The Real Book Spy’s July 2018 Reading Guide

Strap in tight, and please keep all hands and feet inside the ride at all times. . . 

July is here, finally!

For those who don’t know, this month is, without question, the best month of the year for hot new thriller releases. From top to bottom — whether you’re looking for lights-out action, heart-pounding suspense, or nail-biting mysteries — July has it all. It’s going to be a wild ride, trust me! 

As always, we’ve highlighted a few Featured Selections, and this month those books are Brad Thor’s Spymaster, Daniel Silva’s The Other Woman, J.D. Barker’s The Fifth to Die, and Ben Coes’ Bloody Sunday

Getting new books from Thor and Silva in the same month is almost too good to be true. Both authors are legends in the political thriller genre, and they’ve each flashed unprecedented staying power throughout their careers. Consider this — these guys have been dominating the New York Times bestsellers list for about two decades now, and neither one of them is showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, they’re getting better each time out.

Spymaster may very well prove to be Thor’s most timely thriller yet (impressive for a guy who’s made a career out of beating headlines) and is definitely his most gripping novel to date. Harvath, who is now closer to exiting his 40s than entering, is still able to kick in doors, but he’s got more people around him now, which, frankly, is good because he needs plenty of help this time around. Not only is Scot tasked with stopping World War III, but he’s dealing with a personal loss too, making things harder all the way around. The story moves at breakneck speeds, and Thor lands some devastating twists along the way, but it’s the ending that everyone will be talking about until his next book comes out. Calling it “jaw-dropping,” almost doesn’t do it justice. This killer cliffhanger will have readers shouting out like Darth Vader at the end of Episode 3. Noooooooooo!

As for The Other Woman, well, you hate to overhype a book, but I have to say. . . this may be the greatest spy thriller since John le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Yeah, it’s that good, seriously. Gabriel Allon, who now serves as chief of the Office, is getting older, but Silva has changed up his style to utilize that to his advantage. Now in a position of power, Gabriel is finally the shot-caller. No longer the razor-sharp tool at others’ disposal, Allon is making the decisions, which is great for readers and terrible news for bad guys everywhere. Guys like Flynn and Thor are heavy on action, whereas Silva is more in line with Forsyth, le Carre, and even Jason Matthews. The Other Woman is more of a slow burn, but, man, Silva is a genius. You’ll see what I mean soon enough! 

The Fifth to Die, J.D. Barker’s sequel to The Fourth Monkey, is disturbing as all get out, and I mean that as a good thing. Barker was born to write crime thrillers, and his unsettling approach is hypnotic and addictive, sucking readers into a world occupied by a smart yet sick serial killer who goes out of his way to make sure the police find his latest victim in a timely manner. There’s still one girl out there, and it’s up to Detective Porter to find her before it’s too late. Of course, the evil Four Monkey Killer is still at large, and his presence looms large early and often. Expect him to continue toying with Porter, who is still hellbent on bringing him down one way or another. If you have any fingernails left by the time you turn the final page, you should automatically qualify for a trophy. . . because the final act in this book is absolutely riveting. 

Thor and Silva are legends because they’ve done this for such a long time at such a high level. Well, Coes is right on their heels, and the case could be made that he’s now strung together four consecutive books that, as a whole, are better than any stretch run from anyone before him. With the writing talent of Silva and the ability to deliver high-powered action scenes like Thor, Coes, in many ways, is like America’s answer to John le Carre. His last couple of books (First Strike, Trap the Devil) are special, and Bloody Sunday is every bit as good and reads even faster. North Korea is big in the news right now, and Coes’ book offers a terrifying glimpse at where the conflict between Kim Jong Un and the West could go if things ever turn really ugly. Once you start this one, there is no stopping, period

Read more about these books, plus so many others, below! 


 

 

Tuesday, July 3

 

Spymaster-cover-400x657px-400x657Spymaster by Brad Thor (Featured Selection)

When a daring plan is hatched to draw the United States into war, it’s up to counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath to once again save the day in Brad Thor’s (Use of Force, etc.) action-packed new thriller. 

A sniper in Portugal, a car bomb in Spain, and a shooter in Greece. Three attacks, three dead diplomats. As blood spills across Europe, an American private security firm discovers that a secret organization is behind the attacks and quickly races to learn more about the group’s whereabouts and their overall objective. 

The Carlton Group, currently serving as a lifeboat of sorts to the Central Intelligence Agency while the world’s most famous spy organization undergoes a bureaucratic cleansing, is now being run by Lydia Ryan. The former deputy director of CIA, Ryan brings a wealth of experience to the Carlton Group during a period of restructuring, as the company’s founder, Reed Carlton, battles Alzheimer’s disease. Previously, Scot Harvath, a Navy SEAL turned secret service agent turned counterterrorism operative, turned down the corner office to stay in the field. Though he’s finally showing signs of aging, Harvath is still an apex predator and one of the most cunning weapons in America’s arsenal. 

Once again, Harvath suits up when his country needs him most. Forged through decades of experience, the battle-tested warrior is used to taking punches and soldiering onward. So when the American president finds out that Russia is attempting to draw the United States into war by attacking its NATO allies, using the North Atlantic Treaty to solicit an American response, he turns to Scot and the Carlton Group, tasking them with doing whatever necessary to avoid going to war with Russia. 

Assembling a team, Harvath goes on the hunt, tracking the assassins around the globe, trying desperately to connect the dots and uncover the organization’s final play before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Lydia Ryan deals with the fallout of Reed Carlton’s condition. As the spymaster’s health deteriorates, Ryan realizes that the secrets previously held in Carlton’s steel trap of a mind are now at risk. As she tries to take down as much information as she can from Carlton, an American ally approaches Ryan and demands the identity of a highly-placed covert asset, further complicating matters on the homefront. Everything comes to a roaring boil as Thor delivers a stunning final act, capped off with a killer, jaw-dropping ending that’ll leave readers absolutely stunned. 

Along with a large returning cast (including several Use of Force carryovers such as Jack Gage, who is fast becoming a real go-to source for book recommendations), Thor, who’s long been known for writing strong female characters into his books, also introduces readers to a couple of scene-stealing newcomers in Polish operator Monika Jasinski and Rebecca Strum, the newly-appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who bears a striking resemblance to real-life ambassador Nickey Haley. Still, Harvath is the guy, and Thor shows fans a new side to Scot, who’s put through the ringer physically and emotionally in a number of ways that are bound to play a major role moving forward. 

While a lot of authors have written timely thrillers over the years, nobody has been more consistently right on the money than Thor, who has the uncanny ability to predict what the world will look like in the near future and craft his stories accordingly. That’s certainly the case with Spymaster, which feels ripped straight from tomorrow’s headlines, offering readers a terrifying glimpse at how the conflict between America and Russia could eventually play out. One thing’s for sure. . . with the way things are today, the world could use a little more Scot Harvath.

Now seventeen books in, Brad Thor is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. If anything, the #1 New York Times bestseller is getting better each time out, a scary proposition for his competition, as Thor once again proves why he’s the undisputed king of the thriller genre. Spymaster is incredible, and the ending makes it clear that Thor is meticulously setting things up for his next book, which, if he can deliver the way he did here, has all the makings to be the kind of very special one-two punch that readers haven’t seen since Robert Ludlum was in his prime. 

Timely, raw, and filled with enough action for two books, Spymaster is this summer’s must-read thriller and the most gripping novel of Brad Thor’s iconic career. 

Book Details

Author: Brad Thor
Series: Scot Harvath #17
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 147678941X
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 9.75/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Stay HiddenStay Hidden by Paul Doiron 

In his latest adventure (the ninth of the series), Mike Bowditch adjusts to his new role as an investigator while trying to solve the most head-scratching murder case of his career. 

