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  • Jeff Somers 8:00 pm on 2018/11/30 Permalink
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    10 New Books for the Thriller Reader on Your List 

    There really is no gift like a book. Whether your intended recipient is a voracious reader who can never get enough, or the sort who only reads when the mood strikes them, one genre works for everyone: thrillers. Twisty plots, two-fisted action, moral complexity, and a delightful blend of heroism and antiheroism? Sign us all up, please.

    Here are ten thrillers that’ll make awesome gifts for anyone on your list.

    Button Man, by Andrew Gross
    Gross spins an absorbing tale fueled by well-shaded characters, set in New York’s Lower East Side in the rough early days of the 20th century. Morris Rabishevsky lives with his family and learns early on that you have to be tough in order to survive—a lesson his brothers Sol and Harold never could grasp. By sheer force of will, Morris inherits a garment business, renaming it Raab Brothers and bringing Sol in to keep the books. But one of brother Harold’s criminal cohort, a childhood enemy of Morris, makes his living muscling in on garment unions, using violence and terror as needed—and he’s set his sights on Raab Brothers. Luckily Morris has never backed down from a fight in his life.

    Lies, by T.M. Logan
    Logan’s debut begins with a chance sighting: Joe Lynch and his son William are driving in North London when William sees his mother’s car and insists they surprise her. Joe follows her to a hotel, where he watches her argue with her best friend’s husband, the wealthy Ben Delaney. Before he can confront her, she drives off, so Joe confronts Ben instead. The resulting fight ends with his phone missing and Ben unconscious; when Joe returns for his phone, everything is gone. His wife denies an affair, but a murder reveals a different story, and Joe finds himself framed for a crimes he knows never happened—because he’s sure Ben is still alive. Behind that mystery lies the real question: how long has his wife been lying to him—and why?

    The Fox, by Frederick Forsyth
    Forsyth is a master of the spy thriller, and The Fox is a wonderfully old-school, classic story of chess espionage featuring Sir Adrian Weston, retired Deputy Chief of the SIS—but still on the Prime Minister’s speed dial. When a teenaged UK hacker penetrates the NSA, Weston is called in to advise, and sees an opportunity for a daring, dangerous plan. Convincing the not-so-bright U.S. President to cooperate, he hides the hacker away in safe houses and launches a series of audacious cyber attacks against enemies like North Korea and Russia. These attacks result in some of the most famous recent headlines around the world, giving the book a fantastic sense of realism even as the stakes rise after each operation, putting not just Weston but his hacker in danger’s crosshairs.

    When the Lights Go Out, by Mary Kubica
    Jessie Sloane is seventeen when her mother, Eden, passes away. While attempting to restart her life, Jessie discovers that 17 years earlier, someone filed a death certificate in her name, leaving her with no official identity. As her sleepless nights melt into nightmare, Eden’s heartbreaking story comes to the fore: before Jessie’s birth, she and Aaron were in love and desperately wanted children, but couldn’t conceive. Eden’s obsession with having a child slowly transformed into a frightening compulsion, driving Aaron away. Separated by decades, a mother and a daughter both go down dark paths, as two tense storylines hurtle toward a shocking convergence.

    Cross Her Heart, by Sarah Pinborough
    Pinborough’s tense new book stars Lisa, a tightly wound overprotective mother whose daughter Ava is a champion athlete, sneaking around with her boyfriend and chatting up a mysterious man online. Marilyn, Lisa’s bestie, is pushing her to “get back out there,” but Lisa has secrets that have taught her to be careful. When she drops her guard and lets her photo be taken, those secrets come for her, threatening her safety and her relationship with her daughter. Lisa and Marilyn have to push through their problems and join forces in order to save Ava from the past that has come with a vengeance.

    Foe, by Iain Reid
    In the near future, quiet couple Junior and Henrietta live on an isolated farm, until the arrival of a man named Terrance. He congratulates Junior on being accepted to a space colonization program called The Installation—but Junior never applied. Terrance assures him a synthetic version of himself will be created to keep Henrietta company, but as Terrance moves in to gather data, Junior and Henrietta sense he’s keeping something from them—and that they’ll have to do something to save themselves before it’s too late.

