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  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2018/06/30 Permalink
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    July’s Best New Thrillers 

    The Other Woman, by Daniel Silva
    Silva’s 18th entry in the Gabriel Allon series finds the art restorer and Israel’s most effective spy drawn back into the struggle against Russia’s to tip the balance of world power in their favor. When one of Allon’s best assets inside Russian intelligence is assassinated while trying to defect, he investigates—and is soon on the trail of one of the biggest and best-kept secrets of the last few decades: there is a mole inside the highest corridors of power in the west—someone who has bided their time and now stands at the summit of power. Allon will have to risk everything and give all in order to stop the unthinkable.

    Spymaster, by Brad Thor
    The 17th Scot Harvath book finds the skilled agent finally feeling his age—though he’s still the most dangerous and effective employee at private security and espionage endeavor The Carlton Group. Across Europe, someone is assassinating diplomats, and Harvath is ordered to find out who—and why. When it’s revealed to be part of a plot by Russia to leverage the NATO alliance to draw the United States into a war, Harvath is tasked with stopping the Russian plan, and he goes on the offensive, identifying and hunting down the assassins themselves. Meanwhile, the founder of the Carlton Group battles a declining mental state that means the secrets of his long career are at risk—and the new head, former CIA chief Lydia Ryan, must scramble to protect those secrets—as well as her agents in the field.

    Give Me Your Hand, by Megan Abbott
    As a teenager, Kit Owens isn’t particularly ambitious—until she meets Diane Fleming, a troubled girl with a troubled past who pushes herself to perfection in everything. Kit finds herself being pushed along with her as they both pursue an elite science scholarship, until one night Diane shares a secret with Kit—and Kit, horrified, turns her back on Diane. A decade later, Kit is working in a prestigious lab under a famous scientist and pursuing a coveted spot on the male-dominated team, and she is shocked to find herself suddenly competing against Diane. Kit struggles to keep the past in the past as she realizes her connection to Diane, so long buried, is as powerful as ever—and Diane’s secret, which she worked so hard to forget, is as terrible as ever.

    Double Blind, by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen
    The Johansens’ sixth Kendra Michaels novel finds the FBI agent drawn into a murder investigation when the victim, paralegal Elena Meyer, is found holding an envelope addressed to Kendra. Kendra doesn’t know Elena, and doesn’t recognize anyone on the video of a wedding reception contained on a memory stick in the envelope. She enlists the help of freelance investigator Adam Lynch—but the video suddenly disappears. As Adam and Kendra struggle with their attraction to one another, Kendra finds herself diving into a massive conspiracy—and tallying a rising body count.

    She Was the Quiet One, by Michele Campbell
    When their mother passes away, twins Rose and Bel are sent to Odell Academy, an elite boarding school. Rose is thrilled and immediately excels. but Bel falls in with a bad crowd. Both sisters forge unusually strong bonds with a married couple, Sarah and Heath, who act as both faculty advisors and dorm parents. When Bel gives in to peer pressure and hazes Rose, the bond between siblings is strained to the breaking point. Rose turns to Sarah and Bel turns to Heath, whose motives may be less than honorable. As the sisters’ relationship sours into violence, a deep and disturbing mystery arises, told through overlapping points of view and twisting timelines.

    Caged, by Ellison Cooper
    Sayer Altair, a talented special agent for the FBI, studies the patterns of serial killers in order to forget the tragedies that trail in her wake—parents dead in a horrific car crash, fiancé killed while working a mysterious case for the Bureau. She is forced to emerge from her research when she’s assigned to the case of Gwen Van Hurst, daughter of a senator who went missing a year before, who has been found dead in a cage in the basement of a booby-trapped house in Washington, D.C. Sayer learns that another victim may still be alive in a cage somewhere, kicking off a frantic race against time.

    Baby Teeth, by Zoje Stage
    Stage’s debut tells the story of fragile Suzette, battling with her distant, cold mother and the crippling effects of Crohn’s disease. Despite the physical risks, she and her husband Alex have a child. Determined to be a better mother than her own, Suzette tries her best, but Hanna is a difficult child. As the story opens, Hanna is seven years old and Suzette is home-schooling her because Hanna—who has yet to speak a word despite knowing how to read and write—refuses to behave. The only person for whom Hanna seems to have any affection is her father, and she views Suzette as a barrier between her and the total devotion of her dad. As Hanna’s behavior becomes more violent and unhinged, Alex doesn’t see the danger—but Suzette begins to fear for her life.

