World Book Day: 20 Great Thrillers To Read If You Haven’t Already

Happy World Book Day, thriller fans! 

To celebrate the occasion, I’ve compiled a list of 20 books that are really special to me. Check them out below, complete with product info and a few comments from me on why I loved that particular book so much. 

If you have a second, leave me a comment and let me know which books are special to you! 


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Ryan Steck
The Real Book Spy

American Assassin hardcover.jpgAmerican Assassin by Vince Flynn

Now a major motion picture
#1 New York Times bestselling author Vince Flynn introduces the young Mitch Rapp as he takes on his first covert assignment.

Mitch Rapp was a gifted college athlete without a care in the world…and then tragedy struck. Terrorists attacked innocent American citizens, and Rapp’s girlfriend was among the murdered. Two hundred and seventy souls perished on that cold December night, and thousands of family and friends were left searching for comfort. Mitch Rapp was one of them, but he was not interested in comfort. Now he wants retribution.

Two decades of cutthroat partisan politics have left the CIA and the country in an increasingly vulnerable position. Cold War veteran CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield knows he must prepare his people for the next war. America must confront Islamic terrorism with full force. Stansfield directs his protégée, Irene Kennedy, and his old Cold War colleague, Stan Hurley, to form a new group of clandestine operatives who will work outside the normal chain of command—men who do not exist.

What type of man is willing to kill for his country without putting on a uniform? Six months of intense training have prepared him to take the war to the enemy’s doorstep, and he does so with brutal efficiency. Rapp starts in Istanbul, where he assassinates the Turkish arms dealer who sold the explosives used in the terrorist attack. Rapp then moves on to Hamburg with his team and across Europe, leaving a trail of bodies. All roads lead to Beirut, though, and what Rapp doesn’t know is that the enemy is aware of his existence and has prepared a trap. The hunter is about to become the hunted, and Rapp will need every ounce of skill and cunning if he is to survive the war-ravaged city and its various terrorist factions.

Behind the steely gaze of the nation’s ultimate hero is a young man primed to become an American assassin.

Why I love this book: Mitch Rapp is my favorite hero, and it’s not even close. There are a lot of great characters in the genre right now, but none quite like Rapp — and nobody’s ever done it better than Vince Flynn, a true legend in the thriller genre. It would probably be more accurate to just list Vince’s entire series, because I honestly love every book, but since this is (chronologically) the first book in the series, this is the place to start if you haven’t met Mitch Rapp yet. And if you still haven’t met Rapp. . . don’t wait a second longer. Click the order button below then strap in tight and get ready to experience the best series in print right now.  


Don Winslow The ForceThe Force by Don Winslow 

The acclaimed, award-winning, bestselling author of The Cartel—voted one of the Best Books of the Year by more than sixty publications, including the New York Times—makes his William Morrow debut with a cinematic epic as explosive, powerful, and unforgettable as Mystic River and The Wire.

Our ends know our beginnings, but the reverse isn’t true . . .

All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop.

He is “the King of Manhattan North,” a, highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest, an elite special unit given unrestricted authority to wage war on gangs, drugs and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the Job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean—including Malone himself.

What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the Job, his family, and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.

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

Why I love this book: As much as I love Vince Flynn and Mitch Rapp (and I really do — I even named my youngest son Mitchell), this is, hands down, the best book I’ve ever read. Don Winslow is the best crime writer alive today, and he shows why with The Force, a powerful story that’s unlike anything else before it. This is the kind of book that comes around once in a generation. . . if you haven’t read it, I simply cannot recommend it enough. 


First StrikeFirst Strike by Ben Coes

Deep within the Pentagon, a covert, multi-billion arms-for-influence program was created. The objective was to protect the United States and its allies from terrorist acts by secretly enabling a hand-picked man to emerge as the most powerful leader in the Middle East. But the charismatic Tristan Nazir double-crosses America, twisting the program for his own violent ends to create ISIS. Now America is at great risk.

