Pete’s Top 10 Books of 2014

Pete Mock, book buyer and mystery guru for McIntyre’s Books, has compiled a list of his favorite books this year. There are books on romance, war and of course, mystery, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. These are perfect for the book lovers on your gift list.

In no particular order, here are Pete’s 10 favorite books of the year!

1) Jerry Lee Lewis; His Own Story by Rick Bragg
Gave me chills envisioning the battles he had musically and personally. Rick Bragg is the perfect person to write this. Quite possibly the best music bio I’ve ever read.

2) Neverhome by Laird Hunt
A Civil War novel that transcends the genre. Beautifully written with a twist. There were passages where I literally put the book down, stared up at the sky, and sighed with contentment.

3) The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters
The story of an illicit love affair and its consequences. Almost from page one you know what’s going to happen but you don’t care because the characters and story are so compelling.

4) Birdmen; The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone
I never knew the origins of man-powered flight were so contentious. Around the world there were aspirants to the throne with the Wrights and Curtiss the most prominent. In fact N.C. should change its motto to “First Dune in Flight.”

5) Perfidia by James Ellroy
When Ellroy (L.A. Confidential, My Dark Places) is on his game he’s one of the best crime writer’s out there. In Perfidia he shows why. It’s L.A. just after Pearl Harbor and the fear, distrust, greed, and corruption of a city built on lies is portrayed in Ellroy’s unique style and it had me settling deep into my favorite armchair for hours on end.

6) Rebel Yell; The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S.C. Gwynne
What a fascinating man. Basically an ill-adjusted social misfit until war, whether it was the Mexican-American or the Civil War, he transformed into this leader whom men would follow anywhere. Absolutely fascinating and written in such a way that the layman like me can easily understand without getting lost among all the names, dates, places.

7) Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast
A touching memoir of the last years of her parents lives, both the good and the bad. Illustrated throughout in the inimitable Roz Chast style.

8) The Kept by James Scott
Wow, that’s the best word that comes to mind when I think about this searing debut novel of revenge and redemption set in upstate NY in 1897.

9) The Blackhouse by Peter May
The first in a trilogy set on the Outer Hebrides islands. Utterly enthralling, scenic, desolate, and dangerous.

10) The Lewis Man by Peter May
The second novel and sequel to The Blackhouse in Peter May’s trilogy. These are the two best mysteries I’ve read all year.


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