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Vicki Rock's 5-Star reads of 2023

This week, our Library Lady turns the library blog over to reviewer Vicki Rock, who shares her 5-Star Reads of 2023. Note that the book titles and book covers are linked to each book's record in the library's online patron access catalog.


Text "book reviews by Vicki Rock" with picture of eyeglasses on an open book

This was another year of excellent books. These are what I consider to be the five-star books I reviewed this year, listed in order of publication.

Book cover image for Decent People


Decent People, by De’Shawn Charles Winslow, Bloomsbury Publishing. A woman starts asking questions when her fiancé is suspected of murder.


Book cover image for I Have Some Questions for You

I Have Some Questions for You, by Rebecca Makkai, Viking. This is a mystery and a coming of age novel about violence towards women and media coverage of those crimes.


Book cover image for All That is Mine I Carry With Me

All That Is Mine I Carry With Me, by William Landay, Bantam. Three siblings wonder if their father murdered their mother.


Book cover image for Small Mercies

Small Mercies, by Dennis Lehane, Harper. The lengths a mother will go to in trying to find her missing daughter.


Book cover image for The Covenant of Water


The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghese, Grove Press. A historical family tale and a chronicle of medical care and of women in medicine in South India.


Book cover image for Lady Tan's Circle of Women

Lady Tan's Circle of Women, by Lisa See, Scribner. An incredible story of 15th century women physicians.




Book cover image for All the Sinners Bleed

All the Sinners Bleed, by S.A. Cosby, Flatiron Books. A school shooting leads to a larger investigation.



Book cover image for Tom Lake

Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett, Harper. A woman tells her daughters about her romance with a now famous actor.



Book cover image for The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride, Riverhead Books. In 1972, workers in Pottstown find a skeleton at the bottom of a well.


Book cover image for The Invisible Hour

The Invisible Hour, by Alice Hoffman, Atria Books. A young woman is trapped in a cult.

Book cover image for Learned by Heart


Learned by Heart, by Emma Donoghue, Little, Brown and Company. A historical novel about the relationship between two women.


Book cover image for The Girl in the Eagle's Talons

The Girl in the Eagle's Talons, by Karin Smirnoff, translated by Sarah Death, Knopf. Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist take on a criminal underworld.


Book cover image for Holly

Holly, by Stephen King, Scribner. Holly Gibney is hired to look for a missing woman.


Book cover image for Happiness Falls

Happiness Falls, by Angie Kim, Hogarth. The father in a tight-knit family is missing and the only witness is his special-needs son who cannot speak.


Book cover image for The River We Remember

The River We Remember, by William Kent Krueger, Atria Books. A Native American is arrested for a wealthy landowner’s murder.


Book cover image for The Armor of Light

The Armor of Light, by Ken Follett, Viking. Seismic shifts that shook the world in nineteenth-century Europe.



Book cover image for The Running Grave

The Running Grave, by Robert Galbraith, Mulholland Books. Private Detective Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin Ellacott try to rescue a young man from a cult.


Book cover image for Past Lying

Past Lying, by Val McDermid, Atlantic Monthly Press. An archivist thinks there is something that the cold case squad should review.



Book cover image for Unnatural Death

Unnatural Death, Patricia Cornwell, Grand Central Publishing. Gruesome murders in Northern Virginia.



Book cover image for The Mayors of New York

The Mayors of New York, by S.J. Rozan, Pegasus Crime. When the mayor’s son is missing, it is neighborhood “mayors” who help the investigation.




In addition to what I consider as the five-stars books of the year, many other good books were published. Thanks to the publishers who approve my requests for review books; Terri Foster, director of the Meyersdale Public Library, for posting my reviews; and to everyone who reads my reviews. I’m looking forward to another year of good books.

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