Elite operative Dewey Andreas is sent to Syria to retrieve details about the source of ISIS’s funding but his cover is blown mid-operation and chaos erupts in the streets of Damascus. Trapped and outnumbered, Dewey manages to send proof of the awful truth―unknown at even the highest levels in the government―that ISIS’s munitions were indeed provided by America itself.

This information arrives in time to for the U.S. to cut off a final arms shipment before it reaches ISIS. But the vicious Nazir, is far from finished. He launches a bold strike into the heart of America, sending a terrorist cell to take over a dorm at Columbia University, capturing hundreds of college students as hostages. For every hour that the shipment of weapons is withheld, the terrorists will publicly execute one student. The potential loss of life is intolerable. A frontal assault is impossible. Releasing the shipment is unthinkable. There is nowhere to turn…

In a situation with no solutions, there remains only one option―Dewey Andreas.

Why I love this book: This is the book that kicked off the most scorching hot-streak I’ve ever seen. Guys like Vince Flynn, Daniel Silva, and Brad Thor are all great writers, but none of them have ever put together a string of high-octane thrillers quite like Coes has done with First Strike, Trap the Devil, and now Bloody Sunday. It’s an impressive list of back-to-back-to-back thrillers, and Coes’ stuff is not to be missed. If you haven’t read this book, you need to! 


Back Blast.jpgBack Blast by Mark Greaney

From Mark Greaney, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels, comes the fifth explosive thriller featuring the lethal assassin known as the Gray Man…
Five years ago, Court Gentry was the CIA’s best covert asset. Then, without warning, his masters at the Agency put him at the top of their kill list. Court fled his country and became an enigmatic killer for hire known as the Gray Man.

Determined to find out what made the Agency turn against him, he plans to get his hands on the men who sent him on his last mission, Operation BACK BLAST. What he doesn’t realize is that the questions that arose from his time as an American assassin are still reverberating in the U.S. intelligence community, and he’s stumbled onto a secret that powerful people want kept under wraps. 

The result: everyone has Court in their crosshairs…

Why I love this book: I’d always been a fan of Mark Greaney’s Gray Man series, but this was the book that catapulted Violator into my top five characters in print right now. Back Blast goes back and finally explains why Court Gentry is on the run from the CIA, breaking down how his relationship with the American spy agency went sour in the first place. To get those answers, Gentry comes back to Washington, where he hides out and plans his own operation to find out who burned him, and finally make things right. . . which means a whole lot of bad guys die. This is one of my favorite books ever written, right up there with Vince Flynn’s American Assassin


Code of conductCode of Conduct by Brad Thor

#1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor presents his greatest thriller ever—an action-packed literary tour de force!

Hidden deep within one of the world’s most powerful organizations is a secret committee with a devastating agenda. Its members are afforded incredible protections—considered elites, untouchables.

But when four seconds of video is captured halfway around the world and anonymously transmitted to D.C., covert wheels are set in motion, and counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath is tapped to undertake the deadliest assignment of his career.

What begins as a favor will evolve into a globe-spanning drama of highly personal stakes played out against a backdrop of stunning international intrigue, duplicitous political gamesmanship, and the darkest, most clandestine fears of the espionage world.

With razor-sharp plotting, richly rendered characters, and heart-stopping surprises on every page, Thor isn’t just at the top of his game—he owns the entire genre.

Why I love this book: Longtime readers have always known what Scot Harvath was thinking, but in Code of Conduct, Brad Thor continued developing his series protagonist in a way that finally allowed fans to understand what Scot was feeling. This, of course, was all done in the midst of a lightning-quick plot featuring a radical billionaire who decides to take the earth’s problem of a growing population into his own hands. I love all of Thor’s stuff, but this is probably my favorite book of his so far.


Gayle Lynds The AssassinThe Assassins by Gayle Lynds 

Six master assassins — each a legend in the dark corners of international espionage — band together to steal a fortune from the middle of a war zone. But the mission goes tragically wrong, and they retreat into the shadows. Now the assassins are back.

