Happy New Year, thriller fans!
2015 was an epic year for thrillers thanks to blockbuster novels from Brad Thor, Kyle Mills, Daniel Silva, Ted bell, Brad Meltzer, Brad Taylor, Joel Rosenberg, David Baldacci, Steve Berry, Nelson DeMille, Gayle Lynds, Paul Cleave and many others.
In fact, when you add up the quality of the best books from last year, 2015 gave readers more great novels than any year in recent memory. So then, what can we expect from 2016?
Well, for starters, most of the big authors from last year are either done with, or nearing completion on, their next book. Unfortunately, predicting how good a novel will be tends to resemble signing free agents in sports: You’re never quite sure if your favorite star player can replicate his last season.
For instance, can Brad Thor really top Code of Conduct? Well, that might be a bad example. I honestly didn’t think Thor could top his 2014 thriller (Act of War) but, man, was I ever wrong! Instead, Code of Conduct might have been Brad’s best novel yet. it’s hard for me to imagine reading a book more thrilling that Code of Conduct, but I’m not betting against the King of Faction in ’16.
In all seriousness, 2015 might just be a year to remember and treasure. But if 2016 has stands a chance to top last year, these are a few of the books to keep an eye on.
So without further ado, here’s a list of sixteen books (in particular order) to look forward to in 2016:
1.) Mitch Rapp Fifteen (Untitled) – Kyle Mills
Last year, Kyle Mills released The Survivor, his first contribution to the Mitch Rapp franchise since taking over for the late Vince Flynn. The Survivor was loved by both fans and critics, and earned triple crown status on the New York Times bestselling list – reaching #1 in all three fictional categories: Hardcover, eBook, and Print/eBook combination. Before passing away, Vince Flynn wrote three pages of The Survivor and had planned for it to be the sequel to his previous novel, The Last Man. While Mills did the heavy lifting, writing the novel with no notes or direction from Flynn, his hands were tied to writing a continuation of The Last Man. This time around he’s free to create and write whatever he wants, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with!
2.) Foreign Agent– Brad Thor (June 14, 2016)
In 2015, Brad Thor cemented his legacy as one of the greatest thriller authors of his generation when he released Code of Conduct, his fifteenth novel (fourteenth in the Scot Harvath series) and best yet to date. It’s scary to think that a guy who’s an annual staple on the New York Times bestsellers list is still getting better, but Thor is. This year Harvath is taking on ISIS, and The Islamic State doesn’t stand a chance! Foreign Agent is already one of 2016’s most anticipated novels, and for good reason – Thor never misses. Ever! For more on the plot, check out Thor’s website. To pre-order Foreign Agent, click here.
3. OVERLORD – Ted Bell
Forget the Dos Equis guy, Ted Bell is the most interesting man in the world! In 2015, Bell released PATRIOT, an action-packed thriller that pitted Russian President Vladimir Putin against his series protagonist, Alex Hawke. While details about his next book are still unknown, everything Bell writes is must-read material. Alex Hawke is one of the best characters ever created, and Bell’s writing talent and ability are second to none. Whenever his next book comes out, get ready to call into work the next day – you won’t be getting much sleep that night.
4.) Gabriel Allon Sixteen (Untitled) – Daniel Silva
Daniel Silva is one of the handful of authors that walks around with true must-read status. Even if you know nothing about his book, as long as his name is on the cover, it’s as good as gold. His 2015 thriller, The English Spy, was a huge hit. Silva’s last three novels have run, chronologically, very closely together as an aging Gabriel prepares to exit the field and take up his new position running “the office.” Could his next book show that transition? Only time will tell! Of course, fans are also awaiting the arrival of Allon’s twins, as his pregnant wife moves closer to her due date. How being a father will impact Gabriel’s career, perspective, and outlook on life is yet to been seen. We’re still waiting for more details about the book, but count me in already!
5.) Warning Order – Joshua Hood (June 7, 2016)
2015 was one of the best years for thriller novels in recent memory. Along with hit books from established authors of the genre, fans were also treated with an introduction to a fantastic new character, written by the hottest up-and-coming author since Brad Taylor. Joshua Hood is the real deal, and his character (Mason Kane) is quite unlike any of the other series protagonists around today. This year Hood is set to release Warning Order, a spectacular military thriller that follows Mason as he goes head-to-head with The Islamic State. Hood’s debut novel (Clear by Fire) made a lasting impression on readers, but Warning Order proves he belongs at the top of the genre.
6.) An Honorable Man – Paul Vidich (April 12, 2016)
I’m now completely convinced that Atria Books is the New England Patriots of publishing. They have a total dynasty going, and more talent on their roster than anyone else. it’s almost as if they can sign anyone and turn them into a bestselling author! Their latest find, an author by the name of Paul Vidich, has an incredibly bright future ahead of him. His debut novel, An Honorable Man, is a throwback to the glory days when Cold War era spy thrillers once ruled the genre. It’s a fantastic book that I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend. Mark your calendars!
7.) Ghosts of War – Brad Taylor (June 28, 2016)
Brad Taylor is a machine! This guy puts out two bestsellers a year, and each book is better than the last. Both of his 2015 novels (The Insider Threat, The Forgotten Solider) would easily win votes for best book of the year. I fully expect to see that trend to continue in 2016 with Ghosts of War. When we last saw Pike Logan in The Forgotten Soldier, he and his crew were tracking down a former member of the Taskforce that had gone rogue and was on a killing spree. We know that Taylor’s 2016 novel will feature a plot involving Russia, a first for both Taylor and Pike Logan. As the undisputed king of the military thriller genre, I can’t wait to see what Brad Taylor treats readers to this year.
8.) Overwatch – Matthew Betley (March 1, 2016)
I can’t remember the last time anticipation for a new author was quite this high. Signed to the same publishing company as Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, both of whom are legends in the political thriller genre, expectations for Betley’s debut novel are through the roof. Here’s the thing though, you could set expectations at the top floor of the Burj Khalifa, and Overwatch would still rocket right past them. This isn’t just one of the best books from a new author, Overwatch will compete for best novel of the year – period. Betley is a bona fide star in the making!
9.) The 14th Colony – Steve Berry (April 5, 2016)
This year Cotton Malone agrees to a simple mission that was thought to be little more than a glorified meeting. Everything changes, though, when his plane is shot down over Siberia. Malone is captured, and he eventually learns of a sinister plot being planned out against the United States. A man named Aleksandr Zorin has found a flaw in the Constitution that, should he successfully carry out his attack, would leave America in a state of utter political chaos. I personally think the 14th Colony is Berry’s best novel since The Templar Legacy. I read my advance copy in a single weekend, treasuring every single page. If you love political thrillers with a historical slant, get this book!
10.) Back Blast – Mark Greaney (February 16, 2016)
Mark Greaney is a name to watch this year. He’s done a fantastic job continuing the Jack Ryan series for the late Tom Clancy, but now he’s back writing in his own series where he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves. Back Blast is the fifth book in the Gray Man series, which is probably best read in order – but doesn’t have to be. In fact, this might be the perfect book to start on for newcomers to the series, as the novel features Court Gentry, known as “Gray Man,” going back to Washington to find out once and for all why the CIA wanted to kill him. Greaney has really delivered – Back Blast is without question one of the best spy thrillers of the year.
11.) Guilty Minds – Joseph Finder (June 7, 2016)
Joseph Finder’s 2015 novel, The Fixer, was outstanding. But out of all his novels, Vanished – the first book he wrote featuring private spy Nick Heller – is still my favorite. In 2016, Finder is bringing Heller back in Guilty Minds, a book I absolutely cannot wait to read! The plot revolves around a celebrity gossip site, similar to TMZ, that is about to run an article detailing some unflattering things about The Chief Justice and his private life. Heller is called upon to disprove the article, and the woman behind the claims. But when the woman turns up dead, things take a turn for the worse… Now, come on, tell me you aren’t excited for that. I’ve already got my copy pre-ordered, you should too!
