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  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2019/01/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , top picks   

    February’s Best New Thrillers 

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    The Chef, by James Patterson and Max DiLallo
    James Patterson continues to innovate and push envelopes in terms of marketing and distribution. Case in point: his newest collaboration with DiLallo was first published on Facebook Messenger. Police detective and food truck chef Caleb Rooney serves New Orleans in both capacities, but as Mardi Gras approaches, he finds himself accused of murder. (It probably doesn’t help that his food truck is called the Killer Chef.) Shortly thereafter, Rooney discovers a plot to attack New Orleans being brewed up by home-grown terrorists. Racing against time, Rooney must clear his own name while preventing a slaughter in his beloved city as it gears up for Mardi Gras—the perfect tasty backdrop for a tense thriller.

    The Border, by Don Winslow
    Don Winslow concludes his bloody, operatic trilogy delving into the chaotic war on drugs with a suitably intense final act. After losing everything but his career in the war against drug kingpin Adán Barrera, Art Keller finds himself at the top of the DEA with Barrera defeated. But the war on drugs has come home in a flood of cheap heroin that’s killing Americans at a record pace. As Keller moves to block this deadly invasion, he finds himself fighting not Mexican drug cartels, but his own bosses in Washington. Politically motivated enemies are one thing, but Keller begins to suspect the unbelievable truth—the incoming administration is actually partnered with the very cartels he’s spent his life fighting.

    Never Tell, by Lisa Gardner
    Gardner’s 10th D.D. Warren thriller opens with Warren and other police breaking down the door to Evelyn Carter’s house, where they find the pregnant teacher standing over her dead husband, gun in hand. Warren remembers Evelyn from a case 16 years before, in which she accidentally shot and killed her own father, and decides it can’t be a coincidence. But when the killing gets some publicity, trusted informant Flora Dane contacts Warren to tell her that Evelyn’s husband was an associate of her kidnapper. As the investigation pivots into the possible connections between the two men, the complications pile up, as Gardner explores how well we can truly know anyone—even our closest loved ones.

    Mission Critical, by Mark Greaney
    The Gray Man is back for an eighth adventure from Greaney, with Court Gentry receiving a sudden summons to Langley. He boards a jet in Zurich, which lands in Luxembourg to pick up a hooded prisoner and head on to England, where the CIA intends to deliver the prisoner over to MI6. Upon arrival, however, the teams are attacked by gunman, who leave behind a bloody slaughter as they race off with the prisoner. As the Gray Man pursues in a powered glider, his sometimes-lover Zoya Zakharova of Russian Intelligence barely survive an attack that leaves her handlers dead. As Gentry and Zakharova work both sides of the mystery, it becomes clear that these violent attacks are connected—but the culprits’ careful planning didn’t take the Gray Man’s skills into account.

    The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides
    Michaelides delivers an assured, confident debut thriller. Six years ago, artist Alicia Berenson painted a psychologically dense work based on a Greek myth, then allegedly tied her husband Gabriel to a chair and shot him in the face. Alicia hasn’t spoken a word since, spending her time in a drugged daze at the Grove, a secure forensic facility in North London. Theo Faber is the wounded, gifted psychotherapist who convinces Alicia’s doctors to let him try to get her to speak. Theo’s work with the silent patient is interspersed with excerpts Alicia’s diary leading up to the day of Gabriel’s murder. As the clues about what truly happened begin to fall into place, Theo’s personal and professional worlds blur dangerously, leading to an explosive conclusion.

    The Hiding Place, by C. J. Tudor
    Joseph Thorne returns to his home town of Arnhill with alleged plans to teach at his old school and give back to his community, but the truth is, he’s really back in response to a mysterious email that claims to know what happened to Joe’s sister in her youth, and promises it is happening again. Joe moves into a cottage where a woman recently murdered her young son and committed suicide, and begins to plot revenge on behalf of his sister Annie, who disappeared decades before. Joe deals with ghosts, loan sharks, and unfriendly locals with cynical humor and grim determination, as Annie’s ultimate fate is slowly, painfully exhumed. Tudor’s followup to buzzy thriller The Chalk Man is every bit as tense and satisfying.

