My 1000th post: revisiting my 10 most-read book reviews

book reviewsSeven and a half years after I launched this blog, I’ve reached a milestone: this is my 1000th post. Nearly 900 of those posts are book reviews. I’m listing here the 10 most popular over the past three years. Four of the 10 books reviewed are mysteries and thrillers, two are trade novels, and four are works of nonfiction.

In addition to individual book reviews, I’ve posted more than 100 commentaries. A large proportion of those are listings of good books in individual categories, such as books about espionage. At the bottom of this post I’ve included the six most-read of these listings.


Michael Connelly’s best Harry Bosch novel?

The veteran LAPD detective and his young Latina partner take on the 10-year-old murder of a mariachi musician—and find it fraught with politics and other complications.

Donna Leon’s best detective novel?

Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice police connects three seemingly unconnected crimes despite interference from his feckless boss.

A brilliant Indian novel about the first Opium War

A young Indian man, risen from poverty in Mumbai to become dean of the Indian opium traders, plays a central role in dealings with the increasingly assertive Chinese government in the late 1830s.

Is John Sandford’s latest novel the start of a new bestselling series?

Leaving behind Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, Sandford’s new protagonist is a Special Forces veteran and political troubleshooter in Washington, DC, who grapples with a paramilitary force set up by a rogue governor.

A terrific murder mystery set in Stalin’s Soviet Union

During Stalin’s terror in the 1930s, a Moscow detective tackles two murder cases and finds himself in conflict with the secret police and the notorious criminal gang, the Thieves.

She was the country’s first female deputy sheriff, and you wouldn’t want to mess with her

In a story based on fact, a young woman in New Jersey during World War I takes on a wealthy man and the thugs who surround him after he refuses to pay for damages to her car.

Hard-boiled crime fiction set in contemporary Chicago

A lone wolf P.I. is offered a fortune to find a corrupt former Illinois governor who disappeared from the courtroom after sentencing to prison two years earlier.


The science of decision-making

Bestselling author Michael Lewis relates the story of the two brilliant Israeli psychologists who turned economic theory on its head by revealing the extent to which humans are irrational.

Dispelling the myths of autism

During the 20th Century, painfully slow discoveries in psychology and neurology led to today’s modern understanding of the autism spectrum against the resistance of the psychiatric profession.

A brilliant analysis of racism

In a letter to his teenage son, an African-American public intellectual explores America’s original sin of racism, grounded in the lie that some of us are “white” and others “black.”

The kidnapping that shook America

The 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patricia Hearst triggered the firebombing of a radical safe house in Los Angeles, a years-long FBI investigation, and Hearst’s ultimate pardon for collusion two decades later.

Other books worth reading

14 great nonfiction books

15 excellent standalone mysteries and thrillers

10 great science fiction novels

17 good nonfiction books about espionage

10 great recent books by Berkeley writers

48 excellent mystery and thriller series

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Mal Warwick