Monday, December 27, 2021

My Favorite Fiction of 2021: Lot of Book Recommendations

What were your favorite fiction books this year?

Back in December 2011, I started a series, Authors, Alcohol & Accolades, which asked some of my favorite authors about their preferred drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic. There have been 11 editions of this column so far, with more coming in the future. The inspiration for this series is that I am a voracious reader, of both fiction and nonfiction, and I wanted to combine that interest with my love of food & drink. The series has proven popular and it has been fascinating to explore what authors enjoy drinking.

Each year, as an addendum to that series, I've been posting a list of my Favorite Fiction Books, including books of Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror and Mystery/Crime/Thriller. During the past twelve months, I've read over 250 books, both fiction and non-fiction, which provides a large pool for my choices. Most of the books on these lists were published in 2021, though there are some exceptions which were published in prior years but which I didn't read until this past year.

Onto my Book Recommendations...

First, let me provide my Top Three Reads Of The Year, those three books which thoroughly impressed and engaged me, compelling and creative works which I'm sure to read again in the future. These exceptional books have my highest, and unqualified, recommendation. They are not listed in any specific order of preference.

Razorblade Tears 
by S.A. Cosby
Last year, Cosby's novel, Blacktop Wasteland, was one of my Top Three Reads Of The Year, and his latest book makes the list this year too. Once again, Cosby has crafted an intense and riveting thriller, a tale of revenge and so much more. Two ex-convicts, a white man and a black man, seek vengeance against the men who killed their married, gay sons. It's an exciting tale of fatherhood and prejudice, of death and redemption. It's also thought provoking and powerful, a worthy successor to Cosby's previous novel. I highly recommend you read both of Cosby's novels.

The Maleficent Seven 
by Cameron Johnston
What a fun, thrilling and more unique fantasy tale, where the villains take center stage to save the world. They must stage a last stand in a small town against a powerful enemy, although each villain has their own agenda as well. It's dark and humorous, intense and enthralling, bloody and bloodier. There's some cool twists and it will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. It's a standalone novel although you'd wish there were more to come. 

The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu 
by Tom Lin
An excellent Western, with a Chinese assassin as the lead, it's a tale of rescue and vengeance, peopled with numerous colorful characters. It's great to see the diversity in this novel, and it's a thrilling ride, and would make for a great movie too. There's a threat of mysticism throughout the book which adds to its appeal. Western novels like this need much more attention. 


Second, let me provide a top ten list of my other Favorite SF/Fantasy/Horror Novels of 2021. Please note that these books are not in any specific order of preference. I've also added a top ten list of Honorable Mentions

The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater
Rovers by Richard Lange
The Children of Red Peak by Craig DiLouie
Absynthe by Brendan Bellecourt
Norylska Groans by Michael Fletcher & Clayton Snyder
We Shall Sing a Song Into The Deep by Andrew Kelly Stewart



Third, here are my top ten Favorite Mystery/Crime/Thriller Novels of 2021. From gritty noir to more high-tech thrillers, this books are exciting and riveting, sure to get your blood pumping and your heart racing. Again, these books are not in any specific order of preference.

Tricky by Josh Stallings
Lies We Bury by Elle Marr
Dark Sky (Joe Pickett #21) by C.J. Box 
The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda
Her Last Breath by Hilary Davidson
Billy Summers by Stephen King
Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka 


Fourth, here are a few of my Favorite Anthologies, Novellas & Short Stories of 2021. These often seem to get ignored on many other "Best Of" lists but I believe they are definitely worthy of attention.
A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djeli Clark
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djeli Clark

All of the books on this list garner my earnest recommendations and you should check them out. They would make great holiday gifts for others, or even yourself. Please support an author, a small, independent business person, and buy more books. And if you read and enjoy a book, please leave a review of that book online and tell all your friends about it. The author would greatly appreciate your efforts. 

What were some of your favorite fictional books this year?

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