We are all busy, busy creatures, and even for those of us who are voracious readers, sometimes we fall a little behind on our reading lists. Worse yet, with all the books out there, sometimes we are unaware of incredible authors and noteworthy titles until a friend makes a recommendation or we hear about the title or author in the media.
This books on this list will alternatingly make you smile, cringe, shudder, think, and maybe even sleep with the lights on. The list contains 12 titles so that you can squeeze one great 2011 novel for each month of the New Year, making it easy to catch up. There are also some extra special recommendations -- for those of you who go through books like mice go through cheese -- as well as a special nod to a young adult novel which should be read by anyone who loves a good story.
Here are the best, brightest, and most exciting fiction titles of 2011. Happy New Year and happy reading!
1. V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton
Kinsey’s back. Need we say more?
2. The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
Gerritsen is a powerful voice for women mystery writers. Her books should be mandatory reading for all mystery lovers.
3. Murder Season by Robert Ellis
Ellis' Lena Gamble is one character that readers cannot get enough of. Too bad Ellis can only write one book a year -- we want more.
4. I'll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark
The Queen of Suspense enthralls readers with her words, which keeps readers' hearts pounding while reading her latest release.
5. The Paradise Prophecy by Robert Browne:
Exciting, captivating, and expertly written.
6. Murder by Mocha by Cleo Coyle
Reading Coyle's Coffeehouse's Mysteries is like a mental massage that triggers your gray cells into action. Who did it?
7. To Have and to Kill by Mary Jane Clark
Mary Jane Clark created one of the best characters to walk the pages in Piper Donovan.
8. Murder One by Robert Dugoni
Dugoni should be cloned. His expertise, knowledge, and excellent writing makes for books that are surefire page turners.
9. The River Panj by David Raterman: Intriguing thriller centered around the events of 9/11.
10. Mobbed by Carol Higgins Clark
Readers know by experience that a Carol Higgins Clark book is guaranteed to be a good read.
11. The Stranger You Seek: A Novel by Amanda Kyle Williams
Random House contracted Williams to a three book series. Readers everywhere will appreciate this mystery and its chills and surprises.
12. The Burning Lake by Brent Ghelfi
Ghelfi's imagination could create an entire universe, but readers are lucky he sticks to books.
BONUS CHOICE -- BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL OF 2011: The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez is a young adult novel that speaks to any reader regardless of age. Superb writing, endearing characters, and a fascinating story make this novel on an instant classic.
Choke by Kaye George:
George has the touch of Dickens in her writing.
Mind Your Own Beeswax by Hannah Reed:
Hannah Reed's books are not your traditional murder novels, but boy, are they good.
Afraid of the Dark by James Grippando:
Grippando always clutches the readers with his fascinating thrillers. Yep. Really good.
She Had to Know by Coco Ihle:
Ihle's writing is superb. Readers should hope for more.
The Drop by Michael Connelly:
Connelly is one of the best in his field.
Eleven by Carolyn Arnold:
Arnold's imagination and attention to detail do not leave any loose ends. Exciting.
Dead End by Leigh Rusell:
This book could be used as a textbook on how to write a mystery novel.
If I Should Die by Allison Brennan:
Brennan is a writer at the top of her give. She outdoes herself on this one.
Little Girl Gone by Brett Battles:
Battles' Logan Harper debuts in this exciting novel. Battles iurning frenzy in readers with stories populated by characters that stay close to the readers' hearts.
For a list of the best nonfiction books of 2011 click here.