The Real Book Spy’s 2019 Reading Guide: Every Thriller We Know About So Far

Happy New Year! 2019 is finally upon us, which means that it’s time for our first look at the full slate of new thrillers set to come out in the coming months. Browse each title below, listed in order of publication date, then leave a comment down below telling us with books you’re most excited to get your hands in. this year! 


Hunt Them DownHunt Them Down by Simon Gervais 

Release Date: January 1st 

The dark world he’s been fighting against has caught up with him. Will his daughter pay the price?

Former Army Ranger Pierce Hunt is no stranger to violence. Fresh off a six-month suspension, he’s itching to hit a notorious Mexican drug cartel where it hurts, even if that means protecting crime boss Vicente Garcia, a witness in the case against sadistic cartel leader Valentina Mieles. But things spiral out of control when the cartel murders Garcia and kidnaps his granddaughter and an innocent bystander, Hunt’s own teenage daughter.

Mieles wants the new head of the Garcia family on a plate—literally. Hunt has seventy-two hours to deliver, or Mieles will execute the girls live on social media. With the clock ticking, Hunt goes off the grid and teams up with Garcia’s daughter, a former lover and current enemy. To save the girls, Hunt will have to become a man he swore he’d never be again: an avenging killer without limits or mercy.

Why you should be excited about it: Those who enjoyed Gervais’ previous series will devour this one, which is even better. Pierce Hunt is a great new character and Gervais uses his background in law enforcement to inject realism and authenticity into the plot.

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The Killer COllectiveThe Killer Collective by Barry Eisler 

Release Date: January 1st

A fast-paced, page-turning novel of betrayal, vengeance, and depraved secrets in high places from the New York Times bestselling author of the John Rain and Livia Lone series.

When a joint FBI–Seattle Police investigation of an international child pornography ring gets too close to certain powerful people, sex-crimes detective Livia Lone becomes the target of a hit that barely goes awry—a hit that had been offered to John Rain, a retired specialist in “natural causes.”

Suspecting the FBI itself was behind the attack, Livia reaches out to former Marine sniper Dox. Together, they assemble an ad hoc group to identify and neutralize the threat. There’s Rain. Rain’s estranged lover, Mossad agent and honeytrap specialist Delilah. And black ops soldiers Ben Treven and Daniel Larison, along with their former commander, SpecOps legend Colonel Scot “Hort” Horton.

Moving from Japan to Seattle to DC to Paris, the group fights a series of interlocking conspiracies, each edging closer and closer to the highest levels of the US government.

With uncertain loyalties, conflicting agendas, and smoldering romantic entanglements, these operators will have a hard time forming a team. But in a match as uneven as this one, a collective of killers might be even better.

Why you should be excited about it: Barry Eisler is super underrated, and so is his series. Both of them, actually–John Rain and Livia Lone–and their worlds collide with thundering force in this one. Lots of action makes an exciting, well-written plot even better. Fans of Mark Greaney and Tom Wood won’t want to miss this one. 

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Daughter of War smallDaughter of War by Brad Taylor

Release Date: January 8th

Former Special Forces Officer and New York Times bestselling author Brad Taylor delivers a heart-pounding thriller featuring Taskforce operators Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill as they come face to face with a conspiracy where nothing is as it seems.

Hot on the trail of a North Korean looking to sell sensitive US intelligence to the Syrian regime, Pike Logan and the Taskforce stumble upon something much graver: the sale of a lethal substance called Red Mercury.

Unbeknownst to the Taskforce, the Syrians plan to use the weapon of mass destruction against American and Kurdish forces, and blame the attack on terrorists, causing western nations to reassess their participation in the murky cauldron of the Syrian civil war. 

Meanwhile, North Korea has its own devastating agenda: a double-cross that will dwarf the attack in Syria even as it lays the blame on the Syrian government. Leveraging Switzerland’s fame for secrecy and its vast network of military bunkers, now repurposed by private investors for the clandestine storage of wealth, North Korea will use Red Mercury to devastate the West’s ability to deliver further sanctions against the rogue regime. 

As the Taskforce begins to unravel the plot, a young refugee unwittingly holds the key to the conspiracy. Hunted across Europe for reasons she cannot fathom, she is the one person who can stop the attack–if she can live long enough for Pike and Jennifer to find her.

Why you should be excited about it: Brad Taylor owns the military thriller genre, and it’s not close. Second place is a long ways off and getting further away thanks to Daughter of War, which features some of Taylor’s best writing yet. A lot of authors are trying to incorporate strong female characters into their work, but Taylor’s done it longer than just about anyone, introducing readers to Jennifer Cahill and the fan-favorite Shoshana forever long ago. He continues that trend here, developing a really great new character who steals every scene she’s in. 

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The New Iberia BluesThe New Iberia Blues by James Lee Burke 

Release Date: January 8th

The shocking death of a young woman leads Detective Dave Robicheaux into the dark corners of Hollywood, the mafia, and the backwoods of Louisiana in this gripping mystery from “modern master” (Publishers Weekly) James Lee Burke. 

Detective Dave Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too many happy stories, but Desmond Cormier’s rags-to-riches tale is certainly one of them. Robicheaux first met Cormier on the streets of New Orleans, when the young, undersized boy had foolish dreams of becoming a Hollywood director.

Twenty-five years later, when Robicheaux knocks on Cormier’s door, it isn’t to congratulate him on his Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Robicheaux has discovered the body of a young woman who’s been crucified, wearing only a small chain on her ankle. She disappeared near Cormier’s Cyrpemort Point estate, and Robicheaux, along with young deputy, Sean McClain, are looking for answers. Neither Cormier nor his enigmatic actor friend Antoine Butterworth are saying much, but Robicheaux knows better.

As always, Clete Purcel and Davie’s daughter, Alafair, have Robicheaux’s back. Clete witnesses the escape of Texas inmate, Hugo Tillinger, who may hold the key to Robicheaux’s case. As they wade further into the investigation, they end up in the crosshairs of the mob, the deranged Chester Wimple, and the dark ghosts Robicheaux has been running from for years. Ultimately, it’s up to Robicheaux to stop them all, but he’ll have to summon a light he’s never seen or felt to save himself and those he loves.

Why you should be excited about it: James Lee Burke is an American treasure. As solid as they come, Burke has taken his writing to another level with last year’s Robicheaux and now The New Iberia Blues. Last year’s book was deeply personal for Robicheaux, and Burke’s next book follows a similar trend, wrapped around a fantastic mystery. 

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First kill all the lawyersFirst Kill the Lawyers by David Housewright 

Release Date: January 8th 

P.I. Holland Taylor returns in David Housewright’s Edgar Award-winning series with First, Kill the Lawyers, where Taylor is hired to recover stolen files before they are leaked, ruining more than just the careers of five local lawyers.

Five prominent attorneys in Minneapolis have had their computer systems hacked and very sensitive case files stolen. Those attorneys are then contacted by an association of local whistleblowers known as NIMN and are quietly alerted that they have received those documents from an anonymous source. If those files are released, then not only will those lawyers be ruined, but it might even destroy the integrity of the entire Minnesota legal system. This group of lawyers turns to Private Investigator Holland Taylor with a simple directive: stop the disclosure any way you can.

But while the directive is simple, the case is not. To find the missing files and the person responsible, Holland must first dive into the five cases covered in the files―divorce, bribery, class action, rape, and murder. While Taylor is untangling the associates and connections between the cases and families affected, things take another mysterious turn and the time before the files are released is running out. As the situation becomes more threatening, Holland Taylor is trapped in the middle of what is legal and what is ethical―between right, wrong, and deadly.

Why you should be excited about it: Holland Taylor is a solid character and Housewright has done a nice job developing him over the years. He’s also done a great job spinning mysteries that’ll have you guessing right up to the end, which makes for an engaging and exciting read. For that reason and more, this is one title that should find its way onto your TBR list in 2019. 

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The first conspiracyThe First Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

Release Date: January 8th 

Taking place during the most critical period of our nation’s birth, The First Conspiracy tells a remarkable and previously untold piece of American history that not only reveals George Washington’s character, but also illuminates the origins of America’s counterintelligence movement that led to the modern day CIA.

In 1776, an elite group of soldiers were handpicked to serve as George Washington’s bodyguards. Washington trusted them; relied on them. But unbeknownst to Washington, some of them were part of a treasonous plan. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, these traitorous soldiers, along with the Governor of New York, William Tryon, and Mayor David Mathews, launched a deadly plot against the most important member of the military: George Washington himself.

This is the story of the secret plot and how it was revealed. It is a story of leaders, liars, counterfeiters, and jailhouse confessors. It also shows just how hard the battle was for George Washington and how close America was to losing the Revolutionary War.

In this historical page-turner, New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer teams up with American history writer and documentary television producer, Josh Mensch to unravel the shocking true story behind what has previously been a footnote in the pages of history. Drawing on extensive research, Meltzer and Mensch capture in riveting detail how George Washington not only defeated the most powerful military force in the world, but also uncovered the secret plot against him in the tumultuous days leading up to July 4, 1776.

Why you should be excited about it: I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but I’ll read anything with Brad Meltzer’s name on it, and this book absolutely blew me away. Think back a couple of years–before Meltzer wrote The Escape Artist (2018), he penned House of Secrets with Tod Goldberg. In that book, the main character’s father was the host of a popular TV show that followed conspiracies, not unlike Meltzer’s real-life show Decoded, which aired on the History Channel. Of course, Meltzer followed up that show with another, Lost History, and this book reads like a mashup of both shows. In fact, Josh Mensch, who co-wrote this book with Meltzer, worked on Lost History, among other projects. Very rarely does a nonfiction book have the suspense and pacing of a fictional thriller, but this is one of those times . . .  The First Conspiracy is absolutely riveting. 

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The Night Agent smallThe Night Agent by Matthew Quirk 

Release Date: January 15th 

“Plenty of breathless one-more-chapter, stay-up-late suspense wrapped around a meaty and timely story … irresistible.”
— Lee Child

To find a Russian mole in the White House, an FBI agent must question everything. . . and trust no one

To save America from a catastrophic betrayal, an idealistic young FBI agent must stop a Russian mole in the White House in this exhilarating political thriller reminiscent of the early novels of John Grisham and David Baldacci.

No one was more surprised than FBI Agent Peter Sutherland when he’s tapped to work in the White House Situation Room. From his earliest days as a surveillance specialist, Peter has scrupulously done everything by the book, hoping his record will help him escape the taint of his past. When Peter was a boy, his father, a section chief in FBI counterintelligence, was suspected of selling secrets to the Russians—a catastrophic breach that had cost him his career, his reputation, and eventually his life.

Peter knows intimately how one broken rule can cost lives. Nowhere is he more vigilant than in this room, the sanctum of America’s secrets. Staffing the night action desk, his job is monitoring an emergency line for a call that has not—and might never—come.

Until tonight.

At 1:05 a.m. the phone rings. A terrified young woman named Rose tells Peter that her aunt and uncle have just been murdered and that the killer is still in the house with her. Before their deaths, they gave her this phone number with urgent instructions: “Tell them OSPREY was right. It’s happening. . . “

The call thrusts Peter into the heart of a conspiracy years in the making, involving a Russian mole at the highest levels of the government. Anyone in the White House could be the traitor. Anyone could be corrupted. To save the nation, Peter must take the rules into his own hands and do the right thing, no matter the cost. He plunges into a desperate hunt for the traitor—a treacherous odyssey that pits him and Rose against some of Russia’s most skilled and ruthless operatives and the full force of the FBI itself.

Peter knows that the wider a secret is broadcast, the more dangerous it gets for the people at the center. With the fate of the country on the line, he and Rose must evade seasoned assassins and maneuver past jolting betrayals to find the shocking truth—and stop the threat from inside before it’s too late.

Why you should be excited about it: Of all the books on this list, Quirk’s is one of my very favorites. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when starting this one, or even what the story was about. After the first few pages, I was hooked and found myself racing through the story, completely enthralled by the conspiracy unfolding on each page. Imagine a modern John le Carre writing an episode of The West Wing . . . this one’s not to be missed. 

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Tear it downTear it Down by Nick Petrie 

Release Date: January 15th

In the new edge-of-your-seat adventure from national bestselling author Nick Petrie, Peter Ash pursues one case–and stumbles into another–in the City of the Blues.

Iraq war veteran Peter Ash is restless in the home he shares with June Cassidy in Washington State. June knows Peter needs to be on the move, so she sends him to Memphis to help her friend Wanda Wyatt, a photographer and war correspondent who’s been receiving peculiar threats. When Peter arrives in Memphis, however, he finds the situation has gone downhill fast–someone has just driven a dump truck into Wanda’s living room. But neither Wanda nor Peter can figure out why.

At the same time, a young homeless street musician finds himself roped into a plan to rob a jewelry store. The heist doesn’t go as planned, and the young man finds himself holding a sack full of Rolexes and running for his life. When his getaway car breaks down, he steals a new one at gunpoint–Peter’s 1968 green Chevrolet pickup truck. 

Peter likes the skinny kid’s smarts and attitude, but he soon discovers that the desperate musician is in far worse trouble than he knows. And Wanda’s troubles are only beginning. Peter finds himself stuck between Memphis gangsters–looking for Rolexes and revenge–and a Mississippi ex-con and his hog-butcher brother looking for a valuable piece of family history that goes all the way back to the Civil War.

Why you should be excited about it: Lots of writers are prematurely called the next Lee Child . . .  but Nick Petrie’s the only one with a real chance to actually carry that title. His Peter Ash series is phenomenal, and though it’s hard to pick a favorite, I think this is his best work yet. If you aren’t reading him, start. You’ll be glad you did. 

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Code Name LiseCode Name: Lise by Larry Loftis 

Release Date: January 15th

From internationally bestselling author of the “gripping” (Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author) Into the Lion’s Mouth comes the extraordinary true story of Odette Sansom, the British spy who operated in occupied France and fell in love with her commanding officer during World War II—perfect for fans of Unbroken, The Nightingale, and Code Girls.

The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.

As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them. They are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and from there to concentration camps in Germany where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.

In Code Name: Lise, Larry Loftis paints a portrait of true courage, patriotism, and love—of two incredibly heroic people who endured unimaginable horrors and degradations. He seamlessly weaves together the touching romance between Odette and Peter and the thrilling cat and mouse game between them and Sergeant Bleicher. With this amazing testament to the human spirit, Loftis proves once again that he is adept at writing “nonfiction that reads like a page-turning novel” (Parade).

Why you should be excited about it: A few titles above, I noted that I don’t read a lot of nonfiction and that rarely does a nonfiction book have the suspense and pacing of a thriller. Well, even before Brad Meltzer was penning such books, Larry Loftis was paving the way with his last book, Into the Lion’s Mouth (2016), a gripping story about Dusko Popov, the real-life inspiration for James Bond. Now, Loftis is back with another page-turning true story that follows a courageous woman in Odette Sansom, a British spy who defied every odd she faced. Not only is this book uplifting, but it truly does read like a thriller novel, and Loftis can really write. 

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No Exit by Taylor Adams

Release Date: January 15th

“What a box of tricks! This full-throttle thriller, dark and driving, rivals Agatha Christie for sheer ingenuity and James Patterson for flat-out speed. Swift, sharp, and relentless.”  — A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

A brilliant, edgy thriller about four strangers, a blizzard, a kidnapped child, and a determined young woman desperate to unmask and outwit a vicious psychopath.

A kidnapped little girl locked in a stranger’s van. No help for miles. What would you do?

On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.

Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.

Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?

There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.

But who can she trust?

With exquisitely controlled pacing, Taylor Adams diabolically ratchets up the tension with every page. Full of terrifying twists and hairpin turns, No Exit will have you on the edge of your seat and leave you breathless.

Why you should be excited about it: Read the blurb from New York Times bestselling author A.J. Finn at the top . . . that’s all you need to know about this one. 

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CrucibleCrucible by James Rollins 

Release Date: January 22nd

In the race to save one of their own, Sigma Force must wrestle with the deepest spiritual mysteries of mankind in this mind-expanding adventure from the #1 New York Times bestselling author, told with his trademark blend of cutting edge science, historical mystery, and pulse-pounding action.

Arriving home on Christmas Eve, Commander Gray Pierce discovers his house ransacked, his pregnant lover missing, and his best friend’s wife, Kat, unconscious on the kitchen floor. With no shred of evidence to follow, his one hope to find the woman he loves and his unborn child is Kat, the only witness to what happened. But the injured woman is in a semi-comatose state and cannot speak—until a brilliant neurologist offers a radical approach to “unlock” her mind long enough to ask a few questions.

What Pierce learns from Kat sets Sigma Force on a frantic quest for answers that are connected to mysteries reaching back to the Spanish Inquisition and to one of the most reviled and blood-soaked books in human history—a Medieval text known as the Malleus Maleficarum, the Hammer of Witches. What they uncover hidden deep in the past will reveal a frightening truth in the present and a future on the brink of annihilation, and force them to confront the ultimate question: What does it mean to have a soul?

Why you should be excited about it: Rollins always brings his A-game and, if we’re being honest, his worst books are better than most author’s best books. Therefore, it’s hard to say that he’s been better of late, but he has.  Rollins is on a bit of a hot streak the past two years, but he’s never written anything quite like this . . .  and readers will see why soon enough. Crucible is the best Sigma Force book yet. 

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The Rule of LawThe Rule of Law by John Lescroart 

Release Date: January 29th

In “master of the legal thriller” (Chicago Sun-Times) John Lescroart’s electrifying new novel, attorney Dismas Hardy is called to defend the least likely suspect of his career: his longtime, trusted assistant who is suddenly being charged as an accessory to murder.

Dismas Hardy knows something is amiss with his trusted secretary, Phyllis. Her out-of-character behavior and sudden disappearances concern Hardy, especially when he learns that her convict brother—a man who had served twenty-five years in prison for armed robbery and attempted murder—has just been released.

Things take a shocking turn with Phyllis is suddenly arrested at work for allegedly being an accessory to the murder of Hector Valdez, a coyote who’d been smuggling women into this country from El Salvador and Mexico. That is, until recently, when he was shot to death—on the very same day that Phyllis first disappeared from work. The connection between Phyllis, her brother, and Hector’s murder is not something Dismas can easily understand, but if his cherished colleague has any chance of going free, he needs to put all the pieces together—and fast.

Proving that he is truly “one of the best thriller writers to come down the pike” (USA TODAY), John Lescroart crafts yet another whip-smart, engrossing novel filled with shocking twists and turns that will keep you on your toes until the very last page.

Why you should be excited about it: Following Poison (2018), John Lescroart brings his fan-favorite hero Dismas Hardy back for one of his most personal cases yet when his beloved secretary is charged with a crime he knows she couldn’t have committed. I just finished this one, and honestly, I think it’s Lescroart’s best Hardy novel in years. Dismas is getting older, would love to actually retire for good, but keeps getting sucked back into the courtroom for one reason or another. This time, though, the reason is more compelling than past books, and Lescroart packs enough twists and turns to throw readers off along the way.

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The SuspectThe Suspect by Fiona Barton 

Release Date: January 29th

The New York Times bestselling author of The Widow returns with a brand new novel of twisting psychological suspense about every parent’s worst nightmare…

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth—and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. 

As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . . 

Why you should be excited about it: Fiona Barton has already shown she’s a top-notch suspense writer, making this title a no-brainer for fans of that genre in 2019. This time around, the plot feels ripped from the headlines as two eighteen-year-old girls go missing while visiting Thailand. Expect the unexpected with this one, as Barton knows how to land a killer twist or two. 

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judgment joe finderJudgment by Joseph Finder 

Release Date: January 29th

New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder returns with an explosive new thriller about a female judge and the one personal misstep that could lead to her–and her family’s–downfall.

It was nothing more than a one-night stand. Juliana Brody, a judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, is rumored to be in consideration for the federal circuit, maybe someday the highest court in the land. At a conference in a Chicago hotel, she meets a gentle, vulnerable man and has an unforgettable night with him—something she’d never done before. They part with an explicit understanding that this must never happen again.

But back home in Boston, Juliana realizes that this was no random encounter. The man from Chicago proves to have an integral role in a case she’s presiding over–a sex-discrimination case that’s received national attention. Juliana discovers that she’s been entrapped, her night of infidelity captured on video. Strings are being pulled in high places, a terrifying unfolding conspiracy that will turn her life upside down.  But soon it becomes clear that personal humiliation, even the possible destruction of her career, are the least of her concerns, as her own life and the lives of her family are put in mortal jeopardy. 

In the end, turning the tables on her adversaries will require her to be as ruthless as they are.

Why you should be excited about it: Judgment is as impressive as anything Finder has ever written for one reason: even though the protagonist is essentially at fault for all the bad stuff happening to her, Finder manages to make her relatable in a way that allows readers to still root for her to beat the odds–which, by the way, are stacked firmly against her. Joe Finder can bring the suspense better than just about anyone, and he serves up a heaping dose of it here. 

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Out of the DarknessOut of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz 

Release Date: January 29th

“A shocking stunner in every way. The perfect thriller.” ―Robert Crais

When darkness closes in―he’s your last, best hope. Evan Smoak returns in Gregg Hurwitz’s #1 international bestselling Orphan X series.

