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  • Dave K. 6:00 pm on 2018/01/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , maroon 5, , top picks, , whitney houston   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin in January 2018 

    As 2018 spins up, we welcome a handful of great new titles to our vinyl store, ringing in the new year in grand style! We’ve got new albums from Neil Young, Fall Out Boy, and Maroon 5, along with a double-LP release from Whitney Houston, recognizing the 25th anniversary of The Bodyguard. So go ahead, treat yourself to something nice to start of the year.

    The Visitor, by Neil Young
    Canadian rock legend Neil Young has a catalogue an astonishing 39 records deep as of The Visitor, which is also his second with American rockers Promise of the New. Two of the band’s members are Willie Nelson’s sons Micah and Lukas, whose friendship with Young led to their present-day collaborations. If you’re unsure why Young is sometimes called “the godfather of grunge,” this record will set you straight; the guitars have a solid crunch, the lyrics are sharp (especially Young’s anti-Trump anthem “Already Great”), and the drums convey that gut-bucket blues feel that define his work. Conversely, “Children of Destiny” has both tender folk interludes and triumphant horns.

    Mania, by Fall Out Boy
    This album—the band’s seventh—was originally scheduled for September 2017, but was postponed. The extra time the band took with it was well spent—Mania is great, and exactly the kind of “hard restart” record that Pete Wentz hoped it would be. Unlike most bands from humble punk rock beginnings, Fall Out Boy keeps progressing their sound; “Young and Menace,” for example, incorporates elements of EDM and voice alterations, and “Hold Me Tight or Don’t” bounces headlong into pop, and “The Last Of The Real Ones” is a full-stop club hit. Singer Patrick Stump is in especially fine form too; his vocals seem to improve with every record.

    Red Pill Blues, by Maroon 5
    Named after the red pill/blue pill choice from the film The Matrix, Red Pill Blues is Maroon 5’s latest, much-anticipated album. Multi-instrumentalist Sam Farrar finally joins the band as an official member for this record, and SZA and ASAP Rocky make cameos on “What Lovers Do” and “Whiskey,” respectively. Even without additional star power, the band’s blend of soft rock, pop, and funk continues to impress. “Wait,” one of the singles, is likely the song you won’t be able to stop listening to (or replaying in your head) all year, and “Whiskey” will top everyone’s chill-out Spotify playlists (if it hasn’t already). For that full visualize-a-sunset-in-California listening experience, get it on vinyl.

    I Wish You Love: More from the Bodyguard, by Whitney Houston
    It’s been 25 years since the release of the soundtrack for the 1992 film The Bodyguard—still one of the best-selling albums of all time. It’s been reissued as I Wish You Love, and at Barnes & Noble, it’s sold with an exclusive cover. The album includes all six of Houston’s contributions to The Bodyguard–“I Have Nothing,” “I’m Every Woman,” “Run to You,” “Queen of the Night,” “Jesus Loves Me,” and of course, “I Will Always Love You,”–augmented by remixes, a capella recordings, and live performances. The live tracks taken from Houston’s Bodyguard tour are the high point, and showcase the late singer at her glorious best.

    What new records are you spinning this month?

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin in January 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2018/01/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , top picks   

    The Best History Books of January 20187 

    New year, blank slate—the perfect opportunity to bone up on your history. If you’re looking for history books that will show you the hidden facets, events, and figures who have shaped our world, look no further than the best history books coming in January.

    The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam, by Max Boot
    Edward Lansdale, CIA agent extraordinaire, is representative of the road not taken in the Vietnam war. Lansdale was already an old hand at espionage when the CIA was chartered, and his success countering an attempted communist uprising in the Philippines made him the obvious choice to get involved with the earliest U.S. interventions in Vietnam. As that war mushroomed into the quagmire history remembers, Lansdale argued fiercely that a better strategy would be counterinsurgency—winning the so-called “hearts and minds” of the people instead of fighting an unwinnable ground war. That argument is just as important today as it was in the 1960s, making this a must-read for anyone concerned about America’s role in the world.

    The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook, by Niall Ferguson
    Ferguson argues history is really the story of various networks—and the technologies that disrupted them—he points out that the printing press was the disruptive technology that allowed the Protestant revolution to take shape, and his examination of other networks throughout history are equally fascinating. From the Illuminati to the Rothschilds to Wikileaks, Ferguson sees this pattern of established networks smashing against the rocks of progress over and over again, offering up some “Freakonomics”-style alternative interpretations of history along the way.

    Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, by Ronen Bergman
    Israel’s Mossad is widely considered to be one of—if not the—most effective intelligence organizations in the world, and the Israel Defense Force, one of the most effective armed forces. But what has set Israel apart from other nations is its unrepentant embrace of targeted, state-sponsored assassination in the service of national survival. Bergman leverages access to some of the most important players in Israel’s government, intelligence services, and military to craft a definitive history of a nation that much of the world wishes to destroy, and the extraordinary means undertaken in its defense. His inclusion of extremely detailed descriptions of operations gives this book a bit of a thriller edge, while never losing sight of the ethical quandary these policies inevitably spark.

    The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD, by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis
    In just about every detail, Timothy Leary’s life reads like a novel: a Harvard professor who embraced the drugs and free love of the 1960s (with a particular love and endorsement of LSD), Leary was seen as a class traitor by much of the establishment. When he was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana, he received a harsh sentence so he could be an example—but he leveraged his powerful network to make his escape, fleeing to South America where he and his wife lived under the protection of the Black Panthers as President Nixon raged and used all the power of the U.S. government to track him down. Leary—a symbol of the peace and love hippie movement—found himself smack in the midst of the violent, sour end of the ’60s ethos, surrounded by gun-toting revolutionaries—but this was just the first stop of a nearly-unbelievable adventure you have to read to believe.

    Building the Great Society: Inside Lyndon Johnson’s White House, by Joshua Zeitz
    Anyone watching the current lack of movement in Washington, DC might be forgiven for thinking this is just the way it is. But it wasn’t always this way, as this detailed account of the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson proves. Once the most powerful and skilled majority leader the senate had ever seen, Johnson became a president of contradictions, who nonetheless used his political skill, imposing personality, and power of his office to craft and guide some of the most meaningful legislation ever drafted. From the Civil Right Act to the establishment of Medicare, Johnson achieved incredible things in his six years in office, while at the same time becoming terminally associated with Vietnam, which ultimately destroyed him. Zeitz goes behind the scenes to examine the many strong personalities that surrounded Johnson in his administration.

    An Unlikely Trust: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Improbable Partnership That Remade American Business, by Gerard Helferich
    In this age of the Hot Take, it’s important to keep in mind that learning the real story often takes decades, if not centuries. In the earliest days of the 20th century, J.P. Morgan and Theodore Roosevelt were both men who transformed aspects of American life—Morgan reinvented the concept of the corporation, crafting the modern concept of the sprawling business with a mind (and political rights) of its own, while Roosevelt expanded the power and authority of the presidency to unprecedented levels. Helferich makes his case that, far from the natural enemies they should have been, Morgan and Roosevelt shared enough common ground that they worked together as partners very effectively—and avoided disaster many times due solely to their willingness to do so.

    The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica, by Laurie Gwen Shapiro
    Every now and then, history presents us with a life that seems almost impossible to believe. Such is the case with Billy Gawronski, who attempted to stow away on Richard Byrd’s famous 1928 expedition to the Antarctic. Discovered and expelled three times, Gawronski finally convinced Byrd to let him join the crew—thus capturing the public’s imagination. Gawronski was seen to represent the can-do, no-fear American spirit, and he continued to do so throughout the rest of his life, which including distinguished service commanding a warship in World War II. Shapiro offers a detailed look at Gawronski’s crewmates on the Byrd expedition—perhaps the last time an earthbound explorer was able to so dominate the public’s interest.

    Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires, by Shomari Wills
    For some uncurious minds, the story of black America starts with slavery and jumps to the present day, with only a vague stopover in the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Wills takes a look at a little-known facet of the black experience in America by examining the lives of six black Americans who were each among the richest in the country before, during, and after the Civil War. Their stories might be surprising to modern audiences—Robert Reed Church, who was once the largest landowner in Tennessee; Annie Turnbo-Malone, who invented the first nationally-marketed brand of hair care products using her self-taught chemistry skills; and her employee C.J. Walker, known as “America’s first female black millionaire.”

    The post The Best History Books of January 20187 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 4:00 pm on 2018/01/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , top picks   

    The Best Thrillers of January 2018 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Take, by Christopher Reich

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

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

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

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

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

     
  • Sarah Skilton 5:00 pm on 2017/12/26 Permalink
    Tags: , blood sisters, , , dara horn, , eternal life, fall from grace, , fools and mortals, it occurs to me that i am america: new stories and art, , , jonathan santlofer, melanie benjamin, munich, robert harris, still me, the girls in the picture, , , top picks   

    The Best New Fiction of January 2018 

    January brings us several irresistible pairings: Two historical novels about the acting and writing life, one set during the glitz and glamour of early Hollywood, the other set on the Shakespearean stage of 1595;  Jojo Moyes and Danielle Steel’s latest works both concern the pitfalls and triumphs of starting over and taking charge of one’s life under difficult circumstances; and the final pairing depicts immortality in various forms, with Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists and Dora Horn’s Eternal Life. Rounding out the new year is a thriller from Robert Harris, the late great Denis Johnson’s final short story collection, and an anthology about democracy timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Women’s March.

    Still Me, by Jojo Moyes
    Coming off the worldwide success of Me Before You (also a movie starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin), Moyes’ latest continues the uplifting adventures of Louisa (“Lou”) Clark, now living in New York City. Her journey of self-discovery includes choosing between her old life—in England with Sam—and her new one, as a household assistant for the powerful Gopnik family. As Lou becomes enmeshed in the ritzy, wealthy lives around her, she does her best to honor Will Traynor’s wish that she “live boldly.”