    Limetown: The Prequel to the #1 Podcast, by Cote Smith, Zack Akers, and Skip Bronkie
    For the forward-thinking thriller fan, Limetown: The Prequel to the #1 Podcast, might just be what the future of the genre looks like. This prequel to hugely popular podcast fiction Limetown drips with ominous atmosphere. Student journalist Lia Haddock lives in Limetown, Tennessee, a small town with a big problem—more than a hundred people, including Lia’s Uncle Emile, have disappeared. Lia digs into the mystery, and is amazed when her own parents refuse to help in any way—and what she discovers on her own forces her to do a lot of growing up really, really quickly.

    The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton
    Turton takes one part classic manor house mystery and adds a layer of supernatural sci-fi, as Aiden Bishop relives the same day over and over, inhabiting a different body each time—each a guest at a masquerade ball thrown by the Hardcastle family at the downtrodden manor house known as Blackheath. He must solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle, the young daughter in whose honor the party has been organized, within eight days—and eight identities—or have his memory erased and be forced to start over from scratch. Turton doesn’t skimp on the red herrings, plausible suspects, and twists that every great mystery needs, while the ticking clock on Bishop’s efforts ratchets up the tension in this near-perfect postmodern mystery.

    Nine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty
    If someone on your shopping list is a big fan of Big Little Lies, they’ll love Moriarty’s latest, Nine Perfect Strangers. Tranquillum House is the upscale spa of your dreams, and the perfect place for bestselling novelist Frances Welty to nurse her aching back and broken heart. She can’t help but take an interest in the eight other people enjoying the spa, as well as its mysterious owner—but soon Frances is torn between thinking spa will give her the answers she’s always sought, and thinking she should run away as fast as she can. It isn’t long before the other guests are thinking the same thing, and some truly astonishing revelations follow.

    The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth Ware
    It’s cons all the way down in Ware’s newest twisty thriller. Harriet “Hal” Westaway just scrapes by working as a psychic at Brighton Beach, using her skills of observation to con easy marks. She owes very bad people very serious money, so when she receives a letter informing her that her grandmother has passed away and left her something in the will, she’s determined to claim the inheritance—despite the fact that she the woman who passed is not, in fact, her grandmother. Intending to use her cold-reading skills to parlay this case of mistaken identity into some cold, hard cash, she travels to an estate in Cornwell—and learns the truth of why she’s there is far more twisted, and potentially more deadly, than she knew.

    The post 10 New Books for the Thriller Reader on Your List appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2018/11/13 Permalink
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    10 Books to Read Before Writing Your Novel 

    Writing a novel is an awesome undertaking, requiring time, skill, and oodles of imagination. A lot of people give lip service to the idea of writing a novel, usually confidently citing the amazing ideas they have along with a deep disdain for the novels that are getting published without their involvement, but not everyone has what it takes to write a novel—much less a good one that others will want to read. If you’re thinking of writing a book, whether in a fevered NaNoWiMo dash or a more stately approach, here are ten books you should read in order to prepare yourself. They won’t necessarily make writing a novel easier, but they will certainly clarify for you what it takes to go from 0 to 60,000 words.

    I Should be Writing, by Mur Lafferty
    The Six Wakes author has also been hosting the I Should be Writing podcast for years now, and the essence of that essential listening has been distilled into this phenomenal book. It’s billed as “A Writer’s Workshop,” and that’s exactly what it is, complete with exercises, examples, and stimulating and encouraging lessons. If you’ve never tried to write a novel before, this is the book that will help you get over the hump whether you work in the speculative genres like Lafferty or not.

    On Writing, by Stephen King
    This is the ultimate writing memoir from one of the most prolific writers of all time. King is in his 70s now and going as strong as ever, publishing some of the most highly regarded books of his career. If you’ve never tried your hand at writing and need to wrap your head around how it’s done, this is probably the perfect book. The combination of King’s homey style, experience and talent, and eagerness to get into the specifics of his craft and process make this a must-read for every aspiring novelist.

    Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury
    Bradbury’s essay collection isn’t so much for craft and business stuff—instead, it takes a more philosophical approach to writing in general and writing novels specifically. Bradbury was a True Believer, someone for whom books were sacred, and stories a religion. If you’ve tried writing before and found yourself losing the thread over and over again, your excitement ebbing away as the difficulty mounted, Bradbury’s collected wisdom will keep your inspiration levels high.