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

  • Ross Johnson 5:00 pm on 2019/01/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , top picks   

    February’s Best Biographies & Memoirs 

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    Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter, by Tom Clavin
    Is there anyone more closely associated with the mythology of American westward expansion than “Wild Bill” Hickok? Even during his lifetime, fiction and legend overshadowed fact, but this painstakingly researched biography sets the record straight, and the results are at least as interesting as the sensational portrait that developed following a deadly quick-draw duel (the first of its kind) with a man named Davis Tutt—over a watch, of all things. Over his short life, Hickock took on dozens of different roles, and rubbed shoulders with many of the era’s folk heroes. Clavin’s exploration of the reality behind the myth is both enlightening and wildly entertaining.

    Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Gary Sinise with Marcus Brotherton
    Playing the disabled Lieutenant Dan character in the film adaptation of the novel Forrest Gump changed Sinise’s life forever: embraced by the military for his sensitive portrayal, he made a commitment to support active-duty servicemembers and veterans that became a calling—and, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, began to overshadow acting as his life’s mission. From his stage, film, and TV career through his work in entertaining and fundraising for veterans, Sinise’s tells the story of his life and his passion for service. The exclusive B&N edition features a letter from the author and a series of postcards.

    I.M.: A Memoir, by Isaac Mizrahi
    Celebrity designer Isaac Mizrahi grew up gay in a Syrian Orthodox Jewish family before he became a performer, a talk-show host, and a fashion icon. Throughout his life, he has moved through all of these identities and more, and walked in lofty celebrity circles that have included the likes of Richard Avedon, Audrey Hepburn, and Oprah Winfrey. This new memoir chronicles the highs and lows of his fascinating life.

    Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah
    Now in paperback: When The Daily Show host Trevor Noah was born in apartheid South Africa, his existence was literally a crime: the union of his white father and black Xhosa mother would have, had it been discovered, been punishable by five years in prison. As a result, Noah was hidden away for much of his young life, before liberation saw his mother embark with him on an adventurous existence to try to make up for the years of privation. It would be a fascinating story even if he hadn’t gone on to take over as host of the venerable political comedy show. Noah’s anecdotes and stories covering the breadth of his life take on extra weight, given its unlikely trajectory.

    The Perfect Predator: A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug: A Memoir, by Steffanie Strathdee and Thomas Patterson, with Teresa Barker
    This memoir is extraordinarily unique–a personal story of epidemiology, a medical mystery involving a scientist’s effort to save her husband. While visiting Egypt, Tom Patterson was overcome by one of the most dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria known. Desperate to save his life, epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee came upon a long out-of-favor treatment: phage therapy, or the introduction of a virus in an attempt to overpower a bacterial infection. The resulting story is the stuff of a nail-biting medical thriller, yet the resurrection of a forgotten treatment might have implications that extend far beyond the fate of one couple.

    Whose story inspires you?

    The post February’s Best Biographies & Memoirs appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 3:00 pm on 2019/01/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , Current Events, dave cullen, , i'll be gone in the dark, michelle mcnamara, parkland: birth of a movement, top picks   

    February’s Best New History & Current Events Books 

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    If you’re reading this, congrats, you made it through the first month of 2019. Considering the state of the world, you deserve a reward for this feat of survival—and nothing’s better than a book. This month offers an insightful work of history about Wild Bill Hickock, the late Michelle McNamara’s powerful investigation into the Golden State Killer case, a ripped-from-the-headlines examination of the Parkland shooting, a considerations of the current state of journalism, and a look at the FBI under the Trump administration.

