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  • Tara Sonin 7:00 pm on 2018/01/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , breath of magic, crystal cove, , daughter of the blood, , erika mailman, , , , james patterson, , , , , naomi novik, , , paula brackson, practical magic, , , , , the witches of east end, the witching hour, the witchs daughter, the witchs trinity, toil and trouble, uprooted, , wicked deeds on a winters night, witch and wizard   

    16 Witchy Books You Need This Winter 

    You may think Autumn is the only time for witchery, but we say winter and witches go together like snowflakes and hot cocoa! If January has been keeping you cold, here are some witchy reads that will excite…and maybe even scare you a bit, too.

    A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
    When factions of supernatural creatures set their sights on a document that could give them the upper hand in a war, a reluctant witch must seek the protection of an equally reluctant vampire, her supposed mortal enemy. Witch stories have a tendency to emphasize the importance of family…but in this case, it could be her own family that wants her dead. Can true love between two warring beings prevail?

    Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman
    The Owens sisters are cursed: the men that they love will always die. But with that curse comes unique abilities—magic—that on more than one occasion, they have used to try and prevent others that they love from falling prey to the same fate. Gillian and Sally grew up as outsiders, always trying to escape the rumors about their family. One of them married, and the other ran away, determined never to do so. But when tragedy brings them together again, the curse is always there to welcome them home…

    Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts
    In this witchy trilogy, Iona Sheehan travels to Ireland to connect with family she has always yearned to know. Reunited with her cousins in the home of her ancestors, Iona is hopeful she’s found everything she’s been looking for. And then she meets Boyle MacGrath: a cowboy with no ties, except the one winding its way around her heart.

    Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night, by Kresley Cole
    In the fourth installment in this paranormal romance series, Mariketa the witch has been stripped of her magic, leaving her with no choice but to seek the protection of her greatest enemy, Bowen MacRieve. Bowen is a tortured werewolf determined never to let his heart belong to another—especially Mari—but soon enough, they cannot deny the passion between them. Forbidden love, evil forces, and magic combine for a riveting tale.

    Breath of Magic, by Teresa Medeiros
    Arian Whitewood is a witch from the seventeenth century…which means she does not belong three hundred years in the future, but alas, that’s where a mysterious amulet takes her. She meets Tristan Lennox, a billionaire with no faith in magic…and so he never expected his reward of 1 million dollars to the person who could prove its existence to ever come true. Outlander fans will love this reverse-time-travel billionaire romance.

    Crystal Cove, by Lisa Kleypas
    Friday Harbor has been a good home to Justine; here she’s found the stability she never had with her untamable mother, Marigold, and she enjoys the safety in her mundane life of running a small hotel. But then, her world is rocked by the truth that her lack of love is the result of a dark curse cast on her at birth.

    The Witch’s Daughter, by Paula Brackston
    One of the most fascinating and engrossing witch tales I’ve ever read: you will not be able to look away from the tale of Elizabeth Hawksmith, a witch who has survived over three-hundred years in loneliness, only to discover a Witchfinder from her past has been stalking her through time, determined to collect on a debt. But this time, Elizabeth can’t run: she has a teenage girl under her care, and something more important than her own immortality to protect.

    The Witches of East End, by Melissa De La Cruz
    The Beauchamp witches try to live a normal life; the fact that they are forbidden to practice magic makes that slightly easier. But when murder and mystery find them in their solitude, they decide the time has come to defy the rules and do what must be done to defeat the evil in their midst.

    Daughter of the Blood, by Anne Bishop
    This high fantasy in which power is manifested through magical gems stars a mysterious Queen who will rise to a power stronger even than Hell itself. Three men seek to find and control the girl who is destined to ascend the throne in a ruthless quest of corruption, greed, and lust.

    Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
    The story of the Wicked Witch of the West begins at birth—born green, an outcast in society, she is nonetheless destined to wield a magic that will make her infamous. This villain origin story is action-packed, beautiful, and romantic.

    The Witch’s Trinity, by Erika Mailman
    This fascinating tale of witchcraft, fear, and history begins in 1507 when a German town is struck by a famine…which one friar believes is the result of witchcraft. Güde Müller has been tormented by visions that she cannot explain…and soon she realizes that her position in the town is compromised, perhaps even by her own family.