Former military spy Judd Ryder is walking to his DC home when he spots his doppelganger across the street, a man who is wearing his clothes and pretending to be him. As Ryder slows to follow, the impostor is killed in a hit-and-run that’s no accident. Was the man the intended victim, or was it Ryder himself?

Ryder soon learns that the key to the mysterious events of the past and to his double’s murder is an infamous Cold War assassin known as the Carnivore. Two of the last people to see the Carnivore were Ryder and CIA trainee Eva Blake, and someone is using them to lure him out.

From Washington, DC, to Marrakech and Baghdad, the assassins wage a final battle — this time against one another — fighting for their reputations and Saddam Hussein’s long-missing billion-dollar fortune. In the end, only one can be left standing. Caught in the crossfire, Judd and Eva go on the run while desperately unraveling the tangled past and battling not only for their lives but for their destinies.

Why I love this book: Gayle Lynds is the reigning queen of spy thrillers for a reason. . . because she packs a mean punch each and every time out. I adore her standalone thrillers too, but Judd Ryder and Eva Blake are great characters, and Lynds develops them masterfully here. Plus, who doesn’t love a story about highly-trained assassins all going after each other? This book is awesome. If you haven’t read it, add it to your list right away! 


Daniel Silva The English GirlThe English Girl by Daniel Silva 

Daniel Silva delivers another spectacular thriller starring Gabriel Allon: The English Girl.

When a beautiful young British woman vanishes on the island of Corsica, a prime minister’s career is threatened with destruction. Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, is thrust into a game of shadows where nothing is what it seems…and where the only thing more dangerous than his enemies might be the truth._

Silva’s work has captured the imagination of millions worldwide. His #1 New York Times bestselling series, which chronicles the adventures of art-restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon, has earned the praise of readers and reviewers everywhere. This captivating new page-turner from the undisputed master of spy fiction is sure to thrill new and old fans alike.

Why I love this book: Daniel Silva is a true master of his craft. You won’t find a better spy novelist in the game right now, and Silva’s legacy is that of a trailblazer who (along with guys like Ludlum, Clancy, and Flynn) helped make this genre what it is today. All of his books are amazing, so it’s really hard to pick just one. . . but The English Girl is special to me because it shows a vulnerable side to Gabriel Allon. In a lot of ways, Silva strips Gabriel down to the studs in this one, then starts rebuilding his character over the course of the next few books — until we see him become chief of the Office in House of Spies


Fool me once Harlan CobenFool Me Once by Harlan Coben 

In the course of eight consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, millions of readers have discovered Harlan Coben’s thrillers, filled with his trademark edge-of-your-seat suspense and gut-wrenching emotion. In Fool Me Once, Coben once again outdoes himself.

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.

Why I love this book: Harlan Coben has long been the king of the double twist, but there’s never been a book that shocked me quite like Fool Me Once.  The title is almost misleading because Coben will fool you over and over again with this one. . . spinning you around enough times to induce vertigo. If you can accurately predict how this book will end, you deserve a trophy. The best part about it, though, is that when the shocking revelation hits, not only will it stun you, but you’ll realize that it’s actually the only thing that ever made sense to begin with. 


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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I love this book: It’s rare for a debut like this to come around. Howe, the director of ThrillerFest, obviously knows tons about thrillers. . . and it’s fair to say that, after running ThrillerFest, she needed a unique story and cast of characters to really separate herself from other authors. Well, she found all that in Thea Paris, who has quickly become the strongest female protagonist in the genre right now. Howe’s honest approach and willingness to give Thea flaws adds a layer of realism that’s rarely seen in these types of books. I’m a big fan of Thea Paris, but I’m a bigger fan of the lively Kimberley Howe. 


andrew-gross-the-one-manThe One Man by Andrew Gross

Poland. 1944. Alfred Mendl and his family are brought on a crowded train to a Nazi concentration camp after being caught trying to flee Paris with forged papers. His family is torn away from him on arrival, his life’s work burned before his eyes. To the guards, he is just another prisoner, but in fact Mendl―a renowned physicist―holds knowledge that only two people in the world possess. And the other is already at work for the Nazi war machine.