    Parkland: Birth of a Movement, by Dave Cullen
    In some ways the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was all too typical: innocent victims, a deranged killer, a media frenzy, thoughts and prayers. But something unusual happened in its aftermath: the kids who survived didn’t just go back to their lives and let the murders fade into our collective memory alongside so many earlier such tragedies. They made noise. They started a movement. Cullen, who as a journalist covered the 1999 Columbine shootings and in 2009 published an exhaustive account of what was, up to that point, the deadliest school shooting in history, was drawn to these kids and their courage, and inspired to tell their story. Here, he details not just the grim facts of the killings, but the reaction of the extraordinary youths who lived through it, and decided to fight back against a culture they felt seemed to have long ago resigned itself to mass violence as a part of life in the modern United States.

    I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, by Michelle McNamara
    Michelle McNamara passed away in 2016 at the age of 46, but left behind a powerful legacy in the form of this book, now available in paperback. It’s the result of her years-long investigation into the serial rapist and murderer she dubbed the Golden State Killer, who, thanks in part to McNamara’s efforts o draw additional attention to the cold case, was finally captured in 2018. When she began tracing the crimes in 2011, DNA testing had already linked more than 50 sexual assaults and murders dating back to the mid-1970s to a single man.. The attacks stopped after a decade, and the killer disappeared—but McNamara, with the help of others who gathered at her website, tracked him tirelessly through the available evidence. After her unexpected passing, her team continued the work, finishing this remarkable book, which skillfully combines true-crime details with a novelist’s flare for storytelling.

    Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter, by Tom Clavin
    Wild Bill Hickok is a curious historical figure: both incredibly famous and yet largely mysterious. Clavin employs a wide net in terms of source material to track Hickock’s life from his birth in 1837, to his first jobs in law enforcement, to the development of the quick-draw gunfighting style that made him famous—and made him a target for anyone seeking to make their name as a gunslinger. The portrait that emerges is of a man who shot first and worried later, resulting in occasional collateral damage—and yet he was ultimately killed after being shot in the back, because he didn’t regard his murderer as a threat. It’s sometimes hard to believe the Old West actually existed and wasn’t just the stuff of Hollywood films, but Clavin brings it all to vivid life in this gripping account of one of its most famous inhabitants.

    Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts, by Jill Abramson
    Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson examines the rise, fall, and rise of journalism in the modern age in a book made suddenly very timely by the recently announcement of layoffs across several major media outlets, including Buzzfeed. That company is one of four Abramson follows as she traces the impact of the internet on the news, alongside with the Times, The Washington Post, and Vice. The initial assumption—that the old-school newspapers would fail while the disruptive upstarts would triumph with clickbait—didn’t quite pan out; the former managed to pivot to online subscriptions while the latter upped their game in terms of journalistic quality. Yet the price of this transformation may have been paid by us, the audience, who now have to pore over news that blurs the lines between advertising, reporting, and mere spectacle.

    The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, by Andrew G. McCabe
    When Andrew McCabe was fired by President Donald Trump a little over a day before his scheduled retirement, it seemed to many to be a petty and unnecessary action against a man who had served his country and the FBI with distinction. In this memoir, McCabe offers a thoughtful and powerful defense of his career, and concludes that the biggest threat to the FBI and the United States isn’t an external one—it’s the president and the administration that views the nation’s top law enforcement organization as alternately a threat and a private police force. McCabe served in the FBI for decades at all levels, and brings that experience to bear in his argument.

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

  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2019/01/03 Permalink
    Tags: , top picks   

    January’s Best Thrillers 

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    Liar, Liar, by James Patterson and Candice Fox
    The third Harriet Blue book finds the detective marked as armed and dangerous, on the run from her peers, even as she races to chase down her brother’s killer, Regan Banks. Throwing aside her principles, Blue is determined to make Banks pay for all the people he’s killed before he kills her too—and in the process, she breaks just about every law she swore to uphold. Going from a respected officer to a fugitive, Blue is all in on finding justice, no matter the cost to her career or sense of self. Patterson and Fox deliver on the thrills with a gripping story of a woman willing to sacrifice everything for personal justice, including her own life.

