The best books of 2023

This list is part of the best books of 2023.

We've asked 1,681 authors and super readers for their 3 favorite reads of the year.

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My favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral-And How It Changed the American West

Steve Hockensmith Why did I love this book?

I’ve read a lot of books about famous outlaws and lawmen of the Old West. This might be the best.

It’s much more than a shot-by-shot reconstruction of a famous shootout. It’s a meticulous examination of individuals and communities in constant flux as the world changes around them. You don’t just get convincing warts-and-all portraits of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the other infamous players in and around Tombstone of the 1880s. You get a convincing warts-and-all portrait of Gilded Age America—one that, in many respects, still reflects America today.

By Jeff Guinn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Gunfight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller, Jeff Guinn’s definitive, myth-busting account of the most famous gunfight in American history reveals who Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons and McLaurys really were and what the shootout was all about—“the most thorough account of the gunfight and its circumstances ever published” (The Wall Street Journal)

On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, in a vacant lot in Tombstone, Arizona, a confrontation between eight armed men erupted in a deadly shootout. The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral would shape how future generations came to view the Old West. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and…

My 2nd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of The Red Box

Steve Hockensmith Why did I love this book?

I’ve always appreciated the way Rex Stout combined two different mystery traditions—the intricate puzzles of the English whodunnit and the wisecracking voice of the American gumshoe—in his Nero Wolfe series.

Nowhere do those two styles blend together more seamlessly than in this 1937 novel, which follows Wolfe and his sardonic leg man Archie Goodwin as they try to solve a murder in New York’s fashion world. The mystery is tricky but never inscrutable, and Archie’s quips are still funny nearly a century later.

By Rex Stout,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Red Box as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lovely woman is dead, and the fortunes of overextended theatrical producer Llewellyn Frost depend on solving the mystery of the red box: two pounds of candied fruits, nuts and creams, covered with chocolate -- and laced with potassium cyanide.

When Nero Wolfe's suspicion falls on Frost's kissing cousin, Frost wants the detective to kill the sickly sweet case--before it kills him.

"It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore." (The New York Times)

My 3rd favorite read in 2023…

Book cover of Cobra Clutch

Steve Hockensmith Why did I love this book?

If you think Rex Stout mixing Agatha Christie with Raymond Chandler sounds like fun, allow me to introduce you to A.J. Devlin.

His books feature a far wilder combo: private eyes and professional wrestling. I just read the first book in his “Hammerhead” Jed mystery series, Cobra Clutch, and it’s as hard-hitting as a piledriver…but fun, too! Washed-up wrestler Jed Ounstead has to delve deep into the shady world of small-time fight promoters and drug running to catch the men who killed his former tag-team partner.

To get to the truth, he has to face his own troubled past—and kick a lot of a**!

By A.J. Devlin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cobra Clutch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Best First Crime Novel at the 2019 Arthur Ellis Awards!
Nominated for a Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel!

"Hammerhead" Jed Ounstead thought he'd traded the pro-wrestling world for the slightly less dangerous one of a bar bouncer and errand boy for his father's detective agency, but the squared circle wasn't quite done with him yet. When his former tag-team partner draws upon their old friendship for help in finding his kidnapped pet snake, Jed finds himself dragged back into the fold of sleazy promoters, gimmicky performers, and violence inside and outside the ring. As the venom…

Plus, check out my book…

Book cover of Holmes on the Range

What is my book about?

It’s 1893, and wandering cowboy brothers Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer are down to their last pennies. When a job becomes available at a ranch run by a tough and mysterious foreman, the brothers can’t say no. Although the work is hard and their boss bad-tempered, they have a welcome distraction—the Sherlock Holmes stories Old Red loves so much. When the ranch manager dies under suspicious circumstances, Old Red thinks he can root out the truth using Holmes’ methods, and Big Red is dragged along for the wild ride whether he likes it or not. Can Old Red and Big Red solve the mystery before stampedes, rustlers, or an escaped cannibal lunatic named Hungry Bob stop them…permanently?