Clued In: 10 of the Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2023 So Far

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Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

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!

cover of Lay Your Body Down by Amy Suiter Clarke; photo of the face of an white woman with brown hair with black bars across her eyes, nose, and mouth with the title written on them

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.

cover of All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby; image of sun behind tree branches

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.

cover of Liar, Dreamer, Thief by Maria Dong; illustration of a face done in different color patchwork.

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.

cover of What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall; photo of dark, wooded area with title imposed over the image in large, dark pink font

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.

cover of The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older; illustration of outline of two people against a swirly orange and red sky

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.

cover of A Disappearance in Fiji by Nilima Rao; illustration of a man in a turban looking out over bunkers in a field

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.

cover of A Most Agreeable Murder by Julia Seales; teal with illustration of a young white woman with dark hair in a cameo over an illustration of a large manor estate

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.

cover of Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb; image of geometric swirling pattern done in greens, blues, and yellows

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.

cover of Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto; illustration of an old Asian woman peeking through window blinds

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.

cover of My Murder by Katie Williams; illustration of women with black hair peeking out from between several red lines

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…

If you want more mysteries, here are 12 Great New Mystery & Thrillers For July 2023. And be sure to check out Unusual Suspects, our weekly mystery newsletter, and Read or Dead, our mystery podcast!