    An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
    Hendricks and Greer, whose The Wife Between Us made a splash last year, return with a dark, twisty story about manipulation centered on 28-year old Jessica Farris. Reeling from a #MeToo experience that’s left her career in shambles, Jessica cheats her way into a paid ethics and morality study run by the impossibly cool Dr. Lydia Shields. Farris finds herself engaging in real-world role-playing directed by Dr. Shields, with the scenarios progressing from the uncomfortable to the outright disturbing. Farris’s paranoia spikes, and soon, Dr. Shields seems to be pulling strings in every part of her life. When Farris discovers the terrifying truth about the last woman to participate in Shields’ study, she realizes that it’s only paranoia if no one is out to get you.

    The Woman Inside, by E.G. Scott
    Rebecca is a pharmaceutical sales rep who leverages her career to feed her growing addiction to opiates. Her 20-year marriage to Paul is falling apart, and her career is crumbling under the weight of her drug use. She suspects Paul is having an affair with her boss’ wife Sasha, who happens to have been Paul’s high school sweetheart—or perhaps with their sexy neighbor, Sheila. When Sasha and then Sheila both go missing, the police close in. Naturally, this is a thriller, so nothing is as it seems. Scott trades off points of view, each offering a varying level of unreliability, slowly revealing secrets via one dizzying twists after another, guaranteeing you will keep those pages turning.

    48 Hours, by William R. Forstchen
    Forstchen takes us a few minutes into the future, after a solar storm has dropped many areas of the country into chaos, with power grids knocked out and martial law imposed. Dr. Richard Carrington and his team have detected a second, much more dangerous flare—nicknamed Sauron’s Eye—that could wipe out all life on the planet. As Dr. Carrington briefs the president, struggling to see the right way to handle the situation, a former cop named Darren Brooks struggles with his knowledge that the underground facility he works security for could offer a safe haven to thousands. Except the military has just taken over, and isn’t in the mood to share. Tense, smart, and fast-paced, this is a near-future thriller ready-made for the summer blockbuster treatment.

    Daughter of War, by Brad Taylor
    Taylor’s 13th Pike Logan novel follows Amena, a 13-year old Syrian refugee who helps her family survive in Monaco by stealing from the wealthy tourists. One day, Amena makes a great score, stealing an iPhone—and finds herself and her family in serious trouble: the phone belongs to a Syrian intelligence agent, and contains information about a deadly North Korean poison known as Red Mercury. The Syrians plan to use the poison against the United States,. As Amena goes on the run for her life, Logan and Taskforce get wind of the Red Mercury plot, and the race is on as Pike, ally Jennifer Cahill, the Russians, Syrians, and North Koreans all pursue Amena and the information she holds.

    The Rule of Law, by John Lescroart
    Dismas Hardy returns as part of a newly-formed law firm held together by long-suffering secretary Phyllis McGowan. McGowan’s behavior and unexplained absences have alarmed Hardy of late, and his fears appear to be well-founded when Phyllis is arrested on accessory to murder charges. The victim is Hector Valdez, a human trafficker, and Hardy discovers that Phyllis is involved in saving refugees from ICE, smuggling through a modern-day underground railroad. With a new District Attorney determined to make his name on the case while destroying Hardy and his new firm in the process, Hardy must solve the riddle quickly, or lose more than just his invaluable secretary.

    Judgment, by Joseph Finder
    Judge Juliana Brody is smart, experienced, and loves her work. While presiding over a high-profile, high-stakes sex discrimination case, she travels to a conference in Chicago, where the married judge has a rare moment of weakness and indulges in a one night stand with a stranger named Matias Sanchez, who claims to be in town from Buenos Aires on business. When she gets back to work in Boston, however, Juliana is shocked to discover that Sanchez is actually part of the defense team involved in the trial. Juliana is told to rule in the defense’s favor or her indiscretion will be revealed. Juliana finds herself embroiled in a ruthless conspiracy that threatens everything she loves, including her family. When Juliana decides to fight back, she goes up against a cabal of enemies who are as ruthless as they are smart—and she’ll need every scrap of her wits to survive with her sense of justice intact.