Taken from a group home at age twelve, Evan Smoak was raised and trained as part of the Orphan Program, an off-the-books operation designed to create deniable intelligence assets―i.e. assassins. Evan was Orphan X. He broke with the Program, using everything he learned to disappear and reinvent himself as the Nowhere Man, a man who helps the truly desperate when no one else can. But now Evan’s past is catching up to him.

Someone at the very highest level of government has been trying to eliminate every trace of the Orphan Program by killing all the remaining Orphans and their trainers. After Evan’s mentor and the only father he ever knew was killed, he decided to strike back. His target is the man who started the Program and who is now the most heavily guarded person in the world: the President of the United States.

But President Bennett knows that Orphan X is after him and, using weapons of his own, he’s decided to counter-attack. Bennett activates the one man who has the skills and experience to track down and take out Orphan X―the first recruit of the Program, Orphan A.

With Evan devoting all his skills, resources, and intelligence to find a way through the layers of security that surround the President, suddenly he also has to protect himself against the deadliest of opponents. It’s Orphan vs. Orphan with the future of the country―even the world―on the line.

Why you should be excited about it: Gregg Hurwitz is an absolute genius. Since launching his Orphan X series, he’s dazzled readers with three action-packed books, all the while keeping readers in the dark as to his master plan. Now, he whips the curtain back with thundering force, revealing a shocking conspiracy that makes one thing clear: Everything that’s happened over the last three books has been leading to this . . . and he delivers in a big way. Out of the Dark has serious best thriller of the year potential. 

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The Break LineThe Break Line by James Brabazon 

Release Date: January 29th

British intelligence operative and hardened assassin, Max McLean, battles a nightmarish enemy in this stunning debut thriller from an award-winning war correspondent.

When it comes to killing terrorists British intelligence has always had one man they could rely on, Max McLean. As an assassin, he’s never missed, but Max has made one miscalculation and now he has to pay the price.

His handlers send him to Sierra Leone on a seemingly one-way mission. What he finds is a horror from beyond his nightmares. Rebel forces are loose in the jungle and someone or something is slaughtering innocent villagers. It’s his job to root out the monster behind these abominations, but he soon discovers that London may consider him the most disposable piece in this operation.

Why you should be excited about it: Brabazon’s first thriller is well-written and features an exceptional plot. It also introduces a great new protagonist in Max McLean, a perfect fit for fans of Mark Greaney’s Gray Man or Tom Wood’s Victor the Assassin. Readers will enjoy following McLean around and will no doubt hope to see more of him in the future. 

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The Crooked Street smallThe Crooked Street by Brian Freeman

Release Date: January 29th

The hunt for a killer in San Francisco becomes a dizzying game of cat and mouse in a thrilling novel of psychological suspense.

“Lombard is your Moriarty, Frost. Taking him down will be the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done.”

San Francisco homicide detective Frost Easton hadn’t seen his estranged friend Denny in years. Not until he dies in Frost’s arms uttering a final inexplicable word: Lombard. Denny appears to be the latest victim in a string of murders linked by a distinctive clue: the painting of a spiraled snake near the crime scenes. Is it the work of a serial killer? Or is Denny’s death more twisted and personal?

To find the answer, Frost reaches into a nest of vipers—San Francisco’s shady elite—where the whispered name of Lombard is just one secret. Now, drawn into a cat-and-mouse game with an enemy who knows his every move, Frost finds there is no one he can trust. And somewhere down the crooked streets of the city, Frost’s cunning adversary is coiled and ready to strike again.

Why you should be excited about it:

Frost is an interesting character coming off an intriguing case in Freeman’s last book, Alter Ego (2018). While that book had a great twist or two, The Crooked Street has a more personal feel to it with Frost taking on a case involving an estranged friend, which should up the ante even more this time around.

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One Fatal MistakeOne Fatal Mistake by Tom Hunt 

Release Date: February 5th

The author of Killer Choice, a thriller “full of shocks and twists you won’t see coming” (Lee Child), delivers a nail-biting novel about a hit and run, and a lie that goes horribly wrong…

Her son accidentally kills a man.
They cover it up.
Then everything goes wrong.
 
When eighteen-year-old Joshua Mayo takes a man’s life in a horrible accident, he leaves the scene without reporting the crime to the police. He hopes to put the awful night behind him and move on with his life. But, of course, he ends up telling his mother, Karen, what happened.
 
Karen has raised Joshua on her own in Cedar Rapids, Iowa–and she’d thought they’d finally made it. He was doing well in school and was only months from starting college. After hearing his dark confession, she is forced to make a choice no parent should have to make, one that draws them both into a web of deceit that will change their lives forever–if they make it out alive . . . 

Why you should be excited about it: In a year that saw multiple hit debut novels–from Karen Cleveland’s Need to Know to Jack Carr’s The Terminal List–dazzle readers, Hunt’s own solid debut flew under the radar. Now, he’s back with another twisting novel built around a situation readers can relate to. That was what made his first book so compelling–by presenting a scenario readers could identify with and empathize with, even though the character did something wrong. A lot of writers struggle with their second book, so it’ll be interesting to see if Hunt can top himself in 2019. 

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A Spy in ExileA Spy in Exile by Jonathan de Shalit 

Release Date: February 5th

From the author of the internationally bestselling “supremely effective, cunningly crafted” (The Providence Journal) thriller Traitor, a cerebral and suspenseful novel of high-stakes intrigue in Israel’s top intelligence agency.

After Ya’ara Stein is forced out of her job at the Mossad—the secret intelligence service of Israel—she is called upon by the Prime Minister for a classified job. Known for her aptitude, beauty, and deadliness, Stein is asked to set up a secret unit that will act independently, answerable only to the Prime Minister.

This streamlined and deadly unit, filled with bright young men and women recruited and trained by Stein, quickly faces threats both old and new. Descendants of the lethal militant Red Army Faction have returned to terrorize Europe and fears of a radical Islam splinter group force the unit to distinguish between facts and smoke screens. As Stein’s cadets struggle to crush these threats, they soon discover how easily the hunter can become the hunted.

A dazzling, tension-filled novel that sheds light on the world hidden just below the surface of our everyday lives, this thriller offers a peek into the dark behind the curtain where today’s deadliest conflicts are fought. With breathless pacing and shocking twists and turns, it proves that Jonathan de Shalit “has learned well from the likes of Mr. le Carré” (The Wall Street Journal).

Why you should be excited about it: Think Mission: Impossible . . . the first one, not Fallout. In the same way that Tom Cruise’s character never fires a weapon in the first MI movie, Jonathan de Shalit’s debut novel was a thinking man’s spy thriller, heavy on tradecraft and suspense, light on action. His second book is more of the same and should appeal to fans of John le Carre and Daniel Silva. 

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Connections in deathConnections in Death by J.D. Robb

Release Date: February 5th

In this gritty and gripping new novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Eve Dallas fights to save the innocent―and serve justice to the guilty―on the streets of New York.

Homicide cop Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband, Roarke, are building a brand-new school and youth shelter. They know that the hard life can lead kids toward dangerous crossroads―and with this new project, they hope to nudge a few more of them onto the right path. For expert help, they hire child psychologist Dr. Rochelle Pickering―whose own brother pulled himself out of a spiral of addiction and crime with Rochelle’s support.

Lyle is living with Rochelle while he gets his life together, and he’s thrilled to hear about his sister’s new job offer. But within hours, triumph is followed by tragedy. Returning from a celebratory dinner with her boyfriend, she finds Lyle dead with a syringe in his lap, and Eve’s investigation confirms that this wasn’t just another OD. After all his work to get clean, Lyle’s been pumped full of poison―and a neighbor with a peephole reports seeing a scruffy, pink-haired girl fleeing the scene.

Now Eve and Roarke must venture into the gang territory where Lyle used to run, and the ugly underground world of tattoo parlors and strip joints where everyone has taken a wrong turn somewhere. They both believe in giving people a second chance. Maybe even a third or fourth. But as far as they’re concerned, whoever gave the order on Lyle Pickering’s murder has run out of chances . . . 

Why you should be excited about it: You don’t sell more than 500 million books, with more than 60 of them reaching #1 on the New York Times list, without a serious understanding of what readers are looking for . . . and how to deliver. Roberts is a sure thing for fans of her books. 

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House ArrestHouse Arrest by Mike Lawson 

Release Date: February 5th

In the thirteenth book in Mike Lawson’s celebrated series, Joe DeMarco finds himself on the wrong side of an investigation―in the wake of a political assassination, he’s been framed as the killer.

As the fixer for Congressman John Mahoney in Washington, D.C., Joe DeMarco has had to bend and break the law more than a few times. But when Representative Lyle Canton, House Majority Whip, is found shot dead in his office in the U.S. Capitol and DeMarco is arrested for the murder, DeMarco knows he’s been framed. Locked up in the Alexandria Jail awaiting trial, he calls on his enigmatic friend Emma, an ex-DIA agent, to search for the true killer.

Emma’s investigation leads her to Sebastian Spear, the ruthless and competitive CEO of the multi-billion-dollar Spear Industries. Spear had a motive for killing Lyle Canton: Canton’s wife, Jean, had once been Spear’s high school sweetheart and the one true love of his life―until Canton won her over. Now Jean was dead, killed in a car crash while driving drunk, and Spear blamed Canton for the accident. But the case the F.B.I. has built against DeMarco is airtight, and not a single piece of evidence points to the grieving CEO. Using her cunning and her D.C. connections, Emma sets out to prove that Spear has been using some fixers of his own.

Featuring crimes of passion, corporate corruption, and partisan feuds, House Arrest is a gripping, timely political thriller, and one of Lawson’s best books yet.

Why you should be excited about it: Like other titles mentioned on this list, Lawson’s series is really underrated. His character, Joe DeMarco, is a “fixer” for a powerful congressman. Think Ray Donovan meets The West Wing, with a dash of House of Cards thrown in there too. This time, though, Joe finds himself in the very situation he’d normally “fix” for others, setting up an anticipated storyline. 

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The Wedding GuestThe Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman

Release Date: February 5th

Psychologist Alex Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis unravel a shocking crime at a raucous wedding reception in this gripping psychological thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis is a fine homicide detective, but when he needs to get into the mind of a killer, he leans on the expertise of his best friend, the brilliant psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware. While Sturgis has a knack for piecing together the details of a crime, Delaware can decipher the darkest intents driving the most vicious of perpetrators. And there’s no better place for the doctor’s analytical skills to shine than a rowdy hall full of young men and women intoxicated on life and lust . . . and suddenly faced with the specter of death.

Summoned to a run-down former strip joint, Delaware and Sturgis find themselves crashing a wild Saints and Sinners–themed wedding reception. But they’re not the only uninvited guests. A horrified bridesmaid has discovered the body of a young woman, dressed to impress in pricey haute couture and accessorized with a grisly red slash around her neck. What’s missing is any means of identification, or a single partygoer who recognizes the victim. The baffled bride is convinced the stranger snuck in to sabotage her big day—and the groom is sure it’s all a dreadful mistake. But Delaware and Sturgis have a hundred guests to question, and a sneaking suspicion that the motive for murder is personal. Now they must separate the sinners from the saints, the true from the false, and the secrets from those keeping them. The party’s over—and the hunt for whoever killed it is on.

Why you should be excited about it: Now 34 books into his bestselling Alex Delaware series, Jonathan Kellerman hasn’t shown signs of slowing down anytime soon. Plain and simple, you don’t get to thirty-plus books in a single franchise without a lot of talent and a dedicated fanbase. That sort of longevity is beyond rare, which means there’s a reason Kellerman has been so successful and why his books are often among the most anticipated titles of the year. 

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The Black AscotThe Black Ascot by Charles Todd

Release Date: February 5th

Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge seeks a killer who has eluded Scotland Yard for years in this next installment of the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series.

An astonishing tip from a grateful ex-convict seems implausible—but Inspector Ian Rutledge is intrigued and brings it to his superior at Scotland Yard. Alan Barrington, who has evaded capture for ten years, is the suspect in an appalling murder during Black Ascot, the famous 1910 royal horserace honoring the late King Edward VII. His disappearance began a manhunt that consumed Britain for a decade. Now it appears that Barrington has returned to England, giving the Yard a last chance to retrieve its reputation and see justice done. Rutledge is put in charge of a quiet search under cover of a routine review of a cold case.

Meticulously retracing the original inquiry, Rutledge begins to know Alan Barrington well, delving into relationships and secrets that hadn’t surfaced in 1910. But is he too close to finding his man? His sanity is suddenly brought into question by a shocking turn of events. His sister Frances, Melinda Crawford, and Dr. Fleming stand by him, but there is no greater shame than shell shock. Questioning himself, he realizes that he cannot look back. The only way to save his career—much less his sanity—is to find Alan Barrington and bring him to justice. But is this elusive murderer still in England.

Why you should be excited about it: It’s debatable, but I really think Ian Rutledge is Todd’s best character to date . . . and this is their best book in this series so far. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy their work, as will mystery and crime thriller enthusiasts. 

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The Girl in the Glass BoxThe Girl in the Glass Box by James Grippando 

Release Date: February 5th

Miami attorney Jack Swyteck lands in the heart of the contentious immigration debate when he takes on the heart-wrenching case of an undocumented immigrant who fled to America to protect her daughter and save herself, in this timely and pulse-pounding thriller that explores the stories behind the headlines from New York Times bestselling author James Grippando, winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

Julia Rodriguez and her teenage daughter Beatriz escaped bloodthirsty gangs, random violence and, Julia’s abusive husband back in El Salvador. Arriving in Miami, mother and daughter struggled to carve their own piece of the American dream. While life in the States is hard, it is safer, until Julia’s rejects her boss’s unwanted sexual advances. Suddenly—thanks to an “anonymous” tip to U. S. immigration authorities—she is arrested, locked in detention with criminals, and slated for deportation. Jack’s only viable legal move to save her is asylum—a long shot that’s become nearly impossible in today’s charged political climate.

When Julia and Beatriz made the perilous trek north to freedom, they thought they’d left the danger behind them. But now, even Miami isn’t safe. A ruthless enemy may have tracked them to south Florida and is biding time, patiently waiting to strike.

In a case where the stakes have never been higher, Jack Sywteck may not be able to save his client—even if he wins.

Why you should be excited about it: Jack Swyteck is back, and this time he’s taking on a timely case that involves immigration, a hot-button issue in today’s political world. Grippando is one of the few top-notch legal thriller writers still working today, and in a genre that has become less popular over recent years, his stuff is a must for fans of John Grisham and Scott Turrow.

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The Hiding PLace

The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor 

Release Date: February 5th

The thrilling second novel from the author of The Chalk Man, about a teacher with a hidden agenda who returns to settle scores at a school he once attended, only to uncover a darker secret than he could have imagined.

Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang–the betrayal, the suicide, the murder–and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town–while avoiding the enemies he’s made in the years since–is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing.

It was the day she came back.

With the same virtuosic command of character and pacing she displayed in The Chalk Man, C. J. Tudor has once again crafted an extraordinary novel that brilliantly blends harrowing psychological suspense, a devilishly puzzling mystery, and enough shocks and thrills to satisfy even the most seasoned reader.

Why you should be excited about it: Tudor flashed real potential with The Chalk Man, one of 2018’s more notable debut crime thrillers. While it’s notoriously hard for newer writers to top their first effort, Tudor looks to break through the sophomore slump with a storyline that most can relate to . . .  the struggles of going back home, especially when family drama awaits you. 

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The Lost ManThe Lost Man by Jane Harper 

Release Date: February 5th

Two brothers meet in the remote Australian outback when the third brother is found dead, in this stunning new standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper

Two brothers meet at the remote fence line separating their cattle ranches in the lonely outback. In an isolated belt of Queensland, they are each other’s nearest neighbor, their homes four hours’ drive apart.

The third brother lies dead at their feet.

Something caused Cam, the middle child who had been in charge of the family homestead, to die alone in the middle of nowhere.

So the eldest brother returns with his younger sibling to the family property and those left behind. But the fragile balance of the ranch is threatened. Amidst the grief, suspicion starts to take hold, and the eldest brother begins to wonder if more than one among them is at risk of crumbling as the weight of isolation bears down on them all.

Dark, suspenseful, and deeply atmospheric, The Lost Man is the highly anticipated next book from the bestselling and award-winning Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Force of Nature.

Why you should be excited about it: Jane Harper burst onto the scene a few years back, captivating readers with two stories following Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk. Now, she’ll release her first standalone novel, and while fans of her series may miss Falk in 2019, The Lost Man sounds really intriguing. Set once again in Australia, Harper’s latest book follows two brothers as they search for answers surrounding the death of their sibling, and fans know by now to expect plenty of twists and turns as things unfold. One of the young stars of her genre, Harper, until proven otherwise, is a must-read every time out. 

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Carless LoveCareless Love by Peter Robinson 

Release Date: February 12th

His fans include Stephen King, Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, Ian Rankin, and Louise Penney. He has won acclaim and numerous international prizes and awards, including the Edgar. Now, Peter Robinson, one of the world’s greatest suspense writers, returns with a powerful mystery in which his legendary Detective Superintendent Alan Banks must solve two perplexing crimes.

Two suspicious deaths challenge DS Alan Banks and his crack investigative team.

A young local student’s body is found in an abandoned car on a lonely country road. The death looks like suicide, but there are too many open questions for Banks and his team to rule out foul play. The victim didn’t own a car. She didn’t even drive. How did she get there? Where—and when—did she die? Did someone move her, and if so, why?

A man in his sixties is found dead in a gully up on the wild moorland. He is wearing an expensive suit and carrying no identification. Postmortem findings indicate that he died from injuries sustained during a fall. Was it an accident—did he slip and fall? Or was he pushed? Why was he up there? And why are there no signs of a vehicle near where he fell?

As the inconsistencies multiply and the mysteries surrounding these two cases proliferate, a source close to Annie reveals a piece of information that shocks the team and impacts the investigations. An old enemy has returned in a new guise—a nefarious foe who will stop at nothing, not even murder, to get what he wants.

With the stakes raised, the hunt is on. But will Banks be able to find the evidence to stop him in time?

Why you should be excited about it: Detective Superintendent Alan Banks has been around since 1987, when Robinson first introduced him. Over time, the fictional character has gained a loyal following, though Robinson’s books have been a little hit or miss throughout his career. He’s come on strong as of late, though, with last year’s Proving Ground one of his better books in recent memory–giving his readers every reason to have high hopes for this one. 

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Killer thrillerKiller Thriller by Lee Goldberg

Release Date: February 12th

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Goldberg’s action-packed sequel to the Washington Post bestseller True Fiction, a hapless writer is pitted against an enemy nation mounting a treacherous plot lifted from one of his thrillers.

Everybody loves Ian Ludlow’s action novels—especially the CIA—because the spies know something the public doesn’t: his fictional plots have a frightening tendency to come true. Ian is in Hong Kong with his resourceful assistant Margo French to research his wildest story yet—a deadly global conspiracy by Chinese intelligence to topple the United States.

What Ian doesn’t know is that his horrifying scenario is happening and that the Chinese mistakenly believe he’s an undercover superspy assigned to foil their scheme. Now Ian is trapped in his own terrifying thriller, on the run from assassins, and racing against time to prevent an epic disaster. He’s written himself into a corner that could cost his life…and his country.

Why you should be excited about it: Last year, True Fiction was a hit with fans of the thriller genre who’ve grown tired of the same save-the-world storylines being cranked out at an exhausting clip. Goldberg’s novel about an author who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a real-life geopolitical event he once crafted a book around was a nice change of pace. There was a lot to love, including the fact that Goldberg named the character after an old pseudonym he used to use, but the book (which reads a bit like a parody, meant to be a tad cheesy and over the top) didn’t necessarily scream sequel. Now, Goldberg’s fans are getting the follow-up they didn’t know they needed, and I must confess, I read Killer Thriller is one sitting and enjoyed the heck out of it. 

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The Moroccan GirlThe Moroccan Girl by Charles Cumming 

Release Date: February 12th

“Charles Cumming has breathed new life into the spy novel.” ―Ben Macintyre, bestselling author of A Spy Among Friends

In this gripping contemporary thriller, reminiscent of the classic Casablanca, a successful spy novelist is drawn into a real-life espionage plot when he’s ordered to find a mysterious fugitive on the alluring but deadly streets of Morocco.

Renowned author Kit Carradine is approached by an MI6 officer with a seemingly straightforward assignment: to track down a mysterious woman hiding somewhere in the exotic, perilous city of Marrakesh. But when Carradine learns the woman is a dangerous fugitive with ties to international terrorism, the glamour of being a spy is soon tainted by fear and betrayal.

Lara Bartok is a leading figure in Resurrection, a violent revolutionary movement whose brutal attacks on prominent right-wing public figures have spread hatred and violence across the world. Her disappearance ignites a race between warring intelligence services desperate to find her―at any cost. But as Carradine edges closer to the truth, he finds himself drawn to this brilliant, beautiful, and profoundly complex woman.

Caught between increasingly dangerous forces who want Bartok dead, Carradine soon faces an awful choice: to abandon Lara to her fate or to risk everything trying to save her.

Why you should be excited about it: While some fans may initially be bummed to learn that this book isn’t part of Charles Cumming’s Thomas Kell series, they’ll quickly find that The Moroccan Girl is one of his best novels to date. One of the true master spy novelists working today, Cumming’s latest offering is exceptionally plotted and written, and few writers can develop a cast of characters in a standalone thriller the way he can. 

