Mysteries, Thrillers and True Crime Released on 2021 I’m Excited For

Hello readers!

I wanted to talk today about some of my favorite reads that I don’t feel gets enough space in this blog: crime fiction and non-fiction.

Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been gravitating towards the same few genres – even though I normally read pretty broadly, I’ve been reading a lot more thrillers and mysteries, and even some true crime. I’m going through a lot of those and discussing them with friends and family who also love reading this kind of books as a “comfort” read (I find it an interesting thing that murder can be so comforting… should I tell my therapist? Probably). I haven’t added to this list books that I was interested in but ended up disappointed on, so if it looks like I haven’t read a lot of these, it’s because I’ve had a bit of bad luck with thrillers this year but STILL I am super hyped for these. I have been going through these like crazy and I know I’m not the only one, so if you are looking for some recommendations, some of these I’ve read, most of these I haven’t, but I’m excited for ALL of them.

I have a varied assortment here, from YA horror/mystery to cozy mysteries, translated thrillers and true crime. I hope you find something that calls your name – because oh boy, do I have options!

The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

My sister LOVES CJ Tudor so I am 100% sure I will read this! The story sounds super interesting, I am really into small towns, communities that hide secrets, there’s some closed-room feel to this kind of book that I really enjoy, so I will be picking this one up!

Published January 21st 2021

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

I’ve loved both books I’ve read by Samantha Downing so I will for SURE read this one. It’s about a creepy ass teacher who will do ~anything~ for his students to achieve their potential. Her last two thrillers were bonkers in a very enjoyable way, and I like these too-ridiculous-to-be-true kind of thrillers, especially with serial killers whose moral guidance is entirely wrong as protagonists (it’s giving me a little bit of They Never Learn vibes).

Expected publication: July 20th 2021 

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn’t be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way.

It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Riley Sager is a hit-or-miss author for me (funnily enough, my sister and I disagree on which books are hits and which are misses), but I will probably read anything he writes. This book is set on one day as a girl tries to figure out if the guy giving her a ride home is a serial killer. This sounds like an intense psychological thriller so I’m intrigued!

Expected publication: June 29th 2021

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing–survive the night.

If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier

I am a bit hesitant because this has a low-ish rating on Goodreads, but I LOVE the “true crime” podcast trope and I’m just dying for more, so I will happily give this a chance!

Published January 26th 2021

Sera loves true crime podcasts. They make her feel empowered in a world where women just like her disappear daily. She’s sure they are preparing her for something. So when Rachel, her favorite podcast host, goes missing, Sera knows it’s time to act. Rachel has always taught her to trust her instincts.

Sera follows the clues hidden in the episodes to an isolated ranch outside Rachel’s small hometown to begin her search. She’s convinced her investigation will make Rachel so proud. But the more Sera digs into this unfamiliar world, the more off things start to feel. Because Rachel is not the first woman to vanish from the ranch, and she won’t be the last…

Rachel did try to warn her.

Girl in the Walls by A.J. Gnuse

I actually already read this and if you are into the creepy kind of stories that don’t necessarily follow a formulaic whodunit, you will really like this one! It’s about this girl who lives inside a family’s home in secret, hiding in the closets, under the bed, in the attic…. it’s well written and so readable, it’s separated into very short chapters, I could hardly put it down. This got me seriously creeped out – something about the idea of someone hiding in your home and you have NO idea really got to me.

Published May 11th 2021

Eventually, every hidden thing is found.

Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the walls. She knows which parts can take her in, hide her away. It’s home, after all. The home her parents made for her, before they were taken from her in a car crash. And home is where you stay, no matter what.

Eddie is a teenager trying to forget about the girl he sometimes sees out of the corner of his eye. But when his hotheaded older brother senses her, too, they are faced with the question of how to get rid of someone they aren’t sure even exists. And as they try to cast her out, they unwittingly bring an unexpected and far more real threat to their doorstep.

Written with grace and enormous heart, Girl in the Walls is a novel about carrying on through grief, forging unconventional friendships, and realizing, little by little, that we don’t need to fear what we do not understand.

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

This is giving me cozy mystery vibes, and I especially like how it’s taking place in a restaurant, I feel like cozy mysteries are even better when they’re quite focused on food, there is something so nice about it. I also heard this is a no-nonsense main character, which is so refreshing.