Four thousand miles away, in Washington, DC, Intelligence lieutenant Nathan Blum routinely decodes messages from occupied Poland. Having escaped the Krakow ghetto as a teenager after the Nazis executed his family, Nathan longs to do more for his new country in the war. But never did he expect the proposal he receives from “Wild” Bill Donovan, head of the OSS: to sneak into the most guarded place on earth, a living hell, on a mission to find and escape with one man, the one man the Allies believe can ensure them victory in the war.

Bursting with compelling characters and tense storylines, this historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely new and compelling.

Why I love this book: I’ve never had a reading experience quite like the one I had with Andrew Gross’ The One Man. Gross plays with readers’ emotions big time. This book will have you cheering and laughing one minute, and then crying the next. Seriously. I’ve read a lot of historical fiction novels. . . none have been as good as this one. 


The Terminal ListThe Terminal List by Jack Carr

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 I love this book: After Vince Flynn’s Term Limits, this is probably the best debut political thriller I’ve ever read. Jack Carr is the real deal, and his character, James Reece, is too. More than anything, Carr, a former Navy SEAL, excels at making his story authentic. It’s gripping, full of action, and yet none of it feels so over-the-top that it couldn’t actually happen. I’m not ready to crown Reece the next Mitch Rapp. . . but Carr has all the ingredients to be the genre’s next superstar. 


Correct Survivor cover

The Survivor by Kyle Mills

The #1 New York Times bestselling novel that picks up where The Last Man left off, The Survivor is a no-holds-barred race to save America…and Mitch Rapp’s finest battle.

When Joe “Rick” Rickman, a former golden boy of the CIA, steals a massive amount of the Agency’s most classified documents in an elaborately masterminded betrayal of his country, CIA director Irene Kennedy has no choice but to send her most dangerous weapon after him: elite covert operative Mitch Rapp.

Rapp quickly dispatches the traitor, but Rickman proves to be a deadly threat to America even from beyond the grave. Eliminating Rickman didn’t solve all of the CIA’s problems—in fact, mysterious tip-offs are appearing all over the world, linking to the potentially devastating data that Rickman managed to store somewhere only he knew.

It’s a deadly race to the finish as both the Pakistanis and the Americans search desperately for Rickman’s accomplices, and for the confidential documents they are slowly leaking to the world. To save his country from being held hostage to a country set on becoming the world’s newest nuclear superpower, Mitch Rapp must outrun, outthink, and outgun his deadliest enemies yet.

Why I love this book: Here’s another really personal pick for me. After Vince Flynn passed away, I was devastated. Like so many other fans of the Mitch Rapp series, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Rapp was done. After a miserable year, I still remember the night I was in bed when I got the email from Emily Bestler (Vince Flynn’s editor) that went out to all subscribers of the Vince Flynn newsletter, announcing that the series would continue under Kyle Mills, a bestselling author in his own right, who was tasked with carrying on Vince’s legacy. Not only is Mills a great writer, but he’s a great guy, and I’ve seen first-hand how hard he works to get every detail about the Rappverse correct. The end result has been incredible. Not only can I not imagine anyone else writing these books, but I’ve never seen another writer step in and continue another author’s series with the success Mills has had writing about Mitch Rapp. In fact, I’d argue that under Mills, Rapp has soared to new heights over the last few years. . . which says everything about Kyle Mills and the job he’s done beginning with The Survivor


Blood TrailBlood Trail by C.J. Box

It’s elk season in the Rockies, but a different kind of hunter is stalking prey in this novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Joe Pickett series. 

