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  • Jeff Somers 4:00 pm on 2018/01/01 Permalink
    Tags: , bnstorefront-fiction, , , ,   

    The Best Thrillers of January 2018 

    A new year brings a new crop of unputdownable thrillers. Here are 10 books to keep you riveted in January.

    The Woman in the Window, by A. Finn
    One of the most anticipated thrillers of the year is a real humdinger—a Hitchcockian meta-twister told from the point-of-view of agoraphobic, extremely unreliable child psychologist Anna Fox. Fox hasn’t left her apartment in 11 months, spending her time playing games, chatting with other agoraphobics on the internet, and spying on her neighborhood in self-conscious, Rear Window-style. It’s quickly apparent the reader can’t trust anything Anna says—so when she first becomes obsessed with a family across the park and then witnesses what she is certain is a murder, it’s no surprise that no one believes her. As the twists and revelations pile up, it becomes clear that Anna’s past and her mental state are just as important as what really happened in the house across the park.

    City of Endless Night, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
    FBI Pendergrast is back, investigating the corpse of a young woman who’s been decapitated and left in Queens. She’s quickly identified as the missing daughter of billionaire Anton Ozmian, but when more headless bodies turn up, things get messy fast, as the victims show no discernible pattern—aside from their missing heads. Pendergrast and old ally Lt. Cmdr. Vincent D’Agosta come under increasing pressure from the mayor’s office, Ozmian, and plenty of less-savory power brokers as their investigation runs into dead end after dead end. Slowly, Pendergrast realizes the killer has come to New York City for a very specific reason. As public panic mounts, his epiphany doesn’t translate into an easy solution, and this might be one time Agent Pendergrast’s unique mind fails him.

    Need to Know, by Karen Cleveland
    Vivian Miller is a devoted mother, a loving wife, and a CIA analyst dedicated to investigating potential sleeper cells working within the U.S. Her relationship with her husband is rock-solid, and her love for her special-needs child is fierce, so when she stumbles on a photo of her husband on the computer of a Russian agent, she panics and deletes it—but when she confronts her husband, he doesn’t even try to deny anything, confessing that he’s been working for the Russians for more than two decades. Vivian is forced to reconsider every aspect of her relationship under the possibility that she was chosen by her husband as cover, all while worrying over the implications her discovery has for her—and her children. Cleveland was a former CIA analyst herself, lending serious verisimilitude to the details.

    Unbound, by Stuart Woods
    The latest Stone Barrington story focuses on former CIA operative Teddy Faye, reinvented as Hollywood mogul Billy Barnett. When Barnett’s wife is killed by a drunk driver, Billy gets in his car and starts driving, finding his way to the film set of Dax Baxter, a rival filmmaker with a shady reputation, whose wife was the driver in the fatal accident. Baxter used his connections to keep his wife out of jail. Billy leverages his CIA experience to infiltrate Baxter’s film set under an alias, and begins to sabotage the production by way of revenge. When Baxter connects the dots, he brings in Russian thugs to solve his problem, but Billy’s got plenty of experience dealing with these types. A game of brutal cat-and-mouse ensues, spinning up all the best aspects of the Barrington universe.

    The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pakkanen
    Take liberal doses of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train and mix them up in wholly unexpected ways, and you have this crackling new thriller from former book editors Hendricks and Pakkanen. Vanessa and Richard got divorced after a series of failed fertility treatments left them childless, but now charismatic, controlling Richard has married a younger version of Vanessa—or so it seems to her. Nellie, the new fiancée, is a bright-eyed schoolteacher uncertain she’s ready to leave her fun lifestyle for the suburbs. And Richard’s secretive destination wedding brings up haunting memories of a traumatic event in her past. Meanwhile, Vanessa unravels, drinking and pushing herself to the brink of unemployment as she becomes increasing unreliable and increasingly obsessed with Nellie. To say this setup doesn’t go where you might think is the understatement of the year.

    Operator Down, by Brad Taylor
    Taylor’s 12th Pike Logan novel opens in Tel Aviv, where Pike and his fellow Taskforce agents Jennifer and Knuckles are shadowing an arms dealer suspected of selling nuclear trigger components. When they stumble on intel that indicates their old friends Aaron Bergman and Shoshanna are being targeted for elimination, and that Aaron has been captured, the decision to go rescue him seems obvious—until more intelligence comes in warning of a coup attempt in the fragile African democracy of Lesotho, and Pike and team are ordered to intervene. Faced with the choice of disobeying orders or saving their friend, Pike and company team up with the delightfully bloodthirsty Shoshanna to break the rules one more time in hopes of saving their colleague.

    The Take, by Christopher Reich

    Simon Riske owns a high-end auto repair chop in London—when he’s not working as a freelance spy, called upon by the CIA and the like to do things even they can’t touch. When Riske is hired to track down gangster Tino Coluzzi, he’s more than happy to do so, because Coluzzi betrayed him back in his own criminal past, letting Riske rot in jail. Coluzzi masterminded the daring robbery of a Saudi prince, but one of the things he stole was a letter the Russian government will kill to get back, and the CIA will kill to get their hands on. Riske uses all of his knowledge of the criminal underworld, the finer things in life, and of spycraft to get to work getting revenge and saving the world—not necessarily in that order.

