Mystery/Thriller

End the Year Sleuthing: 10 New Mystery Thriller Books For December 2023

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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.

From what I remember, December used to be a super quiet, not very exciting release month, which I assume is because publishers thought that new titles’ marketing would get lost amongst all the holiday ads. But the last few years have really started to change that and great books are releasing in December, meaning you don’t lose a month of great mystery releases! Which is important if you’re team sleuthing all year round.

And this December 2023, there are a bunch of new releases in existing series that, if you’re not already reading, you definitely should be: a procedural set in Chicago with a fictional serial killer; an Italian procedural with a detective hiding her Alzheimer’s diagnosis; a delicious cozy with a Brooklyn bakery setting; the final installment of a great Japanese detective series; a fun historical odd couple and PI duo; a fun amateur sleuth who is a bookstore owner and cryptozoologist. Plus, there’s the start of a new cozy series starring a children’s book author and her bloodhound!

And if you’re a fan of standalone mystery and thrillers, don’t worry; I got you! There’s an alternate history murder mystery starring Eliza Hamilton (yes, that Eliza Hamilton!), a past murder mystery with a fictional true crime documentarian, and a tale for fans of revenge!

cover image for Fall by Tracy Clark

Fall (Detective Harriet Foster #2) by Tracy Clark

For fans of procedurals, fictional serial killers, and a Chicago setting!

Detective Harriet Foster and her partner, Detective Vera Li, work for the Chicago PD. Their new case starts with two dead city councilman, each with 30 dimes left on their bodies, so you know, a message! Why were they targeted, and who is next?…

If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Hide. And also pick up Clark’s great PI series that starts with Broken Places.

cover image for Daughter of Ashes

Daughter of Ashes (A Teresa Battaglia Novel #3) by Ilaria Tuti (Author), Ekin Oklap (Translator)

For fans of translated procedurals with older protagonists!

This is a darkish series set in Italy that follows Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, a woman in her 60s with diabetes who starts the series hiding recent symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

In the latest book, Battaglia is on leave after her killer chase in the previous book (no spoilers here!), except it may not be temporary. She has yet to reveal to anyone at work that she has Alzheimer’s, let alone that the disease has progressed. But, of course, her plans to retire are interrupted by an imprisoned serial killer who will only speak to Battaglia…

If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Flowers Over the Inferno.

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Coconut Drop Dead (Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries #3) by Olivia Matthews

For fans of food cozy series!

Welcome to the delicious Spice Isle Bakery, opened by Lyndsay Murray in Little Caribbean, Brooklyn. She makes delicious treats and keeps having to solve murders, as one does in a delicious, cozy series. This time around, there’s a delicious annual festival, which is where an up-and-coming singer dies. Lyndsay’s cousin Manny knew the singer and doesn’t agree with the police’s conclusion of the accident, so Lindsay is back on a case!

If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Against the Currant.

cover image for The Final Curtain

The Final Curtain (The Kyoichiro Kaga Series, 4) by Keigo Higashino (Author), Giles Murray (Translator)

For fans of translated detective series that are completed and watching all the pieces of a case slowly come together!

Tokyo police detective Kyoichiro Kaga is about to have a head-scratcher of a case that connects to his personal life. Shuhei Matsumiya is Kaga’s cousin, also working for the police, and although there is no evidence, he starts to suspect two unrelated cases must be connected: the murder of an unhoused person in a fire and a strangled cleaning contractor. Even more wild connections will come when one of the murder victims has an item that is tied to Kaga’s mother’s death a decade before…

If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Malice!

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Perfect Little Lives by Amber and Danielle Brown

For fans of past murder mystery and fictional true crime documentarian!

Ten years ago, at the age of 13, Simone’s life imploded when her mother was murdered and her father was convicted of the crime. She’s living a quiet life away from the wealth she had when a true crime documentarian wants info, and a past neighbor drops a bombshell reveal about her mother. Looks like Simone will have some digging to do to find out if the real murderer was, in fact, convicted!

cover image for Murder Crossed Her Mind

Murder Crossed Her Mind (Pentecost and Parker #4) by Stephen Spotswood

For fans of historical mysteries with great PI pairing!

Set in the 1940s, Willowjean “Will” Parker — who ran away from home to work at the circus, where famous PI Lillian Pentecost hired her as an assistant — tells us stories about their greatest cases.

This time around, Vera Bodine, a shut-in in 1947 NY, has gone missing, and Will and Lillian are going to have to figure out what happened. And there’s plenty from Vera’s life to keep them busy, seeing as she hunted Nazis spies for the FBI, was recently looking into a string of murders, and may know a law firm’s secrets…

If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Fortune Favors the Dead.

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Death in the Dark Woods (Monster Hunter Mystery #2) by Annelise Ryan

For fans of bookstore-owning amateur sleuths — with a fun twist!

Morgan Carter owns a bookstore in Wisconsin and is a cryptozoologist who believes in plausible existability. This basically means that it isn’t that she does believe in Big Foot; it just means that, without proof, there could still be a chance. And now that there have been Big Foot sightings and a man has been killed in the Chequamengon-Nicolet National Forest, Morgan is asked to assist in the investigation…

cover image for Five Bad Deeds

Five Bad Deeds by Caz Frear

For fans of multiple POV and revenge!

Imagine just living your very hectic life — with three kids, two of them toddler — and discovering a note left for you that says, “People have to learn there are consequences, Ellen. And I’m going to teach you that lesson. Right under your nose.”

That’s what happens to Ellen one day, who quickly realizes she’ll have to figure out who is behind these notes as they get more intense, making it clear that someone is coming for everything Ellen holds dear…

sniffing out murder cover

Sniffing Out Murder by Kallie E. Benjamin

For fans of cozy mysteries with partners that woof!

Priscilla (Pris) became a successful children’s author with her book The Adventures of Bailey the Bloodhound and moved back to her hometown to be a full-time author. But things get a little murder-y when she fights with the childhood mean girl who grew up to be the person trying to cut the arts — and Pris’s reading program — from the education system. When said mean girl ends up dead, all eyes point to Pris. Clearly, she and her bloodhound will have to clear her name!

cover image for The Lace Widow

The Lace Widow by Mollie Ann Cox

For fans of alternate-history murder mysteries!

Set in New York in 1804, our sleuth is Eliza Hamilton — why yes, the Eliza who is married to Alexander Hamilton. She has just become a widow — you know, the duel — and her son is being accused of murder, having recently fought with a man right before he ended up dead. With eight children to care for and poking around in her dead husband’s work, Eliza is sure to find herself in a world of secrets…

Always looking for the next — or past — best mystery? We’ve got you covered! And, as always, you can find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index, carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors and organized by genre and release date.