Over the past two weeks, multiple newspapers and other various media outlets have published countless lists of this summer’s most anticipated novels. Sadly, none of them showed any love to thrillers–with both The New York Times and the BookBub Blog failing to list a single political or espionage thriller among their choices.
It didn’t take long for Book Spy followers to start emailing, commenting, messaging, and tweeting us about posting our own list made up exclusively of thrillers.
Well, we heard you loud and clear–and even though we already post monthly reading guides (check for the latest one on June 1st), we decided to go ahead and make a list of our top fifteen must-read thrillers coming out this summer!
Note: To order, click on the book’s title that you’re interested in and you’ll be taken to the corresponding Amazon page.
As a storm rages across the Mediterranean Sea, a terrifying distress call is made to the Italian Coast Guard. Days later, a body washes ashore.
Identified as a high value terrorism suspect (who had disappeared three years prior), his name sends panic through the Central Intelligence Agency.
Where was he headed? What was he planning? And could he be connected to the “spectacular attack” they have been fearing all summer?
In a race against time, the CIA taps an unorthodox source to get answers: Navy SEAL turned covert counterterrorism operative, Scot Harvath.
Hired on a black contract, Harvath will provide the deniability the United States needs, while he breaks every rule along the way.
Packed with pulse-pounding action, fascinating characters, and electrifying intrigue, Brad Thor does it again and proves why he is known around-the-world as the “Master of Thrillers.”
It’s crazy how many people we’ve heard from who actually plan their vacations around the latest Brad Thor novel. And this year, those people will be especially rewarded, as Thor delivers a blockbuster hit that’s perfect to read on the beach or anywhere else. Though part of a series, Thor writes his novels to stand alone, making it easy for readers to enjoy Use of Force, even if it’s their first time following Scot Harvath around.
Release date: June 27th.
Only one man stands between a powerful cabal planning an invisible coup of the U.S. government and their brutal goals―Dewey Andreas.
A group of some of the most powerful people in the government, the military, and the private sector, has begun a brutal plan to quietly take over the reins of the U.S. government. They’ve begun to remove the people who stand in their way―and replace them with their own sympathizers and puppets. They’ve already taken out the Speaker of the House―whose death was made to look like an accidental drowning―and the president and vice president are next. Once they have their own people in place, they plan to start a bloody, brutal war on an unimaginable scale.
On restricted duty while he recovers from injuries incurred on a previous mission, Dewey Andreas is sent to Paris by CIA Director Hector Calibrisi. The Secretary of State is going there for secret talks, and Dewey is to be an extra layer of security above the State Department team. But what should be an easy mission couldn’t go more wrong. The cabal has sent in a hit man to take out the Secretary of State and lay the blame for this murder at the feet of Dewey himself.
With the Secretary of State dead, shot by Dewey’s weapon, Dewey is on the run and out in the cold, desperately trying to unravel the plot before the conspirators succeed in killing millions of innocents.
Last year, Coes wrote First Strike and, honestly, you couldn’t possibly pack more action into a thriller than that one. So, to top himself in 2017, Coes relies on a timely, deftly-plotted story, character development, a series-changing twist and, yes, plenty of action. Once you start this book, there is no stopping.
Release date: June 20th.
Four months after the deadliest attack on the American homeland since 9/11, terrorists leave a trail of carnage through London’s glittering West End. The attack is a brilliant feat of planning and secrecy, but with one loose thread.
The thread leads Gabriel Allon and his team of operatives to the south of France and to the gilded doorstep of Jean-Luc Martel and Olivia Watson. A beautiful former British fashion model, Olivia pretends not to know that the true source of Martel’s enormous wealth is drugs. And Martel, likewise, turns a blind eye to the fact he is doing business with a man whose objective is the very destruction of the West. Together, under Gabriel’s skilled hand, they will become an unlikely pair of heroes in the global war on terror.