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
    This unique story is difficult to describe, but incredibly ethereal, dark, and haunting. A man comes home to Sussex for a funeral, and is drawn to the mysterious house at the end of the road where, as a child, he met a mysterious girl and something magical and dangerous happened to him as a child.

    The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe
    Connie’s summer is full to the brim with research for her PhD. But when her mother asks her to help handle the sale of her grandmother’s house, Connie finds herself pulled into a dark mystery involving a family bible, an old key, and a name: Deliverance Dane. Who was she? And why is Connie suddenly having visions of the Salem Witch Trials?

    Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
    A terrifying wizard known as The Dragon kidnaps girls in a small town every ten years—and soon, Agnieszka’s best friend will be chosen. That is, until a twist of fate results in her being chosen instead.

    Witch and Wizard, by James Patterson
    In a dystopian world of governmental control, Wisty and Whit Allgood are siblings accused of being a witch and wizard. Young people everywhere have been torn from their homes and forced to face judgment for this “crime” of magic.

    The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice
    This lush, dark, and gorgeously gory paranormal series introduces readers to the Mayfair witches, whose stories have been told for centuries by the Talamasca. This time, Rowan Mayfair is a neurosurgeon who never knew of her abilities until one day when she brings a man back from the dead. Cursed (or gifted, or both) with the ability to see the dark realm and the evil spirit who wants to come through to the mortal realm, Rowan must find a way to defeat him and protect the world—and people—she loves.

    What witchy books do you love?

    The post 16 Witchy Books You Need This Winter appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 5:00 pm on 2017/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , american drifter, , , , bonfire, boyd morrison, chad michael murray, , , , end game, every breath you take, , heather the totality, james patterson, 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.

     
  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 7:24 pm on 2016/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: bookshots, chase: a michael bennet story, cross kill, james patterson, , , women's murder club: the trial, zoo 2   

    James Patterson’s BookShots are Perfect for Busy Readers 

    The benefits and pleasures of reading are indisputable, and for us bookworms, fitting in some time to read, regardless of how hectic our schedules are, is of paramount importance. Still, during those days (okay, months…fine, years!) when it seems like work, family, and other related obligations take up most of your spare time, the idea of picking up a full-length novel can seem more daunting than fun.

    Fortunately, author James Patterson has come to the rescue. His new BookShots series is a selection of fast-paced stories featuring the same compelling and dynamic narratives readers have come to expect from his full-length novels—but at 150 pages a pop, BookShots can be finished in just a few hours. Most exciting of all, BookShots feature many of Patterson’s most beloved characters, from Detective Michael Bennet, to the gumshoes of the Women’s Murder Club, to Alex Cross himself. With everything from perilous thrillers to steamy romances (in the BookShots Flames series), there’s something for everyone.

    Cross Kill
    Alex Cross is certain that the vicious killer from Along Came a Spider, Gary Soneji, is good and dead. After all, Alex watched him die. But now that Alex has also watched Soneji gun down his partner, he’s not so sure of his facts. Is Soneji an evil spirit now? Or worse? Find out the startling truth in Cross Kill.

    Woman’s Murder Club: The Trial
    The good news is that an accused murderer named Kingfisher is about to go on trial for his life. The bad news? In the lead-up to the trial, everyone serving on the case, from lawyers to jurors to police, is subjected to terrible violence. Can Detective Lindsay Boxer and the Women’s Murder Club stem the tide?

    Chase: A Michael Bennet Story
    Detective Michael Bennet is on the scene of a suspected suicide that begins to look suspiciously like a murder once the victim is revealed to have someone else’s fingerprints, and ten thousand dollars in cash. With its riveting premise and beloved protagonist, Chase will hook Bennet fans (and everyone else!) from page one.

    Zoo 2
    Patterson’s hugely successful thriller Zoo brought us a world in which the future of humanity is in question, thanks to a growing number of eerily coordinated and vicious animal attacks. Now the scary thrills are back in Zoo 2—except this time, select humans are beginning to evolve into a new species to counter the onslaught. What could go wrong?

