Tyson Adams’ 2012 Book Awards: The Awesomes

Last year I instituted my best reads of the year, The Awesomes. I’ve read a few books this year (+90) and have decided that I needed to talk about my favourites of 2012 and award this year’s Awesome™.

As you will have noticed, my reviews of books are more about my impressions of the book and talking about how much I liked the book, rather than a recap of the plot, etc. My reasoning behind this is simple, I want to say “read this book” to people rather than fall into my bad habit of spoiling the ending, or being a bitch about books I didn’t enjoy. My list is based upon what I have read this year, so obviously, some great books have missed out due to lack of reading hours in the year. Also, my read list does include some books that were published prior to 2012. There were some categories that were sadly under-represented and some that had some very intense competition. Also, the fact that I finished a book shows that it was worth reading. I have my reading rules that stop me wasting valuable reading time on books I’m not enjoying. This means that any books on my read list are entertaining (well, unless I was particularly disgusted with the crappiness of the book in question).

Awesome of 2012

Nathaniel Cade series – Christopher Farnsworth

Night Angel Trilogy – Brent Weeks

Blasphemy – Douglas Preston

Temple of the Gods – Andy McDermott

Temple – Matthew Reilly

McGrave – Lee Goldberg

And the winner? Blasphemy by Douglas Preston.

Awesome Literary Fiction

There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Mystery & Thriller

Temple – Matthew Reilly

King City and McGrave- Lee Goldberg

First Drop – Zoe Sharp

Blasphemy – Douglas Preston

Temple of the Gods – Andy McDermott

Relic – Preston and Child

Nathaniel Cade series – Christopher Farnsworth

Tough category, but always hard to go past Matthew Reilly.

Awesome Crime

Assassin – Tara Moss

Vodka Doesn’t Freeze – Leah Giarrantano

Black Echo – Michael Connelly

Sunset Express – Robert Crais

Thirteen Hours – Deon Meyer

Another tough category this year. I’m going to have to give this one to Leah, with Tara, Michael and Robert close seconds.

Awesome Fantasy

Night Angel Trilogy – Brent Weeks

Awesome Paranormal Fantasy

Nathaniel Case series – Christopher Farnsworth

Awesome Science Fiction

There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Horror

Nathaniel Cade series – Christopher Farnsworth

The Kult – Shaun Jeffery

And the winner? Nathaniel Cade kicked arse!

Awesome Romance

There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Humor

Right What You No – Tyson Adams’ blog

I’m allowed to be self-congratulatory. Plus I didn’t read any funny books this year.

Awesome Nonfiction

This is an oxymoron, so it is invalidated as a category.

Awesome Graphic Novels & Comics

I didn’t read any 5 star graphic novels this year, but two series came to an end that were worth a mention: The Boys by Garth Ennis and Irredeemable/Incorruptible by Mark Waid. Both series were very strong and explored interesting aspects of the superhero genre.

Awesome Indie

King City – Lee Goldberg

Awesome Poetry

I still try to avoid poetry as much as possible, mainly because of ee cummings.

Book Review: Vodka Doesn’t Freeze by Leah Giarratano

Vodka Doesn't Freeze (A Detective Jill Jackson Mystery #1)Vodka Doesn’t Freeze by Leah Giarratano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m really unsure whether to rate this a 4 or a 5. Lets call it 4.5

It was only just over a day ago when I gave up on a book. I found I was putting off reading, a clear sign that the book sucked. So I moved on, moved on and picked up Leah Giarratano’s first novel. This book was just what I needed.

I met Leah at the Perth Writers’ Festival. Aside from being one of the nicest people you will meet, she is also a very good crime writer. Lots of people agree with me, as she is a best-seller here in Australia. She draws on her background in psychology to delve into the dark corners of the Australian underworld. She spoke of this book being a catharsis from her day job and when you read it (yes you will go out and buy it and read it, I’ll wait here) you will notice that in the story.

The first book I read in the Jill Jackson series was the most recent, Watch the World Burn. I can’t wait to read the books I’ve missed in the series. Currently Leah is publishing some young adult books (Disharmony: The Telling, comes out later this month) so Jill may not be having a new crime to solve for a year or so.

View all my reviews

Book review: Watch the World Burn – Leah Giarratano

You always know that a signed copy of a book is going to be good. I’d only read the first two chapters of this book when Leah signed my copy. Of course it helps when you already like the author, why else would you have a copy to sign?

