The Real Book Spy’s August 2019 Reading Guide

After two top-notch months of must-read new releases, the action continues into August—where new offerings from C.J. Box, Sandra Brown, Robert Crais, Rob Hart, T. Jefferson Parker, Ruth Ware, and Stephen Coonts are about to hit bookstores.

Browse our list below to learn more about those titles, and everything else set to come out this month.

 

Happy reading! 


Tuesday, August 6th

 

Outfox by Sandra Brown

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown combines heart-stopping suspense and forbidden passion in this psychological thriller about an FBI agent’s hunt for a ruthless conman turned serial killer.

Sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats, this new novel will feature Brown’s signature combination of steamy romance and jaw-dropping plot twists.

FBI agent Drex Easton is relentlessly driven by a single goal: to outmaneuver the conman once known as Weston Graham. Over the past thirty years, Weston has assumed many names and countless disguises, enabling him to lure eight wealthy women out of their fortunes before they disappeared without a trace, their families left without answers and the authorities without clues. The only common trait among the victims: a new man in their life who also vanished, leaving behind no evidence of his existence . . . except for one signature custom.

Drex is convinced that these women have been murdered, and that the man he knows as Weston Graham is the sociopath responsible. But each time Drex gets close to catching him, Weston trades one persona for another and disappears again. Now, for the first time in their long game of cat and mouse, Drex has a suspect in sight.

Attractive and charming, Jasper Ford is recently married to a successful businesswoman many years his junior, Talia Shafer. Drex insinuates himself into their lives, posing as a new neighbor and setting up surveillance on their house. The closer he gets to the couple, the more convinced he becomes that Jasper is the clever, merciless predator he’s sought–and that his own attraction to Talia threatens to compromise his purpose and integrity.

This is Drex’s one chance to outfox his cunning nemesis before he murders again and eludes justice forever. But first he must determine if the desirable Talia is a heartless accomplice . . . or the next victim.

Why you should be excited about it: Sandra Brown is a lock each and every time out. This is one of the easiest no-brainers on the list . . .  If you’re looking for thrillers, she’s got ’em.

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

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

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 Pobi’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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All the lovely pieces.jpgAll the Lovely Pieces by J.M. Winchester

Motherly love can drive her to the absolute edge…

For nine years, Drew Baker has been running from her brutal husband and the dark deeds of the night she left him. Focused on protecting her ten-year-old son, Drew reluctantly settles into a small town, eager to find proof of her husband’s true nature so she can stop looking over her shoulder.

But Drew is also on the run from her own terrible crimes—ones that mean prison and separation from her son should the police catch up to her before her husband does. If only she could remember that night and what really transpired…

Without warning, the unthinkable happens, and Drew is plunged into the most nightmarish situation a woman and mother could imagine. Desperate to save her child, Drew takes matters into her own hands, proving that anyone is capable of darkness, and nowhere is safe for those who fear themselves.

Why you should be excited about it: J.M Winchester brings her A-game here . . . All the Lovely Pieces is a wild, riveting thrill ride that’ll leave readers questioning everything. 

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

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 Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney

The perfect life. The perfect love. The perfect lie. From the bestselling author of The Girl Before comes a gripping new psychological thriller. . . .

“Dynamic, razor-sharp, and thought-provoking . . . a cutting-edge suspense novel unlike any you’ve read before.”—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.

She is a miracle of science.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives—and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?

Beware the man who calls you . . .

THE PERFECT WIFE

Why you should be excited about it: Delaney has been pretty solid the last few years, and fans craving a top-notch psychological thriller that’s perfect for taking along to the beach this summer will want to check this one out right away.

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The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fifth novel.

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Why you should be excited about it: I haven’t read this one yet, but I’ve enjoyed Ware’s books in the past. If this one’s as good as she’s capable of writing, it’s going to have a lot of buzz around it this summer.

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Tuesday, August 13th

 

Below the Line by Howard Michael Gould

Eccentric private eye Charlie Waldo is back in another wildly fun and fast-paced thriller lampooning Southern California.

