Last week I wrote about how all of the “Best Books of 2011” lists depressed me because they reminded me that I can never read all the books I want to read. Of course, that’s not going to stop me from presenting my own version of a 2011 book list!
I haven’t created a “best of” list, just want to share the books that I enjoyed reading last year. In fact, I enjoyed so many that I’m breaking the list into genres. Today I’m listing the mysteries, which were my first-love in books, starting with the Bobbsey Twins and Trixie Belden and the Hardy Boys and all the other children’s mystery series. Mysteries are still the books I’m most likely to read out of my stack of TBRs, and 2011 was a great year for me and mysteries.
Several of my favorite series had strong entries this year:
- The Affair: A Reacher Novel—Lee Child A flashback that shows us how Reacher became a lone injustice-fighting wanderer
- Three-Day Town—Margaret Maron A crossover with characters from two different series, and it’s fun to see how they interact
- V is For Vengeance—Sue Grafton Stepping outside of first person narration gives more scope and depth to the story’s characters
- New York to Dallas—J.D. Robb Eve’s mother makes an appearance, and we learn even more about Eve’s dark past
- Started Early, Took My Dog—Kate Atkinson Adds a new dimension to the stock character of the “tired and lonely” detective by introducing a small child for one and an abused dog for the other
- Until Thy Wrath Be Past—Asa Larsson Yes, another Swedish mystery writer, but with two strong female protagonists who aren’t quite as angst-ridden as all the other Swedish crime solvers seem to be.
While knowing the history of the characters in these stories may add to the pleasure, all of these can be read as standalone books. These next mysteries are either the first in a series or standalones:
- Before I Go To Sleep—S.J. Watson A woman who cannot make new memories struggles to learn the truth about her life even though she wakes up every day with no memory of what happened the day before. What is real? Who can she trust?
- The Hypnotist—Lars Keplar When a family is murdered, the hypnotist comes out of self-imposed retirement to find out what happened. Lots of twists and violence (and angst) from yet another Swedish writer
- The Stranger You Seek—Amanda Kyle Williams Strong new entry into the female private investigator oeuvre—she’s a Chinese American adopted into a southern family, and a recovering alcoholic fired by the FBI.
- Heads You Lose—Lisa Lutz This novel is more comedy than mystery. Two former lovers are collaborating on a mystery, and as they write alternating chapters they focus on each other as much as they do the story. Very fun. And funny.
So there are 10 mysteries I enjoyed reading last year. Next time I’ll look at my other favorite genre, Science Fiction and Fantasy!
Any great mysteries you read this year? I know I’m already depressed that I can’t read all the good books out there, but I still want to know more titles!