If you love hard-hitting action thrillers or scary-good crime novels, you’re in luck. . . there’s plenty of both hitting bookstores this month!
Overall, 2018 is going to be a special year for thriller fans, and every month has an impressive list of new releases slated for publication. There are a few months that stand out already, including March (Jack Carr, Brad Meltzer, C.J. Box and Joe Rosenberg), June (Mike Maden, Stephen King, Anthony Horowitz, Ben Coes, John Gilstrap, etc.) and July (Brad Thor, and Daniel Silva). While those three months might be the “big” months of the year for this genre, February is packed with great new releases too, including must-read new thrillers from Mark Greaney and Jason Matthews.
In keeping with tradition, we’ve chosen two Featured Selections to highlight this month. Those books are, no surprise, Mark Greaney’s latest Gray Man thriller, Agent in Place, and Jason Matthews’ The Kremlin’s Candidate, the last book in his mega-popular Red Sparrow trilogy.
Mark Greaney has quickly become one of the best action thriller writers in the genre right now. His highly-skilled CIA operator, Court Gentry, dethroned Mitch Rapp on our 2017 list of the top ten baddest characters in the genre right now. He’s a fan favorite for sure, and Greaney’s writing has been on another level ever since Back Blast (2016), one of the best spy thrillers written in the last two decades. If you’re not reading his stuff, now is the time to start. . . Agent in Place is insanely awesome!
Jason Matthews’ Red Sparrow turned heads back in 2013. The author struck gold again with the follow-up, Palace of Treason, in 2015. Since then, readers have been dying to know what comes next. Well, the wait is finally over. . . The Kremlin’s Candidate is set to hit bookstores later this month, just before the film adaption of Red Sparrow (starring Jennifer Lawrence), comes out in theaters on March 2. Sadly, this is the final book of Matthews’ trilogy, and the author holds nothing back here. Widely considered one of the best spy series of the modern era, the books follow Dominika Egorova, a Russian operator trained in the art of seduction and killing. Find out more below!
Look for the official 2018 Reading Challenge rules in about two weeks, along with announcements regarding 2017 prize winners. In the meantime, to qualify for free thrillers, signed books, and other cool swag later this year, make sure you pick at least one book to read this month, then leave us a comment down below and/or let us know via social media using the hashtag #BookSpyChallenge2018 on Twitter or Facebook.
Tuesday, February 6th
The Deceivers by Alex Berenson
It all started when Ahmed Shakir, a low-level drug dealer, got popped by the FBI for dealing cocaine out of the back restroom in a hole-in-the-wall bar near Dallas, Texas.
To make the drug charges go away, Shakir is given a choice. One of his cousins has worked his way onto the FBI’s radar as someone who may engage in terrorist activity. Rather than wait for the young man to plot and plan on his own, the feds have come up with a bold plan to use Shakir so they can make a controlled arrest.
Pretending to have recently seen the light, Shakir convinces his cousin and a few other loyal members of their mosque to help him strike a blow against the Great Satan. With the FBI secretly funding the operation and supplying the weapons, Shakir leads the efforts in planning an attack at America Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Shakir’s job is to drive the men to their location. As soon as law enforcement officials, who will secretly be tailing them, see the Muslim men take up their rifles — which are rigged to not fire — they’ll swoop in and arrest them all.
Rather than go to prison, Shakir walks through door number two, agreeing to help bring down his cousin. But things go terribly wrong…
Not only were the FBI and local law enforcement nowhere to be seen once the jihadists arrived at America Airlines Center, but, even worse, the guns that weren’t supposed to fire start spraying bullets towards large crowds of innocent people. A moment later, a huge explosion rings out, killing Shakir just before the other gunmen were taken out by police snipers. In the end, nearly four hundred innocent lives were taken.
Ex-CIA operative John Wells is called to the White House shortly after the Dallas attack took place. Heading into his meeting with President Vinnie Duto, the former CIA Director back when Wells was still with the agency, John expects his former boss to send him to Dallas to help investigate the terrorist attack. Instead, Duto wants him to head to South America.
