In the December 2017 newsletter I asked the readers – what was the best book or series you read in 2017.

The responses are below. If you wish to subscribe to the newsletter, send a blank e-mail to awlist3922173@aweber.com

Sharon: I have been reading the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. I started out reading them off and on in order then I decided, why am I doing this? just get down and read them all. I’m not finished yet, but will be making this my goal. I love the character and the continuity of the stories. Mr. Connelly brings Harry’s character alive to me and makes him a vulnerable person who struggles with himself for decisions he has made.

Patrice: I started two new series this year and was laughing all the way through them. The Crazy Rich Asian series by Kevin Kwan is completely unique from any books I have ever read. This story is about a Chinese American who finds out that her boyfriend from China is from an old and powerful family and is incredibly wealthy. It is one dramatic, surprising and confusing event after another and I highly recommend it. There is also a mystery involving her family ancestry as well. I also read recently that a movie is being made from the first book. I am crossing my fingers is will be as entertaining as the books.

The other series I started is Adrian McKinty’s Detective Sean Duffy series. It is stories of Duffy’s time in Ireland in the turbulent 1980’s. Sean is the type of detective that drinks too much and fumbles his cases and does it with the sharp wit you might expect in a comic series. The 80’s in Ireland was not a place for comedy. McKinty’s books are serious stories with a character that doesn’t take his life serious and it makes for a rare and delightful read.

Peggy: It’s a tie vote for the best or most memorable series I’ve read this year.

William Ryan’s Alexei Korolev series – Holy Thief, The Darkening Field (Bloody Meadow), The Twelfth Department – perfectly captures the haunting paranoia of pre-WWII Stalinist Russia where denial of truth is endemic, people disappear in the night and one wrong word could send our pragmatic policeman to the same fate or worse.

Robert Harris’ Cicero Trilogy – Imperium, Conspirata (Lustrum), Dictator – is a historical triumph, particularly relevant in today’s parlous polotical atmosphere in the United States. Thoroughly grounded in historical fact and gloriously fleshed, this great orator and statesman witnesses the political machinations of Pompey, Crassus, Julius Caesar, Marc Antony & Octavian (later Augustus) – the movers & shakers of his day – and, thereby, the demise of his beloved Republic and the birth of a dictatorship and Empire.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana
We learn from history that we don’t learn from history. Desmond Tutu

Hope I haven’t bored you.

And maybe someday I’ll understand why books are retitled for US consumption as if we’re all deficient idiots. Personally, Bloody Meadow and Lustrum are better titles that those listed above.

Donald: Great fun to read is the ‘David Cavanaugh’ series by Sydney Bauer. Always a twist.
Just when you think you figured it out… you’re wrong.

Carol: Thanks for sharing the photo of you and your family. Hope you all have a lovely Christmas in Scotland!!!

I look forward to your monthly newsletter – always pick up a new book or new author from your suggestions.

This month’s subject is near and dear to my heart and I would like to share some of my favorites with you. I have listed the author and the first book in the series. Yes, they are political novels which I seem to be hooked on this year:

L.D. Beyer – In Sheep’s Clothing
Jack Mars – Any Means Necessary
Mikael Carlson – iCandidate

Vince Flynn – Term Limits and Transfer of Power. I could not put them down and read the first 4 of 14 in a row.

Elizabeth: I loved The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz in the Millennium series started by Stieg Larsson.

Janet: OHHHH I love your communication. This is the first time I received it.

Favorite series this year: Louis Penny’s Armand Gamache Three Pines series. I read each book as soon as I could get my hands on it. Even paid full price at B&N! Then I passed the first book onto my younger sister….she read it and asked for more! I read the whole series and want more like it. The characters are wonderful.

Pat: Well you asked and I reply!! One of the best books I have read this year is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance… Anyone who knows who Phaedrus is will love this book! I had no idea who Phaedrus was until I read this book and it is very mystifying. The story basically takes place on a father/son motorcycle trip through the Dakotas and it is very fascinating! Robert M Pirsig tells a great story about the bonding of said father and son. This was a really great book!

