The Real Book Spy’s 2017 Holiday Shopping Guide

Happy holiday’s, thriller fans!

Like last year, our inbox has been flooded with people looking to get their friends, family members, or significant others the perfect book (or books, because come on, you can never have too many books) this holiday season. To help make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of options for every type of reader in your life.


Political thrillers

If you know someone really into political thrillers–especially if they’re fans of the television show 24–here’s a few titles to check out. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them.

 

ENEMY OF THE STATEEnemy of the State by Kyle Mills

“After 9/11, the United States made one of the most secretive and dangerous deals in its history. The evidence against the powerful Saudis who coordinated the attack would be buried. In return, King Faisal would promise to keep the oil flowing and deal with the conspirators in his midst.

When the king’s own nephew is discovered funding ISIS, the president suspects that the Saudis never intended to live up to their agreement. He decides that the royalty needs to be sent a message and that Mitch Rapp is just the man to deliver it. The catch? America can’t be seen moving against an ally. Rapp will be on his own. Forced to make a decision that will change his life forever, Rapp quits the CIA and assembles a group of independent contractors to help him complete the mission.

They’ve barely begun unraveling the connections between the Saudi government and ISIS when the brilliant new head of the intelligence directorate discovers their efforts. With Rapp getting too close, he threatens to go public with the details of the post-9/11 agreement between the two countries.

Facing an international incident that could end his political career, the President orders America’s intelligence agencies to join the Saudis’ effort to hunt the former CIA man down.

Rapp, supported only by a team of mercenaries with dubious allegiances, finds himself at the center of the most elaborate manhunt in history. It’s only a matter of time before he’s caught or killed. Will it be enough to turn the tables on the Saudis and clear his name?”

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Brad Thor Use of ForceUse of Force by Brad Thor

“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.”

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House of SpiesHouse of Spies by Daniel Silva

“A heart-stopping tale of suspense, Daniel Silva’s runaway bestseller, The Black Widow, was one of 2016’s biggest novels. Now, in House of Spies, Gabriel Allon is back and out for revenge – determined to hunt down the world’s most dangerous terrorist, a shadowy ISIS mastermind known only as Saladin.  

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. “

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without-warning-by-joel-c-rosenbergWithout Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg 

“As he prepares to deliver the State of the Union address, the president of the United States is convinced the Islamic State is on the run, about to be crushed by American forces once and for all. But New York Times foreign correspondent J. B. Collins tells the president he’s dead wrong. With the Middle East on fire, the Israeli prime minister dead, and Amman in ruins, Collins fears a catastrophic attack inside the American homeland is imminent. He argues that only an all-out manhunt to capture or kill Abu Kahlif―the leader of ISIS―can stop the attack and save American lives. But will the president listen and take decisive action before it’s too late?”

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Ben Coes Trap The DevilTrap the Devil by Ben Coes 

“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.”

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brad-taylor-ring-of-fireRing of Fire by Brad Taylor 

“Fifteen years ago, in order to win a contract in the Kingdom, a desperate defense contractor used a shell company to provide a bribe to a wealthy Saudi businessman. Now a powerful player in the defense industry, he panics when the Panama Papers burst onto the public scene. Providing insight into the illicit deeds of offshore financing, they could prove his undoing.

To prevent the exposure of his illegal activities, he sets in motion a plan to interdict the next leak, but he is not the only one worried about spilled secrets. The data theft has left the Taskforce potentially vulnerable, leaving a trail that could compromise the unit. Back in the good graces of the new president, Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill are ordered to interdict the next leak as well, in order to control the damage.

Unbeknownst to either group, the Saudi has been using the shell company to fund terrorists all over the world, and he has a spectacular attack planned, coinciding with the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. The information Pike and Jennifer uncover will put them on the trail of the imminent threat, but it’s one that they might be unable to stop.

Called Ring of Fire, it will cause unimaginable destruction across the United States, and the ensuing chaos and terror will distract the Taskforce from a truth no one sees: Ring of Fire was only the beginning, and the danger is far from over.”

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steve-berry-the-lost-orderThe Lost Order by Steve Berry

“The Knights of the Golden Circle was the largest and most dangerous clandestine organization in American history. It amassed billions in stolen gold and silver, all buried in hidden caches across the United States. Since 1865 treasure hunters have searched, but little of that immense wealth has ever been found.

Now, one hundred and sixty years later, two factions of what remains of the Knights of the Golden Circle want that lost treasure―one to spend it for their own ends, the other to preserve it.

