Readers say their #1 reason for trying a book is the recommendation of someone they know or a writer they like. A new website, Peroozal, is based on that idea and features dozens of authors recommending their favorite books. I’m still in the process of uploading my recommendations, but here’s what I said about some of my favorite books this year.

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell: A compelling story about a hit man who becomes a doctor, then has to revert to his old skills to save his own life when one of his patients recognizes him. A unique voice, premise, and setting. I was hooked from page one and couldn’t put it down.

A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn: This compelling murder mystery takes place in South Africa during apartheid. The setting is intriguing, the characters are unique, the writing is terrific, and the story is hard to put down. Highly recommended for mystery lovers who like to travel.

The Lock Artist by Stephen Hamilton: In this story, a young man, psychologically mute from a childhood trauma, gets coerced into a stint as a safe cracker. The protagonist is endearing, the “locked-up” themes are compelling, and the story is difficult to put down. Very enjoyable.

The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson: This is a complex and compelling debut novel in which a woman searches for her sister after a dead woman is found with her sister’s identity. The writing is smooth, the character is well developed, and the pace is nonstop. Highly recommended.

What great novels have you read this year?

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