If You Liked That, Try This: Part 2

The bulk of our emails, messages, DM’s, and comments are from fans who have just finished reading a book they loved and want to know if there is anything else that can give them a similar reading experience.

Due to the high volume of requests for such help we decided to take a proactive approach and post a few suggestions to better help readers connect with another fantastic novel. The suggested titles work both ways. So if you’ve read one and not the other, regardless of the order they’re listed, the recommendation is still valid.

(This is the second of many posts, so get ready to see similar articles each week for the foreseeable future!)

If you liked Jason Matthews’ Red Sparrow, try The Fall of Moscow Station by Mark Henshaw

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Red Sparrow: Dominika Egorova was trained by the Russians to be a “sparrow,” a trained seductress who works undercover as part of their foreign intelligence services. She’s assigned to a CIA operative named Nathaniel Nash, who handles a lot of sensitive Russian information for the Central Intelligence Agency. As the two face off against one another, they’re soon pulled into an intoxicating, dangerous relationship that is totally forbidden and threatens to ruin their careers. But as their romance continues, Egorova begins spying for the Americans as a double agent. They ask her to help smoke out a high-level Russian mole that’s placed somewhere inside of Washington, and then return back to her country to continue her work for them, but from the inside. Will their relationship survive the dangers pressure of their jobs? Better yet, will they survive the dangers of their jobs? (Order Now!)

The Fall of Moscow Station: Bodies start piling up in Russia, making international headlines due to the brutal nature in which the victims were killed. As the rest of the world wonders what’s going on, America comes to a startling realization. All of the recently killed men were secretly working with the CIA’s Moscow Station. It turns out that after being passed over for a promotion, a man named Alden Maines betrayed America and ran to the Russians armed with details and information. Maines demands big money, but Russia turns on him by revealing to the world that the American agent has come to them. That move was surprising to Red Cell agent Kyra Stryker, who wonders why the Russians didn’t just pay Maines to be their deep-cover mole for years to come. Together she and Jonathan Burke, an analyst, head to Berlin and Moscow to connect all the dots and figure out what’s going on. But it doesn’t take long for them to realize they are in way over their heads. (Order Now!)

Summary: Lots of authors attempt to write great spy novels set in Russia, but few actually do it well. For my money, nobody is currently doing it better than Jason Matthews and Mark Henshaw. Don’t get me wrong, there have been other great books by several other authors, but these two guys write from a perspective that very few know as intimately as they do. And that’s because both Henshaw (a veteran analyst of fifteen years) and Matthews (a retired officer of the CIA’s Operations Directorate), have actually worked for the CIA. Both authors are very smart, and their writing reflects as such. If you want pulse-pounding, full-body-sweat suspense, look no further than Red Sparrow and The Fall of Moscow Station

If you liked Michael Connelly’s The Crossing, try John Sandford’s Extreme Prey

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The Crossing: Harry Bosch was a cop for over thirty years. Now he’s not. After being forced into retirement, Bosch struggles to find his place in the world. Unable to turn off the parts of his brain that helped him become one of L.A.’s best homicide detectives, his half-brother Mickey Haller, a defense attorney, asks for his help on a case. At first, Bosch is reluctant to switch sides. Having spent three decades putting bad guys away, he has no interest in helping them walk free. But this person, this case, is different. Bosch really believes the man standing trial for murder is innocent and, more than anything, he wants to find the real killer. But what Bosch doesn’t know is that the truth is buried in a conspiracy that will require him to take on a couple of police officers, which is the last thing he wants to do after wearing a badge for all of those years. (Order Now!)

Extreme Prey: Lucas Davenport is in uncharted waters. No longer does he work for the Minnesota BCA, but that doesn’t mean his skill set isn’t in high demand. In fact, when the governor gets a bad vibe from some people on the campaign trail, he calls Lucas to make sense of everything. As Lucas transitions into life away from his old employer, he quickly discovers a sinister plot revolving around the governor, who is making a presidential run in this politically-charged thriller. The bad guys try to stay a step ahead of him, but Lucas is hot on their trail and hellbent on stopping their plan before it’s too late. (Order Now!)

Summary: Both Harry Bosch and Lucas Davenport are long-time lawmen who, in these books, are trying to figure out what their next career move will be. Each of their self-searching stops with a phone call, though both characters are pulled in different directions. In each book, the bad guys identify the protagonists (Bosch and Lucas) first, meaning the lead characters are working from behind as they try to put everything together before it’s too late. Both books are heavy on suspense, and each has a little action mixed in for good measure. More than anything, though, the strength–and similarity–between The Crossing and Extreme Prey is that these longtime characters suddenly undergo huge, life-changing career moves without missing a beat. 

If you liked William Kent Krueger’s Manitou Canyon, try Steve Hamilton’s Winter of the Wolf Moon

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Manitou Canyon: A man camping with his grandkids near Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area vanishes. After a lengthy search, he’s eventually presumed dead and first responders are sent home. His grandkids, though, want closure one way or another and go to former cop Cork O’Connor, who dabbles in PI work when he’s not running his burger shack. After initially refusing their request, Cork agrees to take one more trip into the thick, snowy wilderness to find their grandpa, who happens to be an old neighbor of his. But then the unthinkable happens; Cork himself goes missing just days before his daughter is set to be married. The search is back on, this time for Cork, but nobody could have expected what’s actually lurking in the woods. (Order Now!)

Winter of the Wolf Moon: Ex-cop turned Private Investigator Alex McKnight lives a somewhat secluded life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. During a particularly harsh winter storm, a young woman from the Ojibwa tribe asks Alex to protect her from her violent, abusive boyfriend. Alex takes her in and puts her up in one of his cabins, only to find that she’s missing the next morning. Unable to go on as if nothing happened, McKnight goes in search of the woman he barely knew. His journey leads him into the thick Michigan woods during the harshest conditions winter has to offer, chasing multiple suspects and a number of possible scenarios. All of them dangerous. (Order Now!)

Summary: Both Cork O’Connor and Alex McKnight are former cops who become private investigators in remote towns of upper Midwest states (Minnesota and Michigan, respectively). Additionally, both books are set primarily in the dense, snow-covered forests where the elements play a vital role in the overall story. Both, obviously, include missing persons, but they do take different routes to a similar climax. Both endings will leave you wanting more, which is good since these are two terrific series.

Bonus: If you’ve read both of those books and loved them, check out C.J. Box’s Winterkill, which is written in the same vein as the novels listed above. The two biggest differences, though, are that Box’s character, Joe Pickett, is a game warden and not an ex-cop turned PI. Also, while it does feature some intense winter sequences and a missing person, Winterkill is based in Wyoming. (Order Now!)

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  • I love this! A really fun way to check out new (to me) authors!

  • Tony

    Anything like Tom Woodsp’s Victor the Assassin series? Thanks!

    • Absolutely! Can you email me at Ryan.Steck@Gmail.com ? If not, look for this weeks post, I actually have Mr. Wood included in the upcoming If You Like That, Try This segment!