20 Thrillers Hardcore Readers Should Pre-order for 2020

If you’re a hardcore fan of thrillers who consumes books at a fast rate and is always looking ahead to new titles on the horizon, well, this list is for you.

2020 is only four months away, and while we teased some of next year’s titles in a different article earlier this summer, below is a revamped and updated list of twenty 2020 thrillers (plus one bonus pick) that hardcore readers should get pre-ordered well ahead of their releases. 

Browse the list below—which is honestly just the tip of the iceberg—and let us know which titles you’re most excited to get your hands on. 

 


Savage Son promo.jpgSavage Son by Jack Carr

Release Date: April 14, 2020

In this third high-octane thriller in the “seriously good” (Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Past Tense) Terminal List series, former Navy SEAL James Reece must infiltrate the Russian mafia and turn the hunters into the hunted.

Deep in the wilds of Siberia, a woman is on the run, pursued by a man harboring secrets—a man intent on killing her.

A traitorous CIA officer has found refuge with the Russian mafia with designs on ensuring a certain former Navy SEAL sniper is put in the ground.

Half a world away, James Reece is recovering from brain surgery in the Montana wilderness, slowly putting his life back together with the help of investigative journalist Katie Buranek and his longtime friend and SEAL teammate Raife Hastings. Unbeknownst to them, the Russian mafia has set their sights on Reece in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

In his most visceral and heart-pounding thriller yet, Jack Carr explores the darkest instincts of humanity through the eyes of a man who has seen both the best and the worst of it.

Why you should be excited about it: The thriller world hasn’t seen a talent explode onto the scene and take the genre by storm quite like this since Vince Flynn dropped his still-timely debut, Term Limits, in 1997. Carr is that good, and after two acclaimed books—The Terminal List and True Believer—to start his writing career, all eyes are back on him in 2020 to see if he can continue his impressive run. Assuming this book isn’t held up by the DOD Office of Review (like True Believer was in 2019, pushing its release from April to July 30th), April is shaping up to be an action-packed month. 

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The Wild OneThe Wild One by Nick Petrie 

Release Date: January 14, 2020

War veteran Peter Ash tracks a murderer and his criminal family through the most forbidding and stark landscape he has ever encountered, in the latest thriller from the national bestselling author of The Drifter.

Losing ground in his fight against post-traumatic claustrophobia, war veteran Peter Ash has no intention of getting on an airplane–until a grieving woman asks Peter to find her eight-year-old grandson. The woman’s daughter has been murdered. Erik, the dead daughter’s husband, is the sole suspect, and he has taken his young son and fled to Iceland for the protection of Erik’s lawless family.

Finding the boy becomes more complicated when Peter is met at the airport by a man from the United States Embassy. For reasons both unknown and unofficial, it seems that Peter’s own government doesn’t want him in Iceland. The police give Peter two days of sightseeing in Reykjavik before he must report back for the first available seat home. . . and when they realize Peter isn’t going home until he accomplishes his mission, they start hunting him, too.

From the northernmost European capital to a rustbound fishing vessel to a remote farm a stone’s throw from the arctic, Peter must confront his growing PTSD and the most powerful Icelandic snowstorm in a generation to find a killer, save an eight-year-old boy, and keep himself out of an Icelandic prison–or a cold Icelandic grave.

Why you should be excited about it: So many writers and characters are compared to Lee Child and Jack Reacher . . . but the only author truly deserving of such praise is Nick Petrie and his protagionist, Peter Ash. With four lights-out books already in circulation, Petrie has proven himself as one of the genre’s brightest new stars. Plus, his next book is taking Ash international for the first time, adding more intrigue to an already must-read title. 

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A COLD TRAILA Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni

Release Date: February 4, 2020

In New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni’s riveting series, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite returns home to a brutal murder and her haunted past.

The last time homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite was in Cedar Grove, it was to see her sister’s killer put behind bars. Now she’s returned for a respite and the chance to put her life back in order for herself, her attorney husband, Dan, and their new daughter. But tragic memories soon prove impossible to escape.

Dan is drawn into representing a local merchant whose business is jeopardized by the town’s revitalization. And Tracy is urged by the local PD to put her own skills to work on a new case: the brutal murder of a police officer’s wife and local reporter who was investigating a cold-case slaying of a young woman. As Tracy’s and Dan’s cases crisscross, Tracy’s trail becomes dangerous. It’s stirring up her own haunted past and a decades-old conspiracy in Cedar Grove that has erupted in murder. Getting to the truth is all that matters. But what’s Tracy willing to risk as a killer gets closer to her and threatens everyone she loves?

