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This was the last book I read in 2015. Doing a rough count, I managed to read 16 books that year, not including dozens of graphic novels. Not a bad effort at all. I was hopeful to do 20 books in 2016 and was very glad to hit 32 😊. The best book I read that year was Sonny Liew’s The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. It might be a graphic novel but it is definitely superb literature about the political history of Singapore before it was whitewashed by the powers that be. The runner-up for me was Keigo Higashino’s Journey Under the Midnight Sun, an impossible to forget mystery story that spanned more than a decade. Rapturously constructed and masterful plotting.

Some narratives are fashioned based on a “what if” and the story will fly from there. Like what if Magneto sucks up all the adamantium inside Wolverine. What if the Son of Jor-El landed up in Russia instead of USA. All these became outstanding stories featured in comics. In the case of Michael Robotham’s Life or Death the what if is this – Audie Palmer escapes from a Texas jail the day before the end of his ten-year sentence for armed robbery and second-degree murder.

Why would a guy escape from prison one day before his full release, or a better question would be why would he stay imprisoned for 9 years 11 months and 29 days when he could escape anytime? This novel won the 2015 Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award and is one taut gripping thriller. The narrative switches smoothly back and forth between the prison break and crime investigation, and both storylines have a believable feel to them. Fiendishly plotted and it has a feverish pace. There is even a moving love story wrapped within it. A splendid read and I have a feeling it would make a cool movie.

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