Cup of Tea’s Best Books of 2021: Mystery and Thrillers

Welcome to the Cup of Tea’s Best Books of the Year, where I list the best of the best books I read this year.

We expected 2021 to offer some solace from what we dealt with in 2020 but this year has proven to be just as stressful and tumultuous as the preceding year. But thankfully, the books published this year offer some type of break from the outside world. This year instead of lumping all genres together, I’m writing different posts, starting off with my favorite genre to read: mysteries and thrillers!

I was on a book committee this year and I had to read a lot of mysteries this year and although I am proud of the list we came up, there were some titles that I felt were truly extraordinary and needed to get the honor and the attention they deserve. So here we are, the best mysteries and thrillers of 2021:

Girl A by Abigail Dean

After all these months, this one has still stayed with me. I have never encountered a mystery/thriller that deals with the aftermath of the crime and I think that is why this has stayed with me this long.

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox

The use of mixed media in prose fiction still reigns supremes in this surprising suspense thriller that will shock mystery fans from beginning to end. I may not have always been fan of true crime but Joseph Knox has definitely made me one!

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

I don’t always read mystery series but this one is different. Not only does it feautre a female detetive of color, but there is just something about DI Anjelica Henley that makes me want to read more about her. Apart of from this, I always love a great cat and mouse game and this one is thrilling from beginning to end!

Shiver by Allie Reynolds

This one will be joy for Agatha Christie fans since it goes along the lines of “And Then There Were None”. Not only is it atmospheric, especially with its snowboarding references but you can feel tense and the dark emotions of what is truly going on in what looks like an abandoned snow lodge. The twist and turns are left until the very end but it is not done in a way that you are tired and bored of reading but you are excited to see how it turns out! Such a great debut that leaves with a chilling ending. 

A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver

Love every minute of it! Was just an exciting and intriguing book to read. Electra McDonnell is a literary female detective that is full of spunk and perseverance that will be memorable for readers and make them want to read more stories with her! 

Northern Spy by Flynn Berry

Both riveting and compelling, this book really surprised at how it came together. Not for the mystery aspect, but the emotional investment and care that the author showed on how far a mother would go to provide their child with a better life. I always find fiction about the Northern Ireland conflict and this book did a great job depicting historical context tied in with an exciting espionage adventure that is hard to put down from beginning to end. 

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

Foley takes you on a haunting and thrilling journey that will have you on the edge of your seat and not wanting you to put this book down. I figuratively felt my heart leap out of chest from every turned page and every mystery uncovered. Foley had me guessing until the very end and I loved every minute of it. 

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

Will Dean has created an atmospheric thriller that is full of dark themes that will leave readers breathless. It is so gripping and highlights the horrors of human trafficking. It was just so well written. You can really feel for the main character and what she was going through. 

The Downstairs Neighbor by Helen Cooper

So many twist and turns that will keep on the edge of your seat! I didn’t know what secret I would turn up with when a chapter concluded and I always ended up being shocked and in awe at the fact what I originally thought was incorrect! That’s how a good mystery is suppose to be! This really kept to all the tropes of the mystery genre but also told a compelling and engaging story that draws you in and keeps you on your toes.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

I still have chills running down my spine! How well do you really know the person that you are married to? This thrilling book takes psychological warfare to a whole new level. With all the twist and turns this mystery provides, you have a hard time guessing who is lying and who is being honest. 

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

Such an inventive and suspenseful thriller! Just had the right amount fast spaced storytelling that entertain and intrigue any mystery fan from beginning to end. If you are a fan of Agatha Christie and Lucy Foley, then you don’t want to miss this locked room thriller of 2021!

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

I didn’t think I would be ready to read a book about the pandemic and lockdown but this was a book that blew me away! I could not put it down! It really had me guessing. I liked how that although it took place during the global pandemic it didn’t take over the whole plot but it didn’t ignore that was happening either. It provided an equal balance of it with a mixture of an enticing thriller that really keeps you on the edge of your seat! 

Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner

I don’t normally read cozy mysteries but this is by far one of the best ones I’ve ever read. It was both compelling and engaging that it really draws readers into the mystery. A lot of cozy mysteries can deter readers with their cheesy writing but this one was just so well written that I had a hard time putting it down. I can’t wait to read the next one!

The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

A thrilling and dark mystery that had me hooked (and creeped out) from beginning to end. Not only was this a thrilling mystery, but a book that examines if evil is inherited or created from its surroundings. A great book who likes supernatural/horror mysteries.

Madam by Phoebe Wynne

This is such a powerful and revealing memoir that I don’t think I have the right words to do this remarkable book justice. The words that are written here are so empowering and soulful that you cannot help yourself and underline the moving sentences and words so they can stay with you always.


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Published by karma2015

I was born and raised in New York. I still live in New York but kind of sick of the city and one day I wish to move to the UK.I have a Masters degree in Library Science and I currently work in a special collections library. I loved books ever since I was a little girl. Through the hard times in my life, my love for books has always gotten me through. Just entering another world different from my own intrigues me. As long as I am entering in another universe, I like to create my own as well. I love to write and hopefully I will be able to complete a novel.

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