Wells, who converted to Islam many years prior, is mostly retired and fully enjoying his new life with his young daughter — whom he co-parents with his former lover turned sometimes partner, Anne — and is reluctant to once again be pulled back into the world of espionage and covert ops. But when Duto tells him an old informant in Columbia claims to have vital information about the attack, it’s welcome back and wheels up for Wells.
The mission, which was supposed to be relatively simple, goes wrong almost as soon as Wells touches down in Columbia. Before long, he’s engaging in gunfights and chasing conspiracy theories around the globe on his way to uncovering a sinister plot hatched up by the Russians to not only try and steal America’s election, but to overtake the United States government entirely.
With Russian moles embedded high within America’s government and sleeper cells in place and ready to carry out a number of attacks, Wells realizes that the incident in Dallas wasn’t a one-time attack, it was merely the lightning before the thunder. With a dangerous storm brewing, it’s once again up to John Wells to save the day before it’s too late.
Those who haven’t read Alex Berenson’s series are missing out on one of the genre’s premier protagonists. Berenson continues to develop his main character brilliantly, finding new ways to make Wells relatable to readers without taking away his edge. Likewise, the secondary cast is engaging and memorable, as Berenson is able to skillfully manipulate readers into feeling subtle shifts in emotion from chapter to chapter based on who the narrative is following.
Now twelve books in, John Wells is still facing new challenges both in his private life and in his career, giving longtime fans of Berenson’s series plenty to be excited about. Newcomers can jump in here without missing a beat, thanks to just enough recapping of past events. There’s not a lot of time spent looking backward, though, as Berenson’s plot explodes right from the get-go. Literally.
With a plot that feels eerily prophetic in part because of recent current events, John wells takes on one of his most dangerous assignments yet in Alex Berenson’s The Deceivers, an electrifying thriller that’s not to be missed.
Force of Nature by Jane Harper
“Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?
“When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.
“But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.
“Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?”
Death in Live Oak by James Grippando
“When the body of Jamal Cousin, president of the pre-eminent black fraternity at the Florida’s flagship university, is discovered hogtied in the Stygian water swamps of the Suwanee River Valley, the death sets off a firestorm that threatens to rage out of control when a fellow student, Mark Towson, the president of a prominent white fraternity, is accused of the crime.
“Contending with rising political tensions, racial unrest, and a sensational media, Townson’s defense attorney, Jack Swyteck, knows that the stakes could not be higher—inside or outside the old Suwanee County Couthouse. The evidence against his client, which includes a threatening text message referencing “strange fruit” on the river, seems overwhelming. Then Jack gets a break that could turn the case. Jamal’s gruesome murder bears disturbing similarities to another lynching that occurred back in the Jim Crow days of 1944. Are the chilling parallels purely coincidental? With a community in chaos and a young man’s life in jeopardy, Jack will use every resource to find out.
“As he navigates each twist and turn of the search, Jack becomes increasingly convinced that his client may himself be the victim of a criminal plan more sinister than the case presented by the state attorney. Risking his own reputation, this principled man who has devoted his life to the law plunges headfirst into the darkest recesses of the South’s past, and its murky present, to uncover answers.
“For Jack, it’s about the truth. Traversing time, from the days of strict segregation to the present, he’ll find it—no matter what the cost—and bring much-needed justice to Suwanee County.”
Look For Me by Lisa Gardner
A small Boston suburb is rocked when Juanita Baez, her two young children, and her boyfriend are all found brutally murdered.
Tragically, thirteen-year-old Lola and nine-year-old Manny were both shot dead, while Juanita’s oldest daughter, sixteen-year-old Roxy, is nowhere to be found. As headlines about the murdered family pile up, veteran Detective D.D. Warren begins tearing apart the crime scene looking for answers. But what she finds is a concerning lack of physical evidence.
