• Bonnie Randall

Top 5 Reads, 2019

Every year I challenge myself to read a variety of genres, yet every year a theme nonetheless emerges, and I will have gravitated to one genus more than any other. At the end of 2019, it was obvious that true crime—with a heavy bent into the conspiracy realm—overshadowed any other.

Here are my Top Five Books of 2019:

1. Amy: My Search For Her Killer: Suspects & Secrets In The Unsolved Murder Of Amy Mihaljevic by James Renner

Renner has carved out some notoriety in the real-life mystery / true crime field, most notably for his exhaustive research into the Maura Murray disappearance (which he chronicles in his excellent book, True Crime Addict, for which you’ll find my review HERE).

The murder of Amy Mihaljevic, by Renner’s own admission, held him in thrall because Amy was his age when she vanished, and grew up not far from where Renner once lived. I can relate: The original milk-carton-missing boy, Johnny Gosch, was my age when he evaporated into the proverbial blue sky…and the mystery enshrouding his disappearance has captivated me ever since. (In fact I wrote an entire entry about it, linked HERE).

Amy is heartbreaking, illuminating, and ultimately confounding. After you read this true crime masterpiece you, like Renner, will believe this case is 100% solvable. And you, like Renner, will be frustrated as to why it has not been closed yet.

I pray someday it will be.

My full review of Amy is HERE.

2. Chaos: Charles Manson, The CIA, & The Secret History Of The Sixities by Tom O’Neill

Buckle up! This excellent expose spans a twenty year—TWENTY YEAR—commitment to research and drawing-of-dots-together by its brilliant investigator, Tom O’Neill. The parallels and connections revealed in this book will have you wishing it was fiction…yet it is not, and the sinister implications with which you’ll walk away questioning, re-questioning, and ultimately being unable to refute will cause you at least one sleepless night. Maybe more.

My full review is HERE.

3. Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas

One of the few fiction books that lit the scoreboard for me this past year, and I am glad it did because it introduced me to the excellent writing of Claire Douglas. No spoilers because Local Girl is a mystery, but I will say this: It is probably the best drawing of what we know to be Borderline Personality Disorder that I have ever read.

My full review is right HERE.

4. Weird Scenes Inside The Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops, & The Dark Heart of The Hippie Dream by David McGowan

What if entertainment was really a method with which to impose propaganda? That would be duplicitous, right? Insidious, correct? Very dark—would you not agree? David McGowan was one of the bravest and most unbiased indie journalists of our time. His research is tireless—and ruthless. His inferences are irrefutable. The coincidences he reveals are mathematically impossible…and therefore must be intentional. This book will make you think. And think. And think.

My full review is right HERE

5. If The Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss

The standout this year, however, was indeed a fiction novel. The literary prowess and breathtaking character development in this masterpiece are beyond compare. Not only the best book I read in 2019, but certainly one of the best books I have read EVER.

Full review, right HERE.

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I am reading this year! My Goodreads link is HERE.

And, if you are a fan of romantic suspense / paranormal romance, try my Secrets & Shadows series on for size—the debut novel:

Divinity & the Python, where deception & desire both dance in the dark with The Devil paperback & e-book


Love waits…Within The Summit’s Shadow—but so does murder

Paperback & e-book



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