Thrust into this battle is former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone, whose connection to the knights is far deeper than he ever imagined. At the center is the Smithsonian Institution―linked to the knights, its treasure, and Malone himself through an ancestor, a Confederate spy named Angus “Cotton” Adams, whose story holds the key to everything. Complicating matters are the political ambitions of a reckless Speaker of the House and the bitter widow of a United States Senator, who together are planning radical changes to the country. And while Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt face the past, ex-president Danny Daniels and Stephanie Nelle confront a new and unexpected challenge, a threat that may cost one of them their life.

From the backrooms of the Smithsonian to the deepest woods in rural Arkansas, and finally up into the rugged mountains of northern New Mexico, The Lost Order by Steve Berry is a perilous adventure into our country’s dark past, and a potentially even darker future.”

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oath-of-honor-matthew-betleyOath of Honor by Matthew Betley 

“A break-neck, edge-of-your-seat thriller that moves from a resurgent Russian threat in the Aleutian Islands to North Korean spy ships to secret Sudanese prisons as former Marines Logan West and John Quick, now members of an FBI special task force, uncover a global conspiracy that threatens America’s position in the current international balance of power.

Logan West and John Quick are sent to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to investigate the possible presence of a Russian black ops team on a mission to steal United States next-generation technology. The resulting violent confrontation triggers a global search for the stolen technology and threatens to pit the US against China in a looming shadow war and technology race. As Logan and John—joined by the chief of the CIA’s Special Operations Group, Cole Matthews—battle their way through Spain, the Mediterranean, and ultimately, across Sudan, an imminent threat arises at home that FBI Deputy Director Mike Benson must face and determine if it is part of the deadly global conspiracy.”

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 Power and empireTom Clancy Power and Empire 

“Jack Ryan is dealing with an aggressive challenge from the Chinese government. Pawns are being moved around a global chessboard: an attack on an oil platform in Africa, a terrorist strike on an American destroyer and a storm tossed American spy ship that may fall into Chinese hands. It seems that President Zhao is determined to limit Ryan’s choices in the upcoming G20 negotiations.

But there are hints that there’s even more going on behind the scenes. A routine traffic stop in rural Texas leads to a shocking discovery—a link to a Chinese spy who may have intelligence that lays bare an unexpected revelation. John Clark and the members of the Campus are in close pursuit, but can they get the information in time?”

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51-qrbwzx-L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Tom Clancy Point of Contact 

“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.” 

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Mystery & Crime 

If you’re shopping for a reader who loves enjoys smart, suspenseful stories–all of these titles fit the bill. 

 

Don Winslow The ForceThe Force by Don Winslow

“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.

Based on years of research inside the NYPD, this is the great cop novel of our time and a book only Don Winslow could write: a haunting and heartbreaking story of greed and violence, inequality, and race, crime and injustice, retribution and redemption that reveals the seemingly insurmountable tensions between the police and the diverse citizens they serve. A searing portrait of a city and a courageous, heroic, and deeply flawed man who stands at the edge of its abyss, The Force is a masterpiece of urban living full of shocking and surprising twists, leavened by flashes of dark humor, a morally complex and utterly riveting dissection of modern American society and the controversial issues confronting and dividing us today.”

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cj-box-vicious-cirlce-updated-cover-artVicious Circle by C.J. Box

The plane circled in the dark. Joe Pickett could just make out down below a figure in the snow and timber, and then three other figures closing in. There was nothing he could do about it. And Joe knew that he might be their next target.

The Cates family had always been a bad lot. Game warden Joe Pickett had been able to strike a fierce blow against them when the life of his daughter April had been endangered, but he’d always wondered if there’d be a day of reckoning. He’s not wondering any longer. Joe knows they’re coming after him and his family now. He has his friend Nate by his side, but will that be enough this time? All he can do is prepare…and wait for them to make the first move.”

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519Wh5sxVrL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly 

“Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of pill mills and prescription drug abuse.

Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren’t keen to protect his reputation. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison.

The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.”

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(Bonus: You can also give the gift of Bosch, the hit television show starring Titus Welliver, on DVD or on Amazon Prime.) 

 

Meg Gardiner UNSUBUNSUB by Meg Gardiner 

“Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?”

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Hamilton S 2Exit Strategy by Steve Hamilton 

“Nick Mason has been given a true mission impossible: Infiltrate WITSEC, the top-secret federal witness-protection program that has never been compromised, locate the three men who put his boss Darius Cole behind bars for life, and kill them.

