19 January 2024

2023 Crime Thriller Favourites

It may still be slightly late but it's a hell of a lot earlier than my 2022 favourite books post. 2023 was a great reading year. I read 118 books. I've split my favourite reads this year so this is my top 12 crime thriller books and my favourite romance reads are here.  There are some from my trusty favourite authors but I also discovered some new favourites. 

During the search for a missing woman Alyssa and her team discover the body of a different woman. A Polaroid is found in the victim's mouth showing a murder from 14 years ago. Alyssa worked the case but the killer was never caught. 

This is one of my favourite crime series. Alyssa has a lovable team and an adorable family. The murders are gruesome with a fast paced hunt for the killer that kept me hooked until the very end. 

Dr Connie Woolwine has 5 days to catch a killer whilst she's undercover on a locked ward in a high security prison hospital. A nurse was found murdered and her unborn baby stolen. Can they find the killer and locate the baby before it’s too late?

This is a standalone sequel to The Shadow Man and I loved it. Connie is such an interesting character. The Institution is such a creepy setting which paired with them being locked in really amped up the tension. I had no idea who could be trusted and I was stressed for the whole book. If you liked Ward D by Freida McFadden or if you thought that one was lacking something this is similar vibes but definitely more tense. 

Broken Angels by Gwyn Bennett* - #1 Dr Harrison Lane (On Kindle Unlimited) 

The head of the Ritualistic Behavioural Crime Unit is called to the body of a young boy in the woods. He has a Latin satanic exorcism prayer scrawled on his chest along with quotes from the Old Testament stuffed in his mouth. Then another boy goes missing. 

I love the ritualistic behavioural side of this series. It has similar vibes to Chris Carter's Robert Hunter series which is one of my favourites. This is a fast paced thriller with plenty of twists and turns as well as fantastic characters. Harrison is such an interesting character and I’m so intrigued by his past. 

Close Her Eyes by Lisa Regan* - #17 Josie Quinn

When Josie is called to the morgue to hear the results of an autopsy the case takes a sinister turn. A mark has been burned onto the girls hip with a cattle brand. The usually calm medical examiner shakily lifts her own top to show Josie an identical mark. It was given to her 10 years previously by her abusive ex husband before she fled in order to save her life. 

This book ripped out my heart and stomped on it. The end was a lot and I ugly cried. Despite a slow moving case with few leads, the pace of the book was perfect and I couldn’t put it down. There are so many great characters in this series and the cases always have me hooked. 

Kayleigh and her little sister Savannah went for a walk in the woods and never came home. Rumours are spreading about the urban legend The Woodsman where pairs of children go into the woods and only one comes out alive. Savannah is found alive and tells the police the woodsman took her sister. Then another pair go missing. 

This book deals with the heartbreaking aftermath of the previous book. I thought it dealt extremely well with the grief and how different people cope. I definitely shed a tear. The crime is based on an extremely creepy urban legend and had me hooked. Even though we know it’s a human being committing the crime the stories about The Woodsman make it scarier. I was not expecting the twist and damn what a twist it was. 

The Inmate by Sebastian Fitzek* - (On Kindle Unlimited)

Serial killer Guido T has already confessed to two murders. The police are sure he also took 6 year old Max who disappeared a year ago. Now Guido is being held in the high security ward of a Psychiatric prison hospital and is staying silent. An investigator agrees to smuggle Max’s father into the hospital as a fake patient to get Guido to confess. 

This book was a wild ride. When the first chapter chucks in a twist you know it’s going to be good. I had zero idea where it was going. There are so many intriguing characters. The hospital was a creepy setting and the suspense is kept up all the way to the end. 

15 years ago Sara’s life changed forever when she was brutally attacked. Now she’s a Doctor, engaged and has moved on from her past. Then when she’s working in the ER she fights to save a young woman whose body has been broken. The investigation uncovers a link to Sara’s attack making her face her past. 

This is another fantastic series. In fact, it was the one that got me hooked on crime thrillers many years ago. The graphic rape scenes were a bit much though so be aware if that’s a trigger for you. I loved that we got to know more about Amanda and Faith as well as learn more from Sara’s past and what she’s been through. There are so many villains I didn’t know who to hate more and it all finished with an explosive ending. 

The Summer Girls by Marissa Finch* - #1 Shiner & Kurtz - (On Kindle Unlimited)

Maggie was abducted 6 years ago and no one believed her when she escaped. Since then she’s hidden away on her homestead with her chickens. Journalist Eva requests an interview for her podcast. Eva believes Maggie and she thinks her abductor was responsible for the disappearances of 11 other women. Maggie doesn’t want to have to face it but then another girl goes missing. 

I loved watching the friendship between Maggie and Eva grow. They are both so strong and badass but also very human. There are some great side characters as well and I have never been so stressed about the welfare of chickens. I kept thinking I knew what was going to happen but I was kept guessing until the very end.

Lost Little Angels by Holly S. Roberts* - #2 Eve Bennet - (On Kindle Unlimited)

Eve gets a phone call in the middle of the night from a woman saying her child is missing. By the time Eve gets there, the house is empty and no one is talking. The investigation uncovers more missing babies and their mothers. 

A dark storyline investigating a polygamist cult. It’s a complicated investigation because no one will talk. There are so many terrible characters that the suspect list keeps you guessing. The end was terrifying and had me on the edge of my seat. Eve is such a strong character and she has a great team.

Seemingly good men with community ties are being murdered and left surrounded by valentines candy. Laurel's investigation is made more complicated by her sociopathic sister and the father she’s never met returning to town. It gets personal when her best friend’s family ends up involved.

Laurel has really grown on me. She’s such an interesting character and her relationship is adorable. Her sister Abigail is terrifying and she adds so much suspense because you never know what she’s going to get up to next. It’s a fast paced read that doesn’t let up for a second.   

Catch Her Death by Melinda Leigh* - #7 Bree Taggert - (On Kindle Unlimited)

After Bree takes down a killer, his family vows to get revenge. Bree and her family start receiving death threats. Then Bree’s best friend Dana, walks into her dates home to find him shot in the chest. Dana fights with the intruder but he gets away and the lead investigator focuses on Dana as his prime suspect. Then another body is found and links the two cases. 

This book is stressful. I thought I was smart for working out the twist for the motive but I had no idea who the killer was. It’s fast paced with an explosive ending. Plus there’s a cute k-9 killing it in her new role. 

Kim races to a crime scene but there’s no body. He died on his way to the hospital. Kim’s convinced it was murder but all evidence is lost. Then another man is found on the brink of death and they discover a link between them and crimes from the past.

Every new addition to this series is as good as the last and I fall more in love with the team. The murder was gruesome and the hunt for the killer kept me guessing. My heart broke for one of the characters and it was interesting seeing everyone’s reaction to the news. It was also a great debate on vigilantes.

So that's my top 12 crime thrillers from 2023. I read a lot of good books so it was difficult to narrow them down but I recommend checking these out.

What were your favourite reads in 2023?
You can keep up with my reading on Instagram as well as Storygraph


* This book was gifted in exchange for an honest review, however, it does not affect my views and the opinions expressed in this post are independent and my own

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