Best Reads 2017... in no particular order!

1. Nine Lessons - Nicola Upson
Faber £12.99

"Upson's latest Josephine Tey novel was my stand-out book of 2017. Filled with atmosphere, this dark novel brings Cambridge to vivid life and involves the works of the literary legend, M.R. James, lending this superb book a dash of Gothic menace. Upson has gone up another gear with this brilliant novel. (Chris Simmons)"

2. Lola - Melissa Scrivner Love
Point Blank £8.99

"My stand out read of 2017 was Lola, the stunning debut novel by Melissa Scrivner Love. Set in the violent, male dominated world of gangland LA, this is a novel that turns the cliched portrayal of a gangster's moll into a rally cry for girl power. A violent, difficult but ultimately uplifting novel, Lola is a gripping debut with a central character who will steal your heart (if she doesn't kill you first). Wonderful stuff indeed! Paperback out April 2018. (Sheila Bugler)"

3. My Sister's Bones - Nuala Ellwood
Penguin £7.99

"The reason I chose this book is because it was a unique read for me, I read many crime books throughout the year and this book in particular offered up a different reading journey, and one I haven't been on with any other books. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and experiencing the characters struggles, both with PTSD and alcoholism, offering up for me such varying viewpoints which is a rare find. It really was an excellent read, and one that I most enjoyed in 2017. (Kristy Collingbourne)"

4. Behind Her Eyes - Sarah Pinborough
HarperCollins £7.99

"A dark, unsettling, electrifying thriller with an ending that will floor you and stay with you long after the final page. (Michael Wood)"

5. Death in the Stars - Frances Brody
Piatkus £8.99

"The book I most enjoyed in 2017 is an unusual choice - it's 'Death in the Stars' by Frances Brody, a thoroughly straightforward historical whodunit set during an actual event - the total eclipse of the sun in June 1927. I am underwhelmed at the moment by gritty stories of urban violence, serial killers, divorced DCIs, private detectives with a drink problem, and the mean, rainy streets of northern cities. A sameness, in my opinion, has crept into them. A bonus for me about Death in the Stars is that is features real, historical characters, and a female private detective (Kate Shackleton) that is miles away from your typical private dick with a reliance on booze. I don't normally read late into the night, but this one made me do so. (James Gracie)"

6. Strange Magic - Syd Moore
Point Blank £8.99

"‘Strange Magic’ is a brilliant beginning to a highly original new series. I promise, this book will hold you spellbound! (Cathi Unsworth)"

7. Playing With Death - Simon Scarrow and Lee Francis
Headline £19.99

"I have chosen this above all my old favourites because it took me into unknown realms and provoked me into considering the future of the world as it rushes into a completely different place. (Sylvia Dixon)"

8. Sirens - Joseph Knox
Black Swan £8.99

"A stylish and confident debut novel. This is urban noir at its best. Knox is an author to watch out for. He’s Manchester’s answer to Ian Rankin. (Michael Wood)"

9. Now We Are Dead - Stuart MacBride
HarperCollins £14.99

"Mine is 'Now We Are Dead' by Stuart MacBride because it is the book I have been waiting for since first meeting Roberta Steel in 'Cold Granite' all those years ago. Funny, brutal and thoroughly gripping throughout, it is his best book yet. (Graham Smith)"

10. The Fatal Tree - Jake Arnott
Sceptre £8.99

"Jake Arnott continues to amaze and delight with his insighful stories and dazzling prose, this time evoking the 'St Giles Greek' of 1720s Covent Garden and bringing Hogarth's London to steaming, visceral life with the highly resonant true tale of Edgeworth Bess, her theiving consort Jack Sheppard and the scheming Theif-taker General Jonathan Wild. (Cathi Unsworth)"