Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The 10 Best Adult Authors I Discovered in 2017

This past year, 2017, was the first year since I started blogging that I relaxed my reading schedule a little bit to scale back the number of new kids' books I was reading and to make room for more adult books. I expected to read just a handful, so I'm really surprised that the final total was nearly 70! Of those books, titles by the following new-to-me authors proved to be my favorites. (I will be linking up this post for today's Top Ten Tuesday topic, Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2017.)

James Herriot

I read and re-read The Christmas Day Kitten as a kid, so I did know a little bit about James Herriot prior to this year, but it wasn't until I read All Creatures Great and Small that I realized how funny he is, and that his anecdotes about his life as a young veterinarian are more than a series of dead dog stories.

Shirley Jackson

I read "The Lottery" when I was in high school and have always associated Jackson with creepy short stories and nothing else. This past year, though, I read her parenting memoirs and discovered her deadpan, self-deprecating sense of humor. I wish she lived next door to me so we could be mom friends.

Louise Penny

I have seen Penny's books in bookstores and libraries and on Goodreads but didn't realize she wrote mysteries until I happened to see some reviews of her newest book on some blogs and social media pages that I frequent. Once I knew she was a mystery writer, I had to give her a try, and it turns out that her books are deeply descriptive and beautifully written in addition to having compelling plots and characters.

Julie Mulhern

I kept seeing posts about this author's Country Club Mystery series in the Save Our Cozies Facebook group. At first I was worried the books would not be as well-put-together as the covers, which I love, but I took a chance and was not disappointed. The books look good and are well-written too! I also love that they are set in the '70s and reference a lot of pop culture from the time period.

Charlaine Harris

I didn't know that Charlaine Harris (author of the Sookie Stackhouse series that inspired True Blood)  had written any non-supernatural mysteries until I kept seeing Candace Cameron Bure's Instagram posts about the Aurora Teagarden mystery movies. Once I realized these films were based on a series of reality-based mysteries I was hooked. The titles in this series are a little uneven in terms of quality, but my love for Roe as a character keeps me reading even the less-good books.

Karen MacInerney

Karen MacInerney is another author whose books I kept seeing mentioned in cozy mystery groups, but her books weren't available in my local libraries, and they're published by an imprint of Amazon, so I worried that maybe they just weren't that good. In the end, though, I borrowed her first Dewberry Farm mystery through inter-library loan, and it wound up being a great, well-plotted murder mystery.

Ann Kidd Taylor

I took a chance on Ann Kidd Taylor's first novel, Shark Club, because it sounded like a different kind of story for me - not quite a mystery, not quite a romance, but a more mainstream novel with hints of both of those genres, along with an interesting look at marine biology. Its family connections and believable friendship between the protagonist and her ex-boyfriend's little girl really hit a sweet spot for me, and I'm hoping to read more from this author in the future.

Mary Higgins Clark

I'm not sure how I made it to age 35 without reading anything at all by Mary Higgins Clark, but I finally got around to it this Fall and read her first book, Where Are the Children? This was a little bit more of a thriller than the other mysteries I've been reading but it was one of only a few adult books that I gave a five-star rating this year.

Julie Hyzy

I spent the year collecting Hyzy's White House Chef mysteries at used book sales. Each book is centered on the unlikely crime-solving adventures of  the White House's chief chef, whose boyfriend is in the secret service. I don't have all the books yet, but I really love the author's writing style and all the references to places I have been in DC.

Paige Shelton

The first time I heard them, I loved the titles for this author's Dangerous Type mysteries (To Helvetica and Back, Bookman Dead Style, and Comic Sans Murder.) I was a little skeptical of how well-written they would be, since some of these niche-centered cozy mysteries tend to be tedious, but I was pleasantly surprised by the appealing characters and not-too-easy-to-solve mysteries. I haven't tried her other series (yet), but this one is a keeper.


  1. My dad used to read James Herriot's books to me when I was a kid-such good memories!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/top-ten-tuesday-140/

  2. so glad you discovered Louise Penny, she's amazing. I Highly recommend you read them in order, no actually listen to them, at least all those narrated by Ralph Cosham before he passed away. here's my list: https://wordsandpeace.com/2018/01/02/top-ten-new-to-me-authors-i-read-in-2017/

  3. My dad turned me on to Mary Higgins Clark when I was a teenager. I've been a big fan since, although I find that her earlier books are much, much better than her more recent ones. I also like that her mysteries are clean and not as grim and gruesome as most mystery/thrillers. Louise Penny is another of my favorites. I adore the Inspector Gamache series. Glad you found all these great new authors this year.

    Happy TTT!

  4. I love Julie Mulhern and Louise Penny was a new read for me this year and I'm so glad I tried her! I loved the first two and am looking forward to reading more in the series. I love the Shirley Jackson memoirs though I need to reread them. They're so funny and so true!

  5. I just love Shirley Jackson! I haven't tried a Louise Penny book yet, but I keep hearing that I really should. Great list!

  6. I love James Herriot! I got a chance to visit his house on a visit to Britain ten years ago (gosh, ten years already?), and it was awesome. I also discovered Louise Penny this year after hearing so much love for her in the blogging world. I've listened to the first two books, and I'm hoping to get to more this year.