    Words are My Matter, by Ursula K. Le Guin
    Le Guin was more than just a great writer. She was a great thinker and a passionate advocate for authors and writing in general. The essays in this book run the gamut from thoughtful craft-oriented think pieces to intelligent assessments of other writers’ work, showing exactly how smart, critical reading can inform your own writing. There’s no better glimpse of what it takes, mentally, to write well over the course of decades, and if you’re contemplating a life of the keyboard you need to read it. Le Guin pulled no punches on her opinions, and you may not agree with everything she writes—but you’ll be better off for having read it.

    The Kick-Ass Writer, by Chuck Wendig
    Wendig’s muscular style of writing advice is ideal for the 21st-century gig economy world we find ourselves in. He’s funny, honest, and successful—and he frames his advice on writing craft and getting published in a funny, fast-paced writing style that’s as fun as it is educational. That latter part is important; a lot of writing books are happy to help you write a novel, but few offer a ton of clear advice on getting that book published. If that’s your goal—and it isn’t everyone’s—then Wendig’s eminently readable book is a key step to laying your plans for literary world domination.

    Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott
    At some point every writer is advised to read Lamott’s classic reflection on the process of writing, and that advice is and always will be good advice. Beginning with the central anecdote about her brother, struggling to write a book report on birds, being advised to just take it “bird by bird,” the book is filled with practical and inspiring advice that demystifies the mechanics of the creative process. Even better, Lamott stresses that writing is in itself a reward, and pushes you to write for the satisfaction of having created something rather than the material rewards of publishing, which is by far the healthiest way to approach writing a novel even if publication is your ultimate goal.

    Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon
    One of the main things stopping people from writing novels is a lack of faith in their own ideas and creativity. Kleon’s new classic is a primer on how to harness your creativity and trust your instincts—as well as a necessary corrective to the idea that your ideas have to be rigidly, perfectly “original.” Kleon lays it out clearly—every artist steals, and every creative endeavor is built on the work that came before it. If you’re hesitating about your novel writing ambitions because you’re worried your ideas aren’t original enough, read this book.

    The Anatomy of Story, by John Truby
    You’ve probably heard different theories on story and plot, from the Hero’s Journey to the Three-Act Structure and everything in between. The necessity and usefulness of these concepts varies from writer to writer, but knowing something about them is probably a good idea. While you can read plenty of books about plenty of theories on story, Truby’s is an excellent combination of modern thinking in terms of organic story generation combined with specific steps and plot points. His book will get you thinking about the shape of your story before you start writing, and that will make for a tighter novel that gets written faster.

    Aspects of the Novel, by E.M. Forster
    Forster, author of classic novels such as A Passage to India and Howard’s End, was also a lecturer at Trinity College. His series of lectures on the novel at that school in 1927 are collected in this book, and remain powerful explorations of the different aspects of the novel. Using classic works as examples, Forster brings his remarkable intelligence to bear on the question of what makes a novel, and how to apply those lessons in your own writing—where he uses examples from his own not-too-shabby writing career.

    Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, by Lawrence Block
    Block, one of the most successful mystery writers of all time, wrote a lot of articles for Writer’s Digest back in the day in which he offered brass tacks writing advice and a glimpse into what the business was like for a successful published author. Those essays are collected here, and offer a still-applicable set of lessons on everything from getting past writer’s block to simply starting—which might be precisely what you need to read before you make your first, or five hundredth, attempt to write your own novel.

    The post 10 Books to Read Before Writing Your Novel appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 4:12 pm on 2018/11/07 Permalink
    Tags: , allen eskens, , , , , , , , mike lupica, , ,   

    November’s Best Mysteries 

    November officially kicks off the holiday season, which means you’re putting together shopping lists and trying to pick out the perfect gifts for everybody. You have to practice self-care, though, which means that aside from choosing the best mysteries to give to your loved ones as gifts, you have to pick out a few for yourself. This week’s best mysteries include new adventures from the best in the business, including the very real Janet Evanovich and Louise Penny and the very fictional Jessica Fletcher.