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The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir 

Release Date: February 12th

The Reckoning is the stunning follow-up to The Legacy, which was the start of a thrilling new series that Booklist (starred) recommends for fans of Tana French. 


Vaka sits, regretting her choice of coat, on the cold steps of her new school. Her father appears to have forgotten to pick her up, her mother has forgotten to give her this week’s pocket money, and the school is already locked for the day. Grownups, she decides, are useless.

With no way to call home, she resigns herself to waiting on the steps until her father remembers her. When a girl approaches, Vaka recognizes her immediately from class, and from her unusual appearance: two of her fingers are missing. The girl lives at the back of the school, on the other side of a high fence, and Vaka asks to call her father from the girl’s house. That afternoon is the last time anyone sees Vaka.

Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja are called in. Soon, they find themselves at the heart of another shocking case.

From the international number one-bestselling author of The Silence of the Sea, winner of the 2015 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel Yrsa Sigurdardottir returns with the follow-up to The Legacy.

Why you should be excited about it: Publisher’s Weekly said that “Sigurdardottir just keeps getting better and better. This is must-reading for Scandinavian crime fans.” 

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Mission CriticalMission Critical by Mark Greaney 

Release Date: February 19th

From Mark Greaney, the New York Times bestselling author of Gunmetal Gray and a co-author of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels, comes a high-stakes thriller featuring the world’s most dangerous assassin: the Gray Man.

Court Gentry’s flight on a CIA transport plane is interrupted when a security team brings a hooded man aboard. They want to kick Gentry off the flight but are overruled by CIA headquarters. The mystery man is being transported to England where a joint CIA/MI6 team will interrogate him about a mole in Langley.

When they land in an isolated airbase in the U.K., they are attacked by a hostile force who kidnaps the prisoner. Only Gentry escapes. His handlers send him after the attackers, but what can one operative do against a trained team of assassins? A lot, when that operative is the Gray Man.

Why you should be excited about it: Last year I said that with so many other heroes in the genre now 15 books or more into their respective series, Court Gentry represented the future of the genre. This year, I stand by that more than ever. Before 2019, Back Blast was my favorite Gray Man novel. Now, it’s a tie between that one and Mission Critical, which starts fast and never lets up for a second. Mark Greaney is just unreal. 

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Never Tell

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner 

Release Date: February 19th

#1 New York Times bestseller Lisa Gardner returns with an unpredictable thriller that puts fan favorites D. D. Warren and Flora Dane on a shocking new case that begins with a vicious murder and gets darker from there.

A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun. 

D. D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman–Evie Carter–from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many. 

Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim–a hostage–and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder. 

But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

Why you should be excited about it: Coming into 2018, fans were thrilled to see Flora Dane teaming up with D.D. Warren. It was a brilliant move by Gardner, and her characters definitely have chemistry on the page. Now, both are back in Never Tell, the latest nail-biter from Gardner, who knows just what her readers want and how to give to them. 

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THe Border smallThe Border by Don Winslow 

Release Date: February 19th

The explosive, highly anticipated conclusion to the epic Cartel trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of The Force

What do you do when there are no borders? When the lines you thought existed simply vanish?  How do you plant your feet to make a stand when you no longer know what side you’re on?

The war has come home.

For over forty years, Art Keller has been on the front lines of America’s longest conflict: The War on Drugs. His obsession to defeat the world’s most powerful, wealthy, and lethal kingpin―the godfather of the Sinaloa Cartel, Adán Barrera―has left him bloody and scarred, cost him the people he loves, even taken a piece of his soul.

Now Keller is elevated to the highest ranks of the DEA, only to find that in destroying one monster he has created thirty more that are wreaking even more chaos and suffering in his beloved Mexico. But not just there.

Barrera’s final legacy is the heroin epidemic scourging America. Throwing himself into the gap to stem the deadly flow, Keller finds himself surrounded by enemies―men who want to kill him, politicians who want to destroy him, and worse, the unimaginable―an incoming administration that’s in bed with the very drug traffickers that Keller is trying to bring down.

Art Keller is at war with not only the cartels, but with his own government. And the long fight has taught him more than he ever imagined. Now, he learns the final lesson―there are no borders.

In a story that moves from deserts south of the border to Wall Street, from the slums of Guatemala to the marbled corridors of Washington, D.C., Winslow follows a new generation of narcos, the cops who fight them, the street traffickers, the addicts, the politicians, money-launderers, real-estate moguls, and mere children fleeing the violence for the chance of a life in a new country.    

A shattering tale of vengeance, violence, corruption and justice, this last novel in Don Winslow’s magnificent, award-winning, internationally bestselling trilogy is packed with unforgettable, drawn-from-the-headlines scenes. Shocking in its brutality, raw in its humanity, The Border is an unflinching portrait of modern America, a story of—and for—our time.

Why you should be excited about it: After scoring the first (and only) perfect 10/10 rating I’ve ever handed out for The Force in 2017, Winslow is now gearing up to bring his critically acclaimed Cartel trilogy to an end with The Border. This saga is unlike anything else in print right now, and Winslow is the only writer with the chops to pull off such an ambitious story. If you read only one book in 2019, it should probably be this one. 

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The Next to Die by Sophie Hannah

Release Date: February 19th

The New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders and Woman with a Secret returns with a disturbing tale of psychological suspense and obsession that hits at the heart of some of our most precious relationships.

What if having a best friend could put you in the crosshairs of a killer?

A psychopath the police have dubbed “Billy Dead Mates” is targeting pairs of best friends, and killing them one by one. Before they die, each victim is given a small white book.

For months, detectives have failed to catch Billy, or figure out what the white books symbolize and why the killer leaves them behind. The police are on edge; the public in a panic. Then a woman, scared by what she’s seen on the news, comes forward. What she reveals shocks the investigators and adds another troubling layer to an already complex case.

Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar little books. A stranger gave it to her at a gig she did last year. Was the stranger Billy, and is he targeting her—or is it something more nefarious? Kim has no friends and trusts no one, so how—and why—could Billy Dead Mates want to target her? If it’s not her, then who will be the next to die?

Sophie Hannah raises the stakes with each successive page in this haunting and twisting thriller that reaffirms her place as one of today’s most talented suspense writers.

Why you should be excited about it: If you’re searching for a heavy dose of psychological suspense, look no further. Sophie Hannah’s last couple of books have been really solid, and she’s churned out another page-turner for 2019. 

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Blood OrangeBlood Orange by Harriet Tyce 

Release Date: February 19th

A young lawyer’s outwardly perfect life spirals out of control as she takes on her first murder case in this dark and twisty debut thriller for readers of Paula Hawkins, A.J. Finn, or Shari Lapena.

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise–she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.
But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything . . . 

Why you should be excited about it: One of the few debut thrillers on this list, I was really impressed with Tyce’s first novel–a suspenseful, shocking story written in the same vein as A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window. If you’re looking to try a new author in 2019, Tyce should be near the top of your list. 

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Open Carry New coverOpen Carry by Marc Cameron 

Release Date: February 26th

New York Times Bestselling Author of Field of Fire and Tom Clancy Power and Empire and Tom Clancy Oath of Office

“Cameron’s books are riveting page-turners.”

—Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author
 
Law enforcement veteran Marc Cameron brings an explosive authenticity to this powerful new U.S. Marshal series. Arliss Cutter is a hero for our times. And his hunt for justice cuts straight to the bone. . . .
 
U.S. Marshal Arliss Cutter is a born tracker. Raised in the Florida swamplands, he honed his skills in the military, fought in the Middle East, and worked three field positions for Marshal Services. When it comes to tracking someone down—or taking someone out—Cutter’s the best. But his newest assignment is taking him out of his comfort zone to southeast Alaska. Cold, dark, uninhabited forests often shrouded in fog. And it’s the kind of case that makes his blood run cold . . . the shocking murder of a Tlingit Indian girl.
 
But the murder is just the beginning. Now, three people have disappeared on Prince of Wales Island. Two are crew members of the reality TV show, Fishwives. Cutter’s job is to find the bodies, examine the crew’s footage for clues, and track down the men who killed them. But it won’t be easy, because the whole town is hiding secrets, every trail is a dead end—and the hunter becomes the hunted . . . 

Why you should be excited about it: For years, Marc Cameron has been one of the most underrated thriller writers in the game. Recently, Cameron finally received much deserved praise for his work in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan franchise after stepping in for fellow bestseller Mark Greaney, who exited the gig just before 2017. Now, on top of the Ryanverse and his own Jericho Quinn series, Cameron is launching a new series . . . and while I might be jumping the gun after just one book, I personally think Arliss Cutter is his best character yet. Whereas the Quinn books have a Brad Thor-like feel, Open Carry is more in the vein of C.J. Box and William Kent Krueger. If you’re a fan of those writers, don’t miss this one. 

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The Malta Exchange steve berryThe Malta Exchange by Steve Berry

Release Date: March 5th 

The next in New York Times top 5 bestseller Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone series involves the Knights of Malta, papal conclave, and lost documents that could change history. 

A deadly race for the Vatican’s oldest secret fuels New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s latest international Cotton Malone thriller.

The pope is dead. A conclave to select his replacement is about to begin. Cardinals are beginning to arrive at the Vatican, but one has fled Rome for Malta in search of a document that dates back to the 4th century and Constantine the Great.

Former Justice Department operative, Cotton Malone, is at Lake Como, Italy, on the trail of legendary letters between Winston Churchill and Benito Mussolini that disappeared in 1945 and could re-write history. But someone else seems to be after the same letters and, when Malone obtains then loses them, he’s plunged into a hunt that draws the attention of the legendary Knights of Malta.

The knights have existed for over nine hundred years, the only warrior-monks to survive into modern times. Now they are a global humanitarian organization, but within their ranks lurks trouble ― the Secreti ― an ancient sect intent on affecting the coming papal conclave. With the help of Magellan Billet agent Luke Daniels, Malone races the rogue cardinal, the knights, the Secreti, and the clock to find what has been lost for centuries. The final confrontation culminates behind the walls of the Vatican where the election of the next pope hangs in the balance.

Why you should be excited about it: When the book was first announced, fans were excited to go back in time and read Cotton Malone’s origin story in The Bishop’s Pawn (2018). However, it turned out that the timing wasn’t great, as Berry’s previous book, The Lost Order (2017), one of the best-reviewed novels of his career, begged for a follow-up. That really wasn’t Berry’s fault, as writers are always working on a book a year ahead of its publication, but the unfortunate timeline may have contributed to a lukewarm reception for Cotton’s first mission and the story behind it. Now, though, Berry is back in the here and now, picking up more or less where Order left off, following another secret society. This is what his fans expect, and he crushed it. I couldn’t put it down. 

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Her Father's SecretHer Father’s Secret by Sara Blaedel

Release Date: March 5th 

A woman’s murder is only the beginning as a daughter races to unravel the maze of secrets her father left behind–before she becomes the next victim–in the latest emotionally gripping novel from Sara Blaedel, #1 internationally bestselling author with over 3 million copies sold worldwide.

After suddenly inheriting a funeral home from her father–who she hadn’t heard from in decades–Ilka Jensen has impulsively abandoned her quiet life in Denmark to visit the small town in rural Wisconsin where her father lived. There, she’s devastated to discover her father’s second family: a stepmother and two half sisters she never knew existed. And who aren’t the least bit welcoming, despite Ilka’s efforts to reach out.

Then a local woman is killed, seemingly the unfortunate victim of a home invasion turned violent. But when Ilka learns that the woman knew her father, it becomes increasingly clear that she may not have been a completely random victim after all.

The more Ilka digs into her father’s past, the more deeply entangled she becomes in a family drama that has spanned decades and claimed more than one life–and she may be the next victim . . . 

Why you should be excited about it: Last year, I gave Blaedel’s The Undertaker’s Daughter a 6.5/10 on my rating scale, noting that it was a very solid, average crime thriller and a good fit for fans of that genre. With this book, she’s taken her series a step up, delivering a faster plot with significantly more punch and much-needed character development. 

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Cemetery RoadCemetery Road by Greg Iles 

Release Date: March 5th 

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy returns with an electrifying tale of friendship, betrayal, and shattering secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town.

When Marshall McEwan left his hometown at age eighteen, he vowed never to return. The trauma that drove him away ultimately spurred him to become one of the most successful journalists in Washington D.C. But just as the political chaos in the nation’s capital lifts him to new heights, Marshall is forced to return home in spite of his boyhood vow.

His father is dying, his mother is struggling to keep the family newspaper from failing, and the town is in the midst of an economic rebirth that might be built upon crimes that reach into the state capitol—and perhaps even to Washington. More disturbing still, Marshall’s high school sweetheart, Jet, has married into the family of Max Matheson, patriarch of one of the families that rule Bienville through a shadow organization called the Bienville Poker Club.

When archeologist Buck McKibben is murdered at a construction site, Bienville is thrown into chaos. The ensuing homicide investigation is soon derailed by a second crime that rocks the community to its core. Power broker Max Matheson’s wife has been shot dead in her own bed, and the only other person in it at the time was her husband, Max. Stranger still, Max demands that his daughter-in-law, Jet, defend him in court.

As a journalist, Marshall knows all too well how the corrosive power of money and politics can sabotage investigations. Without telling a soul, he joins forces with Jet, who has lived for fifteen years at the heart of Max Matheson’s family, and begins digging into both murders. With Jet walking the dangerous road of an inside informer, they soon uncover a web of criminal schemes that undergird the town’s recent success. But these crimes pale in comparison to the secret at the heart of the Matheson family. When those who have remained silent for years dare to speak to Marshall, pressure begins to build like water against a crumbling dam.

Marshall loses friends, family members, and finally even Jet, for no one in Bienville seems willing to endure the reckoning that the Poker Club has long deserved. And by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth, he would give almost anything not to have to face it.

Why you should be excited about it: Following Mississippi Blood (2017), the epic finale to his bestselling Natchez Burning trilogy, Iles is set to publish his first book in two years. A gifted writer with an expert feel for developing his cast, Iles has long been a go-to author for readers seeking character-rich stories that are relatable. I like that he took a year off after finishing up his trilogy, letting it breathe before coming back with Cemetery Road, which has been one of the more anticipated titles of 2019 since it was announced. 

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The Perfect Alibi

The Perfect Alibi by Phillip Margolin 

Release Date: March 5th 

The “master of heart-pounding suspense”―New York Times bestseller Phillip Margolin―returns with a new legal thriller starring Robin Lockwood.

A young woman accuses a prominent local college athlete of rape. Convicted with the help of undisputable DNA evidence, the athlete swears his innocence and threatens both his lawyer and his accuser as he’s sent to prison. Not long after, there’s another rape and the DNA test shows that the same person committed both rapes―which is seemingly impossible since the man convicted of the first rape was in prison at the time of the second one. Now, the convicted athlete, joined by a new lawyer, is granted a new trial and bail. Shortly thereafter, his original lawyer disappears and his law partner is murdered.

Robin Lockwood is a young lawyer with a prestigious small law firm and a former MMA fighter who helped pay for Yale Law School with her bouts. She is representing the victim of the first rape for her civil lawsuit against her rapist, who is now convinced the rapist is stalking her and trying to intimidate her. At the same time, another client is up on a murder charge―one that should be dismissed as self-defense―but the D.A. trying the case is determined to bring it to trial. Now she has to mastermind two impossible cases, trying to find the hidden truth that links the two of them.

Phillip Margolin, the master of the legal thriller, returns in one of his twistiest, most compelling crime novels yet.

Why you should be excited about it: The legal thriller genre isn’t nearly as strong as it was a decade ago, but Margolin has continued to be one of the most consistent and steady writers going. Last year’s The Third Victim was surprisingly good, giving readers every reason to look forward to this one. 

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Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson 

Release Date: March 5th 

Catching a killer is dangerous—especially if he lives next door

From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder . . .

Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.

But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.

Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?

The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. . .

Why you should be excited about it: New York Times bestselling author Alafair Burke says this about Swanson’s latest: “In Peter Swanson’s expert hands, one woman’s discerning observation at a quiet suburban dinner party unfolds into a gripping, twisty, psychologically complex thriller. I could not put it down.”

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Wolf PackWolf Pack by C.J. Box

Release Date: March 12th

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett encounters bad behavior on his own turf–only to have the FBI and the DOJ ask him to stand down–in the thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author C.J. Box.

The good news is that Joe Pickett has his job back, after his last adventure in The Disappeared. The bad news is that he’s come to learn that a drone is killing wildlife–and the drone belongs to a mysterious and wealthy man whose son is dating Joe’s own daughter, Lucy. 

When Joe tries to lay down the rules for the drone operator, he’s asked by the FBI and the DOJ to stand down, which only makes him more suspicious. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up in and around Joe’s district in shocking numbers. He begins to fear that a pack of four vicious killers working on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel known as the Wolf Pack has arrived. Their target seems to be the mystery man and everyone–including Joe, Nate, and others–who is associated with him. 

Teaming up with a female game warden (based on a real person, one of the few female game wardens at work in Wyoming today) to confront these assassins, Joe finds himself in the most violent and dangerous predicament he’s ever faced.

Why you should be excited about it: There are a few new things here–the Picketts have a new house, Joe is learning about Bluetooth, there’s even a Kanye West reference–and yet much is the same. Following Joe, Marybeth, Nate Romanowski, and others is similar to catching up with old friends and always a blast. With Box, readers know what to expect, even if it’s the unexpected . . . and he pulls out all the stops for Wolf Pack, his most relentlessly paced and action-packed story yet. 

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The Persian GambleThe Persian Gamble by Joel C. Rosenberg

Release Date: March 12th 

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Kremlin Conspiracy comes this latest international thriller about a terrifying nuclear alliance among three world powers―Russia, Iran, and North Korea―and the man who must halt their deadly strategy.

Shot out of the air in enemy territory in the middle of the greatest international crisis since the end of the Cold War, former U.S. Secret Service agent Marcus Ryker finds himself facing an impossible task. Not only does he have to somehow elude detection and capture by Russian special forces, but he must convince his own government to grant safe harbor to the one man responsible for the global mayhem―Russian double agent and assassin Oleg Kraskin. While frantically negotiating with his contacts in the White House, Marcus learns that the unstable North Korean regime plans to use the international chaos as a smokescreen to sell nuclear weapons to Iran. With the fate of the entire free world on the line, Marcus makes a deal with the U.S. government―he will go back to work as an international operative and track down the WMDs before they end up in the hands of those with the determination and the means to use them. Marcus and Oleg worked together once before to avert a world war. Can they now find a way to stop world destruction?

Why you should be excited about it: Following the most jaw-dropping ending of his career in 2017 (Without Warning), Rosenberg kicked off a new series in 2018 with The Kremlin Conspiracy. Now, he’s set to deliver the sequel, which continues the massive showdown between the United States and Russia in classic heart-pounding Rosenberg fashion. I read this book back in October and was absolutely blown away. Trust me, you will be too. Rosenberg still sits among the very best writers the thriller genre has to offer. 

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Mercy RiverMercy River by Glen Erik Hamilton 

Release Date: March 12th

Helping a fellow veteran accused of murder, Van Shaw is drawn into a dangerous labyrinth involving smuggled opioids, ruthless mercenaries, and deadly family secrets that will challenge his notions of brotherhood and justice in this riveting thriller from Anthony, Macavity and Strand Critics Award-winning author Glen Erik Hamilton.

When his friend Leo Pak is arrested on suspicion of murder and armed robbery, Van Shaw journeys to a remote Oregon county to help his fellow Ranger. Van had been Leo’s sergeant when they served with the 75th Regiment in Afghanistan, and back in the States, Leo had helped Van when he needed it most.

Arriving in the isolated town of Mercy River, Van learns that his troubled friend had planned to join a raucous three-day party that dominates the place for one weekend each year. Attended by hundreds of former and active Rangers, the event is more than just a reunion; it’s the central celebration of a growing support network called the Rally, founded and led by a highly decorated Special Operations general named Macomber.

But there’s more going on in Mercy River than just a bunch of Army hard cases blowing off steam. The murder victim—the owner of a local gun shop where Leo worked part time—was dealing in stolen heroin-grade opiates. Worse, the town has a dark history with a community of white supremacists, growing in strength and threatening to turn Mercy River into their private enclave.

The cops have damning evidence linking Leo to the murder, and Van knows that backwaters like Mercy River are notorious for protecting their own. His quest to clear Leo’s name will stir up old grudges and dark secrets beneath the surface of this secretive small town, pit his criminal instincts against his loyalties to his brothers in arms, and force him to question his own belief in putting justice above the letter of the law.

Glen Erik Hamilton creates crime fiction that pulsates with emotional intensity and is “as much fun to read as Lee Child’s Jack Reacher” (J. A. Jance). In Mercy River, Hamilton highlights the unique and powerful moral struggle inherent in Van Shaw’s iconoclastic character—an honorable man torn between upholding the law and breaking it to save innocent lives. Action-packed, riveting, and powerful, Mercy River is a novel that goes to the heart and soul of what it means to be a hero in a corrupt and punishing world.

