Christmas 2015 Best Sellers

Christmas 2015 Best Sellers

The 2015 Best Sellers from Amazon over Christmas were a mixed bag of books. At WhyToRead we wonder how many were for gifts, and how many were self-gifts. We certainly indulged in some self-gifting of books from our to-read list (to appear on a list in due course).

So, if you didnt get these or havent read these 2015 Best Sellers, then hopefully you have some Christmas money left over to indulge. Curl up by a warm fire and see what popular choice has chosen for you to read.  (Hint, 4 are mystery/thrillers).

Top 5 Christmas 2015 Best Sellers

1. The Girl With No Past: A gripping psychological thriller – Kathryn Croft

2015 Best Seller

Leah Mills was a fugitive on the run from something in her past, until she met Julian and they both built a normal life together. Years later, Leah’s past return to haunt her; someone who knew her secret was threatening to destroy everything she had. Base in London, The Girl with No Past is a psychological thriller that promises enough plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. Croft masterfully tells the story by unraveling the events of 14 years earlier, yet keeping the readers in the dark on what actually happened…until the end.

2. The Good Neighbor – AJ Banner

2015 Best Seller

Sarah settled into a peaceful neighborhood with her beloved new husband. Everything seemed perfect, until tragedy led her to discover a shocking secret that forced her to question everything she knew about the world around her – neighbors, friends and ever her marriage. The Good Neighbour builds on the premise of ‘all is not as it seems’, and true enough, you may just find yourself lost in the mystery and read this book into the night. Besides the multi-layered suspense-filled plot, Banner also constructed solid believable characters with redeeming qualities that readers can relate to and sympathize with.

3.The Silent Girls – Eric Rickstad

2015 Best Seller

A series of mysterious disappearances of teenage girls in a rural Vermont town brought private investigator, Frank Rath face-to-face with a case that brought back demons from his days as a homicide detective. Rickstad’s tale is an intense and complex psychological thriller, with some horror and intriguing twists thrown in for good measure. Dark in premise, vividly descriptive and filled with fascinating characters, The Silent Girls will have readers enjoying the suspenseful build-up while also craving the resolve.

4. The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah

2015 Best Seller

Set in occupied France, during World War II, The Nightingale is a story of how sisters Isabelle and Viann braved unimaginable circumstance in a tumultuous period in history. For readers who enjoy wartime stories, this novel offers a fresh perspective of what women do in dangerous times, not just as survivors, but also as rescuers when the men are away. Beautifully descriptive, with well-rounded and strong female characters that readers can root for, this is a page-turner begging to be adapted into a movie.

5. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

2015 Best Seller

Rachel was a divorced alcoholic who indulged in constructing a fairy tale love life for a couple she observed from a train window. Little did she expect that she would be entangled in a murder investigation due to what she saw on her daily commute. The Girl on the Train is a dark and depressing thriller, told from the viewpoints of three women, each with something to hide. The characters are self-serving, deceitful and unsympathetic, but one can’t help being engrossed in their dirty little secrets. Nevertheless, there are enough intrigues to make a reader want to devour the book in one sitting and get to the bottom of the mystery.

10 Must Read Crime Stories and Q&A with Dave Warner

10 Must Read Crime Stories and Q&A with Dave Warner

Dave Warner, Australian crime author, is also a talented rock musician and screen writer for stage, tv, radio and film.

His new book Before It Breaks is a gritty, detailed crime / detective story set in remote area of Australia, complete with crocodiles and cyclones. It twists and turns to the very end leaving you wanting to book a ticket to Broome to see for yourself.

We caught up with Dave recently and asked him about his writing.


Q. It has been more than twelve years since your last adult novel, why so long?

A. Primarily because I have been writing for television and film, though I managed a series of children’s books (Charlotte and the Starlett) as well. Writing novels is my favorite occupation but I’ve had three young children growing up through that period and TV provided a better remuneration. It was however, pretty all consuming.

Q. Tell us a little about the new novel Before It Breaks

A. Like my other adult novels Before It Breaks is a crime novel. It is set in the present day in Broome in the WA Kimberley, with flashbacks to Hamburg in the late 70s. I really wanted to do a crime novel where the location is a major character – like James Lee Burke and Henning Mankell – and that’s why I went for a unique location with a small community. I also like the idea of a main character with roots in the area, so my main guy Detective Dan Clement is somebody who grew up in Broome, went to the big smoke of Perth and made his name as a homicide cop, and has returned to Broome to be near his daughter and estranged wife. I like the sense of dislocation that gives Clement, he is constantly asking where he belongs.