    Bound for Gold, by William Martin
    Rare-book dealer Peter Fallon returns along with his girlfriend Evangeline Carrington. At Peter’s son’s behest, the pair head out to California in search of the stolen journal of James Spencer of the Sagamore Mining Company, who searched for a legendary “river of gold.” Spencer’s story is one of violence and greed, racism and capitalism—in short, the story of America. And it’s a story that may not be quite over; as Peter and Evangeline hunt for the stolen book and stumble into a plot that threatens their lives.

    Four Dominions, by Eric Van Lustbader
    The third entry in Lustbader’s Testament series opens with Emma Shaw, artifacts expert, studying the recently acquired Testament of Lucifer onboard a private plane. Turbulence knocks lemon juice onto the parchment, revealing hidden writings that Emma reads before she realizes the danger—and finds herself possessed by the demon Beleth, who serves Lucifer’s plan to finally free Heaven itself from God’s tyranny. Beleth sets Emma to turning her brother, academic Bravo Shaw, towards evil as the demons plot their final victory.

    All These Beautiful Strangers, by Elizabeth Klehfoth
    Ten years ago, Charlie Fairchild’s mother Grace was seen on bank security cameras cleaning out the family’s safe deposit boxes—and never seen again. Now 17, Charlie is haunted by her mother’s disappearance, wondering if she truly abandoned her family, or if there is another explanation. Attending an exclusive boarding school, Charlie is pushed by the secret society she’s pledging to dig into her family’s secrets—and what she finds makes her head reel. forcing her to consider the possibility she never knew either of her parents at all.

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  • Jeff Somers 9:00 pm on 2018/05/31 Permalink
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    June’s Best New Thrillers 

    It’s summer, and things are heating up outside and on bookstore shelves, thanks to the arrivals of these 10 tightly-plotted, fast-paced new thrillers, including one from the dream team of former president Bill Clinton and James Patterson. Read on—only you can decide how thrilling your June will be.

    The President is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
    Combining his personal knowledge of the presidency with Patterson’s knowledge of how to write a heart-pounding thriller, Bill Clinton spins a story about President Jonathan Lincoln Duncan, under pressure from all sides, besieged by unhappy and hostile congressional committees, a determined assassin, and an apocalyptic threat only he knows about—a computer virus that could roll the clock back to the stone age overnight. Duncan sees just one way to deal with these combined threats—he walks out of the White House, leaving his security detail behind, and takes matters into his own hands.

    Tom Clancy Line of Sight, by Mike Maden
    Vladimir Vasilev, chief of the Iron Syndicate, is dying, and the one thing he wants to accomplish before the cancer gets him is to see Jack Ryan, Jr.’s head on a platter. Ryan heads to Sarajevo on a mission for his mother, seeking to track down her former patient, Aida. As assassins circle, Jack locates the gorgeous Aida, a Muslim who runs a refugee organization, and the sparks fly even as a new threat emerges—the Iron Syndicate is planning to kill thousands in a terrorist attack on a stadium in hopes of triggering World War III. Ryan must race to figure out the plot and somehow secure the military assets necessary to stop it—but Aida has secrets that threaten to upend everything, and trigger to a disaster of incalculable proportions.

    The Pharaoh Key, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
    Gideon Crew returns in his fifth novel from Preston and Child, but Effective Engineering Solutions doesn’t. When the organization suddenly shuts down, world-class thief Gideon and and Manuel Garza head to Egypt in pursuit of EES’ final project, a priceless treasure—but not before secretly downloading a scan of the Phaistos Disk and cracking the ancient code contained thereon, revealing the treasure’s precise location. Garza and Crew face shipwrecks and other dangers on their way to meet a beautiful geologist and discover a lost civilization, adventuring their way through deadly puzzles and ancient mysteries with equal aplomb.