Why you should be excited about it: Dugoni has come on strong the last couple of years, and his last book, The Eighth Sister, is one of the best spy novels I’ve ever reviewed. This one, of course, brings back Tracy Crosswhite, one of the best female protagonists in the genre, making it an easy pick for this list. 

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Hunter KillerHunter Killer by Brad Taylor 

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Pike Logan tracks highly-trained Russian assassins to Brazil in this blistering, action-packed thriller from New York Times bestselling author and former Special Forces Officer Brad Taylor.

Pike Logan and the Taskforce were once the apex predators, an unrivaled hunting machine that decimated those out to harm the United States, but they may have met their match. While Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill prepare to join their team on a counter-terrorist mission in the triple frontier—the lawless tri-border region where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet—they are targeted in Charleston, South Carolina. A vicious explosion kills a friend, and the perpetrators have set it up to look like an accident. While the authorities believe this was not foul play, Pike knows the attack was meant for him.

When he loses contact with the team in South America, Pike is convinced he and the Taskforce are under assault. His men are the closest thing to family that Pike has, which means he will do anything, even ignore direct orders to stand down, to find them. Pike and Jennifer head to Brazil to investigate their disappearance and run headlong into a crew of Russian assassins. Within days they are entangled in a byzantine scheme involving Brazilian politics and a cut-throat battle for control of offshore oil fields.

Forged in combat, the Russians are the equal of anything the Taskforce has encountered before, but they make a mistake in attacking Pike’s team, because Pike has a couple of elite Israeli assassins of his own. And Pike will stop at nothing to protect his family.

Why you should be excited about it: Taylor owns the military thriller genre, and second place isn’t close. Pike Logan is one of the few bona fide badasses in the game, and Taylor continues to get better with each book. For the second year in a row, Brad Taylor’s latest is the first must-read title of the new year. UPDATE: I read this one a few weeks back and, wow, is it good. Taylor came out swinging, and he absolutely crushed this one! 

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One minute outOne Minute Out by Mark Greaney 

Release Date: February 18, 2020

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

While on a mission to Croatia, Court Gentry uncovers a human trafficking operation. The trail leads from the Balkans all the way back to Hollywood.

Court is determined to shut it down, but his CIA handlers have other plans. The criminal ringleader has actionable intelligence about a potentially devastating terrorist attack on the US. The CIA won’t move until they have that intel. It’s a moral balancing act with Court at the pivot point.

Why you should be excited about it: For years, Vince Flynn, Daniel Silva, and Brad Thor sat atop the political thriller genre, alone, as the best writers in the game. Greaney is the latest member of the club, recently taking his seat at the top—and the scary thing is, I’m not sure we’ve seen his best work yet. He’s riding a scorching hot streak coming into 2020, and when it comes to pre-ordering early, One Minute Out is a total no-brainer. 

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Deep StateDeep State by Chris Hauty 

Release Date: January 7, 2020

“The plotrings eerily true…will keep you turning the pages well into the night.” —Jack Carr, former Navy SEAL and acclaimed author of The Terminal List and True Believer

In this white-knuckled, timely, and whip-smart debut thriller, a deadly plot against the president’s life emerges from the shadows of the Deep State.

Recently elected President Richard Monroe—populist, controversial, and divisive—is at the center of an increasingly polarized Washington, DC. Never has the partisan drama been so tense or the paranoia so rampant. In the midst of contentious political turf wars, the White House chief of staff is found dead in his house. A tenacious intern discovers a single, ominous clue that suggests he died from something other than natural causes, and that a wide-ranging conspiracy is running beneath the surface of everyday events: powerful government figures are scheming to undermine the rule of law—and democracy itself. Allies are exposed as enemies, once-dependable authorities fall under suspicion, and no one seems to be who they say they are. The unthinkable is happening. The Deep State is real. Who will die to keep its secrets and who will kill to uncover the truth?

Why you should be excited about it: I’m a little obsessed with this book. Hauty grabs readers by the throat early on and doesn’t let go, delivering a one-sit read that is wildly entertaining . . .  and slightly terrifying. 

