theGrio’s Top 50 books to read this summer: ‘Crime and Consciousness’

Check out the top books to read this summer that spotlight mystery and suspense with sharp social bite

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Brilliant novels of mystery and suspense with sharp social bite, these books illuminate the pressing issues of our time through an entertaining genre lens.

The Other Black Girl (Literary Fiction)

After three years at a major publishing house, Zakiya Dalila Harris had plenty of material to work with in her suspenseful and sharp debut novel about the enduringly problematic racial politics of the corporate world.

The action centers on an African American editorial assistant whose dream job turns into her worst nightmare when another second Black girl enters the mix.


The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson (Thriller/Mystery)

The Jigsaw Man is a pulpy, roller coaster ride of a thriller, but there’s also solid characterization and social awareness here as well. At the center is a Black female investigator trying to outwit a clever serial killer while navigating the tricky politics of London’s elite police force.

When body parts show up floating in the river, certain details resemble that of a previous case. Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley is dedicated to her job and excellent at it, but she was emotionally and physically traumatized in her last big case. She now has to navigate hostility and mistrust from multiple quarters for the work she does and who she is.

Author Nadine Matheson is a criminal solicitor in London, and her background and knowledge add depth to her debut.

Also recommended: Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby; Runner by Tracey Clark; and Blanche Among the Talented Tenth by Barbara Neely (Mystery/Suspense/Thriller).

Return to TheGrio Top 50 Books of Summer Main Page 

More theGrio Top 50 Book picks: Family Ties | American Art and Ideas | LGBTQ+ Pride | Black Love and Black Glamour | Spreading Our Wings | Crime and Consciousness | Historical Reckoning | Nonfiction | Thrills and Chills: Mystery/Suspense/ThrillerLove and Romance | Historical Fiction | Fiction from the Diaspora | Contemporary Fiction

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