No longer a game warden, Bowditch recently accepted a job promotion to become Maine’s newest warden investigator. When readers catch back up with Mike, he’s got a lot more going on than just trying to get used to the shirt and tie his new gig requires him to wear on a near-daily basis. Recently split from his longtime girlfriend, Stacey, he’s also adjusting to life as a bachelor. 

It’s only a few days into deer season, and there have already been several reported deaths. First, a grandfather tripped and accidentally shot his grandson in the head. Seeing what he’d done, the old man went into cardiac arrest, leaving the boy’s father alone in the woods and scrambling for help. With resources being poured into that investigation, Mike is assigned the other fatality, where a woman on Maquoit Island, located twenty miles off the coast of Mount Desert, was shot and killed while hanging her wet laundry on the line to dry.

Before leading a small team of various members of local law enforcement to the island, Mike was told the case was a slam dunk. A man had apparently confessed to accidentally shooting the woman, whom he’d mistaken for a deer. But, as readers might expect, nothing goes according to plan. 

Taking a fifteen-minute plane ride in Charly Steven’s Cessna, which is awkward for Bowditch due to the fact that Charly is Stacy’s father and the two haven’t exactly been the best of friends since he split with his daughter, Mike and his group touch down on Maquoit Island intending to take the confessed shooter into custody for questioning. Instead, Mike’s stunned to learn that nobody ever really confessed to anything, the first confusing moment in a series of incidents that makes it clear from the get-go that this is going to be one of the most challenging cases of the newly-minted warden inspector’s long career as a lawman. 

It turns out that the woman who was killed is an investigative journalist named Ariel Evans, who had apparently rented a home on the island to work on a book that delves into a twenty-year-old homicide. Two decades ago, Hollywood bigwig Blake Markman was accused of setting his house on fire, killing his wife, who was trapped inside. He skated the charges and is now rumored to be living near Maquoit.No longer believing her death to be the result of a hunting accident, Mike sets out to find the woman’s killer, and in the process uncovers a number of shady characters who each have a separate motive for potentially wanting Ariel dead.

The story’s first major twist rocks the close-knit island community when another woman suddenly shows up claiming to be the real Ariel Evans, raising the stakes considerably for Mike Bowditch as he searches desperately through the chaos around him for answers. . . and for the killer.

Paul Doiron has long been compared to #1 New York Times bestseller C.J. Box, but this is the book that pulls him alongside other iconic crime novelists such as James Lee Burke and John Sandford. Fans worried that Mike’s promotion will somehow change the series into something completely different moving forward don’t need to worry. This is vintage Doiron and everything his readers have come to expect. 

Beautifully written and filled with stunning cinematic visuals, Stay Hidden is some of Paul Doiron’s finest work to date and a bona fide contender for best crime novel of the year.

Book Details

Author: Paul Doiron
Series: Mike Bowditch #9
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250102383
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.75/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

THe Bankers WifeThe Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger

“On an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar, and its wreckage is later uncovered in the Alps. Among the disappeared is Matthew Werner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind, including an encrypted laptop and a shady client list. As she begins a desperate search for answers, she determines that Matthew’s death was no accident and that she is now in the crosshairs of his powerful enemies.

Meanwhile, ambitious society journalist Marina Tourneau has finally landed at the top. Now that she’s engaged to Grant Ellis, she will stop writing about powerful families and finally be a part of one. Her entry into the upper echelons of New York’s social scene is more appealing than any article could ever be, but, after the death of her mentor, she agrees to dig into one more story. While looking into Swiss United, Marina uncovers information that implicates some of the most powerful men in the financial world, including a few who are too close to home. The story could also be the answer to Annabel’s heartbreaking search–if Marina chooses to publish it.

The Banker’s Wife is both a high-stakes thriller and an inside look at the personal lives in the intriguing world of finance, introducing Cristina Alger as a powerful new voice in the genre.”

Book Details

Author: Cristina Alger 
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0735218455
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Dead if you don'tDead if You Don’t by Peter James

Peter James’ tension-filled opening chapter will either have you running towards the roulette wheel or swearing off casinos forever.

For all his success, Kipp Brown is down on his luck. Holding his breath as the small white ball bounces and ricochets its way around the roulette wheel, Kipp watches intently, willing the ball to fall his way. It doesn’t, a fact he’s getting used to. And while he’s slowly learning his lesson, it’s been one expensive teaching. Kipp tries to hide the fact that he’s now an impulsive gambler from everyone, putting on a brave and stoic face. Inside, he’s drowning, 

Hoping to get his mind busy, Kipp takes his teenage son, Mungo, to the Amex stadium to cheer on Albion in one of the year’s biggest football games. Still, his afternoon is covered by a cloud of guilt. The smug-looking Mungo has no idea that the funds for his next semester of school no longer exist. So while Kipp tries to block everything out and enjoy the match, guilt — plus the fact that he placed a spread bet on both teams — makes it more than difficult. 

A few minutes after arriving at the stadium, Kipp sees an old client and stops to say hello. By the time he’s done, Mungo is gone. Frustrated that his son took off without him, Kipp tries the boy’s cell phone, only to reach his voicemail. A moment later, a text message pops up on Kipp’s phone, causing him to stop, shock and fear freezing him in place as he reads the note from his son’s kidnappers. Mungo didn’t run off, he was taken, and his captors inform Kipp that they’re watching him through the stadium’s CCTV security system. Any attempt to involve the police will result in him never seeing his son ever again. To get him back, Kipp is told to leave at once and go home to await further instructions. 

Defiantly, Kipp swaps his normal cell for an encrypted one that he uses to talk to clients and initiate bank transfers with. Hiding in a bathroom stall, he alerts the police, pulling Detective Superintendent Roy Grace into the fold. . . who gets to work locating Mungo, but quickly discovers that there’s a bigger game afoot than what originally meets the eye. 

While this is the 14th Roy Grace novel, readers don’t have to read the series from the beginning to enjoy this book. There’s plenty of character development, and James is a master writer who fills in the blanks you need to know without giving away past books. There’s a reason why James has sold 19 million books worldwide. . . his fast-paced plot and clear, descriptive writing style reads like a movie. Once you read this book, you’ll be dying to get your hands on everything James has written. 

Every parent’s nightmare becomes Roy Grace’s most challenging case yet in Dead If You Don’t, the powerful, heart-thumping new crime thriller from Peter James. 

Book Details

Author: Peter James
Series: Roy Grace #14
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1509816356
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

The Last time i liedThe Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Imagine the friendly Camp Walden summer camp where twin sisters met for the first time in Parent Trap or the fun, junk-food utopia that was Camp Hope in the movie Heavyweights

Now forget all that stuff, because Camp Nightingale isn’t some Disney special. . .

Riley Sager follows up last year’s Final Girls by taking readers inside the small space that is the Dogwood cabin (they’re all named after trees) where four young girls, Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and Emma Davis, the only first-timer out of the bunch, play a harmless game of Two Truths and a Lie one summer night. A short while later, all the girls, sans Emma, sneak out of their cabin and into the dark of the night for a little fun. 

That was the last time anyone ever saw Vivian, Natalie, or Allison. 

The story picks up fifteen years after the girls vanished, following Emma, who suffered serious PTSD when her bunkmates never returned. The only survivor from her cabin, Emma shares a similarity with Quincy Carpenter and the other “final girls” in Sager’s last novel, which featured a group of women who were each the lone survivor of various murderous acts. While subtle, it’s a slick move by Sager, keeping a similar enough formula but with a vastly different story. 