Former LAPD detective Charlie Waldo was living in solitude deep in the woods, pathologically committed to owning no more than one hundred possessions, until his PI ex-girlfriend Lorena dragged him back to civilization to solve a high-profile Hollywood murder. Now Waldo and Lorena have their hands full with a new client, a wild and privileged L.A. teenager named Stevie Rose who tells lies as easily as she breathes.

When the teacher Stevie claims seduced her turns up dead, the LAPD pegs her as the prime suspect. Then Stevie disappears, and her self-involved Hollywood parents turn to Waldo to find her—a task that draws him down into Orange County’s dangerous and complex worlds, both opulent and seedy, where nothing is as it seems.

With treachery and deception at every turn, and with Waldo’s eco-obsessed rules for living complicating his already complicated relationship with Lorena, Waldo fends off enemies old and new as he races to find Stevie and solve the murder.

Why you should be excited about it: Gould introduced Charlie Waldo in last year’s surprisingly refreshing debut, Last Looks. After a long career in Hollywood—where he was EP and head writer of Cybill when it won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series, and held the same positions on Instant Mom and The Jeff Foxworthy Show, before writing and directing the feature film The Six Wives of Henrey Lefay, starring Tim Allen and Elisha Cuthbert—he’s now carving out a nice career as a novelist, and his highly-anticipated follow-up is a must for fans of Joe Ide and Michael Connelly.

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

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 Vengeance) 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 (Featured Selection)

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 it:  While 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—who continues to outdo himself with another nail-biting, unputdownable thriller featuring one of the best female protagonists the genre has to offer.

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The Russia Account by Stephen Coonts

 

Stephen Coonts’ newest novel The Russia Account pits CIA officer Tommy Carmellini against a murderous, international financial conspiracy that leaves a trail of death and corruption, extending from a small bank in Estonia, to the highest reaches of the Kremlin, to the halls of the Congress, and perhaps even to the CIA itself — putting Admiral Jake Grafton, the head of the CIA, in the crosshairs of an assassin.

Burglar turned CIA warrior Tommy Carmellini has starred in eight previous Coonts’ thrillers, from Liars and Thieves to Coonts’ latest from Regnery, The Armageddon File.  Realistic, passionate, in love with life, Tommy struggles in our turbulent age.  Critics have labeled him a “hip, modern hero.”  With the help of his mentor Jake Grafton, up to now Carmellini has always managed to foil his enemies. Discovering and defeating the powerful forces behind this massive, blood-stained financial conspiracy that threatens the very foundations of the United States government will be his most difficult challenge.  Perhaps, he suspects, an impossible one.

Why you should be excited about it: Since switching publishers a few years back, Coonts has consistently delivered high-powered, conspiracy-laden political thrillers that are perfect for fans of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor. This one, while not as right-leaning as his 2016 thriller Liberty’s Last Stand, features another timely plot that touches on a number of hot-button issues.

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Miami Midnight by Alex Segura

THE NEW NOVEL IN ALEX SEGURA’S ACCLAIMED PETE FERNANDEZ SERIES!

A year has passed since Pete Fernandez’s latest, closest brush with death and he’s managed to rebuild his life, running a small bookstore by day and working cases in Miami by night. Sober and finally embracing life, Pete still finds himself watching as events whizz by ― including the engagement of an old flame. When an aging Cuban mobster asks Pete to find out who killed his drug-addicted, jazz pianist son and to locate his missing daughter-in-law, Pete balks, until another dead body suggests that the death of the mafioso’s son might tie into the people that almost ended Pete’s life, and reveal an unexpected, dangerous truth about the Miami private eye’s own blurred past.

Why you should be excited about it: Segura is a very talented writer, armed with a great character and a compelling, thought-provoking, and entertaining storyline. Trust me, add this one to your TBR pile . . . it’s not to be missed!

