We’re calling it now: The mystery and suspense genre is on the cusp of a golden age. From psychological thrillers to procedurals to cozies, these books reached new heights and brought new perspectives to the forefront in 2021.
10. Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes
Mango, Mambo, and Murder has everything readers look for in a cozy mystery but also feels like a breath of fresh air thanks to its funny, grounded characters and lovingly detailed setting.
9. Bad Moon Rising by John Galligan
John Galligan’s trademark dark humor and clear-sighted social commentary are in fine form as he follows Sheriff Heidi Kick, one of the most complex yet lovable heroes in current crime fiction, on her latest investigation.
8. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
This cozy mystery is even better than Richard Osman’s utterly charming debut, The Thursday Murder Club.
7. The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish
No one can pull off a twist like Louise Candlish. This gorgeous, meticulous nail-biter is a smooth work of narrative criminality.
6. The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny
Having reached a pinnacle of critical and commercial success that most authors only dream of, Louise Penny still somehow manages to top herself with the latest Inspector Gamache mystery.
5. Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The genre-hopping Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Mexican Gothic) moves into pulp adventure territory with a novel set in 1970s Mexico City that evokes the best conspiracy thrillers.
4. Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia
The Jazz Age setting infuses this mystery with a crackling feeling of possibility. Readers will unequivocally root for Nekesa Afia’s amateur sleuth.
3. Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby
Razorblade Tears transcends genre boundaries and is a must-read for anyone looking for a mystery that provokes and thrills in equal measure.
2. Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara
Set in a Japanese American neighborhood during World War II, Clark and Division is as much an exposé of communal trauma as it is a mystery.