Sandra: Soooo funny…when I read “Air Force vet” I’m thinking…cool! the Air Force has a veterinarian. Yep, I’m just in from farm/barn chores…. The family photo is fabulous, great idea. In process of relocating to new to me farm and not much time for reading but I always return to Jeannie McMullen. She’s my “comfort read”, I’ve read her so many times and know the story well but it’s still a comfort read when I’m harried. Merry Christmas to you and yours and God speed on your trip to Scotland. I was in Edinburgh for a day in June and want to return to visit Ft. Williams (so I can ride the train), Skye and Iona. My kith and kin Also hale from Scotland.

Shirley & Abe: I love the Louise Perry novels featuring Quebec detective Gamache. They are not only good, intelligent
stories but a good description of Montreal or Quebec, even mentioning familiar restaurants in both cities.

Katrina: By far the best series I have read this year is Outlander, all eight books!

Pam: The best book I read in 2017 was Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.

Doug: The best “new” series I discovered this year is the Roy Grace series by Peter James. I started with Dead Simple (written in 2005) and am now half way through the 13 book series. This will appeal to fans of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch books. They all have great plots, a good dose of humour, and are nice “meaty” books…….most are well over 500 pages…..dig in and enjoy……

Clark: Thank you for providing a great service ….. now you have me hooked on the John Wells series.

Judy: My favorite series (that continued in 2017) is the Jefferson Tayte genealogy mysteries by Steve Robinson. I am a family historian/genealogist who has loved mysteries since my early teens (starting with Agatha Christie, of course!). These are interesting stories that also explore some very interesting US and world history.

Mike: I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to just one so here are a few.
YOU – Carloine Kepnes (creepy stalker book – I actually listened to the audio book performed brilliantly by Santino Fontana)
THE BLACK ECHO by Michael Connelly (finally started the Harry Bosch series though this is the only one I have read so far)
THE FORCE by Dan Winslow (if I had to pick just one, it would be this one – intense book about dirty cops in NYC – absolutely riveting)
THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss (fantasy book – very long but a fantastic read)
A MAN CALLED OVE by Frederick Bachman (great character piece)
WONDER by R.J. Palacio (tearjerker feel good book really well done)
SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult (she tackles sensitive issues very well)

I also read 4 or 5 of the Jack Reacher books right there in the middle of the series. They were pretty good but not great. Hopefully it gets better. I am reading Gone Tomorrow right now.

Kate: First off I have to tell you that I love your website. It has great information and great recommendations. As for my favourite series I am embarrassed to admit that until this year I had never even heard of Linwood Barclay despite him being Canadian. A friend lent me a copy of his book No Time to Say Goodbye. I was hooked. I could not put it down staying up until 4.00 a.m. to finish it. I have read every single one of his books and this morning I just bought Parting Shot. The man is amazing. Highly recommend and definitely my number one favourite series.
Merry Christmas to you and your family and hope that the trip to the old country is not too difficult. My people come from Scotland as well!

Alan: RE: Douglas Preston, I HAVE to recommend highly his non fiction book:

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story
by Douglas Preston

from Amazon: NAMED A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017
#1 New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller!

A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world’s densest jungle.

————————————————————–

Did you know Douglas Preston is the brother of:

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus
by Richard Preston

one of my favorite non-fiction books ever!

Tom: Hello. I have read some decent books this year, some of them recommended by you, especially by Mike Greaney. I am currently reading “The Saboteur” by Andrew Gross and finding myself liking it very much. This is a WWII book about the Allies trying to attempt the destruction of the heavy water plant in Norway used by the Germans to make a possible nuclear device. I love WWII spy type novels and one of my favorites is “Jackdaws” by Ken Follett. I sometimes hate to admit it, but I am fascinated by Hitler’s Germany and how the world could be so gullible and unassuming. Take care and Happy Holidays.

Deborah: Reluctantly, in November, I read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles…amazingly it is now my favorite book of the year. Normally I am a bigger fan of books such as the Pendergast Series or Jo Nesbo, but Gentleman held my attention throughout and could not wait to continue every day. It was definitely 5 stars on Goodreads!

crazeedi: I do read all of Donna Leon’s Commisario Brunetti books. They are excellent! Loved that they don’t necessarily an happily ever after.

Tisha: My favorite this year is Christopher Pike Thirst. It has 5 books in the series but it was a great read all the way to the end. After reading this series I have bought several of his other books and they just keep getting better and better.