    Look Alive Twenty-Five, by Janet Evanovich
    Twenty-five books in and Stephanie Plum is going strong as ever, still tackling gritty mysteries with humor, smarts, and competence to spare. This time around Plum’s attention is drawn to the Red River Deli in Trenton, famous for its pastrami and its cole slaw. More recently, it’s become famous because of its disappearing managers—three in the last month, each leaving behind a single shoe. Lula tries to convince Stephanie it’s aliens abducting humans for experiments, but Stephanie figures on something a little less exotic—and takes over running the business herself in order to get to the bottom of things. It’s certainly not the first time Plum has put herself in danger for the sake of a case—and she can only hope it won’t be her last.

    Kingdom of the Blind, by Louise Penny
    Penny’s 14th book featuring Chief Inspector Gamache begins with the retired chief of the Sûreté du Québec receiving the surprising news that he’s one of three executors of the estate of an elderly woman he’s never met. With his suspension and the events that led to it still under excruciatingly slow investigation, Gamache agrees to participate, even thought the terms of the will are outlandish, leading him and his fellow executors to wonder if the old woman was mentally sound. When a dead body turns up, however, it prompts Gamache to reconsider—because the terms of the will suddenly seem much less strange, and much more ominous. Meanwhile the drugs he allowed to remain on the streets as part of his plan to destroy the drug cartels are still out there—and if he doesn’t find them, and soon, there will be devastation throughout the city. For once, Chief Inspector Gamache is something wholly unexpected: desperate.

    Robert B. Parker’s Blood Feud, by Mike Lupica
    In response to a request from Robert B. Parker’s fans, veteran sportswriter-turned-novelist Lupica brings the late Parker’s only female private eye, Sunny Randall, back in this exciting, fast-paced seventh novel. Sunny—hypercompetent as a private detective—is struggling with her emotional state as she deals with being divorced but still drawn to her ex-husband, Richie Burke. Richie, the son of local mobster Desmond Burke, gets shot in the back one night—but the shooter makes it clear that he was left alive on purpose, and that it’s part of a grudge against the Burkes in general. A few nights later, his bookie uncle Peter is shot dead. The Burkes want to handle this on their own, but Sunny can’t stay out of it, even when her investigation beings her repeatedly up against old foe Albert Antonioni, supposedly retired after trying to bump Sunny off. Lupica does Parker proud with this energized, smart story, and Sunny’s fans old and new will be very happy with the way everything turns out.

    The Colors of All the Cattle, by Alexander McCall Smith
    The nineteenth novel featuring Mwa Ramotswe and her fellow investigators and residents of the town of Gaborone is as delightful and insightful as ever. Ramotswe is persuaded to run for a seat on the city council when it’s revealed that the arch-enemy of her agency partner Grace, Vera Sephotho, is in the race. Vera supports a terrible initiative to build a luxury hotel next to the town’s cemetery, which gives Mwa Ramotswe the moral edge in the race, but her compulsively honest answers to questions might complicate her campaign. Meanwhile, the agency deals with the investigation of a hit-and-run case even as their assistant Charlie, finally growing up, engages in his first true romance.

    A Christmas Revelation, by Anne Perry
    Perry’s tradition of offering a Christmas-themed Victorian mystery continues, this time telling the story of nine-year old Worm, an orphan living in mid-19th century London. Worm has found an ersatz family at Hester Monk’s clinic, located at the site of a former brothel, and especially in the sweet Claudine Burroughs and the sour Squeaky Robinson, who once worked at the brothel and now serves as the clinic’s bookkeeper. One day Worm sees a woman on the street who immediately infatuates him with her gentle visage—only to be apparently attacked and kidnapped. Distressed, Worm enlists the reluctant but experienced Squeaky to help him track down the lady and ride to her rescue—but of course, twists and turns abound as they walk the cobble stone streets in search of clues.

    Murder, She Wrote: Manuscript for Murder, by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
    Fans of the classic TV show and fans of great mysteries alike will be thrilled with Land’s second outing with writer and detective Jessica Fletcher. In New York for a meeting with her publisher, Fletcher is approached by a fellow writer named Thomas Rudd who tells her he thinks their publisher, Lane Barfield, is skimming money form their royalties—and later turns up dead in a suspicious gas explosion. When she meets with Barfield, however, he can only talk about a new novel he’s acquired from an unknown writer named Benjamin Tally, and he gives Fletcher a copy of it for her opinion. Then the bodies begin to pile up: Barfield turns up dead, an apparent if unlikely suicide, and two other authors who saw the manuscript are dead as well. When Fletcher herself is attacked and left for dead before she can finish the book, she seeks out allies and digs in like only Jessica Fletcher can.

