Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Seven Books I Love

A friend on Facebook tagged me a few weeks ago to name seven books I loved. In no particular order, here are my seven choices and why I loved them.


1. Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane. To me, Mystic River is the perfect crime novel. It starts when three boys are playing in the street, and a big car pulls up. A man who claims to be a cop chooses the one boy who doesn’t live on the street and tells him to get into the car. He does. The story picks up about thirty years later, and how that one incident comes back to haunt them all. By the way, I crossed the Mystic River Bridge, now known as the Tobin Bridge, every day going to college.

2. Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Kruger. A coming of age novel where a middle-age man looks back on his thirteen-year old life and the death of a friend and the family members who shaped his manhood. Beautifully written and evocative of time and place.

3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Again, the main character looks back on his childhood in Afghanistan at a time when the country was on the verge of revolution. It’s a story of friendship, betrayal, and redemption. It’s not an easy read in some places, and I cried for its power.

4. The Lock Artist, by Steve Hamilton. The main character, mute since the age of eight, finds the one thing he can do better than anyone is open locks. Of course, this leads him to a life of crime. He lands in prison at the age of eighteen, which is where he narrates his story. That leads to uncovering the tragedy that rendered him mute. Loved the character because for me, great characters are why I read.


5. The Other Wife, by Michael Robotham. It’s not fair to pick just one of Robotham’s Joe O’Laughlin series, because they’re all terrific, as are his standalone novels. In this one, Joe discovers his parents’ sixty-year marriage isn’t what he thought when his father is brutally attacked, and there’s a strange woman, covered in blood, crying at his bedside. Joe is a psychologist with Parkinson’s Disease. The symptoms progress along with the series, but Joe forges on. Each book stands alone, but if you can, read them in order.

6. L.A. Requiem, by Robert Crais. An Elvis Cole/Joe Pike book, and the first one that highlights Joe, who is one of my favorite characters in crime fiction, along with Will Trent in Karin Slaughter’s series. I was never a big fan of the wise-cracking Cole, preferring the darker Pike. This is one of the few books I’ve read twice, so take that with a grain of quinoa.

7. Iron House, by John Hart. This is a dark story of two brothers discarded by their mother into a freezing river and rescued by hunters. One is a newborn, the other is ten months old; one is weak, the other strong. They wind up in Iron Mountain House for Boys. That violent beginning shapes the divergent paths thrust upon them into adulthood. It’s a haunting, beautifully written story.

Honorable Mention, or a few other books that easily could have been one of the seven: The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd; Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; The Bone Collector, by Jeffrey Deaver, The English Girl, by Daniel Silva, Dixie City Jam, by James Lee Burke, and of course, a book on almost everyone's best list, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

Polly Iyer is the author of nine novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and Indiscretion, and four books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, Backlash and The Scent of Murder. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

9 comments :

  1. I like the brief description of each favorite and appreciate your telling why you chose that book. I'm actually thinking of reading a couple of them based on your comments about the stories. Interestingly, your 7 most favorites as well as the majority of your runners-up are written by men. (This is not a criticism, Polly, but rather a fascination.) :-)

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    1. You know, Linda, I never even thought of that. I think it's because men write darker, which I like, and the few women who do almost go too far to write dark. My honorable mentions include a few women though. :-) I'm not a big fan of women's fiction, so that might account for my lack of women writers.

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  2. Great list, Polly, and I agree with Linda that the brief story summary is really helpful in deciding whether to read the books. Ironically, most of your top seven, and runner up titles are favorites of mine, too.

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    1. Linda's comment was like a dawn breaking. No, no women authors in my very favorites. I'm not a fan of cozies either, so there's that. I'm listening to Iron House again because I could only remember that I loved it. It's even better the second time.

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    2. I have nothing against male authors. They simply write from a different perspective. In fact, I like John Grisham, Dick Francis, and sometimes Nicholas Sparks (although his negative endings can turn me off. People do occasionally not lose the person they love in death). Women, on the other hand, often get a bit too mushy for me. Yes, I like a good love story, but I don't often choose to read a book from the romance genre. I learned early in my writing career that love stories and romances are not the same thing. :-)

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  3. I'm also adding a couple of these books to my Want to Read list. Thanks, Polly!

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  4. I hope you like the ones you choose, Pat.

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  5. A few of those I've read and enjoyed. Based on your descriptions, I see a couple I need to check out. Thanks.

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