Why you should be excited about it: Hamilton has come on as one of the more solid crime thriller novelists occupying the genre in recent years, and Van Shaw is a great character. Think Jack Reacher, but with a more questionable past and plenty to actually be running from. 

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The Last Act

The Last Act by Brad Parks 

Release Date: March 12th

Award-winning author Brad Parks delivers a tense novel of thrills, twists, and deceit that grabs you and won’t let go until the final, satisfying page.
 
Tommy Jump is an out-of-work stage actor approached by the FBI with the role of a lifetime: Go undercover at a federal prison, impersonate a convicted felon, and befriend a fellow inmate, a disgraced banker named Mitchell Dupree who knows the location of documents that can be used to bring down a ruthless drug cartel. . . if only he’d tell the FBI where they are.
 
The women in Tommy’s life, his fiancée and mother, tell him he’s crazy to even consider taking the part. The cartel has quickly risen to become the largest supplier of crystal meth in America. And it hasn’t done it by playing nice. Still, Tommy’s acting career has stalled, and the FBI is offering a minimum of $150,000 for a six-month gig—whether he gets the documents or not.
 
Using a false name and backstory, Tommy enters the low-security prison and begins the process of befriending Dupree. But Tommy soon realizes he’s underestimated the enormity of his task and the terrifying reach of the cartel. The FBI isn’t the only one looking for the documents, and if Tommy doesn’t play his role to perfection, it just may be his last act.

Why you should be excited about it: Brad Parks reached new levels of success a couple of years ago with his hit, ironically-titled thriller, Say Nothing, the book everyone was talking about in 2017. That set the bar impossibly high for him moving forward, and while last year’s Closer Than You Know was good, it fell a tad short of the expectations set the year before. It’s hard to say The Last Act is better than Say Nothing, but it’s close and, more importantly, proves that Parks is far more than a one-hit-wonder as his star continues to rise. 

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Run AwayRun Away by Harlan Coben 

Release Date: March 19th

A perfect family is shattered in RUN AWAY, the new thriller from the master of domestic suspense, Harlan Coben.

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs. 

And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.

Why you should be excited about it: The king of suspense is back, as Harlan Coben delivers another spine-tingling plot that examines every parent’s worst nightmare, capped off with a killer twist. After not releasing a book in 2018, Coben reminds everyone why he’s still the gold standard when it comes to suspense thrillers with this one. 

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TreasonTreason by Rick Campbell

Release Date: March 19th

In Rick Campbell’s newest thriller, a military coup in Russia leads to a swift invasion of former Soviet territories―while the U.S. has been rendered powerless to respond. 

In Russia, the military is anxious to assert its military strength and regain its role as a superpower. The Russian President refuses to greenlight a bold plan to disable American strategic nuclear capability and retake Ukraine and the Baltic States, fearing the potential consequences of involving nuclear weapons. But the generals won’t have it and at the first opportunity, they overthrow the president in a military coup. Then they use a narrow window to initiate their bold plan―the Zolotov option―which will render all of America’s B2 bombers and ballistic missiles useless. With the U.S. off the board, they swiftly invade Ukraine with an overwhelming force, an invading Army that even NATO can’t hope to resist.

Now, it’s game on. Without their primary weapons, the U.S. has to find a way to fight back on multiple fronts. If they’re to have any chance, they’ll have to overcome the malware that has grounded their ballistic missiles and planes, as well as secretly land a SEAL team to help rescue the imprisoned Russian President, and help retake control from the forces that are driving Europe into a continental war.

Rick Campbell, one of the finest young military thriller writers, returns with his biggest and boldest novel to date.

Why you should be excited about it: Campbell took 2018 off, forcing readers to wait nearly two years between books. Thankfully, Treason is worth the wait, as this is Campbell’s strongest showing yet. There’s a reason why he’s been compared to Clancy and Larry Bond, and he flashes that talent again here. His series still doesn’t have a bona fide protagonist, and while I still wish he’d go that route, the formula he’s deployed in past books works much better in this one. 

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The fifth DoctrineThe Fifth Doctrine by Karen Robards 

Release Date: March 19th

With her back against the wall, everything’s on the line for Bianca St. Ives. She’s either going to save the world—or die trying.

It took one hell of an effort for the authorities to finally get the jump on master manipulator Bianca St. Ives, but now that they have, it’s far from the capture she expected. Instead of taking her in, there’s an offer on the table, a one-shot deal that would allow Bianca to walk away scot-free as if they’d never found her. And all she has to do is run one last mission—the kind she might never return from. But if Bianca wants to go back to her normal life in Savannah, it’s not like she has a choice.

An intelligence operation is already underway in North Korea, one that’s poised to end the country’s existing tyrannical regime for good. But first, the US need one of their own to go undercover as the female hacker who recently stole top-secret intel from NORAD. Enter Bianca. After everything she’s seen, Bianca knows feeding fake information directly into the belly of the beast is about as dangerous as it gets. It could mean torture or endless imprisonment—assuming she survives. But it might also ignite the kind of chaos that forces a revolution. It might just change the world. Besides, if Bianca has to go down, she’s gonna go down swinging…

Why you should be excited about it: Timely, filled with action, and following one of the genre’s best female protagonists, Robards brings Bianca St. Ives back for her toughest mission yet. Robards has done a great job with this series, and while this is the third book in her franchise, readers can jump in here even if they haven’t read the first two books. 

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Celtic EmpireCeltic Empire by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler

Release Date: March 19th

Clive Cussler, “The Grand Master of Adventure,” sends his intrepid heroes Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino on their wildest, boldest mission into the ancient world, unlocking extraordinary secrets and solving hideous crimes. Another fabulous read from the most beloved series from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.

The murders of a team of United Nations scientists in El Salvador. . . A deadly collision in the waterways off the city of Detroit. . . An attack by tomb raiders on an archaeological site along the banks of the Nile. . . Is there a link between these violent events? The answer may lie in the tale of an Egyptian princess forced to flee the armies of her father three thousand years ago.

During what was supposed to be a routine investigation in South America, NUMA Director Dirk Pitt finds himself embroiled in an international mystery, one that will lead him across the world and which will threaten everyone and everything he knows–most importantly, his own family. Pitt travels to Scotland in search of answers about the spread of an unknown disease and the shadowy bioremediation company that may be behind it. Meanwhile, his son and daughter face a threat of their own when the discoveries they have made in an Egyptian tomb put killers on their trail. These seemingly unrelated riddles come together in a stunning showdown on the rocky isles of Ireland, where only the Pitts can unravel the secrets of an ancient enigma that could change the very future of mankind.

Why you should be excited about it: Fans who’ve been anxiously awaiting Dirk Pitt’s return will finally be rewarded for their patience in 2019 when Celtic Empire, the latest collab between Clive Cussler and his son, Dirk Cussler, comes out. A handful of Pitt books over the last decade have been so-so at best, though their last offering, Odessa Sea (2016), was one of their better-received books so far, giving readers plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this one. 

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Crown JewelCrown Jewel by Christopher Reich 

Release Date: March 26th

International spy Simon Riske returns in New York Times bestselling author Christopher Reich’s new high-stakes thriller.

Monte Carlo’s most lavish casinos have become the targets of an efficient, brutal, and highly successful group of criminal gamblers; a casino dealer has been beaten to death; a German heiress’s son has been kidnapped. Who better to connect the crimes, and foil the brilliant plot, than Simon Riske, freelance industrial spy? Riske – part Bond, and part Reacher – knows the area well: it’s where as a young man he himself was a thrill-seeking thief, robbing armored trucks through daring car chases, until he was double-crossed, served his time, and graduated as an investment genius from the Sorbonne.
 
Now Riske is a man who solves problems, the bigger and the “riskier” the better. From the baccarat tables of the finest casinos to the yachts in the marina, to the private jet company that somehow ties these criminal enterprises together, Simon Riske will do what he does best: get in over his head, throw himself into danger, and find some way to out-think and out-maneuver villains of every stripe.
 
One of the most enjoyable, clever, and entertaining new series to come along in years, this sequel to The Take gives readers what they desire most: a hero we can root for, locales we wish were in, and a plot that never lets up.

Why you should be excited about it: It was believed that last year’s The Take was a one-off standalone novel, but Reich surprised everyone with a sequel that’ll keep readers on the edges of their seats. Simon Riske is a really unique character and giving him a second book to flesh him out a bit more was a great move by Reich, who seems to really understand what his fans are looking for. 

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Double Exposure

Double Exposure by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar

Release Date: March 26th

From the creators of Smallville comes an action-packed debut thriller about a war veteran and CIA officer in the 1960s swept up into a global conspiracy that may prove Hitler is still alive.

David Toland, a decorated Korean War veteran, has done all he can to leave a life of combat behind. Now Director of Preservation for the Library of Congress’s National Film Archive, Toland has made it his mission to preserve what he loves most: the Golden Age of American cinema, moving pictures full of romance, adventure and American Dream. That is, until CIA Agent Lana Welles drops in unannounced with a film canister, smuggle over the Berlin Wall at great cost, that may prove WWII never really ended–it just went underground.

David reluctantly agrees to serve his country one last time and help recover the film for Lana and the CIA. But it seems not everyone is as eager as they are to dig up the past. David and Lana’s discovery awakens shadowy forces who will do anything to keep their findings a secret. In search of the truth, David and Lana find themselves pursued across the globe in a cat and mouse game with enormous, world-altering consequences.

Why you should be excited about it: I received my review copy months ago and didn’t know what to expect when I started it . . . only to be sucked in right away and fly through the pages to see how this one ends. Obviously, I’m not giving anything away here, but few authors have successfully pulled off writing historical fiction wrapped in a spy thriller, and Gough and Millar nailed it. Think Robert Harris meets Brad Meltzer. 

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The Last SecondThe Last Second by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison

Release Date: March 26th

From New York Times bestselling authors Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison comes a riveting thriller pitting special agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine against a private French space agency that has the power to end the world as we know it.

Galactus, France’s answer to SpaceX, has just launched a communications satellite into orbit, but the payload actually harbors a frightening weapon: a nuclear-triggered electromagnetic pulse.

When the satellite is in position, Galactus’s second-in-command, Dr. Nevaeh Patel, will have the power to lay waste to the world with an EMP. A former astronaut, Patel believes she is following the directions of the Numen, aliens who saved her life when she space-walked outside the International Space Station. She is convinced that with the Holy Grail, just discovered by the owner of Galactus—eccentric treasure hunter Jean-Pierre Broussard—she can be reunited with the Numen, change the world’s destiny, and become immortal with them.

The countdown has begun when Special Agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine are thrown into the pending disaster. They must stop the EMP that would wreak havoc on communication and electronic systems on Earth, resulting in chaos and anarchy.

With their signature “nonstop action with enough realism to keep you thinking and scare the daylights out of you at the same time” (Suspense Magazine), Coulter and Ellison have created a thriller to take you on a breakneck and breathtaking journey.

Why you should be excited about it: Coulter and Ellison are one heck of a duo. Each a bestselling author in their own right, together they’re the most accomplished co-writing team working today, and their series is an absolute must-read. If any thriller is worthy of pre-order months in advance, it’s theirs. 

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Blood Oath by Linda Fairstein 

Release Date: March 26th

New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein explores the depths of Manhattan’s secretive Rockefeller University in this timely, captivating thriller about the deep–and often deadly–reverberations of past sins.

Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper of the Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit is finally back at work following a leave of absence, and not a moment too soon. With more women feeling empowered to name their abusers, Alex is eager to return to the courtroom to do what she does best. But even she can’t anticipate the complexity of her first case when she meets Lucy, a young woman who testified years earlier at a landmark federal trial . . . and now reveals that she was sexually assaulted by a prominent official during that time.

Yet Lucy’s isn’t the only secret Alex must uncover, with rumors swirling about one colleague’s abusive conduct behind closed doors and another’s violent, mysterious collapse. As the seemingly disparate cases of her client, adversary, and friend start to intertwine, Alex, along with NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, finds herself in uncharted territory within Manhattan’s Rockefeller University, a premier research institute, hospital, and cornerstone of higher learning. But not even the greatest minds in the city can help her when unearthed secrets begin to collide in dangerous ways . . . and unless she can uncover the truth, the life-saving facility just may become her grave.

Why you should be excited about it: Coop is back after a year off, which fits the story well since the last we saw her she was heading into a leave of absence. This time around, Coop is ready to get back into her office, and her first case deals with a blast from the past. Apparently, a young woman who testified in huge federal case years back has now come forward as a victim of sexual assault, prompting rumors to swirl about a high-profile official, and Coop has to get to the bottom of it all. Fairstein is a really good writer and her series was missed in 2018. 

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True Believer - Jack CarrTrue Believer by Jack Carr

Release Date: April 2nd

In acclaimed author Jack Carr’s follow-up to The Terminal List, former Navy SEAL James Reece’s skill, cunning, and heroism put the US government back in his debt and set him on another path of revenge. 

When a string of horrific terrorist attacks plagues the Western world during the holiday season, the broader markets fall into a tailspin. The attacks are being coordinated by a shadowy former Iraqi commando who has disappeared into Europe’s underground. The United States government has an asset who can turn the Iraqi against his masters: James Reece, the most-wanted domestic terrorist alive.

After avenging the deaths of his family and team members, Reece emerges deep in the wilds of Mozambique, protected by the family of his estranged best friend and former SEAL Team member. When a series of events uncovers his whereabouts, the CIA recruits him, using a Presidential pardon for Reece and immunity for the friends who helped him in his mission of vengeance.

Now a reluctant tool of the United States government, Reece travels the globe, targeting terrorist leaders and unraveling a geopolitical conspiracy that exposes a traitorous CIA officer and uncovers a sinister assassination plot with worldwide repercussions.

A high-intensity roller-coaster ride, True Believer explodes with action and authenticity that cements Jack Carr as the new leader in political thrillers.

Why you should be excited about it: You’d be hard-pressed to find a more hyped debut thriller novelist over the last decade than Jack Carr, who has already drawn comparisons to heavyweights such as Vince Flynn and Brad Thor. Judging by The Terminal List, Carr sure looks like the real deal, and his second novel is easily one of the most anticipated action thrillers of the year. If you’ve yet to discover his work, don’t put it off any longer. Lots of new political thriller writers are compared to Flynn, but Carr’s the only one actually deserving. 

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THe Killer in meThe Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan

Release Date: April 2nd

A deadly past refuses to stay buried in Olivia Kiernan’s masterful new novel

Death is no stranger to Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan, but she isn’t the only one from her small, coastal suburb to be intimately acquainted with it. Years ago, teenager Seán Hennessey shocked the tight-knit community when he was convicted of the brutal murder of his parents and attempted slaying of his sister, though he always maintained his innocence. Now, Seán is finally being released from prison—but when his newfound freedom coincides with the discovery of two bodies, the alleged connection between the cases only serves to pull Frankie further from answers even as it draws her closer to her town’s hidden darkness. With a television documentary revisiting Seán’s sentence pushing the public’s sympathies into conflict on a weekly basis, a rabid media pressuring the police like never before, and a rising body count, Frankie will need all of her resources if she is not only to catch a killer, but put to rest what really happened all those years ago.

A dark, irresistible cocktail of secrets, murder, and family, Olivia Kiernan’s latest is an impossible-to-put-down triumph.

Why you should be excited about it: Olivia Kiernan follows up Too Close to Breathe, her solid debut, with another rip-roaring crime thriller that moves fast and features nonstop surprises throughout. 

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The A ListThe A List by J.A. Jance 

Release Date: April 2nd

Ali Reynolds straddles the line between the past and the future in the fourteenth book in the New York Times bestselling series.

Ten years ago, when Ali Reynolds’s high-profile newscaster life blew up on the West Coast, she went back home to Sedona, Arizona, to reinvent herself. Now while she’s living her new life, someone from her past comes asking for help. But will revisiting the past jeopardize her future?

Why you should be excited about it: Jance brings back Ali Reynolds for her 14th go-around in 2019 with another highly-anticipated thriller that forces Ali to deal with past skeletons that have freed themselves from her closet and come back to haunt her. While Reynolds is arguably Jance’s third-best franchise character to date, last year’s Duel to the Death was really strong, creating even more excitement for this one. 

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Confessions of an innocent manConfessions of an Innocent Man by David R. Dow

Release Date: April 9th

A thrillingly suspenseful debut novel, and a fierce howl of rage that questions the true meaning of justice.

Rafael Zhettah relishes the simplicity and freedom of his life. He is the owner and head chef of a promising Houston restaurant. A pilot with open access to the boundless Texas horizon. A bachelor, content with having few personal or material attachments that ground him. Then, lightning strikes. When he finds Tieresse—billionaire, philanthropist, sophisticated, bombshell—sitting at one of his tables, he also finds his soul mate and his life starts again. And just as fast, when she is brutally murdered in their home, when he is convicted of the crime, when he is sentenced to die, it is all ripped away. But for Rafael Zhettah, death row is not the end. It is only the beginning. Now, with his recaptured freedom, he will stop at nothing to deliver justice to those who stole everything from him.

This is a heart-stoppingly suspenseful, devastating, page-turning debut novel. A thriller with a relentless grip that wants you to read it in one sitting. David R. Dow has dedicated his life to the fight against capital punishment—to righting the horrific injustices of the death penalty regime in Texas. He delivers the perfect modern parable for exploring our complex, uneasy relationships with punishment and reparation in a terribly unjust world.

Why you should be excited about it: One of the few debut novels to crack this list, Dow’s freshman crime thriller is a gritty, well-written tale that falls somewhere between David Joy and Brian Panowich. If you like darker plotlines set in the south, add this one to your reading list. 

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The Tale TellerThe Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman

Release Date: April 9th

Legendary Navajo policeman Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn takes center stage in this riveting atmospheric mystery from New York Times bestselling author Anne Hillerman that combines crime, superstition, and tradition and brings the desert Southwest vividly alive.

Joe Leaphorn may have retired from the Tribal Police, but he finds himself knee-deep in a perplexing case involving a priceless artifact—a reminder of a dark time in Navajo history. Joe’s been hired to find a missing biil, a traditional dress that had been donated to the Navajo Nation. His investigation takes a sinister turn when the leading suspect dies under mysterious circumstances and Leaphorn himself receives anonymous warnings to beware—witchcraft is afoot.

While the veteran detective is busy working to untangle his strange case, his former colleague Jim Chee and Officer Bernie Manuelito are collecting evidence they hope will lead to a cunning criminal behind a rash of burglaries. Their case takes a complicated turn when Bernie finds a body near a popular running trail. The situation grows more complicated when the death is ruled a homicide, and the Tribal cops are thrust into a turf battle because the murder involves the FBI.

As Leaphorn, Chee, and Bernie draw closer to solving these crimes, their parallel investigations begin to merge . . . and offer an unexpected opportunity that opens a new chapter in Bernie’s life.

Why you should be excited about it: Nobody brings the desert to life the way Hillerman does, who continues to honor her father’s (Tony Hillerman) legacy by continuing his series, which she’s now done since 2013. Last year’s Cave of Bones was a big hit with readers, averaging a four-star rating on Amazon and Goodreads with almost three thousand reviews, and those fans will no doubt be excited to see what Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee get themselves into next time around.

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The Eighth SisterThe Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni

Release Date: April 9th

A pulse-pounding thriller of espionage, spy games, and treachery by the New York Times bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series.

Former CIA case officer Charles Jenkins is a man at a crossroads: in his early sixties, he has a family, a new baby on the way, and a security consulting business on the brink of bankruptcy. Then his former bureau chief shows up at his house with a risky new assignment: travel undercover to Moscow and locate a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine US spy cell known as the seven sisters.

Desperate for money, Jenkins agrees to the mission and heads to the Russian capital. But when he finds the mastermind agent behind the assassinations—the so-called eighth sister—she is not who or what he was led to believe. Then again, neither is anyone else in this deadly game of cat and mouse.

Pursued by a dogged Russian intelligence officer, Jenkins executes a daring escape across the Black Sea, only to find himself abandoned by the agency he serves. With his family and freedom at risk, Jenkins is in the fight of his life—against his own country.

Why you should be excited about it: With multiple successful series already under his belt, Dugoni is set to kick off another in 2019 that follows new character Charles Jenkins, who is far different from anyone else he’s created. This is also probably Dugoni’s truest spy thriller to date, and he shows early on that he’s up to the task, proving to be one of the more versatile writers in the business, capable of thriving in multiple genres while juggling numerous franchises. 

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Someone KnowsSomeone Knows by Lisa Scottoline

Release Date: April 9th

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Scottoline reaches new heights with this riveting novel about how a single decision can undo a family, how our past can derail our present, and how not guilty doesn’t always mean innocent.

Allie Garvey is heading home to the funeral of a childhood friend. Allie is not only grief-stricken, she’s full of dread. Because going home means seeing the other two people with whom she shares an unbearable secret.

Twenty years earlier, a horrific incident shattered the lives of five teenagers, including Allie. Drinking and partying in the woods, they played a dangerous prank that went tragically wrong, turning deadly. The teenagers kept what happened a secret, believing that getting caught would be the worst thing that could happen. But time has taught Allie otherwise. Not getting caught was far worse.

Allie has been haunted for two decades by what she and the others did, and by the fact that she never told a soul. The dark secret has eaten away at her, distancing her from everyone she loves, including her husband. Because she wasn’t punished by the law, Allie has punished herself, and it’s a life sentence.