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Tuesday, August 20th

 

Assassins RevengeAssassin’s Revenge by Ward Larsen

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 Presence of Evil by J.T. Patten

“J.T. Patten’s Buried in Black takes readers deep into the shadows with an explosive narrative that could only have been written by a man who has been there himself. Buried in Black delivers on action, intrigue, and excitement!”
—Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Agent in Place

THE MAN FROM ORANGE

Intelligence and counterterrorist expert J.T. Patten uncovers the ultra top-secrect war against terror in his explosive black-ops series …

NO MISSION IS IMPOSSIBLE

Drake Woolf is the perfect throwaway agent—a deadly, invisible force able to handle the blackest of black-ops missions. No one’s better when it comes to search and destroy. But his lethal drive feeds a relentless hunger. It’s all his handlers at Task Force Orange can do to point him at the right targets.  This time he’s up against a massive, global conspiracy. In his deadly crosshairs are a Venezuelan terrorist, hordes of elite Iranian assassins, and a beautiful and wily FBI counterintelligence agent.  Drake’s aim is flawless but his judgments are all over the place. If he doesn’t get it right this time, it will be Hell on Earth.

Why you should be excited about it: Patten remains one of the more underrated spy novelists working today, and after launching a new series in 2018, it’ll be fun to see how he tops himself this year.

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The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

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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Old Bones by Preston & Child

#1 bestselling authors Preston & Child bring the true story of the ill-fated Donner Party to new life in a thrilling blend of archaeology, history, murder, and suspense.

Nora Kelly, a young curator at the Santa Fe Institute of Archaeology, is approached by historian Clive Benton with a once-in-a-lifetime proposal: to lead a team in search of the so-called “Lost Camp” of the tragic Donner Party. This was a group of pioneers who earned a terrible place in American history when they became snow-bound in the California mountains in 1847, their fate unknown until the first skeletonized survivors stumbled out of the wilderness, raving about starvation, murder-and cannibalism.

Why you should be excited about it: A new series from Preston & Child featuring Nora Kelly? Their readers know what kind of potential this book has, and with Gideon Crew looking like his arc might have dried up—at least for now—Old Bones becomes even more important to the bestselling writing duo who typically shoots for two new releases a year.

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The Warehouse by Rob Hart (Featured Selection)

 

Cloud isn’t just a place to work. It’s a place to live. And when you’re here, you’ll never want to leave.

“On the surface, The Warehouse is a thrilling story of corporate espionage at the highest level, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a terrifying cautionary tale of the nightmare world we are making for ourselves.”—Blake Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter

Paxton never thought he’d be working for Cloud, the giant tech company that’s eaten much of the American economy. Much less that he’d be moving into one of the company’s sprawling live-work facilities.

But compared to what’s left outside, Cloud’s bland chainstore life of gleaming entertainment halls, open-plan offices, and vast warehouses…well, it doesn’t seem so bad. It’s more than anyone else is offering.

Zinnia never thought she’d be infiltrating Cloud. But now she’s undercover, inside the walls, risking it all to ferret out the company’s darkest secrets. And Paxton, with his ordinary little hopes and fears? He just might make the perfect pawn. If she can bear to sacrifice him.

As the truth about Cloud unfolds, Zinnia must gamble everything on a desperate scheme—one that risks both their lives, even as it forces Paxton to question everything about the world he’s so carefully assembled here.

Together, they’ll learn just how far the company will go…to make the world a better place.

Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business–and who will pay the ultimate price.

Why you should be excited about it: This book will straight-up rock your world. I didn’t know a ton about it when I sat down to read it, and in the end, I’m glad I didn’t. Seriously, trust me, this one’s a must-read for all. Rob Hart has always been criminally underrated . . . that’s about to change in a big way. The Warehouse has legit best-book-of-the-year potential.

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No Good Deed by James Swain

A human-trafficking case hits dangerously close to home in a heart-racing thriller by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of The King Tides.

A disturbing missing-person case reunites ex-Navy SEAL Jon Lancaster and FBI Agent Beth Daniels. Skye is just one of a dozen young women who have disappeared from Florida without a trace. Beth can do more than just imagine their fear. She was a victim herself—a trauma that’s strengthened her fight for justice.

Then Lancaster uncovers a scrap of evidence, and the mystery begins to unravel. But the lead comes with a personal sting: the involvement of his estranged brother, Logan, an ex-con recruited into the shepherding of human trade. The only way for Logan to shed his demons is to come clean. For Lancaster and Daniels, that means being drawn, secret by secret, into a dangerous underground world.

With time running out, three damaged pasts will collide; more secrets will spill; and Lancaster, Daniels, and Logan will have to fight to save themselves first if they ever hope to find the girls alive.

