Reader Friday: Favorite Book of 2021

If you could choose only one title, what was your favorite book of 2021?

How did it stand apart from all the other books you read?

Any favorites this year yet?


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About Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and named her Murder Blog as “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net.” She also blogs at the Kill Zone (Writer's Digest "101 Best Websites for Writers") and Writers Helping Writers. Sue lives with her husband in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writes two psychological thriller series, Mayhem Series and Grafton County Series (Tirgearr Publishing) and is the true crime/narrative nonfiction author of PRETTY EVIL NEW ENGLAND: True Stories of Violent Vixens and Murderous Matriarchs (Rowman & Littlefield Group). Currently on submission, her latest true crime project revolves around a grisly local homicide. For the spring 2022 semester, Sue will be teaching a virtual course about serial killers at EdAdvance in CT and a condensed version for the Central Virginia Chapter and National Sisters In Crime. Equally fun was when she appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series, Storm of Suspicion. Learn more about Sue and her books at

28 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Favorite Book of 2021

  1. Only ONE?! Oh, The Humanity! Okay…MIDNIGHT WATER CITY by Chris McKinney. It is a genre-blurring futuristic thriller that is also a private eye murder mystery at its core.

    My favorite so far this year is THE DEVIL HIMSELF by Peter Farris. It will be out in June.

    Have a great weekend, Sue!

  2. I have to keep a list, so I remember what I’ve read! I highlighted several as my faves.

    The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo stands out. It checked all my boxes: mystery, deaths, a ticking clock, romance, and a setting and culture unfamiliar to me.

  3. Last year: Strangers on a Bridge by James Donovan (who negotiated the release of Francis Gary Powers from the Soviet Union, as shown in Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies).

    This year: Sterling Hayden’s Wars by Lee Mandel.

    Into biographies lately…

    • I love biographies, too. Lately, I’ve been reading fun and/or inspirational novels, and I’ve loved them all. Though I’ll be getting back to my preferred genre with my next novel–WIN by Harlan Coben. Really looking forward to it.

  4. I haven’t read many brand new books, I typically read books published over a span of years, whatever catches my interest. There’s so much yet to read that has been previously published.

    That said, hands down my favorite mystery published in 2021 that I read was our own Kay DiBianca’s Time After Tyme, which was a lot of fun sleuthing and humor. An older book I’m currently reading is Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Johnson and Cooper, a darkly funny “non-fiction fictional” book with lots of Edward Gorey-esque illustrations.

  5. It’s hard to choose just one, but I’ll go with “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson. (I think I read it last year – may have been 2020.) It’s beautifully written as a letter from an aging minister to his young son. I had gotten a digital copy from the library, but you just reminded me how much I enjoyed it, so I ordered the paperback to keep on my bookshelf so I can re-read it.

    I don’t have a favorite yet this year. I’m reading “The Reading List” by Sara Nisha Adams for my book club.

  6. Last year I re-read some old favorites by Dekker. Great fun to re-discover what I liked about them.

    This year, I’m plowing through some William Forstchen, which I’ve already described in previous posts. The trilogy I’m reading now-One Second After, One Year After, and The Final Day-is making me think about the world we live in, and what it could easily become. All it would take is a lack of vigilance.

    Hope all y’all have a great Friday and a greater weekend!

    • Sounds like a fascinating book, Deb. I’m happy living in denial, but I’m glad you’re enjoying the trilogy. 😉

      Hope you have a great Friday, too!

  7. Last year I read my favorite trilogy: The Friends Of Eddie Coyle, The Digger’s Game, and Cogan’s Trade, all by the late great George V. Higgins, one of the greatest crime writers who ever lived. A close runner up was Boyos by Richard Marinick.
    Good books can always be reread multiple times.

    I Haven’t read Higgins’ At End Of Day so far this year. but it’s on the ready pile. He did do a book entitled “On Writing” which is good for folks just starting to learn their craft.

    Higgins was the first writer I instinctively liked on a gut level after being bored silly by the stuff in the Canon of Literature. I won’t name names but you know who they are, typically used to punish college freshmen.

  8. I’m reading “The Consequences of Fear” by one of my favorite contemporary authors, Jacqueline Winspear. It’s from her historical wartime series of Maisie Dobbs novels.

