Liz French

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The Most Precious Substance on Earth

Like My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, Bhat’s novel shows how life-altering and destructive sexual abuse can be. Unlike the protagonist of Russell’s book, Nina is less obsessed and broken, but damaged nonetheless.

Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies

For fans of old-Hollywood lore and classic movies, especially those starring Marion Davies. With notes, bibliography, filmography, and just enough photos to send readers to the internet in search of more images of Davies and her milieu.


Overstuffed with subplots and extraneous characters, this story has a confusing ending. Mostly for fans of the first book.

We Lie Here

Hall conveys the racist atmosphere of a small town and writes knowingly of extreme family dysfunction, but the meandering narrative, self-gaslighting protagonist, and several plot holes weaken the story.

Secret Identity

For fans of graphic novels (this book includes panels from the protagonists’ “Lethal Lynx” comics) and heroine journey stories.

Her Last Affair

Searles is the master of slow burn and intricate plot building. For fans of noir narratives and unpretty protagonists.

The Book of the Most Precious Substance

Sumptuous descriptions of expensive meals, glamorous hotels, and luxurious homes become repetitive, but Lily’s acid narration and gradual reawakening and a “be careful what you wish for” finale enhance this quest novel.

Best Crime Fiction of 2021

Best Pop Fiction of 2021


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