Robert Crais has been a favorite author of mine for some time now. In 2020 during my record-setting year of reading I read nine of his books. As of this writing I’ve now read all but the most recent two books he’s published. He’s proven to be in a class of his own among his many contemporaries. Who would you say is the best mystery author writing today?
Today’s the day. No, the year isn’t quite over just yet. But today’s the day I reveal the best books I read this year. Obviously, I’d like you to take a look at the video to hear what I have to say, but because we’re talking about the year’s best I’m also writing about them here.
Every one of these books was a five star read for me. In order read:
The Forgotten Man – Robert Crais
PS I Still Love You – Jenny Han
Chasing Darkness – Robert Crais
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
Flash Boys – Michael Lewis
Suspect – Robert Crais
The Sentry – Robert Crais
Taken – Robert Crais
The Last Olympian – Rick Riordan
Born a Crime – Trevor Noah
As you can see, Robert Crais wrote HALF of my five star reads for the entire year. Insanity. If you can believe it, there were other books of his I didn’t rate as highly. But he really set the bar this year. He’s been one of my favorite authors for some time, but he dominated my reading this year. I read him nine times. He’s cemented himself as the best crime novelist writing today and I have too many reasons to hit on right now.
It would be pointless to write this and not mention the top of the top. The best book I read this year was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I previously wrote a review on here for it, so no point in reviewing it again.
Most surprising, the number two book of the year was Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. I went in with limited expectations and page after page, chapter after chapter was impressed. I’m limited in my exposure to memoirs, but this an excellent read and I imagine on par with any other.
Lastly, I feel obligated to mention Rick Riordan. I read four of the five Percy Jackson books this year. He seemingly improved with every single one, with his best coming with the final in the series. It was full of heart-wrenching, heart-stopping moments that made me happy to have taken a chance on the books. A phenomenal finale to a rather enjoyable series.
What were some of your top reads this year?
There are some books that have shaped my reading over the years, and I made a video to talk about them. Which books would be on your list?
For several years I’ve had a rule to not read the same author/series within five books of each other. There isn’t really a reason for it. I just came up with it one day and have largely stayed true.
Not today. I’m running out of time in 2020 and I decided last night to stick with what I know and who I know. I know what to expect when reading Robert Crais. His books usually aren’t too lengthy and never leave me disappointed. So I’m reading three in a row in my dash to the finish line. I still may not reach my goal, but there’s no harm in trying.
Do you have any rules like mine?
In February I only read 4 books. Down from 5 in January. But still well on pace to perhaps hit my goal of 50 for the year. But there’s a long way to go.
In February I read 1 fantasy novel, 2 young adult novels, and a mystery. Not bad. I read 3 authors for the first time. I rated 2 books as 5 stars, 1 as 4 stars, and the final as 2 stars. So far in 2019 I’ve yet to rate any of the 9 books I’ve read as 1 star reads.
I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed in the fact that I didn’t finish a book in the second half of the month. But so long as half a month doesn’t stretch into a full month into several months, then I think I’ll be okay. And I’ve already finished my first book in March.
We’re roughly a sixth of the way through the year now. How is your pace so far?
I got a new computer late last year. But I’m barely starting to actually use it. I work on two monitors 40 hours a week, so when I’m home I’m not dying for more screen time.
Anyway, over the weekend I started organizing some of my reading-related documents I have (I’m writing a full post on them for tomorrow). One of which counts the number of books I own by author. I’ll have to do some checking, but I now know I have *at least* 270 books. That’s not surprising. What surprised me was that I have books written by *at least* 109 authors! Like, holy cow! That’s a lot of authors!
When I think of the hours I’ve spent reading my books compared to the hours spent writing them, it’s insane.
My favorite authors obviously carry much of the load in my little library, which I imagine is true for most people. Michael Connelly, Robert B. Parker, T. Jefferson Parker, Steve Hamilton, Robert Crais, and James Patterson (ugh) account for 107(!) of the books. And I have several single title authors.
Do you have any idea how many authors you own?
Earlier this year I made it clear how disappointed I was in my reading last year. 5 books. Just saying that makes me want to hit my head on my desk. But 2019 is off to a better start! So I decided to do a little roundup of my January reading.
Two Kinds of Truth
Harry Bosch ages in real time. In this book he’s into his 60s, but I DON’T CARE. Never stop writing him, Michael Connelly. Or we’re fighting.
I hate to say it, but this was rather unremarkable. I love Spenser. And this won’t discourage me from continuing the series, but I finished the book wanting more.
I wrote about this earlier in the week here. This book was the best crime novel I’ve read! There’s no exaggeration. I gave my reasoning in my previous post. I’m still considering it, but it’s likely a top five all-time read for me. And I have the next four in the series awaiting my curious eyes.
