, and Kevin J. Anderson have continued the Dune literary legacy with a growing library of spectacular space operas. “Sands of Dune,” shorter than most of their Dune books, is sci-fi candy for those seeking a taste of Arrakis, sandworms, and the all-important spice. Sands comes with four short novellas all set in different time periods and is an awesome companion piece for those building their temple of Dune.