Still struggling with grief and confusion as to what really happened, Emma has channeled her frustration and pain into focus, quickly becoming an up-and-coming artist well-known in New York City for her beautiful paintings — many of which are of the three missing girls who are ever-present in her mind. One night, while showing paintings at a gallery, Francesca Harris-White, or “Franny,” shows up out of the blue and purchases one of her works. At first, Emma is unsure of how to interact with Franny, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, who she hasn’t seen in fifteen years. Once the two begin talking, Franny explains to Emma that she’s planning to re-open the summer camp, and even offers her a job coming back to Camp Nightingale to teach art to the kids. 

Much like the moviegoers who yell at the dumb characters in slasher flicks who choose to run into the murderer’s basement and hide inside the tiny closet with no lock on the door when they clearly could have just run away from the house altogether, readers here will find themselves pleading with Emma to tell Franny to screw off and stay in New York. Instead, of course, she chooses to return to Camp Nightingale. While it’s very much the reason for her pain, she also has unfinished business there. So, longing for answers, Emma Davis returns to the place of her nightmares, hellbent on finding the truth once and for all. 

As the story unfolds, Riley Sager takes readers on a dark, twisted, and thrilling ride, surging towards a shocking conclusion that’s so stunning it’ll leave readers gasping for air. 

If you liked Final Girls, you will love Sager’s latest novel, which is a touch better and nearly impossible to put down. Not only is Sager a terrific writer, but, other than a semi-slow opening, the structure of this book combined with the pacing makes for an incredibly fast read that splits time between the present day and the events fifteen years prior. Readers will quickly blow through the three hundred and seventy pages in no time, racing to see what Emma uncovers. Even veteran readers of psychological suspense will be blindsided by the jarring conclusion. 

It all started with a harmless game of Two Truths and a Lie. . . and Riley Sager saves his best lie for the end. Crime lovers get ready, this book is not to be missed. 

Book Details

Author: Riley Sager
Pages: 385 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1524743070
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

A death in edan

A Death in Eden by Keith McCafferty 

When scarecrows appear in the cliffs above Montana’s famous Smith River and a little girl reports being chased by one in the night, state investigator Harold Little Feather is brought in to find the culprit.  Are the menacing effigies related to a copper-mining project that threatens the purity of the Smith? That’s Harold’s initial suspicion, but his investigation takes an ominous turn when a decapitated body is found in the river. 

As Harold’s search leads him back in time through the canyon’s history, Sean Stranahan launches his raft upriver. He has been hired to guide a floating party that includes Clint McCaine, the manager of the mine project; Bart Trueblood, the president of “Save The Smith,” a grassroots organization devoted to stopping the project; and the documentarian filming their arguments. McCaine and Trueblood grew up on the Smith on neighboring ranches, and as they travel downstream, it’s revealed that the two share a past that runs much deeper and darker than their opposing viewpoints.
 
The currents of the seemingly unrelated trips will soon flow together, and Stranahan’s long-time love Sheriff Martha Ettinger will enter the fray as the boats hurtle toward a date with danger at a place called Table Rock. A Death in Eden is the seventh novel in the acclaimed Sean Stranahan mystery series.

Book Details

Author: Keith McCafferty 
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0525557539
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Bound for gold.jpgBound for Gold by William Martin 

“Rare-book dealer Peter Fallon returns in a thrilling historical novel about the California Gold Rush, by New York Times bestselling author William Martin

Bound for Gold continues New York Times bestselling author William Martin’s epic of American history with the further adventures of Boston rare-book dealer Peter Fallon and his girlfriend, Evangeline Carrington. They are headed to California, where their search for a lost journal takes them into the history of Gold Rush. The journal follows young James Spencer, of the Sagamore Mining Company, on a spectacular journey from staid Boston, up the Sacramento River to the Mother Lode. During his search for a “lost river of gold,” Spencer confronts vengeance, greed, and racism in himself and others, and builds one of California’s first mercantile empires.

In the present, Peter Fallon’s son asks his father for help appraising the rare books in the Spencer estate and reconstructing Spencer’s seven-part journal, which has been stolen from the California Historical Society. Peter and Evangeline head for modern San Francisco and quickly discover that there’s something much bigger and more dangerous going on, and Peter’s son is in the middle of it. Turns out, that lost river of gold may be more than a myth.

Past and present intertwine as two stories of the eternal struggle for power and wealth become one.”

Book Details

Author: William Martin 
Series: Peter Fallon and Evangeline Carrington #6
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0765384213
Publisher: Forge
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Safe housesSafe Houses by Dan Fesperman 

Dan Fesperman weaves two storylines — one set in 1978 Berlin, the other in modern-day America — together in his latest high-stakes thriller. 

Stationed in West Berlin, Helen Abell, a young-twenties, low-level CIA officer, happens across a disturbing situation one night while paying a visit to one of the four safehouses she’s charged with taking care of.

Used by operators when in theater, the safehouses are an intricate part of the CIA’s efforts in Europe and vital to their success. During a routine check-up on one of her assigned locations, Helen accidentally observes Kevin Gilley, a high-ranking operator, assaulting a German woman. In the aftermath of the encounter, Helen is all but told by her superiors to forget what she witnessed and to never say a word. That doesn’t sit well with her though, especially when the woman whom Gilley assaulted turns up dead days later, prompting Helen to launch her own investigation into Gilley, whom she believes is a serial rapist.

Using a chain of women who share her concerns, Helen is able to navigate the sexist culture within the CIA during the late 1970s, but her findings, more explosive than she ever could have imagined, continue to follow her for decades. . . 

In the present day, Helen and her husband are found dead in their Maryland home. During their search for the killer, the police lock onto Williard, the couple’s mentally ill son, as the number-one suspect. Williard’s older sister, Anna, who quickly proves to have more in common with her mother than she initially thought, doesn’t believe him to be capable of murder. To help prove his innocence and find out what really happened, Anna hires Private Investigator Henry Mattick, who once spent time with the Justice Department, to do some poking around. 

As the story unfolds, alternating between past and current events, Mattick uncovers a number of shocking secrets, each one raising the stakes even higher than before.

Fesperman delivers one solid twist after another, and his stunning conclusion will leave even the pickiest spy fans feeling deeply satisfied. While the back-and-forth narratives take a little time to get used to, the writing is so good that after a few chapters, readers will realize that both perspectives are essential to the plot. Moreover, both threads are wildly entertaining and work together to build a steady crescendo of suspense. 

Fesperman’s strong prose meets a cast of beautifully developed characters, all of whom have various secrets and a multitude of layers, in this seriously twisty thriller. . . Safe Houses is one heck of a ride and a must-read for spy fans everywhere. 

Book Details

Author: Dan Fesperman
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0525520198
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK


 

Tuesday, July 10th

 

the fourth to dieThe Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker (Featured Selection)

Following the success of his last novel, The Fourth Monkey, J.D. Barker is back with another heart-stopping crime thriller that once again follows Detective Sam Porter as he pursues a dangerous, larger-than-life killer. 

Anson Bishop, the deranged killer who tormented the people of Chicago, earning himself the nickname the Four Monkey killer, is still at large. Porter, a veteran detective, knows the man better than anyone after narrowly surviving his own bloody encounter with the 4MK, a moment that is still haunting him when readers catch back up with Sam four months after the events of the last book.

No longer his case, the FBI has relieved Porter of his duties and taken over. Too bad they can’t also take the nightmares plaguing the detective, who cannot help but obsess over Anson and his whereabouts. In the meantime, though, two girls — Lili Davies and Ella Reynolds — are missing, and Porter leads the crusade to find them. 