    Light It Up, by Nick Petrie
    Peter Ash returns as a member of his old friend Henry Nygaard’s Heavy Metal Protection Team, escorting a truckload of medical marijuana to Denver shops and then guarding the money on the way back. On a deserted mountain road, the truck gets hijacked, and the violent encounter leaves Peter as the sole survivor—and a suspect for the police.Meanwhile, he wonders if the thieves were after something more than just money. Gathering his old friends Lewis and June, Peter sets out to find out who was behind the job, get the money back—and get bloody, remorseless revenge for his dead friends. Few fictional characters can deal out death and violence as effectively as Ash and company—but in the end, it’s Ash alone against an array of forces, both man-made and natural.

    The Chalk Man, by C.J. Tudor
    Eddie Adams is a young teen in the beautiful town of Anderbury in the U.K. in the 1980s, hanging out with his best friends, using a code of chalked figures to leave messages for each other. A series of grisly experiences and dark pranks sour the boys’ adolescence and haunt them into adulthood, including a disturbing experience where a stranger leads the boys to see a dismembered young girl in the woods. The man suspected of the killing commits suicide before justice can be done, but decades later, one of the Eddie’s friends, Mickey, returns and tells him he knows the identity of the real killer, and all the friends receive letters containing one of their old chalk figures. Then, Eddie’s friends begin dying, and he realizes it’s time to solve all the mysteries of his past if he’s going to survive into his future.

    Cutting Edge, by Ward Larsen
    Trey DeBolt is a rescue swimmer for the Coast Guard in Alaska. During a difficult rescue, his helicopter goes down—and he wakes up in cabin by the sea in Maine. He’s got a nasty scar on the back of his head and no memory of how he got there; his nurse informs him that he’s been declared dead even as a Coast Guard investigator in Alaska finds evidence he’s still alive. His nurse tells him that he’s undergone surgery that has gifted him with incredible abilities. Just as he’s figuring out he’s part of a secretive government experiment, his nurse is killed by a team of professional assassins—assassins meant for him. A sudden vision showing him information he couldn’t possibly know saves his life—and suddenly, Trey is on the run, trying to figure out just what’s happened to him, and how to control it, before it’s too late.

    The post The Best Thrillers of January 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2017/12/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , bnstorefront-fiction,   

    Best Fiction of 2017 

    Each year, Barnes & Noble steps up to help it’s customers with their holiday shopping and travel plans by compiling a list of the best books of the year. Whether you’re looking for gifts for loved ones who love to read or stocking up on entertainment to get you through the winter, this list of the best fiction published in 2017 has you covered.

    In the Midst of Winter, by Isabel Allende
    Richard and Lucia, two NYU professors in their early 60s who live in the same building (Richard is the landlord), agree to help Evelyn, a Guatemalan nanny and refugee who shows up on Richard’s doorstep, desperate for help. Thrown together on a winter night in Brooklyn, with an unrelenting snowstorm outside, the trio opens up to one another about their troubled pasts, Lucia’s in Chile during the coup, and Evelyn’s as a victim of gang violence. Allende is known for her powerful characters, intimate prose, and magical realism. Winter highlights a new element in her oeuvre, that of a suspenseful crime thriller.

    Origin, by Dan Brown
    Brown returns to his most successful character with an all-new Robert Langdon adventure, this time centered in Spain and focusing on more modern art. Langdon starts off the book as the guest of former student-turned-billionaire Edmond Kirsch, who is staging a provocative presentation at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and hinting at the answers to two of the fundamental questions of human existence. Naturally, things go very, very wrong, and Langdon soon finds himself fleeing to Barcelona with museum director Ambra Vidal and working desperately to discover a password Kirsch left behind that will unlock all of the billionaire’s secrets. Their opponent, however, seems to be all-knowing, and firmly rooted in the Spanish royal palace—but there’s no one on Earth more equipped to deal with codes and symbols than Robert Langdon.

    The Late Show, by Michael Connelly
    Detective Renée Ballard was an up-and-comer in the LAPD, until she filed sexual harassment charges against her boss and her career went sideways. She landed on the night shift in Hollywood, which means she never finishes an investigation, always handing them off to the day shift. Until she catches two cases she can’t let go of: a prostitute beaten into unconsciousness, who claims she was assaulted in the “upside-down house” before passing out, and a young woman killed in a nightclub shooting. Ballard works the cases during the day and continues to take her regular shift in the evening, dodging her former boss (who’s officially working the nightclub shooting) and her own demons—demons which begin to haunt her as she begins losing sleep and delving deeper into the twin mysteries.

    Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
    After winning the Pulitzer Prize for A Visit From the Good Squad (2010), Egan’s highly anticipated follow-up appears to be less experimental than her previous works, but just as moving. Set in New York City during the Depression and World War II, Manhattan Beach follows the struggles of Anna Kerrigan, first as an adolescent accompanying her father on a desperate job-seeking mission, and later at 19, after her father has disappeared and Anna is charged with supporting her sister and mother by working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard as its sole female diver. A chance encounter with her father’s mobster boss begins to shed light on the truth about Anna’s dad. You may want to have tissues on hand for this detail-rich, feminist historical, which has already been long-listed for the National Book Award.

    Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich
    The countless fans of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and its recent Hulu adaptation, will want to grab Erdrich’s latest, set in a dystopian world in which pregnant women are criminalized, hunted, and oppressed because the babies they’re carrying appear to be victims of reverse evolution. In fact, time itself seems to be running backwards, and Cedar Hawk Songmaker, born to an Ojibwe mother and raised by progressive adopted parents in Minneapolis, is caught in the middle of extreme circumstances. Bestseller Erdrich, who is half-Ojibwe herself, continues her tradition of writing thoughtful portrayals of Native-American life.