Q. And how does Hamburg fit in?

A. I wanted a story that reflected the modern nature of the world and how compressed it is, but also wanted contrast between chilly Hamburg and humid, cyclonic Broome. I haven’t ever spent much time in Hamburg and have relied on some German friends to help paint the picture.

Q. Do you have any plans for a film or TV rendition of the novel?

A. Personally I think it would work very well as a TV series or TV Movie in a series set around Dan Clement and his fellow detectives in the crocodile infested mangroves and hot inland desert of Australia’s north-west.

Q. Does that mean you have more Dan Clement novels in train?

A. An interesting question. Originally I thought Before It Breaks might work as a plot to bring back my detective hero Snowy Lane from my first novel City of Light: The city rocks while heads will roll. (set in Perth, Western Australia) But as I worked through the story I decided it wasn’t quite big enough in scope for a Snowy Lane novel. City of Light worked very well as an analysis of one young man’s coming of age in the context of an entire state’s coming of age, a transition from innocence to corruption, a kind of Australian China Town. Snowy was a symbolic everyman, but I wanted Before It Breaks to be contained and intimate, a smaller story with emphasis on character, so I created Dan Clement and his team.

However, in the new novel I am working on, I am thinking of bringing Snowy and Dan together in the one book. I’ve already begun working on it from Snowy’s POV … stay tuned.


Crime fiction is such a vast country that I think you should take a tour of various places to see what really turns you on. Here’s a list of my very favorites. I can’t believe how many great authors I had to leave out but the pain is part of the fun!

1. The Murder of Roger AckroydAgatha Christie.

Christie remains the doyen of all crime authors, and though published in 1926 this is a classic. Other authors might write in a different tone and style but her ground breaking plot twists continue to be used.

2. L.A. Confidential James Ellroy.

Ellroy’s dark opus manages to combine numerous powerful sub-plots into one massive beating organ on crime and police corruption in early 1950s Los Angeles. This is the third part of a quartet of his LA crime novels but if you have to read one, pick this. The influence of Ellroy can currently be seen in the TV series True Detectives.

3. The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett.

The inspiration to a generation of private eye crime writers, still fresh. Drugs, cults, murder, psychos – you’ll find it all here long before Tarantino.

4. The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler.

Chandler is very much in the Hammet style. Sharp, laconic style.

5. Get Shorty Elmore Leonard.

I could have put half-a-dozen titles of his down. Almost anything by Leonard is top shelf but this is a masterpiece as he gives us one of the greatest characters of any fiction in Chilli Palmer, the shylock who wants to be in the movies. Fabulous satire on Hollywood but still a great yarn.

6. The Silence of the LambsThomas Harris.

Scream out loud tension from go to whoa. So many have copied the style since but nobody has come close to Harris for the scares and gob-smacking twists.

7. Any Sherlock Holmes compendium – Arthur Conan Doyle.




A Study in Scarlet is essential reading for any crime fiction buff as it kicks off the entire genre of sleuths smarter than the cops.

8. The Brothers Rico Georges Simenon.

French writer Simenon also lived in the USA. He created the enduring character Maigret, the put upon French detective. This short story is my favorite mafia story of all with enormous moral complexity.

9. Sidetracked Henning Mankell.

Mankell is the colossus of Scando crime writers and this tale is an absolute ripper. The character of Wallander, the middle-aged cop continuously examining the emptiness of his life yet frightened at changing it, is one of the best to be found in any crime fiction.

10. One for the Money Janet Evanovich.

I’m putting in this one as a very small counter-balance against my male dominated list above. The book introduces us to single Jersey girl Stephanie Plum an accidental private detective. It’s funny, it’s clever and my teenage daughter actually congratulated me for my recommendation.


Photo of Dave Warner by Frances Andrijich

6 Must Read Dark And Gritty Detective Crime Novels

6 Must Read Dark And Gritty Detective Crime Novels

A crime has been committed, and our dark, gritty, renegade crime detective has to solve it. If you’re a fan of crime novels, you’ll love the books on this list.

