The 12 best books to give as gifts this Christmas

Call us biased if you like, but we think one of the best gifts you can give at Christmas is a book. But with so much choice out there, how do you narrow it down? And more importantly, how can you feel confident your loved one will enjoy your gift?

To help make your life easier, we present twelve novels to treat your friends and family to this Christmas, with readalikes and reviews designed to help even the most indecisive of shoppers.

Happy shopping – and Happy (almost) Christmas!

My loved one reads . . . US-set noir crime fiction with a dry sense of humour; you can find books by Michael Connelly and CJ Box on their shelves.

We recommend . . . Sidewalk Saint by Phillip DePoy, a noir mystery set in Florida starring amateur sleuth and Child Protective Officer Foggy Moscowitz.

Reviewers say . . . “Enjoyable … an effective blend of humor and an original plotline. Readers will hope to see a lot more of Foggy” – Publishers Weekly

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . gothic novels of psychological suspense; you can find books by Daphne du Maurier and Phil Rickman on their shelves.

We recommend . . . Music Macabre by Sarah Rayne, which takes in the bright lights of the Victorian music halls in London and the dark streets where Jack the Ripper once lurked.

Reviewers say . . . “Colorful characters and a mastery of slow-burning suspense make this case an engaging page-turner” – Kirkus Reviews

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . sharply plotted historical detective mysteries; you can find books by Andrea Penrose, Charles Finch and Anne Perry on their shelves.

We recommend . . . The Leaden Heart by Chris Nickson – this darkly atmospheric historical mystery features a strong male lead in Superintendent Tom Harper, oodles of period ambience and Victorian Leeds in all its smoke and glory.

Reviewers say . . .  “A breathless race for the truth from start to finish” – Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . curling up with a cunningly plotted cozy peppered with amusingly quirky characters; they probably already have the entire library of MC Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series displayed proudly on their shelves.

We recommend . . . The Killer in the Choir by Simon Brett – a witty, hugely entertaining and twisty mystery with sparkling characters and dark secrets at its core.

Reviewers say . . . “This episode is graced by ingeniously drawn characters, deft timing of twists, and a to-die-for climax. A stunner” – Booklist Starred Review

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . traditional crime noir set in Hollywood’s Golden Age; you can find books by James Ellroy, James M. Cain and Dashiell Hammett on their shelves.

We recommend . . . The Long Silence by Gerard O’Donovan, which ticks all the boxes – this 1920s Golden Age of Hollywood noir mystery featuring Irish-born cop turned private investigator Tom Collins is full of scandal, sizzling twists and murder. It’s all about Hollywood, baby.

Reviewers say . . . “Readers will hope this marks the start of a long-running series” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . gripping forensic mysteries; you can find books by Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs on their shelves.

We recommend . . . Dark Truths by A J Cross features a page-turning police investigation and a complex male lead in criminologist Will Traynor, plus it’s written by a forensic expert with over 20 years’ experience in the field. If your loved one can’t get enough detail when it comes to crime scene examinations, this is the book for them!

Reviewers say . . . “This series debut is a solid, skillfully written police drama with plenty of twists” – Booklist

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . deftly crafted espionage thrillers; you can find books by John le Carré and Tom Clancy on their shelves.

We recommend . . . Fatal Ally by Tim Sebastian, which spotlights the treachery of big powers and reveals the men and women who kill for them; an almost unbearably tense tale of political chicanery and ruthless power games.

Reviewers say . . . “A gripping spy thriller that will appeal to fans of John le Carré, Charles Cumming, and the like … An unputdownable novel” – Booklist Starred Review

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . creepy monster stories with a superb blend of humour and gore; you can find books by Stephen King and Scott Thomas on their shelves.

We recommend . . . Kill Monster by Sean Doolittle, a highly entertaining supernatural thriller delivering action, suspense, thrills, and chills.

Reviewers say . . . “Doolittle delivers a rambunctious monster story that features precise wit, messy violence, aggressive pacing, and a charmingly incongruous cast” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . fast-paced thrillers with nonstop action and an unforgettable hero; you can find books by Lee Child and C.J. Box on their shelves.

We recommend . . . An Artful Assassin in Amsterdam by Michael Grant, inspired by the 21 years the author spent on the run as a fugitive from justice. The undercover world he writes about has a ringing authenticity.

Reviewers say . . . “David Mitre, narrator and star of this romp of a thriller, is the sort of raffish rapscallion we don’t encounter much anymore … A joy to keep up with” – Booklist

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . dystopian thrillers and locked room mysteries; you can find books by Nick Harkaway and George Orwell on their shelves.

We recommend . . . Impolitic Corpses by Paul Johnston, a combination of trenchant political satire and highly inventive dystopian thriller set in the independent city-state of Edinburgh.

Reviewers say . . . “Exceptional … The plot twists frequently, building up to a jaw-dropping climax. Series followers and newbies alike will be hooked” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . medieval mysteries; you can find books by Peter Tremayne and Ellis Peters on their shelves.

We recommend . . . Murder at Whitby Abbey by Cassandra Clark – as enjoyable as a crackling fire in a snowed-in monastery.

Reviewers say . . .  “Excellent … a standout in the crowded medieval mystery field” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My loved one enjoys . . . mysteries set in Roman Britain; you can find books by Ruth Downie, Steven Saylor, David Wishart and Lindsay Davis on their shelves.

We recommend . . . A Prisoner of Privilege by Rosemary Rowe, a gripping mystery set in Roman Britain during the reign of Emperor Severus – spies, treason, murder … this fantastic read has it all.

Reviewers say . . .  “Rowe’s 18th series whodunit surpasses her own high standard … Rowe’s series remains a welcome complement to Ruth Downie’s Medicus mysteries, which provide a different perspective on Roman Britain” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Buy it now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s