Written in seductive and elegant prose, the story moves swiftly from the glamour of Saint-Tropez to the grit of Casablanca and, finally, to an electrifying climax that will leave readers breathless long after they turn the final page.
Without question, Silva is one of the best to ever work in this genre. If there were a Mount Rushmore for thriller authors, he’d be on it–right next to Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and Tom Clancy. If you aren’t reading this series already, you need to start!
Release date: July 11th.
Former U.S. Senator Weston Rhodes is a defense contractor with an urgent problem. His company needs someone to look over the books of Dalfan Technologies, a Singapore company—quickly. He turns to his old friend Gerry Hendley for help. Hendley Associates is one of the best financial analysis firms in the country and the cover for The Campus, a top-secret American intelligence agency. Rhodes asks for two specific analysts, Jack Ryan Jr., and Paul Brown, a mild-mannered forensic accountant.
Both Ryan and Brown initially resist, for different reasons. On the long flight over, Ryan worries he’s being sidelined from the next Campus operation in America’s war on terror. Brown—who was never very good with people—only worries about the numbers, and finding a good cup of tea.
Brown has no idea Jack works for The Campus but the awkward accountant is hiding secrets of his own. Rhodes has tasked him with uploading a cyberwarfare program into the highly secure Dalfan Technologies mainframe on behalf of the CIA.
On the verge of mission success, Brown discovers a game within the game, and the people who now want to kill him are as deadly as the cyclone bearing down on the island nation. Together Ryan and Brown race to escape both the murderous storm and a team of trained assassins in order to prevent a global catastrophe, even at the cost of their own lives.
Nobody is quite like Tom Clancy, but Maden delivers an authentic-feeling Jack Ryan Junior thriller that Clancy’s fans will enjoy from beginning to end. Newcomers to the Junior series will also find Maden’s blend of action and cutting-edge weaponry entertaining–this book is not to be missed!
Release date: June 13th.
Sometimes the person you thought you knew best…
Turns out to be someone you never really knew at all.
The crash that killed him
Two years ago, Jane Norton crashed her car on a lonely road, killing her friend David and leaving her with amnesia. At first, everyone was sympathetic. Then they found Jane’s note: I wish we were dead together.
A girl to blame
From that day the town turned against her. But even now Jane is filled with questions: Why were they on that road? Why was she with David? Did she really want to die?
The secrets she should forget
Most of all, she must find out who has just written her an anonymous message: I know what really happened. I know what you don’t remember…
Hands down, Jeff Abbot delivers the best psychological thriller coming out this summer. Blame is this year’s Fool Me Once, and Harlan Coben’s fans will especially enjoy Abbott’s twisting plot. It’s a one-sit read, and a book you’ll be talking about long after you finish it!
Release date: July 18th.
She almost caught him once. Now, he’s back.
For three years, Investigator Cassie Dewell has been on a hunt for a serial killer known as the Lizard King whose hunting grounds are the highways and truck stops where runaways and prostitutes are most likely to vanish. Cassie almost caught him…once.
Working for the Bakken County, North Dakota sheriff’s department, Cassie has set what she believes is the perfect trap and she has lured him and his truck to a depot. But the plan goes horribly wrong, and the blame falls on Cassie. Disgraced, she loses her job and investigation into her role is put into motion.
At the same time, Kyle Westergaard, a troubled kid whom Cassie has taken under her wing, has disappeared after telling people that he’s going off on a long-planned adventure. Kyle’s grandmother begs Cassie to find him and, with nothing else to do, Cassie agrees―all the while hunting the truck driver.
Now Cassie is a lone wolf. And in the same way that two streams converge into a river, Kyle’s disappearance may have a more sinister meaning than anyone realizes. With no allies, no support, and only her own wits to rely on, Cassie must take down a killer who is as ruthless as he is cunning. But can she do it alone, without losing her own humanity or her own life?
Cassie vs. the Lizard King Round 2…What more do you need to know?! Even if you’ve never read the other two books in Box’s Cassie series, readers can easily jump in with this one and not miss a beat. While it’s not the “cowboy noir” that he’s known for, this is perhaps Box’s best novel that doesn’t star Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett.
