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  • Tara Sonin 5:00 pm on 2018/02/09 Permalink
    Tags: 11/22/63, abraham lincoln vampire hunter, all american girl, american queen, american wife, , , , , , , dolley, eighteen acres, ellen feldman, eugene burdock, executive orders, failsafe, frost/nixon, , harvey wheeler, , it can’t happen here, jailbird, , jenn marie thorne, joe klein, , , leader of the free world, , lucy, mary higgins clark, , mount vernon love story, mrs. President, nicole wallace, peter morgan, , primary colors, , seth grahams-smith, , sinclair lewis, stephen carter, , , the impeachment of abraham lincoln, , the plot against america, , the wrong side of right, , wide awake   

    25 Fictional Presidents 

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    President’s Day is around the corner, so we compiled a list of 25 fictional presidents for you to read about! If watching the news bums you out, but political intrigue does not, these books are for you.

    Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
    This haunting novel centers around the true story of Lincoln’s son, who died during his Presidency. While President Lincoln visits the gravesite of his son, the ghosts who have clung to life narrate a deeply moving, complex thread of tales.

    11/22/63, by Stephen King
    This political sci-fi is about a man who travels back in time with one goal—to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. While the President does not “officially” appear in the story, the entire plot centers around Jake Epping managing to stop Lee Harvey Oswald…but will his actions have the opposite impact on American history than he hopes?

    American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld
    Loosely based on Laura Bush, this novel stars Alice, a small-town girl who grows up to marry a future President. Follow Alice in her courtship by a dazzling Republican man she finds herself unable to stay away from…but once they enter the White House, she realizes she disagrees with in ways they may be unable to reconcile.

    Jailbird, by Kurt Vonnegut
    Watergate gets even more insidious in this story, told from the perspective of a fictional co-conspirator in the Nixon Administration cover-up. Wry and humorous, but also dark and revealing of the jagged edges of human nature, Vonnegut’s anti-hero shares the story from his perspective years later, after serving his time for the crime.

    Dolley, by Rita Mae Brown
    Dolley Madison was the fourth first lady in American history, and this novel explores her fictional diary. Being the wife of one of America’s founders was both glamorous, full of fashion and parties…and horrendous, as her husband ushers the country into war.

    Primary Colors, by Joe Klein
    Originally published anonymously, this novel takes readers behind the political curtain of presidential campaigns. Based on Bill Clinton’s rise to the presidency, told from the perspective of a lower-level aide, every moment is rife with drama on the verge of scandal.

    Eighteen Acres, by Nicolle Wallace
    Nicole Wallace is a former Communications Director of the White House (and current political pundit) and wrote a novel imagining the first woman president as she weathers a re-election campaign, an infidelity scandal, and an international blunder.

    American Queen, by Sierra Simone
    Now for a very different kind of novel, this erotic romance imagines a completely fictional scenario in which a girl finds herself in love with two men: they just happen to be the President of the United States…and the Vice President of the United States. Confused? Once you meet Greer, Embry and Maxen in this reimagining of Camelot, you’ll be in love.

    The President is Missing, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
    This book isn’t even available yet, but it’s totally pre-order worthy…because it’s the first novel written by a former President! Bill Clinton teamed up with James Patterson to write a political thriller about what happens when a President vanishes without a trace.

    Failsafe, by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
    Published in 1962, when tensions between Russia and the US were at an all-time high, this speculative novel imagines a scenario in which American bombers take control of the nuclear weapons and decide to put an end to the conflict once and for all…and the President must act before Russia engages them in all-out war.

    The Dead Zone, by Stephen King
    Stephen King returns to the list with this bestselling speculative novel about a man who wakes up from a coma with the mysterious ability to see people’s futures. But this becomes a problem when he has a vision of a man running for President…and it’s disastrous. Does he intervene to prevent it from coming true?

