KRL Reviewers Favorite Books of 2011

Dec 31, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Books & Tales, Fantasy & Fangs, Mysteryrat's Maze

by KRL staff

Some of KRL’s reviewers share their favorite books of 2011.

Theodore Feit
To be trite, it isn’t easy to single out one “best” book of the year. There are too many fine novels published (and read) during the course of 12 months, and many stand out as exemplary examples of what could be termed the “best.’ If I had to pick one, however, it would be The Leopard by Jo Nesbo. It is so well-written and delves into the character of Harry Hole so deeply that the reader’s emotions and reactions are affected on a plane not often encountered. It is more than a mystery, and transcends the genre.

Marilyn Meredith
I truly enjoyed all the books that I reviewed this past year for Kings River Life, all different, with believable characters and fascinating settings. The one that stood out for me was Possum Belly Queen by Robert O’Hanneson. What caught my attention was the uniqueness of the plot. The plot wrapped around carnival life, something I knew little about, and I found it fascinating.

Diana Hockley
My favorite book I’ve reviewed would be Tim Greaton’s Under-Heaven, because the plot is outstanding, and the technical expertise in writing made the story one of deep emotion. The writer’s expertise in holding the reader suspended in time, the way this was revealed at the end of the novel, was sublime and left me in tears.

Sandra Murphy
Sandra Balzo’s coffee shop books were a favorite of mine this year. Maggie Thorsen is a believable character with a doubt-filled love life, a business that is hanging by a thread at times and good friends. She’s got a handsome boyfriend and isn’t quite sure what to do with him, a revolving door of business partners (hey, the first one got killed, the second one burned out with the 5AM alarm clock and the third one is ummm in need of medication). Add in a sheepdog who has his own quirks, a college age kid home just before exams and about ten feet of snow, it’s enough to drive anybody to drink–lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, Americanos and plain old caffeine. A perfect read for days when you don’t have to/don’t want to, go out of the house.

Brewed, Crude and Tattooed (snowstorm/locked room style murder)
Bean There, Done That (ex-husband, new wife)
Triple Shot (three shots of espresso, three dead bodies)
A Cup of Jo (giant 5 foot tall inflatable coffee cup and a dead body inside it)
From the Grounds Up (Sarah’s uncle didn’t miss the train)
Grounds for Murder (trade show, dead body under the table with the trophies, all on camera)
Uncommon Grounds (when your partner gets killed on opening day, it’s a bad omen for the entrepreneur)

Terrance Mc Arthur
I read and reviewed some interesting books, this year. Zombie, Ohio and Real Vampires Don’t Wear Size Six made me laugh, and Hex did some amazing world-building, but the book that made me read it again was War Horse. The story was strong, and I had several good cries. I can’t wait to see the Steven Spielberg movie, so I’ll probably read it again before I get to the cineplex.

Lorie Lewis Ham
I have enjoyed every book I’ve read this year, however my absolute favorites were the Grave Witch books by Kalayna Price. These urban fantasy novels were filled with everything I love in books—mystery, fantasy, magic, great and unusual characters and romance. If you love crossover books, don’t miss out on this one!

Pat Browning
My favorite book is always the one I’m reading. In this case it’s a Kindle download of Murder on the Danube by William S. Shepard. The prologue, set during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, just knocked my socks off. When I visited Budapest some 20 years later nothing had changed. The Russians were still in charge and it was as if Hungary was frozen in time. Budapest was beautiful but I thought it was the saddest city I had ever visited. All of that changed when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and Middle European countries were finally freed from Russian rule. Shepard was a career diplomat so his settings and insights are spot on.

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Mystery Conference in Sacramento, March 29-April 1, 2012.Registration through 12/31/2011 is only $210 (it goes up to $225 after that). Registration information can be found at the conventionwebsite, or by sending an email to or


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