    The Shadows We Hide, by Allen Eskens
    Report Joe Talbert, Jr. reads about a man named Joe ‛Toke’ Talbert, recently murdered in a small Minnesota town. Joe never knew his father, and he wonders if this man might turn out to be his namesake. He begins looking into the man’s life and murder, and finds no shortage of suspects who might have wanted Toke dead, as he was by all reports a terrible human being and worse father. Toke’s wife died shortly before under suspicious circumstances, leaving Toke with a large inheritance, making the solution to his murder an even more complex puzzle—especially since, if Toke is in fact Joe’s father, the money would legally be his. Part personal journey, part grim mystery, Joe learns as much about himself as he does about the man who might be his father as the mystery takes a few delirious twists before the surprising, satisfying ending.

    The Whispered Word, by Ellery Adams
    Nora Pennington and the Secret, Book, and Scone Society return to run Miracle Books and feed the soul with the perfect choice of novel. A new business opens in town, Virtual Genie, offering cash for unwanted goods that it then sells on the Internet. Everyone thinks owner Griffin Kingsley is a perfect gentleman, but Nora isn’t sold. And when an obviously terrified young girl named Abilene wearing a hospital bracelet and some bruises turns up hiding in the store, followed by a pair of suspicious deaths, Nora begins to suspect that Abilene is the next target—and that Griffin Kingsley’s arrival at the same time may not be as much of a coincidence as it first appears.

    Whether it’s holiday stress, plane ride downtime, or the simple pleasures in life, nothing beats a good supply of mysteries to feed the soul while the cold weather moves in. Grab a bunch from this list and thank us later!

    Shop all mystery & crime >

    The post November’s Best Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2018/11/05 Permalink
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    November’s Best New History Books 

    November’s best new history books travel back to America’s founding, remember the men and women who claimed victory in World War II, celebrate the achievement that was the moon landing, and revisit one of the most amazing rescues ever performed.

    Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants, by H. W. Brands
    American history loves to celebrate past presidents, but Brands new book shifts the focus to three men who never managed to be elected to the nation’s highest office—and yet had a profound impact on its history. Henry Clay, John Calhoun, and Daniel Webster served in high positions in the early 19th century—secretary of state and vice president among them—and the author argues that their ambitions to eventually become presidents themselves in many ways helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War, as they made compromises great and small, abandoned their natural principles, and fiercely defended the status quo in the hopes that it would make them more electable. Brands, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, makes the case that these men each represented tensions in the origins of our country that the founding fathers left unresolved, leading directly to the schism that almost split the United States in two.

    Churchill: Walking with Destiny, by Andrew Roberts
    There is little question Winston Churchill is one of the most fascinating political figures of the 20th century. Born into privilege in a time of imperial power, he was a resolute believer in British authority, a brilliant writer, and legendary political and military strategist who nevertheless saw his career come crashing to what should have been its ignominious end after World War I. That he went into the political wilderness only to return as prime minister in 1940, them seemingly single-handedly save the country from ruin, is a testament to his powers. Roberts offers a comprehensive look at Churchill the man, the politician, and the friend; it’s a respectful but thoroughly honest portrait of a man whose flaws were as huge as his talents—and whose impact is still felt today.

    Apollo to the Moon: A History in 50 Objects, by Teasel E. Muir-Harmony
    Fifty years have passed since man first walked on the moon. This remarkable book recounts that historic effort and achievement in a unique, powerful way, focusing in on 50 objects connected to the project, each of which tells a part of the overall story. A survival kit, a Russian stamp, the lunar rover, plastic astronaut figures, astronaut food and, of course, moon rocks—the accounts of this varied objects offers both visual delights and an absorbing trip into a heady era of scientific ambition. Connected to each photo and object are people, of course—the astronauts, engineers, politicians, and journalists who each contributed something to one of the greatest achievements of mankind; and their stories are here as well.