    A Column of Fire, by Ken Follett
    The third installment of Follett’s excellent Kingsbridge series of historical fiction finds Kingsbridge Cathedral looming over a blood-soaked, divided England in the 16th century. Queen Mary is persecuting and executing Protestants, including the noble family of Ned Willard, who are accused of being sympathetic to the heretics. When the Willards lose their business to the family of Ned’s love Margery, Ned loses Margery as well—but only physically, as their love for each other transcends politics and business. Ned is inspired by this injustice to join the secret service of the future queen Elizabeth, a Protestant herself and a princess always in danger of being beheaded by her bloody and paranoid half-sister. Follett once again combines well-researched historical accuracy with an exciting thriller plot centered on espionage, continuing what is shaping up to be one of the most epic stories of all time.

    Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman
    Working from the original Norse legends, Gaiman applies his novelist talents to craft the old myths into a cohesive narrative in which the gods emerge as characters with motivations and flaws, telling us the story of Odin, father of the gods, and his sons Thor and Loki from the beginning, but not quite like we’ve experienced it before, from how Asgard was built to how Thor came into possession of his famous hammer. Gaiman is true to the apocalyptic tone of the old myths, stories that cast the world as a place of struggle and violence, where dying in battle was probably your best option. If you’ve read American Gods, you know Gaiman has a gift for making old stories not just new, but unmistakably his own.

    The Rooster Bar, by John Grisham
    Grisham proves he’s still got his finger on the pulse in his newest, telling the story of idealistic but broke law students Mark, Todd, and Zola, who mortgage their future in the form of student loans to attend a third-tier law school. In their third year, the trio realizes they’ve been victims of the Great Law School Scam: the graduates of their school rarely pass the bar and almost never get jobs—and the school’s owner also owns the bank that wrote the paper on their loans. Naturally, smart nearly-lawyers go for the only option they have available: revenge. It’s going to take planning and risks (like dropping out before earning your degree) but it’s the only option if you want a little justice—and the result is an Ocean’s 11 for the LSAT crowd.

    Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
    It’s hard to predict what books will endure, but this understated, elemental novel, blending stark realism with a dash of magic, has the feel of an instant classic. Hamid tells the story of Saeed and Nadia, a young man and woman who meet each other in a classroom “in a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war.” Nadia wears a full black robe, not because she’s religious—she isn’t—but because she wants to move independently through this unnamed Muslim city, where she has made the unusual choice for an unmarried woman of moving into an apartment by herself. Saeed is enchanted. By the time violence starts to demolish their city, they are in love. They make the risky choice to migrate when they hear of a magical door that will transport them to other places. As they join a mob of international refugees moving through these doors into various stable countries in the West and trying to eke out a new existence, can their love survive?

    Uncommon Type, by Tom Hanks
    Actor Hanks has several Oscars and remains one of the most popular thespians of the modern age, so you might be forgiven for thinking this collection of 17 short stories is just a vanity project. But Hanks has a deft style and an active imagination; all of the stories are linked by the recurring image of typewriters (Hanks is a collector), those long-obsolete typing machines that now represent a simpler time. Sometimes the typewriter is just a passing image in the background, sometimes it’s the whole point, but Hanks tells a range of surprising stories using the typewriter as his starting point, including a rapid-fire trip through a hilariously doomed romance, a holiday dinner that comes to represent something darker and deeper than mere family drama, and even a sci-fi story involving time travel. After enjoying Hanks the actor, surprise yourself with how much you enjoy Hanks the author.

    Strange Weather, by Joe Hill
    Over the past two decades, Joe Hill has established himself as a dark fiction powerhouse, a versatile master of the unusual capable of writing everything from a disturbing horror story entirely in tweets to a massive post-apocalyptic epic. Strange Weather, his new collection of short novels, expands his reach even further, with four “lean, mean” tales of human emotions and twisted nature. Strange events (“Loaded” depicts a mass shooting in Florida during a wildfire; “Nails” centers on apocalyptic hailstorms of crystal nails that gruesomely murder anyone unlucky enough to be caught outside), the tense atmosphere created by unusual natural phenomena, and the vivid visuals and weird beauty Hill brings to his work—it’s another must-read from a increasingly impressive storyteller.

    The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman
    In this illuminating, entertaining prequel to Hoffman’s bestselling Practical Magic (also a 1998 film starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock), readers will learn what it was like for witchy sisters Franny and Bridget (Jet) Owens to grow up in 1950s/1960s New York City with a frustratingly strict mother (understandable, given the family curse: any man who falls in love with an Owens woman will meet a gruesome end). In Rules, we meet a charming younger brother, Vincent, who also grows up ignoring Mom’s warnings, with far-reaching consequences. Will any of the rules-averse siblings figure out a way to outwit their fates? If you loved the adolescent longings and heartaches of Hoffman’s poignant, private school-set River King, you’ll especially appreciate this coming-of-age tale.

    Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz
    The diabolically clever Magpie Murders opens with the text of a classic whodunit set in sleepy English village; the latest novel in fictional author Alan Conway’s popular Atticus Pünd detective series. That mystery itself is absorbing enough, but things take a turn for the weird when editor Susan Ryeland must use the clues woven throughout it to solve a chilling real-life murder. Horowitz’s prose is elegant, his characters multifaceted and deeply human, and the ingenious construction of this brilliant puzzler (which pays homage to the classic whodunnit while taking it apart and reassembling it into something completely new) will leave you reeling. In his bestselling novels Moriarty and Trigger Mortis, Horowitz proved his knack for writing spellbinding stories, but Magpie Murders is a tour de force mystery-within-a-mystery that takes things to an astonishing new level.

    Sleeping Beauties, by Stephen King and Owen King
    Putting a lie to the theory that writing talent doesn’t have a genetic component: the King family. Joe Hill has more than proven himself as capable as dear old dad at crafting tense, terrifying thrillers, and now brother Owen is getting into the game with his first book in the family wheelhouse, co-written with the world’s bestselling horror writer. The premise is certainly killer,and oh-so-timely: it a near-near-future, all women suddenly drop into a coma-like state. While their minds are transported to an idyllic, female-dominated paradise, their bodies become shrouded in a gauzy substance. If the shroud is disturbed, the women awaken as feral monsters. As male society struggles to adapt to a world without women, we follow one woman immune to the sleeping state. With the epic length you expect from any book with “King” on the cover—and the thrills and chills to match.

    A Legacy of Spies, by John le Carré
    John le Carré is not only back, he’s bringing George Smiley with him—or at least Smiley’s assistant, Peter Guillam, called upon to fill in the blanks on an old operation called Windfall, now that the British government is being sued over some of the unintended casualties of the Cold War. Guillam begins piecing together the truth behind Windfall, digging through old files, listening to interrogations, and supplementing these discoveries with his own reliable memories. As usual in a le Carré novel, the combination of meticulous detail, skillful spycraft, and moral blankness makes for a slow-boil thriller that slowly increases the tension to unendurable levels. The intelligence and (above all) patience of the men and women working in intelligence becomes as thrilling as any gunplay.

    Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker, by Gregory Maguire
    The author of the bestselling book and Broadway smash Wicked invites you to take a fresh look at the Nutcracker in this “double origin” story of the famous wooden toy and its creator, Drosselmeier. Who is Klara’s mysterious godfather, born a German peasant and seemingly fated to provide her with the sensational trinket? And what dark enchantment did he experience in his youth? Combining myths and historical legends, and written in the style of a Brothers Grimm tale, Hiddensee promises to delight and intrigue.

    The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott
    Tended to by an elderly nun after her husband commits suicide, a young widowed mother and her newborn baby are brought into the fold of the Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor. Brooklyn in the 1940s and ’50s wasn’t forgiving toward families overcoming scandal, and the young mother discovers that the worst moment of her life is best not mentioned. The consequences of her husband’s act will affect many generations to come, but so will the loving friendships she makes with the nuns’ help. McDermott is a National Book Award and American Book Award recipient (for Charming Billy), and a multiple Pulitzer Prize finalist.

    Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
    Fans of Anne Tyler’s Digging to America and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies will devour bestselling Ng’s compelling new drama. When free-spirited artist and single mother Mia gives up her wanderlust and puts down roots in the affluent, tight-knit Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, she quickly befriends her landlord Elena’s family. Mia’s dismissal of the town’s social norms causes friction, however, and when she opposes another family’s well-meaning but controversial custody battle for a Chinese American baby, Elena turns against her, determined to dig up Mia’s closely guarded secrets.

    Glass Houses, by Louise Penny
    A mysterious figure has appeared in the idyllic village of Three Pines, standing alone and stock still in the freezing November sleet. As the villagers, including Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache, grow increasingly perturbed and even frightened, the figure remains. Soon after it finally disappears, a body turns up, which is very probably not a coincidence, and it falls to Gamache to discover whether the killing is in fact a terrible retribution. Later that summer, the accused stands trial, but Gamache is forced to face the consequences of the actions he took during those fateful days in November. The 13th novel in Penny’s incomparable series ratchets up the tension to an almost unbearable degree.

    Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
    Saunders’ celebrated short stories have plenty of the speculative about them. His debut novel is no different; starring Abraham Lincoln and set in the 19th century, it involves very real ghosts who populate the graveyard where Lincoln’s son Willie—dead at eleven years old—has been interred. These spirits have chosen to remain in an in-between state of existence, avoiding judgment, and retain all of the prejudices and personalities of their living years. Lincoln’s presence energizes them, and they determine to save his son’s spirit from their own static fate—and all of it is delivered with Saunders’ trademark wit, eye for delirious detail, and a prose style so absorbing you forget you’re reading and not hearing a story by the fire on a chilly winter night.

    The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
    In Jessica Shattuck’s third novel (and her first historical), three women widowed by World War II and bonded by their husband’s roles in the resistance come together with their families to forge a new future. However, despite their apparently similar situations, their individual histories are not so easily reconciled. The women’s ad hoc leader, Marianne von Lingenfels, offers her family’s now-ruined castle in Bavaria as a safe harbor, but emotional resilience is tough to come by as the sins of the past come back to haunt the women in different ways.

    Sourdough, by Robin Sloan
    The author of 2013’s critically acclaimed Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore is back with a new novel set at the intersection of San Francisco’s technology hub and competitive farmers’ markets. When Lois Clary, an isolated computer coder who works in robotics, is bequeathed a sourdough starter (the yeast used to make bread) by two brothers about to be deported, she takes their request of “raising” the dough—which seems to have a personality all its own—very seriously. She soon finds herself in an invitation-only club of eccentric, fanciful chefs who wish to combine Lois’s day job skills in robotics with her newfound penchant for baking.

    Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
    Magical realism and poetic lyricism combine in this paean to road trip novels by a talented author whose creativity brings emotionally devastating truths to the surface. Ward’s previous novel, Salvage the Bones, won the National Book Award in 2011 for its vital depiction of Hurricane Katrina. Here, drug-addicted and poverty-stricken matriarch Leonie, a black woman living on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, is desperate to be a better mom but struggles with what that means and how to achieve it. She drags her two children (13-year-old Jojo and toddler Kayla) across Mississippi to the State Penitentiary, where their white father is set to be released. Jojo prefers the company of his grandparents over his parents, and is deeply reluctant to make the trip. His feelings on the subject are compounded when he’s visited by a spirit close to him in age, who died during his grandfather’s youth. Jojo’s ability was inherited from his mother, who is regularly haunted (and at times, comforted) by the ghost of her murdered brother.

    Artemis, by Andy Weir
    Weir’s first novel in the wake of The Martian‘s became a bestselling phenomenon and a major box office hit is a completely different kind of story, even as it shares its predecessor’s commitment to smart, plausible science. In Artemis, city on the Moon. Jazz Bashara works as a porter, scraping by and supplementing her income with a little light smuggling on the side. Her moonlighting brings her into contact with wealthy and powerful figures like Trond Landvik, a businessman with designs on a lunar aluminum monopoly. Landvik asks Jazz to come up with a way to sabotage his competition, and Jazz seizes the opportunity to grab a big score with a bold plan spiced. The resulting caper moves at a mile a minute, delivered with the same witty dialogue and ribald humor that made us fall in love with Mark Watney. If you ask us, Weir has another winner on his hands—and likely another blockbuster film adaptation in his future.

    Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate
    Avery Stafford, an attorney being groomed to follow her father’s footsteps into politics, returns home to a small town in South Carolina to help him through cancer treatments. There she meets an elderly woman in a nursing home who has a photo of Avery’s mother—although Avery’s never met or heard of the woman. Her sudden investigation into her prominent family’s past reveals a shocking secret connected to a sketchy orphanage (based, unfortunately, on real life) that spent decades basically stealing children from poor families and adopting them out to rich ones. As this tragic past catches up with the present, Avery has to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about family, heritage, and justice.

    What’s the best new fiction book you read this year?

    The post Best Fiction of 2017 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2017/12/01 Permalink
    Tags: , bnstorefront-fiction, , ,   

    The Best New Thrillers of December 2017 

    If any month calls for a good thriller, it’s December. Between end-of-year work projects, holiday shopping, and lots of time spent in airports, you’re going to need as many distractions as possible. No matter where you find yourself stuck, one of these thrillers will help you pass the time in style.

    Tom Clancy: Power and Empire, by Marc Cameron
    President Jack Ryan, his intelligence agent son Jack Jr., and John Clark, junior’s boss at the Campus, trade off on the spotlight in the latest Tom Clancy thriller, as seemingly separate harrowing scenarios converge. The president is dealing with an aggressive China, staking claims in the South China Sea. His son is working with the FBI to take down a child sex ring. John Clark is on the trail of a missing girl after a traffic stop in Texas uncovers a Chinese agent. As the three men begin to realize there’s much more going on than meets the eye, world events ratchet up the tension between nations in the days leading to the G20 Summit—meaning all three men are working against the clock to understand how it all comes together.

    The Demon Crown, by James Rollins
    In 1903, none other than Alexander Graham Bell travels to Italy to bring home the bones of James Smithson, the founder of the Smithsonian. Bell finds a hunk of amber amongst Smith’s things, in which is the preserved body of a small dinosaur with a crown-like ring of bones on its head, along with the cryptic message, “what the Demon Crown holds is very much alive, and ready to unleash the very hordes of Hell upon this world.” In the present day, a secretive group known as The Guild has finally done just that—loosing giant, killer wasps that swarm civilization and threaten everyone and everything. Grayson Pierce, the commander of Sigma Force, is on a Hawaiian beach with partner Seichan when the first swarm arrives, and the fight is on to defeat the bugs before they reconquer a world they once ruled. Doing so brings Pierce to the most horrifying choice of his life—joining with his enemy to save the world, even if it means sacrificing his own.

    Death at Nuremberg, by W.E.B. Griffin
    The fourth Clandestine Operations novel is set in 1946, where James D. Cronley Jr., directorate of Central Intelligence, finds himself reassigned to the dual mission of protecting the judge overseeing the Nuremberg war crimes trials and investigating Odessa, the secretive organization helping Nazis escape punishment and flee to South America. Two attempts on his life follow quickly, and he finds himself not only tracking Nazi smugglers, but stumbling onto a cult founded by none other than Heinrich Himmler. As the chess pieces that eventually formed the CIA (and set the groundwork for the Cold War) are placed on the board, Cronley must ensure the trials go on as planned while everyone around him seems to have their own agenda—none of which involves his safety and wellbeing.

