Top 10 Reads of 2012

Top 10 Reads of 2012The past twelve months were a very busy reading and reviewing year for me. Though I’m sure a few slipped through the cracks and didn’t get counted, in looking back at my records it appears I read 192 books (novels, novellas, and collections) this year, and reviewed 116 of those.

And you know what? There were still a ton of books I wanted to read this year but just didn’t manage to get to by year’s end. (Cash Out by Greg Bardsley and The Dark Room by Steve Mosby are two biggies that leap to mind in particular.)

Given the amount I read this year, and with most of it being top-notch, narrowing things down to a Top 10 list was quite excruciating, as you may imagine.

As I have in years past, to make things a tad more manageable I selected my Top 10 only from full-length novels. And I’ll tell you what, even with the herd already thinned of novellas and short story collections (many of which were fantastic!), picking only ten was still a painfully difficult exercise. So much so, actually, that I’ve cheated a tiny bit and counted two books from one author as only one spot on the list. Of course, having too many fantastic reads to choose from is a “problem” I’ll gladly take any day.

So many authors gave me hours and hours of reading pleasure this year through their amazing abilities, and I am grateful to each and every one of you. For writing what turned out to be my favorite reads of 2012, I am especially grateful to Ian Ayris, Andrez Bergen, Declan Burke, Wiley Cash, Peter Farris, Sam Hawken, Chris F. Holm (for whom I cheated and counted two books from his Collector Series as one spot on the list), Grant Jerkins, Roger Smith and James Thompson. Thank you.


  • Eric Beetner

    January 3, 2013 - 1:06 AM

    So great to see a few favorites on this list (Abide With Me, Last Call For The Living, The Collector series) and a little depressing to see yet more books I need to add to my pile. Elizabeth, you have never steered me wrong so I know everything here is a must read.

    • Elizabeth A. White

      January 3, 2013 - 5:41 PM

      Thanks for the kind words…and sorry (not really 😛 ) to add to your TBR.

  • Ed Lynskey

    January 1, 2013 - 6:23 PM

    Great list. I liked Helsinki White. Thanks
    for the recommendations and your reviews
    on your blog!

    • Elizabeth A. White

      January 2, 2013 - 4:42 PM

      If you haven’t read the rest of the Kari Vaara series you absolutely should. Helsinki White was the third in the series.

  • Andrez Bergen

    January 1, 2013 - 10:37 AM

    Elizabeth, CHEERS, and like Anonymous-9 says… thanks so much for everything you do for writers.

    Abide With Me is superb as Josh says (I’m also looking forward to his next Moses tome!) and how great is Grant Jerkins’ stuff?

    Happy new year and arigato again…

  • Anonymous-9

    January 1, 2013 - 8:50 AM

    Fantastic list Elizabeth! Thanks so much for everything you do for writers.

  • Naomi Johnson

    December 31, 2012 - 9:22 PM

    I hope to read Declan Burke’s latest real soon. And somehow I have not read Adrian McKinty’s last two. No wonder I go around feeling dissatisfied!

    • Elizabeth A. White

      January 3, 2013 - 4:33 PM

      There’s just never enough time, is there? And Slaughter’s Hound is fantastic. You’ll love it.

  • Elizabeth A. White

    December 31, 2012 - 5:16 PM

    I would also like to note that even though it wasn’t officially published this year, Abnormal Man by Grant Jerkins* was absolutely one of the best books I read in 2012. I really hope it finds a publishing home in the coming year so I can include it on my list officially this time next year.

    *Grant has actually made the list three years in a row: The Ninth Step this year, At the End of the Road in 2011, and A Very Simple Crime in 2010. If for some reason you’re not reading his work yet…GET ON IT!

    • Susanne H Wright

      January 5, 2013 - 9:24 AM

      Grant Jerkins will be one of eight authors attending Southern Voices Conference in Hoover, Alabama February 23, 2013. I read one book by each author, but Jerkins At the End of the Road led me to read all three of his published books.

      • Elizabeth A. White

        January 7, 2013 - 12:52 PM

        Thanks for that info. I see that another of my Top 10 authors, Wiley Cash, will be there as well.

        More info on the conference here:

        • Susanne H Wright

          January 7, 2013 - 1:03 PM

          I would have read all of Wiley’s books, but since there is only one….

  • Josh Stallings

    December 31, 2012 - 3:47 PM

    Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    • Elizabeth A. White

      December 31, 2012 - 5:10 PM

      And to you as well, sir! I am really looking forward to the next Moses book from you, as well as your memoirs, in the coming year!

  • Josh Stallings

    December 31, 2012 - 3:46 PM

    A spot on stellar list. This very morning I was sitting with my son having coffee and talking books, i told him he needed to read Ian Ayris. Told him you had recommended Abide With Me when it came out, and that you had never steered me wrong. You have a knack for ferreting out the best books and spreading the word.

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