    Executive Orders, by Tom Clancy
    The worst has occurred: the President, the cabinet, and most of congress is dead. That leaves the VP, Jack Ryan, in charge. President Ryan must govern without a government all the while trying to figure out who is responsible. Riveting and with twists that will leave you breathless, fans of Designated Survivor will love this novel.

    The Inner Circle, by Brad Meltzer
    An adventure of presidential proportions begins when an archivist and his one-time crush find a mysterious dictionary that belonged to the first president, George Washington. They must race against the clock to decipher the meaning of the dictionary, and, once a man ends up dead, hope they don’t end up suffering the same fate.

    The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, by Stephen L. Carter
    This fascinating novel imagines a world where Lincoln did not die, and instead lived to face the consequences of the Civil War…namely, an impeachment trial for a breach of executive powers. When one of Lincoln’s lawyers is murdered, a young black woman working for his defense team must unravel the mystery.

    Mount Vernon Love Story, by Mary Higgins Clark
    Mystery master Mary Higgins Clark wrote an historical novel about George Washington! Did you know that many people believe Washington, despite being married to Martha, was in love with someone else? Higgins Clark is not one of them; she writes the love story between America’s FIRST first-couple as one of mutual respect, admiration, and affection.

    Lucy, by Ellen Feldman
    In contrast, this novel is about a president who was in love with someone who wasn’t his wife. Before he was President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt loved Lucy Mercer…Eleanor’s social secretary. Through polio, a world war, and two presidential terms, despite his promises to Eleanor, Franklin and Lucy remain connected. Heartbreaking, romantic, and beautiful.

    Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith
    Presidents go paranormal in this fun novel that reveals the true story behind our 16th President. Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter, hell-bent on vengeance against the creatures responsible for his mother’s death.

    Mr. President, by Katy Evans
    Matt and Charlotte have known one another since they were kids. He was the son of a President, and vowed never to follow in his father’s footsteps…except now he has, bringing Charlotte along for the ride. The problem? Charlotte loves him, but knows she can never love a President. This erotic romance novel sizzles with political steam.

    The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth
    An Alternative history where FDR loses the 1940 election to isolationist Charles Lindbergh…who strikes a deal with Hitler to stay out of his way. But tensions rise, along with anti-Semintism, and the consequences are seen through the eyes of one boy.

    It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis
    This book was written during the Great Depression, but the subject matter is still relevant today. Featuring another character who unseats Franklin Delano Roosevelt from the Presidency, this novel details the dangers of populist rhetoric with a President who halts progress on all fronts and holds his enemies captive.

    Frost/Nixon, by Peter Morgan
    This play dramatizes the epic showdown between journalist David Frost and President Nixon, in which the former tries to get the latter to confess to his crimes. (You can watch the movie, too!)

    Crooked, by Austin Grossman
    Grossman’s reinvention of Tricky Dick as the inheritor of a presidency imbued with magical powers—a man consistently distrusted and marginalized by the people who could have prepared him for the battles to come—is thoroughly enjoyable. Most importantly, it offers up an idea of a president who has more than a veto up his or her sleeves. Certainly a little black magic would be very welcome in today’s unsettled world.

    All American Girl, by Meg Cabot
    One of my favorite YA novels featuring regular-girl Sam Madison, who saves the president from an assassination attempt. Sam is in love with her older sister’s boyfriend, but as she spends more time with the President’s son—the only person who seems to understand the downsides to her newfound fame—she starts to question both her choice, and whether she could love the kid who lives in the White House.

    The Wrong Side of Right, by Jenn Marie Thorne
    Kate has never known her father, but when her mother dies, he reveals himself: a powerful politician vying for the White House. Suddenly, Kate is embroiled in the world of politics, a new family, and a dangerous first-love…all the while grieving for her mom, and the life she once loved.

    Wide Awake, by David Levithan
    This speculative novel stars the first gay, Jewish President…whose election is promptly declared invalid by a governor of a crucial state. Jimmy and Duncan, a teen couple, decide to lend their support by joining the protests to support him.

