Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book 'Em: Lamar "L.R." Giles's Top Mystery Reads of 2011

It's my turn to tell you my fav mystery reads of 2011. As the resident genre hopper, I read a ton of stuff this year from thrillers, to epic fantasies, to bust-a-gut comedies. Alas, that means my PURE mystery numbers might be a little low. But rest assured, what I did read is more than worthy of the list.

Note: these may have debuted in earlier years, but I read them in 2011.

Reality Check / Peter Abrahams, HarperTeen 2010

This is a slow burn. It comes off as a syrupy sweet love tale between two kids from opposite sides of the track and shifts into an intense missing person's tale halfway through. Our hero Cody drives an old beater cross-country to track down his missing love, Clea, at the prestigious prep school she was sentenced to for the offense of being with him. Talk about a guilt trip.

The Boys Are Back in Town/ Christopher Golden, Bantam Dell 2004

This one is a genre hopper, just like me. Mystery, Fantasy, a bit of horror. Heck, it's only half-YA. Will James is an adult journalist who starts to notice the world--his world--is changing. People who should be alive suddenly aren't, having passed away more than decade earlier. Friends are changing before his eyes, becoming shells of their former selves. Someone is messing with the past. Using dark magic to travel back in time to his high school days, Will must work with the younger version of himself to unmask the mystery sorcerer who is changing the future and save his remaining friends from a wicked fate that is just an incantation away.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone/ Laini Taylor, Little, Brown 2011

So, strictly speaking, you might consider this a straight fantasy. I beg to differ. There are plenty of mysterious things going on here, with the biggest mystery being: WHAT is Karou? The girl with the blue hair and the name that means "hope" was raised by monsters, was born with an eye tattooed on each palm, and runs strange errands all over the world. Errands that, sometimes, make people want to shoot her. It's quite possible that I'm cheating by including this on the list, but I PROMISE you that you won't begrudge me this if you give this book a try.

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