Happy New Year!
2017 was an epic year for thriller fans. . . most of the genre’s top authors brought their A-game, while several debut writers chipped in with hard-hitting, nail-biting stories. Naturally, as we turn the page to 2018, the question is: Can 2018 top 2017?
That’s tough to answer this early but, honestly, the chances are very good that this year will, in fact, be even stronger. I’ve been reading 2018 titles since around August of 2017, and I’m really impressed with the number of high-quality thrillers set to hit stores.
Below, we’ve highlighted a number of top must-read thrillers set to come out this year. Browse the list (in order of publication date) below and let us know what books you’re most excited to get your hands on in 2018!
Note: For more info or to pre-order, click on the book’s title!
Robicheaux by James Lee Burke
Release date: January 2nd
Plot Info: “James Lee Burke’s most beloved character, Dave Robicheaux, returns in this gritty, atmospheric mystery set in the towns and backwoods of Louisiana.
“DAVE ROBICHEAUX IS A HAUNTED MAN.
“Between his recurrent nightmares about Vietnam, his battle with alcoholism, and the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts at Spanish Lake live on the edge of his vision.
“During a murder investigation, Dave Robicheaux discovers he may have committed the homicide he’s investigating, one which involved the death of the man who took the life of Dave’s beloved wife. As he works to clear his name and make sense of the murder, Robicheaux encounters a cast of characters and a resurgence of dark social forces that threaten to destroy all of those whom he loves. What emerges is not only a propulsive and thrilling novel, but a harrowing study of America: this nation’s abiding conflict between a sense of past grandeur and a legacy of shame, its easy seduction by demagogues and wealth, and its predilection for violence and revenge. James Lee Burke has returned with one of America’s favorite characters, in his most searing, most prescient novel to date.”
Why we’re excited about it: It’s been almost four years since James Lee Burke’s last Robicheaux novel. Anytime one of the genre’s most talented authors releases a new book after an extended absence, it’s a big deal. Plus, Burke really delivered with this one. I’ve read it. . . and it’s amazing.
Operator Down by Brad Taylor
Release date: January 9th
Plot info: “It was to be a simple mission. Nothing more than assessing whether a merchant in the fabled Israeli Diamond Exchange was involved in a scheme that could potentially embarrass the state of Israel. But nothing is ever simple in the world of intelligence, as Aaron Bergman—a former leader of an elite direct action team under the Mossad—should have known. Executing the operation as a contractor, a cutout that gave the State of Israel plausible deniability, he disappears without a trace.
“Pike Logan and his team know none of this, but he’s tracking an American arms dealer in Tel Aviv who may—or may not—be attempting to sell sensitive nuclear weapons components to the highest bidder. When Pike’s team breaks up an attempt at killing Shoshana, Aaron’s partner, they stumble upon much more than they expected—a concerted conspiracy to topple a democratic African country.
“Beginning to untangle a web that extends through both the American and Israeli intelligence community, Pike is forced to choose between his Israeli friends and his Taskforce mission, even as the execution of the coup begins to form. At the heart of it is Aaron, and his disappearance is the one mistake the plotters made. Because Shoshana is the greatest killing machine the Mossad has ever produced, and she will stop at nothing to help Aaron, even if it means killing Pike Logan.”
Why we’re excited about it: Brad Taylor writes fiction, but’s he’s lived the life of a special ops soldier for real. Mr. Delta Force is more than just an ass-kicking operator, he’s one of the best authors in this genre with a hit, New York Times bestselling franchise that just keeps getting better. How many people can say that?! Brad Taylor is the man. Operator Down is awesome, and, as a bonus, fan-favorites Aaron and Shoshana (miss Dark Angel herself) are both back for this one.
Light It Up by Nick Petrie
Release date: January 16th
Plot info: “Combat veteran Peter Ash leaves a simple life rebuilding hiking trails in Oregon to help his good friend Henry Nygaard, whose daughter runs a Denver security company that protects cash-rich cannabis entrepreneurs from modern-day highwaymen. Henry’s son-in-law and the company’s operations manager were carrying a large sum of client money when their vehicle vanished without a trace, leaving Henry’s daughter and her company vulnerable.
“When Peter is riding shotgun on another cash run, the cargo he’s guarding comes under attack and he narrowly escapes with his life. As the assaults escalate, Peter has to wonder: for criminals, this sophisticated, is it really just about the cash?
“After finding himself on the defensive for too long, Peter marshals his resources and begins to dig for the truth in a scheme that is bigger—and far more lucrative—than he’d ever anticipated. With so much on the line, his enemy will not give up quietly…and now he has Peter directly in his sights.”
Why we’re excited about it: Petrie’s Reacher-like character has turned more than a few heads. Readers have raved about his first two books, and so have critics. Light It Up opens with a great chase scene that sets the tone for the rest of the novel. Action, suspense, and a compelling, realistically-flawed character make this book another winner from Nick Petrie.
Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
Release date: January 23rd
Plot info: “In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, CIA analyst Vivian Miller uncovers a dangerous secret that will threaten her job, her family—and her life. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.
“After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—is threatened.
“Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?”
Why we’re excited about it: Think Gone Girl meets the Angelina Jolie film Salt. Karen Cleveland knows what she’s talking about, and her thrilling debut novel will stun readers and leave them picking their jaws up off the floor. IN some ways, Cleveland reads like the second coming of Gayle Lynds, the reigning queen of spy thrillers. Need to Know is a fantastic domestic thriller set in the world of spies, and one of the top debut novels of 2018.
Cutting Edge by Ward Larsen
Plot info: “A helicopter crash alters a Coast Guard rescue swimmer’s life forever in Cutting Edge, a suspense thriller by USA Today bestselling author Ward Larsen
“Trey DeBolt is a young man at the crest of life. His role as a Coast Guard rescue swimmer in Alaska offers him a rewarding job and limitless adventure. Then a tragic accident alters his life: during a harrowing rescue, his helicopter goes down.
“Severely injured, DeBolt awakens in a seaside cabin in Maine, thousands of miles from where the accident occurred. His lone nurse lets slip that he has been officially declared dead, lost in the crash. Back in Alaska, however, Coast Guard investigator Shannon Lund uncovers evidence that DeBolt might still be alive. Her search quickly becomes personal, but before she can intervene, chaos erupts outside a cabin in the wilds of Maine.
“The nurse who has been treating DeBolt is brutally killed by military-trained assassins. DeBolt is only saved when a bizarre vision guides him to safety. Soon other images appear, impossible revelations that are unfailing in their accuracy. As he runs for his life, DeBolt discovers he has been drawn into an ultra-secret government project. The power it bestows is boundless, both a gift and a curse. Yet one thing is certain: Trey DeBolt has abilities no human has ever known.”
Why we’re excited about it: Larsen’s best series is, without question, his David Slaton franchise. Slaton, an Israeli assassin, is a compelling protagonist, and Larsen’s series is seriously underrated. That said, Trey DeBolt might give Slaton a run for his money in the future because Larsen’s new hero is fascinating. This genre is full of assassins, spies, special operators, etc. . . so the fact that DeBolt is a Coast Guard rescue swimmer makes him unique. The story is fresh and original, with shades of Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity. While initial similarities are obvious, DeBolt ain’t Bourne, and Larsen takes his plot in a totally different direction.
Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz
Release date: January 30th
Plot info: “Taken from a group home at age twelve, Evan Smoak was raised and trained as an off-the-books government assassin: Orphan X. After he broke with the Orphan Program, Evan disappeared and reinvented himself as the Nowhere Man, a man spoken about only in whispers and dedicated to helping the truly desperate.
“But this time, the voice on the other end is Jack Johns, the man who raised and trained him, the only father Evan has ever known. Secret government forces are busy trying to scrub the remaining assets and traces of the Orphan Program and they have finally tracked down Jack. With little time remaining, Jack gives Evan his last assignment: find and protect his last protégé and recruit for the program.
“But Evan isn’t the only one after this last Orphan―the new head of the Orphan Program, Van Sciver, is mustering all the assets at his disposal to take out both Evan (Orphan X) and the target he is trying to protect.”
Why we’re excited about it: Evan Smoak might be the best new character since Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne. After two stellar books, Hurwitz delivers his most emotionally-charged story yet, when Evan is forced to deal with a painful death while also working a dangerous mission. Several things set this franchise apart from others, but one of the main differences is that Hurwitz doesn’t just write new thrillers for the sake of fulfilling a contract. With each book, Hurwitz finds new reasons to continue to tell Evan’s story, and Hellbent is his finest work to date.
Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner
Release date: January 30th
Plot info: “In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.
“Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style–posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.
“To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.”
Why we’re excited about it: Meg Gardiner started something special with 2017’s UNSUB, one of the truly great novels of the year. It also featured one of the best plot twists, giving Gardiner room to work moving forward. In this book, Caitlin Hendrix is adjusting to life with the FBI when she’s sent along with her unit to Texas, where a serial killer is running rampant. Gardiner knows how to entertain and terrify at the same time, making Into the Black Nowhere a scary-good read.