    What novels featuring fictionalized presidents do you love?

    The post 25 Fictional Presidents appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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

    The Best New Thrillers of November 2017 

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    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 9:23 pm on 2017/03/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , , david baladacci, , mary higgins clark, , , , ,   

    April’s Best New Thrillers 

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    These 10 April thrillers offer up twisty plots, backstabbing old friends, and enough gasp-out-loud moments to keep your heart rate up, even when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day.

    The Fixer, by David Baldacci
    Amos Decker returns for a third go-round, his latest case beginning when he witnesses a murder/suicide right outside FBI headquarters. The murder is a true mystery in every way: the killer had no discernible connection to the victim, and apparently no motive. He also left no indication as to why he committed the crime. Even more frustrating, Decker is quickly ordered off the case by the Defense Intelligence Agency, which informs him the killing is connected to a case so top secret, he can’t have anything to do with it. When it becomes clear solving the bizarre case is vital to national security, Decker and DIA agent Harper Brown form an uneasy partnership combining Decker’s flawless memory with her high-level access. They soon realize they are in a race against time to prevent a national disaster.

    Golden Prey, by John Sandford
    Sandford complicates things nicely in the 27th Lucas Davenport novel. Now a U.S. Marshal with the authority to investigate any case he sees fit, Davenport chooses to look into a drug robbery that went sideways. A man named Garvin Poole hit a counting house in Mississippi and wound up shooting four drug dealers—and a six-year-old girl, granddaughter to one of the criminals. Davenport discovers he’s working against a parallel “investigation” funded by the drug dealers, and led by extreme bad man Luis Soto and his torture specialist Charlene Kort, who leave a bloody trail behind them as they seek to enact their own version of justice. As Davenport and Soto close in on Poole, the action ramps up, and complex questions of justice are explored in bloody detail.

    All by Myself, Alone, by Mary Higgins Clark
    Lottery-winning lucky couple Alvirah and Willy Meehan decide to celebrate their 45th anniversary on the maiden voyage of the cruise ship Queen Charlotte. Limited to just 100 guests, the cruise boasts the very best of everything—and the tony passenger list includes the elderly Lady Emily Haywood, who brings her priceless emerald amulet along for the journey. Having set up a closed-ship scenario with plenty of colorful characters, all we need is a murder to set the tension soaring. Once the body drops, Alvirah turns amateur sleuth, risking her and Willy’s safety in a claustrophobic milieu that’s equal parts luxurious and dangerous.

    The Lost Order, by Steve Berry
    Cotton Malone’s adventure is another expert melding of nail-biting political intrigue and fascinating historical mystery. There’s a conspiracy at the highest levels of government to remake the United States government’s power structure, which requires immense resources—including a legendary cache of stolen treasure of the Knights of the Golden Circle, once one of the most powerful, dangerous secret societies in America. The Knights’ treasure was divided and hidden 150 years ago, and finding the loot requires cracking an unbreakable code. The Smithsonian tasks Malone with solving the mystery and recovering the gold, which brings him into direct conflict with powerful men seeking to fund a coup.

    Fast and Loose, by Stuart Woods
    In Woods’ 41st Stone Barrington novel, everyone’s favorite millionaire lawyer makes friends and enemies in equal measure. First, he befriends the Carlssons, a family of doctors who run famous clinics around the country, after they accidentally hit his yacht with their larger boat. As is Barrington’s wont, he soon becomes involved in a legal tangle over a takeover bid for the clinics, and after helping the Carlssons stave off the attack, he makes a new enemy in Erik Macher. Infuriated at Barrington, Macher plots murder, and the two engage in a tense dance of attack and counterattack that builds to an exciting faceoff. Barrington is as suave and capable as ever, with plenty of surprises along the way.

