Tuesday, December 06, 2022

A Multiplicity of Viewpoints

As we move deeper into this holiday season, “best books of 2022” lists are really proliferating. My wait for New York Times critic Sarah Weinman’s crime and mystery picks is finally over; she posted her 11 choices online today, breaking them down into five categories.

Best Debuts:
Don’t Know Tough, by Eli Cranor (Soho Crime)
Portrait of a Thief, by Grace D. Li (Tiny Reparations)

Best Standalones:
Real Easy, by Marie Rutkoski (Henry Holt)
The Lost Kings, by Tyrell Johnson (Anchor)
Gangland, by Chuck Hogan (Grand Central)
Anywhere You Run, by Wanda M. Morris (Morrow)

Best in a Series:
Survivor’s Guilt, by Robyn Gigl (Kensington)
Vera Kelly: Lost and Found, by Rosalie Knecht (Tin House)
Secrets Typed in Blood, by Stephen Spotswood (Doubleday)

Best Overall:
Notes on an Execution, by Danya Kukafka (Morrow)

Best in Genre Non-fiction:
The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators, by Martin Edwards (Collins Crime Club)

* * *

Earlier this week, the Times’ Sarah Lyall revealed her selections of the “Best Thrillers of 2022.” It’s a short list, comprising only five titles.

The Appeal, by Janice Hallett (Atria)
Broken Summer, by J.M. Lee (Amazon Crossing)
The Other Side of Midnight, by Adam Hamdy (Atria)
Blood Sugar, by Sascha Rothchild (Putnam)
The Murder Rule, by Dervla McTiernan (Morrow)
The Island, by Adrian McKinty (Little, Brown)

* * *

Another reliable voice is that of Oline H. Cogdill, longtime mystery-fiction columnist for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Her preferences from 2022 were also delivered today, in five different divisions.

Best Novels (in order of preference):
1. The Cartographers, by Peng Shepherd (Morrow)
2. Back to the Garden, by Laurie R. King (Bantam)
3. Anywhere You Run, by Wanda M. Morris (Morrow)
4. Secret Identity, by Alex Segura (Flatiron)
5. We Lie Here, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Thomas & Mercer)
6. Desert Star, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
7. Things We Do in the Dark, by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur)
8. Like a Sister, by Kellye Garrett (Mulholland)
9. Killers of a Certain Age, by Deanna Raybourn (Berkley)
10. Her Last Affair, by John Searles (Mariner)
11. Forsaken Country, by Allen Eskens (Mulholland)
12. The Fields, by Erin Young (Flatiron)
13. The Drowning Sea, by Sarah Stewart Taylor (Minotaur)
14. Two Nights in Lisbon, by Chris Pavone (MCD)
15. Racing the Light, by Robert
Crais (Putnam)
16. Counterfeit, by Kirsten Chen (Morrow)

Best Debuts (in alphabetical order,
by author):

Jackal, by Erin E. Adams (Bantam)
Pay Dirt Road, by Samantha Jayne
Allen (Minotaur)
Before You Knew My Name, by Jacqueline Bublitz (Atria/Emily Bestler)
Shutter, by Ramona Emerson (Soho Crime)
The Marsh Queen, by Virginia Hartman (Gallery)
All That’s Left Unsaid, by Tracey Lien (Morrow)
The Verifiers, by Jane Pek (Knopf)
Dirt Creek, by Hayley Scrivenor (Flatiron)
A Flicker in the Dark, by Stacy Willingham (Minotaur)

Best Non-fiction:
American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America's Jack the Ripper, by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur)

Best Short Stories:
Marple: Twelve New Mysteries, by various authors (Morrow)
Best American Mystery and Suspense 2022, edited by Jess Walter and Steph Cha (Mariner)
Hotel California, edited by Don Bruns (Blackstone)

Best Reissue:
The New Annotated Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, edited by Leslie S. Klinger (Mysterious Press)

* * *

A few days ago, I pointed Rap Sheet readers to several favorites-of-the-year rolls assembled by Robin and Jamie Agnew, former proprietors of Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since then, they’ve also released a “Best of 2022” roster, on which appear 10 crime/mystery novels and one work of non-fiction:

All the Queen’s Men, by S.J. Bennett (Morrow)
The Lindbergh Nanny, by Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur)
The Woman in the Library, by Sulari Gentill (Poisoned Pen Press)
Blackwater Falls, by Ausma Zehanat Khan (Minotaur)
Back to the Garden, by Laurie R. King (Bantam)
The Wedding Plot, by Paula Munier (Minotaur)
No Strangers Here, by Carlene O’Connor (Kensington)
Under Lock and Skeleton Key, by Gigi Pandian (Minotaur)
A World of Curiosities, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Killers of a Certain Age, by Deanna Raybourn (Berkley)
The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators, by Martin Edwards (Collins Crime Club)

* * *

Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine editor George Easter, who keeps better track of these “best of the year” rolls than I do, has recently led me to several additional picks lists. Two of them come from Ryan Stack, of The Real Book Spy. While this other one is from critic Margaret Cannon, withCanada’s Globe & Mail newspaper.

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