Published May 4th 2021 

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

I really enjoyed Grady Hendrix’ My Best Friend’s Exorcism, a really fun YA horror, and this is a very interesting concept: a bunch of final girls gather for therapy after the traumatic events in their lives, and then have to face a second horror when a serial killer shows up who seems to be targeting them – I also really enjoyed that the author took time to question the morality of why the final girl trope is so popular and the misogyny of slasher movies.

Expected publication: July 13th 2021

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Girl A by Abigail Dean

The “final girl is thrown back into a horror movie” trope is quite trendy, and of course quite fascinating: it evokes fun, gory slashers. Also the words “House of Horrors” totally sold this to me.

Published February 2nd 2021 

‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’

Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

This is something a bit different from the other books, it’s a YA horror with some fantasy elements – but I am adding it to this list because the story is after all centered around the mystery of what happened to these three sisters, who have no memory of why all three have identical mysterious scars.

Published April 6th 2021

Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years. 

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

Honestly, after loving Say Nothing, I will probably read anything Patrick Radden Keefe

Published April 13th 2021

The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions: Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing OxyContin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis.

Empire of Pain is a masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, exhaustively documented and ferociously compelling.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

I picked this one up and really enjoyed it! It’s a it of a slow burn in the beginning but I didn’t mind that at all – I found it very entertaining and devoured this in a couple days.

Published May 11th 2021

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written–let alone published–anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that–a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?

The Therapist by B.A. Paris

I find B.A. Paris’ books very entertaining – she is SO good at books where you are not 100% sure of what is going on and you start doubting the main character’s sanity altogether, so I am really looking forward to this one!

Published April 15th 2021 

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

The million-copy Sunday Times bestselling author B A Paris returns to her heartland of gripping psychological suspense in this powerful tale of a house that holds a shocking secret.

The Push by Ashley Audrain

This is part of a trend of motherhood as thriller and horror, which is pretty much niche and maybe it’s not for everyone. But I think it sounds amazing: I love books where we wonder if the protagonist is imagining her fears, where the reader is a bit confused. I think books about motherhood tend towards something visceral and raw, and I am VERY excited to pick this up.

Published January 5th 2021

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter–she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then their son Sam is born–and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, and what it feels like when women are not believed

The Project by Courtney Summers

This seems to have been met with not much love or hype so far, but I loved Sadie, and The Project seems to be a fascinating story about cults, sisters and I am quite excited to read this YA thriller.

Published February 2nd 2021

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams

I don’t read political thrillers a whole lot but I am VERY excited for this one – I’ve heard it’s amazing and it’s been picked up for a TV adaptation. Also, it’s Stacey Abrams, I just need to read something by her, and this sounds excellent – full of scheming and giving me “true crime” vibes.

Published May 11th 2021

Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, is doing her best to hold her life together–excelling in an arduous job with the court while also dealing with a troubled family. When the shocking news breaks that Justice Wynn–the cantankerous swing vote on many current high-profile cases–has slipped into a coma, Avery’s life turns upside down. She is immediately notified that Justice Wynn has left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney. Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery finds that Justice Wynn had been secretly researching one of the most controversial cases before the court–a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, which promises to unleash breathtaking results in the medical field. She also discovers that Wynn suspected a dangerously related conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington.

As political wrangling ensues in Washington to potentially replace the ailing judge whose life and survival Avery controls, she begins to unravel a carefully constructed, chesslike sequence of clues left behind by Wynn. She comes to see that Wynn had a much more personal stake in the controversial case and realizes his complex puzzle will lead her directly into harm’s way in order to find the truth. While Justice Sleeps is a cunningly crafted, sophisticated novel, layered with myriad twists and a vibrant cast of characters. Drawing on her astute inside knowledge of the court and political landscape, Stacey Abrams shows herself to be not only a force for good in politics and voter fairness but also a major new talent in suspense fiction.

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

Ohh this sounds SO cool. What if your best friend told you she had to kill a man who had attacked her? And what if this happened… more than once? This sounds like a fun thriller that will keep me guessing what is going on and I LOVE that.