Game wardens have found a man dead at a mountain camp—strung up, gutted, and flayed as if he were the elk he’d been hunting. Is the murder the work of a deranged anti-hunting activist or of a lone psychopath with a personal vendetta? Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is the man to track the murderer and stop him, before someone declares open season on humans…

Why I love this book: After Vince Flynn and Mitch Rapp, C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series is my second favorite franchise of all time. Box, the king of cowboy noir, delivers another nail-biting story here, but it’s the final twist that has forever made Blood Trail one of my very favorite books. Like a few other authors on this list, it really would be more accurate to just list Box’s entire body of work because I’ve read all of his books multiple times. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but this one’s always stood out just a little bit to me. 


No Fortunate Son.jpgNo Fortunate Son by Brad Taylor

A hostage situation places America’s most powerful political elite at the mercy of its worst enemies in this Pike Logan thriller from New York Times bestselling author Brad Taylor.

When veteran operator Pike Logan and partner Jennifer Cahill receive a letter from the umbrella cover company for their real employer, a top-secret counterterrorist unit called the Taskforce—they expect orders for their next mission. Instead, they learn that their latest actions have gotten them fired, despite having saved thousands of innocent lives.

Pike’s shock and fury are redirected when their commander, Colonel Kurt Hale, asks him and Jennifer for help with a personal matter: His niece Kylie, an exchange student in England, has gone missing. Neither Pike nor Jennifer understands how critical her disappearance will become.

Meanwhile, all Taskforce teams have been redirected to a developing situation. A terrorist organization has targeted military relatives of key members of the US government, including the vice president’s son. Now they’re faced with a terrible choice: cease counter-terrorist operations, or watch hostages die one by one. 

How much is a single life worth? Unless the Taskforce can decipher the web of lies devised by their enemies, the United States is about to find out.

Why I love this book: It’s so hard to pick just one Brad Taylor book for this list. I wrestled with this one, almost going with Ghosts of War or Operator Down, both of which are fantastic, before finally settling on No Fortunate Son. Looking back, this was the book that made me a huge fan of Taylor, and it remains one of the best political thrillers around today. The plot is outstanding, and Taylor executes it flawlessly. . . and oh what fun it is to see Pike Logan unleash his lethal skill set on the bad guys. 


gregg-hurwitz-orphan-xOrphan X by Gregg Hurwitz 

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them. But he’s not merely a legend.

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as an Orphan, an off-the-books black box program designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence asset: An assassin. Evan was Orphan X―until he broke with the program and used everything he learned to disappear. But now someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training who will exploit Evan’s secret new identity as the Nowhere Man to eliminate him.

Why I love this book: I love Orphan X. It’s funny because when I first heard about this book (the first in a series), I thought it sounded a whole lot like the video game Hitman. Then I actually read the book, and Hurwitz blew me away. Evan isn’t your stereotypical hero. He’s a bit of a loner, quiet, and unsure how to be a regular guy, even though deep down that’s what he really wants. The setup here is excellent. . . think Jason Bourne but with a near unlimited amount of money, and you’ve got Evan Smoak. This series is only three books long, so now’s the time to jump in.


The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly 

Detective Harry Bosch must track down someone who may never have existed in the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly.

Harry Bosch is California’s newest private investigator. He doesn’t advertise, he doesn’t have an office, and he’s picky about who he works for, but it doesn’t matter. His chops from thirty years with the LAPD speak for themselves.

Soon one of Southern California’s biggest moguls comes calling. The reclusive billionaire is nearing the end of his life and is haunted by one regret. When he was young, he had a relationship with a Mexican girl, his great love. But soon after becoming pregnant, she disappeared. Did she have the baby? And if so, what happened to it?

Desperate to know whether he has an heir, the dying magnate hires Bosch, the only person he can trust. With such a vast fortune at stake, Harry realizes that his mission could be risky not only for himself but for the one he’s seeking. But as he begins to uncover the haunting story–and finds uncanny links to his own past–he knows he cannot rest until he finds the truth.

