8 Novels I Enjoyed Most in 2014 – M. Ruth Myers

8 Novels I Enjoyed Most in 2014


Like most of you, I read a lot of novels — some with private investigators, some without — in 2014.  Here are some I enjoyed most.  They’re in no particular order.

A Little Yellow Dog by Walter Mosley — The cadence and language of the narrative is as pitch-perfect as everything else in this story of a polished, street-wise janitor who turns private eye to save himself from a murder charge after a teacher persuades him to keep her dog.  Unfortunately, she disappears, leaving a couple of bodies behind.

The Sekhmet Bed (The She-King) by L. M. Ironside and Libbie Hawker — Set in Egypt in 1500 BC, this story delivers a bang-up story along with a splendid sense of time and place.  It tells the story of pharaoh’s daughter Ahmose, who rules in her husband’s absence and is an ancestor of King Tut.

China Trade by S.J. Rozan — This first novel in the author’s wonderful series about Chinese-American private eye Lydia Chin is rich with the atmosphere of NYC, especially Chinatown and its culture.  Lydia is a tough and resilient gal, even if she does live with her mama, and the mystery is first-rate.

Push Not the River by James Conroyd Martin — The author of this dazzling novel of Poland’s struggle to survive in the age of Napoleon paints scenes and scenery with words.  Though it verges on historical romance, it’s much, much more.

The Wedding Shroud by Elisabeth Storrs — This book, first in a four-book series set in ancient Rome, will be re-released April 28.  Compelling in its well drawn setting and its depiction of different cultures of the time, it also raises interesting questions about religious differences.

Sleeping Dog by Dick Lochte — A jaded, past-his-prime P.I. turns down a 14-year-old girl who wants to hire him to find her kidnapped dog.  His office partner takes the case and ends up dead — and the P.I. and the girl form an unlikely team to extricate themselves from the mess that results. Smart, fun and thoroughly enjoyable with its alternating viewpoints (and views of events).

Vestal Virgin by Suzanne Tyrpak — Set in ancient Rome, this novel paints a fascinating picture of the vestal virgins, their rituals, elevated status and restrictions.  Emperor Nero is in his heyday.  Would it be a spoiler to say there’s a fire?

The Miler by Hap Cawood — This coming-of-age novel captures the world of the 1950s and small towns.  It tells the story of J.J., a high school runner in a Kentucky mountain town that doesn’t have a track team, and the dancing teacher who becomes his coach.  It has the sort of gentle magic more novels used to have when they were written for love instead of money.

M. Ruth Myers writes the Maggie Sullivan mysteries, featuring a female private eye in the years 1938-1947.

Debbie says January 7, 2015

Here are the books I enjoyed in 2014: I’m starting off with 3 non-fiction books.
1. A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen
James is a struggling street musician and takes in an injured cat. When he tries to release the cat, Bob has other ideas.

2. A Higher Call by Adam Makos & Larry Alexander
In 1943, over the war torn skies of Germany, a badly damaged B-17 struggles to fly back to England. As they limp towards the Channel they encounter a ME-109. What happens next would remain classified for 40 years.

3. And If I Perish: Frontline U.S. Army Nurses in WWIi by Evelyn Monahan & Rosemary Neidal-Greenlee
59,000 nurses volunteered to serve as Army nurses in WWII. They waded in ashore with the opening wave in Africa to the final days in Germany. Be warned: you’ll laugh and cry while reading their experiences, but mostly you’ll be in awe.

4. Any of the titles that you wrote! I love Sam Spade, Philip Marlow and other hard-boiled detectives. Miss Maggie is right up there!

5. The Gauguin Connection by Estelle Ryan
Dr. Genevieve Lenard is a high functioning autistic, who is a renown expert in nonverbal communication. As a favor to her boss she becomes involved into looking at a murder that will ultimately test her on all levels.
d6. Trouble in Tawas by Madison Johns
Light weight murder mystery, but I’m a sucker for feisty, elderly female detectives!

7. Concrete Desert by Jon Talton
David Mapstone returns to Phoenix after losing his job. An old friend of his, a Maricopa County Chief Deputy, asks him to look into some open cases and see if he can close any. As he looks into a missing woman, he discovers that she is connected to a 40-yr-old murder that is still unsolved.

8. Cat of Many Tails by Ellery Queen
New York City is being terrorized by a serial killer. As the body count goes up, Ellery comes out of retirement to join the hunt.

9. The Black Box by Micheal Connelly
In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch, LAPD, links a bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a female photojournalist during the L.A. riots.

10. The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais
If you love Sam Spade, you’ll love Elvis Cole, a hard-boiled, wise-cracking P.I. He is hired to find a missing husband and son. He finds the husband dead, but then his client goes missing. Elvis and his friend, Joe Pike turn to hunting! This first book won numerous awards.

mruthmyers says January 8, 2015

Thanks for sharing a very tempting list. I appreciate being included in it! I’ll look for some of these titles.

JoAnn Hague says January 19, 2015

Your list(s) humble and motivate me. Perhaps I’ve spent far too much time in the dusty basement of forgotten tales. I shall pull the cobwebs from my hair and climb the steps to brighter literary possibilities. Many thanks!

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