Expected publication: July 13th 2021

An annual backpacking trip has deadly consequences in a chilling new novel from the bestselling author of The Lost Night and The Herd.

Emily is having the time of her life–she’s in the mountains of Chile with her best friend, Kristen, on their annual reunion trip, and the women are feeling closer than ever. But on the last night of their trip, Emily enters their hotel suite to find blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says the cute backpacker she’d been flirting with attacked her, and she had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Even more shocking: The scene is horrifyingly similar to last year’s trip, when another backpacker wound up dead. Emily can’t believe it’s happened again–can lightning really strike twice?

Back home in Wisconsin, Emily struggles to bury her trauma, diving head-first into a new relationship and throwing herself into work. But when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to to confront their violent past. The more Kristen tries to keep Emily close, the more Emily questions her friend’s motives. As Emily feels the walls closing in on their coverups, she must reckon with the truth about her closest friend. Can she outrun the secrets she shares with Kristen, or will they destroy her relationship, her freedom–even her life?

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka, translated by Sam Malissa

Five killers trying to outsmart each other to get the money? Sounds over-the-top, bonkers and lots of fun! This novel was first published in 2010 in Japan but we are getting a translation this year, which is so exciting.

Published April 1st 2021 

Five killers find themselves on a bullet train from Tokyo competing for a suitcase full of money. Who will make it to the last station? An original and propulsive thriller from a Japanese bestseller.

Satoshi looks like an innocent schoolboy but he is really a viciously cunning psychopath. Kimura’s young son is in a coma thanks to him, and Kimura has tracked him onto the bullet train headed from Tokyo to Morioka to exact his revenge. But Kimura soon discovers that they are not the only dangerous passengers onboard.

Nanao, the self-proclaimed ‘unluckiest assassin in the world’, and the deadly partnership of Tangerine and Lemon are also travelling to Morioka. A suitcase full of money leads others to show their hands. Why are they all on the same train, and who will get off alive at the last station?

A bestseller in Japan, Bullet Train is an original and propulsive thriller which fizzes with an incredible energy as its complex net of double-crosses and twists unwinds to the last station.

Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green

This true crime book shines a light on a killer who targeted the LGBT+ community during the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s, which is a topic I have not read much about and I think this will be a sensitive and important read.

Published March 9th 2021

The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.

Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.

Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang

A corporate thriller! This sounds exciting. It tells the story of a spy going to Silicon Valley and questioning her loyalties – it seems to have women in tech as the main theme and I am quite intrigued.

Published May 25th 2021 

In 2006 Julia Lerner is living in Moscow, a recent university graduate in computer science, when she’s recruited by Russia’s largest intelligence agency. By 2018 she’s in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America’s most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising startups, crush them and copy their features if they refuse); self promotion (check out her latest op-ed in the WSJ, on Work/Life Balance 2.0); and work in gender equality (transfer the most annoying females from her team), she funnels intelligence back to the motherland. But now Russia’s asking for more, and Julia’s getting nervous.

Alice Lu is a first generation Chinese American whose parents are delighted she’s working at Tangerine (such a successful company!). Too bad she’s slogging away in the lower echelons, recently dumped, and now sharing her expensive two-bedroom apartment with her cousin Cheri, a perennial “founder’s girlfriend”. One afternoon, while performing a server check, Alice discovers some unusual activity, and now she’s burdened with two powerful but distressing suspicions: Tangerine’s privacy settings aren’t as rigorous as the company claims they are, and the person abusing this loophole might be Julia Lerner herself.

The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her own loyalties. Russia may have placed her in the Valley, but she’s the one who built her career; isn’t she entitled to protect the lifestyle she’s earned? Part page-turning cat-and-mouse chase, part sharp and hilarious satire, Impostor Syndrome is a shrewdly-observed examination of women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris, and the rarely fulfilled but ever-attractive promise of the American Dream.

The Hunting Wives by May Cobb

This sounds like the kind of thriller that is perfect for Summer vacation: rich people behaving in less than moral ways and the consequences are… fatal. I kind of love this trope, which exposes the flawed humanity behind the glamor of money. Just such fun.

Published May 18th 2021

Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.

Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.

When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.

The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan

Like the book above, this one also has the trope of rich people behaving badly and someone dies. I read The Doll House a long time ago by this author and really liked it, so I have high hopes for this!

