General Reviews

The Best Books I Read In 2008

Posted on December 13th, 2008

by Simon Barrett in Book Reviews, Reviews

Read 547 times.

2008 was a rich year for really great books. Most of you that know me know that I refuse point blank to step into a Book Store, the books found inside such dens of iniquity are either over edited, under achieving New York Times Bestsellers or their fellow siblings from the giant Wall-Mart publishing houses. I prefer to seek out more satisfying fare. I am not sure how many books I read in 2008, but I will guarantee its at least 100 more than the average reader!

I am not sure that I have a favorite book for the year, but I certainly have a favorite author, so good were his books that I am going to recommend all three. Last spring I was invited to review Phrophecy by Paul Mark Tag. It was a great read, a thriller with just a hint of Sci Fi. What would happen if ESP was found to be a genetic trait? A little twist in part of our DNA. Would a government view this as a potential weapon? Could this gene be a way to create the ultimate fighting force? I am not usually a fan of Sci Fi themes, but Paul Mark Tag, hovers in that gray area where science fact meets science fiction. I found the book irresistible.

Following an interview with him he asked if I would be interested in reading his first book Category 5, a weather related thriller, once again a book that plays on the very edge of established science. This book was superbly crafted, it grabbed you on page one and held you in its grasp till he hit the back cover. The bad guys were pure evil, the heroes, heroic, a classic thriller, score two for Paul Mark Tag.

Late Summer he contacted me once again, would I be interested in his soon to be released book The Errant Ricochet. I said ‘of course’. But, he warned me, this is not like Cat 5 or Prophecy, this is a collection of short stories, most of which were written a while ago. It transpired that short stories were the medium Paul used to hone his craft. Quite frankly he could have told me that the title was ‘How To Avoid Diaper Rash’ and I would still have read it, I really like this authors style of writing.

The Errant Ricochet had one failing, it was too damn short! The stories are wonderful. In the early 70’s childrens author Roal Dahl produced a series of adult short stories, which formed the basis for a very successful TV series ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’. The stories themselves were compact in construction, yet deep in plot, and each one had a sting in its tail. This sums up The Errant Ricochet very well. If I ever have the opportunity to teach a short story writing class, The Errant Ricochet would be on my must read list.