15 Best Crime/Thriller Books of 2023

15 Best Crime/Thriller Books Of 2023

It’s been a big year for crime and thriller books. There have been a lot of excellent books (and some real stinkers) in both the crime and thriller categories.

In this curated list, we delve into the nail-biting, Pulsating and outright mysterious cases that had us stumped or up late at night desperate to find our beloved detective solve their respective cases.  As usual, the books below are listed in no particular order but of course, do let us know your favourites in the comments below!

So join us as we celebrate the narratives that have defined 2023, each a unique testament to the enduring power of storytelling.

The Last Devil to Die – Richard Osman

It really wouldn’t be a “best crime/thriller” list without Richard Osman. The Last Devil to Die kicks off our list with a delightful mystery for our Thursday Murder Club to solve.

An old friend in the antiques business has been killed, and a dangerous package he was protecting has gone missing.

Naturally, the gang jumps on the cast, as they encounter forgers, fraudsters and drug dealers, as well as heartache.

With the body count rising, the package missing and trouble on their tail, has their luck finally run out?

A Death in the Parish – Richard Coles

Richard Coles’ latest book, A Death in the Parish, takes us a few months after murder has torn apart the community of Champton.

Canon Daniel Clement tries to steady his flock, as the parish is joined with Upper and Lower Badsaddle, bringing a new tide of unwanted change.

Church politics soon become the least of Daniel’s problems though. His mother, Audrey, is obviously up to something. And she is not the only one.

And then all hell breaks loose when murder returns to Champton in the form of a shocking ritualistic killing…

The Cat Who Solved Three Murders – L T Shearer

Fancy something a bit different? How about this purrfect murder mystery, which introduces us to the delightful street cat called Conrad.

Retired police detective Lulu Lewis’s life is changed forever when she ends up entwined in this cosy crime thriller as the pair team up and try to find the killer. Well written and simple, this is another great thriller.

The Christmas Jigsaw Murders – Alexandra Benedict

On 1st of December, renowned puzzle setter and loner Edie O’Sullivan finds a hand-delivered present on her doorstep. Unwrapping it, she finds a jigsaw box and, inside, six jigsaw pieces.

When placed together, the pieces show part of a crime scene; blood-spattered black and white tiles and an outlined body. There’s also a message too: ‘Four, maybe more, people will be dead by midnight on Christmas Eve, unless you can put all the pieces together and stop me.’ Rest In Pieces.

This tantalizing premise is enough to hook you and the book is relentless as you’ll find yourself scrambling to turn the pages and find out what happens next.

A Very Lively Murder – Katy Watson

One murder mystery movie. Three Dahlias. And a whole cast of suspects. Welcome to Katy Watson’s latest thriller, A Very Lively Murder.

Ex-child star Posy Starling is our protagonist and she’s finally filming her dream role – Dahlia Lively in The Lady Detective movie. However, things take a nightmare turn when a prop weapon is replaced with the real thing – with almost fatal consequences for her fellow Dahlia, Rosalind King. There’s something very wrong on the set of The Lady Detective – which means it’s time to call in Caro Hooper, so the three Dahlias can investigate.

When another murder rocks the production, and no police to rely on, it’s up to the three Dahlias to stop a murderer in their tracks… before another victim is claimed.

Murder at Holly House – Denzil Meydrick

December 1952, and a dead stranger has been found lodged up the chimney of Holly House in the remote town of Elderby. Is he a simple thief, or a would-be killer? In a sea of questions, one thing is for certain – this town is full of secrets.

With a mystery that can’t be solved, Inspector Frank Grasby is sent in to investigate. But as one may expect, things don’t go according to plan.

Blizzard cut off the village from help, and the local doctor’s husband is found murdered. Grasby realizes that’s well and truly alone and if he can’t solve this one, there may be more murders on the horizon.

The Running Grave – Robert Galbraith

The Strike series has been going strong for a while, and Robert Galbraith’s seven installment doesn’t look like running out of steam anytime soon.

This time, Cormoran and Robin are forced to band together and rescue a man ensnared in a dangerous cult.

Strike is contacted by a worried father whose son, Will, has joined a religious cult in the depths of the Norfolk countryside.

On the surface, this looks like a peaceful organization that campaigns for a better world. Yet Strike discovers that beneath the surface there are deeply sinister undertones, and unexplained deaths.

Pulsating and a real page-turner, this may well be a massive book but it’s worth every page in this wonderfully written thriller.

Death at the Chateau – Ian Moore

Ian Moore’s 2023 crime drama is a sizzler and it sees us whisked into the shoes of Richard Ainsworth, who finds his French B&B has been taken over by a production company shooting a historical film at the Château de Valençay.