    Turbulence, by Stuart Woods
    Stone Barrington returns in the 46th novel featuring the suave, self-made millionaire lawyer. As a hurricane bears down on Key West, Barrington plays host to some friends—including Secretary of State Holly Barker. In the midst of the storm, Senator Joe Box arrives to beg for shelter, and is admitted—even though he attempted to assault Barker at a state dinner months earlier. When the storm passes, Barrington becomes involved in an effort to capture notorious arms dealer Selwyn Owaki (set free through machinations by Box) and the nuclear device he’s shopping—but the failure of the operation puts crosshairs on Barrington, and he must go underground. In the world of Stone Barrington, this means jetting about the world in order to get the drop on Owaki, one way or another.

    Bring Me Back, by B.A. Paris
    In this tense thriller, Finn McQuaid and his fiancée Ellen are settled into a comfortable cottage in the small village of Simonbridge, financially secure thanks to a stroke of luck on Finn’s part. Their relationship is unusual; 12 years earlier Finn was dating Ellen’s sister Layla, until Layla disappeared while driving through France with Finn, with only a Russian nesting doll near the car for a clue. Initially a suspect, Finn was cleared of the crime, and over the years, their mutual loss and desire for comfort led Ellen and Finn to forge a bond. But now, the police are suddenly telling Finn that Layla’s been seen in town, and he and Ellen start receiving strange gifts—Russian nesting dolls. It’s clear Finn hasn’t been entirely forthcoming about the circumstances of Layla’s disappearance, but unraveling the truth of what’s really happening won’t be easy.

    Social Creature, by Tara Isabella Burton
    Louise Wilson is an aspiring writer worried that her looming 30th birthday means she’s failed to make it in New York City. Tutoring a rich girl to make ends meet, she encounters her student’s older sister, Lavinia, who dresses like she’s always headed for a costume ball, and the queen of New York’s underground society. Louise decides she must keep her access to this glamorous life no matter the cost, and shirks all other responsibilities to maintain her orbit around Lavinia. At first all is well; Lavinia invites Louise to be her roommate, and it’s quite the ride—but then, Lavinia gets bored and decides its time for new blood. In order to maintain her grip on Lavinia, Louise must contemplate taking desperate measures. This thriller offers an exploration of a toxic relationship in the mold of Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley novels.

    Bearskin, by James A. McLaughlin
    Rice Moore is working as a caretaker in the rough, lawless Turk Mountain Preserve, located in the Appalachians of Virginia. The prior caretaker was raped and left for dead by the vicious poachers who plague the Preserve, and Rice is a man of secrets, fleeing from a Mexican drug cartel and hoping to stay hidden in the backwoods of Virginia. Just as he thinks he can relax, bears start turning up dead, killed by poachers seeking their valuable organs to sell overseas. When his efforts to stop the killing raises his profile, Rice finds himself fighting both the locals and the foreign criminals seeking to exact their revenge.

    The Moscow Offensive, by Dale Brown
    Brown’s sequel to Price of Duty returns to Captain Brad McLanahan, Colonel Wayne “Whack” Macomber, and Major Nadia Rozek of the Iron Wolf Squadron, which is composed of cybenetically-controlled robotic infantry, as they face a new threat: Russian President Gryzlov has managed to reverse-engineer the design and is building his own corps of war machines. Gryzlov shows off his new strength by attacking an Air Force base in Louisiana. The United States strikes back, and tensions and hostilities continue escalate, as Macomber, McLanahan, and Rozek risk everything in order to protect their country and the man who might be the next president.

    Providence, by Caroline Kepnes
    Jon Bronson was a typical high school kid, hassled by the jocks but saved by his deep friendship with classmate Chloe. When Jon disappears from his home, only Chloe and his parents keep faith that he’ll return—which he finally does, waking up four years later in a basement with no memory of the intervening time. Next to him is a copy of The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft, and a letter from a former teacher who tells Jon that he was put into an induced coma, and now has access to more power than he can possibly imagine. Jon’s return is bittersweet—and gets more complicated when he realizes how dangerous his new powers are to the people around him. Jon tries to isolate himself, moving to Lovecraft’s home city of Providence, Rhode Island, but mysterious deaths soon attract a detective’s attention, and Jon and Chloe must find the answers to the mystery of Jon’s disappearance before it’s too late.

