New Year, New Books: 9 Books to Start Reading in 2023
by Severn House on 3 January 2023
Are you ready to start your 2023 reading list? We’ve got nine new genre fiction books – from cozy crime to historical mysteries to urban fantasy – that belong on your bedside table in 2023.
All of these are available now from your local library, bookstore, or wherever you buy books online.
Forbidden by Davis Bunn
In this high-octane urban fantasy novel – a follow-up to Island of Time – a young renegade wizard flees the corrupt power structure controlling global magic, only to become embroiled in a conflict pitting supernatural forces against the federal government.
A loner, a runaway, and a failed apprentice Talent, Chad was kicked out of one Institute of Magic for fighting, then fled another when the head wizard’s vice caused the death of his closest friend. He may want a quiet life but when he meets Kara Sedgewick, he realizes that is not an option…
Kara has spent twenty years living a lie. Her mother was a gifted healer with powerful magical abilities, but not her. Or so the Institutes were led to believe… As Chad and Kara get close, they discover that their magical gifts, if combined, are dangerously powerful. And if they decide to forge this forbidden alliance, they could topple a system that has become rife with vicious infighting and sleaze.
But this seems like a dangerous, if not impossible task. Can they face the Institutes and their global network of magical force and triumph?
Courting Dragons by Jeri Westerson
A King’s Fool Mystery #1
Introducing Will Somers, the king’s jester but nobody’s fool in this exuberant, intriguing and thoroughly entertaining mystery set in Tudor England – the first in a new series from the author of the critically acclaimed Crispin Guest Medieval Noir series.
1529, London. Jester Will Somers enjoys an enviable position at the court of Henry VIII. As the king’s entertainer, chief gossip-monger, spy and loyal adviser, he knows all of the king’s secrets – and almost everyone else’s within the walls of Greenwich Palace.
But when Will discovers the body of Spanish count Don Gonzalo while walking his trusted sidekick Nosewise in the courtyard gardens, and a blackmail note arrives soon after demanding information about the king, is one of his own closely guarded secrets about to be exposed? Trouble is afoot at the palace. Are the king’s enemies plotting a move against him? Will must draw on all his wit and ingenuity to get to the bottom of the treacherous and deadly goings-on at the court before further tragedy strikes . . .
“Jeri Westerson is at the top of her game”
– Louis Bayard, bestselling author of The Pale Blue Eye
The Final Beat of the Drum by Sally Spencer
A DCI Monika Paniatowski Mystery #15
DCI Monika Paniatowski’s last case: the final, gripping instalment in the critically-acclaimed, long-running police procedural series.
On the day of her official retirement from the Force, DCI Monika Paniatowski looks at the two men and one woman who are no longer her team and thinks: Whatever the future holds, I will always be proud of you. She raises a toast. And just like that, her career as a homicide detective is over.
Then, fifteen years later, Monika’s former sergeant, Kate Meadows, makes a terrible mistake.
Monika doesn’t hesitate when Kate turns to her for help. She owes her, and she can hardly let her old friend go down for a crime she didn’t commit.
But as Monika gets deeper into the investigation, she’s forced to ask herself the unthinkable: is Kate really innocent, or is she helping her old friend get away with murder?
“Spencer gives Monika Paniatowski the send-off she richly deserves”
– Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
The Long Way Out by Michael Wiley
A Franky Dast Mystery #2
A dark and grimy mystery with a complicated, fascinating amateur sleuth with a dark past, and a serial murderer choosing victims on the fringe of American society.
Wrongly convicted and later exonerated of killing two boys, Franky went on to uncover the real murderer. Now a ‘free man’ but living on the edges of society, for some he will always be tainted by his dark past.
That’s why a desperate Mexican family turn to him, rather than trust the authorities, to help them track down their teenage daughter’s murderer. He is compelled to help but comes up against the detectives who wrongly put him away, and people who are determined to blame the dead girl.
When another body shows up and he is personally threatened, Franky doubles-down on his investigation. Can Franky stop this vicious killer and find his own way out of his personal hell before it’s too late?
“Gripping . . . Wiley carefully balances story developments with his exploration of the psyche of a lead committed to justice despite being denied it”
– Publishers Weekly
Tendrils of the Past by Anthea Fraser
A gripping psychological thriller packed with relatable characters and shocking revelations.