Release date: July 25th.
From the author dubbed by Jeffery Deaver “a born storyteller” whose first novel Nothing Short of Dying was hailed as “exceptional,” “a rollercoaster read,” and “adrenaline-fueled” by publications on both sides of the Atlantic, this is Erik Storey’s next entry in the Clyde Barr series, a locomotive-paced brawler that has its hero teaming with besieged members of a Native American reservation to thwart outlaw bikers who are putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk.
Clyde Barr, the drifter with lethal skills, is alone again, wandering the highways of the American West in search of something to believe in. As summer turns to autumn, he trades his car for a horse and heads for the mountains, planning to clear his head and regain his edge with some hunting. But when he runs across an elderly sick man—a Ute Indian from a nearby reservation—Clyde’s dream of solitude is quickly dashed.
On the reservation, Clyde finds the old man’s daughter, Lawana, and grandson, Taylor, as well as a group of menacing bikers called Reapers running wild in the economically depressed, half-abandoned village. Gripped by the desire to do good in a hard world, Clyde offers to stay on Lawana’s ranch to help out until her father is released from the hospital. He controls himself around the bikers, even when he sees them harass a few Native American women—but when the Reapers attack a local boy Clyde has to do something. As tensions rise between the locals and the Reapers, Clyde’s efforts to protect the reservation become a fight for his, Lawana’s, and Taylor’s lives. And then the stakes ratchet up even more.
In the remote Utah desert, surrounded by enemies, with no law enforcement presence, and with communication effectively cut off, Clyde must find a way to save his new friends, defeat the gang, and, hopefully, escape with his own skin intact. A Promise to Kill is an edge-of-the-seat thriller, pushing its no-hold-barred hero to new levels of improvisation and bare-knuckled blunt force.
Erik Storey exploded onto the scene with last year’s Nothing Short of Dying. For his second Clyde Barr novel, Storey takes readers on an entertaining, action-packed adventure that is fun to read but also packs an emotional punch. It’s another smart yet thrilling novel from one of the genre’s newest stars.
Release Date: August 15th.
February, 1943. Both the Allies and the Nazis are closing in on attempts to construct the decisive weapon of the war.
Kurt Nordstrum, an engineer in Oslo, puts his life aside to take up arms against the Germans as part of the Norwegian resistance. After the loss of his fiancée, his outfit whittled to shreds, he commandeers a coastal steamer and escapes to England to transmit secret evidence of the Nazis’s progress towards an atomic bomb at an isolated factory in Norway. There, he joins a team of dedicated Norwegians in training in the Scottish Highlands for a mission to disrupt the Nazis’ plans before they advance any further.
Parachuted onto the most unforgiving terrain in Europe, braving the fiercest of mountain storms, Nordstrum and his team attempt the most daring raid of the war, targeting the heavily-guarded factory built on a shelf of rock thought to be impregnable, a mission even they know they likely will not survive. Months later, Nordstrum is called upon again to do the impossible, opposed by both elite Nazi soldiers and a long-standing enemy who is now a local collaborator―one man against overwhelming odds, with the fate of the war in the balance, but the choice to act means putting the one person he has a chance to love in peril.
Based on the stirring true story, The Saboteur is Andrew Gross’s follow-up to the riveting historical thriller, The One Man. A richly-woven story probing the limits of heroism, sacrifice and determination, The Saboteur portrays a hero who must weigh duty against his heart in order to singlehandedly end the one threat that could alter the course of the war.
The One Man, Gross’ 2016 historical fiction novel, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The Saboteur isn’t a sequel, but coming off such a strong showing, all eyes are on Gross to see if he can deliver at such a high level once again. Until he proves otherwise, he deserves readers’ trust, which makes this book one of the most anticipated thrillers of the summer for sure.
Release date: August 22nd.