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Long RangeLong Range by C.J. Box

Release Date: March 3, 2020

#1 New York Times bestseller C.J. Box returns with a blazing new Joe Pickett novel, in which the Wyoming game warden must investigate a murder that happens on his turf–a murder committed from a confoundingly long distance.

When the wife of a prominent local judge is wounded on Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett’s turf, all signs point to the shot having been taken from an impossible distance. At the same time–just as he’s adjusting to the arrival of his first child–Joe’s best friend Nate Romanowski is suspected of being the assassin. All this happens while Joe is attempting to decipher a startling grizzly attack.

Beset by threats both man-made and natural, the two men must go to great lengths to keep their loved ones safe.

Why you should be excited about it: There is no better franchise in print today, regardless of genre, than C.J. Box’s brilliant Joe Pickett series—period. If you aren’t reading him, start. And if you pre-order just one book from this list, make it Long Range. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. 

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Into the FireInto the Fire by Gregg Hurwitz 

Release Date: January 28, 2020

The New York Times bestselling Orphan X returns—facing his own uncertain future and undertaking one last mission.

Taken from a group home at age twelve, Evan Smoak was trained as an off-the-books government assassin: Orphan X. After breaking with the Program, he reinvented himself as The Nowhere Man, a figure shrouded in shadows who helps the truly desperate. But the government didn’t let go of him easily, sending their best to hunt him down and eliminate him. All of them failed. With his deadliest enemies behind him, Evan is facing a new challenge—what is he going to do now that no one is after him?

Max Merriweather is at the end of his rope. Separated from the woman he loves and barely scraping by, Max is a disappointment to everyone in his life. Then his very successful cousin Grant is brutally murdered. Two months before, Grant left Max an envelope with instructions to take it to a reporter if anything happened to him. Now the reporter is missing and Max’s apartment is ransacked. A man at the end of his rope, he calls The Nowhere Man.

With mixed feelings, Evan takes on this mission, easily finding the men who are after Max and executing a plan to keep him safe. But it isn’t as obvious as it seems—and Evan finds himself enmeshed in one of the most challenging missions of his life, one that he can’t survive on his own. With the help of Joey Morales, a genius-level hacker and the last Orphan recruited into the Program, and the brilliant, off-the-books gunsmith, Tommy Stojack, Orphan X once more heads . . . Into the Fire.

Why you should be excited about it: Hurwitz’s still relatively new series (Into the Fire is only book five) has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years, and even found its way onto the New York Times bestsellers list in 2019. Orphan X’s last mission was as big as it gets, though, so it’ll be fun to see how Gregg Hurwitz tops himself in 2020. UPDATE: I just finished this one and it’s insane—and I mean that in the best way possible. I wasn’t sure how Hurwitz could go any bigger than his last book, and in the end, he didn’t need to. A true master of his craft, Hurwitz somehow managed to make this one smaller in scope while also raising the stakes for Evan Smoke. I’ll have a lot more to say about this one soon . . . 

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The Last OdysseyThe Last Odyssey by James Rollins 

Release Date: March 10, 2020

To save the world and our future, Sigma Force must embark on a dangerous odyssey into an ancient past whose horrors are all too present in this page-turning thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author James Rollins that combines cutting-edge science, historical mystery, mythology, and pulse-pounding action.

For eons, the city of Troy—whose legendary fall was detailed in Homer’s Iliad—was believed to be myth, until archaeologists in the nineteenth century uncovered its ancient walls buried beneath the sands. If Troy was real, how much of Homer’s twin tales of gods and monsters, curses and miracles—The Iliad and The Odyssey—could also be true and awaiting discovery?

In the frozen tundra of Greenland, a group of modern-day climatologists and archaeologists stumble on a shocking find: a medieval ship buried a half-mile below the ice. The ship’s hold contains a collection of even older artifacts—tools of war—dating back to the Bronze Age. Inside the captain’s cabin is a magnificent treasure that is as priceless as it is miraculous: a clockwork gold atlas encircled by an intricate silver astrolabe. The mechanism is signed with the name of its creator, Ismail al-Jazari, a famous Muslim inventor considered to be the Da Vinci of the Arab world—a brilliant scientist who inspired Leonardo’s own work.

