The Real Book Spy’s July 2019 Reading Guide

This is it. If you’re a fan of thrillers, July is hands down the best month of the year for awesome new releases.

No offense to the other months, but there are more must-read books coming out on just July 16th than there were the entire month of May. Daniel Silva, Mark Greaney, Linda Castillo, Matthew Betley, and J. Todd Scott all have new thrillers coming out on the 16th. Then, just two weeks later—on the 30th—Jack Carr, Stephen Hunter, Iris Johansen, Ben Coes, Shari Lapens, and Catherine Coulter are all releasing new stuff as well. 

Those aren’t even all the books coming out on those two days, and we still haven’t touched on the other weeks, which include new offerings from Paul Doiron, David Baldacci, Nora Roberts, Cristina Alger, Riley Sager, Jo Nesbo, Adrian McKinty, Ace Atkins, Eric Van Lustbader, and many others. 

Over the last two months, I warned readers to go light and save up their book funds for July . . . and now that it’s here, go nuts. Browse all the titles about to hit bookstores, then leave a comment—or reach out via Facebook or Twitter—and let me know which books you’re most excited to get your hands on. Happy reading! 

 


Tuesday, July 2

Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger

From the celebrated and bestselling author of The Banker’s Wife, worlds collide when an FBI agent investigates a string of grisly murders on Long Island that raises the impossible question: What happens when the primary suspect is your father?

FBI Agent Nell Flynn hasn’t been home in ten years. Nell and her father, Homicide Detective Martin Flynn, have never had much of a relationship. And Suffolk County will always be awash in memories of her mother, Marisol, who was brutally murdered when Nell was just seven.

When Martin Flynn dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns to the house she grew up in so that she can spread her father’s ashes and close his estate. At the behest of her father’s partner, Detective Lee Davis, Nell becomes involved in an investigation into the murders of two young women in Suffolk County. The further Nell digs, the more likely it seems to her that her father should be the prime suspect–and that his friends on the police force are covering his tracks. Plagued by doubts about her mother’s murder–and her own role in exonerating her father in that case–Nell can’t help but ask questions about who killed Ria Ruiz and Adriana Marques and why. But she may not like the answers she finds–not just about those she loves, but about herself.

Why you should be excited about it: Alger, one of the best new writers in the genre, really upped her game for last year’s The Baker’s Wife. While Girls Like Us is a different kind of thriller, her latest is another crowd-pleaser, and she keeps the twists coming . . . most readers will never guess the ending.

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Never Look BackNever Look Back by Alison Gaylin

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 Gaylin is one of them. 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’s capable of knocking ’em right out of their reading chairs with devastating twists along the way.

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Almost MidnightAlmost Midnight by Paul Doiron

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: This was the last book I finished while compiling this list . . . and it’s awesome. I’ve always enjoyed Doiron’s work, but he’s taken his series to another level over the last three or so years. (Read my review here.)

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Lock Every DoorLock Every Door by Riley Sager

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. It’s hard to say that his latest is better than either of those books, but it’s a sure bet to thrill his readers once again.

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Tuesday, July 9th

 

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

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 Chain by Adrian McKinty

VICTIM.
SURVIVOR.
ABDUCTOR.
CRIMINAL.
YOU WILL BECOME EACH ONE.

“This nightmarish story is incredibly propulsive and original. You won’t shake it for a long time.”
STEPHEN KING

“McKinty is one of the most striking and most memorable crime voices to emerge on the scene in years. His plots tempt you to read at top speed, but don’t give in: this writing – sharply observant, intelligent and shot through with black humor – should be savored.”
TANA FRENCH

“A masterpiece. You have never read anything quite like THE CHAIN and you will never be able to forget it.”
DON WINSLOW

YOUR PHONE RINGS.

A STRANGER HAS KIDNAPPED YOUR CHILD.

TO FREE THEM YOU MUST ABDUCT SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD.

YOUR CHILD WILL BE RELEASED WHEN YOUR VICTIM’S PARENTS KIDNAP ANOTHER CHILD.

IF ANY OF THESE DON’T HAPPEN:

YOUR CHILD WILL BE KILLED.