    The Real Michael Swann, by Bryan Reardon
    A phone call between Julia Swann and her husband Michael, who is at Penn Station in New York City, is suddenly cut off when a bomb explodes. Julia, in a panic, attempts to drive to NYC from Pennsylvania, but the city is in lockdown, and she can’t get in. Then she hears the impossible: the domestic terrorist suspected in the blast is none other than Michael Swann. Convinced of his his survival and his innocence, she seeks to make contact with her husband, who soon turns up dazed from the blast and suffering from amnesia. Julia must evade law enforcement as they search for Michael while somehow proving he isn’t the man they think he is.

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  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2018/05/01 Permalink
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    May’s Best New Thrillers 

    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 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 Hester has passed away and left her something in the will, she’s determined to claim the inheritance—despite the fact that her grandmother Marion already died 20 years before. Intending to use her cold-reading skills to relieve these other Westaways of their money, she travels to an estate in Cornwell, only to find the apparent case of mistaken identity might not be quite as mistaken as she’d assumed. Suddenly, Hal has to use her people-reading abilities in pursuit of the truth—and to make sure she gets out alive.

    The Gray Ghost, by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell
    A century in the past, a man named Marcus Peyton is falsely accused of stealing a one-of-a-kind car from a street in Manchester: a Rolls Royce Gray Ghost. Although American detective Isaac Bell is able to retrieve the car, he can’t spare Peyton the consequences of being fingered as the culprit. In the modern day, Peyton’s grandson contacts Sam and Remi Fargo in hopes of proving his ancestor’s innocence. This mission is complicated by the fact that the Gray Ghost has been stolen again—as has what was contained within it, something several powerful, desperate people want to get their hands on. Remi and Sam find out the hard way that those who get too close to the car are risking their lives.

    The Favorite Sister, by Jessica Knoll
    The competition on Goal Diggers is intense and personal. A reality show populated by “unmothers and unwives” who have achieved great success in their chosen profession, the cast includes sisters Brett and Kelly—Bret has a spin class empire predicated on the idea that you don’t have to be a size zero to be healthy, and Kelly is everything Brett thinks she isn’t: beautiful, skinny, and their parents’ favorite. The story opens with Brett’s murder, but figuring out who’s responsible isn’t as easy as sibling rivalry, as the other castmembers—including author Stephanie, vegan juice bar impresario Jen, and dating website guru Lauren—have their own secrets to hide…while in front of an audience of millions.

    The Crooked Staircase, by Dean Koontz
    The third Jane Hawk novel sees the former FBI agent-turned international fugitive working as hard as ever to bring down the mind-control conspiracy that killed her husband. She managed to do some damage over the course of the previous book—going underground, hiding her young son away for his own safety, and killing a few bad guys. But considering those she’s up against have infiltrated the government and law enforcement and have brainwashing nanotech at their command, the only way out is to cut off the conspiracy’s head—Department of Justice official Booth Hendrickson. Staying out of reach of the high-tech surveillance arrayed against her, Jane tracks down Hendrickson’s half-brother, a misogynistic sociopath, and prepares to do whatever it takes to grab justice for herself.

    The Perfect Mother, by Aimee Molloy
    The May Mothers—a group of Brooklyn moms whose kids share May birthdays—invite beautiful, stressed, and standoffish single mom Winnie to one of their wine-soaked gatherings. Nell, Colette, and Francie are so determined to show Winnie a good time, they even provide a babysitter, and insist she delete the baby monitor app from her phone so she can’t obsess over little Midas. After a sodden evening, however, Nell gets a dreadful call: Midas has been kidnapped, right out of his crib. In the midst of the chaotic, sensational media coverage, the May Mothers band together to launch their own investigation, which grows increasingly reckless as the individual secrets, anxieties, and frailties each May Mother is hiding come to light.

    House Swap, by Rebecca Fleet
    After ending a torrid affair with a younger man, Caroline seeks to fix her broken relationship with her depressed husband. Hoping a romantic getaway will help them reconnect, she arranges a week-long house swap that takes the couple to a house just outside London. Once there, Caroline begins to sense something’s wrong—everything about the house reminds her of her former lover Carl, from flowers that decorate it to the aftershave left in thebathroom. Caroline becomes convinced her ex is tormenting her, and that nosy neighbor Amber is in on it—but assuming too much could prove deadly.