Everything grinds to a halt though when an actor dies under suspicious circumstances.

To get to the bottom of things, Valérie Dorçay and Richard offer catering services to the hastily resumed production. In doing so, they discover that the vanity, duplicity and murder of an 18th century French court is nothing compared to that of a 21st century film set, with more heads yet to roll…

The Raging Storm – Ann Cleeves

The third Two Rivers’ book sees Ann Cleeves return with The Raging Storm, the excellent third installment in the Matthew Venn series.

A new cases sees Jem Rosco inexplicably disappear after arriving in the quaint town of Greystone, Devon. With storms rising, Matthew Venn is on the case. However, he’s got a dark history with Greystone and when another body is found in town, Venn finds his judgment clouded, struggling to decipher superstition from rumour.

Traitors Gate – Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer’s latest book is another tantalizing read. Here, we’re taken into the heart of London. A master criminal has set his sights on pulling off one of the most insane thefts in history – he’s going to run a heist and has his sights set on the Crown Jewels.

With an inside man, and many unaware of what’s about to happen, everything is in his favour…

To give much more away about this book would be a disservice to Traitor’s Gate but suffice to say this is a very well written thriller that’ll have you turning the pages, desperate to find out what happens next.

The Golden Gate – Amy Chua

Amy Chua’s debut novel, The Golden Gate, is a sweeping, evocative, and compelling historical thriller. It paints a vibrant portrait of a California about to be plunged into massive change, right in the heart of 1944.

When a presidential candidate is assassinated at the Claremont Hotel, Detective Al Sullivan is on the case to solve this one. Unfortunately, this is not going to be easy and strangely, each clue seems to link back to the three remaining Bainbridge heiresses, now Iris’s sister, Isabella, and her cousins Cassie and Nicole. Will Sullivan manage to solve this one before it’s too late?

The Watchmaker’s Hand – Jeffrey Deaver

The Lincoln Rhyme series has been going strong for a while now and for good reason too – these stories are very well written. The Watchmaker’s Hand is no exception.

When a New York City construction crane mysteriously collapses, causing mass destruction and killing several people, Rhyme and Amelia Sachs find themselves on the case.

A political group claim to be behind the sabotage and threaten another crane collapse in twenty-four hours, unless their demands are met. The clock is ticking.

With New York in a panic, the stakes are higher than ever for Rhyme and his team to unravel the plot before the timer runs out.

The Crash – Robert Peston

As the world falls apart, a deadly conspiracy comes together, right in the heart of London, 2007. The economy is booming, profits are up and the stock market sits near record highs.

However, journalist Gil Peck is a lone voice worrying it can’t last. He’s noticed strange things happening which could threaten the whole economy.

When Gil gets a tip-off that a small northern bank has run out of money, everything changes. His report sparks the first run on a UK bank in 140 years. The next day, Marilyn Krol, the director for the Bank of England dies in an apparent suicide.

Marilyn was his first scoop.. is her death connected to her suicide? Or is there something more sinister in her death? Gil is determined to find out.

This is a hard-boiled crime drama that slips deep into murky, political waters and it’s a damn good read too!

Drowning – T.J. Newman

T. J. Newman returns with another great thriller this year in Drowning. This thriller is an edge-of-your-seat story about a commercial jetliner that crashes into the ocean. Having sunk to the bottom with passengers trapped inside, the book plays out as a nail-biting race against time as an extraordinary rescue operation to save them gets underway.

Six minutes after take-off, Flight 1421 crashes into the Pacific Ocean. During the evacuation, an engine explodes and the plane is flooded. Those still alive are forced to close the doors—but it’s too late. The plane sinks to the bottom with twelve passengers trapped inside.

There’s not much time. There’s even less air. Will the passengers make it out in one piece?

None of this is True – Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell’s scintillating new psychological thriller had to make this list. It’s not only one of the best thrillers of the year, it’s an incredibly endearing read about a woman who finds herself the subject of her own popular true crime podcast.

This woman is question is Alix Summers, who crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, as it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.

When Alix and Josie bump into each other a few days later, the pair slowly grow closer together. As they do, Alix starts to realize Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets. Who is Josie Fair? And what has she done? You’ll have to read this one to find out!

Closing Thoughts

2023 has been a big year for crime and thriller fans. There have been undeniable huge hits but some others that really didn’t capture the imagination, with both Lee Childs and Stephen King notably missing from this list. 

2024 looks like it’s going to be an excellent year for fans of crime thrillers, and we can’t wait to slip into another tantalizing murder mystery or race against time!

So, there we have it, our picks for the best crime and thriller books of 2023! Let us know what you think of our choices in the comments below and remind us of any others you enjoyed this year above all others!

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