The best thriller and mystery books of 2021
Maureen Corrigan and Richard Lipez
THE WASHINGTON POST – The settings and themes in 10 of 2021’s best mysteries and thrillers were all over the place – enough to fit a year of so much uncertainty and a much higher-than-normal rate of social chaos. What these fantasy novels have in common is a level of talent and skill that can rival any golden age of crime fiction.
BY CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD
Timely, surprisingly and emotionally alive, 56 days is set primarily during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown in Dublin. Two 20 vulnerable and insecure somethings connect into an anxiety-limited, pandemic, LET’s-see-do-it-go romance. Each, however, holds a certain secret, one of them chilling the blood.
CLARK AND DIVISION
BY NAOMI HIRAHARA
It’s 1944 and Rose Ito is about to be reunited with her family following their release from an internment camp in California when she is run by a subway train in Chicago and dies. Her younger sister mocks the coroner’s verdict of suicide and exposes to uncover the ugly truth.
BY LAURA LIPPMAN
There are undertones of misery in Lippman’s witty, horror-tinged thriller. After an accident, novelist Gerry Andersen is stranded in his penthouse, where he is tormented by letters and nightly phone calls from a woman who claims to be the real heroine whose story Gerry has appropriated for his groundbreaking novel. , also called Dream Girl.
A LINE TO KILL
BY ANTHONY HOROWITZ
Horowitz pokes fun at the literary community in that Whodunit spirit, set at a literary festival whose participants include an Anthony Horowitz. When a festival goer is fatally stabbed in the neck with a letter opener, the sleuthing begins.
BY CHRIS POWER
Power, a literary critic in London, must have thought of Graham Greene’s The Third Man when he wrote this elegant suspenseful novel. A Lonely Man features a writer struggling while playing detective drawn in a foreign city whose gray apartment buildings and dark parks silent witnesses to greed, despair and murder.
SPY OF THE NORTH
BY FLYNN BERRY
Putting Northern Ireland in the last year of “The Troubles”, the news centers on harassed new mother and BBC News producer Tessa Daly. Her sister, Marian, maybe an IRA bomb maker – or could she be an MI5 informant? Either way, the Tessa herself is love drawn soon to her neck in the nightmarish intrigue elapsed.
BY JEAN HANFF KORELITZ
The plot centers on a failing novelist who steals a plot from another writer. The twists he draws from it are so ingenious that the book should be designated as required reading in the MA programs it presents, both as a model of superior narrative construction and as a warning of the grim realities of literary life to budding naive writers.
BY HIS COSBY
Two fathers join forces to track down the killers of their sons, shot dead in a Richmond street. The two aggrieved parents form a memorable bond as they seek revenge for the death of their children.
BY JOHN LE CARRÉ
Le Carré’s latest novel, found in a drawer and finished by his novelist son, built on themes Le Carré so skillfully developed – betrayal, lying, bureaucratic inanity and our willingness to accept black and white explanations of a gray world.
SLEEP WELL MY LADY
BY DISTRICT KWEI
Ghanaian American Kwei Quartey has another case for the gently clever little ones PI Emma Djan. In this tale, Emma and her colleagues at the Sowah Detective Agency must understand why the glamorous Lady Araba was murdered: business, family, or a long list of other reasons?