    Reaper: Ghost Target, by Nicholas Irving with A.J. Tata
    Co-authors Nicholas Irving and A.J. Tata, a retired general, bring serious verisimilitude to this fast-paced thriller. In 2010, a Chechen terrorist named Khasan Basayev buries a suitcase-sized nuclear bomb and manages to escape capture. Years later, the army’s most feared sniper, Vick Harwood, is in Afghanistan with his spotter, Corporal Sammie Samuelson, about to take out Basayev when their position comes under fire. Harwood escapes, but loses both Sammie and his prized rifle. Vick moves on to a career training snipers at different military bases, but when someone starts using that lost rifle to murder American generals—who are always near where Vick is teaching—Harwood is forced to act in order to clear the cloud of suspicion gathering over him—something made difficult by the fact that he’s started suffering blackouts and other symptoms of PTSD.

    Arctic Gambit, by Larry Bond
    A new Russian president plans to restore the former Soviet Union’s territories to his control, which means orchestrating a first-strike against the United States first and with overwhelming force. When a submarine from Jerry Mitchell’s squadron goes missing in the arctic, he investigates—and discovers the Russians are building a secret base in preparation for their attack. Worse, they’ve developed a new first-strike weapon, code-named Drakon, that will enable them to pull off the attack without warning. Jerry is ordered to take the submarine Jimmy Carter to destroy the base, sharing command with Commander Louis Weiss, and accompanied by demolition expert Dr. Daniel Cavanaugh. Their approach takes them into a deadly minefield a game of cat-and-mouse with enemies above and below, with time running out for them to prevent World War III.

    How It Happened, by Michael Koryta
    Rob Barrett, an eager, inexperienced FBI agent with a reputation for masterful interrogation, is sent to Port Hope, Maine—the town he spent his summers in as a child—to assist with getting a statement from drug addict Kimberly Crepeaux, who turned herself in for being an accomplice in a double murder, but has since refused to speak a word. To everyone’s surprise, Crepeaux opens up to Barrett immediately, claiming that local legend Mathias Burke ran down the two victims with his car, then forced Kimberly and fellow addict Cass to dump the bodies in a pond. Barrett is shocked—he knew Burke when they both were kids—and tries to act on the evidence, but is disgraced when all of it turns out to be fiction.  Humiliated, Barrett is reassigned to the Midwest, but when Crepeaux gets out of jail and starts contacting him, he’s lured back to Maine, where his efforts to prove Crepeaux’s story make him  the enemy of the entire town.

    Star of the North, by D.B. John
    Author D.B. John visited North Korea in 2012, and uses the impressions gathered there to craft the tense, detailed story of academic Jenna, born Jee-min in South Korea and now living in the U.S. When Jenna was a child, her twin sister Soo-min was abducted by North Korean commandos and never seen again (the kidnapping part of an orchestrated campaign that mirrors real history). When Jenna meets a high-ranking North Korean official during his diplomatic trip to New York City, she begs him for help finding her sister. Later, Jenna is recruited by the CIA to go undercover to North Korea as a U.N. translator, where she embarks on a dangerous investigation that reveals sides of the reclusive nation many foreigners never see—and learns secrets the regime works very hard to control.

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  • Jeff Somers 4:00 pm on 2018/04/02 Permalink
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    The Best New Thrillers of April 2018 

    The Fallen, by David Baldacci
    Baldacci’s fourth Amos Decker novel heads to the small rust-belt town of Baronville, where Decker and FBI agent Alex Jamison are visiting with Alex’s family. Baronville’s a town in decline afflicted by an opioid crisis, and dealing with a series of brutal murders marked by mysterious clues that have the local cops stymied. It’s not long before Decker, who has a perfect memory since a head injury he suffered while a pro football player, stumbles onto the next grisly homicide scene—and with his special mental abilities, begins to see a pattern that goes far beyond Baronville. When the pattern touches on people Decker cares about, the mystery becomes a personal one—just as Decker discovers reasons to doubt his perfect memory.

    The 17th Suspect, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
    Patterson and Paetro return to the Women’s Murder Club for the 17th go-round in a book that focuses on Sergeant Lindsay Boxer and ADA Yuki Castellano. Boxer is approached by a homeless woman who tells her the city’s homeless population is being hunted by a killer and the police are slow-walking the investigation. When Lindsay’s initial inquiries seem to confirm this, she’s outraged and goes on the warpath—with unexpected consequences that are serious enough for her friends in the Club to urge her to step back. Meanwhile, Yuki catches a rape case involving a man accusing his female superior of assault, and she thinks she can make the charges stick. But as she moves forward, the case seems to dissolve under her, and her opponent in the courtroom finds ways of getting under her skin. As Yuki struggles, Lindsay finds herself targeted by the killer she was hunting, as both women deal with personal problems that complicate their professional lives to the breaking point.

