Cavallaro's Cavalcade of Carnage
Making a top ten list is difficult. I've noticed that many reviewers have stopped doing them. I understand. They're anxiety-inducing. Especially if you rank them, which is a masochist move on my part. I read thirty-one 5-star reads this year, making it near impossible to whittle down to only ten. But I'm always up for a challenge, even if it's a challenge against myself.


-I read 172 books in 2021, a personal record
-My average rating is 3.4 stars (I'm very mean)

Note: Not all books published in 2021

Let's go!

10: ?Along the Path of Torment by Chandler Morrison

Morrison's current best novel, and also the best extreme horror novel read this year.

9: The Between by Tananarive Due

It's absurd that this is actually a debut novel. Best horror debut ever? It's at least in the conversation.

8: Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

Winner of the 2021 Anthony award for Best Paperback Original. Very competitive category too.

7: Come With Me by Ronald Malfi

I will say what everyone said this year: It's Malfi's best book (which is saying a lot). Believe it.

6: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Even better than How to Stop Time, which I didn't think would be possible.

5: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

One of the genre's most consistently good writers, Grady Hendrix has done it again. Can we get this guy a Stoker award for one of these?

4: Songbirds and Stray Dogs by Meagan Lucas

Perhaps the most underrated book on this list. Lucas absolutely blew me away with this one. I cannot wait to see what she does next.

3: Together We Will Go by J. Michael Straczynski

I know Straczynski from comic books, so I was completely unprepared for this incredibly emotional and devastatingly well-written book about a VERY peculiar road trip.

2: Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma

Winner of the Shirley Jackson award for Best Novella. Quite easily one of the best fantasy stories I've ever read.

...and the best book I read in 2021 is..........

1: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Boy, did this one really live in my head for days. "Audacious" is the most accurate word for it. A home-run-swing of a novel for sure. I won't give anything away. Go read it!

Congrats to all of the authors, and a big thank you to all of the writers that got me through this year.

Reviews by Jason Cavallaro
Twitter: @pinheadspawn

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