Springtime is shaping up to be pretty awesome. . . especially if you love unputdownable thrillers from some of the biggest names in publishing today.
Most people would probably agree that, from top to bottom, summer is the greatest time of the year for new thriller releases (Brad Thor, Daniel Silva, Mike Maden, Stephen King, and so many others have new books coming out this summer), but spring has a legit argument to being the best few months for top-notch new titles. Then again, fall would probably get my pick for one main reason. . . because Kyle Mills’ next Mitch Rapp book, Red War (which you can and totally should pre-order here), comes out on September 25th.
Anyways, back to spring!
As I’ve already said, there’s a real argument to be made that some of the best books of the year are coming out this season, and I’ve compiled a list of my personal top 20 favorite books about to hit store shelves. Browse the titles below (complete with individual product information), along with a few sentences from me on why I enjoyed each book — and why you should grab yourself a copy ASAP.
The Real Book Spy
The Disappeared by C.J. Box
Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett has two lethal cases to contend with in this electrifying #1 New York Times-bestseller from 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.
Release Date: March 27th
Book Spy Comments: C.J. Box is one of the best in the business right now, regardless of genre. No matter what you like to read, Box’s Joe Pickett series is a must, and this might just be his best work yet!
Overkill by Ted Bell
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.
Release Date: May 1st
Book Spy Comments: It’s been almost three years since the last Hawke book, and Bell makes sure his latest thriller is well worth the wait and then some. It takes less than a page for readers to remember just how special Hawke is. . . and how devastatingly lethal he can be when bad guys get in his way.
Reaper: Ghost Target by Nick Irving and A.J. Tata
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.
Release Date: May 8th
Book Spy Comments: Irving (one of the most decorated snipers in the history of the United States’ military) and Tata (a former brigadier general who, at one point, was the commanding general of almost 25,000 troops in Afghanistan) are a lethal combination in real life. . . and when it comes to delivering a knockout thriller. This book is incredible, I couldn’t put it down for a second.
Warning Light by David Ricciardi
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 . . .
Release Date: April 17th
Book Spy Comments: Earlier this year, Jack Carr released his Vince Flynn-like debut novel (The Terminal List). Now, it’s David Ricciardi’s turn to put out a thriller reminiscent of another thriller legend’s early work with Warning Light, a Clancy-esque novel that is not to be missed. Here’s my prediction. . . In five years, Ricciardi will be a major player in the thriller genre. I read this book in one sitting. Trust me, you will too!
Field of Valor by Matthew Betley
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…
Release Date: May 22nd
Book Spy Comments: When it comes to finding the next big thriller star, Matt Betley is the equivalent of a four-year-starter, pro-style, NFL-ready quarterback entering the draft with expectations of being the number one overall pick. His writing is as good as anyone, and his action scenes are insane. Nobody writes dialogue quite like he does, and West and Quick’s sarcastic back-and-forth is the perfect touch to offset the violence.
Skyjack by K.J. Howe
International kidnap expert Thea Paris is escorting two former child soldiers on a plane from an orphanage in Kanzi, Africa, to adoptive parents in London when the Boeing Business Jet is hijacked and forced to land on a deserted airstrip in the Libyan desert.
On the ground, Thea comes face-to-face with a former nemesis, a Sicilian don who wants something, or someone, on that plane. Her old foe imprisons her in the hangar and takes to the air with the boys and the passengers still aboard, mysteriously demanding that Thea use the resources of Quantum International to hijack a truckload of Syrian refugees bound for Budapest. He makes it clear he will return the passengers only when the truck and its contents are in his possession.
Thea, Rif, and the Quantum team must race against the clock to discover the don’s true motives before any harm comes to the two boys and their fellow passengers. Revealing a deadly conspiracy that connects the dark postwar legacy of World War II to the present, this case will bring all parties to an explosive conclusion that will decide the fate of millions across Europe and the Middle East.
Release Date: April 10th
Book Spy Comments: Thea Paris is quite possibly the most lethal female protagonist in print right now, and Howe has the writing chops to put her in entertaining situations that are both unique and smart. Her first book was awesome, and her second one (Skyjack) is even better.
The Fallen by David Baldacci
Amos Decker is the Memory Man. Following a football-related head injury that altered his personality, Decker is now unable to forget even the smallest detail–as much a curse as it is a blessing. And in #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci’s gripping new thriller, Decker’s life might be about to change again…
Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes–obscure bible verses, odd symbols–have the police stumped.
Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex’s sister and her family. It’s a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene.
Then the next killing hits sickeningly close to home. And with the lives of people he cares about suddenly hanging in the balance, Decker begins to realize that the recent string of deaths may be only one small piece of a much larger scheme–with consequences that will reach far beyond Baronville.
Decker, with his singular talents, may be the only one who can crack this bizarre case. Only this time–when one mistake could cost him everything–Decker finds that his previously infallible memory may not be so trustworthy after all…
Release Date: April 17th
Book Spy Comments: Not that long ago, I would have said Will Robie was Baldacci’s best character. . . but then End Game came out and it was, well, not quite up to par with the other books in that series. Amos Decker, on the other hand, has soared even higher thanks to another solid novel that has more than a few twists and turns.
Second Strike by Peter Kirsanow
Peter Kirsanow delivers a gripping, high-stakes thriller 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 believes the Russians would initiate another strike of such magnitude so soon.
Without government support, 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.
Release Date: May 15th
Book Spy Comments: Mike Garin has one knock. . . he’s a little too perfect. That said, Kirsanow’s books are massively underrated, even though his stuff is comparable to guys like Mark Greaney and Brad Taylor. His latest offering is a ton of fun and filled with action. If you’re craving a wild and explosive political thriller, this is it!
The Bishop’s Pawn by Steve Berry
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.
Steve Berry always mines the lost riches of history ―― in The Bishop’s Pawn he imagines a gripping, provocative thriller about an American icon.
Release Date: March 20th
Book Spy Comments: Steve Berry does it again! Few authors can mix historical fact with nail-biting fiction the way he can. This book is special for two reasons. . . It’s the first book Berry has ever written in first-person, and the plot goes back in time to reveal Cotton Malone’s origin with the Magellan Billet. If that’s not enough, it also offers a provocative, startling theory about the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Arctic Gambit by Larry Bond
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.
Release Date: May 29th
Book Spy Comments: Man, is it good to see a new book from Larry Bond hitting stores this year. Bond has played an important role when it comes to helping make naval thrillers more mainstream, along with the late Tom Clancy. Honestly, this one’s not as good as some of his earlier books, but it’s still very solid and well worth the read.
Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic by Ace Atkins
Iconic, tough-but-tender Boston PI Spenser delves into the black market art scene to investigate a decades-long unsolved crime of dangerous proportions.
The heist was legendary, still talked about twenty years after the priceless paintings disappeared from one of Boston’s premier art museums. Most thought the art was lost forever, buried deep, sold off overseas, or, worse, destroyed as incriminating evidence. But when paint chips from the most valuable piece stolen, Gentlemen in Black by a Spanish master, arrives at the desk of a Boston journalist, the museum finds hope and enlists Spenser’s help.
Soon the cold art case thrusts Spenser into the shady world of black market art dealers, aged Mafia bosses, and old vendettas. A five-million-dollar-reward by the museum’s top benefactor, an aged, unlikable Boston socialite, sets Spenser and pals Vinnie Morris and Hawk onto a trail of hidden secrets, jailhouse confessions, and decades-old murders.
Set against the high-society art scene and the low-life back alleys of Boston, this is classic Spenser doing what he does best.
Release Date: May 1st
Book Spy Comments: Whether he’s writing in Robert B. Parker’s series or penning his own Quinn Colson novels, Ace Atkins has steadily become one of the best crime novelists writing right now. I’ve read all his stuff, and Old Black Magic is without a doubt my favorite Spenser book that he’s done yet.
Gale Force by Owen Laukkanen
For all lovers of maritime adventure comes an electrifying thriller of treachery and peril on the high seas featuring a dynamic new heroine, from multi-award-nominated suspense star Owen Laukkanen.
In the high-stakes world of deep-sea salvage, an ocean disaster can mean a huge payoff–if you can survive the chase.
McKenna Rhodes has never been able to get the sight of her father’s death out of her mind. A freak maritime accident has made her the captain of the salvage boat Gale Force, but it’s also made her cautious, sticking closer to the Alaska coastline. She and her crew are just scraping by, when the freighter Pacific Lion, out of Yokohama, founders two hundred miles out in a storm.