Sadly, Reynolds is found dead, her body perfectly preserved in a frozen lake. Upon examining the scene, Porter makes two important observations: First, Ella isn’t wearing the clothes she was wearing the last time she was seen alive. Instead, she appears to be wearing Lili’s outfit. Secondly, Porter realizes that someone went to great lengths to make sure that her body was preserved and frozen just below the surface of the ice, ensuring she’d be seen. The question is, why

As Porter searches for answers that’ll lead to Lili, he finds himself again being pulled towards Anson, who continues cutting off victims’ body parts and mailing them in neat little packages to their family members. Eventually, an FBI agent goes against the orders of his superiors and asks Porter for his help catching Anson, leaving Sam stretched thin between both cases. Barker upends the narrative, landing a magnificent twist that changes the course of the book before delving into the underworld Bishop rules by exploring the dark universe of sociopaths and serial killers the way John Wick took moviegoers into the world of hitmen. It’s a stunning and disturbing look into the mind of an evil character who continues to be the most cunning villain in print today. 

Edwin “Kloz” Klozowski, Brian Nash, and Claire Norton are all back too, each proving a key ingredient in Barker’s winning recipe. Those who read The Fourth Monkey know what kind of trickery Barker is capable of, but there’s nothing that could possibly prepare readers for his latest jaw-dropping ending that features a killer cliffhanger quite unlike anything else currently sitting on bookstore shelves. 

While the opening moves a tad slow, Barker expertly goes about setting up the rest of the story, increasing the speed and suspense as the plot unfolds. The character development here is phenomenal, and Barker’s stimulating descriptions put readers shoulder-to-shoulder with Porter, which at times is absolutely terrifying. The story does bounce around a bit, but the exceptional use of third-person close narrative creates an intimacy between readers and whatever character they’re shadowing.

Well-written, haunting, and insanely addictive. . . Bottom line, this is what a crime thriller is supposed to look like. Think Stephen King meets Michael Connelly — J.D. Barker was born to write crime thrillers, and The Fifth to Die is his latest masterpiece. 

Book Details

Author: J.D. Barker
Series: 4MK #2
Pages: 526 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0544973976
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 9.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

POtters field

Potter’s Field by Rob Hart

Ash McKenna is finally ready to face his past in Rob Hart’s stunning series finale. 

Thug-for-hire McKenna has been running from New York, a place he has a lot of history with. Now, he’s ready to go back. . . but things don’t go according to plan. 

A former drug addict with more than a few demons in his closet, all McKenna wants is to return to Staten Island with a clean slate. He’s done running and hopes to finally settle down and settle in. Instead, his return goes sideways almost immediately when Ginny Tonic, a drag queen drug kingpin, enlists his help with locating a child who started running with Ginny’s crew.

McKenna has some serious history with Ginny, none of it good. The idea of working for her isn’t even remotely appealing to Ash, especially when he’s trying to clean up his life and stay out of trouble. However, as they say, money talks, and if that’s the case, then the ten grand Ginny offers to pay for his services shouts. Not only does McKenna need the money, but he’s recently decided that, after playing detective without being licensed, he now wants to become a private investigator, which means he needs clients. Reluctantly, Ash accepts Ginny’s offer and sets out to find the missing Spencer Chavez. 

It doesn’t take long for McKenna’s investigation to go sideways when his pursuit of Chavez lands him smack-dab in the middle of a turf war between two rival drug dealers. The Staten Island drug scene is set to implode, with dirty heroin making the rounds. When opposing crews aren’t offing each other, users are overdosing on the dirty drugs. The city’s a mess, and it’s up to McKenna to put out the fires. . . even if it means he might get burned in the process. 

If you’re not reading Rob Hart’s stuff, you should be. Through four prior books, Hart has put McKenna — and readers — through the ringer. Ash is a unique character who falls somewhere between hero and anti-hero, with plenty of good and bad qualities. Hart’s slowly worked to redeem his character over time, all the while examining the difficulties of running from one’s past. Can people really change? And if so, at what cost? 

While it’s sad to see Ash McKenna go, Rob Hart sends him off with a bang. . . Potter’s Field is a gripping thriller that wraps up one of the genre’s most underrated series. 

 

(Note: Rob Hart’s next book is a standalone novel called The Warehouse, which was recently auctioned to The Crown Publishing Group, an imprint of Random House, and has since been optioned for film, with Rob Howard attached to direct. With all the buzz around Hart, we’ll be sure to cover everything he’s doing, so make sure to check back for more updates.)

Book Details

Author: Rob Hart
Series: Ash McKenna #5
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1943818932
Publisher: Polis Books
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

A gathering of secretsA Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo

“A deadly fire exposes the dark side of Amish life in A Gathering of Secrets, a harrowing new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series (July 2017) by Linda Castillo.

When a historic barn burns to the ground in the middle of the night, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called in to investigate. At first, it looks like an accident, but when the body of eighteen-year-old Daniel Gingerich is found inside―burned alive―Kate suspects murder. Who would want a well-liked, hardworking young Amish man dead? Kate delves into the investigation only to find herself stonewalled by the community to which she once belonged. Is their silence a result of the Amish tenet of separation? Or is this peaceful and deeply religious community conspiring to hide a truth no one wants to talk about? Kate doubles down only to discover a plethora of secrets and a chilling series of crimes that shatters everything she thought she knew about her Amish roots―and herself.

As Kate wades through a sea of suspects, she’s confronted by her own violent past and an unthinkable possibility.”

Book Details

Author: Linda Castillo
Series: Kate Burkholder #10
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250121310
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

51qznnE3siL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe Girl From Blind River by Gale Massey

“A gritty tale of how far we’ll go to protect the ones we love for fans of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone from Gale Massey, a talented new name in crime fiction.

Everyone says the Elders family are nothing but cheats, thieves, and convicts―a fact nineteen-year old Jamie Elders has been trying desperately to escape. She may have the natural talent of a poker savant, but her dreams of going pro and getting the hell out of the tiny town of Blind River, New York are going nowhere fast. Especially once she lands in a huge pile of debt to her uncle Loyal.

At Loyal’s beck and call until her debt is repaid, Jamie can’t easily walk away―not with her younger brother Toby left at his mercy. So when Loyal demands Jamie’s help cleaning up a mess late one night, she has no choice but to agree. But disposing of a dead man and covering up his connection to the town’s most powerful judge goes beyond family duty. When it comes out that the victim was a beloved athlete and Loyal pins the murder on Toby, only Jamie can save him. But with a dogged detective on her trail and her own future at stake, she’ll have to decide: embrace her inner criminal, or defy it―and face the consequences.”

Book Details

Author: Gale Massey
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1683316401
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

The Price you payThe Price You Pay by Aidan Truhen

“In this audacious, lightning-paced thriller, a smart-mouthed, white-collar drug dealer–a hilariously irreverent antihero–seeks revenge when an unknown enemy takes out a contract on him.

All is good in the life of Jack Price. His drug operation is the Amazon of cocaine trafficking, and no one can breach his complex security system. But then: His downstairs neighbor is professionally executed. That the murder is a sign for Jack becomes perfectly clear a few days later when he arrives home and is beaten to a bloody pulp by a squad of enforcers. Now revenge is on his mind, and he reaches out to his ex-Soviet associate. Unfortunately, she’s just taken a gig with the Seven Demons, the most feared underground assassination squad in the world–and Jack is their next target. Anyone else would disappear as soon as they learned they were being targeted by the Seven Demons. But Jack Price cannot abide a betrayal. With the help of his contacts in a deep web network called Poltergeist, he fakes a getaway and begins scouting the Demons. He intends to take them out one by one…”

Book Details

Author: Aidan Truhen
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1524733377
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

CagedCaged by Ellison Cooper

“‘Dark and mesmerizing…channels equal parts KATHY REICHS and THOMAS HARRIS…You will read till the bitter end…then sleep with the lights on!’
Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author

FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair hunts for evil in the deepest recesses of the human mind. Still reeling from the death of her fiancé, she wants nothing more than to focus on her research into the brains of serial killers. But when the Washington D.C. police stumble upon a gruesome murder scene involving a girl who was slowly starved to death while held captive in a cage, Sayer is called in to lead the investigation. When the victim is identified as the daughter of a high profile senator, Sayer is thrust into the spotlight.