Once activated, the moving globe traces the path of Odysseus’ famous ship as it sailed away from Troy. But the route detours as the map opens to reveal an underground river leading to a hidden realm underneath the Mediterranean Sea. The map indicates that this subterranean world is called Tartarus, the Greek name for Hell. In mythology, Tartarus was where the wicked were punished and the monstrous Titans of old, imprisoned.

When word of Tartarus spreads—and of the cache of miraculous weapons said to be hidden there—tensions explode in this volatile region where Turks battle Kurds, terrorists wage war, and civilians suffer untold horrors. The phantasmagoric horrors found in Homer’s tales are all too real—and could be unleashed upon the world. Whoever possesses them can use their awesome power to control the future of humanity.

Now, Sigma Force must go where humans fear to tread. To prevent a tyrant from igniting a global war, they must cross the very gates of Hell.

Why you should be excited about it: Last year, James Rollins showed once again why he’s the heir apparent to the throne previously held by Michael Crichton, delivering another acclaimed thriller in Crucible, which might be his best work to date. Can he top himself in 2020? The safe bet is to say yes—and there will be a whole bunch of happy readers if he can do just that.

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Hide AwayHide Away by Jason Pinter

Release Date: March 1, 2020

From the bestselling author of the Henry Parker series comes a page-turning thriller about a vigilante who’s desperate to protect her secrets—and bring a killer to justice.

On the surface, Rachel Marin is an ordinary single mother; on the inside, she’s a fierce, brilliant vigilante. After an unspeakable crime shatters her life, she changes her identity and moves to a small town in Illinois, hoping to spare her children from further trauma…or worse. But crime follows her everywhere.

When the former mayor winds up dead, Rachel can’t help but get involved. Where local detectives see suicide, she sees murder. They resent her for butting in—especially since she’s always one step ahead. But her investigative genius may be her undoing: the deeper she digs, the harder it is to keep her own secrets buried.

Her persistence makes her the target of both the cops and a killer. Meanwhile, the terrifying truth about her past threatens to come to light, and Rachel learns the hard way that she can’t trust anyone. Surrounded by danger, she must keep her steely resolve, protect her family, and stay one step ahead, or else she may become the next victim

Why you should be excited about it: Jason Pinter is a terrific writer with natural storytelling ability and a deep understanding of character development and narrative drive. I’ve been excited about this book from the moment it was announced, and can’t wait to dive into it as soon as my review copy shows up. UPDATE: I’m calling it now . . . this is Pinter’s best book to date. I read the whole thing in less than a day. Once you start, there is zero stopping! 

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Hour of the AssassinHour of the Assassin by Matthew Quirk

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Framed and on the run for his life, a former Secret Service agent discovers how far some men will go to grasp the highest office in the land in this electrifying tale from the author of The Night Agent—a propulsive political thriller reminiscent of the best early Baldacci and Grisham novels.

As a Secret Service agent, Nick Averose spent a decade protecting the most powerful men and women in America and developed a unique gift: the ability to think like an assassin. Now, he uses that skill in a little-known but crucial job. As a “red teamer,” he poses as a threat, testing the security around our highest officials to find vulnerabilities—before our enemies can. He is a mock killer, capable of slipping past even the best defenses.

His latest assignment is to assess the security surrounding the former CIA director at his DC area home. But soon after he breaches the man’s study, the home’s inner sanctum, it becomes clear that something is very wrong. Someone else is here—someone who has attacked the chief right under Nick’s nose. Desperately attempting to save the man’s life, Nick contaminates the crime scene. Now, investigators are sure Nick is somehow involved.

Nick knows he’s the perfect scapegoat. But who is framing him, and why? To clear his name, he must find the truth—a search that leads to a nefarious conspiracy whose roots stretch back decades. The prize is the most powerful position in the world: the Oval Office.

To save himself and the people he loves, Nick must stop the men who rule Washington before they bury him along with their secrets.

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The Jerusalem AssassinThe Jerusalem Assassin by Joel C. Rosenberg

Release Date: March 10, 2020

With the unexpected death of Russian President Aleksandr Luganov, and Iran’s efforts to acquire fully operational nuclear warheads successfully thwarted, American President Andrew Clarke decides the moment has come to unveil his comprehensive proposal to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

However, when a series of senior American officials involved in the peace process are assassinated, Clarke orders Marcus Ryker and a team of CIA operatives to hunt down those responsible and bring the killing spree to an end.