This job is their last chance–but there is even more at stake than they know. Unlisted on any manifest, the Lion‘s crew includes a man on the run carrying fifty million dollars in stolen Yakuza bearer bonds. The Japanese gangsters want the money. The thief’s associates want the money. Another salvage ship, far bigger and more powerful than Gale Force, is racing to the rendezvous as well. And the storm rages on. If McKenna can’t find a way to prevail, everything she loves–the ship, her way of life, maybe even her life itself–will be lost.
Filled with bravery, betrayal, sudden twists, and pure excitement, Gale Force is a spectacular new adventure from the fast-rising suspense star.
Release Date: May 8th
Book Spy Comments: I’ll admit that, initially, I didn’t know what to expect from this maritime thriller when I first dove into Laukkanen’s latest book, but it’s a serious page-turner! There’s action, a killer plot, and top-notch character development — which really enriches the drama and suspense at the end because readers will find themselves really caring what happens to certain crewmembers.
Greeks Bearing Gifts by Philip Kerr
A vicious murder puts Bernie Gunther on the trail of World War 2 criminals in Greece in this riveting historical thriller in Philip Kerr’s New York Times bestselling series.
Munich, 1956. Bernie Gunther has a new name, a chip on his shoulder, and a dead-end career when an old friend arrives to repay a debt and encourages “Christoph Ganz” to take a job as a claims adjuster in a major German insurance company with a client in Athens, Greece.
Under the cover of his new identity, Bernie begins to investigate a claim by Siegfried Witzel, a brutish former Wehrmacht soldier who served in Greece during the war. Witzel’s claimed losses are large, and, even worse, they may be the stolen spoils of Greek Jews deported to Auschwitz. But when Bernie tries to confront Witzel, he finds that someone else has gotten to him first, leaving a corpse in his place.
Enter Lieutenant Leventis, who recognizes, in this case, the highly grotesque style of a killer he investigated during the height of the war. Back then, a young Leventis suspected an S.S. officer whose connection to the German government made him untouchable. He’s kept that man’s name in his memory all these years, waiting for his second chance at justice…
Working together, Leventis and Bernie hope to put their cases–new and old–to bed. But there’s a much more sinister truth to acknowledge: A killer has returned to Athens…one who may have never left.
Release Date: April 3rd
Book Spy Comments: First and foremost, count me among those devastated by the death of Philp Kerr, one of the true geniuses the genre has ever known. What’s saddest of all is that at the end of this book, it feels like Bernie Gunther was being set up for a potential new career. . . and it would have been very exciting to see Kerr’s vision come to fruition a few books down the road. That said, Greeks Bearing Gifts is as good as anything else Kerr has ever written.
The Sixth Day by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison
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).
Release Date: April 10th
Book Spy Comments: Coulter and Ellison are both incredible writers. Together, they’re absolutely lights-out. This series gets better and better with each book, and this one features a brilliant, scene-stealing villain who gives Drummond and Caine a real run for their money. Trust me, you’ll want to strap in tight for this one. . .
After Anna by Lisa Scottoline
Nobody cuts deeper than family…
Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his young son are happy. Despite her longing for the daughter she hasn’t seen since she was a baby, Maggie is happy too, and she’s even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to the child she thought she’d lost forever, her only daughter Anna.
Maggie and Noah know that having Anna around will change their lives, but they would never have guessed that everything would go wrong, and so quickly. Anna turns out to be a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules, though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble brewing in a once-perfect marriage and home.
Events take a heartbreaking turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused and tried for the heinous crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her daughter but the realization that Anna’s murder may have been at the hands of a husband she loves. In the wake of this tragedy, new information drives Maggie to search for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined.
Riveting and disquieting, After Anna is a groundbreaking domestic thriller, as well as a novel of emotional justice and legal intrigue. And New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline will keep readers on their toes until the final shocking page
Release Date: April 10th
Book Spy Comments: This might be Scottoline’s most heart-wrenching and twisting novel to date, which is really saying something when you consider her phenomenal career. Everyone can find something to relate to in this book, and Scottoline balances that realism with a fast-moving plot that asks difficult questions while putting characters through the ringer.
Twisted Prey by John Sandford
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.
Release Date: April 24th
Book Spy Comments: Davenport might have a new job and a fancy new title, but the outcome is still the same as Sandford delivers another winner. By now, fans of this series know what to expect, but the author takes it up a notch by bringing back a character who, while disliked in past book, will be positively hated here. When you want the antagonist to get theirs so bad that you race to end to see how it all plays out, that’s how you know a writer did their job right. And Sandford nailed it once again.