    The Burial Hour, by Jeffery Deaver
    In his 13th novel, Lincoln Rhyme squares off against a disturbing criminal known as The Composer, who kidnaps and hangs people in order to record their death sounds for his own twisted purposes, leaving small nooses behind as a calling card. Rhyme and Detective Amelia Sachs follow the clues to Naples, where they must work with the local authorities, including a serious prosecutor who isn’t particularly impressed with Rhyme’s resume. Rhyme bring his brilliant forensic mind to bear, following the clues and slowly closing in on the Composer, racing to save the lives of his next victims before they become part of the twisted killer’s dark masterwork.

    War Cry, by Wilbur Smith
    Combining global-scale adventure with the privileges of old-world aristocracy, the newest installment in the sprawling history of the Courtney family begins in Kenya in the wake of World War I, as big game hunter Leon and his beautiful daughter, Saffron, exult in their power as British colonizers. Saffron is a force of nature, a girl of terrible passions who bristles against the chauvinism all around her, and is as capable of manning a machine gun as falling wildly in love. The Courtneys witness the events that will soon pull the world inexorably toward World War II, encountering historical figures ranging from Hitler to the man who founded the Muslim Brotherhood. In between, Saffron travels abroad for school, prompting readers to keep turning pages just to find out what she’s going to say next. She’s a character who more than lives up to the reputation of one of literature’s most interesting families.

    No Easy Target, by Iris Johansen
    Johansen elevates Margaret Douglas from background player in her Eve Duncan books to protagonist in her newest book, which opens with Douglas using her rare ability to communicate psychically with animals in her volunteer work at the San Diego Zoo. One evening, while working with a willful tiger, Douglas is kidnapped by a former CIA agent named John Lassiter, who wants to use her as bait to rescue his mentor, who has been captured by sadistic über-criminal Stan Nicos. Douglas knows Nicos well—he once held her captive, and murdered her friend—and also knows he would use her psychic abilities for his own ends. Lassiter insists he will protect her, but Margaret isn’t one to let herself be used as a pawn in someone else’s game. She’ll make her own plans, and decide on her own terms if she will work with Lassiter in order to save a man’s life.

    A Single Spy, by William Christie
    The true pleasures of an espionage story lie in the methodical work of infiltration and information gathering. Christie understands this, and offers up the story of Alexsi Smirnov, who grew up in the 1930s in Azerbaijan under the rule of the Soviets. A talented thief, Alexsi is adopted by the German Shultz family, which has high-level connections they believe will allow them to move to Russia to live in a socialist paradise. Their reward turns out to be death in a purge, making Alexsi an orphan again in 1936—but his linguistic talents and sharp mind spare him, and he’s recruited to act as a Soviet spy, pretending to be a surviving Shultz son so he can embed himself in Nazi intelligence circles. This puts him in Tehran in 1943, where Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill will gather. Christie tightens the plot until the tension sings, as Alexsi must rely on the only advantage he has ever had—his brains.

    Prussian Blue, by Phillip Kerr
    The 12th Bernie Gunther novel weaves together two dangerous moments in Bernie’s routinely dangerous life. In 1939, he’s assigned to investigate a murder at Berghof, Hitler’s private retreat at Berchtesgaden, a case that must be solved before the Führer arrives to celebrate his 50th birthday. In 1956, Bernie has a change of heart regarding an assassination he’s been assigned to carry out by Stasi Chief Erich Mielke; he kills a Stasi agent as he makes his escape, heading for West Germany. One man unites both timelines: Friedrich Korsch, who Bernie once worked with, and who is now a Stasi agent. Kerr skillfully weaves all three stories together, building toward a surprising, satisfyingly explosive ending that demonstrates how little can change in 17 years, despite a world war.