What Ryker uncovers is a chilling plot to kill the American president himself, but at first, it’s unclear who is the driving force behind the plot. Is it the Russians, seeking payback for the assassination of Luganov? Is it the Iranians, in retaliation for the American operation to keep Tehran from acquiring nukes? Or is it another conspirator altogether, someone plotting to strike a blow against American hegemony in the Middle East and seize the leadership of the entire Sunni Muslim world?

By the time Ryker and his team fully understand the plot and who’s behind it, they find they have less than 96 hours to disrupt a terrible evil that has been set in motion.

Why you should be excited about it: Nobody is better at predicting future events and beating the headlines than Rosenberg, who, with each book, continues to add validity to the nickname he earned, “a modern-day Nostradamus,” earlier in his career. If you want to see what an all-out conflict between America, Russia, and Iran could look like, get this book. 

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The Boy from the WoodsThe Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

Release Date: March 17, 2020

In the shocking new thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away, a man whose past is shrouded in mystery must find a missing teenage girl before her disappearance brings about disastrous consequences for her community . . . and the world.

The man known as Wilde is a mystery to everyone, including himself. Decades ago, he was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. After the police concluded an exhaustive hunt for the child’s family, which was never found, he was turned over to the foster system.

Now, thirty years later, Wilde still doesn’t know where he comes from, and he’s back living in the woods on the outskirts of town, content to be an outcast, comfortable only outdoors, preferably alone, and with few deep connections to other people.

When a local girl goes missing, famous TV lawyer Hester Crimstein–with whom Wilde shares a tragic connection–asks him to use his unique skills to help find her. Meanwhile, a group of ex-military security experts arrive in town, and when another teen disappears, the case’s impact expands far beyond the borders of the peaceful suburb. Wilde must return to the community where he has never fit in, and where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

Why you should be excited about it: Coben is the undisputed king of suspense. Run Away, his last book, was solid—but look for him to return to Fool Me Once form here, as this setup sure sounds like the kind of story that will be jam-packed with misdirection and heart-stopping twists. 

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The Dark Corners of the NightThe Dark Corners of the Night by Meg Gardiner 

Release Date: February 18, 2020

I am the legion of the night

He appears in the darkness like a ghost, made of shadows and fear–the Midnight Man. He comes for the parents but leaves the children alive, tiny witnesses to unspeakable horror. The bedroom communities of Los Angeles are gripped with dread, and the attacks are escalating.

Still reeling from her best friend’s close call in a bombing six months ago, FBI behavioral analyst Caitlin Hendrix has come to Los Angeles to assist in the Midnight Man investigation and do what she does best–hunt a serial killer. Her work is what keeps her going, but something about this UNSUB–unknown subject–doesn’t sit right. She soon realizes that this case will test not only her skills but also her dedication, for within the heart of a killer lives a secret that mirrors Caitlin’s own past. Hesitancy is not an option, but will she be able to do what must be done if the time comes?

Tense and impactful, Edgar Award winner Meg Gardiner’s latest UNSUB thriller will leave you on the edge of your seat until its riveting conclusion.

Why you should be excited about it: Meg Gardiner’s scary-good new series is one of the best in crime fiction today, and after switching publishers—a move that resulted in delaying its publication to 2020—absence has surely made hearts grow fonder, making her next UNSUB book one of next year’s most anticipated new releases. 

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House on fireHouse on Fire by Joseph Finder 

Release Date: January 21, 2020

In New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder’s new thriller, private investigator Nick Heller is hired to infiltrate a powerful family whose wealth and reputation hide something far more sinister.

Nick Heller, private spy, exposes secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden.

At the funeral of his good friend Sean, an army buddy who once saved Nick’s life and had struggled with opioid addiction since returning wounded from war, a stranger approaches Nick with a job. The woman is a member of the Kimball family, whose immense fortune was built on opiates. Now she wants to become a whistleblower, exposing evidence that Kimball Pharmaceutical knew its biggest money-maker drug, Oxydone, was dangerously addictive and led directly to the overdoses and deaths of people like Sean.

Nick agrees instantly, eager to avenge Sean’s death, but he quickly finds himself entangled in the complicated family dynamics of the Kimball dynasty. The other Rhodes siblings view Nick as the enemy, and at least one will do anything to keep him from exposing the patriarch’s guilt. And Nick discovers he is not the only private investigator employed by a Kimball scion. His old lover Maggie has also been hired, reuniting the two after a conflict when they both worked at the Pentagon years ago.