Ray: Glad you had a fun trip to Wisconsin. Hope you stayed warm.

I’ve read a lot of Lee Child’s books and have enjoyed them a lot. Reacher is an amazing character. However, the last two I read (not the latest ones) I was very disappointed in. One had a very dumb ending. (my opinion, of course) The other one I got sick and tired of hearing how great Reacher is. After the first chapter of Reacher’s praise I dumped it. Haven’t read another since. There’s many good books out there.

Yes, Alex Berenson’s are great. I’ve read all of them and always look forward to the next one. Speaking of Berenson, the books, “The Ghost Agent” and “The Ghost War” are the same books with different titles. Is that allowed? Seems a little devious to me. What do you think?

“Jericho Quinn” sounds interesting. I’ve not read any of Marc Cameron’s books but will give him a try. Thank you.

Yeah, movie makers usually have a difficult time keeping true to a book for the sake of action and many other things. M. Connelly’s “Bosch” movies are also a little lacking. I do like Jussi Adler- Olsen’s, “Dept. Q” movies. Not as good as the books, but over all a good effort. A new book coming out soon.

My wife and I went to Scotland a few years back and loved it!! I have a castle there(not really)called Crawford Castle. We thought about moving in, but decided it needed too many repairs.

I haven’t read any Preston books for awhile. Maybe I’ll get back to him.

I read “Blue Edge Of Midnight” sometime ago. I liked it a lot. Also, “A Killing Night” I also need to get back to Jonathon King.

I have not read any John Green. I’ll give him a try. Thank you for your recommendations.

Best book all year was easy for me to choose. Dan Brown’s, “Origin”, by far. Series are a little more difficult. I’m probably with you on Alex Berenson. The “Bosch” books are always good. Adler- Olsen’s are great. I also like Liz Carlyle, the MI6 agent by Stella Rimington.

Regina: I started a couple of series this year that I’m really enjoying! The first one is Michael Lister’s John Jordon series with the word “Blood” in every title. Jordon is a prison chaplain in the south that used to be a police investigator. He left that job after his marriage and a big case he was working on in Atlanta both went south. He has a history of alcoholism as well. When murders in his prison take place he is called upon to help with the investigations.

He is a very likable character who struggles with his own demons while trying to genuinely help the inmates. There are a lot of books in the series, but I’ve only read the first two. I’m trying not to rush so I can make them last. I guess my interest in this topic stems from the fact that I have recently become involved in a local prison ministry myself.

The second series I’ve gotten into is Orson Scott Card’s “Ender” series. The first book is Ender’s Game, which they made a movie of just a few years ago. If you read that book then there are multiple series you can go into that follow Ender, his siblings, and his battle crew along different story lines. The one I’m finishing up is the Quartet that includes Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind. His writing is very philosophically deep and entertaining at the same time. When I finish this series I plan on reading the Shadow series.

I always look forward to your monthly newsletter and really appreciate the service Order of Books provides.

Rhea: This year I read a lot of books by my favorite authors – Allison Brennan, Alex Kava, J.T. Ellison, Harlan Coben, Karin Slaughter, Erica Spinder, Wendy Corsi Staub, Lisa Gardner and Lisa Unger – but I also discovered new authors and books that I loved.

I agree with you about B. A. Paris and The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors. They were both suspenseful and hard to put down.
I also enjoyed Mary Kubica’s books – “Pretty Baby,” “Don’t You Cry,” “The Good Girl” and now I’m reading “Every Last Lie.”
Clare Mackintosh’s “I Let You Go” was amazing and “I See You” was pretty good. The books by Julia Heaberlin are also worth checking out: “Lie Still,” “Playing Dead” and “Black-Eyed Susans.” Lastly, Wendy Walker’s “All is Not Forgotten” was really good.

Sharon: I started the Charlie Fox series by Zoe Sharpe–I’ve read 9 books so far. Lee Child has been quoted as saying if Jack Reacher were a woman, he’d be Charlie Fox–I think that gives a pretty good idea of the gritty shape of this series. Without giving too much of a spoiler, in a couple of the later books, a character from Jack Reacher’s world appears in Charlie Fox’s world–a fun and believable thriller “crossover”!