Published April 29th 2021

OUR FRIENDS.
A LUXURY RETREAT.
IT’S GOING TO BE MURDER.
The new gripping crime thriller from No.1 digital bestselling author of The Doll House, The Girl Next Door, and The Babysitter.

It’s been years since Grace, Felicity, Alice and Hannah were together – The Wild Girls, as they were once called, are no longer so wild. Alice has settled with a new baby and partner. Hannah is now a teacher. Grace has gone to ground. Only Felicity seems to have the same spark she once had.

And now Felicity has invited them all on the weekend of a lifetime – a mini-break in Botswana to celebrate her birthday, a chance to put that night two years ago behind them, when things went so very wrong between them, and their bomb-proof friendship was shattered for ever.

But on arriving at the luxury safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles on Grace, Hannah and Alice. Felicity isn’t there to meet them. There’s no sign of the party she promised. The awful phone signal means that they are on their own, in the wild…

It’s a weekend with a difference. But who is hunting who?

The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey

This is the third book in the cozy mystery series Perveen Mistry, which I LOVE. Perveen is such a strong, warm character and the atmosphere is just absolutely wonderful. I will for sure be picking this up, perhaps quite soon.

Published June 1st 2021

November, 1921. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales and future ruler of India, is arriving in Bombay to begin a four-month tour. The Indian subcontinent is chafing under British rule, and Bombay solicitor Perveen Mistry isn’t surprised when local unrest over the royal arrival spirals into riots. But she’s horrified by the death of Freny Cuttingmaster, an eighteen-year-old female Parsi student, who falls from a second-floor gallery just as the prince’s grand procession is passing by her college.

Freny had come for a legal consultation just days before her death, and what she confided makes Perveen suspicious that her death was not an accident. Perveen, who strongly identified with Freny—another young Parsi woman fighting hard against the confines of society’s rules and expectations—feels terribly guilty for failing to help her. Perveen steps forward to assist Freny’s family in the fraught dealings of the coroner’s inquest, and when Freny’s death is ruled a murder, Perveen knows she can’t rest until she sees justice done. But Bombay is erupting: as armed British secret service march the streets, rioters attack anyone with perceived British connections and desperate shopkeepers destroy their own wares so they will not be targets of racial violence. Can Perveen help a suffering family when her own is in danger?

Lightseekers by Femi Kayode

I haven’t heard much about this novel

Published February 4th 2021

When Dr. Philip Taiwo is called on by a powerful Nigerian politician to investigate the public torture and murder of three university students in remote Port Harcourt, he has no idea that he’s about to be enveloped by a perilous case that is far from cold.
 
Philip is not a detective. He’s an investigative psychologist, an academic more interested in figuring out the why of a crime than actually solving it. But when he steps off the plane and into the dizzying frenzy of the provincial airport, he soon realizes that the murder of the Okriki Three isn’t as straightforward as he thought. With the help of his loyal and streetwise personal driver, Chika, Philip must work against those actively conspiring against him to parse together the truth of what happened to these students.
 
A thrilling and atmospheric mystery, and an unforgettable portrait of the contemporary Nigerian sociopolitical landscape, Lightseekers is a wrenching novel tackling the porousness between the first and third worlds, the enduring strength of tribalism and homeland identity, and the human need for connection in the face of isolation.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

This is a historical mystery about an apothecary who sells poison for women to kill the men who oppress them and it sounds really interesting! This is getting a lot of hype at the moment so I will wait a bit to see more reviews before I pick it up.

Published March 2nd 2021

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon

Published June 15th 2021

Oliver Park, a young recovering addict from Indiana, finally has everything he ever wanted: sobriety and a loving, wealthy partner in Nathan, a prominent DC trauma surgeon. Despite their difference in age and disparate backgrounds, they’ve made a perfect life together. With everything to lose, Oliver shouldn’t be visiting Haus, a gay bathhouse. But through the entrance he goes, and it’s a line crossed. Inside, he follows a man into a private room, and it’s the final line. Whatever happens next, Nathan can never know. But then, everything goes wrong, terribly wrong, and Oliver barely escapes with his life.