While Warren is working her case, Flora Dane, who was introduced in Gardner’s 2017 bestseller Find Her, is heading up a support group for women who’ve survived traumatic situations. She first shows up to help a young college student who witnessed her three roommates get slashed and hacked to death by a knife-wielding madman who tricked the girls into inviting him back to their place after meeting them in a bar.
Flora, a fan-favorite character, is used well in her return. Gardner continues to do a fine job developing her, and her no-nonsense, direct approach to teaching empowerment and healing lends itself nicely to the story. She enters the main plotline when she realizes that Roxy Baez had previously approached one of her support groups prior to someone murdering her family. Ultimately, Warren’s main objective is to locate Roxy, who she fears was kidnapped, and Flora — though she uses different means and resources — agrees to help in any way that she can.
As Gardner’s story unfolds, some startling truths emerge from Juanita Baez’s past. Like, for instance, the fact that the mother of three once lost her children to the state. The kids were put into foster care, where they were abused before eventually being returned to their mother. As the search for Roxy continues, Warren begins to wonder if she has the case all wrong and forces herself to consider the sick possibility that Roxy Baez might not be a victim who watched her loved ones die before being abducted. . . but that she might actually be the killer, and went on the run after murdering her family.
Lisa Gardner’s Look For Me is a fast-paced, compelling crime thriller that twists and turns its way to a nail-biting ending. The opening chapter is intense, shocking, and heartbreaking. . . and certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. D.D. Warren might be the series protagonist, but Gardner has another star on her hands in Flora Dane, who steals the spotlight and makes this already gripping story even better.
The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd
“On a deserted road, late at night, Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge encounters a frightened woman standing over a body, launching an inquiry that leads him into the lair of a stealthy killer and the dangerous recesses of his own memories in this twentieth installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series.
“Hours after his sister’s wedding, a restless Ian Rutledge drives aimlessly, haunted by the past, and narrowly misses a motorcar stopped in the middle of a desolate road. Standing beside the vehicle is a woman with blood on her hands and a dead man at her feet.
She swears she didn’t kill Stephen Wentworth. A stranger stepped out in front of their motorcar, and without warning, fired a single shot before vanishing into the night. But there is no trace of him. And the shaken woman insists it all happened so quickly, she never saw the man’s face.
“Although he is a witness after the fact, Rutledge persuades the Yard to give him the inquiry, since he’s on the scene. But is he seeking justice—or fleeing painful memories in London?
“Wentworth was well-liked, yet his bitter family paint a malevolent portrait, calling him a murderer. But who did Wentworth kill? Is his death retribution? Or has his companion lied? Wolf Pit, his village, has a notorious history: in Medieval times, the last wolf in England was killed there. When a second suspicious death occurs, the evidence suggests that a dangerous predator is on the loose, and that death is closer than Rutledge knows.”
House Witness by Mike Lawson
Joe DeMarco goes up against a fellow “fixer” who happens to be playing for the other team in Mike Lawson’s latest thriller, House Witness.
Minority Leader of the House John Mahoney, DeMarco’s boss, has kept a number of secrets from his wife over the course of their marriage. The most damning, though, is that he fathered a son with another woman many years ago. . . a son who was recently shot dead in McGill’s, a bar located in Manhattan.
Toby Rosenthal murdered Dominic DiNunzio in front of five eye-witnesses before fleeing into the night. The conviction should be easy, but as things often go in DeMarco’s world, things take an unexpected turn. It turns out that Toby’s father is a very rich man with very questionable character. He uses part of his fortune to obtain the services of David Slade, a slimeball criminal defense attorney who, rather unfortunately, is very good at helping criminals walk free.
Because of the eye-witnesses, Slade eventually comes to the conclusion that the only way he can score Toby an acquittal is to hire jury consultant Ella Fields.
In this case, the term “jury consultant” actually means “jury tampering specialist,” as Fields has a reputation for making witnesses change their story or, in some cases, disappear altogether. Not above bribery, torture, threats, or even murder, Ella is a jack-of-all-trades who gets results and makes things happen for her clients.