    Twisted Prey, by John Sandford
    The 28th Lucas Davenport novel opens with the car carrying former U.S. Senator Porter Smalls being driven off the road, killing the driver. Smalls is convinced this was an attempted assassination orchestrated by now-Senator Taryn Grant, who narrowly defeated him in a recent election—and also planted faked child pornography on his computer during the campaign. Smalls asks Davenport to help him, and Davenport, who knows Grant to be a sociopath and  guilty of three murders he can’t prove, is more than happy to do so. In Grant, though, Davenport has found an able adversary—a connected, calculating villain who doesn’t leave a trail and has plenty of friends in high places.

    I’ve Got My Eyes on You, by Mary Higgins Clark
    Eighteen-year-old Kerry Dowling does what kids do when their parents leave them on their own: she throws a party. After it’s over, she’s found dead at the bottom of her pool, fully dressed. Her grief-stricken family immediately blames Kerry’s boyfriend, who she’d been seen arguing with at the party. Suspects are numerous, however, including the neighbor boy who was loudly upset that Kerry hadn’t invited him. Kerry’s older sister Aline gets involved with the investigation, determined to help the police and the prosecutor get to the bottom of her sister’s murder—but she doesn’t realize she’s also putting herself in harm’s way.

    Shoot First, by Stuart Woods
    Woods’ 45th Stone Barrington novel reminds us that it’s very good to be Stone Barrington. In Key West, Barrington meets Meg Harmon, whose Silicon Valley company is developing a self-driving car—a project her former business partner Gino Bellini believes she stole from him. Gino hires a pair of professional—and determined—assassins to take Meg out in revenge, and Stone gets involved in more ways than one. As he and Meg conduct a passionate affair, he uses all of his wealth, resources, and smarts to protect her from an assassin’s bullet, calling in his friends to help him outsmart and out-maneuver the bitter villain without once losing his sense of humor or his appreciation of the finer things.

    The Cutting Edge, by Jeffery Deaver
    Lincoln Rhyme is back to investigate the murder of a happily engaged couple who are gunned down in a Manhattan jewelry store while picking up their custom rings. The owner of the store is also tortured and killed, and an employee arriving in the midst of the carnage is shot, but escapes. As Lincoln and his team assess the crime, search for the hiding employee, and pull clues from the scene, more engaged couples are murdered. The killer, known as the Promisor, sends notes to the media vowing to keep killing—while hunting for the witness he let get away.

    Shattered Mirror, by Iris Johansen
    A charred, burned skull is found in a car parked outside Eve Duncan’s house in the 22nd book in Johansen’s series. As she works to reconstruct the victim’s face, Eva’s ward Cara is attacked in her New York City apartment and comes home under the watchful eye of Eve’s husband, Joe. Eve is suddenly struck by a strong resemblance between Cara’s roommate Darcy and the face she’s reconstructing. Darcy admits that she has a secret twin sister named Sylvia, mentally and physically disabled and never spoken of to protect Darcy’s burgeoning acting career. The investigation leads them to former IRA soldier Rory Norwalk, a man good with a bomb and seething with hatred for Eve’s whole family. Eve must form an alliance against her better instincts in order to protect those she loves.

    Warning Light, by David Ricciardi
    Zac Miller looks like just another passenger on a commercial flight that suffers engine failure over Iran and is forced to land at a small airport near the city of Sirjan—but he’s actually a strategic weapons analyst for the CIA. Normally a desk-bound agent, Zac volunteered to take over for a field agent when his cover was blown, assuming it would be easy to snap a few photos of the airport and surroundings—where a secret nuclear facility has been established—under cover of being a confused accidental tourist. He miscalculates, however, and is arrested and tortured. Escaping, Zac embarks on a thrilling escape on foot, and begins to think he might have what it takes to be a field agent after all.

