Keeping Faith and Songs of a Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult have everything running for them - unusual themes, superb writing and great plots.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is an awesome work of historical fiction that is very creepy in parts. For those of you who thought that 'The Da-Vinci Code' was good, this is a sublime piece of work.
Gone, Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane is a brutal, hard-hitting book that takes a long, hard look at hardcore criminals and cops. For all Thomas Harris (of Silence of the Lambs fame) fans, this is a must-read.
The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger boasts of a fairly unusual plot, if a tad similar to Diana Gabladon's Outlander series (which is yet another fine series).
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd features some appealing characters. Though many of the friends to whom I recommended this book dismissed it as yet another 'chick-flick', I'd still cast a vote for it.
Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra is the heartrending tale of 4 boys who are brutalized in a juvenile prison. Images from this book still refuse to fade away - truly, a haunting book. For that matter, almost anything by this author is read-worthy.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is beautifully written; even without a great plot, it manages to be quite a page-turner. I found it similar to, but even better than Peter Hoeg's award-winning Smilla's Sense of Snow.
And of course, some of my eternal favorites:
- God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
- The General's Daughter by Nelson Demille
- Rita Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption (Different Seasons) by Stephen King
- Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer
- It (not to be confused with Information Technology) by Stephen King
- The Runaway Jury and The Client by John Grisham
- Primal Fear by William Diehl
- A Stone for Danny Fisher by Harrold Robbins