Favorite Books of 2020

As of today I read 162 books during 2020, the large number partly because of the enforced seclusion brought on by the pandemic. A few were re-reads but most crossed my path for the first time. Following are the titles of the books I initially read during 2020 and liked the most. Each of them was the subject of a review written by me and published either on Kevin’s Corner, a blog published by Kevin Tipple, or on my own blog. Links to the reviews are provided for more in-depth consideration.

Death at the Medical Board by Josephine Bell (Longmans, Green & Co, 1944)

An elaborately constructed plot set in wartime England.


Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur, 2017)

A wonderful spin on the unexpected witness to a murder trope.


To Wake the Dead by John Dickson Carr (Hamish Hamilton, 1938)

Carr is considered the king of the locked room mystery and this book shows why.


The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben (Grand Central Publishing, 2020)

Lots of subplots and surprises in this book; the final one is completely out of left field.


The Shadow Broker by Trace Conger (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014)

Good thriller, excellent demonstration in how to trace someone who doesn’t want to be found.


The Harassed Hero by Ernest Dudley (Hodder & Stoughton, 1951)

Entertaining story about a hypochondriac who encounters a counterfeiter.


A Murder of Crows by Margaret Duffy (St. Martins Press, 1988; Lume Books, 2015)

Espionage, romance, and mystery, this first book of a long-running series is hard to categorize.


Lesser Evils by Joe Flanagan (Europa Editions, 2016)

Dark and often depressing, this story has intriguing characters and possibly the most unexpected resolution to a subplot I’ve ever seen.


Death of an American Beauty by Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur, 2020)

Wonderful historical mystery, Fredericks has captured the feel of early 1900s New York perfectly.


Summertime, All the Cats Are Bored by Philippe Georget (Europa Editions, 2013)

A highly competent police procedural and the best title of the year.


The Country House Burglar by Michael Gilbert (Harper, 1955)

A fine traditional English village mystery.


The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood (Putnam, 2019)

Part romance, part thriller, I love the characters.


The Man in the White Linen Suit by David Handler (Morrow, 2019)

The latest from Hoagy and Lulu, a celebrity ghostwriter and his basset hound sidekick.


Dead Man’s Mistress by David Housewright (Minotaur, 2019)

Last year’s title from one of my all-time favorite crime fiction writers.


The Elephant of Surprise by Joe Lansdale (Mulholland, 2019)

Hap and Leonard’s latest adventure as private investigators in east Texas.


The Blues Don’t Care by Paul Marks (Down & Out Books, 2020)

A wonderful historical set in Los Angeles during the era of big bands.


The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda (Simon & Schuster, 2019)

A mystery that builds suspense gradually with a zinger in the last two pages.


The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair (Minotaur, 2019)

First title in what looks to be an excellent historical series set in post-war London.


Crush by Phoef Sutton (Prospect Park Books, 2015)

A hard-charging thriller about the son of a Russian Mafia boss who shuns his father’s career choices.


The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon (Penguin, 2008; Orenda, 2019)

Second book in an award-nominated police procedural series set in New Zealand.


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