The Best Mystery & Suspense of 2023

In 2023, historical mysteries reckoned with the myths of America’s past and thrillers exposed the pitfalls of true crime obsession. Of course, the cozy craze continued—not one, but two charming, clever and bloodless whodunits made our best-of-the-year list.

S.A. Cosby’s All the Sinners Bleed is a nerve-jangling, thought-provoking, often heartbreaking read that follows the first Black sheriff of a rural county in Virginia.

Jessica Knoll’s Bright Young Women is a primal scream for women past and present.

Jane Harper’s lyrically written, immersive and slow-burning mystery Exiles is a powerful send-off for beloved character Aaron Falk.

Atmospheric, unique and elegantly written, The Frozen River will satisfy mystery lovers and historical fiction enthusiasts alike.

The Last Devil to Die is equal parts well-plotted mystery, scintillating repartee and deep reflection on what it means to love.

By turns witty, warm, charming and poignant, The Motion Picture Teller is perhaps Colin Cotterill’s finest novel thus far.

William Kent Krueger’s page-turning, rewarding mystery The River We Remember is a superb exploration of the prejudices and complexities of post-World War II America.

Sly and suspenseful, The Secret Hours is both a marvelous standalone novel and a stunning companion to Mick Herron’s Slough House series.

Jesse Q. Sutanto hits all the right notes in Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, a cozy mystery worth reading for its hilariously meddlesome titular character alone.

Ruth Ware’s action-packed thriller Zero Days is as much an exploration of grief as it is a warning about the vagaries of technology.

Previous Best Mystery & Suspense lists

Recent starred mystery

Charlotte Vassell’s blisteringly funny The Other Half is a murder mystery written a la Kingsley Amis.

Theater critic Alexis Soloski’s debut thriller, Here in the Dark, is flawless from curtain up to curtain call.

Val McDermid’s Past Lying is another finely plotted Karen Pirie page turner that will leave readers wanting more.

Hannah Morrissey’s small-town murder mystery When I’m Dead is nigh-on impossible to put down.

This thrilling mystery set in 1930s Glasgow, Scotland, is one of the best-written debuts of the year.