Now, Allie stands on the precipice of losing everything. She’s ready for a reckoning, determined to learn how the prank went so horribly wrong. She digs to unearth the truth, but reaches a shocking conclusion that she never saw coming–and neither will the reader.

A deeply emotional examination of family, marriage, and the true nature of justice, Someone Knows is Lisa Scottoline’s most powerful novel to date. Startling, page-turning, and with an ending that’s impossible to forget, this is a tour de force by a beloved author at the top of her game.

Why you should be excited about it: Lisa Scottoline is as good as anyone writing today and, after switching publishers in 2018 (a deal we reported) she’s set to release her first book with Penguin. After Anna and Feared were both major hits in 2017, and readers have every reason to be ecstatic for Someone Knows, one of the first must-read suspense thrillers coming out in 2019.

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Metropolis KerrMetropolis by Philip Kerr

Release Date: April 9th

New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr treats readers to his beloved hero’s origins, exploring Bernie Gunther’s first weeks on Berlin’s Murder Squad.

A portrait of Bernie Gunther in his twenties: He’s young, but he’s seen four bloody years of trench warfare. And he’s not stupid. So when he receives a promotion and a ticket out of Vice squad, he knows he’s not really leaving behind the criminal gangs, the perverse sex clubs, and the laundry list of human corruption. It’s 1928 and Berlin is a city on the edge of chaos, where nothing is truly verboten. But soon a new wave of shockingly violent murders sweeps up society’s most vulnerable, prostitutes and wounded ex-soldiers begging on the streets.

As Bernie Gunther sets out to make sense of multiple murders with different MOs in a city that knows no limits, he must face the fact that his own police HQ is not immune. The Nazi party has begun to inflitrate the Alex, Berlin’s central office, just as the shakey Weimar government makes a last, desperate attempt to control a nation edging toward to the Third Reich.

It seems like the only escape for most Berliners is the theater and Bernie’s no exception. As he gets deeper into the city’s sordid underground network, he seeks comfort with a make-up artist who is every bit a match for his quick wit and increasingly sardonic view of the world. But even this space can’t remain untouched, not with this pervasive feeling that everything is for sale in Berlin if you’re man enough to kill for it.

Why you should be excited about it: Sadly, the legendary Philip Kerr passed away in 2018, may he rest in peace. Thankfully, however, he’d completed his next novel, which will now come out in April. So Bernie Gunther will return one final time, unless Kerr’s estate commissions another writer to continue the series. Without giving anything away, the last book did seem to set some things up for Metropolis, so fans of the series will want to get this one pre-ordered ASAP. Just don’t forget to read it slowly and savor it once it finally arrives. 

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41CxRwRCq-L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe Last by Hanna Jameson

Release Date: April 9th

For fans of high-concept thrillers such as Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts, this breathtaking dystopian psychological thriller follows an American academic stranded at a Swiss hotel as the world descends into nuclear war—along with twenty other survivors—who becomes obsessed with identifying a murderer in their midst after the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel’s water tanks. 

Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?

Why you should be excited about it: Jameson’s The Last has sleeper hit written all over it and should be well received by fans of the hit TV show Lost. It has a lot of similarities, in fact, to Lost, though it’s certainly no copycat. With plenty of twists throughout, Hanna Jameson will leave readers genuinely surprised by the time they turn the final page here. It’s a little outside the normal thriller zone, but it’s also super addictive once the pacing picks up about a hundred or so pages in. 

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The Better SisterThe Better Sister by Alafair Burke 

Release Date: April 16th

From Alafair Burke—New York Times bestselling author of the runaway hit, The Wife—comes another twisty tale of domestic noir. When a prominent Manhattan lawyer is murdered, two estranged sisters—one the dead man’s widow, the other his ex—must set aside mistrust and old resentments . . . but can they escape their past?

Though Chloe was the younger of the two Taylor sisters, she always seemed to be in charge. She was the honor roll student with big dreams and an even bigger work ethic. Nicky was always restless . . . and more than a little reckless—the opposite of her ambitious little sister. She floated from job to job and man to man, and stayed close to home in Cleveland.

For a while, it seemed like both sisters had found happiness. Chloe earned a scholarship to an Ivy League school and moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted publishing job. Nicky married promising young attorney Adam Macintosh, and gave birth to a baby boy they named Ethan. The Taylor sisters became virtual strangers.

Now, more than fifteen years later, their lives are drastically different—and Chloe is married to Adam. When he’s murdered by an intruder at the couple’s East Hampton beach house, Chloe reluctantly allows her teenaged stepson’s biological mother—her estranged sister, Nicky—back into her life. But when the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect in his father’s death, the two sisters are forced to unite . . . and to confront the truth behind family secrets they have tried to bury in the past.

Why you should be excited about it: Alafair Burke reached new heights last year with her critically acclaimed thriller, The Wife. Now, all eyes are on her as she prepares to release her highly anticipated next book, The Better Sister, which has even more twists and turns than last year’s book. A solid writer who’s shown off her strong prose and ability to develop characters over the years, Burke’s latest should be at the top of anyone’s list looking for the next great domestic thriller. 

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RedepmtionRedemption by David Baldacci

Release Date: April 16th

Detective Amos Decker discovers that a mistake he made as a rookie detective may have led to deadly consequences in the latest Memory Man thriller in David Baldacci’s #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Amos Decker and his FBI partner Alex Jamison are visiting his hometown of Burlington, Ohio, when he’s approached by an unfamiliar man. But he instantly recognizes the man’s name: Meryl Hawkins. He’s the first person Decker ever arrested for murder back when he was a young detective. Though a dozen years in prison have left Hawkins unrecognizably aged and terminally ill, one thing hasn’t changed: He maintains he never committed the murders. Could it be possible that Decker made a mistake all those years ago? As he starts digging into the old case, Decker finds a startling connection to a new crime that he may be able to prevent, if only he can put the pieces together quickly enough.

Why you should be excited about it: Baldacci is returning to his Amos Decker franchise once again in 2019. Interestingly, even just three years ago, Decker was pretty universally considered to be Baldacci’s third-best series character after CIA assassin Will Robie and Army investigator John Puller. However, after consecutive Robie and Puller books that fell just short of expectations and two Decker ones that, frankly, exceeded them, Amos is now the lead dog–along with Atlee Pine, who starred in her first book in 2018. Hopefully, Baldacci can keep the Memory Man’s magic alive and build on the momentum he’s gained with Decker’s last two books. 

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Delta-VDelta-V by Daniel Suarez 

Release Date: April 23rd

The bestselling author of Daemon returns with a near-future technological thriller, in which a charismatic billionaire recruits a team of adventurers to launch the first deep space mining operation–a mission that could alter the trajectory of human civilization.
 
When itinerant cave diver James Tighe receives an invitation to billionaire Nathan Joyce’s private island, he thinks it must be a mistake. But Tighe’s unique skill set makes him a prime candidate for Joyce’s high-risk venture to mine a near-earth asteroid–with the goal of kick-starting an entire off-world economy. The potential rewards and personal risks are staggering, but the competition is fierce and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
 
Isolated and pushed beyond their breaking points, Tighe and his fellow twenty-first century adventurers–ex-soldiers, former astronauts, BASE jumpers, and mountain climbers–must rely on each other to survive not only the dangers of a multi-year expedition but the harsh realities of business in space. They’re determined to transform humanity from an Earth-bound species to a space-faring one–or die trying.

Why you should be excited about it: Daniel Suarez is one of the most entertaining sci-fi writers in the genre and his last book, Change Agent (2017), received high marks from both readers and critics alike. This year, Suarez hits on a timely plotline involving deep-space exploration, which could end up altering human civilization forever . . . either for good or for bad. Like James Rollins, Suarez packs tons of science and innovated tech into his books, giving them a realistic feel, even though we’re probably still many years from watching them play out in real life. 

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The Pandora Room smallThe Pandora Room by Christopher Golden 

Release Date: April 23rd

When what appears to be the original Pandora’s Box is discovered in an ancient city, neighboring countries fight for ownership and unleash a terrible plague.

The Pandora Room is New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden’s chilling exploration of what happens when the original Pandora’s Box is discovered in an ancient subterranean city, stirring international conflict and exposing the archaeological team to curses, whispers, and the terror of a legendary plague.

In one ancient variation on the myth of Pandora’s Box, there were two jars, one for Pandora and one for her sister, Anesidora. One contained all the blessings of the gods, the other all the world’s curses. Now, in a subterranean city in Northern Iraq, archaeologist Sophie Durand has discovered a secret chamber covered in writing that confirms that version of the tale―a chamber which contains a single jar. “Weird shit” expert Ben Walker joins Sophie’s team just as the mystery deepens and grows ugly. Those who believe the myth want to know which jar has been found in the Pandora Room, the one containing blessings, or the one full of curses. Governments rush to lay claim, but jihadi forces aren’t waiting for the dust to settle. Whatever the jar contains, they want it, no matter who they have to kill…or what will emerge when they open it. For Sophie, Walker, and the others, the Pandora Room may soon become their tomb.

Why you should be excited about it: In his last thriller, Golden examined what could happen if Noah’s ark was ever found by treating readers to a bloody, hauntingly good thriller that begged for him to take on another long-lost historical artifact. Now, he’s done just that by crafting a thought-provoking story about the real Pandora’s Box. What more do you need to know?

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Neon PreyNeon Prey by John Sandford 

Release Date: April 23rd

Lucas Davenport pursues a prolific serial killer who has gone undetected for years in the newest nail-biter by #1 NewYork Times-bestselling author John Sandford

It was a relatively minor criminal matter, all things considered, but enough that the U.S. Marshals obtained a warrant to enter the home. They didn’t expect to unearth trophies from a score of killings.

Now Davenport is on the trail of a serial murderer, one who was able to operate for years without notice or suspicion. But there’s even more to this killer than meets the eye . . . 

Why you should be excited about it: Lucas Davenport returns for this 29th adventure that’ll put him hot on the heels of a serial killer who’s flown under the radar for years. A few years back, fans noted that Sandford’s Prey books were getting a little formulaic and predictable. The bestselling author answered with a brilliant shakeup in 2017, when he moved Davenport over to the U.S. Marshall’s office, allowing him room to roam all over the country in pursuit of bad guys. The change has worked perfectly, injecting new energy into his series over the last two books, leading to even more anticipation for Neon Prey from readers who can’t wait to follow Lucas as he takes on his next case. 

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CollusionCollusion by Newt Gingrich

Release Date: April 30th

#1 New York Times-bestselling author Newt Gingrich returns with this rollicking tale of high-stakes international intrigue—the first book in a contemporary series filled with adventure, betrayal, and politics, that captures the tensions and divides of America and the world today.

Valerie Mayberry comes from the kind of wealthy family that would be royalty in any other country. Obsessive and compulsive, she’s also the FBI’s counter-intelligence expert on domestic terrorism.

Brett Garrett is a dishonorably discharged ex-Navy SEAL coming off a secret opioid addiction. A brusque, fiercely independent operative who refuses to play by the rules, the seasoned pro is now a gun for hire, working as a security contractor in Eastern Europe.

When a high ranking Kremlin official with knowledge of a plan to attack the US must be smuggled out under the nose of a kleptocratic Putin-like Russian president and a ruthless general, Mayberry and Garret are thrown together to exfiltrate him and preempt a deadly poisonous strike.

As these unlikely partners work to protect their human asset, their mission is threatened by domestic politics: leftist protests, Congressional infighting, and a culture driven by hatred.

Collusion raises many of the most significant issues facing America in real life today. Is Russia our ally, or our enemy? Are American leftist activists susceptible to influence from aboard? How far will our enemies go to disrupt our politics and weaken the nation? Can we trust the media to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys?

Newt Gingrich and Pete Earley have entertained and educated readers with three previous novels of Washington scandal and foreign interference. From its explosive opening through several twists and turns to its heart-stopping end, Collusion is their most timely and powerful novel yet.

Why you should be excited about it: Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, certainly has the political background to pull off such a daring and timely thriller, if he can execute the story. 

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Like LionsaLike Lions by Brian Panowich

Release Date: April 30th

A powerful follow up to multiple award-winning debut Bull Mountain.

Brian Panowich burst onto the crime fiction scene in 2015, winning awards and accolades from readers and critics alike for his smoldering debut, Bull Mountain. Now with Like Lions, he cements his place as one of the outstanding new voices in crime fiction.

Clayton Burroughs is a small-town Georgia sheriff, a new father, and, improbably, the heir apparent of Bull Mountain’s most notorious criminal family.

As he tries to juggle fatherhood, his job and his recovery from being shot in the confrontation that killed his two criminally-inclined brothers last year, he’s doing all he can just to survive. Yet after years of carefully toeing the line between his life in law enforcement and his family, he finally has to make a choice.

When a rival organization makes a first foray into Burroughs territory, leaving a trail of bodies and a whiff of fear in its wake, Clayton is pulled back into the life he so desperately wants to leave behind. Revenge is a powerful force, and the vacuum left by his brothers’ deaths has left them all vulnerable. With his wife and child in danger, and the way of life in Bull Mountain under siege for everyone, Clayton will need to find a way to bury the bloody legacy of his past once and for all.

Why you should be excited about it: Fans have waited for three long, cruel (okay, maybe not cruel) years for the follow-up to Panowich’s award-winning debut novel, Bull Mountain. The moment Like Lions was announced, it instantly became one of the most anticipated crime thrillers of 2019, as fans anxiously await the return of Clayton Burroughs. If you like C.J. Box, Craig Johnson, or J. Todd Scott, move Panowich’s name to the top of your list of authors to try this year. 

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The Kremlin StrikeThe Kremlin Strike by Dale Brown

Release Date: May 7th

In this exciting, visionary, and all-too-plausible next chapter in the legendary Dale Brown’s New York Times bestselling techno-warfare series, Brad McLanahan and the Iron Wolf Squadron must fight the Russians on a dangerous, untested battlefield: outer space.

The previous administration’s ineffective response to the growing Russian threat has left America vulnerable. Setting a bold course for America’s defense, the decisive and strong new president, John Dalton Farrell, intends to challenge Russian aggression head on. Brad and Patrick McLanahan and the formidable Iron Wolf Squadron—including the recently injured Nadia Roz, rested and back to fighting form thanks to a pair of state-of-the-art prosthetic legs—are ready and eager to join the battle.

But even with their combined forces, the Russian menace may prove too great for the Americans to overcome. Done with provocative skirmishes and playing for small stakes, the Russian president has set his sights on the ultimate prize: controlling the entire world. Expanding beyond earth’s bounds, the Russians have built a new high-tech space station and armed it with weaponry capable of destroying US satellites as well as powerful missiles pointed at strategic targets across earth.

Devising a cunning plan of attack, Brad, Nadia, and the Iron Wolf warriors will take to the skies in their advanced space planes to destroy the space station, check the Russians’ plan for dominance, and save the world. But is it already too late?

Why you should be excited about it: Brown’s last few books have received mixed reviews. It’s yet to be seen if he can re-energize his series, but taking his series into space might do the trick. If nothing else, the plot sounds timely with the recently announced Space Force, making Brown one of the first authors to release a book fitting that mold since President Trump made headlines for signing the new military branch into existence. 

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Black MountainBlack Mountain by Laird Barron

Release Date: May 7th

Ex-mob enforcer Isaiah Coleridge has hung out a shingle as a private eye in New York’s Hudson Valley, and in his newest case, a seemingly simple murder investigation leads him to the most terrifying enemy he has ever faced

When a small-time criminal named Harold Lee turns up in the Ashokan reservoir–sans a heartbeat, head, or hands–the local Mafia capo hires Isaiah Coleridge to look into the matter. The Mob likes crime, but only the crime it controls…and as it turns out, Lee is the second independent contractor to meet a bad end on the business side of a serrated knife. One such death can be overlooked. Two makes a man wonder.

A guy in Harold Lee’s business would make his fair share of enemies, and it seems a likely case of pure revenge. But as Coleridge turns over more stones, he finds himself dragged into something deeper and more insidious than he could have imagined, in a labyrinthine case spanning decades. At the center are an heiress moonlighting as a cabaret dancer, a powerful corporation with high-placed connections, and a serial killer who may have been honing his skills since the Vietnam War . . . 

Why you should be excited about it: Laird Barron switched genres last year, and fans loved it. Now, he’s bringing back his ex-mob enforcer Isaiah Coleridge for another go-around. I actually just finished this book–I thought it was much better than last year’s Blood Standard and enjoyed seeing Coledrige more fleshed out here. Barron is a talented writer, and his gritty style matches the book’s setting and themes perfectly. 

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BuckskinRobert B. Parker’s Buckskin by Robert Knott

Release Date: May 7th

Itinerant lawmen Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch pursue a vicious killer in the grittiest entry yet of the New York Times-bestselling series.

After marshals Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch lay Appaloosa’s sheriff to rest, an emerging handful of men eagerly vie for the deceased sheriff’s vacant office. No sooner are various campaigns under way when gold is discovered in the foothills just outside of town, sending Appaloosa buzzing with excitement.

With the strike, a slew of new problems develop for Cole and Hitch. Two shrewd mining factions and their hired gun hands square off over the claim. And on the eve of the new sheriff’s appointment, a powerful snowstorm blankets Appaloosa. As the town braces for the severe weather, Cole and Hitch’s problems multiply with the emergence of anonymous letters to the editor of the Appaloosa Star, leading the duo to a series of murders and the pursuit of a vicious serial killer.

Why you should be excited about it: Originally, this book was set to come out in 2018 but was pushed back. Then came the announcement that Sunny Randall, another one of Robert B. Parker’s beloved characters, was being resurrected by Mike Lupica. So, Blood Feud came out instead, and Buckskin was delayed until 2019. If absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say, then plenty of readers will welcome the return of Virgil and Cole this year. 

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The Paris DiversionThe Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone

Release Date: May 7th

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Expats. Kate Moore is back in a pulse-pounding thriller to discover that a massive terror attack across Paris is not what it seems – and that it involves her family

American expat Kate Moore drops her kids at the international school, makes her shopping rounds, and meets her husband Dexter at their regular café: a leisurely start to a normal day, St-Germain-des-Prés.
 
Across the Seine, tech CEO Hunter Forsyth stands on his balcony, perplexed that his police escort just departed, and frustrated that his cell service has cut out; Hunter has important calls to make, not all of them technically legal.
 
And on the nearby rue de Rivoli, Mahmoud Khalid climbs out of an electrician’s van, and elbows his way into the crowded courtyard of the world’s largest museum, in the epicenter of Western civilization. He sets down his metal briefcase and removes his windbreaker.
 
That’s when people start to scream.
 
Everyone has big plans for the day. Dexter is going to make a small fortune, finally digging himself out of a deep financial hole, via an extremely risky investment. Hunter is going to make a huge fortune, with a major corporate acquisition that will send his company’s stock soaring. Kate has less ambitious plans: preparations for tonight’s dinner party—one of those homemaker obligations she still hasn’t embraced, even after a half-decade of this life—and an uneventful workday at the Paris Substation, the clandestine cadre of operatives that she’s been running, not entirely successfully, increasingly convinced that every day could be the last of her career. But every day is also a fresh chance to prove her own relevance, never more so than during today’s momentous events.

Why you should be excited about it: Keeping with his one book every two years pace, Pavone is finally set to follow up his 2012 thriller, The Expats, which introduced readers to American expat Kate Moore. Now, Kate is back, an automatic win for readers who’ve begged to see more of her over the last six years, and she’s taking on her biggest challenge yet. 

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The Never GameThe Never Game by Jeffrey Deaver 

Release Date: May 14th

From the bestselling and award-winning master of suspense, the first novel in a thrilling new series, introducing Colter Shaw.

“You have been abandoned.”

A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a “reward seeker,” traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America’s tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video gaming industry.

“Escape if you can.”

When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past–The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life?

“Or die with dignity.”

Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game, risking his own life to save the victims even as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark ‘net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers and ruthless tech titans, he soon learns that he isn’t the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast.

Why you should be excited about it: Slide over Lincoln Rhyme, hello Colter Shaw. In his first book with his new publisher, Deaver is set to launch a new series this year around an “expert tracker,” Shaw, though it’s unclear if Colter occupies the same universe as Rhyme or if this is a whole new world. Either way, Deaver is an accomplished storyteller, and it’ll be exciting to see what he’s come up with here. 

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If She wakesIf She Wakes by Michael Koryta 

Release Date: May 14th

Discover the electrifying new novel from New York Times bestselling author Michael Koryta, the “master” (Stephen King) of thriller writing, the story of two women fighting for their lives against an enigmatic killer.

Tara Beckley is a senior at idyllic Hammel College in Maine. As she drives to deliver a visiting professor to a conference, a horrific car accident kills the professor and leaves Tara in a vegetative state. At least, so her doctors think. In fact, she’s a prisoner of locked-in syndrome: fully alert but unable to move a muscle. Trapped in her body, she learns that someone powerful wants her dead–but why? And what can she do, lying in a hospital bed, to stop them?

Abby Kaplan, an insurance investigator, is hired by the college to look into Tara’s case. A former stunt driver, Abby returned home after a disaster in Hollywood left an actor dead and her own reputation–and nerves–shattered. Despite the fog of trauma, she can tell that Tara’s car crash was no accident. When she starts asking questions, things quickly spin out of control, leaving Abby on the run and a mysterious young hitman named Dax Blackwell hard on her heels.

