What a year it’s been, a year of lockdowns and new varients to the already crazy Covid 19 – but we’re not going to focus on that, instead we are going to dive into the best novels of 2021.
In a year with so much crazy I was able to read a tonne of great books (and caught up on a lot of writers I’ve been meaning to devour) and so below are my top ten novels that I read in 2021 – if anything the pandemic has been kind to my reading and I wanted to share these fabulous books with you, so you, in turn, might be blessed by them the way I have!
So, on with the show.
1. Ghoul N’ The Cape
I’ve previously referred to Malerman as a chameleon, his books never the same, he adapts, he shakes things up, his books are canvasses each one a different time and place and genre – he’s not content in becoming stagnant, always searching for the next story or the next piece of art to create, and what we get with Ghoul N’ The Cape is his Sistine Chapel, his magnum opus – a literary opera that can’t be easily defined, because it’s a living breathing thing, a book that has a message, a book that is a new gospel, one that proves the power in words and storytelling, one that is transformative and revolutionary.
2. Almost Ruth
‘Tyler Jones is unmistakably one of the brightest lights in indie horror right now, read his words and be transformed. Almost Ruth broke something in me and I fear I’ll never be whole again. With prose as sharp as a scalpel Jones cuts us wide open and pours salt into the wounds.’
A stunning new work from the author of Criterium – you need this one in your life!
3. Boys In The Valley
Religious horror is one of my favourite subgenres of horror – and this book ‘Boys In The Valley’ has it in bucket loads; so much of the stuff that I was drenched in it, think Stephen King’s Carrie on prom night, that was me by the stories conclusion – absolutely caked in the stuff, and I bloody loved it.
4. Razorblade Tears
‘I’ve seen the future of crime writing and it’s name is S.A Cosby.’
Unflinching, heartfelt, raw, urgent, honest and masterfully written.
** spoiler alert ** Loved this book – my first Joe Hill outing in some time, I need to visit more of his work this coming year!
Perfect for reading during December made the feels even more eerie.
‘Pearl’ by Josh Malerman is a masterpiece, that’s right, I said it. Formally known as ‘On This, The Day of The Pig’ and given a limited edition release, ‘Pearl’ is a rebranding of sorts, it is now publishing through Del Rey Books and I for one am thrilled by this news, as it means a whole host of other unsuspecting individuals will be able to grab a copy and enjoy one of the finest horror yarns I’ve have the pleasure of reading this year.
7. The Ruin Of Delicate Things
The Ruin of Delicate Things is a Gothic romp of a novel that combines the beauty of past masters into a meandering tale of grief, guilt, tragedy, retribution and healing of past wrongs.
Also what a title – it perfectly sums up this book, and what it does to you if you fall under its bewitching spell.
8. Blacktop Wasteland
Blacktop Wasteland is sensational and you need to discover it, a full on ride into the self destructive nature of man, a man who’s got nothing else to loose is a very dangerous thing indeed. Masterful and raw… check it out!
9. Anger is an Acid
One of the most enjoyable and unputdownable series I’ve ever read, Clark has made me a fan of his work and I’ll be reading him for the rest of my life! It’s a five star series from me, every book has been awarded that accolade because they’re bloody brilliant and if you want to start Clark has also release all of the books in an omnibus… so check it out!
A thrilling read and a fabulous addition to the canon of work Malerman has been and continues to release. This is one of my favourites – ‘Inspection’ is the ‘Lord of the Flies’ (by William Golding) – for a new generation and a book not to be missed!
Reviewed by Ross Jeffery
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