YOU ARE PART OF THE CHAIN. 

Why you should be excited about it: Just read the blurbs from heavyweights like King and Winslow. If you need any more of a reason to run out and get this one, you must not be a fan of the genre.

For what it’s worth, I was absolutely blown away by The Chain. Prepare to have your mind messed with, especially if you’re a parent. As a dad to six kids, I’ve always said that there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for one of my kids—especially if they were in trouble. I’m sure other parents have said similar things and felt the same way. Let me warn you . . .  McKinty will test that statement in ways you can’t imagine. (Read my review here.)

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Bad Axe County by John Galligan

Dennis Lehane meets Megan Miranda in this tense, atmospheric thriller about the first female sheriff in rural Bad Axe County, Wisconsin, as she searches for a missing girl, battles local drug dealers, and seeks the truth about the death of her parents twenty years ago—all as a winter storm rages in her embattled community.

Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.

Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.

As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.

As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died.

Why you should be excited about it: I don’t bet, but if I did, out of all the books on this list, this one’s my pick to be a sleeper hit . . . It’s gritty, brash, and totally gripping. John Galligan is a hell of a writer.

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The ShamlessThe Shameless by Ace Atkins

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 last year, right around the time that his last Quinn Colson book (The Sinners, 2018) came out, I asked about his next book, which he teased about 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

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

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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Tuesday, July 16th

 

Red MetalRed Metal by Mark Greaney and Hunter Ripley Rawlings IV (Featured Selection)

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 this summer when Red Metalwhich he co-authored with Lt. Col. Hunter “Rip” Rawlings IVfinally hits bookstores. Think Red Storm Rising but ten times faster, with more action and Greaney’s familiar, smooth style . . . Red Metal is a once-in-a-generation type thriller that is not to be missed. (Read my review here.)

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Shamed small Shamed by Linda Castillo (Featured Selection)

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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Rules of WarRules of War by Matthew Betley (Featured Selection)

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. (Read my review here.)

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

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—and Chris Cherry is a great new character in the vein of Atkins’ own Quinn Colson.

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The New Girl by Daniel Silva (Featured Selection)

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva comes a stunning new thriller of vengeance, deception, and betrayal.

At an exclusive private school in Switzerland, mystery surrounds the identity of the beautiful girl who arrives each morning and leaves each afternoon in a heavily protected motorcade fit for a head of state. She is said to be the daughter of a wealthy international businessman. She is not. And when she is brutally kidnapped across the border in the Haute-Savoie region of France, Gabriel Allon, the legendary chief of Israeli intelligence, is thrust into a deadly secret war with an old enemy that will determine the future of the Middle East—and perhaps the world . . .

Why you should be excited about it: Even before it had a title or any official plot details announced, Daniel Silva’s 19th Gabriel Allon novel was easily one of the most-anticipated books of 2019. 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 one of the best spy thrillers since John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and my highest-rated book of 2018.

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The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson

Two women are watching each other.

Phoebe Miller isn’t sure when the rusty car started showing up in the cul-de-sac she calls home, or why its driver would be spying on her. What could be interesting about an unhappy housewife who drowns her sorrows in ice cream and wine and barely leaves her house?

Only one knows why.

When a new family moves in across the street–the exuberant Vicki, who just might become the gossipy best friend Phoebe’s always wanted, and her handsome college-bound son, Jake, who offers companionship of a different variety–Phoebe finds her dull routine infused with the excitement she’s been missing. But with her head turned she’s no longer focused on the woman in the car. And she really should be…

An addictive domestic thriller for fans of The Last Mrs. Parrish and The Couple Next Door, The Other Mrs. Miller serves up a delicious brew of dark secrets and stunning plot twists that will keep you captivated until the very last page.

Why you should be excited about it: I don’t normally love these types of books, but Dickson is a solid writer with natural storytelling ability. Fans of The Woman in the Window will eat this one up.

