“Best of” 2022

December is when the lists of the year’s best books come out. The New York Times, the Economist, The Guardian, Time Magazine, and Amazon, among others, all list their favorites. According to the Literary Hub website, the novel that got the most raves on the various end-of-year lists is Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. I’ve put it on my Christmas list!

I didn’t really expect, but still hoped, that Pesticide might be on one of these lists. But it isn’t—I looked. Well, I only checked some of them. I decided it really didn’t make sense to go through Foreign Affairs’ Best Books of 2022 looking for a mystery.

But what Pesticide did achieve is a Kirkus starred review. Hurray! Turns out all Kirkus reviews have to be bought (something I never knew, but which seems obvious now that I think about it). Usually, publishers buy them for their authors. For some reason, Pesticide didn’t get one, so I sent it to Kirkus myself and bought my own review (which makes it what the magazine calls an “Indie” book, even though it’s not self-published.) Kirkus provides a review–although not necessarily a good one–for least ten thousand books a year: fiction and nonfiction for adults, young adults, and children. Only about 10% of these books get a star—and one of 2022’s stars went to Pesticide! This means Kirkus classifies it as one of the top forty mysteries and thrillers of 2022 and, better yet, one of the top twelve police procedurals of the year. You can read Pesticide‘s review by clicking here.

I got on one other 2022 list as well, which was a delightful surprise.  Deadly Pleasures is an online mystery magazine published by George Easter, and George turns out to be a fan of Pesticide, calling it one of the best first mysteries of 2022.

So the year is ending on a high note for me as a debut mystery writer. We’ll have to see how Sons and Brothers does in 2023. One nice thing: George Easter has already read a review copy and thinks it’s as good as Pesticide. Who knows? Maybe it will get on one of the other, better known “best of” lists.

I haven’t listed my “best books of the year,” but I’d say that the most moving novel I read in 2022 was Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars, about a young nurse in Dublin in 1918, working in a hospital during the Spanish Flu epidemic. The most entertaining book was Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary, about a very unlikely astronaut who has to save Planet Earth.

Hope all of you find the time to read at least one very good book during the holidays, and Happy Reading in the New Year!

8 thoughts on ““Best of” 2022

  1. Fantastic, and well deserved end of year showing for a great book! SO looking forward to the next one. You created such utterly compelling and 3D characters!
    Love the idea of being able to buy reviews that are unbiased by the purchase – that star is a real win!
    Also, a side note, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow was also mentioned in a WaPo article about the best book cover art of the year!


    1. Thanks so much, Ellen. Makes me happy that you’re attached to my characters. I’m so glad you referred me to this article about book covers. The taste of the reviewers is so different from mine that I find it fascinating and even mind-blowing!


  2. Congratulations on all the excellent feedback you’ve received throughout the year. I’m so thrilled Pesticide did so well, as I love it and the Kirkus review is fantastic.

    These are great book recommendations from you, “Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow” was also recently recommended on BBC’s Between the Covers, TV book club so I’ll definitely purchase a copy.

    Roll on 2023 and the launch of “Sons and Brothers” a virtual toast to its’ success and the joy it will bring to your old and new fans!


    1. I really appreciate your compliments to Pesticide, Melina, and your toast to Sons and Brothers.
      Cheers back to you. You’ll have to tell me what you think of Zevin’s book.


  3. I think this is a draft I never sent, now outdated in regard to Mike, who is feeling pretty good 36 hours after the successful pacemaker planting. We enjoyed being home today with frigid winds outside. Tomorrow, Christmas Day, will be quiet too. Mike’s revising while I finish holiday communications and cooking.

    Lots of love, Betsy

    ———— from several days ago Fabulous review, and so accurate. It’s great when a reviewer praises the book for successes that you consciously worked at, like the depth of your characterization, the satisfying way your plots come together, and the strong pull of Renzo and G’s attraction.

    Justice—for you! You deserve all the praise you’re getting. My friends keep reporting how much they love the book, and some are buying it for Christmas presents. Everyone says they are eager to read the next book and see how things develop between Renzo and G. Me too!

    I didn’t know about the need to buy a Kirkus review. This is the kind of thing we have missed on, the price of first, publishing with an academic press that has a low budget and little experience with mysteries and second, my not taking the time and work to publicize the books properly. I love it that you are putting in that work, and your publisher is too. I am impressed with the number of reviews you have listed in your blog, and they are wonderful!

    So, let’s celebrate! I think I’ll put a bottle of sparkling apple cider in the fridge and toast you, with Michael, at our mocktail hour, just before dinner.

    Michael is now in quarantine officially, after taking a Covid test yesterday at a big warehouse out in the country. We drove into the snowy hinterland and then drove the car into the warehouse, which was huge, like an airplane hangar. We stoooed at three stations, staying in the car to register, give us elaborate directions and cautions, and then do the test, all while staying in the car. It seemed like science fiction noir.

    At midnight tonight Michael will stop drinking and eating. tomorrow he will get the pacemaker installed in the morning. We haven’t had time to be apprehensive really instead, we’re very grateful that there is a way to stop his heart from pausing as they say, pausing for two seconds up to seven seconds, and then the heart has a bit of a hard time getting started properly and wobbles all over the place. The doctor showed us really interesting charts that were generated when Michael wore a Holter monitor for two weeks. So give us some good thoughts tomorrow at our 11 AM.

    I’d love to set a time to talk again. how about about your tonight so as to hit me in the afternoon, I am tied up between 1130 and 1:00 my time and then after 6 PM. Or we could talk after Michael’s procedure say the morning of Tuesday the 27th before anytime before my 11 that’s Tuesday the 27th, same with Thursday the 29th so we’ve got plenty to tell least I do and you certainly seem to with your huge successes. I’m sending you great big hugs, kisses and high-fives. Merry Christmas and congratulations again. Your loving friend, Betsy


  4. 🎉🎊🍾👏🎈 It was great to talk with you. 2022 was a banner year for you! Let the new year bring happiness! Love, Betsy


  5. Thanks for the new recommendations, Kim. As you know, I’m one of your very biggest fans and I think Sons and Brothers is even better than Pesticide! And I’m glad to get your news, Betsy!


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