WV: The best book so far this year that I have read is a Jake Grafton Series, The Armageddon File by Stephen Coonts. But I have yet to read the latest Lee Child’s/Jack Reacher The Midnight Line. I have also acquired but not head read Tom Clancy’s Power and Empire by Marc Cameron. Even though The Armageddon File is the best so far, I will not be surprised if The Midnight Line or Power and Empire bump it from #1 on my list as favorite reads of 2017. Might I also add that the Splinter Cell series has been an awesome find this year.

Sandy: This was a hard one. I chose John Grisham……..Camino Island.
It was a light quick read that had mystery……humor…….manipulation……and a great plot.It was totally not like any other book Grisham has written.
I thourally enjoyed it.

Susanne: Thank you for your monthly reports. I love getting your email and knowing what is fresh and who to try. I get tired of reading the same authors but I am disappointed at times trying new authors.
My favourite series is James Patterson all of them, Iris johansen, and Patricia Cornwell I can say which was my favourite that I read this year. So I don’t lose out on my life for a while I am just going read single books. I will try your books off of your list.
So excited to hear Nora Roberts has another series but I am still tying to find all the books in her old series. If she keeps writing books like she does I never catch up.

Lora: Best series I have read this year is Lisa Scottoline’s Rosato & Associates novels. Great stories and surprise endings!

Pamela: December already?! Can’t believe how fast 2017 has gone. That being said, best series I’ve read in 2017? Hmm, tough but I’ll stick with the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. I love Connelly’s writing style and now that I’ve read 13 of the series, I feel as if I know Harry and he’s become an old friend.

Have a wonderful holiday Graeme and all the best in 2018!

lkalatimer: Best series I finished this year was by far the John Wells series by Alex Berensen. Totally agree with you. I am now in the middle of Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben and loving it, but it is not finished so cannot give it as my favorite this year. Maybe next year. I have waited a long time picking up the Bolitar series here and there until I finally got them all, then I start the series.. Nothing I hate more than starting a series and then not being able to find it all. I buy most of my books second hand from Thrift Books ( a great shout out to them for having such good service and selection) and pick some up at second hand stores. Only books I buy in hardback and new are Mary Higgins Clark, Vince Flynn (Kyle Mills) and Robin Cook. Those are my three must haves. Enjoyed your letter again this month and will definitely put Marc Cameron on my list.

Leslie: I really enjoyed 2 series this year. The Myron Bolitar series from Harlan Coben keeps me coming back..I also enjoyed his young adult spin off about his nephew Mickey. I must admit that Myron’s best friend Win won my heart! The second series is the Andy Carpenter series by David a Rosenfelt. I have a soft spot for dogs and so does the author. Andy is a great character. Even through the tension of the story he keeps you laughing!
PS..I love your emails. Thanks for introducing me to some great new authors…& doing all the hard work for us. Enjoy Scotland, one of my favorite countries ❤️

LInda: Guiltily, I am going to say The Kyler Collection by Siobhan Davis. It came up in a newsletter as an ARC and I could not resist. It is very well written, and kept my interest despite the fact that many of the main characters are in high school. It is written as if they are at least college age. But I guess that is my age showing. I think the kids these days are much more sophisticated then I was at that age. So, I think the author is on the mark. I will definitely read more by the author after having been introduced to her by this series.

Kona Girl: Aloha
among the 100+ books I’ve read this year, following are the ones I enjoyed the most:

The Three-Year Swim Club, Checkoway
Madam Secretary: A Memoir, Albright
Honor Killing, Stannard
A Man Called Ove, Backman
Britt-Marie Was Here, Backman
The Badass Librarians of Timbuktu, Hammer
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, Albom
The Motion of Puppets, Donohue
My Sisters Bones, Ellwood
That Used to be Us, Friedman
Y is for Yesterday, Grafton
Exit West, Hamid
Before the Fall, Hawley
Little Fires Everywhere, Ng
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, Zevin

As far as series, Grafton of course, Louise Penny – good to read these in order, Stephen White, Alexander McCall-Smith, Bill Fitzhugh, Deborah Crombie

Johnny: You asked for the best book series that we read in 2017. I don’t know whether this is the Best, but I really enjoyed the Midnight, Texas book series by Charlaine Harris. I started the first one, Midnight Crossroad over Christmas vacation in 2016 and picked up the next two books, Day Shift and Night Shift this year. These books are fun and Harris’ light style seems to agree with my personality.