    Our Little Secret, by Roz Nay
    Angela Petitjean was 15 when her family moved to Cove, Vermont. Miserable, she found solace in a friendship with the handsome, charming Hamish Parker—a relationship that evolved into passionate love. Then Angela’s parents forced her to accept a chance to study abroad for a year; when Hamish visits he meets Saskia. After Hamish and Angela fight, Hamish goes home with Saskia—and later marries her, turning Angela’s world upside down. Angela becomes the daughter who never lived up to her potential, living with her parents until they pass away—and only then accepting an ill-omened invitation to live with Hamish and Saskia. And that’s just the backstory—the book opens with Saskia missing, the police convinced she’s dead, and Angela in an interrogation room, confessing everything to the police—but is it all part of a larger scheme?

    All the Beautiful Lies, by Peter Swanson
    Just as he’s about to graduate college, Harry Ackerson learns his father has committed suicide. Heading home to Maine, Harry finds his stepmother Alice alluring and seductive—and is suddenly convinced his dad was murdered, with no shortage of theories on the killer’s identity. Another beautiful woman from his father’s life, Grace, arrives from New York asking questions about Alice’s role in the death, and Harry finds himself caught between two women each hiding more than they reveal—and each clearly interested in him in ways a stepmother or a friend of the family shouldn’t be. Harry knows neither can be trusted, but he finds wrapped ever-tighter in their webs as he tries to discover the truth about his father’s death.

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  • Jeff Somers 4:00 pm on 2018/03/01 Permalink
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    The Best New Thrillers of March 2018 

    March is a naturally thrilling month, what with all the “Ides of March” killing Caesar business, so we’ve assembled a reading list to match: this month we’ve got a red-hot new one from James Patterson and Marshall Karp, another Kurt Austin adventure from Clive Cussler, and a darkly entertaining debut from BBC news veteran Alice Feeney.

    Red Alert, by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
    The fifth NYPD Red book pulls out all the stops, depicting the 1% of Manhattan’s elite behaving badly—and being murdered at an alarming rate. When a film-maker’s sex games go wrong and end with a corpse and a charity function is bombed in the same night, Detectives Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald of the NYPD Red division respond, putting aside the romantic and sexual tension between them to protect the rich and famous. But as their investigation deepens even they’re shocked at the level of depravity and corruption they discover—and when their search for the truth puts powerful people in danger, they’ll have no one but each other to rely on as they seek to do their duty, no matter the personal cost, even as more bodies turn up.

    The Escape Artist, by Brad Meltzer
    Meltzer offers up a riveting launch of a new series starring Jim “Zig” Zigarowski, a mortician working top-secret cases for the government at Dover Air Force base. When a military plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness without explanation, he gets the body to examine, and is shocked to hear that it’s Nola Brown, a woman who saved his daughter’s life when they were children. When Zig examines the body, however, certain identifying marks are missing—and there’s a note in the woman’s stomach addressing a warning to Nola, convincing him that this isn’t Nola Brown at all. Zig sets off to find out where the real Nola is, leading him into a maze of government conspiracy that goes back a century—and possibly into more danger than he bargained for.

    The Rising Sea, by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown
    Cussler and Brown’s latest Kurt Austin adventure offers up a climate change-themed story with a twist. Sea levels are rising, threatening to flood the coastal areas of the world and cause unimaginable death and destruction, but it’s not due to global warming. A secretive Chinese group is deep-water mining a substance known as Golden Adamant, a “metamaterial” whose unique properties allow for the development of powerful technologies, and a side-effect of the mining process is the release of huge quantities of water previously trapped in mineral deposits. It’s up to Austin and the rest of the National Underwater and Marine Agency’s special assignments team to stop this cataclysmic process—and find themselves facing some completely unexpected threats in the process.

    The Bishop’s Pawn, by Steve Berry
    The 13th Cotton Malone novel finds the skilled government operative trapped between the present and the past. Nearly two decades ago, a younger, less-experienced Malone was given an assignment to dive into the waters off the Florida coast to retrieve a stolen coin worth millions—only to discover he’d been lied to. The case also contained documents related to an FBI program somehow involved with the assassination of Martin Luther King. In the present day, Malone receives a note saying simply “Fifty years have passed. Bring them,” and he heads to Atlanta for a secret meeting, leaning in to a dangerous feud between the FBI and the Justice Department involving explosive secrets from the past that could change the way everyone looks back at history—if Malone can survive.