    Freefall, by Jessica Barry
    In Barry’s crackling debut, Maggie Carpenter learns that her estranged daughter Allison died when a plane piloted by her wealthy fiancé, pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, crashed in the Rocky Mountains. Maggie, who had no idea her daughter was even engaged, can’t bring herself to believe the story everyone, including the police, is telling her, so she launches her own investigation. Plunging into a world of money, power, and deception, she learns her daughter was not the person she thought she was. To say too much more would spoil all the fun of this twisty, suspenseful thriller.

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

  • Jeff Somers 3:58 pm on 2019/01/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , gytha lodge, , , top picks   

    January’s Best Mysteries 

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    Arguably, January is your best month to dive into some juicy new mystery novels. The new year is upon us, after all, and is in itself a mystery. Who knows what the next twelve months will bring? No one—but we can sort of guarantee a steady supply of gripping mysteries to keep your little gray cells working overtime to spot clues, work out motives, and maybe solve a few murders along the way.

    The New Iberia Blues, by James Lee Burke
    Burke’s 22nd Dave Robicheaux book goes Hollywood, as Robicheaux finds his paths crossing once again with Desmond Cormier. Robicheaux first met Cormier twenty-five years earlier when Cormier was a skinny kid with big dreams. Now he’s an award-winning Hollywood director—whose embroiled in a gruesome murder. A woman had been crucified, wearing just a chain on her ankle, after being seen near Cormier’s estate. But Cormier isn’t talking, and Robicheaux finds himself going up against an array of new enemies and old demons as he delves into the mystery with only his longtime allies Clete Purcel and Alafair for backup.

    The Golden Tresses of the Dead, by Alan Bradley
    Flavia de Luce returns for a tenth go-round, the adorably precocious twelve-year old genius and expert in poisons irritated to bear witness to her sister Ophelia’s wedding. Cynical as always, Flavia intends to bring her detecting skills to the next level by going pro, setting up her office in the dilapidated mansion known as Buckshaw. She might not have to look too far for her first case, as Ophelia’s wedding cake turns out to have a nasty little surprise in the form of a severed human finger. With her trusted associate, gardener Dogger, and her unwanted cousin Undine in tow, Flavia puts her snarky intelligence and poisonous expertise to work.

    Out of the Dark, by Gregg Hurwitz
    Evan Smoak, formerly Orphan X and now the Nowhere Man, returns. Taken as a child and trained to be the ultimate deadly and deniable government asset, Smoak uses his training and skills to help the people who need it most. But now someone is shutting down the Orphan program—and trying to erase all evidence it ever existed in the first place, including the Orphans themselves and their trainers. When Smoak’s mentor is killed, he knows he cannot sit on the sidelines any longer—and he targets the man who launched the program, the man who is currently President of the United States of America. There’s only one problem: The president knows Smoak is after him, and activates the one asset that might be able to stop him—Orphan A, the very first recruit to the program, and the one person who has a chance against him.

    She Lies in Wait, by Gytha Lodge
    In 1983, Aurora Jackson was fourteen years old when she went camping in Brinken Wood with her older sister and five schoolmates. She was never seen again—until her body is discovered thirty years later. Detective Chief Jonah Sheens finds himself in the spotlight as he is forced to return to one of his very first investigations—one that strikes him close to home in all the wrong ways. Everything points to the killer being one of Aurora’s tightly-knit circle from her teenage years, and the story weaves between the present-day investigation and Aurora’s own POV on what would be her last day alive with masterful ease, spinning a dense, surprising, and thrilling tale that will keep you turning pages as everyone’s secrets are slowly teased out.

    Don’t worry; if you read all of this month’s books, we’ll be back next month with a fresh curated list. Happy New Year!

    Shop all mystery and crime >

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

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