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

  • Jeff Somers 4:38 pm on 2015/05/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , mary higgins clark, renee knight, s.k. tremayne, stephen hunter, , ,   

    May’s Top Picks in Thrillers 

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    Spring is finally in the air, and that means your daily commute, wherever it takes you, is going to become even more intolerable as the good weather tempts you into making bad decisions. Instead of leaping off the bus or train to play hooky, however, why not distract yourself with a great book, the sort of thriller that absorbs you completely and makes your trip fly by? Lucky for all of us, May is bringing a fresh crop of thrillers for every possible taste, to help you maintain your sanity before that first cup of coffee, on your lunch break, or any time you need a little escape. Here are eleven new books out this month that will keep your heart pounding (in a good way).

    Radiant Angel, by Nelson DeMille
    John Corey fans rejoice—the seventh novel in DeMille’s bestselling series is here, and if Corey is no longer part of the Anti-Terrorist Task Force after the events of last year’s The Panther, it doesn’t slow him (or the story) down. Corey is working the supposedly “quiet end” at the Diplomatic Surveillance Group, keeping an eye on the Russian diplomats at the United Nations, and DeMille smartly posits a simple enough premise: what if the Cold War, if it ever really ended in the first place, is back? Mixing intrigue, diplomacy, and the possibility of a nuclear threat—the titular “Radiant Angel”—DeMille has crafted a note-perfect re-imagining of the classic Cold War espionage thriller in a chillingly believable plot that never tips its hand.

    14th Deadly Sin, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
    The Women’s Murder Club is back, and once again Patterson and Paetro know exactly how to balance their characters against a classic Patterson plot that twists and veers unexpectedly without ever sacrificing fun—or credibility. The story begins with everything settled for our favorite police detective, Lindsay Boxer: new daughter, great marriage, professional success. Then a gruesome series of crimes, marked by the release of a horrifying video that sets the whole city on edge, sets the Club into motion in a desperate and dangerous race to solve the mystery before fear and rage consume everything. Patterson and Paetro have found clever ways to inject their story with more than enough energy to make this an instant Women’s Murder Club classic.

    Gathering Prey, by John Sandford
    One of the great pleasures of following a character like Lucas Davenport over the course of 25 thrilling novels is not only seeing that character change and evolve over time, but following him as he takes us into subcultures and areas of the world that we would otherwise not be able to—or perhaps even want to—experience. Keeping things fresh, Sandford offers us a story involving Travelers, harmless drifters who go from place to place panhandling for spare change, as well as a sinister Manson-like figure called The Pilot and his followers, who are Juggalos (obsessed fans of the rap group Insane Clown Posse). If that sounds like a recipe for a uniquely exciting story, you’re absolutely right. With its glimpse into worlds most of us never take notice of, Sandford once again keeps the pages turning with a story that will have you doing your own research into these fascinating worlds.

    Piranha, by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison
    Juan Cabrillo, the Oregon, and its crew are some of the most welcome additions to the literary landscape Cussler has ever offered—and that’s saying something, considering how many popular characters he’s already given us. In this tenth novel involving Cabrillo and company, Cussler and Morrison take us a century back in time to 1902. A German scientist on the verge of an incredible breakthrough is killed when a volcano erupts, burying an entire city and the ship he was traveling on. In the present day, Cabrillo and the Oregon think they’ve faked their own sinking, but quickly become the target of a seemingly omniscient enemy who is up on everything they do. The solution to this mystery is one of the more imaginative literary moments of recent years, and guarantees that fans of both Cussler and thrillers in general will love this one.

    The Forgotten Room, by Lincoln Child
    Who says an effective thriller can’t also be a great mystery novel? Well, no one, probably, but just in case someone has, Child puts the question to rest with this assured, spooky novel, the fourth standalone to feature everyone’s favorite “enigmalogist,” Professor Jeremy Logan. Logan is called in to assist Lux, a respected think tank he was once expelled from due to his unusual methods. One of the organization’s members, overseeing the renovation of an unused wing of the sprawling old house they’re using as a headquarters, seemingly went mad in a matter of moments, attacking an assistant, then committing suicide horrifically. Logan soon discovers a hidden room filled with old scientific equipment, strange music, and ominous clues about a sinister “Project S.” This is one you’ll be recapping over the water cooler after each chapter.