    The Allies: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the Unlikely Alliance That Won World War II, by Winston Groom
    Surprisingly underplayed in many histories of World War II, the disparate personalities and political realities of the Allied leaders—Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Josef Stalin—made their enduring alliance surprising, and surprisingly effective. Groom, a noted historian and novelist (Forrest Gump), uses both skills to great advantage as he breathes life into the three leaders who came together to stop the desperate threat of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan. Giving the reader insight into both the personal and political background of his main players, Groom brings their complex relationships to life and explores how each man compromised just enough at just the right moments to keep a fragile alliance together until the war could be won.

    The Boys in the Cave: Deep Inside the Impossible Rescue in Thailand, by Matt Gutman
    Just a few months ago, the world paused to watch a remarkable story unfold: in Thailand, a soccer coach took his team on a excursion to explore a cave system, and a sudden storm surge flooded the caves, trapping them inside. Over three weeks, an immense effort was launched to locate the boys in the pitch black caves, then figure out how to get them out safely despite varying water levels, the boys’ varying swimming capabilities, and the incredible danger of navigating underwater in the pitch black. Gutman, a chief national correspondent at ABC News, uses his own coverage and extensive interviews to craft a compelling narrative of this remarkable story, offering heretofore unknown details and perspectives on a rescue that, up until the last possible moment, remained in question.

    John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court, by Richard Brookhiser
    With the Supreme Court on everyone’s mind these days, it’s a serendipitous moment for the release of a biography of John Marshall, the man who almost single-handedly defined the Supreme Court for the nation and raised its prestige. A hero of the Revolution who revered George Washington, Marshall became chief justice of the Supreme Court in 1801, assuming leadership of a little-regarded group that met in a basement. Over the course of his storied career, he guided the court to a reputation as an impartial defender of the constitution and the final word on legal issues that were shaping the still-molten nation into the country we recognize today.

    We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    This collection of essays by Coates, now available in paperback, is drawn from his writing for The Atlantic during the years 2008 to 2016, roughly paralleling the Obama administration, and ending on the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. These are the essays that made Coates a figure no serious thinker could ignore; they trace the evolution of his thought from the optimism of Obama’s first election to the somewhat darker mood of the later years. In new annotations, Coates adds a wealth of background to the original material, including new reflections, contemporaneous notes taken from his journals, and personal stories that expand on and illuminate his themes.

    Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics, by Lawrence O’Donnell
    MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell makes a persuasive argument that the modern American political morass can be traced firmly back to 1968, the year Nixon was elected to his first term. O’Donnell examines all the dominoes, beginning with Eugene McCarthy’s decision to run against Lyndon Johnson, which he argues spurred Johnson to make the unusual decision not to seek a second term, setting in motion a series of events that ended with Nixon triumphant and the liberal wing of the Republican Party extinguished. O’Donnell backs up his writing with in-depth research and detailed sources; this is the sort of history book that illuminates more than just a single event.

    The post November’s Best New History Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2018/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , new thrills,   

    November’s Best New Thrillers 

    Time—and publishing schedules—wait for no one, so if you slacked off on your TBR pile in October, watch out, because November is bringing a bumper crop of new thrillers. This month’s picks of the litter are heavy on the returning faves as James Patterson, Lee Child, and Clive Cussler bring back some of their most popular characters, while Anthony Horowitz delivers a brand-new adventure for one of the most famous classic thriller characters of all time—and David Baldacci goes the other way, hitting the ground running with a brand-new character.

    Long Road to Mercy, by David Baldacci
    Baldacci takes a break from Amos Decker to introduce FBI Agent Atlee Pine, whose skill set makes her one of the FBI’s top criminal profilers, but who chooses to work in solitude as the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona, resident agency. Pine is haunted by the kidnapping of her twin sister, Mercy, when they were six years old; the kidnapper sang out an old nursery rhyme as they chose which twin to abduct. Mercy was chosen, and Atlee never saw her sister again, and dedicated her life to saving others. When a mule is found dead in the Grand Canyon and its rider missing, Atlee is plunged into an investigation that would be beyond most agents—but not her. At least not until she’s abruptly ordered to close the case just as she’s figuring out the terrifying scope of what’s she’s chasing after…

