What have you read in the last six months or so that really knocked your socks off?

For extra points - why do you suppose you were suddenly sockless? What was it about the story that really worked?

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I want my extra points for being sockless!!

I read Joe Finder's Paranoia, after he recommended it to me from our chat on MySpace. I loved the first person POV that was so consistent in the book. You really get into the head of his main character (his loveable corporate slacker Adam Cassidy), but what got me sockless was the ending. It totally blew me away. In fact, the book got so addictive, I had to stay up late the last night to finish it. THEN, I couldn't sleep after--I was so jazzed by it. Joe had movie interest with this plot and it's no wonder.

His book also redefined the classic thriller in that this was a story about corporate espionage and company rivalry, not the dangerous plots people usually associate with thrillers. Joe's now got me thinking about how I construct plots, so I know this book will be influential for me as a writer. Another reason to go barefoot.
Ken Bruen's The Priest. His spare, powerful, lyrical style bowls me over each time I open a new one. It had been awhile since I was missing a pair of support hose...The last time that happened was when I picked up Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell. Between the 2 of them, Ken and Carol have completely emptied my sock drawer!
Ah, empty sock drawers.... heaven! I've had my drawers rifled by these two authors.
Hmm... rereading that comment it sounds a bit naughty.

My SOCK drawers, okay?
My socks are lycra knee highs, apparently, because it's been a year or so since they were knocked off. I've read many good books during the past 12 months, including Paranoia, but it was Martin Cruz Smith's Havana Bay last leaving me barefoot. It took him three years to write it, based on a quick peek at his publishing history, and the devotion is all over the pages. Not only great character and description and those succulent metaphors one finds in all his books, but a book bursting with history and culture, both geopolitical and Cuban. Solid plot too with a twist ending that surprised me big-time. (Paranoia's didn't, by the way. Saw that sucker coming for miles.)

A novel with many strengths and no weaknesses in regard to craft and also brimming with knowledge and ideas--that's what knocks my socks off.
Stalin's Ghost is out in a little less than a month - the newest in the Arkady Renko series. He really gets Russia right. And he's a fine writer, besides.
Laura Lippman, WHAT THE DEAD KNOW. A wonderfully evocative rendering of time and place, a compelling mystery at the plot's center, and a resolution that was a complete shock but that made perfect sense in the end.
I’m one of those fickle people who always enjoys my current book the best. However, I don’t think that any amount of time will change my opinion about this one! “Dry Ice” by Stephen White has been knocking my socks off. I love this series and this is the fourteenth or fifteenth that I’ve read. I never get sick of his characters and I like the “humanness” of Alan Gregory. You know, just when I thought I knew these people inside out, the author has sprung some fresh surprises and it’s been keeping me on the edge of my seat.
I love Stephen White. Damn! My TBR pile might need more company.
It won't be out for a little while yet, but this book is everything thrillers should be. Fast paced, great story, global settings, and some really cool tech stuff.
Really fun, I read it in one sitting.
I just finished Toni McGee Causey's BOBBIE FAYE'S (VERY VERY VERY) VERY BAD DAY. It's an amazing, fast paced ride that I just couldn't believe was a first novel. The plot is tight, the characters all wacky and well drawn, and it hangs together beautifully through the last page. The whole package works. Really works. Kudos to Toni.

And I second Dusty's vote for Laura's WHAT THE DEAD KNOW. I read this before I read BOBBIE FAYE, and I read it in two days, which is really unusual for me since I'm also writing a book and working part time and driving my daughter all over creation. But this book was such a compelling read, secrets everywhere, who knew who was telling the truth, and it was a seamless read.
I've read two books just in the last few days that "knocked my socks off," and they couldn't be more different. One was A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny, her second Inspector Armand Gamache mystery. These appeal to me because of the character of Gamache, and the setting in Three Pines, Quebec. Penny's use of setting is similar to the outstanding way Julia Spencer-Fleming uses setting. Penny's mysteries are thoughtful, introspective, traditional mysteries.

Cut to the Bone by Shane Gericke is just the opposite. It's a fast-paced thriller involving the death penalty and a serial killer. Gericke uses the same short chapters as Patterson does, which makes Cut to the Bone easy to read. It's a roller-coaster ride, with little introspection by the characters. They don't have time to think about themselves in Gericke's books.


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