As public pressure mounts, she discovers that another girl has been taken and is teetering on the brink of death. With evidence unraveling around her, Sayer races to save the second victim but soon realizes that they are hunting a killer with a dangerous obsession…a killer who is closer than she thought.”

Book Details

Author: Ellison Cooper
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250173833
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Watch the girlsWatch the Girls by Jennifer Wolfe

 
“I’ve been watched all my life. I’m used to being stared at. Observed. Followed.

SOMEONE IS WATCHING
Washed up teen star Liv Hendricks quit acting after her beloved younger sister inexplicably disappeared following a Hollywood party went wrong. Liv barely escaped with her life, and her sister was never heard from again. But all this time, someone’s been waiting patiently to finish what was started…

FOUR MISSING GIRLS
Now fifteen years later, broke and desperate, Liv is forced to return to the spotlight. She crowdfunds a web series in which she’ll pose as a real-life private detective–a nod to the show she starred on as a teen. When a mysterious donor challenges her to investigate a series of disappearances outside a town made famous by the horror movies filmed there, Liv has no choice but to accept.

FOLLOW THE WHITE WOLF
Liv is given a cryptic first clue: Follow the white wolf. And now a darker game is about to begin. Through social media, someone is leaving breadcrumbs to follow. As Liv makes increasingly disturbing discoveries, her show explodes in popularity. A rapt internet audience is eager to watch it all–perhaps even at the cost of Liv’s own life…

Filled with provocative twists and turns as the line between plot and reality blurs in this inventive tour-de-force from breakout writer Jennifer Wolfe.”

Book Details

Author: Jennifer Wolfe
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1538760843
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK


 

Tuesday, July 17th 

The Other Woman Silva

 

The Other Woman by Daniel Silva (Featured Selection)

Gabriel Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence who for many years has enjoyed the respect of people around the globe, especially other intelligence agencies, is experiencing a minor, unexpected fall from grace in Daniel Silva’s (House of Spies, etc.) latest novel. 

The legendary spymaster who first joined the Office in 1972 to carry out operation Wrath of God, a mission put in place to respond, in force, to the terrorist group Black September, who murdered eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Games, has since gone on to be the most revered assassin the Mossad has ever produced.

Hand-picked to run the Office, Allon’s promotion and official return to Israel’s vaunted foreign intelligence service was viewed, by many, like the prodigal son finally returning home. Much like the parable, Gabriel’s journey was long and full of pain and heartache before returning home to the outstretched arms of his fellow people, who have since slept easier at night knowing that Allon is manning the offices of King Saul Boulevard around the clock to protect them.

Now, for the first time, there are questions swirling around Gabriel and his ability to lead as chief. 

A high-ranking Russian officer codenamed Heathcliff, who has spent the last few years working with Israel in secret (who then, in turn, supply any relatable information to their allies) is ready to officially defect. In a joint operation with Britain’s MI6, Gabriel Allon and a handful of his most trusted assets fly to Vienna, a place where Gabriel has experienced an abundance of personal grief, to bring the Russian spy in from the cold. (longtime fans will appreciate one touching scene that plays back certain events from The Kill Artist, reminding readers of the many sacrifices Gabriel has endured during his time as a spy.) Instead, all hell breaks loose, and Heathcliff is assassinated just before Allon is able to take him into custody for a much-needed debriefing. The operation is a resounding failure. 

Unfortunately, media outlets around the world have taken note of the blunder in Vienna, which at face value appears as if Allon was in theater to personally oversee the killing of a Russian officer. While Gabriel is no stranger to seeing his name in various headlines (he made quite a few of them in The English Spy) both at home and abroad, this does mark the first time that the coverage around him is decidedly negative. Some, even in Israel, suddenly wonder if the former spy and world-renowned art restorer is, in fact, up to the task of running the Office. Especially with former chief Uzi Navot, who never suffered such a gaffe during his tenure and who is still deeply involved as Allon’s ready and willing second-in-command, standing by. 

As the fallout continues to rain down around him, Gabriel turns his attention to the operation itself, trying to figure out where it all went wrong. Eventually, he realizes that a traitor has penetrated an allied nation’s foreign intelligence service. As a manhunt for the mole gets underway, a gripping series of events unfolds that sets Gabriel Allon on a collision course with Russia, a country he has a long and troubled history with, though things have never been quite this contentious. Meanwhile, a woman tucked away in a remote part of the Andalusian mountains has begun writing a tell-all book that proves to be unthinkably explosive once details and the woman’s identity are revealed. 

It’s spy versus spy in Daniel Silva’s latest heart-pounding thriller, which is perhaps his most enthralling novel to date. Twists, turns, and nonstop action fill every page, and the stakes have never been higher for Gabriel Allon, who finds himself surrounded by conflict while facing the most dangerous and critical mission of his storied career. Silva, one of the finest writers working today, remains capable of creating the kind of conundrum where readers are dying to know what happens but don’t want the story to end. From Vienna to Washington D.C. to one of the most shocking conclusions of his career, The Other Woman is Daniel Silva at his very best. 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy meets The Spy Who Came in from the Cold in The Other Woman, an instant classic from Daniel Silva, whose latest masterpiece puts him firmly alongside le Carré and Forsyth as one of the greatest spy novelists of all time. 

Book Details

Author: Daniel Silva
Series: Gabriel Allon #18
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 147678941X
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 9.95/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

The SinnersThe Sinners by Ace Atkins 

Quinn Colson, a former Army Ranger turned sheriff of Mississippi’s Tibbehah County, returns in The Sinners, the eighth novel in Ace Atkins’ New York Times bestselling series. 

Twenty-three years ago, Heath Pritchard, patriarch of the Pritchard crime family, was sent to prison for growing and distributing marijuana. Sheriff Hamp Beckett, Quinn’s uncle — whose death originally brought Colson back to Mississippi in Atkin’s 2010 novel The Ranger — played a key role in putting Heath away after inadvertently stumbling across the man’s marijuana plants when he went to relieve himself by a cornfield. Now, two decades later, Pritchard is out of jail and back in Tibbehah County, ready to make some noise. 

Meanwhile, now just weeks away from his wedding, Quinn is ready to settle down with nurse Maggie Powers and her young son, Brandon. Unfortunately, their final wedding plans are interrupted when Colson’s job lands him smack dab in the middle of a turf war between multiple gangs, pulling Quinn and his best man, Boom Kimbrough, into a murderous conflict. 

Fannie Hathcock, who runs and operates a gentleman’s club called Vienna’s Place, tasks her most trusted employee, Ordeen Davis, a twenty-something African American who’s shown plenty of loyalty to Fannie during his time tending bar, to sneak a peek at the property owned by her drug trafficking partners. Brothers Tyler and Cody Pritchard (who sure can curse with the best of ’em) took up the mantle vacated by their uncle Heath, splitting their time between growing weed and racing dirt tracks around the state. Fannie doesn’t trust them, though, and she sends Ordeen to see what the boys are really up to, making sure to pick a time when they’re guaranteed not to be there.

Tragically, Ordeen finds out the hard way that Heath is fresh out of the joint, and the elder Pritchard shoots him dead. . .  partially for trespassing on his property, and partially because he’s a flaming racist. 

Ordeen’s mother pleads with Quinn to look into her son’s murder, which he does, unaware of the gang war raging on behind the scenes involving the Dixie Mafia and a group of truckers who’ve found a way to move significant amounts of product under the radar of local and state authorities. It doesn’t take Quinn long to catch on to what’s really happening around him, but bringing down Pritchard proves to be as difficult as it is dangerous. Complicating matters further is the fact that Boom is asked to go undercover, putting him shoulder-to-shoulder with the very men Quinn is trying to nail. 

