Sum Buks

Some of my favourites from the (many, many) books I’ve read this year.

Spoonbenders, by Daryl Gregory – An utterly charming, quirky and funny story of a family of American psychics and flimflam artists. Beautifully-written and warm-hearted.

Gnomon, by Nick Harkaway – A genuine achievement, this one. Brain-wrenchingly complex, ambitious, and propelled by righteous fury about the current state of the world. I take my hat off to Harkaway; I could never land a book like this in a million years.

The Wounded Kingdom Trilogy, by RJ Barker – I’m not the world’s biggest fan of fantasy, but these are wonderful books. Complex, full of wholly-realised characters, and utterly stuffed with antlers. Essential. Read them.

The Slow Horses novels, by Mick Herron – If John le Carre was writing his Circus novels in the Star Trek mirror universe, this is what they would look like. Jackson Lamb, sort of an antimatter George Smiley, is one of the great literary creations.

Soho Dead, by Greg Keen – This is a very nice piece of Soho noir, with a genuinely moreish sense of wry humour. Liked this one a lot.

Borne, by Jeff VanderMeer – Huge, technicolour, and batshit crazy and still, in places, almost unbearably touching. A masterpiece.

The Price You Pay, by Aiden Truhen – There is nothing else quite like this book. It’s fast, funny, extravagantly violent, and mad as fuck, and I loved it.

The Willow By Your Side, by Peter Haynes – I think this is one of the most assured debuts I’ve read in quite a while. A dark fantasy of English myth and landscape sparked by a handful of broken lives. As if Ben Wheatley had written Mythago Wood. Splendid book, it really is.

The Real-Town Murders, by Adam Roberts – I’ve thought, for a long time, that Roberts is one of our best and most interesting writers, and this one doesn’t disappoint, a madcap collision of virtual reality, post-scarcity, panoption surveillance and Alfred Hitchcock.

Dogs Of War, by Adrian Tchaikovsky – Can’t praise this one highly enough. Rex is, indeed, a Good Dog.

Moskva and Nightfall Berlin, by Jack Grimwood – Great, great espionage novels set around the time of the fall of the Soviet Union but propelled by the dark weight of history. More of these, please.

Rosewater, by Tade Thompson – This is just a magnificent book. I’m in awe of it.

I’ve probably missed some books out, and I’ll probably add to this as they occur to me, but that’ll do for now.

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