At the same time, unable to leave cop work behind completely, he volunteers as an investigator for a tiny cash-strapped police department and finds himself tracking a serial rapist who is one of the most baffling and dangerous foes he has ever faced. 

Why I love this book: Harry Bosch’s first case with the San Fernando PD overlaps with some PI work that he does for a rich, elderly man who wants to know if he ever fathered a child to leave his fortune to when he dies. Like only Connelly can, the plots weave together, leading to an exciting showdown between Harry and a vile serial rapist. Connelly writes mystery/crime novels better than anyone. . . Bosch might be getting old, but he’s still got plenty of gas in the tank. 


Blame by Jeff Abbott

Sometimes the person you thought you knew best…
Turns out to be someone you never really knew at all.

The crash that killed him
Two years ago, Jane Norton crashed her car on a lonely road, killing her friend David and leaving her with amnesia. At first, everyone was sympathetic. Then they found Jane’s note: I wish we were dead together.

A girl to blame
From that day the town turned against her. But even now Jane is filled with questions: Why were they on that road? Why was she with David? Did she really want to die?

The secrets she should forget
Most of all, she must find out who has just written her an anonymous message: I know what really happened. I know what you don’t remember…

Why I love this book: I’ve been a fan of Jeff Abbott for a long time, but this book sucked me in harder than anything he’s ever written. Honestly, I’d rate Blame a touch above Gone Girl, and the twist in this one reads like something straight out of a Harlan Coben novel. I read the whole book in one sitting. . . it’s absolutely impossible to put down! 


Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison

Domestic noir at its best. Readers will devour this stunning page-turner about the disintegration of a marriage as grief, jealousy, betrayal, and murder destroy the facade of the perfect literary couple. New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison takes her exceptional writing to a new level with this breakout novel. 

They built a life on lies 

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her. 

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer?Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

Why I love this book: J.T. Ellison is such a rock star. Ever since Gone Girl, people have been looking for the next Gillian Flynn-like thriller. . . Along with Jeff Abbott’s Blame, mentioned above, Ellison’s Lie to Me fits the bill and then some. Sometimes, the truth is ugly, and Ellison explores that reality here, slowly revealing more and more about Sutton and Ethan as the story unfolds. You might think you know how this one will end, but trust me, you really don’t. 



Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg

As he prepares to deliver the State of the Union address, the president of the United States is convinced the Islamic State is on the run, about to be crushed by American forces once and for all. But New York Times foreign correspondent J. B. Collins tells the president he’s dead wrong.

With the Middle East on fire, the Israeli prime minister dead, and Amman in ruins, Collins fears a catastrophic attack inside the American homeland is imminent. He argues that only an all-out manhunt to capture or kill Abu Kahlif—the leader of ISIS—can stop the attack and save American lives.

But will the president listen and take decisive action before it’s too late?

Why I love this book: Rosenberg is always a sure bet to deliver an unputdownable thriller that’ll entertain and teach you along the way. He does all that here, but, while he’s written some killer twists before, he’s never delivered a jaw-dropping ending quite like this one. Trust me, you will turn the final page and sit there stunned, unable to believe what you just read. . . and I mean that in the best way possible.


Oath of Honor by Matthew Betley

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

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

Oath of Honor is an intense and gripping follow-up to former Marine Matthew Betley’s “brilliantly conceived” (Clive Cussler) Overwatch and solidifies his place among the greatest contemporary thriller writers.

Why I love this book: Betley is a star in the making, but he’s doing things his own way. Rather than follow the beaten path of dark, mysterious CIA operators, Betley’s hero works for the FBI, but that’s hardly the only thing that makes his stuff different. Logan West is also funny and almost as sarcastic as his BFF and partner-in-crime, John Quick. The end result is a series that has all the feels of a buddy cop movie with the intensity of Rambo, and tons of action thrown in just for good measure. Oath of Honor is as good as any action thriller that came out last year. 



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.


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