    The Last Man in Tehran, by Mark Henshaw
    The fourth book in former CIA analyst Henshaw’s Red Cell series opens with Kyra Stryker newly installed as the chief of the Red Cell. No sooner has she claimed her office than a dirty bomb explodes in Haifa, causing massive bloodshed. Mossad launches a ruthless global firestorm of retaliation—using information obviously leaked from the CIA itself. The FBI springs into action, and paranoid officials turn on each other to avoid being implicated. Stryker, desperate to save the agency and her own people, launches her own investigation, and a taut chess match begins that puts Stryker in conflict with anyone who has something to lose in the process—which is just about everyone.

    Direct Fire, by A.J. Tata
    The fourth Jake Mahegan book finds the former Delta Force operative traveling to a North Carolina golf resort at the request of General Savage after a series of horrific acts of terror. Jake arrives at a remote cabin to meet his colleagues Patch Owens and Sean O’Malley, only to be attacked by two gunmen. After dispatching the pair with typical Mahegan efficiency, he discovers that Patch and Sean have been kidnapped as part of a terrorist scheme being run by Zakir Lecha, a Chechen who got into the U.S. by posing as a Syrian refugee. When Zakir also manages to kidnap the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his wife, Jake joins forces with the general’s army ranger daughter, Cassie, to take down Lecha and save his buddies and her parents. The idea of a terrorist cell bringing ISIS-style tactics to the United States is terrifying, but Mahegan and Cassie are up to the task.

    The post The Best New Thrillers of December 2017 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 5:00 pm on 2017/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , american drifter, , bnstorefront-fiction, , bonfire, boyd morrison, chad michael murray, , , , end game, every breath you take, , heather the totality, , krysten ritter, , , matthew weiner, stephen coonts, the armageddon file, , the people vs. alex cross, , , , typhoon fury   

    The Best New Thrillers of November 2017 

    November seems like a cozy month. The leaves turn, tea comes back in a big way, the nights get chilly and the holidays are just around the corner. That just means you need thrillers more than ever, to keep complacency at bay—because a few pretty leaves and some pumpkin spice treats don’t change the fact that the world is an exciting place. These books will serve to remind you just how exciting—while offering hours of entertainment and so much heart-pounding adventure you might not need that hot tea to stay warm after all.

    The People vs. Alex Cross, by James Patterson
    Alex Cross stands accused of murdering followers of Gary Soneji. Suspended from the police force, the evidence looks very bad, and Cross has gone from hero to villain as he’s held up as a prime example of a police force gone turned rogue. Even his own friends and family begin to doubt his version of events as the evidence mounts against him. Despite his troubles, when his old partner John Sampson calls him for help investigating a gruesome video connected to the disappearance of several young girls, Cross can’t refuse, and they begin an illegal investigation that leads them into the darkest shadows of the Internet. As his trial seems to get worse and worse, Cross can’t abandon this case until he’s caught the monster at the other end of it—even if it costs him his career, and possibly his life.

    End Game, by David Baldacci
    Baldacci’s fifth Will Robie novel flips the script a bit on his competent, deadly characters. When Will Robie and Jessica Reel’s legendary handler, Blue Man, goes missing after taking a rare vacation to go fly-fishing in a rural area of Colorado, the two deadly assassins are dispatched to investigate. They find themselves in the town of Grand, a festering place of economic decline, crime, drug wars—and a growing population of militia-style groups. They also find an inadequate police force unable to cope. They quickly realize there’s more going on in Grand than meets the eye, and by the time they realize that even they, two of the most dangerous people in the world, are out-gunned and surrounded it might be too late.

    The Midnight Line, by Lee Child
    Jack Reacher is once again stepping off a bus in a small town in the middle of nowhere, this time in Wisconsin. Stretching his legs, Reacher sees a West Point ring in a pawn shop window and is moved to find out what would make someone sell something so difficult to earn. His quest for the ring owner’s identity leads Reacher to cross several state lines as he assembles a story of service in Afghanistan, opioid addiction, and a huge criminal organization that Reacher, once he’s aware of it, has no choice but to take on. He manages to acquire an ally, however, in the form of the cadet’s brother, a former FBI agent-turned private detective, who’s one of those rare people Reacher feels he can count on, if only for a while. Along the way Reacher traces corporate complicity in the opioid crisis and the desperation that drives people to make bad decisions—all while dishing out violence the way only Jack Reacher can manage.

    Typhoon Fury, by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison
    The 12th Oregon Files book once again ties history to the present day. In the waning days of World War II, a U.S. Army Captain stumbles onto a secret Japanese laboratory working on a secret project called Typhoon—a project that seems to produce soldiers who fight on despite gunshot wounds and other injuries. In the present, the Oregon and Juan Cabrillo have been tasked with locating a memory stick containing a list of Chinese secret agents operating in the United States—which leads them to a fight to take possession of the thousands of Typhoon doses in existence, doses that could turn ordinary people into super-soldiers. The stakes get higher the more Cabrillo learns about Typhoon—until a disastrous war is on the verge of breaking out in a world descending into chaos.

    Every Breath You Take, by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
    Clark and Burke’s fourth entry in their Under Suspicion series finds TV producer Laurie Moran at a professional high: her show Under Suspicion is a ratings smash on a winning streak of solving cold cases. Personally though, Laurie’s not so great. After splitting up with former host Alex Buckley, she’s found a new host she loathes in Ryan Nichols. Nichols suggests a new case for the show: the murder of a wealthy donor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art who was thrown off the roof of the museum at the Met Gala. The chief suspect is her personal trainer—and lover—the much younger Ivan Gray. Ryan works out at the gym Ivan founded (with his lover’s money), and Laurie’s suspicions are exacerbated when she gets a tip that widens the circle of suspects in surprising—and dangerous—ways.