Why you should be excited about it: Stephen King called Michael Koryta the “master” of thriller writing. Do you really need anything else to run out and buy this one? Add in the fact that this book appears to examine most people’s worst fear of being trapped in their own body when everyone else thinks they’re in a vegetable state, and Koryta’s latest has everything in place to be another heart-thumping thriller from the master. 

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Deception CoveDeception Cove by Owen Laukkanen

Release Date: May 21st

For fans of C.J. Box and Michael Koryta, a new thriller set in remote Washington State, where a widowed ex-Marine and a misanthropic ex-convict grudgingly team up to save the only thing they have in common–the rescue dog who changed both their lives.

Widowed while deployed overseas, former US Marine Jess Winslow reenters civilian life with little more than a falling-down house, a medical discharge for PTSD, and a dog–specifically Lucy, a black and white pitbull mix trained to help Jess cope with the crippling memories of her time in Afghanistan. But Jess also inherits a heap of trouble, of her late husband Ty’s making. A corrupt deputy sheriff comes looking for a mysterious package — and leaves with Lucy, threatening to have the dog destroyed unless Jess delivers the goods allegedly stolen by her husband before his untimely death.

The next person to appear on her doorstep is a newly released ex-convict. Surprisingly, he’s there to help. The only good thing to come of Mason Burke’s fifteen years in prison was the dog he trained there for a service-animal program–Lucy. She helped keep him sane; now he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe.

Forced into an uneasy alliance in order to save Lucy, Jess and Mason must learn to trust each other. But finding Ty’s package is only the start of their battle. To avoid becoming collateral damage in someone else’s private war, they’ll have to fight back–and conquer their own doubts and fears.

DECEPTION COVE is a gripping story of survival and redemption set in the Pacific Northwest’s most beautiful and most dangerous coastal terrain.

Why you should be excited about it: Over the past few years, Laukkanen has expanded his resume to include several new genres. Last year’s Gale Force was maybe his best book yet, and now he’ll pivot to a more outdoorsy crime thriller in the vein of Paul Doiron and William Kent Krueger, built around a former Marine and an ex-con who team up for the most unlikely of circumstances. 

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Dead Man's MistressDead Man’s Mistress by David Housewright

Release Date: May 21st

An investigation of missing property takes a darker turn near Lake Superior in Dead Man’s Mistress, the next mystery in David Housewright’s award-winning McKenzie series.

Louise Wykoff is arguably the most recognizable woman living in Minnesota, known for her presence in over one hundred paintings by the late and brilliant Randolph McInnis. Louise, known better as “That Wykoff Woman,” was just a young apprentice when her intimate representation and the fact of the McInnis’s marriage caused rumors to fly―and Louise to hide away for decades.

All of McInnis’s paintings are in museums or known private collections, until Louise confesses to having three more that no one has ever heard of―and now they’ve been stolen. Rushmore McKenzie, an occasional unlicensed private investigator, agrees to look into the theft. As he investigates, following clues that appear far too straightforward, he finds himself on the wrong side of the bars wondering if the trail might be deeper and darker than he’s been led to believe. Hours away from St. Paul, deep in the nature of Grand Marais, the truth seems murkier―and deadlier―than usual.

Why you should be excited about it: Housewright is one of only a few writers to have two or more books on this list. While Holland Taylor returns in January, P.I. Mac McKenzie will be back in May to take on his 16th case. Of his two series currently still going strong, this one is my personal favorite–McKenzie is a more developed character than Taylor, and Housewright captures the Minnesota setting perfectly. 

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Reaper Threat ZeroReaper: Threat Zero by Nicholas Irving and A.J. Tata

Release Date: May 21st

The next book in the explosive new thriller series by former special operations sniper and New York Times bestselling author of The Reaper.

A convoy of cars carrying several family members of the President’s cabinet to Camp David for “Family Day” is ambushed, killing and wounding wives, husbands and children.

Immediately in the aftermath, Vick Harwood watches a Facebook live feed of his former ranger buddy Sammie Samuelson’s apparent suicide and confession in his Thurmont, Maryland apartment, just one mile from Camp David. Remnants of a firefight are in the background: sniper rifle, rocket launchers, and ammunition. Simultaneously, an intruder breaks into Harwood’s house.

Harwood arrives in Thurman to investigate the suicide and, with the help of his whip-smart and attractive neighbor, traces evidence left by Samuelson to a transnational terrorist group.

Meanwhile, the president wants retribution and will stop at nothing to get it. Harwood and Stone aren’t sure about his plan for revenge but are forced to enact its first steps. With an unknown tracker following them, the team journeys from Tehran to Afghanistan to North Korea, Harwood struggling to balance his order with his sense of right and wrong―without losing his life in the process. It is a race to find Samuelson’s family, as Harwood attempts to protect them while also clearing his name

Why you should be excited about it: There were a lot of great debut thrillers and new series kicked off in 2018, but this one was my favorite of ’em all. While Reaper: Ghost Target wasn’t a true debut, as Irving has published several nonfiction books and Tata is a veteran thriller writer with his own hit series, it did launch a new franchise co-authored by two guys who know what the heck they’re talking about. Vick Harwood could be described as a combination of Bob Lee Swagger and Pike Logan, but really, there’s nobody else like him in the genre right now. If you’re looking for the next great action series, here it is. 

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Satan's ArmySatan’s Army by Stephen Coonts

Release Date: May 21st

The new political thriller from bestselling author Stephen Coonts, author of Flight of the Intruder and Liberty’s Last Stand.

Burglar-turned-CIA-officer Tommy Carmellini finds himself assigned to a French-led European Anti-Terrorism Task Force after Islamic extremists attack and burn a wing of the Louvre Museum in Paris. He is soon hunting the kidnappers of American and European youth who use the ransoms to fund war on western civilization. This shadowy group has big plans—an assignation and terror campaign leading to the conquest of Europe.

With the help of his mentor Jake Grafton, Carmellini has always managed to foil his enemies before—but defeating “Satan’s Army” will be his most difficult challenge.

Why you should be excited about it: A few years back, Coonts left his longtime publisher and signed a deal with conservative-leaning Regnery. His first book with them, Liberty’s Last Stand (2016), is perhaps the most provocative political thriller I’ve ever read. Coonts followed that up in 2017 with The Armageddon File, which featured a plot about possible Russian collusion in the U.S. presidential election. Now, Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini are back and taking on terrorists in Paris, bringing Coonts’ series back to its roots. (Note: This title was originally slated for release in 2018 but was pushed back to 2019.)

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FargoOracle by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell

Release Date: May 28th

Husband-and-wife treasure-hunting team Sam and Remi Fargo return for a new adventure as they hunt for ancient treasure–that may or may not be cursed–in this thrilling addition to Clive Cussler’s bestselling series.

In 533 A.D., the last King of the Vandals still rules in Northern Africa–but a prophecy reveals that his reign is doomed. Years before, sacred scrolls had been stolen from a high priestess, who cast a curse on the kingdom unless they were returned. The Vandal kingdom falls before the scrolls are ever found–leaving their location a mystery–and their discovery is the perfect challenge for Sam and Remi Fargo.

However, before they can hunt for the scrolls, the Fargos must tend to problems within their charitable foundation. When they learn that a shipment of supplies intended for a school in Nigeria has been stolen, they travel into the heart of Africa to deliver new supplies themselves. However, their mission becomes infinitely more complicated when they run afoul of a rival bands of robbers. One of these groups later take Remi and a group of students hostage, and there are signs that the kidnapping is related to missing scrolls. The Fargos will need all of their skills to uncover the hidden treasure and to protect everything they have worked for–and their lives.

Why you should be excited about it: Clive Cussler works with a number of co-authors, but none are better than Robin Burcell, who has helped make the Fargo books required reading for thriller enthusiasts. With Burcell in the mix, Sam and Remi have thrived, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue well into 2019 and beyond. 

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Dark Site.jpgDark Site by Patrick Lee

Release Date: May 28th

From the author of Runner, Sam Dryden comes under attack from unknown forces as an unremembered episode from his past threatens more than just his life.

On an otherwise normal morning, former Special Forces operative Sam Dryden is the target of an unsuccessful attempted abduction. Using his attacker’s cellphone, he learns that another person, a woman named Danica Ellis, is also being targeted. Dryden arrives just in time to save Danica from the assault team sent after her. But neither of them recognize the other, or have any idea why they are being targeted. The only clue is a heavily redacted, official-looking document given to Danica by her stepfather before he was killed.

Dryden immediately recognizes it as a “scrub file.” A scrub file is a record of what a subject knew before their memories were chemically destroyed. The redacted document refers to witnesses to a secret military site in Ashland, Iowa in 1989. Both Dryden and Danica Ellis lived in Ashland in 1989, when they were both twelve years old, though neither of them has any memory of the other.

Switching back and forth between the present day, when Dryden and Danica try to elude the forces that are after them, and the past in Ashland, Iowa, when both were twelve, making a discovery that forever changed their lives, this latest Sam Dryden novel proves yet again that Patrick Lee is one of the most original, compelling thriller writers today.

Why you should be excited about it: Patrick Lee’s third Sam Dryden novel has the former Special Forces operative squaring off with dangerous unknown forces, pulling him deep into a high-stakes conspiracy. Lee’s stuff is pretty underrated. If you enjoy hard-hitting action and haven’t given him a try, don’t wait any longer.

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Karen Cleveland author picKeep You Close by Karen Cleveland 

Release Date: May 28th

She knows her teenage son isn’t perfect. But when the FBI starts investigating the kid she thought she knew, will she jeopardize her own career at the Bureau to keep her child safe?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Need to Know. . . .

Stephanie Maddox makes tough decisions every day. She has her hands full heading the FBI’s Internal Investigations division, policing wrongdoers within the Bureau. But, as a single mother, the most important thing in her life is her teenage son Zachary, who’s anxiously awaiting college acceptance letters. So when she discovers a gun concealed in Zach’s room, her world reels. And then an FBI agent on the domestic terrorism squad shows up at her door and utters three devastating words: “It’s about Zachary…”

Has she been wrong about her near-perfect son? Is Zach embroiled in something criminal–something deadly? And, if so, what is her greater duty: To protect him? Or to betray him?

Why you should be excited about it: Of all the highly-anticipated debut thrillers that came out in 2018, Cleveland’s was the most successful. Need to Know became an instant New York Times bestseller a year ago, making Cleveland the genre’s brightest new star. 

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Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Sting of the Wasp by Jeff Rovin 

Release Date: May 28th

After an intelligence failure at Op-Center results in a major terrorist attack, director Chase Williams radically transforms the agency into a ground-breaking new mobile strike force.

It’s a beautiful summer day in Manhattan as excited tourists board the floating Air and Space Museum on the USS Intrepid. Suddenly, a horrible explosion rips across the flight deck, showering the body parts of innocent men, women, and children everywhere. The perpetrator is none other than Captain Ahmed Salehi, an Iranian mastermind whose last terrorism plot was foiled at the last minute by Op-Center. This time, seeking revenge, he slipped under their radar.

Back in Washington, the White House orders Op-Center disbanded―or so it seems. Unbeknownst to America’s enemies, director Chase Williams has been put in charge of a brand-new, top-secret covert attack team known only as BLACK WASP. Its members, each chosen for their unique set of dangerous black-ops skills―martial arts expert Lieutenant Grace Lee, sharpshooter Lance Corporal Jaz Rivette, and JAG attorney Major Hamilton Breen―have been assigned to seek out Salehi and bring him to justice. Whatever it takes.

But Williams and his team soon discover Salehi is part of a new and even more frightening conspiracy, led by a renegade Iranian tycoon determined to become the next Osama bin Laden and establish a new Islamic State that will make ISIS seem like child’s play. From the heart of Manhattan, to the swamps of Trinidad, to the sunbaked mud villages of Yemen, this new Op-Center is America’s only line of defense against a bloody Middle Eastern tyrant.

Why you should be excited about it: Last Year’s For Honor was almost like a series reboot of sorts, giving Rovin a really solid foundation to build on moving forward. Let’s see if he can take advantage of that in 2019. 

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Shark Beach by Chris Jameson

Release Date: May 28th

A dream getaway is about to turn into a living nightmare. . .

Rick and Corinne Scully and their kids have visited Florida’s Captiva Island many times. This year, they’ve brought along their best friends, who can’t wait to finally experience the place the Scullys call Paradise on Earth.

But this vacation is turning out to be a lot different than planned. The Scullys never expected the rowdy college spring-breakers renting the house next door, or a hurricane that would sweep through the Gulf Coast, or the century-old shipwreck that washed up on the shore. They never knew about the military research being done at a nearby marine institute―and the test subjects that escaped during the hurricane. In the aftermath of the storm, the Scullys and their friends will try to salvage what’s left of their time at the beach. They believe it’s safe to go back in the water. . .but they’re dead wrong.

Why you should be excited about it: Could these be a better fit for Shark Week than this one? 

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Rogue Strike FCO.inddRogue Strike by David Ricciardi 

Release Date: June 4th

Jake Keller finds himself in a familiar position—on the run for his life and desperate to find the shadowy figures behind a global conspiracy.

CIA agent Jake Keller and his partner, Curt Roach, are in Yemen on an important mission. They’ve been tipped off to a secret meeting of top al Qaeda leaders. The plan is to interrupt the meeting with a few unexpected visitors—a pair of Hellfire missiles from an orbiting drone. But the drone stops responding to their signals and soon disappears over the horizon. When next seen, the drone is attacking innocent pilgrims in Mecca. 

Jake and Curt are staggered. The U.S. government is desperate to disavow this atrocity. Who better to blame than a couple of rogue CIA agents? With all the governments of the Middle East looking for them and no help from their own side, they are in a desperate race to stay ahead of the mob and find out who’s actually behind the crime.

Why you should be excited about it: Not since the early days of Tom Clancy has an author taken a young, inexperienced CIA analyst and dropped them into the field with such page-turning results. David Ricciardi, like Jack Carr, has star potential moving forward. Warning Light was fantastic, but things are set up perfectly for book two to be even better.

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The sentence is deathThe Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz

Release Date: June 4th

Death, deception, and a detective with quite a lot to hide stalk the pages of Anthony Horowitz’s brilliant murder mystery, the second in the bestselling series starring Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne.

“You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late . . . “

These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce, found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine—a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000, to be precise.

Odd, considering he didn’t drink. Why this bottle? And why those words? And why was a three-digit number painted on the wall by the killer? And, most importantly, which of the man’s many, many enemies did the deed?

Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony, who’s really getting rather good at this murder investigation business.

But as Hawthorne takes on the case with characteristic relish, it becomes clear that he, too, has secrets to hide. As our reluctant narrator becomes ever more embroiled in the case, he realizes that these secrets must be exposed—even at the risk of death . . .

Why you should be excited about it: Horowitz is one of the premier mystery writers on the planet, doing such heavy lifting as keeping iconic characters–like Sherlock Holmes and James Bond–alive and well without breaking a sweat. Last year, he wrote himself into the story, playing Watson to Hawthorne’s Holmes, and the end result was nothing short of incredible. Both he (the fictional version of himself) and Hawthorne are back for another hard-to-crack case in 2019. 

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Tom Clancy Enemy ContactTom Clancy Enemy Contact by Mike Maden 

Release Date: June 11th

The final wish of a dying friend leads Jack Ryan, Jr., to the jungles of South America, where an unexpected confrontation will have shocking international repercussions in this latest entry in the New York Times-bestselling series.

Jack Ryan, Jr., has faced death before, but sitting at the bedside of a college friend who is wasting away from cancer is almost more than he can endure. When the man asks Jack to scatter his ashes on a beloved hillside in Chile, of course Jack’s answer is yes.

The first hint of trouble comes when an expat, former U.S. Army Ranger tries to warn Jack off. Then a group of thugs break into his room, beat him, and tell him to leave. They don’t know Jack. He won’t be intimidated, and he’s never turned his back on trouble. But just how much can one man do against an army?

Old enemies and new reveal themselves everywhere, from the jungle to the halls of Congress. Only a ruthless hunter can take down these predators. Jack will need every skill he has to survive.

Why you should be excited about it: In 2017, Mike Maden breathed life back into the Jack Ryan Junior franchise with Tom Clancy Point of Contact, which, at the time, was the best book in the series. Then he topped himself with Tom Clancy Line of Sight. It’ll be interesting to see if he can outdo himself yet again this year.

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Facebook-previewimages-1200x630-1Backlash by Brad Thor 

Release Date: June 11th

Scot Harvath returns in the newest thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor.

Brad Thor is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eighteen thrillers, including SpymasterUse of ForceThe Last Patriot (nominated best thriller of the year by the International Thriller Writers Association), Blowback (recognized as one of the “Top 100 Killer Thrillers of All Time” by NPR), The Athena Project, and Foreign Influence (one of Suspense Magazine’s best political thrillers of the year). Visit his website at BradThor.com and follow Brad on Facebook at Facebook.com/BradThorOfficial and on Twitter @BradThor.

Why you should be excited about it: Brad Thor is the best political thriller novelist alive today, and he’s showing absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, whereas most authors start to flame out eighteen books in their respective series, Thor has been better than ever his last few times out. Scot Harvath is still just as lethal as ever, and Spymaster featured the most jaw-dropping cliffhanger of Thor’s career, giving readers every reason to call in sick and crank through Backlash the second it’s released at 12:01 am. 

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The First MistakeThe First Mistake by Sandie Jones 

Release Date: June 11th

From Sandie Jones, the author of the Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick and USA Today Bestseller The Other Woman, comes an addictively readable new domestic suspense about a wife, her husband, and the woman who is supposedly her best friend.


THE WIFE: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house.

HER HUSBAND: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.

HER BEST FRIEND: When Alice met Beth, her best friend, it was the icing on the cake. A friend without judgment, to celebrate with, commiserate with, Beth is the most trustworthy and loyal person that Alice knows. So when Nathan starts disappearing for stretches of time, Alice turns to Beth. But soon, she begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced…

Why you should be excited about it: Sandie Jones left readers stunned after landing one of the best twists of the year in 2018 with her page-turning debut thriller, The Other Woman. Let’s see if she can do it again in 2019.

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513IIyqQuiL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgA Dangerous Man by Robert Crais 

Release Date: June 18th

A brilliant new crime novel from the beloved, bestselling, and award-winning master of the genre–and Joe Pike’s most perilous case to date.

Joe Pike didn’t expect to rescue a woman that day. He went to the bank same as anyone goes to the bank, and returned to his Jeep. So when Isabel Roland, the lonely young teller who helped him, steps out of the bank on her way to lunch, Joe is on hand when two men abduct her. Joe chases them down, and the two men are arrested. But instead of putting the drama to rest, the arrests are only the beginning of the trouble for Joe and Izzy.

After posting bail, the two abductors are murdered and Izzy disappears. Pike calls on his friend, Elvis Cole, to help learn the truth. What Elvis uncovers is a twisted family story that involves corporate whistleblowing, huge amounts of cash, the Witness Relocation Program, and a long line of lies. But what of all that did Izzy know? Is she a perpetrator or a victim? And how far will Joe go to find out?

Why you should be excited about it: In early 2018, during a Q&A with Robert Crais, he told me that his next book would follow Joe Pike more than Elvis Cole, which we now know is, in fact, the case. Pike is the lead here, which gives readers plenty of reasons to be excited when considering that past Joe-driven books (such as The Watchman) have been among Crais’ most popular books. 

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joe-reid-pressFalse Horizon by Joseph Reid 

Release Date: June 18th

“In this second adventure, Seth has found his footing, and that gives us a chance to learn more about what makes him tick and how his special talents—his engineering knowledge, his marksmanship—help him defeat the bad guys. Plus, I’m really proud of the pace of this book. Although lots of readers said they couldn’t put Takeoff down, I worked really hard to pack False Horizon with even more action. The story is set in the rural mountains of West Virginia where Seth is investigating a plane crash, and there’s no shortage of suspects in the hills and hollers, from overzealous environmentalists, to angry frackers, to well-armed miners, to furtive drug smugglers. I hope people will love it!”

Why you should be excited about it: Joseph Reid’s debut, Takeoff (2018), was a strong start to a noteworthy new series that fans of action thrillers should keep an eye on. Reid’s promise (mentioned above, taken from an interview I did with him last year) of even more action should have his readers extra excited.

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The Perfect PLanThe Perfect Plan by Bryan Reardon

Release Date: June 18th

From New York Times bestselling author Bryan Reardon comes a tense, twisting story about two brothers locked together in a dangerous game—and an unforgettable tale of a family’s dark secrets.

Liam Brennan teeters on the edge. Early one morning, he snaps, kidnapping a young woman who works for Drew Brennan, Liam’s older brother and the upstart candidate in a heated election. This sudden, vicious attack appears to be the beginning of an unthinkable spiral. But when it comes to the Brennan brothers, nothing is what it seems.
 
To the rest of the world, Liam is the troubled problem child who grew up to be his brother’s enforcer, while Drew has always been the perfect son and a charismatic leader who has his sights set on the governor’s mansion with his charming and beautiful wife, Patsy, by his side.
 