The Deceivers by Alex Berenson
Release date: February 6th
Plot info: “It was supposed to be a terrorist sting. The guns were supposed to be disabled. Then why was there so much blood?
“The target was the American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas Mavericks. The FBI had told Ahmed Shakir that his drug bust would go away if he helped them, and they’d supply all the weaponry, carefully removing the firing pins before the main event. It never occurred to Ahmed to doubt them, until it was too late.
“When John Wells is called to Washington, he’s sure it’s to investigate the carnage in Dallas, but it isn’t. The former CIA director, now president, Vinnie Duto has plenty of people working in Texas. He wants Wells to go to Colombia. An old asset there has information to share–and it will lead Wells to the deadliest mission of his life, an extraordinary confluence of sleeper cells, sniper teams, false flag operations, double agents high in the U.S. government–and a Russian plot to take over the government itself. If it succeeds, what happened in Texas will be only a prelude.”
Why we’re excited about it: Sadly, due to recent headlines, this might actually be Alex Berenson’s most timely novel yet. After the most deadly shooting in U.S. history, the president tasks John Wells with finding answers. . . it doesn’t take long, though, for Wells to run into trouble once he starts poking around. In addition to his mission, Wells is trying to settle into his role as a father — both to his grown son and his new daughter — but balancing both proves to be harder than he thought. The emotional pull adds to the action-packed plot, making Berenson’s The Deceivers a solid pick for thriller fans everywhere.
Look For Me by Lisa Gardner
Release date: February 6th
Plot info: “In #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s latest twisty thrill ride, Detective D. D. Warren and Find Her‘s Flora Dane return in a race against the clock to either save a young girl’s life . . . or bring her to justice.
“The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.”
Why we’re excited about it: Lisa Gardner’s last two books have been incredible. She rides that hot streak into 2018 when Look For Me hits bookstores. Returning is Detective D.D. Warren and Flora Dane, who was in Find Her, to track down a young girl who might be a victim. . . or the total opposite. As always, Gardner packs plenty of suspense into the story, which moves fast and will keep readers glued to their seats.
The Kremlin’s Candidate by Jason Matthews
Release date: February 13th
Plot info: “In the final, thrilling installment of the Red Sparrow Trilogy, Russian counterintelligence chief Dominika Egorova and her lover, CIA agent Nate Nash, must find a Russian agent about to be appointed to a very high office in the US government.
“With a plot ripped from tomorrow’s headlines, Jason Matthews’s high-powered, seductive third novel not only continues the dangerous entanglements of Dominika and Nate but reveals with chilling authenticity how Russian espionage can place agents in the most sensitive positions of power. The novel opens with Russian president Vladimir Putin planning the covert assassination of a high-ranking US official with the intention of replacing him with a mole whom Russian intelligence has cultivated for more than fifteen years.
“Catching wind of this plot, Dominika, Nate, and their CIA colleagues must unmask the traitor before he or she is able to reveal that Dominika has been spying for years on behalf of the CIA. Any leak, any misstep, will expose her as a CIA asset and result in a one-way trip to a Moscow execution cellar. Along the way, Matthews, a thirty-three-year veteran of the CIA and winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, sets vivid, unforgettable scenes in Moscow; Washington, DC; Hong Kong; New York; the Sudan; and Turkey, and introduces two cold-blooded killers: Iosip Blokhin, a brilliant Spetsnaz military officer, and Grace Gao, ravishing Chinese spy, master of Kundalini yoga, and Beijing-trained seductress.
“Ultimately, the lines of danger converge on the spectacular billion-dollar presidential palace on the Black Sea during a power weekend with Putin’s inner circle. Does Nate sacrifice himself to save Dominika? Does she forfeit herself to protect Nate? Do they go down together?”
Why we’re excited about it: Honestly, it’s kind of sad that Jason Matthews’ Red Sparrow Trilogy is coming to an end. That said, Matthews delivers in a big way. Readers will close this book satisfied, even if they aren’t ready to see this franchise go. Without question, this is one of the best spy series in the modern era. . . and while it’s been a few years since book two, Palace of Treason, came out, Matthews’ latest thriller is worth the wait and then some.
Poison by John Lescroart
Release date: February 13th
Plot info: “In this riveting new book by “master of the legal thriller” (Chicago Sun-Times) John Lescroart, attorney Dismas Hardy investigates the murder of a wealthy man whose heirs are all potential suspects.
“Finally recovered from two glancing gunshot wounds, Dismas Hardy is looking forward to easing into retirement and reconnecting with his family. But he is pulled back into the courtroom when Grant Wagner, the steely owner of a successful family business, is murdered. The prime suspect is Wagner’s bookkeeper Abby Jarvis, a former client of Hardy’s, who had been receiving large sums of cash under-the-table from the company—but she insists that she’s innocent.
“Preparing for trial, Dismas investigates the Wagner clan, discovering dark, twisted secrets, jealous siblings, gold-digging girlfriends, betrayals, and blackmail. The closer he gets to the Wagners, the clearer it becomes that Dismas has a target painted on his back. With Lescroart’s razor-sharp dialogue and whip-smart plotting, Poison is a nail-biter that will keep you guessing until the very last page.”
Why we’re excited about it: After not releasing anything in 2016 and then giving readers a gripping stand-alone thriller (Fatal) in 2017, New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart revisits his fan-favorite character, attorney Dismas Hardy, for the first time since 2015 (The Fall) with his new novel, Poison. It’s nice to have Dismas back, and Lescroart proves he hasn’t lost a step by putting out a very solid story about a woman accused of poisoning her boss. Expect twists and turns, but Lescroart’s light-hearted approach and deftly placed humor make this one a must for suspense and legal thriller fans.
Agent In Place by Mark Greaney
Release date: February 20th
Plot info: “Fresh off his first mission back with the CIA, Court Gentry secures what seems like a cut-and-dried contract job: A group of expats in Paris hires him to kidnap the mistress of Syrian dictator Ahmed Azzam to get intel that could destabilize Azzam’s regime.
“Court delivers Bianca Medina to the rebels, but his job doesn’t end there. She soon reveals that she has given birth to a son, the only heir to Azzam’s rule–and a potent threat to the Syrian president’s powerful wife.
“Now, to get Bianca’s cooperation, Court must bring her son out of Syria alive. With the clock ticking on Bianca’s life, he goes off the grid in a free-fire zone in the Middle East–and winds up in the right place at the right time to take a shot at bringing one of the most brutal dictatorships on earth to a close…”
Why we’re excited about it: Court “The Gray Man” Gentry is our reigning ‘Baddest Man’ in the thriller genre right now. Gentry sits atop our 2017 list, and there’s a strong chance he’ll retain his crown in 2018, thanks to Mark Greaney’s phenomenal new novel, Agent in Place. Greaney breathed new life into this franchise with Back Blast (2016), and ever since then, he’s been one of the most consistent writers in the genre. Agent is quite possibly his best thriller yet, and a must-read for fans of Robert Ludlum, Vince Flynn, and Brad Thor.
The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joel C. Rosenberg
Release date: March 6th
Plot info: “New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg returns with a high-stakes political thriller set in Russia.
“Everything he learned to protect the president, he must use to take out theirs.
“With an American president distracted by growing tensions in North Korea and Iran, an ominous new threat is emerging in Moscow. A czar is rising in the Kremlin, a Russian president feverishly consolidating power, silencing his opposition, and plotting a brazen and lightning-fast military strike that could rupture the NATO alliance and bring Washington and Moscow to the brink of nuclear war. But in his blind spot is the former U.S. Secret Service agent, Marcus Ryker, trained to protect but ready to kill to save his country.”
Why we’re excited about it: Rosenberg has a knack for writing fiction that quickly becomes a reality. He’s done it multiple times, and if you’re a political thriller fan who thinks about what the world might look like in just a couple of years, pick this book up for a peek into the future. After a couple of trilogies focusing on the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, Rosenberg turns his attention to Russia with The Kremlin Conspiracy, one of his best books yet. While the first act is a tad slower than his fans might expect, readers will soon realize it was all necessary because Rosenberg eventually pulls the rug out from underneath you. . . He absolutely crushed this book!
The Terminal List by Jack Carr
Release date: March 6th
Plot info: “A Navy SEAL has nothing left to live for and everything to kill for after he discovers that the American government is behind the deaths of his team in this ripped-from-the-headlines political thriller.
“On his last combat deployment, Lieutenant Commander James Reece’s entire team was killed in a catastrophic ambush that also claimed the lives of the aircrew sent in to rescue them. But when those dearest to him are murdered on the day of his homecoming, Reece discovers that this was not an act of war by a foreign enemy but a conspiracy that runs to the highest levels of government.