On the other side of the case is Joe DeMarco, who was immediately sent to New York to aid the prosecution’s office the moment John Mahoney learned his son was killed. And while his help isn’t initially needed, DeMarco soon proves to be Mahoney’s only hope for serving justice to his son’s killer when each witness one-by-one suddenly starts to change their story about what really happened that night.
Joe DeMarco has faced off with some shady characters over the course of eleven previous books, but he’s never gone head-to-head with a fellow fixer quite like Ella Fields. . .
Mike Lawson’s series is definitely up there with some of the more underrated series around. DeMarco is a solid character who remains likable and yet fearsome enough to excel at his job. There’s not a ton of backstory in House Witness, though, so newcomers to the franchise may struggle to pick up what, exactly, DeMarco does and why he does it. Once they figure it out, though, it’s a fun ride full of action and suspense. There’s also a pretty solid twist towards the end that most won’t see coming, and readers will likely enjoy watching the case play out alongside the chess match between Joe and Fields, who is one of Lawson’s better antagonists to date.
The Undertaker’s Daughter by Sara Blaedel
“Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen. Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: Her father–who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on the family more than three decades ago–has died. And he’s left her something in his will: his funeral home. In Racine, Wisconsin.
“Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn’t heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin. Desperate for a connection to the parent she never really knew, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father’s things–hoping for some insight into his new life in America–before preparing the business for a quick sale.
“But when she stumbles on an unsolved murder, and a killer who seems to still be very much alive, the undertaker’s daughter realizes she might be in over her head . . .”
Tuesday, February 13th
The Kremlin’s Candidate by Jason Matthews (Featured Selection)
“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?
“This dazzling finale to Jason Matthews’s New York Times bestselling Red Sparrow Trilogy, called “a primer in twenty-first-century spying…terrifically good” (The New York Times Book Review), confirms the critical acclaim he received for the first two novels, praise that compared Matthews to John le Carré and Ian Fleming. The Kremlin’s Candidate will be published just before the 2018 release of Red Sparrow, a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence, produced by 20th Century Fox.”
Note from The Real Book Spy:
I wanted to add a quick note because this is the first time in my career that I’ve been asked by the publisher to hold a review until the book’s publication. I’ve read and written my review already, and it’ll be posted at 12:01 AM ET on Tuesday the 13th, so if you want to read it you can check it out then. The reason for keeping things tight-lipped is, I think, fairly obvious. Since this is the last book in the trilogy, Matthews’ publisher clearly wants to help make sure no spoilers leak prior to fans picking up their copy. I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to get a review out sooner, but fear not, I didn’t write any spoilers anyways. What I will say is this — Matthews wrote one heck of a book, and this trilogy goes out with a bang. I enjoyed The Kremlin’s Candidate a whole lot, and think it might be the best book of the three. . . though book one is pretty special. Nevertheless, I expect readers’ reactions to be mixed for one reason: the book is fantastic, but many will be sad to see the characters go now that the trilogy is done.
Night Moves by Jonathan Kellerman
“The #1 New York Times bestselling author and master of the psychological thriller makes all the right moves in this new novel of spellbinding suspense.
“Even with all his years of experience, LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis knows there are crimes his skill and savvy cannot solve alone. That’s when he calls on brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware to read between the lines, where the darkest motives lurk. And if ever the good doctor’s insight is needed, it’s at the scene of a murder as baffling as it is brutal.
“There’s no spilled blood, no evidence of a struggle, and, thanks to the victim’s missing face and hands, no immediate means of identification. And no telling why the disfigured corpse of a stranger has appeared in an upscale L.A. family’s home. Chet Corvin, his wife, and their two teenage children are certain the John Doe is unknown to them. Despite that, their cooperation seems guarded. And that’s more than Milo and Alex can elicit from the Corvins’ creepy next-door neighbor—a notorious cartoonist with a warped sense of humor and a seriously antisocial attitude.