The Best Crime Novels

1. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler

Best Crime Novels

The Big Sleep is a problematic novel. The plot concerns detective Philip Marlowe’s efforts to protect the wealthy Sternwood family from blackmail, but from this starting point it spins out into several complicated directions.

2. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett

Best Crime Novels

Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade is one of the most famous detectives from American literature and his novel is packed with action and mystery. In The Maltese Falcon, Hammett nails every element of the detective genre so precisely, that it’s a wonder anyone ever tried to write another detective novel after him.

3. Light of the World: A Dave Robicheaux Novel – James Lee Burke

Best Crime Novels

As its opening paragraphs expressly state, Light of the World is an exploration of evil, a familiar theme in James Lee Burke’s novels. It is Dave Robicheaux’s tale of how one of the most wicked creatures on earth made his way into the lives of Robicheaux’s family and friends.

4. L.A. Confidential – James Ellroy

Best Crime Novels

LA Confidential has been rightly hailed as a masterpiece of American fiction, not just of American crime fiction. If you like L.A. in the ’50s with crooked cops, beautiful hookers that look like movie stars, stupid criminals and a rather eclectic assortment of walk ons, you’ll love this story.

5. The Burning Room – Michael Connelly

Best Crime Novels

In The Burning Room, Harry Bosch and his new partner Lucy Soto investigate a decade old crime with the potential to influence an upcoming gubernatorial election.

6. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

Best Crime Novels

This novel concerns a group of ten previously unacquainted people who are lured via various pretexts to Indian Island, a resort home off the coast of Devon and are promptly accused by their unseen host of having escaped punishment for past crimes.

Mario Puzo Books: 6 Best Selling Books From The Author Of The Godfather

Mario Puzo Books: 6 Best Selling Books From The Author Of The Godfather

Mario Puzo

Mario Puzo is best known for writing books about the Mafia and Italian American gang culture in the US. His most popular work is the Godfather trilogy which was made into a movie by Francis Ford Coppolla. As well as writing The Godfather, Mario Puzo wrote extensively about the mafia, and in this list we’ve compiled his best works.

6 Best Selling Books From The Author Of The Godfather

1. Omerta – Mario Puzo

Mario Puzo Godfather

This book is also a tale of a “Mafia” family – which mentions the Corleones from the Godfather. This is a different type of Mafia that Mr. Puzo brings us; it is quite contemporary with events leading to the mid 1990’s.

New York and Sicily feature prominently in the book, and with a style that only Mr. Puzo can bring to the topic.

2. Last Don – Mario Puzo

Mario Puzo Godfather

The Last Don is Domenico Clericuzio, a wise and ruthless old man who is determined to see his heirs become well established. The prologue to the story is at the christening of his nephews, Cross De Lena and Dante Clericuzio. Now, thirty years later, the Clericuzio’s have become the dominant Mafia family in the US after costly wars with other families. They have gained a hand in politics, gambling, drugs, and even Hollywood.

3. The Sicilian – Mario Puzo

Mario Puzo Godfather

This book is set in Sicily, and Mario Puzo’s love and understanding of the long-suffering land shines through. The story follows a Sicilian outlaw and his climb to the top of criminal hierarchy, his associated betrayals, cunning treacheries and loyalty that never should be taken for granted.

4. Fools Die – Mario Puzo

Mario Puzo Godfather

This book has it all. Lust, greed, treachery, deception, sex and violence all the way from the High Roller Gambling Rooms of Las Vegas to the Shores Of Japan. It has been described as one of Mario Puzo’s best books, even better than The Godfather. See for yourself.

5. The Fortunate Pilgrim – Mario Puzo

Mario Puzo Godfather

Mario Puzo took the everyday life of an ordinary Italian immigrant family and turned it into a masterpiece with The Fortunate Pilgrim. The style is gorgeously cinematic and seems to reflect the powerful vision of a boy growing up in New York who saw beauty all around him. This book has been described as the ‘parent’ to The Godfather.

6. The Fourth K – Mario Puzo

Mario Puzo Godfather

In the final instalment in this list, Francis Xavier Kennedy, nephew of the slain JFK, has ascended the presidency due to his family name, his political instincts, and his near-adolescent idealism. The Fourth K is all about a presidential dynasty and an Arab terrorist attack. A first-class piece of literature.