“Now, with no family and free from the military’s command structure, Reece applies the lessons that he’s learned in over a decade of constant warfare toward avenging the deaths of his family and teammates. With breathless pacing and relentless suspense, Reece ruthlessly targets his enemies in the upper echelons of power without regard for the laws of combat or the rule of law.
“An intoxicating thriller that cautions against the seduction of absolute power and those who would do anything to achieve it, The Terminal List is perfect for fans of Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Stephen Hunter, and Nelson DeMille.”
Why we’re excited about it: Debut thrillers this good don’t come around very often. Not since Vince Flynn’s Term Limits has a first-time author delivered such a daring, well-written, and action-packed thriller. Interestingly, Jack Carr’s The Terminal List is published by the same publisher that the late Vince Flynn was with. A true giant of the genre, comparing anyone, especially a new author, to Vince Flynn is a tall order. . . but Carr’s debut really is that strong.
The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer
Release date: March 6th
Plot info: “Who is Nola Brown?
Nola is a mystery
Nola is trouble.
And Nola is supposed to be dead.
“Her body was found on a plane that mysteriously fell from the sky as it left a secret military base in the Alaskan wilderness. Her commanding officer verifies she’s dead. The US government confirms it. But Jim “Zig” Zigarowski has just found out the truth: Nola is still alive. And on the run.
“Zig works at Dover Air Force Base, helping put to rest the bodies of those who die on top-secret missions. Nola was a childhood friend of Zig’s daughter and someone who once saved his daughter’s life. So when Zig realizes Nola is still alive, he’s determined to find her. Yet as Zig digs into Nola’s past, he learns that trouble follows Nola everywhere she goes.
“Nola is the US Army’s artist-in-residence-a painter and trained soldier who rushes into battle, making art from war’s aftermath and sharing observations about today’s wars that would otherwise go overlooked. On her last mission, Nola saw something nobody was supposed to see, earning her an enemy unlike any other, one who will do whatever it takes to keep Nola quiet.
“Together, Nola and Zig will either reveal a sleight of hand being played at the highest levels of power or die trying to uncover the US Army’s most mysterious secret-a centuries-old conspiracy that traces back through history to the greatest escape artist of all: Harry Houdini.”
Why we’re excited about it: Brad Meltzer is always a sure thing when it comes to fun, entertaining thrillers that will teach you something along the way. Nobody mixes historical fact with fiction better than Meltzer, who didn’t release a new book in 2017. His last book, House of Secrets (2016), was phenomenal. While this book isn’t part of that new series (starring Hazel Nash) or his popular Beecher White series, it’s still one of the most anticipated books of the year. . . circle March 6th on the calendar and get this book pre-ordered!
The Disappeared by C.J. Box
Release date: March 20th
Plot info: “Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett has two lethal cases to contend with in the electrifying new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author C. J. Box.
“Wyoming’s new governor isn’t sure what to make of Joe Pickett, but he has a job for him that is extremely delicate. A prominent female British executive never came home from the high-end guest ranch she was visiting, and the British Embassy is pressing hard. Pickett knows that happens sometimes–these ranches are stocked with handsome young cowboys, and “ranch romances” aren’t uncommon. But no sign of her months after she vanished? That suggests something else.
“At the same time, his friend Nate Romanowski has asked Joe to intervene with the feds on behalf of falconers who can no longer hunt with eagles even though their permits are in order. Who is blocking the falconers and why? The more he investigates both cases, the more someone wants him to go away. Is it because of the missing woman or because he’s become Nate’s advocate? Or are they somehow connected? The answers, when they come, will be even worse than he’d imagined.”
Why we’re excited about it: In the spirit of honesty, I confess that this is one of my all-time favorite series. Like, ever. Top three, easy. You won’t find a better-developed cast of characters in print today. Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is an honest (almost to a fault at times), do-good, hard-working, average kind of guy. Box has developed him masterfully, taking readers along for the ride over the past sixteen years. In 2017’s Vicious Circle, it was noted that Joe’s oldest daughter, Sheridan, was working at a ranch. That ties into this book, as Joe goes looking for a missing British executive who disappeared from a guest-ranch. Also back is Nate Romanowski, Joe’s outlaw friend and master falconer. If you’re not reading this series already, you have got to start it right away!
The Bishop’s Pawn by Steve Berry
Release date: March 20th
Plot info: “The first case of New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s iconic hero, Cotton Malone.
“History notes that the ugly feud between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr., marked by years of illegal surveillance and the accumulation of secret files, ended on April 4, 1968, when King was assassinated by James Earl Ray. But that may not have been the case.
“Now, fifty years later, former Justice Department agent, Cotton Malone, must reckon with the truth of what really happened that fateful day in Memphis.
“It all turns on an incident from eighteen years ago, when Malone, as a young Navy lawyer, is trying hard not to live up to his burgeoning reputation as a maverick. When Stephanie Nelle, a high-level Justice Department lawyer, enlists him to help with an investigation, he jumps at the opportunity. But he soon discovers that two opposing forces―the Justice Department and the FBI―are at war over a rare coin and a cadre of secret files containing explosive revelations about the King assassination, information that could ruin innocent lives and threaten the legacy of the civil rights movement’s greatest martyr.
“Malone’s decision to see it through to the end ―― from the raucous bars of Mexico to the clear waters of the Dry Tortugas, and ultimately into the halls of power within Washington D.C. itself ―― not only changes his own life but the course of history.”
Why we’re excited about it: Steve Berry really outdid himself with The Lost Order, his hit 2017 thriller about the Knights of the Golden Circle. Now, to follow that up, Berry has gone back in time to tell Cotton Malone’s origin story. Plus, this is the very first book he’s ever written in the first-person narrative. The Bishop’s Pawn sheds light on the real-life feud between Martin Luther King Jr. and J. Edgar Hoover. Once again, Berry presents facts that few will have known prior to reading his work, making this an informative read that’s also entertaining and fun.
Duel to the Death by J.A. Jance
Release date: March 20th
Plot info: “From New York Times bestselling author and “grand master of the game” (The Providence Journal) J.A. Jance, an electrifying new thriller featuring Ali Reynolds.
“After taking down the man responsible for his best friend’s death, Stuart Ramey thinks the case is finally closed. That is until Stu finds himself left with a multimillion-dollar fortune in Bitcoin in a desperate bid by Frigg, a rogue A.I. program created by the killer, to keep itself from being fully deactivated.
“To sort out his situation and take Frigg down for good, Stu enlists the help of Ali Reynolds and the rest of his cybersecurity colleagues at High Noon Enterprises. But they are not the only ones who know about Frigg’s existence.
“Graciella Miramar, an unassuming accountant to all appearances, is actually the right-hand woman to El Pescado, the leader of a dangerous drug cartel. She’ll do anything to get her hands on that program. With Frigg’s help, Graciella hopes to take over her father’s criminal underworld and become wealthy beyond her wildest dreams. But Stu—and El Pescado and his henchmen—may not be so easily defeated.
“Written in J.A. Jance’s classic “take-no-prisoners” style (Kirkus Reviews), in this thriller, Stu, Ali, and their team will come to realize that everything has its price.”
Why we’re excited about it: Jance’s 13th Ali Reynolds mystery comes on the heels of her 2017 title, Man Overboard, which wasn’t quite up to the high standard she’s set throughout her brilliant career. For that reason, it’ll be exciting to see how she bounces back. . . and if Duel to the Death lives up to the thrilling plot details, which involves Ali mixing it up with a dangerous drug cartel, it’ll be a good year for readers.
The Sixth Day by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison
Release date: April 10th
Plot info: “Special agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine take on a ruthless mastermind in the fifth highly anticipated thriller in the New York Times bestselling A Brit in the FBI series.
“When several major political figures die mysteriously, officials declare the deaths are from natural causes. Then the German Vice-Chancellor dies on the steps of 10 Downing Street, and a drone is spotted hovering over the scene. The truth becomes clear—these high-profile deaths are well-constructed assassinations, and the Covert Eyes team is tasked to investigate.
“With the help of Dr. Isabella Marin, a young expert in the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript and cryptophasia (twin language), Nicholas and Michaela home in on Roman Ardelean, a wealthy cybersecurity genius and a descendant of fifteenth-century Romanian Vlad the Impaler—often romanticized as Dracula. Ardelean believes the Voynich Manuscript will unlock the secret to curing his severely ill twin brother’s blood disorder and is willing to murder anyone who gets in his way, including Nicholas and Michaela.
“Along with MI5, the Covert Eyes team must race against the clock to find Ardelean before he unleashes a devastating attack on London intended to destroy those he believes betrayed him.
“With heart-pounding tension and gripping suspense, New York Times bestselling authors Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison “are really on an amazing roll with their outstanding A Brit in the FBI series” (RT Book Reviews).”