    The Whispering Room, by Dean Koontz
    The sequel to The Silent Corner returns us to the thrilling world of FBI agent Jane Hawk, who learned of a horrifying conspiracy to seize control of the entire world via a terrifying technological breakthrough while investigating her husband’s sudden, inexplicable suicide in the first book. As a result, she knows that when a beloved and mild-mannered schoolteacher commits suicide after inflicting unspeakable carnage on innocents, not all is as it seems. Jane has proof of what’s going on—but she remains #1 on the FBI’s most-wanted list, and the NSA can track anything she does online, so getting the proof into the right hands isn’t easy, especially as she tries to stay one step ahead of her secretive enemies. As she picks up an unlikely ally, Jane remains as kick-butt as before—a warrior, a mother, and a patriot dedicated to truth and justice, no matter how deadly things get.

    Heather, The Totality, by Matthew Weiner
    Weiner, creator and showrunner of Mad Men, has crafted a sharp, character-driven debut novel that examines class and parenting with equal power. Heather, smart and beautiful, has been doted on by her mother since birth, causing a rift between her parents. Heather is also increasingly aware of the gulf between her family, the owners of an upscale apartment building in Manhattan, and the people who work for them—including a construction worker, Bobby, whose appearance isolates him. Heather sees Bobby as a way to bridge the gap, but her father sees a threat in how Bobby looks at his daughter, and tensions rise in complicated ways.

    Bonfire, by Krysten Ritter
    Ritter, already a celebrated actress and producer, dives into fiction with this taut, emotionally brutal debut. Abby Williams escaped the small town of Barrens, Indiana, mean girls, an abusive father, and other ghosts a decade ago. She’s built a life, becoming an environmental litigator in Chicago and living a fast-paced existence. But her work drags her back home when she’s put on a team suing Optimal Plastics, the main employer in Barrens, whose products have poisoned the land and the people. Discovering that Barrens has been largely bought off by the company, Abby finds herself investigating the disappearance of a popular high school girl ten years before, a case that might be connected to Optimal. Abby’s emotional wounds are torn back open by her declining father and the memories she thought she’d escaped forever—but when she learns about a disturbing local ritual known only as “The Game”, things begin to take on an even more sinister, and dangerous, feel.

    The Armageddon File, by Stephen Coonts
    Coonts delivers another headline-inspired story of political shenanigans with a distinct slant in one (conservative) direction. When an inexperienced billionaire wins the presidency, his embittered liberal opponent cries foul and asserts that foreign governments interfered and rigged the election. CIA Director Jake Grafton assigns agent Tommy Carmellini to a special task force to investigate the claims, teaming him with special agent Maggie Miller. They quickly catch a break when a voting machine technician gets arrested and offers to tell them what he knows about voter fraud—but he’s killed before they can talk to him, and that’s just the beginning of a flurry of bodies as someone seeks to squash their investigation by any means necessary. Soon Tommy is dodging bullets himself, which does nothing to dampen his determination to get to the bottom of things.

    American Drifter, by Heather Graham and Chad Michael Murray
    Graham teams up with actor Chad Michael Murray for this romance-tinged thriller about River Roulet, a veteran of the war in Iraq who finds life after combat intolerable due to his PTSD. He moves to Brazil, a country he’s always dreamed of living in, and finds a quantum of solace living a simple life with a few good friends. Then he meets Natal, a beautiful, spirited journalist, and their love is instantaneous and powerful—and complicated, both by River’s ongoing issues and Natal’s relationship with a powerful, violent drug lord. The couple flees into the jungle to escape him, and River is forced to kill one of his henchmen in order to protect his new love, which only brings Brazilian law enforcement against them as well. Graham and Murray have some surprises up their sleeves as River and Natal fight for their love—and their lives.

    What new books are you thrilled to read in November?

    The post The Best New Thrillers of November 2017 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 4:00 pm on 2017/09/29 Permalink
    Tags: , bnstorefront-fiction, , ,   

    The Best New Thrillers of October 2017 

    October is a month that comes with the thrills built in, but once the doorbell stops ringing and the apple-bobbing is over, it’s nice to curl up with a book that will keep you warm on a slow, cold evening. The 10 books on this list will keep you heart pounding and your blood pumping long after the sugar rush fades.

    The Rooster Bar, by John Grisham
    Grisham proves he’s still got his finger on the pulse in his newest, telling the story of idealistic but broke law students Mark, Todd, and Zola, who mortgage their future in the form of student loans to attend a third-tier law school. In their third year, the trio realizes they’ve been victims of the Great Law School Scam: the graduates of their school rarely pass the bar and almost never get jobs—and the school’s owner also owns the bank that wrote the paper on their loans. Naturally, smart nearly-lawyers go for the only option they have available: revenge. It’s going to take planning and risks (like dropping out before earning your degree) but it’s the only option if you want a little justice—and the result is an Ocean’s 11 for the LSAT crowd.

