8 December Mystery & Thrillers To End the Year Reading

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

We’ve made it to all the best of year lists, plus all the lists shouting excitement for the books that are coming in 2023. But we still have the month of December, which is the right-in-this-moment time. While it’s traditionally been the quiet time of publishing where they don’t put out a lot of books, I’ve noticed blockbuster series and/or authors getting December releases in the last few years, including this year, which has a new entry in a very popular YA murder mystery series.

Whether you love or hate the holidays, enjoy buying books for others, or are just looking to hunker down with a few books to say goodbye/good riddance to 2022, I’ve got new releases for you. There’s a new Truly Devious book for a locked-room mystery, there’s the third book in a funny procedural series, a great Japanese translated detective mystery, a rerelease of S.A. Cosby’s debut crime novel, a new cozy mystery series, a YA heist novel, and a social thriller focused on climate change. Basically, I have for you a list with many different crime books for different reading moods and tastes, so everyone can find something to curl up with!

a million to one book cover

A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar

Let’s start with a heist on the Titanic — what could go wrong?! Josefa, Emilie, Hinnah, and Violet are each very different with one united goal: steal a jewel-encrusted book aboard the RMS Titanic. They have enough against them to make this a near impossible heist, but they may not even escape with their lives…

cover image for Nine Liars

Nine Liars (Truly Devious #5) by Maureen Johnson

If you’re already a Truly Devious fan, run to this one! If you’ve never read the series, you can start with this one or with the previous one, The Box in the Woods. They both can read as standalones. However, the first three books in the series, starting with Truly Devious, are a trilogy and should be read accordingly. Okay, now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s talk about Nine Liars. With her boyfriend studying in London high school, senior Stevie Bell convinces the principal to let her and her friends do a study abroad in London. Now, not only does Stevie get to be with her boyfriend, but she’s introduced to a woman with an aunt who once had two best friends murdered while the rest of the friends were playing a drunken, middle-of-the-night game of hide-and-seek. The case is still unsolved, and when the aunt goes missing, Stevie is on the case!

cover image for My Darkest Prayer

My Darkest Prayer by S.A. Cosby

S. A. Cosby is the author of Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears, which were big hits. Now his debut novel, My Darkest Prayer, is being released. Nathan Waymaker is a former sheriff’s deputy and marine who currently takes on jobs where all other avenues have been exhausted. That’s how he ends up with the responsibility of making sure the local minister’s death isn’t ignored. Enter all the small town politics, corruption, and trouble coming Waymaker’s way.

cover image for A Hard Day For A Hangover

A Hard Day For a Hangover (Sunshine Vicram #3) by Darynda Jones

While these can be read out of order regarding the cases in each book, there is a running mystery in the personal lives of the core characters that unfolds across the first and second book. Sunshine Vicram, a new sheriff because her parents got her the job without her knowing, is a single mom with plenty of personal life and work drama — including a raccoon terrorizing her partner. The case she’s currently working on involves missing women. If you like dark humor police procedurals and want to start at the beginning, pick up A Bad Day for Sunshine.

Cover of A Death in Tokyo by Keigo Higashino

A Death in Tokyo by Keigo Higashino, Translated by Giles Murray

I will read every single book by Higashino that gets translated. He’s a great mystery detective author for fans of watching all the details and clues of a case unfold as it’s meticulously solved by a detective. Two things happen on the same night: a man is found stabbed to death, not where the attack happened; a man involved in a car accident is in a coma and had the murdered man’s wallet on him. Detective Kyoichiro Kaga is on the case to figure out why the stabbed man walked, injured, to die at the foot of a statue; how the other man came to have his wallet; and who committed the murder.

cover image for That Dangerous Energy

That Dangerous Energy by Aya de León

Here’s a social thriller focusing on climate change, and another author whose work I always read. Morgan Faraday thought her life was suddenly coming together: she’s going to marry Sebastian Reid, a billionaire oil tycoon who’s turning his company green. But too-good-to-be-true suddenly crashes into her life when she discovers it’s all talk and his company has caused several ecological disasters. She’s going to have to risk it all to find the evidence she needs to expose him…

cover image for Someone Had To Do It

Someone Had to Do It by Amber Brown and Danielle Brown

Here’s a domestic thriller for “at all costs” fans. Taylor Hanson is being threatened by her father: her entire inheritance is hinging on her passing a drug test. Oh, and he is also marrying someone too close to Taylor’s age. So why not just get rid of the source of the problem? Thrown into her family’s orbit is Brandi Maxwell, a fashion house intern, who accidentally hears something she should not have at the Hansons’ party.

Vinyl Resting Place book cover

Vinyl Resting Place (Record Shop Mystery #1) by Olivia Blacke

This is a perfect match for fans of cozy mysteries and family-run businesses. Sisters Juni, Tansy, and Maggie Jessup have opened up a music and coffee shop in Cedar River, Texas. Putting a damper on ownership, however, is finding a dead body in the supply closet and their uncle being arrested. When they bail him out and he disappears, it’s up to the Jessup sisters to figure out what is happening — and quick.

Here’s to all of 2022’s great mystery books! And if you’re looking for even more criminal reads, check out all our mystery/thriller posts. You can also find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index, carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors, organized by genre and release date.