Why we’re excited about it: You won’t find a better writing duo than Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison. They’re each heavyweights in the genre on their own. . . together, they’re absolutely lights-out. The Sixth Day is the fifth book in their Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine series and follows 2017’s The Devil’s Triangle, which was fantastic. This year’s book features a thrilling plot about major political figures dying from what first appears to be natural causes. Eventually, though, it’s revealed that someone is assassinating the high-profile individuals, and it’s up to Drummond and Caine to figure out who’s behind it and how to stop them.
Warning Light by David Ricciardi
Release date: April 10th
Plot info: “No one knows what CIA desk jockey Zac Miller is capable of–including himself–when a routine surveillance job becomes a do-or-die mission in the Middle East.
“When a commercial flight violates restricted airspace to make an emergency landing at a closed airport in Iran, the passengers are just happy to be alive and ready to transfer to a functional plane. All of them except one . . .
“The American technology consultant in business class is not who he says he is. Zac Miller is a CIA analyst. And after an agent’s cover gets blown, Zac–though never trained to be a field operative–volunteers to take his place, to keep a surveillance mission from being scrubbed.
“Zac thinks it will be easy to photograph the earthquake-ravaged airport that is located near a hidden top-secret nuclear facility. But when everything that can go wrong does, he finds himself on the run from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and abandoned by his own teammates, who think he has gone rogue. Embarking on a harrowing journey through the mountains of Iran to the Persian Gulf and across Europe, Zac can only rely on himself. But even if he makes it out alive, the life he once had may be lost to him forever . . .”
Why we’re excited about it: One of the few debuts on our list, David Ricciardi’s high-powered new thriller reads like the early works of Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy. Few series actually begin with a true origin story for the protagonist, as authors instead frequently opt to introduce readers to a battle-tested, hardened operator right from the beginning. Imagine if Vince Flynn had written American Assassin, a prequel novel to his #1 bestselling Mitch Rapp franchise, first. That’s what Ricciardi has done with Warning Light, taking readers along for the ride and giving them a front-row seat to watch CIA analyst Zac Miller’s journey across the Middle East and Europe. By the time the book is finished, Miller is a different man from the unproven, untested guy you see on page one. A strong contender for best debut of the year, Warning Light should find its way onto everyone’s TBR list this April.
Skyjack by K.J. Howe
Release date: April 10th
Plot info: “International kidnap expert Thea Paris is escorting two former child soldiers on a plane flying between Africa and London when the Boeing Business Jet is highjacked. The pilot has locked himself into the cockpit and diverts the plane to a deserted airstrip in Libya.
“Forced to leave the jet to investigate, Thea comes face-to-face with a former nemesis, an Italian who is part of Gladios, a secret stay-behind army created after the Second World War to fight communism. Her old foe imprisons her in the hangar, and the plane takes off with the boys, the passengers, and the kidnapper aboard.
“The kidnapper makes a strange demand for the return of the hostages: Thea must deliver a truckload of weapons and other material to a destination in Europe. Despite Thea’s efforts to read the tea leaves, the motives of the kidnapper remain a mystery.
“While negotiating for the release of the passengers, Thea, Rif, and the Quantum team travel to Budapest to secure the supply truck. But the situation soon escalates, and the true stakes are revealed: her old nemesis is battling another private army for control of a genetically targeted bioweapon. When the bioweapon is stolen from under the noses of the competing shadow armies, Thea and Rif race to find the thieves first.
“Revealing a conspiracy that connects the CIA, the Vatican, and the dark legacy of World War II, this case will bring all parties to an explosive conclusion at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.”
Why we’re excited about it: After stunning readers with her hard-hitting debut, The Freedom Broker (2017), author K.J. Howe tops herself with Skyjack, a gripping new novel that brings back K&R specialist, Thea Paris. Think Under Seige meets Angels and Demons, with a few extra helpings of nonstop action for good measure. Howe’s sophomore thriller is fantastic. . . proving once again that she and Thea are a force to be reckoned with. This is one of the best new series in years, and the future remains very bright for Howe, who’s found a way to develop her characters without slowing down the pacing or sacrificing action sequences. Several twists along the way will keep readers off-balance and flipping pages as fast as they possibly can.
The Fallen by David Baldacci
Release date: April 17th
Plot info: “Amos Decker and his journalist friend Alex Jamison are visiting the home of Alex’s sister in Baronville, a small town in western Pennsylvania that has been hit hard economically. When Decker is out on the rear deck of the house talking with Alex’s niece, a precocious eight-year-old, he notices flickering lights and then a spark of flame in the window of the house across the way. When he goes to investigate he finds two dead bodies inside and it’s not clear how either man died. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s something going on in Baronville that might be the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country.
“Faced with a stonewalling local police force, and roadblocks put up by unseen forces, Decker and Jamison must pull out all the stops to solve the case. And even Decker’s infallible memory may not be enough to save them.”
Why we’re excited about it: Heading into 2017, I felt strongly that Will Robie, the CIA assassin who stars in four books, was Baldacci’s best character. However, after a somewhat disappointing showing in End Game, which left fans split, it seems obvious that Amos Decker is now the guy for Baldacci moving forward. The Fix (2017) was very good, building on the success of The Last Mile (2016), and it’ll be interesting to see where Baldacci takes Decker next.
Twisted Prey by John Sandford
Release date: April 24th
Plot info: “Lucas Davenport confronts an old nemesis, now a powerful U.S. senator, in the thrilling new novel in the #1 New York Times-bestselling Prey series.
“Lucas Davenport had crossed paths with her before.
“A rich psychopath, Taryn Grant had run successfully for the U.S. Senate, where Lucas had predicted she’d fit right in. He was also convinced that she’d been responsible for three murders, though he’d never been able to prove it. Once a psychopath had gotten that kind of rush, though, he or she often needed another fix, so he figured he might be seeing her again.
“He was right. A federal marshal now, with a very wide scope of investigation, he’s heard rumors that Grant has found her seat on the Senate intelligence committee, and the contacts she’s made from it, to be very…useful. Pinning those rumors down was likely to be just as difficult as before, and considerably more dangerous.
“But they had unfinished business, he and Grant. One way or the other, he was going to see it through to the end.”
Why we’re excited about it: Sandford has been writing long enough that by now fans (and critics) know what they’re getting with the veteran author, right? Wrong. Deep Freeze, Sandford’s 2017 Virgil Flowers novel, falls somewhere between a thriller and a crime fiction/mystery novel. It’s an outstanding read, proving that Sandford still has a few tricks up his sleeve. I expect a similar showing with Twisted Prey, as the author slides back over to his most popular character, Lucas Davenport, and continues where he left off with his last two books, Extreme Prey and Golden Prey.
Overkill by Ted Bell
Release date: May 1st
Plot info: “Putting it all on the line to rescue his kidnapped son pits counterspy Alex Hawke against Russian President Vladimir Putin in this action-packed thriller from New York Times bestselling author Ted Bell.
“On a ski vacation in the Swiss Alps high above St. Moritz, Alex Hawke and his young son, Alexei, are thrust into danger when the tram carrying them to the top of the mountain bursts into flame, separating the two. Before he can reach Alexei, the boy is snatched from the burning cable car by unknown assailants in a helicopter.
“Meanwhile, high above the skies of France, Vladimir Putin is aboard his presidential jet after escaping a bloodless coup in the Kremlin. When two flight attendants collapse and slip into unconsciousness, the Russian leader realizes the danger isn’t over. Killing the pilots, he grabs a parachute, steps out of the plane . . . and disappears.
“Hawke has led his share of dangerous assignments, but none with stakes this high. To save his son, he summons his trusted colleagues, Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard Ambrose Congreve, former U.S. Navy SEAL Stokley Jones, Jr., and recruits a crack Hostage Rescue Team—a group of elite soldiers of fortune known as “Thunder & Lighting.” Before they can devise a rescue plan, Hawke must figure out who took his boy—and why. An operative who has fought antagonists around the globe, Hawke has made many enemies; one, in particular, may hold the key to finding Alexei before it’s too late.
“But an unexpected threat complicates their mission. Making his way to “Falcon’s Lair,” the former Nazi complex created for Hitler, Putin is amassing an impressive armory that he intends to use for his triumphant return to Moscow.
“Only one man can smash the Russian president’s plan for domination—a master counterspy who will cross every line to save his son . . . and maybe save the world itself in the bargain.”
Why we’re excited about it: All feels right in the world when Alex Hawke is back in bookstores. It’s been going on three years since Ted Bell’s last thriller, Patriot, came out, and readers have been asking about the wealthy MI6 operator ever since. In fact, it’s one of the most frequently asked questions we get from readers, as excitement around Bell’s series continues to buzz. . . especially now that Paramount has purchased the film rights and intends to put Hawke on the big screen sometime in the near future. One of the baddest men in the genre returns in 2018. Strap in tight, because Ted Bell really brings the heat with Overkill, one of his best thrillers to date.