Now, as Liam tries to stay one step ahead of the authorities and his brother, every passing minute provides a deeper glimpse into the brothers’ past, long hidden behind a picture-perfect suburban veneer. With the threat of the truth surfacing, Liam and Drew are driven toward one final, desperate act.

Why you should be excited about it: The Real Michael Swann was one of the more surprising hit domestic thrillers of 2018. Packed with tons of suspense and nonstop twists and turns, Reardon showed readers what he can do. The better question is, can he top himself? We’ll find out this summer.

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Total Mayhem HDTotal Mayhem by John Gilstrap 

Release Date: June 25th

In bestselling author John Gilstrap’s ticking time bomb of a thriller, freelance operative Jonathan Grave penetrates a terrorist cell to stop the detonation of total mayhem on home ground . . .
 
America is under fire. One by one, simultaneous terror attacks have left the country reeling. The perpetrators are former Special Forces operatives working for ISIS. Jonathan Grave and his team are called to go undercover and eliminate the traitors. No need to collect intel. No need for arrest. Wipe them out—and get out. 
 
The assaults are rehearsals for extreme disaster. A plot codenamed Retribution. One terrorist is willing to talk—for a price. Grave’s only resort is to slip into a dark web where everything can be exposed. Where the rules of engagement do not hold. The bombs have been set and Grave is the one being hunted. Unless he can save himself first, a terrorist plot of unimaginable scope will become history’s deadliest disaster . . .

Why you should be excited about it:  John Gilstrap has been on a roll the past few years, delivering action-packed thrillers that stand out for a number of reasons. Gilstrap seems to zig when everyone else zags. While other writers are focusing on beating headlines and having their series protagonists face off with Russia and/or North Korea, Gilstrap has kept his storylines fresh and unique. This year, it looks like Grave will mix it up with ISIS in Total Mayhem, setting up for another explosive entry in Gilstrap’s bestselling series. 

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Rules of EngagementRules of Engagement by David Bruns and J.R. Olsen

Release Date: June 25th

“In Rules of Engagement, David Bruns and J. R. Olson deliver a captivating and utterly authentic portrayal of modern day combat that compares with the best of the timeless classics by Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, and Stephen Coonts. This one must not be missed!” ―Mark Greaney #1 New York Times bestselling author of Mission Critical

A terrorist breach of the computer systems of the three most powerful navies is about to set them on a collision course for World War III.

Rafiq Roshed is one of the most wanted men in the world. A terrorist with a virulent grudge against the West, he’s disappeared into North Korea where he quietly launches cyber sneak attacks in service of Kim Jong-un. But now he’s about to unleash his virtual masterpiece―a computer virus that, once inserted into the command systems of a military, not only takes over, but also learns the art of war. First penetrating the Chinese, he has their war machine launch a series of attacks on the U.S. Pacific forces.

Don Riley, head of U.S. Cyber Command, discovers that not only have the Chinese lost control of their military, but the same virus has infected the American network. It’s only a matter of time before the U.S. loses control of its own military. His secret weapon in this war is a trio of supremely talented midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy, who uncover the infilitration, and are working to track down the elusive terrorist.

But time is running out. China and Japan have lost control of their military and the U.S. is in danger of doing the same. The weapons are hot and the result is an ever-larger real-world conflict where casualties continue to mount. The only remaining hope is to find and stop the attack at its source―before time runs out.

Why you should be excited about it: I had the chance to read this novel last summer and absolutely loved it. It reads a bit like recent thrillers from Larry Bond, Rick Cambell, and David Poyer in that it’s a complex naval thriller with a lot of moving parts. Bruns and Olsen are a talented writing duo who have a natural feel for pacing, and while some readers will compare their novel to early works from Tom Clancy, Rules of Engagement is much tighter and quicker than those first Jack Ryan books. 

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Rules of WarRules of War by Matthew Betley

Release Date: July 2nd

Following the events of the “fast, hard-hitting, and impossible to put down” (The Real Book SpyField of ValorLogan West continues his mission to bring America’s traitorous vice president to justice, even as the clandestine group pulling all the strings makes one last deadly bid to regain their power.

The vice president of the United States is missing, the director of the National Security Agency has been assassinated, and the mysterious organization orchestrating global instability is in tatters. While John Quick recovers from a gunshot wound that nearly killed him, Logan West is on the hunt to bring the vice president back to the US to face justice for his treason. The final stakes have never been higher and Logan and his task force are left with little to no options. Will it be this warrior’s end?

“As a former Marine, Betley really knows his stuff” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Kyle Mills), and rules of Rules of War is filled with the gripping, nonstop action thriller fans crave.

Why you should be excited about it: Few writers have the chops to match Betley’s intense action sequences, which are among the very best in the genre. Likewise, his dialogue is top-notch, adding realism to his stories, and nobody does sarcasm quite like he does. Bottom line: Logan West and John Quick might be the best ass-kicking duo in the business . . . If you’re not already following them around as they mix it up with bad guys, start. You’ll thank me later! 

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Never Look BackNever Look Back by Alison Gaylin

Release Date: July 2nd

Reminiscent of the bestsellers of Laura Lippman and Harlan Coben—with a Serial-esque podcast twist—an absorbing, addictive tale of psychological suspense from the author of the highly acclaimed and Edgar Award-nominated What Remains of Me and the USA Today bestselling and Shamus Award-winning Brenna Spector series.

When website columnist Robin Diamond is contacted by true crime podcast producer Quentin Garrison, she assumes it’s a business matter. It’s not. Quentin’s podcast, Closure, focuses on a series of murders in the 1970s, committed by teen couple April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy. It seems that Quentin has reason to believe Robin’s own mother may be intimately connected with the killings.

Robin thinks Quentin’s claim is absolutely absurd. But is it? The more she researches the Cooper/LeRoy murders herself, the more disturbed she becomes by what she finds. Living just a few blocks from her, Robin’s beloved parents are the one absolute she’s always been able to rely upon, especially now amid rising doubts about her husband and frequent threats from internet trolls. She knows her mother better than anyone—or so she believes. But all that changes after a brutal and shocking home invasion.

Told through the eyes of Robin, podcaster Quentin, and a series of letters written by fifteen-year-old April Cooper at the time of the killings, Never Look Back asks the question:

How well do we really know our parents, our partners—and ourselves?

Why you should be excited about it: Not many authors are worthy of comparisons to Harlan Coben, but if anyone is, it’s Gaylin. Not only does she know how to drum up the kind of suspense that’ll have readers firmly on the edges of their seats, but she can also knock ’em right out of their reading chairs with devastating twists along the way. 

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Almost MidnightAlmost Midnight by Paul Doiron

Release Date: July 2nd

In this thrilling entry in Edgar Award finalist Paul Doiron’s bestselling series, the death of Maine’s last wild wolf leads Game Warden Mike Bowditch to an even bigger criminal conspiracy.

Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch already has a troubling mystery on his hands: finding the archer who mortally wounded Maine’s only wild wolf. Then he learns his best friend, Billy Cronk, has been released from prison after heroically defending a female guard from a stabbing. Mike comes to believe the assault was orchestrated by a wider criminal conspiracy. When the conspirators pursue Billy’s wife and children to a “safe” cabin in the woods, Mike rushes to their defense only to find himself outnumbered, outgunned―and maybe out of options.

Why you should be excited about it: Due to their characters being game wardens, Doiron’s books are often compared to C.J. Box. However, the more accurate comparison is to guys like John Sandford and James Lee Burke, who have a more gritty and darker writing style, which Doiron executes perfectly. Seeing how Mike Bowditch gets out of that “safe” cabin in the woods after it’s surrounded by bad guys is one of the things I’m most looking forward to this summer. 

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Lock Every DoorLock Every Door by Riley Sager

Release Date: July 2nd

The next heart-pounding thriller from New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager follows a young woman whose new job apartment sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous buildings may cost more than it pays.

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

Why you should be excited about it: Has anyone caused more excessive nail-biting over the last two years than Riley Sager? After stunning with Final Girls (2017), Sager hit another home run with last year’s The Last Time I Lied, which put a devilish twist on the popular party game Two Truths and a Lie. Now he’s set to serve up another electrifying suspense thriller, and expectations couldn’t be higher. 

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41wwhRgLLHL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Knife by Jo Nesbo

Release Date: July 9th

Brilliant, audaciously rogue police officer, Harry Hole from The Snowman and The Thirst, is back and in the throes of a new, unanticipated rage–once again hunting the murderer who has haunted his entire career.

Harry Hole is not in a good place. Rakel–the only woman he’s ever loved–has ended it with him, permanently. He’s been given a chance for a new start with the Oslo Police but it’s in the cold case office, when what he really wants is to be investigating cases he suspects have ties to Svein Finne, the serial rapist and murderer who Harry helped put behind bars. And now, Finne is free after a decade-plus in prison–free, and Harry is certain, unreformed and ready to take up where he left off. But things will get worse. When Harry wakes up the morning after a blackout, drunken night with blood that’s clearly not his own on his hands, it’s only the very beginning of what will be a waking nightmare the likes of which even he could never have imagined.

Why you should be excited about it: Harry Hole (who just might have the most unfortunate name in the genre) returns to take on another case in Nesbo’s internationally bestselling series. For those who haven’t read the books but did suffer through the film adaptation of The Snowman, rest assured that the novels are far better than the movie, which was pretty awful. In fact, if you love a good crime thriller, Nesbo is one of the best in the business. 

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The ShamlessThe Shameless by Ace Atkins 

Release Date: July 9th

New revelations on a notorious local cold case raise ghosts of the past in the newest thriller from New York Times-bestselling author Ace Atkins.

Twenty years ago, teenager Brandon Taylor walked into the Big Woods north of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, and never returned. For former Army Ranger-turned-sheriff Quinn Colson, the Taylor case has particular meaning. As a ten-year-old, Colson had been lost in those same woods, and came back from them alive and a local legend.

Years later, bones of a child are found in the woods, confirming for many the end to the Taylor story. As the case reopens, some point fingers to Quinn’s uncle, the former sheriff, who took his own life in a cloud of corruption and shame. Still, Quinn’s wife, Maggie, can’t believe it. As a childhood friend of the Taylor boy, she thinks there’s a darker conspiracy at work. Letters she receives from a mysterious inmate at a Tennessee state pen may hold the answers.

With a heated election for governor on the horizon and the strengthening of a criminal syndicate’s death grip on the state, Quinn’s search for answers will upset the corruption that’s plagued his home since before he came back from Afghanistan. Greed, false piety, power, bigotry, and dirty deals make for a dangerous mix he knows all too well.

Why you should be excited about it: In an interview I did with Ace Atkins back in July, right around the time that his last Quinn Colson book (The Sinners, 2018) came out, I asked about his next book, which he teased it in a big way. “The shit is just about to hit the fan,” Atkins promised. “Everything that’s been building in the previous books is about to come to a head in a big way. I can’t wait to see how things will shake out down in Tibbehah County.” That ought to be enough to have his fans rushing to click the pre-order button below. 

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The Sum of all SHadowsThe Sum of all Shadows by Eric Van Lustbader 

Release Date: July 9th

The Sum of All Shadows is the dramatic finale of New York Times bestselling author Eric Van Lustbader’s pulse-pounding Testament series.

For millennia, Lucifer―the Sum of All Shadows―has been biding his time, rebuilding his influence. At long last, he is ready to enact his ultimate revenge: to reverse the bitter humiliation of the Fall by leading the annihilation of heaven.

To combat the ultimate destroyer, Bravo and Emma Shaw have recovered the lost Testament, raced around the world, and battled adversaries both human and other. Now, caught between enemies and friends and potential enemies, they must find the lost treasure of King Solomon’s alchemical gold and cross not only the world but even time itself to stop the infernal army.

But even if they are successful, their lives may still be forfeit…

Why you should be excited about it: In an exclusive interview that ran back in December, where Lustbader told me he was stepping away from the Jason Bourne franchise, I asked him about The Sum of all Shadows, to which he said it “ends a family arc in the Shaw family.” This series has been wildly underrated and features some of Eric Van Lustbader’s finest writing. 

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Under Currents

Under Currents by Nora Roberts 

Release Date: July 9th

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author, a novel about the power of family to harm―and to heal.

Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers―and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake―see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong.

As his father’s violent, controlling rages―and his mother’s complicity―become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her Be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hideaway.

When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph―and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves…

Why you should be excited about it: There are very few authors who, when you see their name on the cover of a book, you can confidently buy without knowing a single thing about it and still trust that it’ll be worth every penny. Nora Roberts is one of them. Consider this mind-blowing statistic: Over the last 30 years, an average of 27 Nora Roberts books were sold every minute. That’s incredible, and there’s a reason for her success. For starters, she never takes a book off, and everything she writes is must-read material. 

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Red MetalRed Metal by Mark Greaney and Hunter Ripley Rawlings IV

Release Date: July 16th

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gray Man series comes a startlingly realistic novel of World War III.

A desperate Kremlin takes advantage of a military crisis in Asia to simultaneously strike into Western Europe and invade east Africa in a bid to occupy three Rare Earth mineral mines that will give Russia unprecedented control for generations over the world’s hi-tech sector. 

Pitted against the Russians are a Marine lieutenant colonel pulled out of a cushy job at the Pentagon and thrown into the fray in Africa, a French Special Forces captain and his intelligence operative father, a young Polish female partisan fighter, an A-10 Warthog pilot, and the commander of an American tank platoon who, along with his German counterpart, fight from behind enemy lines in Germany all the way into Russia.

From a daring MiG attack on American satellites, through land and air battles in all theaters, naval battles in the Arabian sea, and small unit fighting down to the hand-to-hand level in the jungle, Russia’s forces battle to either take the mines or detonate a nuclear device to prevent the West from exploiting them.

Why you should be excited about it: Mark Greaney, the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Gray Man series, has never written a standalone novel before. That changes in 2019, when Red Metal–which he co-authored with Lt. Col. Hunter “Rip” Rawlings IV, an active duty Marine and a veteran of combat with over ten tours in Afghanistan (OEF), Iraq (OIF), Saudi Arabia, and Northern Africa (OEF), to name a few–finally hits bookstores. Everything points to this being Greaney’s Red Storm Rising (1986), a comparison that makes even more sense when you consider that he contributed seven thrillers (three of which he co-wrote with Clancy) to Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe. Nobody is on a hotter streak right now than Mark Greaney, who clocks in with two books on our 2019 Reading Guide. 

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Shamed smallShamed by Linda Castillo 

Release Date: July 16th

In this riveting new thriller in Linda Castillo’s New York Times bestselling series, Kate Burkholder races against the clock to find a missing Amish girl.

An Amish grandmother is murdered on an abandoned farm, her seven-year-old granddaughter abducted. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder plunges headlong into a case that quickly becomes a race against the clock. She knows the longer the girl is missing, the more likely a tragic outcome. The family of the missing girl is well thought of―a pillar of the Amish community. Their pain is palpable and they cooperate in every way, but Kate soon learns they’re keeping secrets…

The investigation takes Kate to an isolated Old Order Amish settlement along the river in southern Ohio. At first, the community seems upstanding and helpful. But when Kate starts asking questions, they stonewall her―and the situation soon becomes dangerous. What are they hiding and why?

After an attempt on her life, Kate unearths a haunting and tragic secret that changes everything she thought she knew about the family for whom she is fighting, the Amish community as a whole―and everything she thought she knew about herself. Will she reach the girl in time to save her life?

Why you should be excited about it: Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder series, set in Amish country, is unlike anything else in the genre right now. Not only does Castillo bring the unique setting right to life with stimulating visuals, but Kate is a compelling character who has a real presence on the page. To top it all off, Castillo knows how to spin a mystery as well as anyone. This is the 11th book in her series, but newcomers can pretty much jump in anywhere without missing a beat. 

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This side of nightThis Side of the Night by J. Todd Scott

Release Date: July 16th

The vicious Mexican cartel war boils over into the Big Bend in the explosive new novel from the author of The Far Empty and High White Sun.

In the Mexican borderlands, a busload of student protesters is gunned down in broad daylight, a violent act blamed on the Nemesio cartel. But its aging leader, Fox Uno, sees the attack for what it is: another salvo in the long-running battle for control of Nemesio itself; perhaps by a rival cartel, or maybe someone closer to home…

Across the Rio Grande, Sheriff Chris Cherry and his deputies America Reynosa and Danny Ford find themselves caught in Fox Uno’s escalating war with the recent discovery of five dead men at the river’s edge. But when El Paso DEA agent Joe Garrison’s own Nemesio investigation leads him into the heart of the Big Bend, he’s not ready to accept the cartel leader’s retreat or defeat. Not only does he suspect a high-profile drug task force in a neighboring county is corrupt, he can’t shake lingering doubts about the loyalty and motives of the young deputy, Ame Reynosa. And he won’t let Sheriff Cherry ignore them either.

In this pitiless land it’s kill or be killed, where everyone will make one final bloody stand to decide the fate of Nemesio, the law in the Big Bend, and most of all, the future of America Reynosa.

Why you should be excited about it: J. Todd Scott’s series reads like equal parts Don Winslow and Ace Atkins.  Having spent twenty years working with the DEA, Scott knows his stuff, adding instant credibility to his stories, which are well-written and hopelessly addictive. There’s a subtle darkness about his writing style that matches the themes of his books–similar to how James Lee Burke’s style lends itself to his Dave Robicheaux franchise, beautifully capturing New Orleans–and Chris Cherry is a great new character in the vein of Atkins’ own Quinn Colson. 

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Daniel Silva Authoer picNew Gabriel Allon (#18) Novel by Daniel Silva

Release Date: July 16th

#1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva delivers another stunning thriller in his latest action-packed tale of high stakes international intrigue.

#1 New York Times Bestselling
#1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author
#1 USA Today Bestselling Author

Daniel Silva is the award-winning, #1  New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely SpyThe Mark of the AssassinThe Marching SeasonThe Kill ArtistThe English AssassinThe ConfessorA Death in ViennaPrince of FireThe MessengerThe Secret ServantMoscow RulesThe DefectorThe Rembrandt AffairPortrait of a SpyThe Fallen AngelThe English GirlThe Heist, The English Spy, The Black Widow, House of Spies and The Other Woman.  He is best known for his long-running thriller series starring spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon. Silva’s books are critically acclaimed bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 30 languages. He resides in Florida with his wife, television journalist Jamie Gangel, and their twins, Lily and Nicholas. For more information visit his official website.  

Why you should be excited about it: Even without a title or any official plot details, Daniel Silva’s 19th Gabriel Allon novel is easily one of the most anticipated books of 2018. One of the most iconic spy novelists the genre has ever known, Silva’s last book, The Other Woman, wasn’t just his best work yet, it’s maybe the best spy thriller since John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and our highest-rated book of 2018. 

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Catherine CoulterLabyrinth by Catherine Coulter

Release Date: July 23rd

The #1 New York Times bestselling FBI Thriller series returns with another tour de force in which Agent Sherlock risks losing her career—and her sanity—over a case that is more complicated and twisted than any she’s ever encountered. 

On a dark night, Agent Sherlock is driving along circuitous mountain roads in West Virginia when her car is suddenly T-boned at an intersection. As her car spins out of control, a man’s body slams against her windshield and then—blackness. When she finally comes to, Sherlock has no memory of the accident, nor of the moments that led right up to it. But what she does know is that the man she hit is a local CIA analyst…and now he’s missing.

Meanwhile, in the small town of Gaffer’s Ridge, Virginia, Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith has just rescued a kidnapped woman who claims her captor admitted to the murder of three teenage girls. However, the man she accuses is related to the local sheriff and a member of a very powerful family. Special Agent Hammersmith reaches out to Sherlock for help, and they soon realize that the disappearance of the CIA analyst is actually connected to the string of murders. But how?

“If there’s one thing that readers can count on in a Coulter novel it is that she always delivers amazingly eerie and complex thrillers” (RT Book Reviews) and Labyrinth is no different. With white-knuckled pacing and shocking twists and turns, this is another electrifying novel that will sink its teeth in you.

Why you should be excited about it: Catherine Coulter is one of the bona fide rockstars of the thriller genre, and her last book, Paradox, was as good as anything she’s written. Labyrinth promises to be another “while-knuckled” thriller, which means Coulter’s fans better get their pre-ordering on nice and early. 

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The Dark Above by Jeremy Finley

Release Date: July 23rd

In this sequel to the critically-acclaimed novel that grabbed fans of X-Files and Stranger Things, Jeremy Finley returns with another thriller full of aliens and government cover-ups.

For most of his life, William Chance has been the living proof that his grandmother and her fellow researchers into missing people were right all along about the terror from the stars. Now, he’s avoiding the limelight and hiding out from everyone, including his family. He knows he can avoid everything, except for the nightmares: fires, storms, disease and violence – he dreams of it all.

When he’s suddenly exposed, he finds that the media, government operatives and renegade true believers are desperate to find him, but he has another mission. Joined by a girl with terrifying abilities, he begins a desperate journey across the United States to find the others who share his dreams to stop what could be the final days of the world.

Jeremy Finley’s debut The Darkest Time of Night was called “outstanding” in a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was a June 2018 SIBA Okra Selection. Now, he continues the story of Lynn and William, fifteen years later in a new fast-paced thriller full of suspense and government cover-ups, perfect for thriller and supernatural fans alike.

