2021 Staff Picks: Mysteries, Thrillers, and Suspense

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • Arsenic and Adobo

    2021 by Manansala, Mia P.

    A delightful, cozy, culinary mystery, the first in a new series. The author’s engaging style hits the spot, with all the familiar whodunit tropes playing out to a satisfying end. We loved hearing about all the dishes cooked in the various family kitchens around the diverse small town in which the story is set. Recommended by Jane and Sharon.

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  • Lightseekers

    2021 by Kayode, Femi

    Lightseekers is definitely one of the more interesting mystery debuts of the last few years. While this is a novel with a strong sense of place, much of the creeping dread comes from the universality of the 21st-century ills it explores--particularly the manipulation of social media by malign actors. Recommended by Andrew.

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  • An Unexpected Peril

    2021 by Raybourn, Deanna

    I can't get enough of the Veronica Speedwell historical mystery series. I love how Stoker and Veronica complement each other. The mystery is solid, with new, interesting political ties. If you like historical mysteries with a dash of romance and humor, be sure to check this series out. Recommended by Rummanah.

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  • Never Saw Me Coming

    2021 by Kurian, Vera

    I read a lot of thrillers and am rarely surprised by the ending. This book greatly surprised me and I guess you can say I never saw any of the plot coming! I loved the wry humor and the unique voice of the main character. The book was a fun page-turner. Recommended by Lynnanne.

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  • The Wife Upstairs

    2021 by Hawkins, Rachel

    I would describe this book as Jane Eyre by way of Gone Girl. I loved this modern take on the classic novel. A smart thriller for those who like their thrills literary and snarky. Recommended by Lynnanne.

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  • Clark and Division

    2021 by Hirahara, Naomi

    1944: Aki Ito is searching an extraordinarily vivid Chicago for the truth about her sister's death. A defiantly optimistic ending won't lessen the reader's fury at the compounded injustices. Recommended by Andrew.

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  • While Justice Sleeps

    2021 by Abrams, Stacey

    A top-notch political/legal thriller, it’s complexly plotted with bendy layers and a dynamite protagonist. If you’re looking for a fast-paced page-turner, check it out. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • Razorblade Tears

    2021 by Cosby, S. A.

    After reading two books by S.A. Cosby, I feel comfortable saying that he is one of the best pulp writers of his generation. His plot may hit the predictable story beats, but the unforced exploration of race, class, and masculinity and the emotional punch of Cosby's writing raise it far above the hardboiled pack. Recommended by Andrew.

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  • Silverview

    2021 by Le Carré, John

    I fully admit that my affection for Silverview isn't entirely rational. It's not one of Le Carre's best books, and his shortcomings as a writer are very much on display, but it was nice to hang out with his quixotic, broken-down spies one last time. Recommended by Andrew.

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