The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper
Release date: May 1st
Plot info: “The debut political thriller from Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and the New York Times bestselling author of The Outpost– 1950’s D.C. intrigue about a secret society and a young Congressman in its grip
“Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and dealmakers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. When Charlie discovers a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of governance, he has to fight not only for his principles and his newfound political career…but for his life. “
Why we’re excited about it: Everyone knows who Jake Tapper is. As one of the most respected reporters working today, the CNN star is everywhere. But in 2018, Tapper is wading into the fiction waters with The Hellfire Club, a political thriller set in the 1950s. Following a young congressman named Charlie Marder, Tapper details the truth about the Washington elite and how they operate behind closed doors. Excitement has been building around this book for months, as readers are obviously excited to see what Tapper brings to the world of fiction.
Reaper: Ghost Target by Nicholas Irving and A.J. Tata
Release date: May 8th
Plot info: “The explosive new thriller series written by Nicholas Irving, the New York Times bestselling author of The Reaper and star of Fox’s American Grit.
“American hero, or unhinged vigilante?
“In Reaper: Ghost Target, Vick “The Reaper” Harwood is an esteemed sniper with a record kill count―33 kills in 90 days―when he is knocked out under mortar attack in Afghanistan. He wakes up back in the United States with little memory of what happened, his spotter and gun both unrecovered from the battlefield. Harwood has resigned himself to slowly picking up the pieces of his life, training Special Forces snipers in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and starting a promising relationship with an Olympic medalist named Jackie.
“But when a series of assassinations start occurring in the area, Harwood can’t explain why he just happens to be nearby for each killing―or how a sniper rifle that matches the description of the one he lost seems to be involved. His memory of the past few days is hazy and full of blackouts, and even he has to wonder, is he being framed? Or is he the killer?
“As Harwood runs from the authorities, his girlfriend falls off the radar, his missing spotter resurfaces, and the assassinated men are outed as drug and sex traffickers. Nothing is adding up. Harwood realizes he has to unravel this mystery, and fast, or find himself paying the ultimate price for crimes he may not have committed.”
Why we’re excited about it: Nicholas Irving (one of the most decorated snipers our military has ever produced) and A.J. Tata (who was a Brigadier General in the United States Army before penning ten novels) are a lethal combination. Reaper: Ghost Target is a high-powered, gripping thriller that packs a serious punch. It reads to authentic that you can almost feel the rifle recoil each time Vick “The Reaper” Harwood squeezes the trigger. If I had to make a list of my favorite thrillers from the last decade, Reaper: Ghost Target would definitely be on it. Pre-order early so you don’t forget. . . No matter what, don’t miss this book!
Second Strike by Peter Kirsanow
Release date: May 15th
Plot info: “The next gripping, high-stakes thriller following Target Omega, in which special operator Mike Garin faces off against a lethal Russian assassin–and a devious plot to wreak chaos in America.
“Within mere weeks of thwarting a cataclysmic electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack against the United States, Michael Garin, former leader of the elite Omega special operations unit, discovers that Russia has triggered an ingenious and catastrophic backup plan. Garin’s efforts to warn the administration of the new attack, however, fall on deaf ears. No one can believe that the Russians would initiate another strike of such magnitude so soon.
“Alone again, Garin turns to three people for help: Congo Knox, a former Delta Force sniper; Dan Dwyer, the head of a sprawling military contracting firm; and Olivia Perry, an aide to the national security advisor. Yet Garin and his ad hoc team are checked at every turn by the formidable Russian assassin, Taras Bor, who is directed by an individual seemingly able to manipulate the highest reaches of the US government.
“As evidence mounts that the Russian plot has been set in motion and that Bor is pivotal to its success, it’s up to Garin and his team to thwart an attack that will cause the death of millions and establish a new world order.”
Why we’re excited about it: Kirsanow’s Target Omega was one of the best debut thrillers of 2017. His latest novel, Second Strike, picks up a few months after the ending of Omega, as Michael Garin finds out that the Russian attack he thwarted in book one was actually just the beginning of a much larger, more sophisticated plan. This series is very underrated, and Kirsanow is a real candidate to break out in 2018. Garin, an elite black ops soldier who previously headed up a covert tier one anti-WMD squad called Omega, is a great new character. He is, at times, a tad too perfect. . . which makes him feel more like Superman than Kirsanow probably intends, but his smart plot mixed with exciting action sequences make this book a fun, lightning-quick read.
Field of Valor by Matthew Betley
Release date: May 22nd
Plot info: “Set in the aftermath of Betley’s “machine-gun pace” (Booklist) Oath of Honor and the discovery of a deadly global conspiracy, the president requests Logan West to form a covert task force with the mission to dismantle a nameless enemy.
“With the full resources of the Justice Department, Intelligence Community, and the military (not to mention presidential pardons pre-signed), Logan must battle a secret organization with the connections and funding to rival many first-world nations. The goal of this organization is both singular and sinister—to pit the United States against China in a bid to dismantle the world’s security and economy. Back on US soil, Logan and his task force pursue the elusive foe from the woods of northern Virginia to the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, from suburban Maryland across the urban sprawl of Washington DC. The stakes have never been higher for Logan or America itself…”
Why we’re excited about it: Here’s what you need to know about Matthew Betley. . . he’s written three books, and they’re all among the best in the genre over the last few years. Overwatch (2016) introduced readers to Logan West, a former Marine turned member of an elite FBI task force. Oath of Honor continued Logan’s story in high-flying fashion, solidifying Betley’s place as one of the genre’s brightest new stars. For his third book, Betley’s raised the stakes considerably. Field of Valor is an explosive, electrifying political thriller that opens with a heart-pounding car chase that sets the tone for the rest story moving forward. Matt Betley is a no-brainer for fans of Flynn, Thor, Coes, and Taylor, and he’s quickly become one of the most consistent, top-notch writers in the genre today. If you’re not reading him already, make discovering his books your 2018 resolution.
The Outsider by Stephen King
Release date: May 22nd
Plot info: “An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.
“An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.
“As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.”
Why we’re excited about it: What can I possibly say that would make readers more excited than they already are for Stephen King’s next novel? Honestly, there’s a zero percent chance anyone reading this hasn’t heard of Mr. King, so there isn’t much to write here. . . except that judging from the plot details, this does feel a little different than the types of stories King has told lately. That’s intriguing, as the plot sounds almost Harlan Coben-ish. Readers are promised a killer twist at the end, which makes this book a must.
Shelter In Place by Nora Roberts
Release date: May 29th
Plot info: “From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes Shelter in Place―a powerful tale of heart, heroism . . . and propulsive suspense.
“It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tending to customers. Then the shooters arrived.
“The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.
“But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.”
Why we’re excited about it: Roberts is a true master of her craft. Everything she writes, including the titles she pens under the pseudonym J.D. Robb, is must-read material. The story is about a shooting in Maine, and how the survivors are affected moving forward. During their healing process, in the years that follow, more details about the tragic event come out, revealing another person who may be waiting to strike again. You can guarantee any book with Roberts’ name on it will be heavy on suspense, this one especially.
Arctic Gambit by Larry Bond
Release date: May 29th
Plot info: “Jerry Mitchell returns in Arctic Gambit, an explosive military thriller by New York Times bestselling author Larry Bond
“Jerry Mitchell, now the commodore of Submarine Development Squadron Five, is dismayed when USS Toledo is reported missing in Arctic waters, close to Russian territory. The vessel is captained by his former shipmate and close friend, Lenny Berg. Eager to investigate, Jerry convinces the Navy to redirect one of his squadron’s boats to find out what happened.
“It turns out Toledo was sunk just outside of Russian territorial waters by a torpedo launched from a naval mine. Even more disturbing is the discovery that Russia is building a deadly weapon. Engineers have modified the STATUS-6, a strategic nuclear-propelled, nuclear-armed torpedo that is already operational, into a stealthy first strike weapon: Drakon. This new tool would allow the Russians to launch a completely covert nuclear decapitation strike on the USA.
“The new Russian president has plans for Europe and is more than willing to use nuclear blackmail―or an actual attack―to keep the Americans from interfering. To avoid a Russian war in Europe, and a nuclear catastrophe at home, Mitchell must find a way to destroy the Drakon launcher before it’s too late.”
Why we’re excited about it: This is the sixth book in Bond’s Jerry Mitchell franchise and the first since 2016’s Fatal Thunder. Bond, along with Tom Clancy, is one of the premier naval thriller authors of his time, and this is one of his best franchises. In Arctic Gambit, Jerry Mitchell, who heads up Squadron Five, is called on to investigate when a sub goes missing in Arctic waters near Russia. Things take a turn for the worse when a powerful Russian weapon is discovered, revealing a sinister plot dreamed up by the new Russian president. It’s an explosive situation, and nobody knows how to blend geopolitics with top-notch action quite like Larry Bond.
The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
Release date: June 4th
Plot info: “The White House is the home of the President of the United States, the most guarded, monitored, closely watched person in the world. So how could a U.S. President vanish without a trace? And why would he choose to do so?