Nick and Maggie soon realize the sins of the Kimball patriarch are just the beginning. Beneath the surface are the barely concealed cabals and conspiracies: a twisting story of family intrigue and lethal corporate machinations.

Why you should be excited about it: Nobody writes better suspense thrillers than Joseph Finder, who after several standalones, is returning to his Nick Heller series. Nick’s highly-anticipated return (he was last seen in the fabulous Guilty Minds back in 2016) is one of the biggest storylines to watch for in early 2020, and Finder seems to have cooked up another timely plot to mark the occasion. 

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Grudge Match.jpgRobert B. Parker’s Grudge Match by Mike Lupica 

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Robert B. Parker’s beloved PI Sunny Randall returns on a case that blurs the line between friend and foe…and if Sunny can’t tell the difference, the consequences may be deadly.

When Sunny’s long-time gangster associate Tony Marcus comes to her for help, Sunny is surprised–after all, she double-crossed him on a recent deal, and their relationship is on shakier ground than ever. But the way Tony figures it, Sunny owes him, and Sunny’s willing to consider his case if it will clear the slate.

Tony’s trusted girlfriend and business partner has vanished, appears to have left in a hurry, and he has no idea why. He just wants to talk to her, he says, but first, he needs Sunny to track her down. While Sunny isn’t willing to trust his good intentions, the missing woman intrigues her–against all odds, she’s risen to a position of power in Tony’s criminal enterprise. Sunny can’t help but admire her, and if this woman’s in a jam, Sunny would like to help.

But when a witness is murdered hours after speaking to Sunny, it’s clear there’s more at stake than just Tony’s love life. Someone–maybe even Tony himself–doesn’t want this woman on the loose…and will go to any lengths to make sure she stays silent.

Why you should be excited about it: Lupica did a terrific job bringing Sunny Randall back in 2019 with Blood Feud, so expectations are high for this one. Grudge Match is the eighth book in the series, and more so than any of the other writers working to keep Parker’s fleet of characters alive and well, Lupica has proven to be the closest to Parker’s voice and style.

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The Last TourristThe Last Tourist by Olen Steinhauer

Release Date: March 17, 2020

New York Times bestselling author Olen Steinhauer brings back Milo Weaver in a new novel.

In Olen Steinhauer’s bestseller An American Spy, reluctant CIA agent Milo Weaver thought he had finally put “Tourists”―CIA-trained assassins―to bed.

A decade later, Milo is hiding out in Western Sahara when a young CIA analyst arrives to question him about a series of suspicious deaths and terrorist chatter linked to him.

Their conversation is soon interrupted by a new breed of Tourists intent on killing them both, forcing them to run.

As he tells his story, Milo is joined by colleagues and enemies from his long history in the world of intelligence, and the young analyst wonders what to believe. He wonders, too, if he’ll survive this interview.

After three standalone novels, Olen Steinhauer returns to the series that made him a bestseller.

Why you should be excited about it: Eight years after releasing An American Spy (2012), New York Times bestselling author Olen Steinhauer is set to bring back former CIA agent Milo Weaver, one of the genre’s more underrated protagonists. This is a great espionage series, and Steinhauer has a chance to elevate his franchise to rarified air here. But, you know, no pressure.  

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Without Sanction_FINALWithout Sanction by Don Bentley

Release Date: March 3, 2020

After surviving a clandestine operation that went tragically wrong, Matt Drake escaped Syria with his life, but little else. Now, to save the life of another, he must return to Syria and confront his biggest failure in a debut thriller Lee Child calls “sensationally good.”

Defense Intelligence Agency operative Matt Drake broke a promise. A promise that cost three people their lives and crippled his best friend. Three months later, he’s paralyzed by survivor’s guilt and haunted by the memories of the fallen. Matt may have left Syria, but Syria hasn’t left him.

In the midst of his self-imposed exile, Matt is dragged back into the world of espionage and assets that he tried to forget. A Pakistani scientist working for an ISIS splinter cell has created a terrifying weapon of mass destruction. The scientist offers to defect with the weapon, but he trusts just one man to bring him out of Syria alive–Matt Drake.