But first he has to find them—they’re ghost prisoners locked down around the clock in classified “deep black” locations by an battalion of heavily armed U.S. marshals charged with protecting them—and the clock is ticking. Cole is appealing his conviction, and these witnesses are either his ticket to freedom or the final nail in his coffin. If they testify, Darius Cole will never step foot in the outside world again. If they are killed, he will walk out a free man.  

As he risks everything to complete his mission, Mason finds himself being hunted by the very man he replaced, the ruthless assassin who once served, then betrayed, Darius Cole. Rather than waiting to be Mason’s next victim, he has escaped witness protection to hunt down and kill Mason himself. 

In an action-packed journey that leads from a high-security military installation in the Appalachian Mountains to a secret underground bunker hidden far below the streets of New York City, Nick Mason will have to become, more than ever before, the lethal weapon that Darius Cole created.”

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western starThe Western Star by Craig Johnson 

“Sheriff Walt Longmire is enjoying a celebratory beer after a weapons certification at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy when a younger sheriff confronts him with a photograph of twenty-five armed men standing in front of a Challenger steam locomotive. It takes him back to when, fresh from the battlefields of Vietnam, then-deputy Walt accompanied his mentor Lucian to the annual Wyoming Sheriff’s Association junket held on the excursion train known as the Western Star, which ran the length of Wyoming from Cheyenne to Evanston and back. Armed with his trusty Colt .45 and a paperback of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, the young Walt was ill-prepared for the machinations of twenty-four veteran sheriffs, let alone the cavalcade of curious characters that accompanied them. 
 
The photograph—along with an upcoming parole hearing for one of the most dangerous men Walt has encountered in a lifetime of law enforcement—hurtles the sheriff into a head-on collision of past and present, placing him and everyone he cares about squarely on the tracks of runaway revenge.”

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(Bonus: Longmire is also available on DVD and Netflix.)

 

Linda Fairstein - DeadfallDeadfall by Linda Fairstein 

“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.”

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Storey 2A Promise to Kill by Erik Storey

“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.”

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Spy Thrillers 

007 who? These titles feature highly-trained spies who will thrill readers from start to finish. 

 

Hurwitz 2The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz 

“Who is THE NOWHERE MAN?

He is spoken about only in whispers. He comes to those in greatest need of his protection. There is no enemy he cannot fight. He lives by his own code. He takes no prisoners. His name is Evan Smoak.

Taken from a group home when he was young, Evan was raised and trained as an Orphan, an off-the-books black box program designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence asset: An assassin. Evan was Orphan X―until he used everything he’d learned to disappear and reinvent himself as the Nowhere Man. But now, his new life has been interrupted by a surprise attack from an unlikely source. Captured, drugged, and spirited off to a remote location, Evan finds himself heavily guarded from everything he knows. His captors think they have him trapped and helpless in a virtual cage, but they do not know that they’re dealing with one of the deadliest, most resourceful men on earth.”

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mark-greaney-gunmetal-grayGunmetal Gray by Mark Greaney 

“After five years on the run Court Gentry is back on the inside at the CIA. But his first mission makes him wish he had stayed on the outs when a pair of Chinese agents try to take him down in Hong Kong. Normally the Chinese prefer to stay eyes-only on foreign agents. So why are they on such high alert? 
 
Court’s high stakes hunt for answers takes him across Southeast Asia and leads
to his old friend, Donald Fitzroy, who is being held hostage by the Chinese. Fitzroy was contracted to find Fan Jiang, a former member of an ultra-secret computer warfare unit responsible for testing China’s own security systems. And it seems Fan may have been too good at his job—because China wants him dead.
 
The first two kill teams Fitzroy sent to find Fan have disappeared and the Chinese have decided to “supervise” the next operation. What they don’t know is that Gentry’s mission is to find Fan first and get whatever intel he has to the US. 
 
After that, all he has to do is get out alive…”

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Red SkyRed Sky By Chris Goff

“When People’s Republic Flight 91 crashes in northeastern Ukraine with a U.S. diplomatic agent onboard, U.S. Diplomatic Security Service Agent Raisa Jordan is sent to investigate. The agent was escorting a prisoner home from Guangzhou, China, along with sensitive documents, and it quickly becomes apparent that the plane was intentionally downed. Was it to silence the two Americans onboard?

To avoid a diplomatic incident, Jordan must discover what the Americans knew that was worth killing hundreds to cover up. With Russia deeply entangled in the Ukraine and the possibility that China could be hiding reasons to bring down its own plane, tensions are high.