Judy: I couldn’t get enough of J.D. Robb this year.

Anne: I would have to say that my favorite book this year was “Glass Houses” by Louise Penny.
Having read everything she has written,it was like having a visit with old friends and a mystery
thrown in for intrique. She continues to wow e with her writing ability.

Joe: By far the best series of my reading this year has been by Craig Russell beginning with Lennix.

Gene: Best book this year John Sandford Deep Freeze. Audio Book Format.

Brenda: I found the Slough House series by Mick Herron and have loved every one of them! Starring spooks who have committed some spy faux pas and been demoted to desk duty and mundane tasks, the books have a bit of humor and snarkiness that drew me right in. Great characters and interesting plots had me picking up book after book. Waiting for the next one now.

Carol: The best series of books I’ve read this year are Daniel Silva’s “Gabriel Allon” spy thrillers. You never know what direction the action will take and the occupations of some of characters make the content that much more interesting….two thumbs up!

Sharon: Best series: Harmony books by Phillip Gulley!

Taryn: Hi Graeme, love your newsletter & look forward to reading it each month. My favorite series I read this year has been David Fulmer’s Valentin St. Cyr series of early 20th Century New Orleans, LA mysteries. The series begins with “Chasing the Devil’s Tail” & is followed with five excellent books one which came out recently. Fulmer is an excellent writer & you find yourself walking down those dark streets & alleys of New Orleans right along with the Creole detective as he hunts down the latest miscreant who dared disturb the status quo of “Storyville”. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

Doris: always look forward to and enjoy your emails.
I read in german and english, mainly crime/thrillers and have to recommend Nele Neuhaus books in the Kirchhoff /Bodenstein series, I devour them !
also the Marthaler series by Jan Seghers which I can’t find on your website.
I also like Graham Hurley’s DI Faraday books, Camilla Lackberg’s Hestrom/Falck etc etc I could go on and on about Crime series .

Susan: Hello,
I did not read any series this year but the best book I have read was A Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin. I am very excited to see the movie soon.
Another great book was The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter, I could not put it down.
Have a great holiday!
Thanks for the sites and newsletters.

Tammy: I love getting your monthly newsletter! The Christmas card pic of your family is priceless – will have to try it!

I, too, really liked Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown by B.A. Paris. I also liked The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena, but I need to try A Stranger – thanks for the suggestion.

I also really liked Two By Two (Nicholas Sparks), Beartown and A Man Called Ove (both by Fredrik Backman), The Identicals (Elin Hilderbrand), Don’t Let Go (Harlan Coben), The Night the Lights Went Out (Karen White), The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Gerald Blaine), Five Days in November (Clint Hill), Same Beach Next Year (Dorothea Benton Frank), The Trouble with Lexie (Jesica Anya Blau), What We Saw (Aaron Hartzler), Weekends w/Daisy (Sharron Kahn Luttrell), Oceans Apart and Love Story (both by Karen Kingsbury) and Stories I Tell My Friends (Rob Lowe). And I think one of the stand out books for me was Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia Williams – Definitely worth checking out!

Deb: Let me be Another to recommend Louise Penny Inspector Garmache. I will be so sad when Im finished with the series.

Norman: James Lee Burke’s Dave Rubicheaux is a very engaging character. Plenty of realistic action, with underlying pyschological themes. Much more believable than Reacher, IMHO. Burke is definitely my favorite author.

Phyllis: The best series I’ve read this year is the “Biscuit McKee” series by Fran Stewart. Since I live in Georgia, I try to support local authors where possible. They are not always my “cup of tea”, but Fran Stewart’s work has found a place in my heart. These books are mysteries of a sort, but more a life lesson in small town living. And the fact that the protagonist has a cat that speaks through the author is just icing on the cake! I hope Ms. Stewart writes more of this series.

Shirley: First off, I want you to know how much I enjoy the newsletter each month. It is crammed full of interesting information, especially about new-to-me authors (which is as necessary to me as breathing) and the comments from others.

Choosing the best book or series is difficult but one that comes quickly to mind is Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles. It was third in the Natchez series and also one of the many Penn Cage books. lles is a good writer, I think, although he can be a bit wordy sometimes.

