How is 2023 already half over?!? It’s gone by so fast! Luckily, the never-ending passage of time is marked with lots and lots of amazing new books to read. IMO, there have been enough incredible books released in the first half of this year to fill a small library. And several of those are mysteries. What a fun genre! Mysteries are puzzles you can try and figure out, or just relax for the ride. Either way, the author is going to give you the answers. It’s like looking over a test and then someone else coming along and filling out the correct answers for you! All the brain usage with none of the hard work. Mysteries also make for fun summer/vacation reads. That’s why we have this list of 10 of the best mysteries and thrillers of 2023 so far!
The mysteries included here run the gamut from comfy-cozy to scary, and ultra-realistic to science fictional, with one literally out of this world. Whether you decide to read about a tea shop owner who decides to play sleuth on her own or a sheriff in Virginia who realizes there’s a terrible evil in his town, these books will keep you entertained and guessing all the way to the final pages. Let’s check them out!
Lay Your Body Down by Amy Suiter Clarke
This is a great mystery in the “nothing good ever happens when you reluctantly return to your hometown” sub-genre. Del fled her ultra-religious hometown with its antiquated beliefs about life. Six years later, when the man she was supposed to marry dies, Del knows it wasn’t an accident. But returning home means going toe-to-toe with the town’s pastor and his ever-growing flock, who may be hiding a killer.
All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby
Cosby has proven himself one of today’s best thriller writers, and this may be his most intense, realistic crime book yet. A school shooting in Sheriff Titus Crown’s small town not only sparks racial tensions, but leads to him uncovering possibly the most insidious evil Crown has encountered in his law enforcement career. To find the source, he’ll have to face his past.
Liar, Dreamer, Thief by Maria Dong
This is a twisty, turny novel about a socially awkward woman named Katrina who copes with the stress of her days by fixating on her co-worker, Kurt. Her secret interest in his life from afar is what she lives for these days. But when Kurt dies by suicide, he blames it on Katrina, blowing open the story, your mind, and what you thought you knew was going on.
What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall
Another great entry for the “don’t go back home” category is this exciting thriller! When Naomi was young, she survived a brutal attack while playing in the woods with her friends Cassidy and Olivia. The man responsible was caught and imprisoned. But over two decades later, the killer has died in prison, and Naomi is presented with new information that maybe he wasn’t responsible after all. As she searches for the truth, she discovers she can no longer trust her version of events.
The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older
This is a fun, Sherlockian space mystery — the first in a series. In the future, humans have colonized Jupiter. And when a man goes missing, Investigator Mossa is sent to find him. Her search leads her to the colony’s university — and her ex-girlfriend Pleti. As the two join forces to find the missing man, the sparks between them are rekindled. But the danger of their mission might snuff those sparks out — forever.
A Disappearance in Fiji by Nilima Rao
If you love historical fiction, check out this debut mystery set in Fiji in 1914! Akal Singh is a young Indian police sergeant assigned to Fiji as punishment after a professional embarrassment. When he is given what his boss thinks is an unworthy case, that of a missing indentured Indian woman, Singh is determined to prove himself capable of solving it. But his investigation will lead him into a world of colonialism and indentured servants within a racist power structure that provides suspects at the very top.
A Most Agreeable Murder by Julia Seales
For fans of historical mysteries and/or Jane Austen comes this most agreeable mystery. (See what I did there?) Beatrice Steele is a bright young woman who is not interested in the restrictive conformity that society expects of women. While she secretly indulges her interest in true crime, her sister is getting ready to find a marriage match at the upcoming ball. But when the most eligible bachelor suddenly dies at the ball, the attendees are trapped together by a raging storm, and Beatrice sees her chance to play detective for real.
Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb
Fresh off his hit debut The Violin Conspiracy, musician Slocumb returns with another music-related mystery! When a music professor discovers one of the most famous composers in the world may have stolen his music from a young Black woman, it blows his mind. The man he has spent years studying might have been a liar and a thief! But as the professor pursues his avenue of investigation, it turns out there are people who would do anything to keep the truth from being revealed.
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
This is a delightful cozy about a nosy, bossy older woman in San Francisco who decides to find a killer. When Vera Wong finds a body on the floor of her tea shop, she knows just what to do. She’s watched enough police shows to know how things will proceed. But when the police fail to show the case what she thinks is the proper amount of interest, she takes matters into her own hands. Vera decides the killer must be among her customers, so she cajoles (read: forces) them into spending time with her and each other, so she can figure out which one is a murderer.
My Murder by Katie Williams
And last but not least, this excellent slightly futuristic crime tale! In the future, humans will have the ability to clone people and bring them back from the dead. Lou is one of five women who were victims of a serial killer. Her problem isn’t that she doesn’t know who killed her — it’s that she doesn’t remember it happening, which is frustrating. As she attends a support group with the other regenerated victims, Lou struggles with being returned to a life that she isn’t sure she wants or cares about anymore. And there’s the matter of that thing in her closet…