Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Favorite Debuts

I went back and forth on how to do this one. Should I just include debuts that came out this year or all debut novels I read? I decided on the latter since my other lists have included books published prior to 2013. This year I read 21 debuts (a new high, topping 18 in 2010). Of those there was only 1 I didn't finish, so they were all very good debuts. These are the ones that were favorites of that group. I'll definitely be watching closely for more from these folks.
Country Hardball by Steve Weddle - I've just finished this one, so you'll get the review soon. It's very unusual for a collection of short stories to appear on my end of the year favorites lists...primarily because I don't read many. But this one is exceptional. The interconnection of the stories telling an overall story of a Southern small town is engaging, lyrical and authentic. Great, great book!

The Qualities of Wood by Mary Vensel White - This one technically debuted last year as an ebook; it will have its print debut next year, so I read it sandwiched in the middle. Another authentic look at a small town full of colorfully dimensional characters. The writing is beautiful and the atmosphere is rich. Hope there's lots more to come from White.

The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne - The depth of this plot is suspenseful and beautiful. The dual storylines are handled deftly and the characters are stunningly memorable. For me the little added bonus on this one is seeing the workings of the British legal system. Ballantyne integrates them without weighing down the story but still providing a birds-eye view.

Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft - The introduction of Fina Ludlow to the crime fiction world is a highlight of my 2013. She's a great female character vying in a male-dominated world. Thoft balances the humor with her situation's gravity and creates a great all-around PI. I'm looking forward to Fina's future feats!

Dead Harvest by Chris Holm - This debut was actually last year also, so I was a little slow in my introduction to this great trilogy. And really any thing that can pull me out of my traditional crime fiction realm has to be pretty spectacular. The meticulous care Holm took in creating this "Collector" world made for an amazing story and an all-around fun reading experience.

Shadow of the Corps by James DuPont - I know you've all experienced the "I can't put this book down" read. Shadow of the Corps is one of those for me. And then at the end, I didn't want to put it down. The plot twists, the psychological element, and fascinating characters all add up to one outstanding debut.

It's always fun to discover new authors, isn't it? These are my favorite debuts of 2013, but I actually read 65 authors who were new to me just this year. While adding so many new authors to the mix makes it challenging to keep up with everyone, it's fabulous to know that there's plenty of good stuff out there to keep me in good books for a very, very long time. What new authors did you discover this year?

Tomorrow I'll wrap up 2013 with my overall favorites list. Hope you'll stop back and share your favorite reads this year!

Happy Reading! 


Beth F December 30, 2013 at 8:59 AM  

Two of these are on my TBR list.

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