Tragedy strikes a quiet Dorset town when the bodies of Sarah and Charles Drummond are discovered in their home one morning while their two young children, Abby and Mia, sleep upstairs. The police seem certain that Charles killed his wife before taking his own life, and the girls’ grandmother, Cicely Fairfax, makes sure that they are shielded from the horrific truth.
Until now. Sixteen years later, an accident at work leads Mia to have disturbing flashbacks to the night her parents met their untimely deaths. What did she see? What really happened that fateful evening? When Mia and Abby eventually share painful memories from the night that changed their lives forever, they get closer to uncovering the truth, and a dark secret from the past is finally revealed . . .
“Stellar . . . Fraser is in top form”
– Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Meat Thy Maker by Tamar Myers
A Pennsylvania-Dutch Mystery #24
Sausages to kill for . . . The competition to go into business with the town’s finest sausage makers is getting hotter than Magdalena Yoder’s frying pan in this sizzling culinary cozy.
Schmucker Brothers’ Sausages are the talk of the town. The good folk of Hernia are obsessed with the delectable meaty treats, and the prospect of going into partnership with the brothers is proving equally irresistible to investors far and wide, including Magdalena Yoder’s current guests at the Penn-Dutch Inn – grocery store chain CEOs Christine Landis and Kathleen Dooley, restaurant owner Terry Tazewell, and Mr Duckworth Limehouse.
All four are in town to pitch a business deal to the Schmuckers. But after a visit to the brothers’ pork factory, one of the would-be investors is found slaughtered back at the inn, and Mags must catch a murderer intent on turning her guests juicy pork dreams to rashers! Could there be more to the Schmuckers’ sausages than meets the eye?
“Another zany but pointed look at the Amish and Mennonite lifestyle”
– Kirkus Reviews
Undue Influence by Priscilla Masters
A Florence Shaw Mystery #1
The first in a brand-new suspenseful mystery series starring nurse Florence Shaw.
Nurse Florence Shaw is worried about her patient and friend, elderly widow Nora Selleck. When she encounters Nora in the market town of Stone seeming confused, Florence decides to pay her a visit in more familiar surroundings. But at Nora’s house she meets Ben Evans, a mysterious young stranger who has befriended Nora. Who is Ben, and why is he encouraging Nora to miss her surgery appointments?
Florence doesn’t trust Ben. She’s sure he doesn’t have Nora’s best interests at heart and is a threat to her vulnerable patient. But no one else, not even Nora’s doctor, shares her concern. Until, one day, Nora suddenly disappears . . .
“A captivating tale“
– Kirkus Reviews
Of Mushrooms and Matrimony by Amy Patricia Meade
A Tish Tarragon Mystery #6
In this deliciously devious culinary cozy, Tish Tarragon is catering for a wedding – but the weekend goes from sweet to sour when a guest at the venue is poisoned.
Literary caterer and owner of Cookin’ the Books café Tish Tarragon is pushing thoughts of her impending eviction aside to prepare an appetising welcome buffet for a wedding weekend at Abbingdon Green Bed and Breakfast. While there, Tish witnesses one of the guests, controversial TV chef and restaurant critic, Gunner Randall, threatening staff after missing breakfast and making do with a mushroom omelet.
When Randall is found dead the following day, it soon becomes clear that poisoned mushrooms were behind his demise. With no shortage of potential suspects and motives, can Tish and her new beau, Sheriff Clemson Reade, uncover who was enraged enough with the unsavoury star to silence him for good?
“Tish is the ideal cozy heroine—clever and sensible, with just the right amount of daring”
– Publishers Weekly
Breaking the Circle by M.J. Trow
A Margaret Murray Mystery #2
Turn-of-the-century archaeologist-sleuth Margaret Murray returns for the second in her captivating historical mystery series.
May, 1905. When one medium turns up dead, the police assume it is a robbery gone wrong, but when another is found obviously murdered, it’s clear there’s a killer on the loose!
Dr Margaret Murray, accomplished archaeologist and occasional sleuth, calls upon her police connections to investigate; who wants to see the mediums of London dead? Known for her sharp mind and quick wit, Margaret decides to infiltrate one of the spiritualist circles to narrow down the list of suspects.
Her tactics seem to be working as she accidentally puts herself in the sights of the murderer. Unperturbed, Margaret sets an elaborate trap to uncover the culprit – but can she untangle the trail of clues before she too, passes beyond the veil?
“A clever, deftly written story with wry humor, unexpected twists, and memorable characters”