    The Enemy Inside, by Steve Martini
    Martini returns with defense attorney Paul Madriani for a lucky 13th chapter in this clever story that begins with the death of high-powered lawyer Olinda Serna, a woman who knows all the secrets of her even higher-power clients. Her client list includes politicians and other power brokers who are naturally worried about the security of the dirty laundry Serna was privy to. Madriani is called by his daughter to help the young man charged with vehicular homicide in the case, who claims he is innocent despite the evidence. The accident begins to look staged, and suddenly the people with answers start to die—and Madriani and his partners find themselves almost certainly the next target. The story gets bigger faster than you might expect, which means you’re going to have to hang on by your fingernails.

    I, Ripper, by Stephen Hunter
    Who says all thrillers have to involve lawyers, police, or special agents? Hunter takes us back to the original serial killer, Jack the Ripper, and extrapolates from the infamous details of the case to offer up a chillingly believable alternate take on one of the greatest mysteries of the modern day. Hunter ingeniously mixes three distinct perspectives—an ambitious Irish reporter who matches wits with the Ripper, a prostitute working in the midst of the terror, and extracts from the Ripper’s diary. Best of all, Hunter doesn’t go for safe ambiguity: he names the Ripper and offers explanations for some of the bizarre details of the crimes that puzzle experts to this day, all while keeping up masterful levels of tension and excitement.

    The Ice Twins, by S.K. Tremayne
    Literally all you need to know about Tremayne’s fabulously entertaining debut novel is the premise: the Moorcroft family—father Angus, mother Sarah, and twin daughters Lydia and Kirstie—endures the death of Lydia, and the parents deal with this shattering loss by taking Kirstie to live on a remote island—where Kirstie announces that they are mistaken, and she is actually Lydia. That sound you hear is reality melting away as the novel grabs you by the hand and drags you down into a rabbit hole of steadily mounting tension as Angus is called away for work, leaving Sarah alone with Kirstie/Lydia as a violent storm moves in. This is that novel everyone will be talking about, like Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train before it.

    Disclaimer, by Renée Knight
    Imagine you have a secret—a dark secret that haunts you—and the only comfort you have is that the only other person who knew the secret is long dead. Now imagine you find a books left for you on your doorstep. It’s intriguing, and as you read you have the growing sense—then the frightening certainty—that the book is about you and your secret. Now imagine someone else has read that book, and sets about to punish you for that secret. That’s the incredibly tense and fascinating premise of Knight’s debut novel, and it’s a story that will keep you awake at night, turning the pages as you race for answers.

    Independence Day, by Ben Coes
    A lot of writers can come up with a great idea for a thriller, and a lot of those writers can also create a likable character. But only a true master like Ben Coes can create a character like Dewey Andreas (and a long list of supporting characters who are equally unique and compelling) and then come up with a story that not only moves briskly from exciting moment to exciting moment but sets up a mystery that really grabs the reader as well. The fact that Coes then manages to make the resolution of that mystery truly incredible—equal parts believable and mind-blowing—is just icing on the cake. In his fifth outing, Andreas starts the story off as a broken man who later defies orders and “goes rogue,” finding himself the sole survivor of a broken mission, and the reader is expertly carried along with him on an adventure that feels both personal and electric.

    Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories, by Mary Higgins Clark
    They don’t call Clark the Queen of Suspense for nothing. The short stories in this remarkable collection span the whole of Clark’s celebrated career, including her first-ever published story, “Stowaway,” which appeared in 1956 after she’d racked up forty rejection slips. But the real find here is the titular novella Death Wears a Beauty Mask, begun in 1974 and then put aside so Clark could write her breakthrough novel, Where Are the Children? Clark hasn’t lost a step in the intervening four decades.

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