“An unprecedented collaboration between President Bill Clinton and the world’s bestselling novelist, James Patterson, The President Is Missing is a breathtaking story from the pinnacle of power. Full of what it truly feels like to be the person in the Oval Office–the mind-boggling pressure, the heartbreaking decisions, the exhilarating opportunities, the soul-wrenching power–this is the thriller of the decade, confronting the darkest threats that face the world today, with the highest stakes conceivable.”
Why we’re excited about it: James Patterson is one of the most famous, well-known authors on the planet. Bill Clinton is, well, one of the most famous and well-known people on the planet. Naturally, they’re teaming up for a novel in 2018 called The President is Missing. This certainly isn’t the first thriller where the commander-in-chief has gone missing, but this is the first thriller about a missing president co-written by a former president. Imagine the behind-the-scenes information Clinton can bring to the story, and what Patterson can do with it. We could literally know nothing about the plot. . . and the title and names on the cover are enough for this book to be one of the most-anticipated thrillers of the year.
The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
Release date: June 5th
Plot info: “The New York Times bestselling author of Magpie Murders and Moriarty brilliantly reinvents the classic crime novel once again with this clever and inventive mystery starring a fictional version of the author himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes, investigating a case involving buried secrets, murder, and a trail of bloody clues.
“A woman crosses a London street.
“It is just after 11am on a bright spring morning, and she is going into a funeral parlor to plan her own service.
“Six hours later the woman is dead, strangled with a crimson curtain cord in her own home.
“Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric man as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. And Hawthorne has a partner, the celebrated novelist Anthony Horowitz, curious about the case and looking for new material.
“As brusque, impatient, and annoying as Hawthorne can be, Horowitz—a seasoned hand when it comes to crime stories—suspects the detective may be on to something, and is irresistibly drawn into the mystery. But as the case unfolds, Horowitz realizes he’s at the center of a story he can’t control . . . and that his brilliant partner may be hiding dark and mysterious secrets of his own.
“A masterful and tricky mystery which plays games at many levels, The Word Is Murder is Anthony Horowitz at his very best.”
Why we’re excited about it: Horowitz’s last book, Magpie Murders, was fantastic. A gifted writer, Horowitz certainly knows how to keep readers entertained and glued to their reading chairs. I’m intrigued by the premise of this book. . . and anxious to see Horowitz’s take on a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, with him playing the Watson-like role. It’s a rather daring and ambitious plot, and if anyone can pull it off, it’s Horowitz.
The Moscow Offensive by Dale Brown
Release date: June 5th
Plot info: “America’s first line of defense—Brad McLanahan and the heroes of the Iron Wolf Squadron—must counter a dangerous Russian strike from within the homeland in this cutting-edge tale from the New York Times master of the high-tech military thriller, Dale Brown.
“On a remote island estate, a billionaire investor sells his air freight company to a mysterious new owner. The purchaser is none other than the President of Russia, Gennadiy Gryzlov. The Russians will use these private planes to secretly transport dangerous cargo into the United States.
“The inept American President Stacy Anne Barbeau has failed to account for the Russian threat. But others have been vigilant and will not leave America defenseless. Brad McLanahan and the Iron Wolf Squadron have joined forces with the newly formed Alliance of Free Nations in Eastern Europe, to prepare for the attack they know is imminent. Working with the most cutting-edge technology, the team will deploy CIDs—Cybernetic Infantry Devices—twelve-foot-tall humanoid combat robots, each armed with more firepower than a conventional platoon.
“But their state-of-the-art weapons may not be enough to combat the threat. The Russians have managed to reverse engineer their own combat robots nearly decimated in a previous attack, and have slowly begun smuggling them across America’s borders. Dealing with an unprecedented danger and a feckless president and Congress, McLanahan and the Iron Wolf Squadron will once again put their own lives on the line to check this new Russian peril and keep the home of the brave and the free world safe.”
Why we’re excited about it: The Iron Wolf Squadron is a lot like the human-robot killing machines you see in Avatar or something from Gears of War. The technology might not be in use for real, but that doesn’t stop Dale Brown from finding ways to make it seem possible and authentic. Most importantly, it’s a lot of fun. And this time Brad McLanahan is taking on the Russians, who’ve gotten their hands on some of Iron Wolf’s damaged old combat robots and reverse engineered them to make their own. Think Autobots vs. the Decepticons, only not as big, and with geopolitical implications. If that doesn’t make you excited, you’re probably not a fan of high-tech military thrillers.
Tom Clancy Line of Sight by Mike Maden
Release date: June 12th
Plot info: “Jack Ryan Jr. finds that the scars of war can last a lifetime in the latest entry in Tom Clancy’s #1 New York Times bestselling series.
“Twenty years ago, Dr. Kathy Ryan restored the eyesight of a young Bosnian girl who had been injured during an attack in the Balkan War. Today, her son, Jack Ryan Jr. has decided to surprise his mother by tracking down the young lady. What he finds shocks them both.
“The helpless child has grown into a remarkable woman. Aida Curic is a self-possessed beauty who runs a refugee agency that helps the children of her native Bosnia. Jack finds himself drawn to her, but before he can act on his feelings she’s snatched off the streets of Sarajevo by kidnappers.
“In Jack’s desperate search for Aida, he finds himself opposed by everyone from Serbian mobsters to Croatian paramilitary units. The Balkan War may have ended two decades ago, but the region still seethes with ethnic animosities. The deeper Jack plunges into this world the more he faces a disturbing truth, the scars of war fester long after the surface has healed.”
Why we’re excited about it: Mike Maden breathed fresh life into the Jack Ryan Junior series with 2017’s Tom Clancy Point of Contact, which featured a very Brad Thor-like opening and a smart, fast-moving plot. Tons of Book Spy followers wrote in to say this was their favorite Clancy book in years. Maden, who has long been underrated, is finally getting the recognition he deserves. . . I’m anxious to see how he tops himself in 2018.
The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly
Release date: June 12th
Plot info: “From internationally bestselling author and “creative genius who has few equals in either horror fiction or the mystery genre” (New York Journal of Books) comes a gripping thriller starring Private Investigator Charlie Parker. When the body of a woman—who apparently died in childbirth—is discovered, Parker is hired to track down both her identity and her missing child.
“In the beautiful Maine woods, a partly preserved body is discovered. Investigators realize that the dead young woman gave birth shortly before her death. But there is no sign of a baby.
“Private detective Charlie Parker is hired by a lawyer to shadow the police investigation and find the infant but Parker is not the only searcher. Someone else is following the trail left by the woman, someone with an interest in much more than a missing child…someone prepared to leave bodies in his wake.
“And in a house by the woods, a toy telephone begins to ring and a young boy is about to receive a call from a dead woman.”
Why we’re excited about it: Connolly has doubled down on the eerie, paranormal elements in his stories the past few years especially. Charlie Parker is a great character who’s been well-developed. The plot sounds fantastic, and, honestly, who isn’t already chewing over this mystery in their head right now trying to figure out who else might be looking for the missing infant mentioned above?
Scorpion Strike by John Gilstrap
Release date: June 26th
Plot info: “An island paradise held hostage. A band of dangerous killers unleashed. A sinister plot that could push the superpowers to the brink of war. The perfect formula for explosive suspense in John Gilstrap’s electrifying new Jonathan Grave thriller . . .
“For Jonathan Grave and Gail Bonneville, the Crystal Sands Resort is the perfect getaway—until gunshots shatter the night. Wealthy guests are yanked out of their sleep, herded like animals, forced to submit to their captors’ demands. But Jonathan and Gail are no ordinary vacationers. The assassins who invade their bungalow receive a deadly surprise. And two determined, skilled operatives escape into the jungle.
“Jonathan and Gail are not the only free agents on the island. Cut off from his usual tactical team, with a pair of unlikely allies he can’t fully trust, Grave’s only hope of reliable back-up is his partner Boxers, who’s hundreds of miles—and hours—away. It won’t be long before the invaders turn this tropical paradise into the powderkeg that will set off global chaos. Grave may be without weapons, but he’s never without resources. Bold action is the only solution. Like the scorpion, Grave must strike fast and hard . . .”
Why we’re excited about it: Gilstrap crushed his last book, Final Target (2017), raising expectations heading into the new year. In some ways, this book has a somewhat similar setup to that one. . . Grave is forced to retreat into the jungle with allies he doesn’t know well enough to trust, while on the run from bad guys. The big difference, though, is that it sounds like this time around, Grave won’t have his trusty partner, Boxers, with him. With ‘Big Guy’ stuck a few hundred miles away, Grave, whose callsign is Scorpion, will be on his own. That is a scenario too juicy to pass up, making Scorpion Strike one of the summer’s must-read thrillers.
Bloody Sunday by Ben Coes
Release date: June 26th
Plot info: “The latest in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Dewey Andreas series.