    Little Black Dress
    Shy, unassuming magazine editor Jane Avery isn’t much interested in a night on the town, until the Dress comes into her life. Suddenly she’s gallivanting across New York City in a hedonistic frenzy. That is, until she goes too far, and her fantasy becomes her nightmare.

    The McCullagh Inn in Maine
    Chelsea O’Kane flees to Maine for a much-needed fresh start, but when she runs into her old flame, Jeremy Holland, she realizes that escaping the past is going to be harder than she thought. As Jeremy begins helping her fix up her inn, Chelsea starts to wonder whether someone from her past might actually turn out to be her future.

    Learning to Ride
    Tanner Callen is a rodeo champ, but that doesn’t stop him from appreciating the finer things in life— especially when they come in the form of beautiful city slicker Madeline Harper. When the two hit it off at a honky-tonk, it seems like a match made to last twenty-four hours or less. But before long, Tanner starts to wonder whether he can ever let Madeline go.

     
  • Jeff Somers 7:28 pm on 2015/09/23 Permalink
    Tags: david ellis, james patterson, , some houses are born bad, the murder house   

    The Murder House is One of the Twistiest Thrillers of 2015 

    A lot of thrillers live and die by their twists, those shocking revelations that change our scorecard of suspects and rearrange all the pieces on the board. Usually there’s just one twist, though some novelists supply a second uber-twist, or a subversion that kicks the twist into high gear.

    And then there are books like The Murder House, a new thriller from James Patterson and David Ellis, which supplies one twisty mystery after another and then manages to tie them all together in a slick, satisfying way. It’s densely plotted, it’s populated by interesting and believable characters, and it’s easily one of the most surprising mysteries on the shelves this fall.

    Mysteries on Mysteries
    One of the story’s most striking aspects is its opening: Patterson and Ellis offer not one, not two, but three successive mysteries in the first 20 pages. An unidentified child in 1995 Bridgehampton brings a BB gun to school and causes a panic when he shoots several older children. In 2011, local contractor Noah Walker, already embroiled in an affair with a wealthy married woman, is arrested for the double murder of a former girlfriend and her current lover. Finally, we meet the protagonist, Detective Jenna Murphy, niece of the local police chief, who washed out of the NYPD under a cloud of corruption charges—and whose family moved away from the town during her childhood, after a mysterious incident she doesn’t remember, but which supplies plenty of material for her daily nightmares. You’ve barely cracked the book, and already, you’re dying to know what these mysteries mean, and how they are connected.

    The Murder House
    Like all Patterson books, The Murder House has a surefire hook: the titular house, 7 Ocean Drive, a beautiful 19th-century mansion once owned by the seeming cursed and certainly unsavory Dahlquist family. That family is no more, apparently, and the house has remained empty for years, the subject of local rumor and superstition—until the double murder Noah stands accused of is committed there. The rambling mansion looms over everything, a bad omen that brings a sense of unease to every scene in the book. As Detective Murphy discovers the secret history of the Dahlquist family and the house itself—leading her to recover memories she might have wished to remain lost—the house becomes the lynchpin that ties all the mysteries together.

    The Misdirections
    Take a dense, complicated story and add two experienced, talented writers, and what you get is a book with packed with reversals and twists that keep everything boiling—and keep the reader off-balance. Without spoiling the plot, we can tell you Noah Walker’s story in particular is juiced by two plot shifts you won’t see coming. Ellis and Patterson know precisely when to drop these sudden course changes, leaving the reader breathless and scrambling to catch up.

    Solid Characters
    Jenna Murphy is a fantastic point-of-view character, equal parts fierce, tortured, and intelligent. She’s not perfect—her misadventures in New York City and her often brusque, impolitic dealings with others (especially the new chief, who steps in after the murder of her uncle) make her life even more difficult, leaving her without many people she can trust. She also makes an emotional decision halfway through that makes her more or less an anti-hero—a decision she spends the rest of the story trying to make up for. Around her are a cast of fully fleshed-out supporting players, including the murderer, whose nameless point-of-view sections are terrifying.

    That Ending
    It all comes together in an ending that is executed perfectly. As Jenna regains her lost memories of one fateful day in Bridgehampton, a flurry of final revelations twist the solutions to the central mysteries first this way, then that, ending on a mind-blower of a secret that practically forces you to go back and re-evaluate the whole story.

