The Fifth Risk is one of the best books of 2018 reviewed on this site.

If you call yourself a book critic, you’ve simply got to prepare a list of the “best books of the year.” It’s obligatory, right? Well, truth to tell, it’s also fun. So, here’s mine for 2018. Most of these 20 books were published in 2018, but a few came out last year. Included on this list of “The 20 best books of 2018 reviewed” are five in each of four categories: mysteries and thrillers, science fiction, popular novels, and nonfiction. Within each category, the books are listed in alphabetical order by the authors’ last names.

If I had to pick just one book in each category, I’d probably go with those by Kate AtkinsonBecky ChambersRobert Harris, and Michael Lewis.

5 best mysteries and thrillers

Transcription by Kate Atkinson—Kate Atkinson’s latest is a beautifully written spy story

Dark Sacred Night (Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch #1) by Michael Connelly—Harry Bosch’s new partner costars in “Dark Sacred Night”

The Reckoning by John Grisham—John Grisham digs deeply into history with this excellent WWII novel

Newcomer (Police Detective Kaga #7) by Keigo Higashino—A Japanese Sherlock Holmes and Harry Bosch rolled into one

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke—A compelling tale of murder, race, and family secrets

5 best science fiction novels

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers—A delightful modern space opera that’s all about character development

An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King—A great science fiction novel set in a future totalitarian China

Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter—A visionary science fiction novel with hard science at its core

Dead on Arrival by Matt Richtel—Neurology meets high-tech in this gripping science fiction novel

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson—A grim but hopeful view of New York underwater in 2140

5 best popular novels

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan—Jennifer Egan’s bestselling historical novel is a winner

Munich by Robert Harris—Robert Harris explains why Neville Chamberlain went to Munich

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas—In Cairo, a perfect Torah scroll, without flaw or innovation

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton—A powerful family drama about living with Jim Crow and the War on Drugs

Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York by Francis Spufford—7,000 people lived in Old New York in this charming historical novel

5 best nonfiction books

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee—The best book about artificial intelligence I’ve read so far

The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis–How government protects us from “the most alarming risks facing humanity”

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy—The amazing story of the American “Code Girls” who helped win World War II

The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House by Ben Rhodes–Reviewing the Ben Rhodes White House memoir

Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward–Bob Woodward’s new book reveals how Trump makes policy

If you want to go further than the 20 best books of 2018 reviewed on this site, you might check out: