While June packed the biggest punch of the year for thriller fans (with new books from Brad Thor, Brad Taylor, Ben Coes, Brad Meltzer, John Gilstrap, Grant Blackwood and Joshua Hood), July is no slouch either.
While Daniel Silva is the headliner this month, there’s still several other fantastic books for fans to sink their teeth in. A promising, creepy-crawly debut novel, a southern crime drama, and a compelling mystery all boost July’s overall quality of new titles hitting bookstores.
And to top it all off, rounding things out is my personal favorite, Joseph Finder’s Guilty Minds. In fact, if I were to recommend just one book on this list for readers to plunk some money down for this month, it’d be Guilty Minds without question.
Check out these six thrillers listed below, then leave me a comment and let me know which one you’re most looking forward to reading!
Tuesday, July 5
The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone
I’ve never been scared of spiders. Check that, before reading Ezekiel Boone’s The Hatching I wasn’t scared of spiders – now I’m absolutely terrified of them. Trust me, you will be too.
The book opens with a guide named Miguel leading a group of Americans through the jungle just outside Manu National Park in Peru.Suddenly, A man came running towards them, screaming. Just behind him was what appeared to be a flowing black mass of water.
The man coming in their direction fell, then disappeared as the water washed over him. As the flowing mass of blackness moved closer to them, Miguel realized it wasn’t water. In fact, it wasn’t a liquid of any kind. It was something far, far worse.
Back in America, FBI Agent Mike Rich received a call from the director of the FBI, a man he’d never spoken to or met before. He was informed that a plane carrying Bill Henderson just crashed near a school in Minnesota. Mike was the closest agent the FBI had to the crash site, and he was instructed to go investigate things immediately. There was concern that this could have been an act of terrorism, especially when considering the fact that Henderson was the president’s largest financial donor.
Mike took control of the scene and began his investigation by having a look at the wreckage. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary until a streak of light cast over Henderson’s face showed what appeared to be a twitching movement. Was his face moving? Mike wondered. No, Henderson’s face wasn’t moving, something inside of Henderson’s face was moving – and it wasn’t just twitching, it was trying to get out from beneath the dead man’s flesh.
While all of this is going on in Minnesota, two more strange things occurred around the globe. An earthquake engineering center in Kanpur, India began detecting earthquake-like activity. Meaning the ground was shaking, but there was no earthquake present. None. Then, China “accidentally” dropped a nuke on themselves, the blast registering in a remote and desolate area of land.
In Washington, D.C., a professor named Melanie Guyer received a FedEx package from a man working on an archaeology dig in Nazca, Peru. Specifically, he was working at the site of the Nazca Lines.
The Nazca Lines are a set of massive lines, formed into the shapes of various plants and animals, dug into the desert sands. One of them even looks like a spider. The FedEx package contained a ten-thousand-year-old wooden box that was found at the site, marked by a large wooden stake. Inside of the box was an egg sac, thought to have been fossilized or petrified forever long ago.
Soon the egg sac began to hatch inside Guyer’s laboratory. What came out was something the spider expert had never seen before. It was a new species, or perhaps more accurately a very old species, of aggressive flesh-eating spiders. And to make this horror story worse, they’re capable of breeding at a stunningly rapid rate.
Something has prompted this dormant ancient, unknown species of spiders to start hatching. No longer confined to their eggs, these terrifying creatures want out. Millions of people’s worst nightmare is playing out in real-time, they’re coming. Can anyone stop them?
The Hatching is a hair-raising thriller that reads like the lovechild of Independence Day and World War Z but is creepier than both. If you aren’t afraid of spiders yet, you will be!
Who will enjoy it: People who like apocalyptic-type survival stories will really love The Hatching. Every once in a while, something comes along that everyone will be talking about. This will be one of those books!
Tuesday, July 12
The Black Widow by Daniel Silva
Gabriel Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, returns to star in his sixteenth novel authored by Daniel Silva. Set shortly after the events of last year’s The English Spy, Gabriel is finally nearing the day when he will forever leave behind his dangerous work in the field to instead sit behind a desk as director of Israel’s foreign intelligence service, known simply as the Office.
Gabriel, who apart from being the Office’s most legendary operative, is also one of the most skilled art restorers in the world. Equally skilled with both a paintbrush and a gun, Allon begins this book by utilizing the former skillset to bring an old piece of art back to life.
The painting, which longtime fans of the series will immediately recognize, could quite possibly be Gabriel’s final restoration. Apart from that, Allon plans to spend his last few days off with his wife and their newborn twins, Raphael, and Irene. But just days before he is set to replace Uzi Navot, the current director, an explosion rocks a Jewish neighborhood in France, pulling Gabriel back into the field for one final mission.
While this won’t be the first time Gabriel runs an operation in France, it does mark the first time that he’s doing so with their blessing. In fact, they requested his services and even strong-armed him into helping out.
A woman whom Gabriel knew (she appeared in Silva’s sixth Allon novel, The Messenger) was among those killed in the explosion. She happened to be in possession of a very rare and famous painting that is valued at more than twenty million dollars. In the event of her death, she had arranged for the painting to go to Gabriel. Knowing this, the French confiscated it from her flat and are holding it until he finishes aiding them with their investigation.
Gabriel and his team get to work and quickly learn that the man behind the attack is a terrorist mastermind who calls himself Saladin. With women all over the world, including the west, joining the ranks of ISIS, Gabriel exploits the terror group’s one weakness by inserting a recruit of his own to infiltrate Saladin’s operation.
The recruit, Natalie Mizrahi, is a French-born Israeli working as a doctor in Jerusalem. With no field experience, Gabriel must train and mold her into the unassuming, lethal weapon needed for this particular operation. In doing so, Mizrahi takes on the identity of Leila Hadawi, the daughter of Palestinian refugees and Gabriel Allon’s black widow.
If Mizrahi can get close enough to Saladin to expose him, Gabriel will end his field career by killing the terrorist before finally taking his much-anticipated promotion. However, things don’t exactly go according to plan.
With nonstop suspense and more than a few twists to keep readers glued to their chairs, The Black Widow is Daniel Silva’s darkest, most timely thriller to date. If this is indeed Gabriel’s last time out in the field, Silva makes sure to send him off with a bang.
Proving once again to be one of the best authors of his generation, Daniel Silva delivers a stunningly brilliant plot, with a final act that is sure to leave readers speechless!
Who will enjoy it: Daniel Silva isn’t just one of the best authors in the game today, he’s one of the best novelists the genre has ever known. A true Grand Masters when it comes to churning out top-notch spy thrillers, Silva’s latest story is his most timely novel yet. If you’re not reading his books, now is the perfect time to start.
Ghost Sniper by Scott McEwen
Chance Vaught is a former Green Beret turned special agent with the United States Diplomatic Security Service. While on a mission in Mexico, his primary objective is to keep Alice Downly, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, safe and out of harm’s way. But when members of the local drug cartel hold up their motorcade, Downly is left out in the open and vulnerable.
It turns out that the gang bangers were the least threatening force Vaught was guarding against that day as, unbeknownst to him, a lone sniper lurked high above and far away. Seconds later, Downly and the rest of the convoy are dead, leaving Vaught alive to answer for his failed operation.
Known only as the Ghost Sniper, this ex-military gunman contracts himself out to some of Mexico’s most notorious criminals and drug kingpins.
Left feeling guilty and full of regret, Vaught is damaged goods in the intelligence-gathering community, until CIA Director Robert Pope offers him a lifeline. Pope wants Vaught to track down the Ghost Sniper and smoke out any government officials that might have played a role in Downly’s assassination.
With Navy Master Chief Gill Shannon, McEwen’s most popular series regular, presumed dead after failing to make contact once his own mission went bad, Vaught teams up with a former Navy Seal named Daniel Crosswhite.
Together, Vaught and Crosswhite set out to kill the Ghost Sniper and uncover the truth about a government conspiracy. The problem with hunting a sniper, though, is that you’d better get close to them in a hurry because they can spot and kill you from one heck of a long ways away.
Who Might enjoy it: In his fourth Sniper Elite novel, Scott McEwen puts his most well-known character in the backseat, allowing other recurring and new characters to steer the story. Theoretically, that would allow for some great character development. Instead, the story falls flat before the reader ever has a chance to really connect with the characters. The hallmark of a good sniper is precision and accuracy. Unfortunately, this book misses its mark. If you’re a fan of the series, then I’d recommend checking it out. If not, well, there’s plenty of other really good books coming out this month!
The Innocents by Ace Atkins
“From Amazon: Quinn Colson didn’t owe his hometown of Jericho, Mississippi, a damn thing. After serving for more than a decade as a U.S. Army Ranger, he’d returned, been elected sheriff, and tried to make the town and surrounding Tibbehah county a better place. He was rewarded with being voted out of office, and went back to the war zone he’d left.
Now, back in Jericho, trying to fix things with his still-married high school girlfriend and retired Hollywood stuntman father, he’s drawn to becoming a lawman again. This time, he accepts a badge from acting Sheriff Lillie Virgil, a foul-mouthed law woman with shades of Calamity Jane. But what they must confront together is something brand-new.
When a former high school cheerleader is found walking a back road completely engulfed in flames, the entire state focuses on the rural county, wanting answers. The light soon shines on several people: the girl’s father, a worthless drunk named Wash Jones; a pair of teenage thugs with grand ambitions to control north Mississippi; and a red-headed truck stop madam named Fannie Hathcock, who has her own problems – the Syndicate from down on the Gulf Coast has big plans for her neck of the woods.
As Quinn and Lillie uncover old secrets and new lies, the entire town turns against them, and they learn the most dangerous enemies may be the ones you trust most.”
Who might enjoy it: If southern crime novels are your thing, then you’re going to flip for The Innocents!
Tuesday, July 19
Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder
In his latest novel, Guilty Minds, author Joseph Finder proves once again that when it comes to literary strength, his biceps are big enough to make even John Cena jealous.
Returning is private spy Nick Heller, Finder’s series protagonist who first appeared in Vanished (2009), before starring in Buried Secrets (2011). In his third time out, Heller is tasked with his biggest challenge yet–discrediting a news report that claims Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin has been sleeping with an expensive, upscale prostitute.
The website running the “hit piece” article is called Slander Sheet, which is a step below Gawker (who knew that was even possible!) and TMZ. You know, the kind of site that everyone checks out on a near-daily basis but will never admit to. Similar to how nobody ever admits to eating McDonald’s, even though they sell like six million burgers a day. Hey, we all have our secret guilty pleasures!
Heller is called in to meet with a Washington legend who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and has golfed with every president since Lyndon B. Johnson–and who also happens to be close friends with Chief Justice Jeremiah Claflin. He’s told about the article that Slander Sheet is set to run, then hired to discredit the call girl’s testimony.
Short on time, Heller gets right to work but soon discovers that the story itself may just be the tip of the iceberg. An even bigger conspiracy is hidden deep within Slander Sheet‘s report, one that nobody–not even Nick Heller–could have possibly seen coming. From there Finder takes the reader speeding down a path of twists and turns, with nonstop action and suspense along the way.
Guilty Minds is a blistering tale of deceit, corruption, and power–and Finder dazzles by delivering a story that seems all too possible in today’s world. To say the pacing is fast would be like saying Brad Pitt is just a “good looking” guy. The book starts off like a drag race and doesn’t slow down for even a second. If you love thrillers, then clear your schedule and strap in… you’re in for one heckuva ride!
Who might enjoy it: Anyone who loves a good mystery or thriller novel. Finder, one of the genre’s very best, has really outdone himself with Guilty Minds. Simply put: Nick Heller is a great character, and Guilty Minds is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.
Tuesday, July 26
Killer Look by Linda Fairstein
“New York City is one of the fashion capitals of the world, well-known for its glamour and style. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the runway, where American haute couture continually astounds with its creativity, daring, and innovation in the name of beauty. Yet high fashion means high stakes, as Alex Cooper quickly discovers when businessman and designer Wolf Savage is found dead in an apparent suicide, mere days before the biggest show of his career. When the man’s daughter insists Savage’s death was murder, the case becomes more than a media sensation: It is a race to find a killer in a world created entirely out of fantasy and illusion.
With her own job at the DA’s office in jeopardy, and the temptation to self-medicate her PTSD with alcohol almost too strong to resist, Alex is not anyone’s first choice for help. But she is determined to uncover the grime—and the possible homicide—beneath the glitz. Along with detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, Alex must penetrate the twisted roots and mixed motives among the high-profile players in the Garment District. The investigation takes the trio from the missing money in Wolf Savage’s international fashion house to his own recovery from addiction; from the role of Louisiana Voodoo in his life to his excessive womanizing; and to the family secrets he kept so well-hidden, even from those closest to him—just as things are about to get deadly on the catwalk.”
Who might enjoy it: Fans of mystery and suspense will eat this up in a heartbeat, as Fairstein knows just how to grab a reader’s attention and hold it until the end.