    The Murder House is tightly plotted and expertly executed. Ellis and Patterson work well together, as evidenced not just by The Murder House but by their prior collaborations (including Invisible and Mistress). Their newest may be their best yet.

     
  • Jeff Somers 4:38 pm on 2015/07/27 Permalink
    Tags: , , james patterson, jonathan freedland, otto de kat, , the 3rd woman, thomas cobb,   

    August’s Top Picks in Thrillers 

    August may be the month we need thrillers the most: summer fun is winding down, in many parts of the world it’s too hot to do much more than read, and we’re stuck in the doldrums before the start of back-to-school season and the bracing air of autumn. Luckily, the thriller writers of the world have heard our subconscious pleas for excitement. Here are 10 must-read thrillers to stave off those end-of-summer blues.

    Alert, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
    If there’s a better pairing of writersin the thriller world than Patterson and Ledwidge, we’d like to hear about it. In Alert, a series of terrorist attacks on New York City that seem almost magical in their technological mastery have the city’s citizens near panic. Old friends Detective Michael Bennett and FBI Agent Emily Parker are on the case—but as the attacks scale up in terms of destruction, Bennett realizes there’s a method to the madness, and that he’s running out of time to avoid a horrific endgame. With typically tense Patterson pacing and a surfeit of surprising twists, this is the book that will make the familiar phrase “This is not a test” a terrifying one.

    Deadly Assets, by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV
    The newest book in the Badge of Honor series returns us to the gritty streets of Philadelphia in a story that feels ripped from the headlines. Set in Philadelphia—or “Killadelphia,” thanks to having one of the highest murder rates in the country—tension between the police and the citizens they’re sworn to protect reaches a boiling point after Homicide Sergeant Matt Payne, nicknamed “Wyatt Earp of the Main Line,” is targeted by the Citizens Oversight Committee…and the committee’s brash leader is shot dead on his front porch. Griffin and Butterworth spin a dense story involving drug gangs, violent protests, and the death of a famed reporter that feels current and unnervingly real.

    Last Words, by Michael Koryta
    Any time a writer of Koryta’s caliber launches a new character and series, it’s worth paying attention, and Last Words is a full-throated success from start to finish. Investigator Mark Novak is still reeling from the murder of his wife (and investigative partner) two years ago. In danger of losing his job working for a Florida law firm specializing in death row appeals, he’s called in to investigate a decades-old cold case involving a teenage girl who disappeared while exploring local caves in Indiana. Koryta paints Novak with a fine brush, letting the reader feel the anguish and anger that affects the character’s every move, resulting in a story that bruises even as it ratchets up the tension and mystery.

    Iron Wolf, by Dale Brown
    Brown demonstrates his formidable imagination in this fun, fast-paced near-future political thriller that imagines the first woman president dealing with an aggressive Russian state disguising aggression as revolution in a premise stolen right from today’s headlines. What isn’t from the headlines is the next step: Operation Iron Wolf, a secret partnership between the U.S. and Poland launching a counterattack using Cybernetic Infantry Devices (CID), essentially manned robots. With the balance of power in the region shifted forever, the U.S. must marshal all its political acumen and espionage muscle to stay one step ahead of the Russians. Fun and surprisingly grounded despite the high-concept premise, this is a solid thriller you’ll tear through.

    Protocol Zero, by James Abel
    Marine doctor Col. Joe Rush returns, drawn into the investigation of what appears, at first, to be a brutal murder-suicide of an entire family in an isolated cabin in the Alaskan wilderness. Rush, an expert in pathogens and disease, gleans clues from a phone call transcript and physical evidence at the scene to conclude a new and incredibly deadly disease is in the wild. Just as quickly, Rush realizes he’s not the only one who knows this, and that the soldiers cordoning off the area may not have everyone’s best interests at heart. Balancing plausible and well-researched science with a human element, Abel once again offers up a taut, gripping thriller that channels some of our worst fears.