I said I’d stay with crime novels for a bit, and I mostly did. But this was the lone exception last month. It didn’t have hardly any laugh out loud moments, whereas the first in the series was full of them.
The Second Life of Nick Mason
This was the first in a new series written by Steve Hamilton. He’s also one of my favorite authors and it was my first time reading one of his books in several years. It’s well below 300 pages and I felt it. It went way too fast and lacked much depth throughout. But still had a number of exciting moments, which kept it at the above rating.
I count 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 books for the month! It was really in the last two weeks, but shh. I matched my entire 2018 in the first month of 2019 and I’m still going! I know there will be some down months ahead, but I’m happy with and encouraged by my start to the year.
How was your month of reading!?
AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA!
I sincerely hope you’re aware of the meme that I’m referencing. If not, you’re lost. Oh well.
Very rarely do I write anything that resembles a book review. Today is one of those rare days.
Yesterday I finished LA Requiem by Robert Crais. I’m not going to get into the plot very much because if you find this interesting I would love for you to give the book a chance rather than just read spoilers here.
The story follows PIs Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. A friend and former lover of Joe is missing and they’re tasked with finding her when the police find her body first. Her father has powerful connections and the two of them get to operate within the investigation while unaffiliated with the LAPD.
That’s my synopsis, which is fairly similar to what you’d find on the back of the book.
I want to tell you about the title of the post before anything else. I’ve read more crime novels than I can remember. This one was the absolute best one I’ve read, and now that I’m thinking about it I may upload a page on here of my top reads ever that I can update as time goes along. This is likely top 5 for me. Let me tell you why.
Joe and Elvis have known each other a long time. Both are former military. Joe was LAPD for a time. They’re not friends and they’re not family. Whatever comes above that is what they are. Their care for each other goes beyond words and actions. This is the first in the series (since book 1) that highlights their relationship. Think of the people in your life who you would do anything for. Maybe there are quite a few and maybe there are none, but at least the idea of it is there. That’s Elvis and Joe. The importance of those relationships and people in our lives is something we generally can’t describe or put into words because we know deep within ourselves that we’d put ourselves in harm’s way to protect who we hold so dear, even if we can’t explain why.
During the course of the story Joe is in some serious trouble, and Elvis makes it his mission to protect him at all costs, including putting his life on the line if he has to. This exaggerated plot line happens quite a bit in movies, on TV shows, and in books. But never in my 27 years has it been so well done. Elvis and Joe are fictional characters created by who I believe is an exceptional author. But they’re not. They’re every single one of us.
This book wasn’t about solving a murder. It wasn’t about what happens when someone has connections. It wasn’t even about the detectives involved. It’s about what it means to be human and to put everything on the line for who we love. And though most of us will never have to do it, I believe it’s something we can all related to.
This was my tweet immediately after I finished.
I imagine many of you have been to an author event of some kind. I know y’all have because I’ve written about them on here. Well there’s only one store authors really come to in Houston. And I have attended multiple events there before.
Well I just randomly checked the list for the first time in months, and one of my favorite authors had an event last month. And when I say he’s one of my favorites this is what I mean. When I’m asked about my favorite authors I say three names. Robert. B. Parker. Michael Connelly. Robert Crais. That’s it. No one else gets into that sentence.
It turns out that Robert Crais was here. *sad face* Even if I couldn’t make the event I could have gotten my books signed. Costs nothing but the price of the new book. Ugh.
Has an author ever visited your hometown without you knowing it and then you found out fairly soon afterward?
I told you guys yesterday about how impressed I was during my first experience at Half Price Books, and I promised to show y’all which books I came away with. It looks like I make good on my promises. Sometimes. Ha. Anyway, I’m just going to show you the books now. Normally when I glance over book haul posts I see long lists of covers and descriptions of the books included. I’m not going to do that because those are almost always ultra popular YA titles that everyone knows about. I’m pretty sure you’ve never even heard of half my books, so no point in me acting like everyone will know them. To the books!
Mary Mary (Alex Cross #11) by James Patterson
The Strain (The Strain #1) by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
LA Requiem (Elvis Cole #8) by Robert Crais
Fahrenheit 451 by Rad Bradbury
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I have two interesting points about these books before I leave you alone for the rest of the day. First, I’ll be making videos for three of these titles. And second, three of the books are actually new! I bet you can’t even tell which ones aren’t. Remember what I said about the books available at Half Price Books?
Have you read any of these books? Tell me about the books you’ve added to your collection recently.
On this day in 2014 I published Writer’s Privilege is a Real Thing.