Ace Atkins has built a following of diehard readers who can’t get enough of his particular brand of southern fried homicide, and The Sinners makes it easy to see why. Few authors are able to capture the south the way Atkins does, and his usage of the third-person close point of view is perfect for this type of dark and gritty story that sucks readers in and doesn’t let go. 

Between his work on Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series and his own Quinn Colson franchise, Ace Atkins has quickly become one of the genre’s top must-read, can’t-miss authors, and The Sinners is the obvious frontrunner for best southern crime novel of the year.

Book Details

Author: Ace Atkins
Series: Quinn Colson #8
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0399576746
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Give me your handGive Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

New York Times bestselling and Edgar-winning author Megan Abbott is back with another dazzling psychological thriller about two women who share a troubling secret. 

Kit Owens is used to being the star in her laboratory. When her boss and idol Dr. Severin announces that she’s looking for one more person to join the team doing crucial work for premenstrual dysphoric disorder research, Kit, the only woman currently in the lab, believes the position is hers to lose. . . and then the unthinkable happens. Dr. Severin soon explains that she’s hired a new researcher from Harvard by the name of Diane Flemming, who quickly becomes the frontrunner for the spot Kit so badly wants.

At face value, the move is bad enough for Kit, but there’s so much more to the story, and this isn’t the first time Diane has changed Kit’s life. It’s the third. 

More than a decade prior, back when Kit was in high school, her life was humming along just fine. Though she was brilliant, her teenage self lacked drive and motivation. That all changed when Diane Flemming entered her school and began challenging Kit in ways she never previously experienced. Ultimately, the two used their friendly competition to be the very best academically, in order to pursue scholarships with the goal of one day working alongside Dr. Severin. 

That was the first time Diane changed Kit’s life, motivating her to pursue her dreams through friendship and a common goal. But then Diane offered up a dark and terrible secret, one that destroyed any friendship they might have had, and plagued Kit with nightmares for years to come. 

Now, as the past comes roaring back to the forefront, Kit and Diane once again go head-to-head, but no longer as friends motivating each other. Instead, they’re two people sharing an unsettling truth, and the gloves are about to come off once and for all. . . 

Though more of a slow burn than her last novel (You Will Know Me), Megan Abbott once again dials up the heat, delivering a heart-pounding thriller that touches on a number of issues women face, including career ambitions, disadvantages in the workplace, and, of course, friendship. Her unvarnished approach is real, raw, and honest, giving readers plenty to think about moving forward.

As for the story, the early focal point is the secret Diane dropped on Kit, as readers will no doubt race for the disturbing details. For the plot to work, there must be a secret so bad that it’s not only worthy of changing Kit’s life forever, but also juicy enough to dangle in front of readers who must first make their way through a chunk of backstory. In the end, Abbott doesn’t disappoint, and once the secret is out in the open, all bets are off. The pacing ramps up from there, and so does the suspense, reaching critical levels that’ll have even the pickiest readers gnawing away at their fingernails.

Think Joseph Finder’s Paranoia, (2003) but set in a laboratory instead of the world of electronics and corporate espionage. . . Give Me Your Hand is another winner from Megan Abbott, who continues to pump out one blockbuster after another while showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Book Details

Author: Megan Abbott
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0316547182
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Double BlindDouble Blind by Iris and Roy Johansen 

“The #1 New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning authors are back with an electrifying new novel that will leave your heart racing.

Kendra Michaels, formerly blind and now a hired gun for law enforcement agencies who relies on her razor-sharp powers of observation, is reluctant to help the FBI with the most recent case they’ve brought to her. But then she hears the details: the body was found just blocks away from Kendra’s condo. The young woman was carrying an envelope with Kendra’s name on it, and inside was an SD card with what appears to be an innocuous video of a wedding reception. The woman died trying to get the video to Kendra, but for what purpose? Before Kendra and the FBI can answer that question, the bride is abducted from her suburban home.

And so the hunt is on for a killer whose nightmarish plan is slowly becoming clear. A plan that involves a powerful law firm and a multi-billion dollar corporation. As the body count rises, Kendra joins forces with private investigator Jessie Mercado and agent-for-hire Adam Lynch to stop the plot as it grows ever closer to its terrifying conclusion.

In Double Blind, Iris and Roy Johansen deliver an emotional, gripping new entry in the bestselling Kendra Michaels series.”

Book Details

Authors: Iris and Roy Johansen
Series: Kendra Michaels #6
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250075998
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Four DominionFour Dominions by Eric Van Lustbader 

“Four Dominions is a new, pulse-pounding thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of the Jason Bourne series and The Testament.

The End of Days has been predicted for the last two thousand years, but now it is upon us.

Emma and Bravo Shaw have rescued the Testament of Lucifer from nefarious hands, but despite their efforts, Lucifer’s Fallen have already woken, including the four thrones of legend, and their corruption reaches to the highest ranks. Even the Shaws are not immune, as Leviathan is coming, and no one is safe.

Following his international bestseller The Testament, Lustbader delivers an action-packed, globe-spanning new trilogy that explores religion, politics, and civilization.”

Book Details

Author: Eric Van Lustbader 
Series: The Testament Series #3
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 076538860X
Publisher: Forge Books
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 5.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

The DisappearingThe Disappearing by Lori Roy 

“Two-time Edgar Award-winning author Lori Roy spins a twisted, atmospheric tale about a small Southern town where girls disappear and boys run away.

When Lane Fielding fled her isolated Florida hometown after high school for the anonymity of New York City, she swore she’d never return. But twenty years later, newly divorced and with two daughters in tow, she finds herself tending bar at the local dive and living with her parents on the historic Fielding Plantation. Here, the past haunts her and the sinister crimes of her father–the former director of an infamous boys’ school–make her as unwelcome in town as she was the day she left.

Ostracized by the people she was taught to trust, Lane’s unsteady truce with the town is rattled when her older daughter suddenly vanishes. Ten days earlier, a college student went missing, and the two disappearances at first ignite fears that a serial killer who once preyed upon the town has returned. But when Lane’s younger daughter admits to having made a new and unseemly friend, a desperate Lane attacks her hometown’s façade to discover whether her daughter’s disappearance is payback for her father’s crimes–or for her own.

With reporters descending upon the town, police combing through the swamp, and events taking increasingly disturbing turns, Lane fears she faces too many enemies and too little time to bring her daughter safely home. Powerful and heart-pounding, The Disappearing questions the endurance of family bonds, the dangers of dark rumors and small-town gossip, and how sometimes home is the scariest place of all.”

Book Details

Author: Lori Roy
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1524741930
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Maze MasterMaze Master by Kathleen O’Neal Gear

“New York Times bestselling author Kathleen Gear’s new apocalyptic thriller Maze Master shows the world ending not in fire nor in ice but in science.

Kathleen Gear, who often co-writes with her husband W. Michael Gear, has authored 42 books which have been New York Times, USA Today and international bestsellers. Translated into 29 languages, there are around 17 million copies of her books in print worldwide.

LucentB is a retrovirus that’s inevitable, unstoppable, and utterly catastrophic for humanity. The US government believes the only person who can find the cure is the geneticist who tried to warn them about it and then disappeared: James Hakari. They assign the task of finding him to his former student Anna Asher, who in turn recruits paleographer and religious studies scholar Dr. Martin Nadai.

The brilliant but insane geneticist is leaving clues for Anna and Martin to follow, showing he’s truly earned his students’ nickname for him: the Maze Master. The search takes Anna and Martin around the world and into a war zone they never imagined.

Maze Master‘s LucentB is based on the real retrovirus HERV-K, which has caused several plagues over the past 75,000 years, almost wiping out Neandertals 50,000 years ago, and maybe 30,000 years ago. Modern geneticists consider HERV-K not to be extinct, but rather to be waiting for some trigger to come alive again.