    Target: Alex Cross, by James Patterson
    Patterson’s twenty-sixth Alex Cross book opens on a somber scene of mourning as hundreds of thousands of people gather in Washington, D.C., to mourn the president—among them Alex Cross, whose wife, Bree, has just become D.C.’s chief of detectives. When a sniper takes out a member of the president’s cabinet, it falls to Bree to solve the crime—and it’s clear her job is on the line. Cross begins to suspect the sniper is only getting started, and as usual he’s right—and the country is plunged into a violent crisis like nothing it’s ever seen before. Patterson raises the stakes beyond anything Cross has ever dealt with before—and that’s saying something.

    Past Tense, by Lee Child
    Jack Reacher returns in his twenty-third outing in fine form, as Child continues to get tremendous mileage from an older Reacher’s slow-burn journey into his own past. Faced with yet another fork in the road, Reacher chooses to walk into Laconia, New Hampshire, where his late father, Stan, was born. Meanwhile, a young couple driving from Canada stop at a mysteriously empty motel near Laconia when they have car trouble. Reacher, as usual, steps in to help the helpless and gets nothing but trouble for his efforts, while his efforts to learn about his father turn up a disturbing lack of information. As the two stories slowly work toward each other, Reacher discovers he might be more like his father than he suspected—and another batch of small-time goons discovers they’re no match whatsoever for Jack Reacher.

    Tom Clancy: Oath of Office, by Marc Cameron
    Cameron returns to the Jack Ryan universe for the second time with a complex story of betrayal and realpolitik that begins in Iran, where a Russian spy mourns his lover, Maryam, cut down by the Revolutionary Guard. This spurs Erik Dovzhenko to defect, traveling to Afghanistan to contact Maryam’s friend Ysabel Kashani. Ysabel brings in Jack Ryan, Jr., son of the President of the United States and member of antiterrorism unit the Campus. Ryan is in the area as part of a mission to track down two stolen nuclear weapons, and meets with Erik and Ysabel even as his father deals with an attack on an American embassy in Cameroon. The twisting story builds to an explosive conclusion in true Clancy style.

    You Don’t Own Me, by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
    Clark and Burke deliver the fifth book in the Under Suspicion series, featuring television producer Laurie Morgan, whose penchant for getting into trouble is just as strong as ever. Laurie is busy planning her wedding to former host Alex Buckley (who is about to be confirmed as a federal judge) when she’s contacted by the parents of a physician famously gunned down in his own driveway five years before; they’re in a bitter custody battle with his wife, and believe she was the killer. As Laurie takes on the story she finds, as usual, more layers to it than meet the eye—but as she works she’s being followed by a mysterious man who admires her from afar and thinks she might not be missed when she’s gone, pushing the tension to the breaking point.

    Sea of Greed, by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown
    The sixteenth NUMA Files novel depicts a world on the verge of chaos as oil supplies dry up and stock markets drop. When a massive explosion in the Gulf of Mexico destroys three crucial oil rigs, the President of the United States is concerned enough to ask Kurt Austin and the NUMA Special Projects Team to investigate. Their attention is drawn to a maverick billionaire who sees her alternative energy company as the future—and who might be willing to take drastic measures to get to that future sooner rather than later. The crew of the NUMA finds evidence that an oil-eating bacteria thought lost fifty years before has been deployed in the Gulf, and now threatens to plunge the world into chaos if Austin and his team can’t get to the bottom of the mystery in time.

    Forever and a Day, by Anthony Horowitz
    Crafting an origin story for no less of a pop culture icon than James Bond is a daunting task, but Horowitz is in familiar waters after 2015’s Trigger Mortis, and does an expert job. The story kicks off with the death of the prior 007, found floating in the water off of Marseilles. M calls up Bond, newly attached to the Double-O section, and assigns him to investigate the agent’s death. Bond goes toe-to-toe with the Corsican mob and a classic Bond villain in the immensely obese and incredibly dangerous crime boss Jean-Paul Scipio. Horowitz seeds the story with plenty of Bond Easter eggs for longtime fans while crafting a tense, action-heavy story that satisfies simply as a modern-day spy thriller that’s gritty, violent, and morally complex.

    The post November’s Best New Thrillers appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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