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Now it’s time for my “best of” list for 2023.  There were so many mysteries/thrillers published this year that perhaps you are thinking that you’ve missed a couple you would have enjoyed reading.  In selecting what to read next, you may wish to consider my choices for the best crime novels of the year.

My selections are split almost down the middle, with eight novels taking place in the United States and six abroad.  As I wrote in my 2022 list of the best of that year, mysteries are no longer limited, and actually haven’t been in quite a while, to the United States and England.  It’s a world-wide phenomenon.

Crime fiction readers know that there’s more to such novels than simply the story, important as that is.  There are the characters (protagonist and villains both), the setting, and the writing that make an for  outstanding book.  But especially in recent years, the issues of the “real world” have joined these other aspects of crime writing as the significance of racial inequity, domestic violence, and acts of war make these books not merely excellent reads but encourage us look more deeply into the society in which we live.

These topics and others as well are evident in all of the novels I’ve chosen, some highlighting more than one of these concerns.  And rather than limit mysteries/thrillers to the escapist category that some critics assign them to, to my mind they show the relevance of such books in our world today.

THE FAVOR by Nicci French (England), THE MURDER BOOK by Thomas Perry (U. S.), A DEATH IN TOKYO by Keigo Higashino (Japan), THE DARK EDGE OF NIGHT by Mark Pryor (France), SMALL MERCIES by Dennis Lehane (U. S.), DEADLOCK by James Byrne (U. S.), THE BITTER PAST by Bruce Borgos (U. S.), THE LONGMIRE DEFENSE by Craig Johnson (U. S.), EVERYONE HERE IS LYING by Shari Lapena (U. S.), ASHES IN THE SNOW by Oriana Ramunno (Poland), RED QUEEN by Juan Gómes-Jurado (Spain), REYKJAVÍK by Ragnar Jónasson and Katrín Jakobsdóttir (Iceland), AN HONEST MAN by Michael Koryta (U. S.), ALL THE SINNERS BLEED by S. A. Cosby (U. S.).

All these novels were reviewed on this blog, so I hope you’ll go back and check out the authors/countries that pique your interest.  Every one listed is a winner and well worth your time.

All my best wishes for a wonderful 2024.




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