  9. Only one? Ack! Okay, I’ll pick This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno because it’s a domestic thriller from a MAN’s pov, and it’s got a little AI horror with tons of allusions to 2001 A Space Odyssey. Great fun!

  10. Last year I read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It was quite eye-opening. So far this year my favorite has been Playing for Pizza by John Grisham because in past years I read his hilarious book Skipping Christmas and wanted to read something of his again.

  11. I write reviews for a private reading group (Popficfans @ so I was ready to go with this. These are books I read last year. Some may have been published earlier.


    THE LODGE, JL Bryan. “Ellie Jordon, Ghost Trapper” paranormal suspense. Book 15. Ellie and Stacy are hired and ferried to a small private island off Georgia’s coastline which has been desolate for over a hundred years. Now, a tech billionaire wants it to become the site of his wedding, but the vicious hauntings have driven away all the workers. They must find a way to lay the victims of the island’s brutal history to rest against the wishes of the living and the dead. Bryan continues to surprise me with his innovation as yet another type of horror is introduced. Ellie and Stacy remain brave and determined to help both the living and the dead, and Bryan mixes fear with history and science. This remains my favorite series. I just read his most recent, CABINET JACK, and it was awesome, too.


    BLOOD HEIR, Ilona Andrews. “Kate Daniels World,” Book 1. Urban fantasy. Eight years after the events of the final Kate Daniels’ novel, Julie, Kate’s adopted daughter, returns to Atlanta in disguise, to prevent Kate from being murdered by the God Moloch. Her biggest problem is that Kate and her mate Curron can’t see her, or the prophecy comes true. This new series is essentially “Kate Daniels 2.0: The Next Generation.” Julie is now super powerful and deadly, and so is her own future Curran. Old alliances and new come into play as she deals with a monster murdering good people, humans hurting street kids, and local politics messing up everything. So, great writing and characters, but the names have been changed to start what is an obvious reboot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. You don’t need to have read any of the Kate Daniels series to start this series although there’s a bit more of a learning curve.


    DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP, Rick Riordan. Young adult science fiction. Present day. Book 1 of a new series. Ana Dakkar and her older brother Dev are students at a specialized high school/boarding school involved in all things ocean. As Ana and her freshmen classmates are leaving for their big skills test, they watch in horror as their cliff-side school and its students are destroyed by some type of torpedoes. Ana, her classmates, and their lone teacher know they will be the next targets if they don’t get the heck out of there. Once aboard their boat and out to sea, the teacher explains that Ana is the surviving family member of Captain Nemo of TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, and she must be kept out of the hands of the Land Institute who destroyed their school and wants Nemo’s technology currently hidden with the Nautilus. Her DNA is the key to opening the Nautilus. So begins a long game of aquatic cat and mouse as they try to stay alive. The world building is flawless and clever as heck, and Riordan creates great characters with Ana and her crew of freshman. An awesome new series that young adults and adults will enjoy.


    AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS, BB Alston. Middle school contemporary fantasy. African American heroine. Suitable for middle school to adult readers. Amari, a girl from the ‘hood, is determined to find her missing older brother, and an invitation to join a summer camp run by a supernatural organization her brother works for gives her a chance to find him. Lots of supernatural creatures, clever world building, and bullies and friends. A fun read with a great heroine. Highly recommended.

  12. Hi! Late to dinner, Sue. Sorry. (I’m Canadian – we say sorry for everything even when we’re not sorry at all.) Best book read in 2021? It might be best book not yet read, as I got a bunch of new hardcovers dropped on me at XMas. “The Apollo Murders” by astronaut Chris Hadfield. “Renegades – Born in the USA” by a couple of B-Listers named Barak Obama and Bruce Springsteen. “Orcas” which is the study of our local resident killer whale pod. And an excellent cookbook by 50 Vancouver Island chefs. This one I’ve read and made about half the recipes. So, yeah, maybe the cookbook is the best of 2021. 🙂

    • Haha. Nothing like a good cookbook! Let me know how ORCAS is when you read it.

      Since you sent me an excuse slip via email, I’ll let the tardiness slide this time. 😉

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