Why you should be excited about it: Sci-Fi fans, this one’s for you. I’m a little new to this series, but very much looking forward to seeing how Finely follows up The Darkest Time of Night (2018). 

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The Russian Ben Coes HRThe Russian by Ben Coes 

Release Date: July 30th

As the brutal Russian mafia becomes the most powerful and deadly criminal enterprise in the country, the U.S. has a new hero, Rob Tacoma, in New York Times bestseller Ben Coes’s new series.

After the break-up of the Soviet Union, some of the most hardened and capable criminals came to the United States. Over the past two decades, they have created a vicious and fearless underworld, breathtaking in its violence, disturbing in its efficiency, and destructive to society at large. With conventional law enforcement methods unable to stem the tide, the President issues top secret Executive Order 12-4b3 creating a small, deadly team to take on this fight behind the scenes―a kill team.

The head of the CIA’s Special Operations Group, Bo Coll, is picked to head this group and he, in turn, asks Rob Tacoma to be his deputy. Rob Tacoma―former Navy SEAL and former CIA agent―has a special reason to agree. Tacoma was raised by his grandparents after his own parents were killed by the Russian mafia. But before Tacoma can even start, Bo Coll is found murdered in his own home, as a warning from the Russian mafia itself. Now Tacoma is in charge of the team and they have their first mission, to achieve the near-impossible: find and neutralize the mob boss behind Bo Coll’s death. To do so means taking on practically an army in a battle where there are no rules and no limits.

Branching off from his bestselling Dewey Andreas novels, this is the first in a brand new series from thriller writer Ben Coes.

Why you should be excited about it: Ben Coes is currently in the middle of an unprecedented hot streak not seen since Vince Flynn was in his prime. Now, though, after writing about Rob Tacoma alongside his main series protagonist Dewey Andreas, Tacoma is getting his own book. A planned first in the series, Coes’ The Russian instantly becomes the most anticipated series launch in 2019. 

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Game of SnipersGame of Snipers by Stephen Hunter

Release Date: July 30th

In this blazing new thriller from Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Hunter, master sniper Bob Lee Swagger takes on his biggest job to date…and confronts an assassin with skills that match his own. 

When Bob Lee Swagger is approached by a woman who lost a son to war and has spent the years since risking all that she has to find the sniper who pulled the trigger, he knows right away he’ll do everything in his power to help her. But what begins as a favor becomes an obsession, and soon Swagger is back in the action, teaming up with the Mossad, the FBI, and local American law enforcement, as he tracks a sniper who is his own equal…and attempts to decipher that assassin’s ultimate target before it’s too late.

Why you should be excited about it: Honestly, does anyone really need a reason to be excited about Hunter’s next book? Bob Lee Swagger is a legendary character, and any concerns that he was running out of steam were put to rest with Hunter’s G-Man, which came out in early 2018. Bonus, this might be Hunter’s best title yet, especially if the plot matches. 

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51DgrgK634L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_City of Windows by Robert Pobi

Release Date: August 6th

In the tradition of Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme and David Baldacci’s Amos Decker, City of Windows introduces Lucas Page, a brilliant, reluctant investigator, matching wits with a skilled, invisible killer

During the worst blizzard in memory, an FBI agent in a moving SUV in New York City is killed by a nearly impossible sniper shot. Unable to pinpoint where the shot came from, as the storm rapidly wipes out evidence, the agent-in-charge Brett Kehoe turns to the one man who might be able to help them―former FBI agent Lucas Page.

Page, a university professor and bestselling author, left the FBI years ago after a tragic event robbed him of a leg, an arm, an eye, and the willingness to continue. But he has an amazing ability to read a crime scene, figure out angles and trajectories in his head, and he might be the only one to be able to find the sniper’s nest. With a new wife and family, Lucas Page has no interest in helping the FBI―except for the fact that the victim was his former partner.

Agreeing to help for his partner’s sake, Page finds himself hunting a killer with an unknown agenda and amazing sniper skills in the worst of conditions. And his partner’s murder is only the first in a series of meticulously planned murders carried out with all-but-impossible sniper shots. The only thing connecting the deaths is that the victims are all with law enforcement―that is until Page’s own family becomes a target.

To identify and hunt down this ruthless, seemingly unstoppable killer, Page must discover what hidden past connects the victims before he himself loses all that is dear to him.

Why you should be excited about it: I was fortunate enough to get an early copy of Robi’s new novel and blew right through it. The first in a new series, readers are introduced to Lucas Page, a professor and bestselling author who previously worked for the FBI. Unfortunate circumstances during his time with the bureau left him just one arm, leg, and eye, and a bad taste for investigative work. Still, he’s sucked back in when a former colleague needs his help, and soon Page finds himself locked in a game with a dangerous killer. City of Windows is fast-paced, deftly plotted, and a wickedly fun read.  

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The Darwin StrainThe Darwin Strain by Bill Shutt and J.R. Finch

Release Date: August 6th

The authors of Hell’s Gate and The Himalayan Codex deliver their third high-octane thriller—a page-turning blend of science, history, and suspense featuring zoologist and adventurer Captain R. J. MacCready.

“Looks like Schutt and Finch are filling the void left by the passing of Michael Crichton.”—James Cameron, director/writer/explorer

Though the fighting has stopped and Hitler is vanquished, a dangerous new war between America and the Soviet Union has begun. Invaluable in defeating the Nazis, accidental crypto-zoologist R. J. MacCready and Yanni Thorne, an indigenous Brazilian and expert in animal behavior, are working for the Pentagon once again. Sent to a mysterious Greek island in a remote corner of the Mediterranean, they are investigating rumors about a volcanic spring with “miraculous” healing properties that the locals say is guarded by sea monsters from ancient legends.

The islanders believe that, like Fatima, the spring is a gift from God. To the Greek Orthodox Church, it is a sign of a deadly evil foretold in apocalyptic texts. Alongside French and Chinese researchers—men who share their strange, blood-stained past—Mac and Yanni discover that the volcanic spring’s undersea plumes release an exotic microbe that can transform life with astonishing speed.

To find the source of the Volcanic spring, Mac and Yanni must find a way to neutralize “the Dragons of Revelation”—a fearsome aquatic species also known as “Kraken,” which are preventing the scientists from exploring deep beneath the sea’s surface. Mutating at an astonishing pace, the Kraken have evolved into a chillingly high alien intelligence. As the race to possess the “miracle” microbe heats up, tensions between geopolitics, religion, and ordinary scientists confronted with the unknown escalate into chaos. Mac and Yanni know all too well that one wrong choice can easily set in motion a biological chain reaction that will reach across the decades to enhance—or destroy—everything that lives.

Why you should be excited about it: Following their exciting series launch, Hell’s Gate (2017), Schutt and Finch came on strong once again in 2018 with The Himalayan Codex.  Now, their third Captain R. J. “Mac” MacCready novel is set to come out and promises to be their most explosive story yet. This series is tailor-made for fans of Michael Crichton and James Rollins and is not to be missed. 

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The Last Good GuyThe Last Good Guy by T. Jefferson Parker

Release Date: August 13th

In this electrifying new thriller from three-time Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestseller T. Jefferson Parker, Private Investigator Roland Ford hunts for a missing teenager and uncovers a dark conspiracy in his most personal case yet.

When hired by a beautiful and enigmatic woman to find her missing younger sister, private investigator Roland Ford immediately senses that the case is not what it seems. He is soon swept up in a web of lies and secrets as he searches for the teenager, and even his new client cannot be trusted. His investigation leads him to a secretive charter school, skinhead thugs, a cadre of American Nazis hidden in a desert compound, an arch-conservative celebrity evangelist–and, finally, to the girl herself. The Last Good Guy is Ford’s most challenging case to date, one that will leave him questioning everything he thought he knew about decency, honesty, and the battle between good and evil…if it doesn’t kill him first.

Why you should be excited about it: T. Jefferson Parker’s third Roland Ford novel (following last year’s Swift Vengence) should interest fans of Michael Connelly and John Sandford. Parker has had a long and successful career, but Ford is perhaps his best character so far, and this series just keeps getting better.

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51hklh0RYbL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Bitterroots by C.J. Box

Release Date: August 13th

Former police officer Cassie Dewell is trying to start over with her own private investigation firm. Guilty about not seeing her son and exhausted by the nights on stakeout, Cassie is nontheless managing…until an old friend calls in a favor: she wants Cassie to help exonarate a man accused of assaulting a young girl from an influential family.

Against her own better judgment, Cassie agrees. But out in the Big Sky Country of Montana, twisted family loyalty runs as deep as the ties to the land, and there’s always something more to the story. As Cassie attempts to uncover the truth, she must fight against the ghosts of her own past that threaten to pull her back under.

With The Bitterroots, master storyteller C.J. Box delivers another novel that will keep you turning pages, featuring fan-favorite Cassie Dewell from the Highway Quartet.

Why you should be excited about itWhile best known for his Joe Pickett series, Box’s standalone novels and Cassie Dewell books are every bit as good as those following his beloved Wyoming game warden. You won’t find a more talented writer, regardless of genre, than C.J. Box. Everything he touches turns to gold, and with two must-read books (Wolf Pack, the latest Pickett novel, comes out in March and is listed above) set for release in 2019, readers are in for a real treat. 

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Assassins RevengeAssassin’s Revenge by Ward Larsen

Release Date: August 20th

USA Today bestselling author Ward Larsen’s globe-trotting, hard-hitting assassin, David Slaton, returns for another breathless adventure in Assassin’s Revenge.

On a sunny dock in Gibraltar, Slaton returns to the sailboat he shares with his wife and young son to find them missing. The only clue to their whereabouts is a cryptic message: If he wants to see them again, he must eliminate an obscure scientist working for the International Atomic Energy Agency. Slaton races to Vienna to unravel the scheme.

Half a world away, a small team of ISIS operatives arrives in North Korea. It is comprised of two suicidal jihadists, one technician, and the caliphate’s only officer with naval experience. Their mission: to reestablish the group’s relevance by undertaking a shocking strike against America.

From Europe to North Korea to the Pacific Ocean, Slaton finds himself entangled in a deadly nuclear game. Working against him are a band of suicidal terrorists, supported by a North Korean government that is about to implode. That slate of actors, however, face something even more lethal.

A devoted father and husband―one who happens to be the perfect assassin.

Why you should be excited about it: Larsen’s David Slaton is a like an Israeli version of Mark Greaney’s Gray Man and is one of the most underrated characters in the action thriller genre. This year’s mission sounds deeply personal to Slaton, raising the stakes for both him and readers. 

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The AttackThe Attack by W.E.B. Griffin

Release Date: August 27th

A dead girl, a wealthy family, and indications of drug use. It’s a toxic mix that leads Philadelphia detective Matt Payne deep into an unexpected maelstrom of deceit and madness in the latest entry in the New York Times-bestselling Badge of Honor series.

In the dark shadows of downtown Philadelphia, the body of a seventeen-year-old suburban high school cheerleader, clad only in her uniform top and with massive bruising on her throat, is found floating in the Delaware River.

When Homicide sergeant Matt Payne surveys the scene, he shakes his head at yet another vicious murder in a city that’s suffering a record number of killings. And he knows this one, involving the petite, pretty daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur, will play long and loud in the media.

Payne soon learns that the father had his vessel outfitted with miniature security cameras. Almost the entire crime was captured as digital video. Despite some imperfections, the video shows–in painful, shocking detail–what happened. And who the parents feared was responsible: the University of Pennsylvania student, an ill-mannered and arrogant Middle Easterner with movie-star looks, who they had forbidden their daughter to see again.

Still, it’s not case closed. The murderer has gone underground. Payne races to find the killer before he can unleash an even more savage attack.

Why you should be excited about it: It’s been three years since Griffin’s last Badge of Honor book, Broken Trust (2016), hit bookstores. Fans will no doubt to be glad to see his series continue, especially since that was his last really well-received novel, after more recent efforts like Death at Nuremberg and The Enemy of my Enemy, fell short of expectations.

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Karin SlaughterThe Last Widow by Karin Slaughter 

Release Date: August 27th

Investigator Will Trent and medical examiner Sara Linton must stop a mysterious group of domestic terrorists planning to unleash a deadly epidemic in this electrifying and all too plausible thriller.

On a serene summer Sunday, a routine admission for a run-of-the-mill surgery at Atlanta’s Emory Hospital goes tragically wrong, setting off a catastrophic wave of destruction that sends the facility and the surrounding area into lockdown. One of the city’s largest and most prestigious institutions, Emory is situated near the Centers for Disease Control, the FBI counter-terrorism headquarters, and a large children’s hospital. Anything that happens there has repercussions for the entire city, the state of Georgia, and possibly the entire nation.

A few miles away, medical examiner Sara Linton is enduring an awkward lunch with her mother, her aunt, and her boyfriend Will Trent, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But the sudden wail of sirens blaring in the distance cuts the uncomfortable get-together short, drawing her and Will to the scene.

Both Sara and Will are seasoned public servants trained to help in an emergency. Dedicated and courageous, they run towards a crisis while others are running away. But on this warm summer day, that instinct will lead them into lethal danger. Within an hour the situation at Emory has spiraled out of control—Sara has been taken prisoner and Will forced undercover, on a case in which thousands of lives are at stake.

That “routine admission” at Emory was the opening maneuver in a perilous game of hunter and prey that leads him out of Atlanta into the Appalachians, to a remote compound where a radical group has hatched a diabolical plan for murder on a massive scale that will rock the nation if it isn’t stopped. 

Why you should be excited about it: Fans have been waiting with bated breath for the next Will Trent novel, which is finally on its way in 2019. After back-to-back standalone novels over the last two years, Slaughter is returning to her New York Times bestselling series and expectations couldn’t be higher. 

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awi-portraits-seanparnellUntitled Eric Steele #2 by Sean Parnell

Release Date: September 3rd

Sean Parnell is a former U.S. Army airborne ranger who served in the legendary 10th Mountain Division for six years, retiring as a captain. He received two Bronze Stars (one for valor) and the Purple Heart. He is a passionate supporter of America’s military and is currently serving as an ambassador for the Boot Campaign, a national veteran’s charity. He lives with his three children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Why you should be excited about it: Following his critically acclaimed fiction debut, Man of War, Parnell’s series has quickly become a favorite for fans of Brad Thor and Brad Taylor. I interviewed Parnell back in September, and at the time, he told me that he had just finished book two and said, “the same cast of characters will be back in action: Eric Steele, Meg, Demo, and Rockford. All of them will face a threat unlike anything the United States has seen before. And there will be casualties.” That last line should get fan’s attention in a big way! 

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JT EllisonGood Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison 

Release Date: September 3rd

The follow up to JT Ellison’s critically acclaimed stand-alone novels Lie to Me and Tear Me Apart, Rule of Lies is a dark psychological thriller.

Ash Carlisle is British, beautiful, hip, a sought-after transfer student at the elite prep school, The Goode School. When students begin dying around her, she realizes someone has been looking into her past — and is about to reveal her most shocking secret.

Can you ever escape your past?

Ash Carlisle has crossed continents to attend an exclusive, prestigious prep school in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The Goode School is a “Silent Ivy” — sought after for its reputation of being a feeder school to the Ivy League. The school, situated at the top of a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, accepts only 200 new students a year, making it one of the most challenging to get into in the U.S. Its elite status and long-held traditions make it a stunning, albeit gothic, backdrop.

Ash is running from a dark secret, one she believes she’s left behind. And in her first few weeks at Goode, as she settles in, makes several new friends, and emerges as a popular, sought-after student, it seems her plan has worked.

When Ash is tapped for a secret society known only as Ivy Bound, she truly feels like she belongs, especially when the head of the society, an enigmatic, gorgeous, accomplished upperclassman takes her on as her protege. But when she challenges Ash to a series of increasingly disturbing tasks Ash refuses to go along and the members of the society begin a silent campaign against her. Ash goes from revered to reviled, cast-out and castigated.

Then students begin to die… and Ash is the clear suspect.

Why you should be excited about it: Ellison remains one of the premier thriller writers working today. Her last standalone, Lie to Me, was one of the best suspense thrillers of 2018 and contained a vertigo-inducing twist that landed soundly and stuck with readers long after turning the final page. 

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The Fifth Column by Andrew Gross 

Release Date: September 3rd

Andrew Gross is the author of New York Times and international bestsellers The Blue Zone, Don’t Look Twice, and The Dark Tide, which was nominated for the Best Thriller of the Year award by the International Thriller Writers, Reckless, and most recently, Eyes Wide Open. He is also coauthor of five number one bestsellers with James Patterson, including Judge & Jury and Lifeguard. He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife, Lynn

Why you should be excited about it: Since switching genre’s a few years back, Andrew Gross has quickly become one of the best historical fiction writers on the planet. The One Man (2016) was a special book, and one of the best novels I’ve ever had the honor of reviewing. The Sabetour (2017) was solid, and last year’s The Button Man was just terrific. All eyes are on Gross in 2019 to see if he can deliver again. 

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Kyle Mills author photo

Mitch Rapp #18 by Kyle Mills

Release Date: TBD

Kyle Mills is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of sixteen books, including the latest in Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series, Order to Kill. 

Growing up in Oregon, Washington, DC, and London as the son of an FBI agent, Kyle absorbed an enormous amount about the intelligence community, giving his novels their unique authenticity. He and his wife live in Wyoming where they spend their off hours mountain biking and backcountry skiing.

Why you should be excited about it: Mitch Rapp, our reigning #1 most lethal character in the thriller genre, will return for more action sometime this fall. While official plot details (as well as a title and a pub date) are being kept under wraps (pun intended), we do know that Rapp will face something he’s never gone up against before: the threat of a biological weapon. Here’s an excerpt from an interview I did with Mills last October: 

“Well, it’s funny, because of the political landscape right now, I really wanted to do something non-political. I was even thinking about doing something about Mitch flying over Columbia when his plane crashes and his phone breaks, and he has to fight his way out of a drug area in Columbia. Something not political at all. Instead, that’s not what happened. . .

“I actually went the opposite way because that’s what’s happening in the world right now, especially in the United States. There’s a biological threat in the next one, plus a very divisive presidential campaign, and that plays a big role. The guy running for president is a really awful guy who is bad for Irene Kennedy (as the CIA director) and bad for America. That’s all playing out in the background while the guy is manipulated by another country, and ISIS uses his campaign to try and drive Americans apart. To me, that’s what is happening right now so I couldn’t get around it.

“There’s no question that what’s going on politically in the United States, and even culturally, is on everybody’s mind. It’s almost like the elephant in the room. You either, as a writer, have to make a conscious choice to ignore it, or to address it. I tried to ignore it, but it didn’t work. Finally, I realized I had to embrace the elephant or it’s going to be a really scattered book.

“With the next book, I’m hoping that there’s still a universal good and bad, though I’m not even sure everyone agrees with that anymore, and this new character is just so bad for America. I don’t touch on any divisive issues, though.” 

This book isn’t yet available for pre-order, but we’ll update this article just as soon as it is. 


This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

Release Date: November 12th

Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University–before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He’s been married for over 40 years to a marvelous woman who is a retired attorney. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves.

Krueger writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota. His protagonist is Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage–part Irish and part Ojibwe. His work has received a number of awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. His last five novels were all New York Times bestsellers.

Ordinary Grace, his stand-alone novel published in 2013, received the Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America in recognition for the best novel published in that year. “Manitou Canyon,” number fifteen in his Cork O’Connor series, was released in September 2016.

Why you should be excited about it: Krueger’s last standalone, Ordinary Grace (2013), was beautifully written and well received by readers everywhere. While some fans will miss not having a new Cork O’Connor book in 2019, Krueger recently promised he’d return in 2020 in a Facebook post.

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Again, this list contains only the forthcoming new books we already know about–many of which were announced on The Real Book Spy in past months.

Michael Connelly has confirmed a new Harry Bosch book will come out sometime in the fall, and Lee Child should have a new Jack Reacher novel ready to drop around the same time. Meg Gardiner could have a new book out as well, as could her fellow Story Factory author Steve Hamilton, whose third Nick Mason book is rumored to be coming soon. Jeff Abbott, K.J. Howe, Erik Storey, John ConnollyJanet Evanovich, Joe Ide, John Grisham, and David Poyer are just a few of the many other authors expected to have new thrillers coming out at some point this year, so stay tuned for updates as we get further into the new 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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8 comments

  1. Ryan, thanks for the 2019 book list! Will start with Daughter of War,
    The Night Agent, and Tear it Down. Happy New Year to you and your family!!!!

  2. Great work putting the 2019 list together. Can never get enough of Stephen Hunter and Steve Berry. I have identified 32 books plus I am trying to read Power of the Dog and Cartel before Don Winslow’s The Border is released. I didn’t see an Alex Berenson book in the 2019 list. Again, thanks for making it so easy for us to select thrillers. I will leave a slot open for your debut thriller.

  3. Ryanie, thank you so much…. you are for sure the BEST reviewer. Your word can be taken blindly…
    Thank you again and have a great 2019

  4. Just finished “a hard man to forget” by Dan Ames. The references to Reacher drew me in but the material is good enough to stand on its own, and the references to Reacher turned out to be a distraction. I recommend this author. Rated it 4 stars.

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