With its scientific and archaeological authenticity and suspenseful clues, Maze Master will have readers rushing through its intricate maze to find out the fate of the world in this thrilling adventure.”

Book Details

Author: Kathleen O’Neal Gear
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 125012199X
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK


 

 

Tuesday, July 24th 

 

A noise downstairsA Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay 

“The New York Times bestselling author of No Time for Goodbye returns with a haunting psychological thriller that blends the twists and turns of Gillian Flynn with the driving suspense of Harlan Coben, in which a man is troubled by odd sounds for which there is no rational explanation.

College professor Paul Davis is a normal guy with a normal life. Until, driving along a deserted road late one night, he surprises a murderer disposing of a couple of bodies. That’s when Paul’s “normal” existence is turned upside down. After nearly losing his own life in that encounter, he finds himself battling PTSD, depression, and severe problems at work. His wife, Charlotte, desperate to cheer him up, brings home a vintage typewriter—complete with ink ribbons and heavy round keys—to encourage him to get started on that novel he’s always intended to write.

However, the typewriter itself is a problem. Paul swears it’s possessed and types by itself at night. But only Paul can hear the noise coming from downstairs; Charlotte doesn’t hear a thing. And she worries he’s going off the rails.

Paul believes the typewriter is somehow connected to the murderer he discovered nearly a year ago. The killer had made his victims type apologies to him before ending their lives. Has another sick twist of fate entwined his life with the killer—could this be the same machine? Increasingly tormented but determined to discover the truth and confront his nightmare, Paul begins investigating the deaths himself.

But that may not be the best thing to do. Maybe Paul should just take the typewriter back to where his wife found it. Maybe he should stop asking questions and simply walk away while he can. . .”

Book Details

Author: Linwood Barclay 
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0062678256
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Believe MeBelieve Me by JP Delaney 

“A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions.

The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap?

But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?”

Book Details

Author: JP Delaney 
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1101966319
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Day of the deadDay of the Dead by Nicci French 

“Now the final book in this extraordinary series is here. And it’s an ending you’ll never forget.

A decade ago, psychologist Frieda Klein was sucked into the orbit of Dean Reeve — a killer able to impersonate almost anyone, a man who can disappear without a trace, a psychopath obsessed with Frieda herself.

In the years since, Frieda has worked with — and sometimes against — the London police in solving their most baffling cases. But now she’s in hiding, driven to isolation by Reeve. When a series of murders announces his return, Frieda must emerge from the shadows to confront her nemesis. And it’s a showdown she might not survive.

This gripping cat-and-mouse thriller pits one of the most fascinating characters in contemporary fiction against an enemy like none other. Smart, sophisticated, and spellbinding, it’s a novel to leave you breathless.”

Book Details

Author: Nicci French
Series: A Frieda Klein Novel
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0062846086
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK


 

Tuesday, July 31st 

 

Bloody Sunday smallBloody Sunday by Ben Coes (Featured Selection

Ben Coes has dazzled readers throughout his career, but he’s never treated readers to a show quite like this before.

Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s Supreme Leader, is terminally ill. Cancer has spread throughout his entire body, his prognosis confirmed by one of the most elite cancer specialists in all the world. But rather than surrender to his fate and make plans to pass peacefully, Kim does just the opposite.

Keeping his diagnosis private, Kim (who is described as having “the body of a sixty-year-old and the face of a child) decides that if he’s going down, he’s taking the United States down with him. Instructing his scientists to ramp up their nuclear weapons program, the morbidly obese leader then looks for a partner to provide North Korea with the long-range ballistic missile needed to carry the nuclear payload.

Meanwhile, in America, Dewey Andreas is still reeling from the jaw-dropping revelation that Coes stunned readers with in Trap the Devil (2017). Fueled by rage and heartache, Dewey goes on a personal mission. His quest for retribution brings him face-to-face with someone from his past, a character that longtime fans of the series will immediately recognize.

At the same time Dewey is off the grid handling his personal side mission, CIA Director Hector Calibrisi (along with many others in the United States government) is becoming more and more concerned with North Korea’s dramatic increase in nuclear activity. Directed by President Dellenbaugh to find a way to slow down Kim’s efforts, a daring plan is hatched to flip one of Kim’s top military generals into playing for the U.S.

Jenna Hartford, an operation designer on loan from MI6, heads up the mission planning. Rather than kill General Yong-sik, Hartford pitches the idea of poisoning him with a synthetic drug designed to act slowly — giving the host twenty-four hours to obtain an antidote before dying a slow and painful death. If he complies and gives the CIA the information they need about North Korea’s nuclear program, they’ll direct Yong-sik to the antidote. If he doesn’t, well, they’ll move to Plan B.

It’s a can’t-lose situation, at least on paper, and Calibrisi green-lights it, with Dewey their top choice to fly to Macau in order to drug the traveling North Korean general.

Hartford, who steals every scene she’s in, soon watches her can’t-lose scenario take a disastrous, unforeseen turn when Dewey — who needed significant urging to even agree to take the mission in the first place — accidentally injects a small amount of the poison into himself during a struggle. Worse, the only vial containing the antidote is already in North Korea, which means that in order to survive. . . Dewey Andreas must get to North Korea and locate the antidote, while also trying to find a way to stop Kim’s sinister plot to nuke the United States before it’s too late. 

With the clock ticking down from the moment the poison enters his bloodstream, Dewey quickly finds himself facing the most challenging and dangerous mission of his illustrious career. 

When it comes to writing talent, characters, and high-octane plots, Ben Coes is right on par with the late Vince Flynn. Like Flynn, Coes clearly has an understanding of how things work behind-the-scenes. Some of his best chapters involve the mission prep, which takes readers inside the CIA and walks them through how an operation is carried out — from conception to getting an agent in place. Those parts alone are riveting, even if they aren’t meant to be, and the action stuff is absolutely off the charts. Coes’ trademark humor is the cherry on top and everything his readers have come to expect from him and then some. (Dewey might be the only guy who can accidentally inject himself with poison and still provide well-timed sarcastic one-liners. That humor, like in earlier books, really adds a layer of entertainment to the story.)

Dewey Andreas continues to grow as a character, and Coes once again masterfully handles his development. Longtime fans will especially appreciate one standout, lighthearted scene between Andreas and the president, which is equal parts emotional and funny. Like other series protagonists, Dewey is larger than life, but Coes finds subtle ways to keep him human. That authenticity really helps bring the series to life, and even raises the stakes for readers, especially in this book, when Dewey’s life is on the line.

Ever since Independence Day (2015), Ben Coes has been operating on another level, unmatched by anyone else in the genre. Bloody Sunday is his boldest, most daring thriller yet. . .  and Coes has the ballsy wit to pull it all off in a way that only he can.

Book Details

Author: Ben Coes
Series: Dewey Andreas #8
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250140765
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 9.75/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

ParadoxParadox by Catherine Coulter 

When a dangerous psychopath escapes prison, it’s all hands on deck in Catherine Coulter’s latest FBI thriller.

Startled in the middle of the night by an unusual noise, Lacey Sherlock and her husband, Dillon Savich, armed themselves before charging to their son’s bedroom. To their horror, the couple, both FBI agents, entered little Sean’s room just in time to find a mysterious man standing over their child. A knife in one hand and a gun in the other, the intruder remained calm before suddenly fleeing while Sherlock fired her weapon in the man’s direction as he leaped through the bedroom window and disappeared into the night. 

Two days later, Police Chief Ty Christie witnessed a murder, the first in her long career as a police officer. It happened as she was taking in the autumn morning on the back deck of her cottage, which overlooks Lake Massey in Willicott, Maryland. Through the dense fog, Ty saw a man kill the other passenger in their small rowboat, before tossing the body overboard and throwing up a ceremonial fist bump to celebrate his victory. 