“North Korea, increasingly isolated from most of the rest of the world, is led by an absolute dictator and a madman with a major goal―he’s determined to launch a nuclear attack on the United States. While they have built, and continue to successfully test nuclear bombs, North Korea has yet to develop a ballistic missile with the range necessary to attack America. But their missiles are improving, reaching a point where the U.S. absolutely must respond.
“What the U.S. doesn’t know is that North Korea has made a deal with Iran. In exchange for effective missiles from Iran, they will trade nuclear triggers and fissionable material. An exchange, if it goes through, that will create two new nuclear powers, both with dangerous plans.
“Dewey Andreas, still reeling from recent revelations about his own past, is ready to retire from the CIA. But he’s the only available agent with the skills to carry out the CIA’s plan to stop North Korea. The plan is to inject a singular designer poison into the head of the North Korean military and in exchange for the nuclear plans, provide him with the one existing dose of the antidote. But it goes awry when Dewey manages to inject a small amount of the poison into himself. Now, to survive, Dewey must get into North Korea and access the antidote and, while there, thwart the nuclear ambitions of both North Korea and Iran. And he has less than 24 hours to do so―in the latest thriller from Ben Coes.”
Why we’re excited about it: Ever since Independence Day, Ben Coes has been on a hot streak unlike anything readers have seen since Vince Flynn’s heyday. First Strike (2016) was flat-out amazing, and one of the best thrillers since Flynn’s iconic Transfer of Power (1999). More incredibly, Coes topped himself with Trap the Devil (2017) by landing a massive emotional punch that left readers and critics (including yours truly) completely stunned. Bottom line, Coes is a solid-gold writer who gets better each and every year. I’m especially excited about Bloody Sunday because Dewey Andreas is heading to freaking North Korea and it’s. . . about. . . to. . . go. . . down. This book is setting up to be an epic thriller, and I expect nothing less from Ben Coes, one of the top three political thriller novelists in the game today.
Stay Hidden by Paul Doiron
Release date: July 3rd
Plot info: “A supposed hunting accident becomes a dangerously complicated murder investigation in this intricately-plotted new thriller featuring Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch.
“A woman has been shot to death by a deer hunter on an island off the coast of Maine. To newly promoted Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch, the case seems open and shut. But as soon as he arrives on remote Maquoit Island he discovers mysteries piling up one on top of the other.
“The hunter now claims he didn’t fire the fatal shot and the ballistic evidence proves he’s telling the truth. Bowditch begins to suspect the secretive community might be covering up the identity of whoever killed Ariel Evans. The controversial author was supposedly writing a book about the island’s notorious hermit. So why are there no notes in her rented cottage?
“The biggest blow comes the next day when the weekly ferry arrives and off steps the dead woman herself. Ariel Evans is alive, well, and determined to solve her own “murder” even if it upsets Mike Bowditch’s investigation and makes them both targets of an elusive killer who will do anything to conceal his crimes.”
Why we’re excited about it: Paul Doiron is often compared to C.J. Box, and for good reason. Their characters are both game wardens, and they do tackle similar subject matters. However, Doiron’s series and style is a tad darker than Box’s, and the tone is perhaps more in line with, say, Ace Atkins’ Quinn Colson books. Mike Bowditch is a really well-developed character. After the events of last year’s Knife Creek, Mike has been promoted to Warden Investigator, which should open additional storylines moving forward (similar to how Box’s Pickett became the “range rider” for Wyoming’s governor), beginning with Stay Hidden, which sounds fantastic.
Spymaster by Brad Thor
Release date: July 3rd
Plot info: We don’t know anything official yet, except that this book will, in fact, take place after Thor’s 2017 New York Times bestselling novel, Use of Force.
Why we’re excited about it: Brad Thor (along with Daniel Silva) is one of the biggest names in the genre right now for a reason. . . he’s shown Tom Brady-like consistency throughout his career and is still getting better with each book. Without spoiling his last novel, things about Reed “Old Man” Carlton, Scot Harvath’s mentor and father-like figure, are revealed. That, along with the title of his new book, strongly indicates much of the plot will revolve around Carlton, who Thor has referred to as a “spymaster” in each of his books since first introducing the character in Foreign Influence. The fireworks are coming one day early in 2018, when Brad Thor’s all-new thriller hits bookstores on July 3, 2018.
Untitled Gabriel Allon #18 by Daniel Silva
Release date: July 17th
Plot info: Nothing. We’re pretty sure it takes place after House of Spies (2017), but that isn’t confirmed.
Why we’re excited about it: If there was a Mount Rushmore of thriller writers, Daniel Silva would be on it alongside Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and Tom Clancy. He’s one of the best authors of his generation, and one of the few writers you can buy without knowing a single thing about the book, and still know it’ll be amazing. The Heist (2013), The English Girl (2014), and The English Spy (2015) all had the same story arc (the redemption of Christopher Keller). His last two books, The Black Widow (2016) and House of Spies (2017) also share a story arc. From what we know, based on how House of Spies ended, it seems like Silva’s next novel will deal with something completely different. If I had to guess, now that ISIS has played a large role in several books, it seems possible that Russia could be involved in the plot, though Gabriel Allon has dealt with them in the past. Again, it’s wide open for who or what Gabriel, the newly appointed chief of the Office, will face next. . . Like many, I’m excited to find out!
The Three Beths by Jeff Abbott
Release date: July 17th
Plot info: “A stunning new psychological suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author Jeff Abbott, perfect for fans of Harlan Coben, Ruth Ware, B.A. Paris, or Shari Lapena.
“My mom would never leave me.
“This has been Mariah Dunning’s motto. Her compass. Her belief. So when she glimpses her mother–who’s been missing and presumed dead for the past two years–on the other side of a crowded food court, Mariah’s conviction becomes stronger than ever. Or is she losing her mind?
“Her mother disappeared without a trace and–even without a body or any physical evidence–suspicion for her murder immediately fell upon Mariah’s father, leaving both father and daughter ostracized from their close-knit community.
“Until one day, Mariah stumbles upon the fact that two other women have also disappeared recently from Lakehaven. And all three women had the same name: Beth.
“Is it merely an unlikely coincidence? Or is there a deeper, sinister connection between the three Beths?
“Mariah would give anything to find out what happened to her mother. But the truth may be worse than she could have imagined… “
Why we’re excited about it: Fans excited for this book can blame their impatience on Jeff Abbott’s last book. . . (see what I did there? Because his last book was called Blame.) Anyways, in all seriousness, Blame was one of the best overall thrillers of last year, so all eyes are on Abbott to see how he’ll follow that up in 2018. Always a talented, must-read author (I’m personally a big fan of his Sam Capra series), Abbott reached new heights in 2017 and there’s every reason to think he’ll continue that upward trend with The Three Beths. Get it on your TBR list early, July is going to be an awesome month for thrillers!
The Sinners by Ace Atkins
Release date: July 17th
Plot info: “In the new novel from New York Times-bestselling crime master Ace Atkins, violence comes in many forms…and this time it may be more than Quinn Colson can handle.
“The Pritchards had never been worth a damn–an evil, greedy family who made their living dealing drugs and committing mayhem. Years ago, Colson’s late uncle had put the clan’s patriarch in prison, but now he’s getting out, with revenge, power, and family business on his mind. To make matters worse, a shady trucking firm with possible ties to the Gulf Coast syndicate has moved into Tibbehah, and they have their own methods of intimidation.
“With his longtime deputy Lillie Virgil now working up in Memphis, Quinn Colson finds himself having to fall back on some brand-new deputies to help him out, but with Old West-style violence breaking out, and his own wedding on the horizon, this is without a doubt Colson’s most trying time as sheriff. Cracks are opening up all over the county, and shadowy figures are crawling out through them–and they’re all heading directly for him.”
Why we’re excited: Ace Atkins, the king of southern crime, is back with an all-new Quinn Colson novel called The Sinners. Along with always having awesome titles, Atkins has established his series as one of the very best crime franchises in print right now. Colson has been brilliantly developed, and Atkins continues to come up with compelling storylines. We don’t know much about the Pritchards (mentioned above) yet, but I’m pretty sure they’ll deeply regret mixing it up with Quinn!
Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
Release date: July 31st
Plot info: “The #1 internationally bestselling author returns with a new novel in the vein of the New York Times bestsellers Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter—a story even more electrifying, provocative, and suspenseful than anything she’s written before.
“What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?
“Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She’s knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Gullaway Island; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?
“But all that changes when a Saturday afternoon trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one will ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.
“Twenty-four hours later Laura is in the hospital, shot by an intruder who’s spent thirty years trying to track her down and discover what she knows. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumbs of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . . .”
Why we’re excited about it: Karin Slaughter is one of the most beloved crime writers working today. Everything she writes is fantastic. . . and by promising this book will be “more proactive” than anything she’s ever written before, well, she’s got our attention. The line, “What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?” is a great hook, and will surely have readers counting down the days until Pieces of Her hits bookstores in July.