Liar’s Candle by August Thomas
In this brilliant debut thriller, reminiscent of the works of John le Carre and Olen Steinhauer and infused with the authenticity of the author’s travels, a young American State Department intern based in Turkey becomes “the woman who knows too much” and is marked for death.
Penny Kessler, an intern at the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, wakes up in a hospital on the morning of July 5th to find herself at the center of an international crisis. The day before, the Embassy was the target of a devastating terrorist attack that killed hundreds of Penny’s friends and colleagues. Not only has a photograph of Penny as she emerged from the rubble become the event’s defining image but for reasons she doesn’t understand, her bosses believe she’s a crucial witness.
Suddenly, everyone is intensely interested in what Penny knows. But what does she know? And whom can she trust? As she struggles to piece together her memories, she discovers that Zach Robson, the young diplomat she’d been falling for all summer, went missing during the attack. And one of the CIA’s most powerful officials, Christina Ekdahl, wants people to believe Zach was a traitor.
What actually happened?
Penny barely has time to ask before she discovers that her own government wants her dead. Soon, with only a single ally—a rookie intelligence officer fresh out of the Navy—she is running a perilous gauntlet, ruthlessly pursued by Turkey’s most powerful forces and by the CIA.
To survive, Penny must furiously improvise. Tradecraft takes a lifetime to master. She has less than thirty-six hours. And she’s only twenty-one years old. This is her first real test—one she can’t fail.
Release Date: April 17th
Book Spy Comments: There’s a whole bunch of highly-touted debut thriller novelists introducing themselves to readers this year, and August Thomas’ name deserves to be at the top of the list. I loved this book, and appreciate Thomas’ acute attention to detail and solid pacing. I cannot wait to see what she does next.
The Elizas by Sara Shepard
New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars Sara Shepard makes her mark on adult fiction with this Hitchcockian double narrative composed of lies, false memories, and a protagonist who must uncover the truth for survival.
When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.
Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?
The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.
Fans of Pretty Little Liars, S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, and Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 will be drawn to the drama of feeling like no one is on your side, the high tension of not knowing who you can trust, the hair-raising truths hidden among lies, and a faceless, nameless presence controlling Eliza’s life from the shadows.
Release Date: April 17th
Book Spy Comments: This book is crazy, and I mean that in the best way possible. Eliza is a compelling lead, and her story is both intriguing and a little heartbreaking. She can’t remember what’s what, and readers will find themselves glued to the pages trying to solve things right along with her.
The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper
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.
Release Date: April 24th
Book Spy Comments: Jake Tapper is already a household name, so it’s weird to think that he’s a debut thriller author — but the veteran CNN anchor is entering the fiction waters with The Hellfire Club, a nail-biting thriller with a powerful message.
The Way I Die by Derek Haas
An explosive thriller from the acclaimed co-creator of “Chicago Fire” featuring his dynamic and compelling anti-hero, Columbus.
The way I die is two taps to the head, stuffed in the trunk of a rental sedan, my body set on fire. The way I die is both arms broken, both legs broken, tossed off a cigarette boat in the middle of Lake Michigan, bricks in my pockets to weigh down the corpse. The way I die is acid in a bathtub, pushed out of an airplane, strung up and gutted in an old textile warehouse in Boston. My name is Copeland. My name is Columbus. The way I die is a shotgun in my mouth, my finger on the trigger.
It is the middle of February on Mackinac Island, a tiny community off the northern Michigan coast. But Columbus isn’t here to enjoy the picturesque surroundings. Reeling after the death of his wife and relinquishing his son, he lives in isolation―in self-imposed punishment and exile. Forgotten and alone. Nameless to his neighbors. But even if he runs and hides, Columbus is never alone for long.
Ten years after Columbus―one of the most original anti-heroes in contemporary fiction―first exploded onto the scene in The Silver Bear, Derek Haas delivers another riveting thriller that promises heart-pounding action and shocking twists until the very last page.
Release Date: April 3rd
Book Spy Comments: Haas, the creator of the hit TV show Chicago Fire, is one of the best storytellers on the planet right now. The Silver Bear has always been a little bit of an antihero, but Haas dials that back in his latest book, which sees the longtime assassin try to stop a killing this time around. As a bonus, the story opens in Michigan, on a remote island that I’ve vacationed at multiple times. . . so I can tell you from a first-hand account that Haas nails all the details.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) 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.