As Chief Christie rallies her troops to find the killer, the evidence leads them to a mansion rich with history, all of which is bad. 

Surrounded by oak trees and water, the Gatewood mansion has all the makings of a beautiful, secluded piece of real estate located in a tourist-heavy location. . . and yet it’s sat vacant for fifteen years. Originally owned by a couple who had one child, the husband was found dead in the home prior to the 1980s. Many believed the wife killed him, but she was never charged and lived in the home until she died, at which point a reverend from Boston purchased the place. Reverend McCluen and his family were eventually murdered, their bodies dumped in the lake. 

The last couple to occupy the mansion was the Piersons, who, tragically, all suffered the same fate as the Gatewood occupants before them. The husband and wife, along with their children, were all found brutally murdered on the dock by the water. The only family member absent was their daughter, Albie, who currently remains missing. 

Believed to be haunted, Gatewood has been reduced to a supernatural spectacle where teenagers go to act brave and dare one another to enter the home. That is, until Ty and her deputies, along with Agent Savich, storm the house in search of the rowboat killer. Instead, they find a prisoner who turns out the be an old colleague of Savich’s, who then helps connect the dots that eventually lead to a crazed psychopath who recently escaped from a mental institution. But when investigators find the remains of more than a dozen bodies at the bottom of Lake Massey, they quickly realize that the crazy patient is also a serial killer working his way through a hit list, and it’s up to Agents Sherlock and Savich to stop him before he claims all his victims.

Catherine Coulter remains one of the very best at what she does, and Paradox is some of her very finest work yet. While the story takes a little more time to get going than her fans may be used to, it’s all worth it in the end. By slowly setting the stage for later on, Coulter builds layers of suspense that’ll keep readers guessing as the story unfolds. Along the way, she unleashes a brilliant twist or two, all while building up the book’s antagonist into one of her most disturbing villains yet. Like the Gatewood house — which causes everyone who enters it to suffer odd symptoms — the bad guy here is quite unnerving, and Coulter’s prose fits him perfectly. More than a few readers will find themselves sleeping with one eye open after finishing this one. 

Eerie, unsettling, and breathlessly terrifying, Paradox is another gripping read from Catherine Coulter, who, at twenty-two books into her bestselling series and counting, shows no signs whatsoever of slowing down anytime soon.

Book Details

Author: Catherine Coulter
Series: FBI #22
Pages: 448 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 150113812X
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

A Measure of darknessA Measure of Darkness by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman

“Deputy Coroner Clay Edison goes to extreme lengths for a forgotten Jane Doe in the new thriller from a father-son team of bestselling authors who write ‘brilliant, page-turning fiction’ (Stephen King).

Clay Edison is busy. He’s solved a decades-old crime and redeemed an innocent man, earning himself a suspension in the process. Things are getting serious with his girlfriend. Plus his brother’s fresh out of prison, bringing with him a whole new set of complications.

Then the phone rings in the dead of night.

A wild party in a gentrifying East Bay neighborhood. A heated argument that spills into the street. Gunshots. Chaos.

For Clay and his fellow coroners, it’s the start of a long night and the first of many to come. The victims keep piling up. What begins as a community tragedy soon becomes lurid fodder for social media.

Then the smoke clears and the real mystery emerges—one victim’s death doesn’t match the others. Brutalized and abandoned, stripped of ID, and left to die: She is Jane Doe, a human question mark. And it falls to Clay to give her a name and a voice.

Haunted by the cruelty of her death, he embarks upon a journey into the bizarre, entering a hidden world where innocence and perversity meet and mingle. There, his relentless pursuit of the truth opens the gateway to a dark and baffling past—and brings him right into the line of fire.”

Book Details

Author: Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman
Series: Clay Edison #2
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0399594639
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.0/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

A Double LifeA Double Life by Flynn Berry

“Claire is a hardworking doctor leading a simple, quiet life in London. She is also the daughter of the most notorious murder suspect in the country, though no one knows it.

Nearly thirty years ago, while Claire and her brother slept upstairs, a brutal crime was committed in her family’s townhouse. The next morning, her father’s car was found abandoned near the English Channel, with bloodstains on the front seat. Her mother insisted she’d seen him in the house that night, but his powerful, privileged friends maintained his innocence. The first lord accused of murder in more than a century, he has been missing ever since.

When the police tell Claire they’ve found him, her carefully calibrated existence begins to fracture. She doesn’t know if she’s the daughter of a murderer or a wronged man, but Claire will soon learn how far she’ll go to finally find the truth.

Loosely inspired by one of the most notorious unsolved crimes of the 20th century – the Lord Lucan case – A Double Life is at once a riveting page-turner and a moving reflection on women and violence, trauma and memory, and class and privilege.”

Book Details

Author: Flynn Berry
Pages: 272 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 073522496X
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

Pale as deathPale as Death by Heather Graham 

“From the dark depths of Hollywood’s past

The crime scene is horrific: the corpse of a young actress, drained of blood and cut in two. LAPD Detective Sophie Manning’s new case is high-profile and difficult—there’s no evidence to work with. And it’s a disturbing echo of the infamous Black Dahlia killing. Sophie is burning the candle at both ends, desperate to catch the murderer before he strikes again, when she starts to experience inexplicable visits…from ghosts.

Bruce McFadden has a particular talent that can help Sophie—he can speak with the dead. As a consultant for the FBI’s paranormal team, the Krewe of Hunters, he’s been tasked with Sophie’s case and they’re forced to partner up. But Sophie doesn’t want his help, and she doesn’t want to share his peculiar skill. And she certainly isn’t ready for love, despite Bruce’s attentions.

As the killer taunts the police, Sophie and Bruce will discover that the threat is closer than they’d ever realized. Working side by side is the only way they’ll stop this deadly sequel.”

Book Details

Author: Heather Graham
Series: Krewe of Hunters
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0778368734
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 

 

RequiemRequiem by Geir Tangen 

“The first in a superb new series from phenomenal author Geir Tangen, Requiem strikes a deliciously chilling chord.

Journalist Viljar Gudmundsson is no stranger to chilling stories. So when he receives an anonymous e-mail in which the writer proclaims their intention to execute a woman for her unpunished crimes, he thinks the whole thing is a bad joke. Such things happen only in bad crime novels, after all. But the next day, the body of a woman is found, and Viljar receives a second e-mail with another verdict from this self-proclaimed judge, jury, and executioner. Viljar joins forces with Investigator Lotte Skeisvoll, who quickly realizes that the murderer is playing a deadly game with them. The clues are all pointing in the same direction, and the murders are strangely familiar…”

Book Details

Author: Geir Tangen 
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250124069
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

BUY THIS BOOK

 


 

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.

 

 

Advertisements

Facebook Comments

comments

7 comments

  1. I plan to read Spymaster, Stay Hidden, The Other Woman, The Sinners, and Bloody Sunday for July.

  2. Will read Stay Hidden, Dead if You Don’t, Safe Houses, The Fifth to Die, Potter’s Filed,
    The Other Woman, and Bloody Sunday. Thanks, Ryan, for this great reading list!

  3. I recommend the author Kevin Wignall. I’ve read the hunters prayer and the traders story, both awarded five stars.He is exceptional, and I think you’ll like him.

  4. Finished Brad Thor’s “spymaster”. Good book, creative, lots of action. The ending left me hanging because I didn’t expect it. Would’ve preferred a different ending. Looking forward to seeing the development of his next book,based upon his ending in this one.Rated it 4 stars.

  5. #RealBookSpyReadingChallenge From this months guide. I plan on reading: Spymaster and Caged.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.