When Maine game warden Mike Bowditch is tasked with shooting invasive feral hogs that are tearing up the forest in his district, he makes a horrific discovery ― a dead baby buried in a shallow grave. Even more disturbing: evidence suggests the infant was the child of a young woman who was presumed to have died four years earlier after she disappeared from a group rafting trip.
As Bowditch assists the reopened investigation, he begins to suspect that some of his neighbors aren’t who they seem to be. When violence strikes close to home, he realizes that his unknown enemies will stop at nothing to keep their terrible secrets.
Mike Bowditch has bucked the odds his whole career, but this time the intrepid warden may have finally followed his hunches one step too far.
Paul Doiron is perfect for fans of C.J. Box or William Kent Krueger. Reading the previous books isn’t necessary, but may enrich the experience. Either way, Knife Creek is a fantastic thriller and some of Doiron’s best work so far.
Release date: June 13th.
Internationally bestselling author John Connolly returns with another “superb fusion of noir and the supernatural” (My Bookish Ways) in this latest thriller in his gripping Charlie Parker series.
It is deep winter and the darkness is unending. A private detective named Jaycob Eklund has vanished and Charlie Parker is assigned to track him down. Parker’s employer, Edgar Ross, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has his own reasons for wanting Eklund found. Eklund is no ordinary investigator—he is obsessively tracking a series of homicides and disappearances, each linked to reports of hauntings. Now Parker is drawn into Eklund’s world: a realm in which the monstrous Mother rules a crumbling criminal empire, in which men strike bargains with angels, and in which the innocent and guilty alike are pawns in a game of ghosts…
I wasn’t overly thrilled with last year’s A Time of Torment, noting in my review that it flashed potential to be great but fell short of what Connolly’s capable of. This time out, Connolly, the veteran thriller author, rolls a strike. A Game of Ghosts is a blast to read!
Release date: July 4th.
The acclaimed, award-winning, bestselling author of The Cartel—voted one of the Best Books of the Year by more than sixty publications, including the New York Times—makes his William Morrow debut with a cinematic epic as explosive, powerful, and unforgettable as Mystic River and The Wire.
Our ends know our beginnings, but the reverse isn’t true . . .
All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop.
He is “the King of Manhattan North,” a, highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest, an elite special unit given unrestricted authority to wage war on gangs, drugs and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the Job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean—including Malone himself.
What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the Job, his family, and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.
The Force scored a 10/10 on our rating scale, the first perfect score we’ve ever given out. If you’re a fan of the FX television show The Shield, this book is for you. Centered around a group of dirty cops, Winslow has turned in what’ll likely go down as an instant classic, and very possibly the greatest cop drama ever written.
Release date: June 20th.
The mission: Drop into the Mexican jungle, infiltrate a drug cartel’s compound, and extract a kidnapped DEA agent. But when Jonathan Grave and his partner, Boxers, retrieve the hostage and return to the exfil point, all hell breaks loose. Ambushed, abandoned, and attacked on all sides, their only hope of survival lies inside a remote orphanage where innocent children have been targeted for death.
Even if Grave can lead his precious cargo to safety across a hundred miles of treacherous jungle filled with enemies, he can’t shake the feeling that something bigger is at play. A vast conspiracy of international power players who take no prisoners—and leave no survivors . . .
John Gilstrap is one of the genre’s most underrated writers. While most other political thriller authors are focused on Russia, ISIS, or both, Gilstrap offers up something completely different. Jungle scenes are really hard to get right, but he nails even the smallest details here–bringing the setting to life and making it easy to get lost in the story.
Release date: June 27th.
A bold military and political strike by the Russian government leaves the U.S. reeling, crippled and vulnerable, with only a desperate long shot chance to avoid a devastating world war.
The U.S. aircraft carrier patrolling the Western Pacific Ocean is severely damaged by a surprise salvo of cruise missiles. While the Russian government officially apologizes, claiming it was the result of fire control accident during a training exercise, it was instead a calculated provocation. With the U.S. Pacific fleet already severely under strength, the Russian President decides that the US response is a clear indication of their weakness, militarily and politically, and initiates a bold plan.