I also discovered another author this year, Liana Moriarty. She is Australian and I think an exceptional writer. These two authors are about as far apart as genre can get, I think. I devoured all Moriarty’s books and now am waiting for the next one. Not patiently.

I also read Louise Penny’s newest, Glass Houses. Excellent read.

I have reached a period in my life when if a book doesn’t grab me early or something is not quite right, I don’t read it. There are just too many good books out there to waste time on the others.

Thank you again for Order of Books!!!!!

Sandra: I’d like to recommend a wonderful mystery series for all of you looking for an exciting female heroine. The author is Susan Elia MacNeal creator of the Maggie Hope Mystery series. And if you are like me and require large print, they can be found on Amazon.

Sel: Good Day Graeme,

First nice Christmas Card. Loved the first Home Alone movie and then they went on… The best series I read all year was the tale of the Baudelaire children, A series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicker aka Daniel Handler. I laughed my way through all of the books and will be reading the last in the series this month. I have this habit of reading children’s books when life is a bit gloomy and it always helps to perk me up.

Enjoy your trip to Scotland and an early Merry Christmas.

Richard: The Brit in the FBI series by Catherine Coulter is excellent

Rosemary: I loved the House of Night series by P. C. Cast. If you like the Harry Potter stories, you will enjoy these books.

I started with the first book and because it was written in 2007, I was able to binge on the entire series and even catch up with her latest book in the series, “Loved”.

The characterization is so good. The story lines continue to add surprises. It is a great series to chase the winter blues away. If you are a fan of P. C. Cast, you will enjoy this series.

My all time favorite series is Sarah J. Maas, “A Court of Thorn and Roses”. She just blows me away with her characterization from page 1. Her characters and story lines are so complex. I cannot get enough of Sarah J. Maas.

N. Stevenson: Hello,

I love the Quinn Colson series that Ace Atkins writes. I think there are 6 books now, it starts with “The Ranger.”

Colson is a former Army Ranger from Tibbehah County in northern Mississippi. In the first book he goes back to his small southern hometown to attend the burial of his uncle Hamp, the long-time sheriff of Jericho. Shenanigans abound.

Atkins is a strong writer, capable of narrative fiction much deeper than the Quinn Colson series, most noticeable in “Crossroad Blues” his Nick Travers series. He occasionally flexes his literary muscles in The Ranger series (“I’m not shy, but I draw the line at pregnant teens” is one of Quinn’s early lines, and to me demonstrated Atkins’ ability to portray a strong moral character without blustering about Faulkner-like.)

Colson is NOT Jack Reacher. Nothing he does is superhuman, and his lifestyle is unremarkable. Still, Atkins has created a strong protagonist, one the reader can’t help but admire.

The cast of recurring characters is complex, a black woman deputy who was the captain of the Rifle Shooting Team at Ole Miss; a grizzled barber who served three tours in Vietnam; a fellow Afghanistan vet who lost an arm to an IED and struggles with drink but (with no schmaltz) makes his way back; an old high school girlfriend recognizable to every man who reads the series as THAT girl; a mother who worships Elvis; an estranged father who was a Hollywood stunt driver, most famous for the creek-jumping scene in Smoky and the Bandit; and a deliciously greasy-evil antagonist a generation past Quinn, who owns most of Jericho (including the strip club) and manages to make enough trouble to interest the FBI.

Atkins was pegged by the Robert Parker estate to take over when this popular author died, and he publishes under that name also.

A fun, well-written, engaging series.

Jean: The best series I read this year is the Alan Lewrie books by Dewey Lambdin. Alan progresses through the years from when he’s a young midshipman learning his trade at the end of a rope starter. He’s up to what, 21 books now? Anyway, I just finished the most recent one and can’t wait for the next. Starts with THE KING’S COAT just before the American Revolution and so far, Alan has made it to the middle of the Napoleonic Wars (Wellington is in Spain by the end of the most recent book). It’s Hornblower, but a bit more lively (note: lots and lots of adult situations), and an outline of all the major parts of a working sailing ship is in the front of most books, which I found very helpful. During the series, you get a glimpse of many of the major players like Nelson and Wellington, as well as some real life losers, and yes, they really did do stuff that stupid…history is fun!

Highly recommended if you like anything from the Age of Sail.