As international relations and even more lives hang in the balance, Jordan races to stop a new Cold War. Red Sky, Chris Goff’s pulse-pounding follow-up to Dark Waters, is yet another white-knuckle joyride for fans of Gayle Lynds.”

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charles-cumming-a-divided-spyA Divided Spy by Charles Cummings 

“Thomas Kell thought he was done with spying. A former MI6 officer, he devoted his life to the Service, but it has left him with nothing but grief and a simmering anger against the Kremlin.

Then Kell is offered an unexpected chance at revenge. Taking the law into his own hands, he embarks on a mission to recruit a top Russian spy who is in possession of a terrifying secret. As Kell tracks his man from Moscow to London, he finds himself in a high stakes game of cat and mouse in which it becomes increasingly difficult to know who is playing whom.

As the mission reaches boiling point, the threat of a catastrophic terrorist attack looms over Britain. Kell is faced with an impossible choice. Loyalty to MI6―or to his own conscience?”

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kj-howe-the-feedom-brokerThe Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe

“There are twenty-five elite kidnap and ransom (K&R) specialists in the world. Only one is a woman: Thea Paris. And she’s the best in the business.

Twenty years ago, a terrified young boy was abducted in the middle of the night by masked intruders while his sister watched, paralyzed with fear. Returned after a harrowing nine months with his captors, Thea’s brother has never been the same.

This life-shattering experience drove Thea to become what she is today: a world-class freedom broker. Most hostage-recovery work is done at the negotiation table, but when diplomacy fails, Thea leads Quantum Security International’s black-ops team on highly sensitive rescue missions to political hot spots around the globe.

Her childhood nightmare resurfaces when her oil magnate father, Christos Paris, is snatched from his yacht off Santorini on his sixtieth birthday, days away from the biggest deal of his career. The brutal kidnappers left the entire crew slaughtered in their wake, but strangely, there are no ransom demands, no political appeals, no prisoner release requests-just obscure and foreboding texts written in Latin sent from burner phones.

Knowing the survival window for kidnap victims is small, Thea throws herself into the most urgent and challenging rescue mission of her life-but will she be able to prevent this kidnapping from destroying her family for good?”

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51tfghw+-FL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The Spy Across the Table by Barry Lancet 

“In this exciting international thriller featuring Japanese antiques art dealer and PI Jim Brodie, a double-murder at the Kennedy Center forces Brodie into a dangerous game of espionage—putting him in the crosshairs of the Chinese, North Korean, and American governments.

Jim Brodie is an antiques dealer, Japan expert, and second-generation private investigator. When two theater friends are murdered backstage at a Kennedy Center performance in Washington, DC, he’s devastated—and determined to hunt down the killer. He’s not the only one.

After the attack, Brodie is summoned to the White House. The First Lady was the college roommate of one of the victims, and she enlists Brodie—off the books—to use his Japanese connections to track down the assassin. Homeland Security head Tom Swelley is furious that the White House is meddling and wants Brodie off the case. Why? For the same reason a master Chinese spy known only as Zhou, one of the most dangerous men alive, appears on the scene: Those murders were no random act of violence.

Brodie flies to Tokyo to attend the second of two funerals, when his friend’s daughter Anna is kidnapped during the ceremony. It is then Brodie realizes that the murders were simply bait to draw her out of hiding. Anna, it seems, is the key architect of a top-secret NSA program that gathers the personal secrets of America’s most influential leaders. Secrets so damaging that North Korea and China will stop at nothing to get them.”

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51ygwSwlrBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Zero Sum by Barry Eisler 

“Returning to Tokyo in 1982 after a decade of mercenary work in the Philippines, a young John Rain learns that the killing business is now controlled by Victor, a half-Russian, half-Japanese sociopath who has ruthlessly eliminated all potential challengers. Victor gives Rain a choice: kill a government minister or die a grisly death. But the best route to the minister is through his gorgeous Italian wife, Maria, a route that puts Rain on a collision course not only with Victor but with the shadowy forces behind the Russian’s rise to dominance—and the longings of Rain’s own conflicted heart.

It’s a battle between kingpin and newcomer, master and apprentice, a zero-sum contest that can only end with one man dead and the other the world’s foremost assassin.”

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tom-wood-the-final-hourThe Final Hour by Tom Wood

SOMETIMES THE ONLY WAY TO LIVE…

Victor is the ultimate predator. He surfaces to kill, then disappears into thin air. But he’s a disposable commodity for the powerful people he works for—both the good guys and the bad. And no one has his back. Especially now that doing black bag jobs for the CIA has put a target on his head…

…IS TO DIE.