12.) First Strike – Ben Coes (June 28, 2016)
It’s stunning how quickly author Ben Coes has risen to the top of the political thriller genre. His character, Dewey Andreas, is right up there with other big names like Mitch Rapp, Scot Harvath and Gabriel Allon. Coes’ 2015 novel, Independence Day, was fantastic – though I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as some of his earlier novels. This year, Coes will release First Strike, and from what we already know it sounds incredible. Essentially, terrorists take 500 college students hostage in a dorm at Columbia University. Among the hostages is the CIA Director’s daughter. The terrorists want a weapons shipment they had previously arranged to have delivered, which they will use to capture part of Iraq. For every hour they don’t get the arms shipment, one student will be executed. In an impossible situation, Dewey Andreas is left to come up with a solution. This plot definitely has some elements of Die Hard to it, and I can’t wait to read it.
13.) Fool Me Once – Harlan Coben (March 22, 2016)
I’m not a big fan of book trailers, but the trailer for Fool Me Once is without a doubt the best I’ve ever seen. Coben’s latest thriller is about a woman who witnesses her husband being murdered. Later, probably having some serious trust issues, she sets up a hidden nanny cam in her home. While away, she activates the cam and tunes in to check on her daughter. That’s when she sees her husband, who is supposed to be dead, with their child. I’ve been obsessed with this book since I first heard about it, and have every reason to believe Coben will deliver in a big way!
14.) A Red Dotted Line – Simon Gervais (No release date yet)
In 2015, author Simon Gervais burst on the literacy scene with his debut novel, The Thin Black Line. This year his sequel, A Red Dotted Line, is one of the must-read novels of the year. Gervais’ protagonist, Mile Walton, is an expert in counter-terrorism. In last year’s book Walton and his wife, Lisa, were recruited by a privately funded organization after suffering a very personal loss at the hands of terrorists. Together, they went all-in to stop a series of attacks aimed at bringing down the economy in North America. While further details are still unknown, I’m excited to see how Gervais tops himself in 2016, and where he takes the Waltons next.
15.) Darktown – Thomas Mullen (September 13, 2016)
In 2006, author Thomas Mullen won Best Debut Novel by USA Today for his thriller The Last Town on Earth. In his latest book, Darktown, Mullen once again dazzles by delivering a thrilling, emotional novel about racial tension and police corruption in the pre-civil rights era. At its heart, Darktown is a crime thriller about two police officers who risk everything to solve a crime. Not everyone approves of or agrees with their work, but they press on trying to find out what happened to a black women – last seen with a white man – who was beaten to death. This book, which I was privileged to read early, is truly fantastic!
16.) Night School – Lee Child (September 6, 2016)
I’m going to be honest here and just admit it: I’m not a fan of Lee Child. it has more to do with his comments towards the late Vince Flynn, and his fans, than anything. I just didn’t appreciate what Child said in an interview with Playboy a few years ago, and those remarks left a bad taste in my mouth ever since. However, to remain professional, I will be checking out Lee’s 2016 novel, Night School. I recognize that the man sells a ton of books, and a lot of readers are already talking about his next Jack Reacher thriller. For all those reasons, I’ll read this one objectively and see how it is. The Reacher series has a huge following – if you enjoy thrillers, odds are you’ll enjoy this book.
I’ll close by reminding everyone that this is an incomplete list of must-read thrillers. There’s still several authors who we know are working on novels – Brad Meltzer, Joel Rosenberg, Nelson DeMille – but aren’t sure if they’ll release them in 2016.
To stay up-to-date on all the latest news and info, check back often!