The Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2021, Lee Child

It’s been quite a while since I listened to an audiobook, and this one came from Netgalley, whose app I was not familiar with. All this to say that it was not quite a smooth experience, and it has nothing to do with the stories itself. I had difficulties to focus, and I have wondered if short stories are more difficult to get on audio rather than a novel. I’d say that if your attention drifts away for a paragraph (or two?) of a novel, it’s often not a big problem because you can pick the plot line up again later, but in short stories, especially in mysteries, once you’ve missed a clue, that’s too late. But once again, all of this is my fault, and this collection has a lot of stories that kept my full attention.

As always, a short story collection, especially one gathering a wide range of writers and themes, is hard to review. Some stories I enjoyed, some I actively disliked, some left me a bit cold. The big names in the collection didn’t offer stories as dazzling as I’d thought. I was a bit disappointed by Sara Paretsky’s story “Love and other crimes”, which was not memorable. I was disappointed by the Sherlock Holmes story for which I had high expectations (“The Adventures of the home office Baby”). I was a bit thrown off kilter by the Stephen King’s story, “The Fifth Step”, which is masterfully written and nail-biting (as usual), but which to me doesn’t really fit into the mystery genre, it’s more into the horror genre. Same with the Joyce Caroll Oates’ story, “Parole Hearing”, which is a variation on the Charlie Manson’s horrific 1969 murders.

But a lot of other stories were just great discoveries from authors I had never heard about, and whose names I will track down! (That’s one of the great benefits of this sort of collections, in my opinion). Here are my favorites:

  • “The Gift” by Alison Gaylin; about a missing little girl whose rich and famous parents resort to a medium to help in the search.
  • “The 6th Decoy” by Paul Kemprecos; about a quirky PI on Cape Cod
  • “Requiem for a Homecoming” by David Morrell, about a 20 year old murder in a college town
  • “Heatwave”, with a PI who is given the seemingly easy case of a missing teenager
  • “Edda at the End of the World” by Joseph S. Walker, a sort of Thelma and Louise story (no spoiler)
  • “The Path I Took” by Andrew Welsh-Huggins, whose narrator reflects on his time studying in Ireland
  • “If you want something done right” by Sue Grafton, about a very, very organized wife who plans for her husband’s murder

Certainly I will get my hands on a full length mystery with Aristotle Socarides in the near future (Paul Kemprecos). For the other authors (except Sue Grafton of course), a little more research is required. Any name you’ve read?

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley. I received a free copy of this book for review consideration.

2 thoughts on “The Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2021, Lee Child

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.