    Clear by Fire, by Joshua Hood
    With authentic boots-on-the-ground details, Hood has created a searing story of shadow warfare and betrayal. Mason Kane is an elite soldier and a member of the officially-doesn’t-exist Anvil unit, a group of warriors from each branch of the military who conduct Black Ops against America’s enemies anywhere in the world. When Kane refuses a horrific order, he realizes Anvil’s purpose may not be as heroic as he once thought, and his unit commander tries to have him killed. When that fails, the blame for an atrocity is laid at Kane’s feet, making him an official fugitive. Suddenly this deadly soldier is the most wanted man in the world, and his only ally is the beautiful—and deadly—Special Operations operative Renee Hart. Together they have to prove Kane’s innocence while tracking a conspiracy that goes literally all the way to the top.

    The 3rd Woman, by Jonathan Freedland
    The best thrillers take the real world and play a game of realistic “what if?” Freedland imagines a world just barely into the future, where America’s decline has put it under China’s thumb. Beijing and Washington have made a deal wherein China forgives the U.S.’s crippling debt in exchange for establishing a military presence in America’s port cities, ostensibly to protect Chinese customs officials after a violent attack. When Madison Webb, a tenacious and talented reporter, begins investigating the death of her sister, she quickly realizes it isn’t the isolated accident the police insist it is, and that it may dovetail with her corruption investigations. Personal, current, and tautly written, this is a great candidate for book of the summer.

    The Lightning Stones, by Jack Du Brul
    Not every writer can take geology, deep mining, climate change, cosmic rays, and, yes, Amelia Earhart and mix them together into a thrilling, page-turner of a novel—but Du Brul, who frequently collaborates with Clive Cussler, is the right man for the job. Philip Mercer is back for an eighth go-round, visiting the Leister Deep copper mine where his mentor and father figure, Abraham Jacobs, is conducting an experiment. He arrives to find Jacobs and his team dead, efficiently executed. The investigation and battle to discover who and why goes tearing off in a fast-paced and scientifically fascinating direction that never fails to surprise, and Mercer remains one of the more interesting thriller heroes to grace the page.

    News from Berlin, by Otto de Kat
    What would you do if, during the greatest and bloodiest war ever fought, you were suddenly given information that could change the course of history? That’s the central question in this smart World War II thriller by de Kat. Oscar Verschuur is a Dutch diplomat posted to neutral Switzerland. During a rare meeting with his daughter, who is living in Germany with her husband (who works for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs), he receives from her a date and a code name: June 22, Barbarossa. Verschuur knows Stalin thinks he is protected from Hitler by treaty, but the reader knows the German invasion of Russia on that date changes the course of the war—and history itself. de Kat paints a vibrant picture of a past world, and Verschuur’s struggles concerning what to do with this information lead to a surprising plot you won’t be able to predict, even if you know your history very well.

    Darkness the Color of Snow, by Thomas Cobb
    Cobb returns with another book that tells a simple human story thrillingly. A small-town cop pulls over an old high school friend for drunk driving. An argument ensues, then a struggle, and the young driver is hit by a car and killed. While the police chief believes his officer followed procedure, many in the depressed, seen-better-days town see an opportunity to manipulate the tragedy to their own benefit, and the story begins mounting in tension with every line, resulting in a novel that keeps you white-knuckled on the page despite its distinct lack of secret agents, deadly plagues, or assassination plots. Cobb once again creates masterfully written characters, teasing out their joy, nobility, selfishness, and rage in an affecting and surprising way as the town collectively seeks to assign blame—and punishment—for the tragic events out on the frozen road that night.

    In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware
    It’s not often a debut thriller is as confidently and expertly handled as In a Dark, Dark Wood. Without cheap tricks or loud bangs, Ware crafts a psychological thriller that plays with memory, old friendships, and long-simmering mental and emotional damage to produce something you won’t be able to put down. Nora Shaw is invited to the bachelorette party for a woman who used to be her best and closest friend, but whom she hasn’t spoken to in a decade. A night and a day after gathering at a remote cabin for the “hen do,” Nora awakens in the hospital, her memory addled. Eeerie flashbacks slowly bring the ominous situation to a boil as the reader scrambles to put the clues together to discover what happened. Ware grabs the reader from the first line and doesn’t let go until she surprises them with the last one.

     
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