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Tell Me Everything by Cambria Brockman

“A compulsive page-turner with shades of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History peopled by a new generation.”—Catherine Steadman, New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water

In her first weeks at Hawthorne College, Malin is swept up into a tight-knit circle that will stick together through all four years. There’s Gemma, an insecure theater major from London; John, a tall, handsome, wealthy New Englander; Max, John’s cousin, a shy pre-med major; Khaled, a wisecracking prince from Abu Dhabi; and Ruby, a beautiful art history major. But Malin isn’t like the rest of her friends. She’s an expert at hiding her troubled past. She acts as if she shares the preoccupations of those around her—dating, partying—all while using her extraordinary insight to detect their deepest vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

By Senior Day, on the cusp of graduation, Malin’s secrets—and those of her friends—are revealed. While she scrambles to maintain her artfully curated image, her missteps set in motion a devastating chain of events that ends in a murder. And as fragile relationships hang in the balance and close alliances shift, Malin must test the limits of what she’s capable of to stop the truth from coming out.

In a mesmerizing novel that peels back the innumerable layers of a seductive protagonist, debut author Cambria Brockman brings to life an entrancing story of friendship, heartbreak, and betrayal.

Why you should be excited about it: When I read this one, I had no idea that it was Cambria Brockman’s debut. The story is tight, well plotted, and moves fast. If you enjoy Lisa Scottoline, this should be on the top of your Summer TBR pile.

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Tuesday, July 23rd

 

The Dark Above by Jeremy Finley

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 Finley follows up The Darkest Time of Night (2018).

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Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

From the bestselling author of The Secrets She Keeps, the writer Stephen King calls “an absolute master…with heart and soul,” a fiendishly clever suspense novel about a dangerous young woman with a special ability to know when someone is lying—and the criminal psychologist who must outwit her to survive.

A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Half-starved and filthy, she won’t tell anyone her name, or her age, or where she came from. Maybe she is twelve, maybe fifteen. She doesn’t appear in any missing persons file, and her DNA can’t be matched to an identity. Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. When she initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he’s ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure. Evie knows when someone is lying, and no one around her is telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is called in to investigate the shocking murder of a high school figure-skating champion, Jodie Sheehan, who dies on a lonely footpath close to her home. Pretty and popular, Jodie is portrayed by everyone as the ultimate girl-next-door, but as Cyrus peels back the layers, a secret life emerges—one that Evie Cormac, the girl with no past, knows something about. A man haunted by his own tragic history, Cyrus is caught between the two cases—one girl who needs saving and another who needs justice. What price will he pay for the truth? Fiendishly clever, swiftly paced, and emotionally explosive, Good Girl, Bad Girl is the perfect thrilling summer read from internationally bestselling author Michael Robotham.

Why you should be excited about it: When Stephen King calls someone “an absolute master…with heart and soul,” that’s reason enough to check the book out. I’ve always found Robotham to run a little hot or cold . . . but this one is scorching.

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One Good Deed by David Baldacci

The #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci introduces an unforgettable new character: Archer, a straight-talking former World War II soldier fresh out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

It’s 1949. When war veteran Aloysius Archer is released from Carderock Prison, he is sent to Poca City on parole with a short list of do‘s and a much longer list of don’ts: do report regularly to his parole officer, don’t go to bars, certainly don’t drink alcohol, do get a job–and don’t ever associate with loose women.

The small town quickly proves more complicated and dangerous than Archer’s years serving in the war or his time in jail. Within a single night, his search for gainful employment–and a stiff drink–leads him to a local bar, where he is hired for what seems like a simple job: to collect a debt owed to a powerful local businessman, Hank Pittleman.

Soon Archer discovers that recovering the debt won’t be so easy. The indebted man has a furious grudge against Hank and refuses to pay; Hank’s clever mistress has her own designs on Archer; and both Hank and Archer’s stern parole officer, Miss Crabtree, are keeping a sharp eye on him.

When a murder takes place right under Archer’s nose, police suspicions rise against the ex-convict, and Archer realizes that the crime could send him right back to prison . . . if he doesn’t use every skill in his arsenal to track down the real killer.

Why you should be excited about it: Baldacci is a fine writer, as he’s always been, and while he’s long shown his versatility while juggling multiple hit series, he’s never done anything quite like this before. I still prefer his present-day thrillers (especially those following Amos Decker and Will Robie), but he can definitely write historical fiction too, and he proves that here.