Kay: I enjoyed the David Wolf series by Jeff Carson, I think this was a recommendation from you.. Thanks.

Fredericka: Wow! I am so pea-green with envy. A trip to Scotland is on my bucket list and in spite of being jealous, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and hope the trip isn’t too much for the younger ones.

Part of my fascination for Scotland has come from reading The Lewis Trilogy this year. Peter May’s descriptions of the scenery and the weather on the Isle of Lewis made me feel like I was right there. I could feel the wind and the icy chills. I could see the water and the shore; the mountains, sunsets and sunrises. So, in addition to wanting to see the mainland, I am now crazy about the Outer Hebrides.

Of course I read Louise Penny’s Glass Houses and can’t wait for her next one. So, in answer to your question, I loved the trilogy and am thrilled that I found it. That said, Louise Penny continues to write the very best, in my humble opinion. So, Glass Houses it is.

MaryLou: I think you recommended the Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn. I started reading them and couldn’t put them down. They had the action/suspense going from start to finish and I appreciated the fact that he didn’t use the “F” word in every sentence. I recommended this author/series to many of my friends.
It was a shame that he died because we lost a great writer. Kyle Mills finished Flynn’s last book. It was good but didn’t reach Flynn’s level, however, I have read several of Mills books.
I enjoy your news letter because it has put me in touch with some great books to read.

Karen: My favorite series is the DI Helen Grace series by MJ Arlidge. The latest book is “Love Me Not” She is a strong character and the books are riveting.

Deb: You asked us to let you know what the best book was that we read this year. I have to say without a doubt for me it was The Fireman by Joe Hill. I haven’t had a book “grab” me like that in several years. Harper Willowes, the main character in the book has now become my favorite book character of all time, replacing Odd Thomas, who up until Harper, had been my favorite for several years. I felt as if I knew Harper and the other people personally, and I actually cried when the book ended; I didn’t want it to! It was exciting, sad, scary, tense, beautiful–all of these emotions were captured in this book as well as some others. The book was about an apocalypse, but it was a very different kind of mass epidemic than most of the apocalyptic books written today, and I couldn’t wait until I had time to get back to it and see what happened next. I became so attached to the people in the book, I felt they were family; I cared about them very much, and rooted for the best outcome for them. I’ve read Joe Hill’s other books and had already believed he was talented, but this book by far proved he ranks up there with the best.

Connie: Author: Louise Penny First Book: Still Life
Series of 13 following Inspector Gamache solving different crimes which grips you from page one. Series is based in Canada

I have read all and am now on #13 and have thoroughly enjoy every book.

David: The best series I’ve read in the last several years is Martin Walker’s “Bruno, Chief of Police ” series, set in France, and rich in local color, and French political history. The chief also leads an exciting social life with a variety of ladies who come and go throughout the series. Violence is limited, plots are intricate, and knowledge of locale and history profound.

Nancy: Louise Penny’s inspector Gamache

Barbara: It was the Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer. I would finish one book and have to hurry out and get the next one.

Pat: My absolute favorite series is the J. D. Robb “In Death” series. Actually it’s what got me into reading series many years ago. A very close 2nd is Sue Grafton or James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series. I’ve enjoyed a few other series but so many times I skip or miss a book and am lost because so many series each subsequent book is based on a previous book. I would love to see a list of series where this is not the case. I do a lot of audio books while knitting and my library where I get many of my audio books will skip around a series or they will start in the middle of a series, if the books are dependent on previous books I am totally lost. Also my sister in law is blind due to macular degeneration and audio books are her only form of entertainment, it gets very difficult finding books to download that don’t have this interdependency.

Audrey: I have many series I enjoy but must mention two: the Fiona Griffiths series about a Welsh detective, and Jo Nesbo’s series about Norwegian detective Harry Hole.

Fiona Griffiths has Cotard’s syndrome. She thinks she’s dead — which gives her a unique perspective. The books are (bravely) written in the first person and they are spectacular.

As for Nesbo, I was lucky to see him speak this past year, at a library event. He said he always expected to continue the Harry Hole series (though readers didn’t know). In the interim he’s written an excellent standalone, The Son, and started a news series — but this year returned to Harry with The Thirst — which was amazing!

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Best Book/Series Read in 2017