    The Kremlin Conspiracy, by Joel C. Rosenberg
    Rosenberg’s newest is a nail-biter of a spy story, tracking the parallel careers of Russian attorney Oleg Kraskin, trusted son-in-law to the devious and dangerous Russian President Aleksandr Luganov, and Marcus Ryker, whose Marine heroism led him into the Secret Service and eventually the President’s personal detail. As Luganov plots to reassert Russian might by invading the defenseless countries of the Baltic—using nuclear weapons if need be—Ryker and Kraskin are right in the mix of things on opposite sides. As the crisis quickly swells to apocalyptic proportions it becomes clear that the one thing Luganov didn’t count on was Ryker, who comes back from a family tragedy with nothing to lose, and willing to put everything on the line to prevent disaster.

    Sometimes I Lie, by Alice Feeney

    Amber Reynolds wakes up in a coma, her body paralyzed and her memories muddled, in this taut debut. Slowly, pieces of her life come back to her—her anxiety over her radio presenter job, her suspicions that her husband Paul has fallen in love with her own sister Claire and may have been unfaithful. As she tries to piece everything together to figure out what happened to her, events from her childhood seep back into her consciousness, indicating that this is all part of something much larger—and much darker—than a straying husband and family drama. Amber’s own mind plays tricks on her as she lays helplessly, struggling to remember, and no one who enters the room, including a mysterious man Amber doesn’t recognize, is aware that she can hear everything they say.

    The Flight Attendant, by Chris Bohjalian
    Cassie Bowden is a globe-trotting flight attendant with a serious drinking problem that often finds her waking up in strange places with no memory of her adventures. When she meets a handsome financier on a flight to Dubai, she isn’t surprised to wake up in swanky hotel room with him the next day, head pounding—but she is surprised to find the bed soaked in blood and her one night stand dead via assasination. The assassin, Elena, spared Cassie in a moment of sympathy—but has regrets in the bright light of day. Cassie is used to lying to cover up her drunken exploits, and she goes into deception overdrive to save her own skin, navigating suspicious police and a professional killer who is intent on correcting what she sees as a mistake in momentary weakness.

    The Sandman, by Lars Kepler
    The fourth Detective Inspector Joona Linna novel focuses on a serial murderer named Jurek Walter, convicted of two murders but suspected in dozens more and serving a sentence in a high-security psychiatric ward. When one of his victims, Mikael Kobler-Frost, suddenly reappears after he escapes captivity, he confirms Joona’s long-held suspicion that Walter didn’t work alone. Not only does Mikael describe his captor—referring to him as The Sandman—he insists that his sister, Felicia, is still alive and being held as well. In order to discover the location of The Sandman, Joona’s colleague Inspector Saga Bauer is sent into the psyche ward to pose as a patient and get information out of Walter, setting off a tense battle of wits as time slowly runs out for the poor girl.

    The Girl in the Moon, by Terry Goodkind
    Angela Constantine, born to a drug addict and abused almost from birth—is a survivor of horrific violence in her childhood—and she has the rare ability to identify killers simply by gazing into their eyes. Spurred by her bitter experience, she uses this ability to find men who abuse women and execute them with serious, cold brutality, making them suffer for their crimes before disposing of their bodies in a pit under her house. When events make Angela the target of a violent terrorist group, she learns of their terrifying plans and realizes she might not just be the only person who knows what they intend to do, she might also be the only person in the world capable of stopping them. Using her special ability and a lifetime of rage against those who would victimize others, Angela is the world’s only hope.

    Tangerine, by Christine Mangan
    This dark throwback of a story focuses on the easily manipulated Alice and the dominant, vivacious Lucy, who met at college in the 1950s and became extremely close friends—until a man came between them and a tragic accident that might have been no such thing drives them apart. Years later, the women meet again in Tangier, where Alice has moved with her new husband, John. Alice is miserable in the foreign land, Lucy loves it. When Alice begins to suspect John may have cheated, her emotional fragility gives Lucy an opening to reclaim her place as Lucy’s BFF—and the rekindled friendship quickly moves the women into a familiar pattern, a pattern that ended in tragedy before, and might end in much worse this time around.

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

     
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