The Middleman by Olen Steinhauer
Release date: August 7th
Plot info: “This stunning standalone from the author of New York Times bestseller The Tourist, follows the people on all sides of a domestic terrorist group, from the group’s converts to the FBI agents investigating them.
“New York Times bestselling author Olen Steinhauer’s next sweeping espionage novel traces the rise and fall of a domestic left-wing terrorist group. Told from the individual perspectives of an FBI agent, an undercover agent within the group, a convert to the terrorist organization, and a writer on the edges of the whole affair, this is another tightly wound thriller, and an intimate exploration of the people behind the politics, from a master of suspense.”
Why we’re excited about it: This book is crazy good. I was sent a very early copy of the manuscript and fell in love with it. It’s a standalone that might be this year’s The Force (Don Winslow’s 2017 novel, the first I’ve ever scored a 10/10). I’m excited about it, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be a big hit with Book Spy followers. It’s an espionage thriller that explores all angles of a domestic terrorist group. It’s fascinating, compelling, and very well-written. Keep an eye on this one as August approaches, it’s not to be missed.
Kill For Me by Tom Wood
Release date: Unknown (Likely sometime in August)
Plot info: “For years, two sisters have vied for the turf of their dead crime boss father. Across the streets of Guatemala City, bodies have piled up; the US Drug Enforcement Agency, operating far from its own borders, is powerless to stop the fighting.
“But now one sister has a weapon that could finally win the war – a cold, amoral hitman known, fittingly, as ‘Victor’.
“Freed from previous employers the CIA and MI6, Victor is a killer-for-hire whose sense of self-preservation trumps all else. Yet as betrayal and counter-betrayal unspool in the vicious family feud, Victor finds himself at the center of a storm even he could be powerless to stop.”
Why we’re excited about it: Victor The Assassin was on our list of the Baddest Dudes in the thriller genre right now in 2017, following a brutal, relentless showing in The Final Hour. Perhaps the best anti-hero in the genre, any thoughts that Tom Wood was considering softening up his ruthless character in the future were put to rest back in August when the author told The Real Book Spy exclusively: “No, never. Victor is an antihero, not a hero, but he’s not a stone-cold psychopath either,” before adding “I have readers who tell me they hang onto those moments in the hope that one day Victor will see the error of his ways and come to the light side, but that’s never going to happen. I set out to write about a character who would be a villain in any traditional thriller and that’s what I’m going to carry on doing.” Sometimes it’s good to be bad. . . and Victor is the best bad guy in the game!
Desolation Mountain by William Kent Krueger
Release date: August 21st
Plot info: “New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger delivers yet another “punch-to-the-gut blend of detective story and investigative fiction” (Booklist, starred review) as Cork O’Connor and his son Stephen work together to uncover the truth behind the tragic plane crash of a senator on Desolation Mountain and the mysterious disappearances of several first responders. This is a heart-pounding and devastating mystery the scope and consequences of which go far beyond what father or son could ever have imagined.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
“To Stephen O’Connor, Hamlet’s dour observation is more than just words. All his life, he has had visions of tragedies to come. When he experiences the vision of a great bird shot from the sky, he knows something terrible is about to happen. The crash of a private plane on Desolation Mountain in a remote part of the Iron Lake Reservation, which kills a United States senator and most of her family, confirms Stephen’s worst fears.
“Stephen joins his father, Cork O’Connor and a few Ojibwe men from the nearby Iron Lake reservation to sift through the smoldering wreckage when the FBI arrives and quickly assumes control of the situation. What seems like the end of the O’Connors’ involvement is, however, only the beginning of a harrowing journey to understand the truth behind the Senator’s death. As he initiates his own probe, Cork O’Connor stumbles upon a familiar face in Bo Thorson, a private security consultant whose unnamed clients have hired him to look quietly into the cause of the crash. The men agree to join forces in their investigation, but soon Cork begins to wonder if Thorson’s loyalties lie elsewhere.
“In that far north Minnesota County, which is overrun with agents of the FBI, NTSB, DoD, and even members of a rightwing militia, all of whom have their own agendas, Cork, Stephen, and Bo attempt to navigate a perilous course. Roadblocked by lies from the highest levels of government, uncertain who to trust, and facing growing threats the deeper they dig for answers, the three men finally understand that to get to the truth, they will have to face the great menace, a beast of true evil lurking in the woods—a beast with a murderous intent of unimaginable scale.”
Why we’re excited about it: Cork O’Connor is like the Minnesota version of Joe Pickett, except that he’s not a game warden. He’s a former cop turned private detective (when he’s not flipping burgers at his local food shack during the warm months) who seems to always find trouble. In his latest book, Desolation Mountain, bestseller William Kent Krueger has Cork teaming up with his son, Stephen, to investigate a plane crash near the Iron Lake Reservation. A senator was killed, making it a high-priority and high-profile case. . . and you can bet Krueger has a few twists and turns waiting for readers.
Backlash by Sean Parnell
Release date: Unknown (Possibly sometime in September)
Plot info: No concrete synopsis has been released yet, but I’m trying to get my hands on the plot info. Still, this book deserves to be on this list for the simple reason that Parnell’s name is on it. When his book deal was announced, Backlash was pitched as a thriller about “a clandestine operative tasked with finding a rogue agent with a stolen WMD, [who] is faced with the one mission never addressed in his training — How do you kill a friend?”
Why we’re excited about it: Previously, Sean Parnell penned the New York Times bestselling nonfiction book, Outlaw Platoon. In 2018, the former U.S. Army airborne ranger is set to release his first fiction book, an action-packed political thriller called Backlash. Having served in the legendary 10th Mountain Division before retiring as a captain, Parnell received two Bronze Stars (one for valor) and the Purple Heart. He brings been-there-done-that authenticity to the genre, having lived the life he’s now writing about. If all that wasn’t enough, Brad Thor called the book “terrific” on social media. . . which is enough to push readers’ excitement level into the red.
Untitled Mitch Rapp #17 by Kyle Mills
Release date: Unknown (probably sometime in September or October.)
Plot info: We don’t know much, but in an interview prior to his last book (Enemy of the State) coming out, Kyle Mills told us: “The next book is probably one of the most large-scale geopolitical thrillers in the series. Lots of big things at stake, and Mitch having to operate in unfamiliar territory on a very grand scale.”
Why we’re excited about it: Honestly, even though we know very little. . . we know everything we need to get excited about Mills’ next book. When Kyle Mills first signed on years ago to keep Vince Flynn’s popular franchise alive, most fans just hoped he wouldn’t mess it up. It’s not easy to continue such a beloved, fan-favorite series (just ask Rian Johnson about his highly controversial film Star Wars: The Last Jedi), but Mills has stayed true to the Mitch Rapp readers love. Forget any dropoff, Mills has actually elevated this series to new heights with The Survivor, Order to Kill, and Enemy of the State. . . I can’t wait to see what he does next!
Tom Clancy Oath of Office by Marc Cameron
Release date: Unknown (Probably November or December)
Plot info: All we know at this time is that Tom Clancy Oath of Office will be the 26th thriller in the Jack Ryan universe and will take place after Cameron’s debut Jack Ryan thriller, Tom Clancy Power and Empire (November 2017) and Mike Maden’s summer 2018 novel Tom Clancy Line of Sight.
Why we’re excited about it: Until last year, Grant Blackwood wrote the summer Clancy novels while Mark Greaney wrote the fall books. In 2017, Mike Maden made his Jack Ryan Junior debut with Tom Clancy Point of Contact. It was very well received, and for good reason–it’s awesome. Then in November, Marc Cameron’s Tom Clancy Power and Empire hit bookstores. Many were sad to see Mark Greaney go, but it didn’t take long for positive reviews to start flooding in. Within a few days of Cameron’s book coming out, fans of Clancy’s iconic series were raving. . . and many still are. Cameron has proved he’s the right guy for the job, and it’ll be fun to see where he takes Jack Ryan next.
Absent from this list is Don Winslow’s highly-anticipated third novel in his mega-popular Cartel series. The still-untitled book was previously rumored to be coming out in 2018, but nothing official has been announced yet.
In 2017, Winslow signed a new two-book deal to remain with William Morrow (an imprint at HarperCollins), but those books aren’t slated for release until 2021 and 2022. His initial deal with HarperCollins was for two books–the first of which was The Force, which came out in 2017 and was a major hit with critics and readers–the second is believed to be the sequel to The Cartel (2015).
It would make sense if Cartel III came out in 2019, as that would leave a gap of two years between The Force (2017), Cartel III (2019), and the first book (2021) on Winslow’s new deal with Harpercollins. Still, that’s all speculation. . . but one thing is for sure. If Winslow, who is widely regarded as one of the best novelists working today, does, indeed, publish Cartel III in 2018, it’ll shake up this list in a big way.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, or check out his Amazon Influencer page here.