Monday, December 06, 2021

The “Journal” Judges

What are the “best crime novels of 2021”? It’s impossible to say, since every reader’s tastes and experience with this genre are different. Nonetheless, newspapers, magazines, and Web sites are busily compiling lists of what their critics insist are the finest crime, mystery, and thriller books released during the last 12 months.

The latest publication to issue its assessment is Library Journal. Earlier today, LJ reviewers Liz French and Lesa Holstine posted online their 10 choices of 2021’s top crime reads. Listed in alphabetical order according to author names, they are:

The Turnout, by Megan Abbott (Putnam)
Razorblade Tears, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)
Clark and Division, by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)
Lightning Strike, by William Kent Krueger (Atria)
Dream Girl, by Laura Lippman (Morrow)
Velvet Was the Night, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey)
The Killing Hills, by Chris Offutt (Grove)
Mango, Mambo, and Murder, by Raquel V. Reyes (Crooked Lane)
Tricky, by Josh Stallings (Agora)
Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

Although French and Holstine fail to mention several of my own favorite crime novels of 2021, they deserve credit for demonstrating independence from the majority of their peers. I don’t remember seeing Stalllings’ Tricky on any other “best of 2021” list, for instance. The same goes for Reyes’ Mango, Mambo, and Murder.

FOLLOW-UP: Apparently, I erred when I wrote that Raquel V. Reyes’ first “Caribbean Kitchen Mystery,” Mango, Mambo, and Murder, hadn’t featured on previous “best of 2021” lists. Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine editor George Easter points out that it ranked among Bookpage’s mystery and suspense picks.

READ MORE:16 Authors Pick the Best Crime Novels of 2021
(Dead Good).

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