Tall, pretty and one of the nicest people I’ve met.

It is of course more than the characters; the book is tightly crafted whilst also being well paced. It didn’t have those pointless scenes describing how they got to a crime scene, or the endless descriptions of police procedure that is normally rife in crime novels. Most of all it was entertaining, despite the horrible things that everyone of the main characters had been through.But what about Leah’s latest book, Watch the World Burn? Well when I had Leah sign my copy she was running a writing class on writing nasty bad guys at the Perth Writers Festival. I think one of the strengths of this book was that every character seemed to have a depth that a lot of crime authors don’t manage to imbue. Sure, that sales rep is about to die at the hands of a serial terrorist, but I actually get the sense that the sales rep is more than just another notch in the body count.

I’m a fan and can’t wait for the next book by Leah, even if I know that it is a children’s book.

Perth Writers Festival

Since I am now set upon an oft trod path, I felt a sudden urge to mingle with my fellow book aficionados. But how do you mingle with your peers when you live 3 hours away from the most remote city in the world? The interwebz seems like a nice starting place, but at some stage we all have to upgrade to real 3D people, if only to remind us not to be so snarky to one-another on forums.

Low and behold the Perth Writers Festival has come and gone for another year, and this year they had Crime Fiction included, and I was in attendance. I know, how likely is that?!

So what did I see? Well a lot of people just like me. Readers, writers, people with a general disdain for the lack of proper grammar usage on TV, you know, people who can read. In amongst this grouping of people who could read I found myself in a small subset of the literate, a subset that had been born after 1960 (to win a free e-book, email me a tell me if this was hyperbole).

Despite my general disdain for the (self-supposed) authority figures at UWA, it did prove to be a good venue for the masses of literates to converge and discuss their favourite topic; those damn kids these days. Their second favourite topic was the reason I was in attendance; writing.

I have to praise the two presenters who held Crime writing workshops at the Perth Writers Festival, Leah Giarratano and David Whish-Wilson. Leah is a rather smart, friendly, charming, and quite tall psychologist. She also happens to write some very dark crime fiction that are well worth reading. Plus she brought chocolates! Since she has dealt with some unsavory people and their victims she was well versed in creating characters with depth. Ever felt like a novel has a bad guy that is just there to be a bad guy? Well Leah had the solution to that, the scary part was that the real bad guys are far worse than the average horror writer’s imagination. Oh and she also signed my copy of her latest book with a heart – she was really nice.

Smart, tall, brunette, writer = Leah

David is a writing lecturer at Curtin university, as well as being a published author himself. Too often the two don’t go hand in hand, or the publishing means they bought 200 copies to give to friends and family. Not David. I think the thing that David brought to the class was the skills of writing and some handy techniques to break out of ruts and not be too cliche with writing. David was also willing to offer his help with people’s manuscripts – cool guy.

David striking his cool writers pose.

Now one thing seemed to be consistent in the writers workshops, that you had to be female and over the age of 45. In fact in David’s workshop I was one of two guys and the only one not alive in the 60’s. While this may have hampered my ability to appreciate Jefferson Airplane I wonder how it will relate to my comparative writing style. I guess at least I didn’t feel compelled to make up my first memory and turn it into some fanciful emotional moment when asked to share our first memories with the class.

What writers festival would be complete without a really big name writer? At this event the organisers turned to none other than Jeffry P. Freundlich.

Dexter, Jeff and Debs

Jeff is of course the fabulous author of the Dexter series of books. To all of the would-be writers out there, do not despair, Jeff also had a hard time selling his writing gold. After years of work Jeff finally came upon the idea of Dexter after meeting some wonderful people (yes that is sarcasm) at a luncheon and was suddenly convinced that serial murder wasn’t such a bad thing. It still took him four-and-a-half years and six agents to actually get someone interested in publishing Darkly Dreaming Dexter. He was really interesting to listen to and I managed to have a short chat with him when I corned him to sign my copy of his latest book. Very funny, very interesting and seems like a really nice guy – how the hell did he end up writing about a psychopath?

All in all I enjoyed my time at the festival. I’d also love to here from any other people who made it to Perth for the event, or for that matter any similar thoughts on the writers festivals you have attended. The big question I have is: does genre usually get any mention at writers festivals or was this an exception?