Raven’s Yearly Round Up 2022 and Top 10ish Books Of The Year

Well, another year ends and what another rollercoaster of a year it’s been. I’ll not dwell on the sheer political stupidity that has engulfed the UK (and the world generally) yet again this year, and focus instead on the pleasure and life affirming joy of reading excellent books instead! I have managed to read 115 books this year, which according to Good Reads is over 36 000 pages of bookish delights. I had a quite hefty number of DNFs this year- 43 in fact- with some being somewhat of a surprise when looking at the authors of them. In the spirit of good blogging I will not name names as one woman’s poison etc…

Obviously my reviewing has been sporadic and, at times. as half arsed as usual, so I will say a big thank you to those who continue to read and share my posts despite the lack of them!

This year was another good year for the Petrona Award with an incredibly strong longlist and shortlist to whittle down to the eventual winner Maria Adolfsson- Fatal Isles (tr. Agnes Broome), and rest assured reading has already commenced in earnest for Petrona Award 2023, with around 40 titles in the mix. I have also been part of the reading panel for the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize which launched this year with the absolutely brilliant Tess Gunty- The Rabbit Hutch claiming the 2022 prize. I’ve currently started reading for the 2023 prize and there are some knockouts already!

Once again I would like to extend my thanks to all the authors, publicists, publishers, bloggers and booksellers who have both sent me wonderful books, and have further added to my TBR mountain through their brilliant reviews and recommendations. You are all stars, and all the best for 2023.

So, to the books, and in the usual tradition there is little chance of me sticking to 10 books so let’s press on…

Honourable mentions to the following for producing such brilliant books that could easily have grabbed a place in the final 10 in what has been a zinger of a year in terms of very strong publishing. All fantastic reads in their own way and click on the images for links…

Dead Man's GraveThe Blood TideThe Night WatchBlood Runs Cold

I would also like to give a special mention to Neil Lancaster as on discovering the first book in the Max Craigie series Dead Man’s Grave, I was utterly compelled to read the next two The Blood Tide and The Night Watch swiftly afterwards. I have also pre-ordered the next one!

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Quite possibly one of the weirdest books I have ever read. Which is a good thing. I think.

Not for the faint hearted. It’s a bit saucy.  


Antti Tuomaninen does the sense of the absurd like no other writer. This is a crazy tale of murder and mayhem with a gorgeous warm gooey centre nestled in the craziness. 


Quite honestly I was spoiled for choice by Mr Carver this year but this one just sneaked it. Maniacally brilliant as always.


Really liked this slim novella with a real sense of Highsmith and Hitchcock swirling around it. Tense, and tautly written. A hidden gem. 


The third of the Malabar House series featuring the brilliant female protagonist Inspector Persis Wadia. A beautifully constructed mystery packed with mind tickling puzzles, and a superb sense of time and place.  


A gritty crime thriller firmly rooted in Maori culture and the unrelenting destructive shadow of colonialisation. This was a totally new reading experience for me in terms of culture and location, and I was gripped throughout. 


Just beautiful. I have no words. Except when I keep recommending it to people. One that I still think about, which is surely the sign of a great book. 


1930s Soho. Murder. Corruption. What more could you possibly want and a real tour-de-force. Practically inhaled this one. 


A book that defied all my reviewing skills. Visceral, intensely moving with characterisation that cuts as sharp as a knife. Absolutely breath-taking…


This should have won the Booker. End of.

Everett has long been a favourite author of mine, and wow, this has to be the pinnacle of his writing to date. Raw, darkly funny, horrifying and yet intensely moving. An absolute modern classic. 


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