    Origin, by Dan Brown
    Brown returns to his most successful character with an all-new Robert Langdon adventure, this time centered in Spain and focusing on more modern art. Langdon starts off the book as the guest of former student-turned-billionaire Edmond Kirsch, who is staging a provocative presentation at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and hinting at the answers to two of the fundamental questions of human existence. Naturally, things go very, very wrong, and Langdon soon finds himself fleeing to Barcelona with museum director Ambra Vidal and working desperately to discover a password Kirsch left behind that will unlock all of the billionaire’s secrets. Their opponent, however, seems to be all-knowing, and firmly rooted in the Spanish royal palace—but there’s no one on Earth more equipped to deal with codes and symbols than Robert Langdon.

    Two Kinds of Truth, by Michael Connelly
    Connelly returns to the world of Harry Bosch with a pair of mysteries. Three decades ago, Bosch was convinced a man named Preston Borders was guilty of raping and murdering three young women, but the district attorney only pursued one case, convicting Borders of the murder of Danielle Skyler. Borders has been on death row ever since, but suddenly new DNA evidence seems to exonerate him, so he files a habeas corpus petition and seems determined to sue everyone involved. Bosch has nine days before the hearing to figure out what went sideways, but his efforts are complicated by the current murder he’s investigating, that of a pharmacist and his son, which has set off a chain reaction of revelations involving faked prescriptions. As Bosch prepares to go undercover as an addict for the first time in his life, even he might not be able to keep all of the clues straight.

    Deep Freeze, by John Sandford
    Sandford’s tenth Virgil Flowers story finds the Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent’s life complicated by another small town murder in Trippton, and the arrival of an agent of chaos. The murder victim is Gina Hemmings, who inherited her parents’ bank—and plenty of the potential suspects’ debts. Making things more complicated is the arrival of Margaret Griffin, a Los Angeles investigator who lands in town with the governor’s request that Virgil assist in finding Jesse McGovern, who is supposedly manufacturing sex dolls in Trippton—though no one seems to have ever met her. Virgil’s path to solving each mystery is as enjoyably bumpy as ever, but it’s Sandford’s grasp of small town culture that makes this entry sing.

    Quick & Dirty, by Stuart Woods
    A cool $12 million inspires Stone Barrington to engage in what amounts to old-fashioned detective work in the 43rd installment of Woods’ bestselling series. After some spirited vandalism puts Stone in contact with Morgan Tillman, wealthy widowed wife, Stone is contacted by an insurance firm trying to avoid paying the settlement on a priceless painting stolen from the Tillman residence, and offered a bounty to prove the painting was a skilled replica. Taking on the job doesn’t stop Barrington from having a typically steamy adventure with the widow Tillman, of course.

    Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, by Mark Frost
    For those who watched the original television phenomenon and Showtime’s crazy sequel, Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier is an opportunity to fill in the blanks. Detailing the events that occurred in the 25 years between series, series co-creator Frost offers details that illuminate and explain many of the events of the new series, and offer at least some hope the ultimate mysteries of both series might yet be understood. More importantly, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the characters fans have come to love, and the town of Twin Peaks itself.

    What the Hell Did I Just Read, by David Wong
    Wong’s third entry in the series that began with John Dies at the End starts with what passes for normal in the universe he’s created: John, Amy, and Dave are living in the town of Undisclosed, and when they start investigating a shape-shifting pedophile, it barely registers on their weirdness scale—but they slowly start to realize there really is something strange going on. What follows is a surprisingly complex, paranoia-laden thriller of comedy-horror, with Dave dropping hilarious deadpan commentary as events, including a porn star made of bugs, a T-shirt cannon that shoots the Shroud of Turin, and a literal level boss named Millibutt, spiral out of control. In short, it’s exactly what Wong’s fans have come to expect.

    Mind Game, by Iris Johansen
    The 21st Eve Duncan novel focuses on Eve’s daughter Jane, in Scotland helping Lord Duncan in his search for a treasure linked to an ancient woman. Jane begins to see the woman in her dreams—as well as a second woman, who seems to be held captive. She identifies this woman as Lisa, Seth Caleb’s sister, and soon finds herself working with the arrogant, infuriating man to both locate the treasure and free Lisa from her captors. Eve Duncan finds her way back into the story in a surprising, unexpected way even as Jane fights to save Seth from a nefarious plot.

    Act of Betrayal, by Matthew Dunn
    The latest Will Cochrane adventure sees Cochrane going underground when a botched job from three years ago rears its head—Will was brought in for an assassination by a Delta Force colonel who later vanished. A CIA agent involved in the operation doesn’t like the look of things, and reaches out to Will for assistance in figuring out what happened—and winds up poisoned. Will is framed for several murders, and goes dark, but naturally can’t stop himself from investigating. When a determined FBI agent catches his scent, she launches an all-out manhunt to bring him to justice. Will must use every bit of his training and expertise to remain free while he gets to the bottom of the mystery.

    Righteous, by Joe Ide
    The brilliant Isaiah Quintabe, known as IQ, returns, still haunted by his brother’s hit-and-run death, and still carrying a torch for his late sibling’s former girlfriend Sarita. IQ is also still using his significant brainpower to try to solve the riddle of his brother’s death, and finds disturbing evidence that the hit-and-run wasn’t random. His life is complicated when Sarita asks him to help her sister, a Las Vegas DJ in over her head with gambling debts. The emotionally-grounded deductive brilliance that made IQ such a must-read debut is back, as IQ and his neighbor Dodson—Watson to his Holmes—wade into a Chinese mafia cesspool that eventually circles back to his brother’s death in a confluence of events even a genius couldn’t see coming.

    The post The Best New Thrillers of October 2017 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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