Why you should be excited about it: The next big thing is almost here. Don Bentley has turned in a masterful, action-packed debut that is going to rock readers to their core. I tore through this one in a single afternoon—and cannot wait for readers to finally get their hands on it. Mark your calendars, because this one’s not to be missed. 

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When You see meWhen You See Me by Lisa Gardner

Release Date: January 28th, 2020

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner unites three of her most beloved characters–Detective D. D. Warren, Flora Dane, and Kimberly Quincy–in a twisty new thriller, as they investigate a mysterious murder from the past . . . that points to a dangerous and chilling present-day crime.

FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective D D Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. When a disturbing piece of evidence is discovered in the hills of Georgia, they bring Flora Dane and true-crime savant Keith Edgar to a small town where something seems to be deeply wrong. What at first looks like a Gothic eeriness soon hardens into something much more sinister . . . and they discover that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed. Quincy and DD must summon their considerable skills and experience to crack the most disturbing case of their careers–and Flora must face her own past directly in the hope of saving others.

Why you should be excited about it: Lisa Garder, while always a lock to deliver a top-notch thriller year in and year out, has really stepped things up after finding a new gear a few years back. The addition of Flora Dane has rejuvenated this series, not that it was missing anything to begin with. But the mix of Dane, Warren, and now Quincy was brilliant. Look for this one to hit high on the Times list in early 2020. 

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The Warsaw ProtocolThe Warsaw Protocol by Steve Berry

Release Date: February 25, 2020

In New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s latest Cotton Malone adventure, one by one the seven precious relics of the Arma Christi, the weapons of Christ, are disappearing from sanctuaries across the world.

After former Justice Department agent, Cotton Malone, witnesses the theft of one of them, he learns from his old boss, Stephanie Nelle, that a private auction is about to be held where incriminating information on the president of Poland will be offered to the highest bidder―blackmail that both the United States and Russia want, but for vastly different reasons.

The price of admission to that auction is one of the relics, so Malone is first sent to a castle in Poland to steal the Holy Lance, a thousand-year-old spear sacred to not only Christians but to the Polish people, and then on to the auction itself. But nothing goes as planned and Malone is thrust into a bloody battle between three nations over information that, if exposed, could change the balance of power in Europe.

From the tranquil canals of Bruges, to the elegant rooms of Wawel Castle, to deep beneath the earth into an ancient Polish salt mine, Malone is caught in the middle of a deadly war―the outcome of which turns on a secret known as the Warsaw Protocol.

Why you should be excited about it: Steve Berry hit a home run with his last book, The Malta Exchange, further proving he’s the best writer in the world at weaving historical fiction into his action thrillers, which continue to feel ripped from the headlines. His next one, which returns series hero Cotton Malone, promises to be one of his most explosive books yet. 

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*BONUS* 

 

Robert Ludlum’s The Treadstone Resurrection by Joshua Hood

Release Date: February 25, 2020 (note: this book was originally slated for publication in September of 2019, and was recently pushed back to 2020.)

The first novel in an explosive new series inspired by Robert Ludlum’s Bourne universe, The Treadstone Resurrection introduces an unforgettable hero and the shadowy world that forged him…

Treadstone made Jason Bourne an unstoppable force, but he’s not the only one.

Operation Treadstone has nearly ruined Adam Hayes. The top-secret CIA Black Ops program trained him to be an all but invincible assassin, but it also cost him his family and any chance at a normal life. Which is why he was determined to get out. Working as a carpenter in rural Washington state, Adam thinks he has left Treadstone in the past, until he receives a mysterious email from a former colleague, and soon after is attacked by an unknown hit team at his job site.

Adam must regain the skills that Treadstone taught him–lightning reflexes and a cold conscience–in order to discover who the would-be killers are and why they have come after him now. Are his pursuers enemies from a long-ago mission? Rival intelligence agents? Or, perhaps, forces inside Treadstone? His search will unearth secrets in the highest levels of government and pull him back into the shadowy world he worked so hard to forget.

Why you should be excited about it: After a few years between books, Joshua Hood is ready to burst back onto the thriller scene with the first book in new Bourne spinoff series starring former Treadstone operative Adam Hayes. For Bourne, it was all about trying to remember what happened. Now, readers are about to find out that sometimes, not being able to forget is the worst hell of all. Hood, who previously penned two popular Mason Kane thrillers, knows his way around an action scene better than just about anyone. Trust me, this is one title to keep an eye on . . . 

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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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