He races home in full-blown terror as the hand-shaped bruise grows dark on his neck. The truth will destroy Nathan and everything they have together, so Oliver does the thing he used to do so well: he lies.
What follows is a classic runaway-train narrative, full of the exquisite escalations, edge-of-your-seat thrills, and oh-my-god twists. P. J. Vernon’s Bath Haus is a scintillating thriller with an emotional punch, perfect for readers curious for their next must-read novel.

Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage

I’ve heard little about this title as well, but it sounds dark and glamorous and love this cover.

Published May 18th 2021 

Jonah Keller moved to New York City with dreams of becoming a successful playwright, but, for the time being, lives in a rundown sublet in Bushwick, working extra hours at a restaurant only to barely make rent. When he stumbles upon a photo of Richard Shriver—the glamorous Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright and quite possibly the stepping stone to the fame he craves—Jonah orchestrates their meeting. The two begin a hungry, passionate affair.

When summer arrives, Richard invites his young lover for a spell at his sprawling estate in the Hamptons. A tall iron fence surrounds the idyllic compound where Richard and a few of his close artist friends entertain, have lavish dinners, and—Jonah can’t help but notice—employ a waitstaff of young, attractive gay men, many of whom sport ugly bruises. Soon, Jonah is cast out of Richard’s good graces and a sinister underlay begins to emerge. As a series of transgressions lead inexorably to a violent climax, Jonah hurtles toward a decisive revenge that will shape the rest of his life.

Riveting, unpredictable, and compulsively readable, Yes, Daddy is an exploration of class, power dynamics, and the nuances of victimhood and complicity. It burns with weight and clarity—and offers hope that stories may hold the key to our healing.

Madam by Phoebe Wynne

A dark, feminist mystery set in a boarding school in Scotland? Sign me up! I have an eARC for this so I should really read this soon!

Published May 18th 2021

For 150 years, high above rocky Scottish cliffs, Caldonbrae Hall has sat untouched, a beacon of excellence in an old ancestral castle. A boarding school for girls, it promises that the young women lucky enough to be admitted will emerge “resilient and ready to serve society.”

Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie: a 26-year-old Classics teacher, Caldonbrae’s new head of the department, and the first hire for the school in over a decade. At first, Rose is overwhelmed to be invited into this institution, whose prestige is unrivaled. But she quickly discovers that behind the school’s elitist veneer lies an impenetrable, starkly traditional culture that she struggles to reconcile with her modernist beliefs—not to mention her commitment to educating “girls for the future.”

It also doesn’t take long for Rose to suspect that there’s more to the secret circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of her predecessor—a woman whose ghost lingers everywhere—than anyone is willing to let on. In her search for this mysterious former teacher, Rose instead uncovers the darkness that beats at the heart of Caldonbrae, forcing her to confront the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose, and her own role in perpetuating it.

A darkly feminist tale pitched against a haunting backdrop, and populated by an electrifying cast of heroines, Madam will keep readers engrossed until the breathtaking conclusion.

People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd

I find fascinating the near-celebrity status some social media profiles (like Instamoms) have and the relationship between them and their fans – so I will be easily sold any book exploring this. This sounds like such a great read!

Published January 12th 2021

Followed by Millions, Watched by One

To her adoring fans, Emmy Jackson, aka @the_mamabare, is the honest “Instamum” who always tells it like it is.

To her skeptical husband, a washed-up novelist who knows just how creative Emmy can be with the truth, she is a breadwinning powerhouse chillingly brilliant at monetizing the intimate details of their family life.

To one of Emmy’s dangerously obsessive followers, she’s the woman that has everything—but deserves none of it.

As Emmy’s marriage begins to crack under the strain of her growing success and her moral compass veers wildly off course, the more vulnerable she becomes to a very real danger circling ever closer to her family.

In this deeply addictive tale of psychological suspense, Ellery Lloyd raises important questions about technology, social media celebrity, and the way we live today. Probing the dark side of influencer culture and the perils of parenting online, People Like Her explores our desperate need to be seen and the lengths we’ll go to be liked by strangers. It asks what—and who—we sacrifice when make our private lives public, and ultimately lose control of who we let in. . . .

7 thoughts on “Mysteries, Thrillers and True Crime Released on 2021 I’m Excited For

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