Political unrest is spreading through the Eastern European states. The Russian Northern Fleet moves swiftly in the Mediterranean Sea, the Russian army is moving west to the border, and Russian Baltic and Black Sea Fleets are mobilized. In one bold strike, the Russian army moves to reoccupy a large number of the industrialized areas of the former USSR, while blockading the vital sea passages through which the world’s oil and natural gas transit. To make matters worse, Russia’s Special Forces have wired every major oil and natural gas pipeline with explosives. If the U.S. makes one move to thwart Russia, they’ll destroy them all. The U.S. is risking disaster if it acts, but the alternative is quite possibly worse. Torn between the unthinkable and the impossible, the only possible move―to launch an attack on all fronts, simultaneously.
When it comes to straight-up naval thrillers, Rick Campbell is the best author working today. In fact, he might be the best since Tom Clancy, which is really saying something. Using an ensemble cast, he churns out another high-quality thriller that is loaded with geopolitics and tons of action.
Release date: June 27th.
A simple mix up throws one innocent man into the crosshairs of sinister government secrets and ruthless political ambitions in New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder’s timely, electrifying new thriller.
Michael Tanner is on his way home from a business trip when he accidentally picks up the wrong MacBook in an airport security line. He doesn’t notice the mix-up until he arrives home in Boston, but by then it’s too late. Tanner’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers that the owner is a US senator and that the laptop contains top secret files.
When Senator Susan Robbins realizes she’s come back with the wrong laptop, she calls her young chief of staff, Will Abbott, in a panic. Both know that the senator broke the law by uploading classified documents onto her personal computer. If those documents wind up in the wrong hands, it could be Snowden 2.0—and her career in politics will be over. She needs to recover the MacBook before it’s too late.
When Will fails to gain Tanner’s cooperation, he is forced to take measures to retrieve the laptop before a bigger security breach is revealed. He turns to an unscrupulous “fixer” for help. In the meantime, the security agency whose files the senator has appropriated has its own methods, darker still—and suddenly Tanner finds himself a hunted man, on the run, terrified for the safety of his family, in desperate need of a plan, and able to trust no one.
Finder has long been the king of mixing conspiracies and nail-biting suspense. While The Switch isn’t quite on par with last year’s Guilty Minds, it’s a solid thriller that starts fast and never lets up. It also benefits from recent headlines about politicians mishandling classified information, making this one of Finder’s most timely novels to date.
Release date: June 13th.
Hunting a killer within New York’s urban jungle becomes the biggest case of Alexandra Cooper’s career in New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein’s latest riveting thriller.
A wild heart beats within New York City. Amid concrete and skyscrapers, the Wildlife Conservation Society works to preserve and protect the animal kingdom both within and beyond the borders of the five boroughs. But dangerous creatures don’t always have claws and fangs, as Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper and NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace know all too well. Predators lurk close to home, and in the aftermath of the shocking assassination of an iconic public figure—someone Alex has worked with for years—the trio must unravel the motive behind the shooting to discover who is the bigger snake: the killer or the victim.
The murder investigation provides more questions than answers, as a tangled mess of secrets slowly comes to light. From street gangs to secret societies, from big-game hunting to the illegal animal trade, from New York City zoos to the highest offices in city government, Alex has her work cut out for her—especially since the task force handling the investigation, led by the US Attorney, seems to be more against her than with her. As tensions rise between Alex and the feds, she must determine just how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth—and uphold the integrity of the office she has so proudly served.
Has Linda Fairstein ever written a bad book? Not by our count. In fact, she seems to only get better as time goes on. Cooper is a great character, and Fairstein has developed her skillfully over the course of eighteen novels. Her latest is no exception–and it brings plenty of thrills that’ll keep longtime fans glued to their reading chairs.
Release date: July 25th.