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Tuesday, July 30th

 

True Believer - Jack CarrTrue Believer by Jack Carr (Featured Selection)

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: Few authors over the last few decades have taken the genre by storm the way Jack Carr has. After releasing one of the best debut political thrillers in recent memory, Carr follows that up with another winner . . . True Believer, the highly-anticipated new thriller From Jack Carr, is one of this year’s hottest thrillers, and a perfect fit for fans of Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and Daniel Silva. (Read my review here.)

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Labyrinth by Catherine Coulter

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 “white-knuckled” thriller, which means Coulter’s fans better get their pre-ordering on nice and early.

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The Russian Ben Coes HR

The Russian by Ben Coes (Featured Selection)

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. Think Clear and Present Danger meets John Wick . . . Ben Coes brings the heat with The Russian, a no-rules, no-limits, punch-to-the-gut of a thriller that takes a blowtorch to the competition and will leave readers begging for a follow-up. (Read my review here.)

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Game of SnipersGame of Snipers by Stephen Hunter

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. (Read my review here.)

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Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

The new domestic suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, Shari Lapena

Maybe you don’t know your neighbors as well as you thought you did . . .

“This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much. . . My son broke into your home recently while you were out.”

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into houses–and into the owners’ computers as well–learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

In this neighborhood, it’s not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide . . .

Why you should be excited about it: Lapena burst on the scene a decade ago and has turned in a number of hits over the course of her career. While The Couple Next Door still remains her best book, this one’s pretty close.

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Smokescreen by Iris Johansen

In this heart-pounding thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen, forensic sculptor Eve Duncan journeys to Africa to help families torn apart by a violent attack deep in the jungle–but she may be putting herself in more danger than she knows.

A journalist shows up on Eve Duncan’s doorstep with a plea for help. Jill Cassidy has just come from a small African village with a heart-wrenching story: half the villagers–many of them children–have been killed in a horrific attack by guerilla soldiers, the bodies burned beyond recognition. Now, the families desperately need Eve’s help to get closure and begin to heal.

But when Eve arrives in the remote jungle, she begins to suspect that Jill’s plea may have been a cover story for a deeper, more sinister plot. Isolated and unsure who she can trust, Eve finds herself stranded in an unstable country where violence threatens to break out again at any moment and with only her own instincts to rely on if she hopes to get home to her family alive . . .

#1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen is back with one of her most exhilarating and dangerous adventures yet in this powerful high-stakes thriller.

Why you should be excited about it: I haven’t read a ton of Johansen’s stuff, but I’ve kept up with her latest releases over the past three or four years. For my money, Smokescreen is the best thriller she’s released in that time frame.

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Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson—”an admired writer who deserves to be a household name” (Kirkus Reviews)—displays her masterful talent in this dark and deliciously addictive tale of domestic suspense.

In this game, even winning can be deadly…

Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it—teaching diving lessons, baking cookies for new neighbors, helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family: her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. And, of course, the steadfast and supportive Charlotte. But Amy’s sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.

Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it’s naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way—a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did.

When they’re alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn’t give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she’s going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.

To protect herself and her family and save the life she’s built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can’t beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.

A diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson’s trademark humor, Never Have I Ever explores what happens when the transgressions of our past come back with a vengeance.

Why you should be excited about it: Jackson mixes humor into her plots and dialogue as well as anyone, and she rarely misses when attempting a blinding, hard-hitting twist.

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Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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4 comments

  1. I have added 9 books to my reading list from the July new releases. Shameless, Red Metal, Shamed, Rules of War, This Side of Night, The New Girl, True Believer, The Russian and the Game of Snipers. I usually pick three or four each month. What a month of new releases.

  2. Good Lord… This month is Coes, Silva, Carr, Betley and of course I’m in the the middle of Red Metal. I love this time of year!! Thank you Officer Steck😁

  3. Just finished “game of snipers“. Five stars. I tried to give this less than five stars because a lot of readers will not appreciate the intricacies of the rifle shots but this made it a fine book.

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