Saturday, November 20, 2021

Brits and Bests

Let’s add three more entries to what has become our running tally of “best books of the year” listicles. First off, we have nominations from a pair of contributors to the British newspaper The Financial Times. Below are the “best crime fiction of 2021” picks from Barry Forshaw, a favorite interviewee of The Rap Sheet:

Sunset Swing, By Ray Celestin (Mantle)
Razorblade Tears, S.A. Cosby (Headline)
Winter Counts, by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Simon & Schuster)
Girl A, by Abigail Dean (HarperCollins)
The Survivors, by Jane Harper (Little, Brown)

Next comes the “best thrillers of 2021” list from Adam LeBoer:

To the Lake, by Yana Vagner (Swift Press)
The Whistleblower, by Robert Peston (Zaffre)
Red Traitor, by Owen Matthews (Bantam Press)
The Saboteur, by Simon Conway (‎Hodder & Stoughton)
The Passenger, by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz (Pushkin Press)

I’m more familiar with Forshaw’s choices than I am with LeBoer’s. I’ve already read Razorblade Tears, Winter Counts (which came out in the United States last year), and The Survivors. And Sunset Swing, due out in the UK on November 25, is among works I’m looking forward to reading before New Year’s Day. The Passenger, originally published in 1938, has received a great deal of acclaim since its re-release last April, and I have added it to my Christmas wishlist.

* * *

Only recently did I discover a blog called The Book Decoder—just in time to find its selections of this year’s favorite cozy mysteries, mysteries and thrillers, police procedurals, and more. As a sampling, here are British blogger Rekha Rao’s nominations for 2021’s top domestic/psychological/medical/spy thrillers:

The Good Neighbour, by R.J. Parker (One More Chapter)
The Dinner Guest, by B.P. Walter (One More Chapter)
The Other Woman, by Jane Adams (Joffe)
Blue Madagascar, by Andrew Kaplan (Smugglers Lane Press)
Kill a Spy, by Samantha Lee Howe (One More Chapter)
Hard Road: Deadly Horizon, by Bradley West (Singapore
National Library)
Tidal Rage, by David Evans (Loudhailer)
The Weekend Escape, by Rakie Bennett (One More Chapter)
She Never Left, by C.M. Harris (One More Chapter)
The Perfect Neighbour, by Susanna Beard (Joffre)

I confess, I haven’t read a single one of these novels, in part because I do not live in Great Britain, and also because I’m not on the mailing list of One More Chapter, a division of HarperCollins. Nor have I seen any of Rekha’s picks mentioned on other “best of the year” rosters. But that’s part of the fun of poring over such lists, seeing how idiosyncratic are some reviewers’ reading tastes.

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