Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - This was my least favorite of the three Gillian Flynn novels I've read. It was also incredibly good. Camille finds herself driven to her hometown to cover the murder/disappearance of two local girls for the second-rate newspaper she works for outside of Chicago. From her strained relationship with her mother to her recent time spent in a psych ward, Camille struggles with the story and with being at home. It feels strange to call this the darkest of Flynn's works, but that's how it hit me. As messed up as the characters in Gone Girl and Dark Places were, the characters in Sharp Objects put them to shame. Maybe it was the focus on young girls. Whatever it was, it led to a wonderfully well-written story, but one that creeps into the darkest corners of your mind.
Broken Harbour by Tana French - Another one from the Dublin Murder Squad series. I've got a thing for Irish detectives. This book follows Michael "Scorcher" Kennedy to Broken Harbour, a new real estate development on the coast outside of Dublin, where a family has been murdered. Scorcher is dealing with the case at hand, his own ties to the estate, his mentally ill sister, and a new rookie partner. He's got a lot on his plate. While I really enjoy these books, French is far too verbose for me. It could've been half the length and still gotten the story across beautifully.
Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett - State of Wonder was my favorite book of 2012 and since then, I've been slowly making my way through Ann Patchett's other work, looking for that same reaction. Unfortunately, I haven't found it. In Patron Saint of Liars, Rose finds herself at a home for unwed teenagers although she is neither. Rose is pregnant and needs a safe place where she can be until she has the baby. Naturally, her story becomes more complicated as she spends time at the home, St. Elizabeth's. While the story is compelling, I didn't find myself reaching to pick the book back up.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - Santiago is a shepherd in Spain, traveling with his sheep, stopping when they need food or water. When he has a dream that he finds treasure, he shares it first with a Gypsy woman and then with a man he meets, who claims to be a king. Through these interactions, Santiago learns that his treasure lies at the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Taking a chance, he sells his sheep and heads for Africa in order to find his treasure. This book was beautiful, simple, and full of good lessons. It's vaguely religious, but not in an over-bearing way.