    Fall from Grace, by Danielle Steel
    When Sydney Wells’s husband dies, leaving Sydney with nothing, her luxurious existence comes to an abrupt end. With no place to call home, no source of income, and no help from her family, Sydney (who is pushing 50) is forced to start to over. Her new job in the cutthroat fashion industry finds her framed for a crime, but without anyone to rely on but herself, she must tap into reserves of strength she didn’t know she had in order to survive.

    Munich, by Robert Harris
    A master of historical fiction (Fatherland; Pompeii), Harris has earned fans the world over for his thrilling stories and complex characters. In depicting the run-up to Britain’s involvement in World War II, Harris focuses on the fateful Conference of Munich. Hugh Legat, private secretary to Prime Minister Chamberlain, and Paul von Hartmann, a member of the German diplomatic corps, are former friends who studied together at Oxford. Six years after their last meeting, they now find themselves on opposite sides of the looming war—or do they? Hartmann’s loyalties may not be as clear-cut as they first appear. 

    Fools and Mortals, by Bernard Cornwell
    Imagine watching the first stage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1595 through the eyes of Shakespeare’s brother Richard, a handsome albeit grifting actor without a penny to his name. Jealous of William’s domination of the London stage, and bitter that William barely lifts a finger to help him, Richard is accused of a crime whose punishment is death. While showcasing the art of stagecraft in the Elizabethan era, Fools and Mortals also invites viewers to visit the darker underbelly of London as Richard tries desperately to clear his name.

    The Girls in the Picture, by Melanie Benjamin
    The bestselling author of Swans of Fifth Avenue sets her sights on the West Coast in a story about the friendship between two Hollywood legends at the dawn of Hollywood: “America’s Sweetheart” herself, Mary Pickford, and award-winning screenwriter (“scenarist”) extraordinaire Frances Marion. The year is 1914, the U.S. has not yet entered The Great War, and the silent film industry is thriving. Despite their financial and creative successes, both women find their ambitions curtailed to a degree, and the introduction of “talkies” may very well end Mary’s career, just as Marion’s is picking up steam. Perfect for fans of A Touch of Stardust, by Kate Alcott, and Silent Murders, by Mary Miley.

    Blood Sisters, by Jane Corry
    As a follow-up to My Husband’s Wife, Sisters provides even more twists and turns than Corry’s debut thriller. In 2001, a car crash claimed three victims. Although two of the girls survived the ordeal, fifteen years later their lives remain damaged. Kitty resides in an institution, unable to remember or communicate about her past, while Alison’s new job teaching art at a men’s prison puts her in more danger than she realizes. Dual POVs add to the rising tension throughout.

    The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
    When the Gold siblings (Simon, Klara, Daniel, Varya), growing up in New York City in 1969, hear rumors that a mystic fortune teller is in town revealing people’s death dates, they line up to have their fates revealed. Through the next fifty years, we learn how the answer to that question has informed and perhaps guaranteed the course of their very different lives. A story about family, faith, and the power of illusion to overtake reality, The Immortalists promises to be literary fiction of the highest caliber.

    The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, by Denis Johnson
    The great Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son became a film starring Billy Crudup and Samantha Morton; Tree of Smoke won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize) passed away last May, but his final publication revives his trademark empathy for the downtrodden—the “losers” and “failures” of the world. This collection of short stories concerns alcoholics, criminals, advertising execs, and even a couple of writers, all of whom grapple for understanding in a tough world. In Johnson’s hands, the result will be pure poetry.

    Eternal Life, by Dara Horn
    Rachel made a bargain 2,000 years ago to spare the life of her son, and it worked. What did she give up in return? Her own death. In other words, she’s been forced to live forever but at this point—dozens of husbands and hundreds of children later—she desperately wishes to shuffle off this mortal coil. Her fellow traveler in the realm of immortality is a man she once loved, Elezar, who’s determined to keep her in his sights. Salvation may arrive in the form of Rachel’s latest granddaughter, who’s studying DNA and anti-aging and growing closer to discovering Rachel’s secret.

    It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art, edited by Jonathan Santlofer
    Some of the world’s finest and most beloved artists and writers have come together for this anthology of fiction and artwork dedicated to understanding, reaffirming, and celebrating democracy. Contributors include Mary Higgins Clark, Lee Child, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Russo, Alice Hoffman, Elizabeth Strout, Louise Erdrich, Walter Mosley, Julia Alvarez, Art Spiegelman, Sara Paretsky, Alice Walker, Paul Theroux, Susan Isaacs, Ha Jin, Roz Chast, and Joyce Maynard, among others. Its publication couldn’t be more timely or important. As the Executive Director of the ACLU, Anthony D. Romero puts it, “History has shown the crucial role artists play in challenging injustice during times of crisis.”

    What are you excited to read in January?

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

     
  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2017/12/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , top picks   

    The Best New Thrillers of December 2017 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
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