“As the investigation ensues, it becomes clear that this well-to-do suburban enclave has its share of curious eyes, suspicious minds, and loose lips. And as Milo tightens the screws on potential persons of interest—and Alex tries to breach the barriers that guard their deepest secrets—a strangling web of corrupted love, cold-blooded greed, and shattered trust is exposed. Though the grass may be greener on these privileged streets, there’s enough dirt below the surface to bury a multitude of sins. Including the deadliest.”
Poison by John Lescroart
Following the events of The Fall (2015), Dismas Hardy is still recovering from a couple point-blank gunshot wounds as he eases his way into semi-retirement. He’s sworn off long hours at work and promised to not take on any stressful cases.
Instead of working long hours, Dismas trades in time at the office to do more relaxing things, like spending time at AT&T Park watching and cheering on the hometown Giants with his son on Opening Day. Even so, his distraction level is high. While his son buries his face in his smartphone, Dismas appears to be focused on the sun-drenched field. In truth, the former Marine finds himself thinking about his own mortality (he’s now been shot a total of four times) and trying to ignore his cell phone, which is being blown up by his secretary, Phyllis.
It turns out that Abby Jarvis, a woman Hardy represented many years prior, is once again in hot water. After doing jail time for vehicular manslaughter while driving intoxicated, Abby finally got out and was trying to piece her life back together. Grant Wagner, the wealthy owner of a plumbing supply company, gave her a second chance and hired her to help him manage his books. But now Wagner is dead, from what first appeared to be a heart attack but was later–after his children requested additional tests–found to be aconite poisoning. . . and the police think Abby is the killer.
Hardy, after talking to her, believes Abby to be innocent and agrees to represent her. The evidence against her, however, is overwhelming. Not only do police believe Abby was embezzling money from Wagner’s company, but she also stood to profit from his death in more ways than one. Abby, meanwhile, insists she was nothing but thankful to the man who gave her an opportunity when nobody else would, and Dismas clings to that as he searches for a plausible defense.
A portion of the book follows two detectives who connect a couple of murders together, which spills over when Dismas tries to link that to his defense. While that part of the plot does wander a bit, it proves necessary once Hardy discovers that his son was friends with one of the victims. Realizing he and those around him are in danger, including Abby, Hardy tries to pull off the ultimate balancing act before it’s too late and things come crashing down around him.
Well-written and brimming with nail-biting suspense, Lescroart proves that Dismas Hardy is still a force to be reckoned with inside the courtroom. Poison has a very Law & Order-like feel to it, and Hardy’s courtroom antics are reminiscent of Michael Connelly’s Mickey Haller. The one negative is that readers will likely spot the killer early on, lessening the impact of the final reveal. Even so, Lescroart’s novel is rich with compelling, well-developed characters, and his writing is as sharp as ever.
After taking a break from Dismas Hardy to write Fatal, last year’s thrilling standalone novel about a one-night-stand that turns deadly, John Lescroart brings back his beloved character for yet another high-pressure case. The veteran bestselling author knows how to keep fans on their toes, and still has more than a few tricks up his sleeve. . . Poison is a blast to read, and Lescroart’s fans will love spending more time with Hardy, who’s back and better than ever in this one.
Final Strike by William S. Cohen
“In his political, apocalyptic thriller, Final Strike, former Secretary of Defense and US Senator William Cohen dramatizes one of the most terrifying global security nightmares: an asteroid hurtling towards Earth.
“Sixty million years ago, the K-T Asteroid obliterated the dinosaurs, and now its apocalyptic twin is rocketing toward the US on a similar mission of extermination. Russian President Boris Lebed, the charismatic successor to Vladimir Putin, wants to turn that asteroid into a superweapon to use against the US and is holding Hamilton hostage in Moscow until Hamilton agrees to help. Former Senator and National Security Advisor Sean Falcone leads a dangerous off-the-books operation to bring Hamilton home and derail Lebed’s disastrous plan.