Antonio Alvarez, a high-ranking US intelligence official, is determined to clean house and find the legendary killer who slipped away from him during an operation in Paris. There’s only one person Victor can turn to for help: a lethal female assassin whose life he once saved. And now Victor wants her to return the favor—by killing him…. “

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Psychological Thrillers 

If the reader in your life is a fan of mind-bending, Gone Girl-like thrillers, here are a few of the year’s best titles. 

 

BlameBlame by Jeff Abbott 

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…

Don’t miss Jeff Abbott’s most chilling thriller to date–perfect for readers of The Girl on the TrainGone Girl, or The Woman in Cabin 10.”

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514Ma+a5zQL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben

“Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for. 

When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.”

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brad-parks-say-nothingSay Nothing by Brad Parks 

“Judge Scott Sampson doesn’t brag about having a perfect life, but the evidence is clear: A prestigious job. A loving marriage. A pair of healthy children. Then a phone call begins every parent’s most chilling nightmare. Scott’s six-year-old twins, Sam and Emma, have been taken. The judge must rule exactly as instructed in a drug case he is about to hear. If he refuses, the consequences for the children will be dire. 

For Scott and his wife Alison, the kidnapper’s call is only the beginning of a twisting, gut-churning ordeal of blackmail, deceit, and terror. Through it all, they will stop at nothing to get their children back, no matter the cost to themselves . . . or to each other.”

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51hlde16ujl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

“No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?”

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Kids picks 

Believe it or not, some of today’s top thriller writers are also publishing kids books and YA thrillers. Share your favorite author with little ones this holiday season! 

 

Meltzer.jpgI Am Gandhi by Brad Meltzer 

“Gandhi’s peaceful revolution is the focus of this picture book, part of the inspiring New York Times bestselling biography series about heroes.

As a young man in India, Gandhi saw firsthand how people were treated unfairly. Refusing to accept injustice, he came up with a brilliant way to fight back through quiet, peaceful protest. He took his methods with him from South Africa back to India, where he led a nonviolent revolution that freed his country from British rule. Through his calm, steady heroism, Gandhi changed everything for India and inspired civil rights movements all over the world, proving that the smallest of us can be the most powerful.

This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great—the traits that kids can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. Each book tells the story of one of America’s icons in a lively, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers and that always includes the hero’s childhood influences. At the back are an excellent timeline and photos.”

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(Bonus: This book is actually part of a series Meltzer writes about how ordinary people can change the world. My kids are huge fans of these books, which are both fun and informative. See the rest of the I Am books here.) 

 

Last Chance.jpgLast Chance by Gregg Hurwitz 

The Rain brothers fight for the survival of humanity in Last Chance, the thrilling sequel to New York Times bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz’s YA debut, The Rains.

The New York Times bestselling author of Orphan X, Gregg Hurwitz, returns to Creek’s Cause to follow the Rains brothers as they fight an alien threat that has transformed everyone over the age of 18 into ferocious, zombie-like beings, in this thrilling sequel to The Rains.

Battling an enemy not of this earth, Chance and Patrick become humanity’s only hope for salvation.

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Width of the world.jpgThe Width of the World by David Baldacci 

This is it. Vega Jane’s time. She’s been lied to her whole life, so she breaks away from Wormwood, the only home she’s ever known, in search of the truth. She battles horrors to fight her way across the Quag with her best friend, Delph, and her mysterious canine, Harry Two. Against all odds, they survive unimaginable dangers and make it through.

And into a new world that’s even worse. Not because deadly beasts roam the cobblestones, but because the people are enslaved but don’t even know it. It’s up to Vega, Delph, Harry Two and their new comrade, Petra, to take up the fight against a foe that’s unrivaled in savagery and cunning. Not only is Vega’s life and the lives of her friends on the line, but whether she triumphs or fails will determine whether a whole world survives. 

Beloved author David Baldacci delivers a shockwave of destruction and shattering revelations in The Width of the World, book three in his instant #1 global bestselling Vega Jane series.

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  • Alan Jaffe

    I just finished “ a promise to kill”by Erik Storey. A good, fast paced book. I rate it 3 1/2 stars.

  • David Lerch

    Do you need to read the previous Bosch novels to enjoy his latest? My dad would definately be into the book but he hasn’t read anything by him.

    • The Real Book Spy

      David, you do NOT need to read the previous books to enjoy and understand this one. Tell your dad happy reading from me! Happy Holidays!

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