Thrillers topped the polls in Northamptonshire’s top ten most loaned library books of 2014 - in a return to form for page-turning crime dramas.
Lee Child’s Never Go Back, following the exploits of murder investigator Jack Reacher, ranked as the number one most borrowed library book in the county this year, with 531 issues of the hardback.
It beat another thriller, Ian Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible into second place, which was loaned 459 times this year.
But the 2014 top ten shows a return to form for more adult fiction - with crime thrillers occupying four of the top ten places and historical including sagas Death of Yesterday, by MC Beaton, and In Search of Hope, by Anna Jacobs, proving popular.
In 2013 the top ten featured almost exclusively children’s books, with Julia Donaldson’s Monkey Puzzle topping the chart.
Principle librarian at Northamptonshire County Council Anne Lovely, said the Jack Reacher titles have helped inspire the crime fiction comeback.
“If people like a particular author, they tend to read around that author.” She said. “So we tend to like reading more of the same.
“Thrillers have done well because they’re just pure escapism – most of our lives are spent on computers, so it’s just so nice to read something that let’s you escape.
“Some people like to try and second guess the plot and what’s going to happen.
“But if you’re like me they’re just a rollicking good read.”
The top ten figures also show a general rise in the amount of books loaned by the county’s libraries, which Ms Lovely said was partly due to the introduction of ebooks.
However notably absent from the top ten lists this year were any of the novels on the Booker Prize longlist.
“People often pick up the winner,” she said. “But it’s not that it’s got a bad name, but people haven’t really enjoyed the Booker Prize books as much over the last few years, except for maybe Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies.
“I think because that was based on historical fact, people could feel like they were really learning something as well as being entertained.”
The Booker Prize for the fiction best literary fictional work of the year, was this year widened to include US authors for the first time and was won by Richard Flannagan, for his novel the Narrow Road to the Deep North.