“But will Falcone succeed in time?
“The asteroid is hurtling toward earth. If it is not deflected, humanity will go the way of dinosaurs, and the entire planet will burn. Only one strategy has a chance of stopping humanity’s extinction―only one. There is no Plan B.
The fate of the world hangs in the balance.”
Tuesday, February 20th
Agent in Place by Mark Greaney (Featured Selection)
Though Court ‘The Gray Man’ Gentry is back with the CIA in an official capacity, the highly-skilled assassin finds himself working for a group of Syrian expats in Mark Greaney’s (Gunmetal Gray, 2016) latest action-packed novel, Agent In Place.
The job is simple, or so he was told.
Hired by a couple who represent a group of well-connected Syrians hellbent on toppling the regime of Ahmed al-Azzam, President of the Syrian Arab Republic, Court Gentry is given the information of a private apartment in Paris where Bianca Medina, the president’s twenty-six-year-old secret mistress, is currently staying.
The plan is to have Court kidnap Bianca, a clear power-move by the Syrian expats (who call themselves the Free Syrian Army) designed to destabilize Ahmed al-Azzam’s government. After scouting his target, Court makes his move in the dark of the night, only to encounter a large number of ISIS militants who also converge on Bianca’s apartment, guns a-blazin’.
Narrowly escaping with the package in hand, Court delivers the mistress to Tarek and Rima Halaby. The couple, both of whom are doctors, are Gentry’s contacts for the job. Convinced they chose not to tell him about the potential threat of running into ISIS jihadists, Court instructs the Halabys to wire the rest of his fee within a day or suffer the deadly consequences. Then he disappears, again, back into the night.
Things take a complicated turn when Bianca refuses to help the Free Syrian Army, revealing that she recently gave birth to a son who, against her wishes, is still inside Syria — which has been reduced to a chaotic war zone. For the mistress to comply, she demands the Halabys find a way to have her son rescued and brought to her. It’s an impossible task, no doubt, and the Halabys know just the person for the job.
After convincing Court to work with them one last time, mostly to help Bianca because he sympathizes with her and the situation she’s in, Gentry heads to Syria for the most dangerous assignment in his storied career.
Pretty much from the moment Court’s boots touch down in the region, nothing goes according to plan. Shady back dealings and questionable alliances are slowly brought to light, providing plenty of suspense as the story plays out. As new threats arise, Court’s mission parameters change. To finish the job and get back home alive, the Gray Man will need to find a way to be every bit of the legend he’s become over the course of six previous books, and then some.
With so many of the genre’s other top characters already fifteen books or more into their respective runs, Court Gentry (along with Brad Taylor’s Pike Logan, Ben Coes’ Dewey Andreas, and Gregg Hurwitz’s Evan Smoak) represents the future of the thriller genre. Author Mark Greaney once again develops his character brilliantly as he continues to slowly break away from the pack as the apparent heir to the throne currently held by Brad Thor and Daniel Silva.
Mark Greaney continues his dominant run with Agent In Place, the best Gray Man thriller yet and one of the top must-read thrillers of 2018.
The Detonator by Vincent Zandri
“Ike Singer is a demolitions expert, or “master blaster”. He is second to none at his craft, knows every type of explosive known to man, and is the one everyone turns to when they need a controlled explosion. Despite being at the very top of his profession, a personal mistake that led to catastrophe nearly brought Ike’s life to ruin. And he has spent every day since trying to atone for it and piece his family back together. And he believes he is succeeding.
“Suddenly Ike finds himself the target of a brilliant psychopath bent on systematically destroying Ike’s life. And this grudge runs as deep as they come. Ike must use every resource in his arsenal to prevent this killer’s vengeance, and give everything in his power to save his family and his life before the timer hits zero.
“Vincent Zandri is one of the most acclaimed thriller writers working today, and in The Detonator he offers his most suspenseful, shocking, and breathless novel yet.
