Arthur Swan’s Twelve Favorites of 2022

Dear Readers,

If you’ve finished Love Kills and are looking for reading suggestions while you wait for the final installment of LA FOG, here are my top favorite novels from the ones I read in 2022:

12. Paper Towns – John Green. John Green not only constructs a whole story around a strange fact, but he also fills it with humor perceptive insight into the inner lives of high school kids

11. Who is Maud Dixon? – Alexandra Andrews. I had guessed a plot twist but that wasn’t all of them, so I’m glad I didn’t give when the pace slowed because I had no idea just how far Florence would go in order to achieve her dream!

10. Jar of Hearts – Jennifer Hillier. When you consume so many stories that the plots start to blur together, it’s time to open up the Jar of Hearts. I’ve never read anything quite like this chilling tale!

9. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid. Although a little slow in some parts, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo really came together in the end, and it served to increase my admiration for the many strong yet vulnerable women I’ve worked with in the industry. 

8. Verity – Colleen Hoover. A dark psychological thriller with a surprising twist. A who is really the villain? Hoover almost leaves it up for interpretation.

7. Shutter Island  – Dennis Lehane. A U.S. Marshal haunted by his past, investigates a disappearance at a hospital for the Criminally Insane, where nothing is what it seems, and he discovers a truth too shocking to believe.

6. Presumed Innocent – Scott Turow. Who’s the last person you’d expect to be accused of a murder? The respected prosecutor responsible for investigating it. Although Presumed Innocent was first published more than three decades ago, and contains cringey stereotypes, the courtroom drama is such an emotional rollercoaster that Presumed Innocent earns its place on many best-of lists for legal thrillers.

5. The Lincoln Highway – Amor Towles. If you like The Odyssey, you’ll love The Lincoln Highway, which has many references to the epic poem both in spirit and in name, and a plot that unfolds like a tug of war between a cast of characters set terrifically against each other.

4. Into the Fire – Gregg Hurwitz. Every time I read an Orphan X novel, I think it has to be the last one because there’s no way to top it, but yet again Gregg Hurwitz has managed to do just that. At this point Evan Smoak has almost become super human in his ability to endure, but still I cared. I was glad he made it through the ordeal, and plus he’s funny!

3. The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris. An FBI trainee submits to an uncomfortable relationship with criminally insane psychiatrist, who has gruesome tastes, in order to learn what he knows about a serial killer, but in order to stop the killer from claiming his next victim, she must face a darkness within herself.

2. The Lincoln Lawyer – Micheal Connelly. The quintessential legal thriller: Justice must be served but who is guilty and who’s innocent? An underdog lawyer caught between clients of related crimes, must navigate a treacherous path though all the landmines in the legal system, not only to serve justice but to save lives, including his very own. One of Connelly’s best. And that’s saying a lot!

1. Mystic River – Dennis Lehane. Three childhood friends, Jimmy, Sean, and Dave, drift apart after Dave is kidnapped and later returned. As adults, they’re forced to contend with the past when Jimmy’s daughter is found murdered and he works toward solving the crime using his own brand of street justice, which undermines Sean, the detective assigned to the case, and their prime suspect is Dave, who has been struggling with demons of his own, and on the night of the murder he came home covered in blood. Mystic River is a masterpiece! A crime novel, yes, and much more!