My Top Ten Books of 2019

The time has come again to face an impossible task of narrowing the 117 books I have read into a top ten list. As always it was difficult to do but I have managed and I will list them in no particular order. Apart from my favourite book of the year which I will reveal at the end. You can see my review for each book by clicking on the title.

Expectation by Anna Hope.

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman.

The Photographer Of The Lost by Caroline Scott

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

Red Snow by Will Dean

From The City, From The Plough by Alexander Baron

On My Life by Angela Clarke

The Taking Of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

The Girl At The Window by Rowan Coleman

My Book of 2019

Turbulent Wake by Paul. E Hardisty

On My Life by Angela Clarke – Review – First Monday Crime.

About The Book

Jenna knows she didn’t do it. But she is running out of time to prove it… 
A heartbreaking, compulsive thriller with a killer twist! 

Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.

And the police think she did it…

Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:

Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer

But can she do it in time?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I was lucky enough to read a short sampler of this book at last years Theakston’s Crime Festival and knew that this would be a book I would enjoy. 

It was one that made me feel tense when I was reading it, not because of the crime which Jenna had been accused of, but because of what she faced in prison. The pack mentality was terrifying and very believable.

You read  briefly about what happened in the past but most of the novel takes place in the prison. Jenna is increasingly isolated. She doesn’t want people to know what she has been accused of, understandably, there are  prison officers she is wary of and most of all there is Gould. 

It is all believable, how cut backs and lack of money have created staffing problems to the extent that there is a risk to life. The overcrowding, fear, hatred, anger, the inmates who everybody finds intimidating, and also the handful of friends who try to stick together. 

I have read all of Angela’s novels and this is my favourite by a long way. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. 

Angela will be appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday 3rd June with Tim Weaver, Doug Johnstone and  Peter Hanigton.  Details can be found

Trust Me by Angela Clarke – Review.


About the Book

What do you do if you witness a crime…but no-one believes you?
When Kate sees a horrific attack streamed live on her laptop, she calls the police in a state of shock. But when they arrive, the video has disappeared – and she can’t prove anything. Desperate to be believed, Kate tries to find out who the girl in the video could be – and who attacked her.
Freddie and Nas are working on a missing persons case, but the trail has gone cold. When Kate contacts them, they are the only ones to listen and they start to wonder – are the two cases connected?

My Review

Trust Me is the third book in the social media series by Angela Clarke.
Each of the novels have focused on the more worrying sides of social media. In this book, the site featured is Periscope. It is another that I have never used but one that I do understand. Sort of.
This is a series that I am up to date with, an unusual occurrence for me with all the books that are published. I have enjoyed getting to know the characters, seeing them settle into their roles and changing their views as they learn. I have seen all their strengths and many faults, these police officers are more human than some that are seen in fiction. They also have complicated relationships.
Out of the three books that have been published this is my favourite one so far. Partly because Periscope is less complicated than other social media sites but mainly because I now know these characters. My favourites, Saunders and Chips have more of a presence and there is less focus on Freddie and Nas’s past.
Freddie has grown on me over the three books. Her desire to do the right thing isn’t always the correct way from a policing point of view and she struggles at times with the choices that she makes and getting into trouble for them. The attitude of some of the police towards her role was convincing. I can believe that there are some officers who think that civilian officers are not important to an investigation. I read the novel quickly, the chapters were very short and there were multiple narrators. Some accounts were upsetting, especially the ones that were anonymous and some were intimidating.
I hope that this isn’t the final book in the series, part of me feels that it has been brought to a close. I hope I’m wrong. I don’t think of it as an intense crime series if it was televised it would be more like No Offence than Line of Duty. Its great fun, even though the subject matters are serious.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via NetGalley.

Watch Me by Angela Clarke.


About the Book

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.
This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.
DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

My Review

Watch Me is the second book in the series that features Nas and Freddie. It could be read as a standalone but I would advise that you read the first book Follow Me before reading. They are strongly linked.
Both Nas and Freddie are emotionally damaged from the events that happened in Follow Me. Nas has moved to a different department within the police where she feels that she hasn’t been welcomed by all that are in it. Freddie is unemployed and back home with her parents trying to forget and recover from an injury she received. When the sister of Nas’s superior officer is abducted she asks Freddie for help.
I did enjoy Follow Me last year but liked this one a lot more. Both characters are more developed and more likeable. I know nothing at all about the social media site Snapchat which features in the book, but I have heard about the damage that such sites can cause when a user is so inclined. Some of the scenes described regarding the abuse that Chloe received were quite upsetting and totally believable.
Nas doesn’t make life easy for herself. Remorse over events eight years earlier and struggling to get past the young, pretty, female and ethnic police officer image and prove that she was good at her job. You could understand to some degree the frustration that her fellow officers felt. Freddie, despite her injury, emotional problems and civilian status is much more level headed and practical. I thought the ending was very clever and different to what I expected it to be.
A good second book in the social media series and I hope it continues. I can certainly see potential for more books and I’m sure it is one I will enjoy keeping up with.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via NetGalley.

Follow Me

imageFollow Me is a crime novel that focuses on social media and how influential it has become but also a reminder of how dangerous it can be if you interact with the wrong person.
At times I found it bizarre, I do use social media but not to the extent that Freddie did. I wasn’t that sure what some of it was, there is a lot more about than just Facebook and Twitter. But I did know a lot more about it than the police that had to find the murderer. I found it a bit unbelievable that the police were so inept, the only one who showed any capabilities was Nas and she was guided a lot by Freddie.
I have seen a few reviews where the reader had failed to connect with Freddie but I quite liked her. She had a tough childhood and something happened with her and Nas when they were teenagers that she still felt bad about years later. You do find out what this was towards the end of the book. She was trying to get a paid job in journalism with little success and was working in a coffee shop doing a job that she hated.
If you like your crime fiction to be the usual police procedural then this novel probably wouldn’t be for you. But if you fancy something a little different, amusing but still gritty then give it a try.