Why you should be excited about it: Swain tackles a touchy subject here, but still manages to deliver an enjoyable reading experience.

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Tuesday, August 27th

 

The Tower of Sonfs.jpgThe Tower of Songs by Casey Barrett

Embracing an improbable stretch of sobriety, unlicensed P.I. Duck Darley has proven himself stronger than the temptations that loom in the shadows of New York City. But the familiar pull of self-destruction lingers like garbage in July when Layla Soto, a sharp-tongued Park Avenue teenager with a family as screwed up as his own, presents a twisted missing-persons case he can’t refuse . . .

Layla saw video evidence of her billionaire father being abducted from their home—at the top of the tallest residential tower on earth. She suspects her grandmother, a Chinese social climber on husband number three, orchestrated the act to silence her only son. Duck agrees to investigate the hedge funder’s disappearance, if only for the rush of a new thrill—and an excuse to reconcile with Cass Kimball, his leather-clad sometime partner who nearly got him killed . . .

As the unlikely duo become immersed in a high-stakes ransom linked to the international drug trade and the delicate relations between the two most powerful nations on earth, survival means trusting no one. Because when confronting absolute power, certain forces will stop at nothing to bury the truth.

Why you should be excited about it: This one has sleeper-hit written all over it. Fast-paced and well-plotted, Barrett’s thriller is one of the most underrated books set to come out this month. 

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The Passengers by John Marrs

You’re riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, “You are going to die.”

Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.

From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, “Which of these people should we save?… And who should we kill first?”

Why you should be excited about it: What could possibly go wrong with self-driving cars? Marrs’ futuristic take on the matter is both chilling and helplessly addictive.

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The Extinction Agenda by Michael Laurence

An FBI agent fights to stop a conspiracy to unleash a deadly virus on the world in this propulsive, exhilarating new thriller by Michael Laurence.

We’re fighting a war, whether we choose to admit it or not. A war for survival. A war we may have already lost.

While searching for the man who killed his partner and his wife, FBI Special Agent James Mason uncovers a shadow organization on the brink of enacting its genocidal agenda and a sinister mass murderer who’s been photographed at the epicenter of every historical pandemic since the outbreak of the Spanish Flu in 1918―without appearing to age.

Mason’s quest for answers takes him from the criminal underbelly of America to its untouchable elite, from a dark union at the turn of the last century to a network of Nazi collaborators and a plot for global financial domination. Aided by his longtime friends Gunnar Backstrom―a corporate espionage gun-for-hire―and Ramses Donovan―a sin merchant of questionable morality―Mason uncovers a conspiracy against mankind more than a century in the making. A conspiracy to unleash a deadly virus and make a killing in the process.

Can Mason’s small team bring down a seemingly unbeatable shadow empire that’s rooted in every facet of our society, or does its influence run too deep?

The Extinction Agenda is the first book in a new series. It falls between Brad Thor and Boyd Morrison on the conspiracy spectrum, James Rollins and Steve Berry on the historical spectrum, and the story-telling and world-building skill of John Connolly.

Why you should be excited about it: A perfect fit for fans of Christopher Golden and James Rollins, and a promising start to what could be a fun new franchise.

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A Better Man by Louise Penny

Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Sûreté du Québec in the latest novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny.

It’s Gamache’s first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter.

As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.

Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel…, he resumes the search.

As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made.

In the next novel in this “constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves” (New York Times Book Review), Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question.

What would you do if your child’s killer walked free?

Why you should be excited about it: Penny’s 15th Chief Inspector Gamache Novel is one of the summer’s most notable titles, especially considering how strong her last book, Kingdom of the Blind, was—racking up all kinds of accolades such as debuting at #1 on the New York Times list and earning a spot on both Kirkus and BookPage’s best of 2018 lists.

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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. Just finished “knife“. Complex but very good.Rated it five stars. I will continue to read the other novels by this author

  2. Red Metal was a wonderful book. It was like having a seat on the 50 yard line at the start of World war three, with an explanation of what was going to happen and why. Diverse Characters with exceptional development. A real page turner.I Honestly couldn’t read it fast enough.Five stars doesn’t do it justice.

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