Sirens by Joseph Knox
“The breathtakingly propulsive and stunningly assured debut thriller, perfect for readers of Tana French, Don Winslow and Dennis Lehane.
“The mission is suicide.
“Infiltrating the inner circle of enigmatic criminal Zain Carver is dangerous enough. Pulling it off while also rescuing Isabelle Rossiter, a runaway politician’s daughter, from Zain’s influence? Impossible. That’s why Aidan Waits is the perfect man for the job. Disgraced, emotionally damaged, and despised by his superiors. In other words, completely expendable.
“But Aidan is a born survivor. And as he works his way deep into Zain’s shadowy world, he finds that nothing is as it seems. Zain is a mesmerizing, Gatsby-esque figure who lures young women into his orbit—women who have a bad habit of turning up dead. But is Zain really responsible? And will Isabelle be next?
“Before long, Aidan finds himself in over his head, cut loose by his superiors, and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman.
“How can he save the girl if he can’t even save himself?
Tuesday, February 27th
The Policeman’s Daughter by Judy Nan Boyce
“At the beginning of her career, Sarah “Salt” Alt was a beat cop in Atlanta’s poorest, most violent housing project, The Homes. It is here that she meets the cast of misfits and criminals that will have a profound impact on her later cases: Man Man, the leader of the local gang on his way to better places; street dealer Lil D and his family; and Sister Connelly, old and observant, the matriarch of the neighborhood. A lone patrolwoman, Salt’s closest lifeline is her friend and colleague Pepper, on his own beat nearby. And when a murder in The Homes brings detectives to the scene, Salt draws closer to Detective Wills, initiating a romance complicated by their positions on the force.
“When Salt is shot and sustains a head injury during a routine traffic stop, the resulting visions begin leading her toward answers in the case that makes her career. This is the tale of a woman who solves crimes through a combination of keen observation, grunt work, and pure gut instinct; this is the making of Detective Salt.”
The Hush by John Hart
“The only writer in history to win consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel, New York Times bestselling author John Hart returns to the world of his most beloved novel, The Last Child.
“Building on the world first seen in The Last Child (“A magnificent creation” ―The Washington Post), John Hart delivers a stunning vision of a secret world, rarely seen.
It’s been ten years since the events that changed Johnny Merrimon’s life and rocked his hometown to the core. Since then, Johnny has fought to maintain his privacy, but books have been written of his exploits; the fascination remains. Living alone on six thousand acres of once-sacred land, Johnny’s only connection to normal life is his old friend, Jack. They’re not boys anymore, but the bonds remain. What they shared. What they lost.
“But Jack sees danger in the wild places Johnny calls home; he senses darkness and hunger, an intractable intent. Johnny will discuss none of it, but there are the things he knows, the things he can do. A lesser friend might accept such abilities as a gift, but Jack has felt what moves in the swamp: the cold of it, the unspeakable fear.
“More than an exploration of friendship, persistence, and forgotten power, The Hush leaves all categories behind, and cements Hart’s status as a writer of unique power.”
Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone
“In the thrilling, nerve-wracking finale of Ezekiel Boone’s “hair-raising” (Parade) Hatching series, the United States goes to war against the queen spiders that threaten to overtake the human race forever.
“The world is on the brink of apocalypse. Zero Day has come.
“The only thing more terrifying than millions of spiders is the realization that those spiders work as one. But among the government, there is dissent: do we try to kill all of the spiders, or do we gamble on Professor Guyer’s theory that we need to kill only the queens?
“For President Stephanie Pilgrim, it’s an easy answer. She’s gone as far as she can—more than two dozen American cities hit with tactical nukes, the country torn asunder—and the only answer is to believe in Professor Guyer. Unfortunately, Ben Broussard and the military men who follow him don’t agree, and Pilgrim, Guyer, and the loyal members of the government have to flee, leaving the question: what’s more dangerous, the spiders or ourselves?”