The Real Book Spy’s December 2019 Reading Guide

Wrapping up a stacked 2019, the run of high-quality thrillers continues into December—though this month is admittingly a little light compared to what readers might have grown accustomed to this year.

With only six thrillers listed here, it’s by far the fewest titles of any reading guide this year. That said, there are still some really great books coming—capped off with this month’s Featured Selection, Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison. The other way to look at this is the calm before the storm that is 2020 because January is packed full of must-read titles from some of the biggest names in the genre.

More on that in a few weeks . . .  for now, scroll down to browse the books coming out this month. Happy reading!

 

Tuesday, December 3

 

GenesisGenesis by Robin Cook

New York Times-bestselling author Robin Cook takes on the ripped-from-the-headlines topic of harnessing DNA from ancestry websites to catch a killer in this timely and explosive new medical thriller.

When the body of twenty-eight-year-old social worker Kera Jacobsen shows up on Chief New York City Medical Examiner Laurie Montgomery’s autopsy table, at first it appears she was the victim of a tragic yet routine drug overdose. But for Laurie and her new pathology resident, the brilliant but enigmatic Dr. Aria Nichols, little things aren’t adding up. Kera’s family and friends swear she never touched drugs. Administrators from the hospital where Kera worked are insisting the case be shrouded in silence. And although Kera was ten weeks pregnant, nobody seems to know who the father was–or whether he holds the key to Kera’s final moments alive.

As a medical emergency temporarily sidelines Laurie, impulsive Aria turns to a controversial new technique: using genealogic DNA databases to track down those who don’t want to be found. Working with experts at a start-up ancestry website, she plans to trace the fetus’s DNA back to likely male relatives in the hopes of identifying the mystery father. But when Kera’s closest friend and fellow social worker is murdered, the need for answers becomes even more urgent. Because someone out there clearly doesn’t want Kera’s secrets to come to light . . . and if Aria gets any closer to the truth, she and Laurie might find themselves a killer’s next targets.

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Tuesday, December 10th

 

OverthrownOverthrow by David Poyer 

The United States and their Allied forces struggle to survive world war with China in this compelling, realistic thriller, the next in the Dan Lenson series.

World War III continues in David Poyer’s Overthrow, the next novel in the acclaimed series featuring Admiral Dan Lenson as the Allies converge against China, North Korea, and Iran in an explosive series of events. Admiral Lenson leads Operation Rupture, the invasion of South China, in a bid to finally end the war and restore peace. Meanwhile, Captain Cheryl Staurulakis fights to take a radical new “super ship” to sea, though its power and capability may introduce more risk than reward.

In Washington, Dan’s wife Blair conducts secret negotiations with a rebellious faction in Beijing, hoping to bring an end to the war, but her plans may be foiled by those who want outright revenge on China, not peace with them. In western China, Teddy Oberg’s guerrilla band grows into a major insurgency, and the former SEAL master chief embraces his new role as an Islamic resistance leader. Sergeant Hector Ramos raises the flag of freedom in Taiwan while fighting his own personal demons, and in Seattle Dan’s daughter, Nan Lenson, fights to save the world from a dangerous new epidemic.

But as the Allies plot an endgame to the war, the complicated dance of global warfare, on land and at sea, will finally trigger the nuclear Armageddon the entire world has feared for nearly a century.

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Just Watch Me.jpgJust Watch Me by Jeff Lindsay 

A masterful thief plots an impossible crime—stealing the Iranian Crown Jewels.
 
From the author of the wildly successful Dexter series comes a new, mesmerizing bad guy we can root for: Riley Wolfe. He’s a master thief, expert at disguise, and not averse to violence when it’s needed. It’s no accident, though, that Riley targets the wealthiest 0.1 percent and is willing to kill them when they’re in his way: he despises the degenerate and immoral rich and loves stealing their undeserved and unearned valuables.
 
In this series launch, Riley aims for an extraordinary target in a heist that will make history. Riley will try to steal the Crown Jewels of Iran. Yes, these jewels are worth billions, but the true attraction for grabbing them comes down to one simple fact: it can’t be done. Stealing these jewels is absolutely impossible. The collection is guarded by space-age electronics and two teams of heavily armed mercenaries. No one could even think of getting past the airtight security and hope to get away alive, let alone with even a single diamond from the Imperial Collection.
 
No one but Riley Wolfe. He’s always liked a challenge.
 
But this challenge may be more than even he can handle. Aside from the impenetrable security, Riley is also pursued by a brilliant and relentless cop who is barely a step behind him.
 
With the aid of his sometime ally, a beautiful woman who is a master art forger, Riley Wolfe goes for the prize that will either make him a legend—or, more likely, leave him dead.

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Tuesday, December 17th 

 

A Small TownA Small Town by Thomas Perry

In A Small Town, twelve conspirators meticulously plan to throw open all the gates to the prison that contains them, so that more than a thousand convicts may escape and pour into the nearby small town. The newly freed prisoners rape, murder, and destroy the town―burning down homes and businesses. An immense search ensues, but the twelve who plotted it all get away.

After two years, all efforts by the local and federal police agencies have been in vain. The mayor and city attorney meet, and Leah Hawkins, a six-foot, two-inch former star basketball player, and resident good cop, is placed on sabbatical so that she can tour the country learning advanced police procedures. The sabbatical is merely a ruse, however, as her real job is to track the infamous twelve. And kill them.

Leah’s mission takes her across the country, from Florida to New York, from California to an anti-government settlement deep in the Ozarks. Soon, the surviving fugitives realize what she is up to, and a race to kill or be killed ensues. Full of exhilarating twists and surprisingly resonant, A Small Town will sweep readers along on Leah’s quest for vengeance.

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December 31st

 

Good Girls Lie.jpgGood Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison (Featured Selection)

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new psychological thriller examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to in order to protect their secrets.

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond.

But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder.

When a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

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Liar's LegacyLiars’ Legacy by Taylor Stevens 

They were born in the shadows. Schooled in espionage. Taught to kill and trained to disappear. In this captivating masterwork from bestselling author Taylor Stevens, elusive twins Jack and Jill take the global spy game to electric levels.
 
The assassin broker is dead. The power void has left the network he controlled without restraints, and the world’s deadliest killers free to pursue their own vendettas and political agendas. The United States government, unwilling to risk upheaval and global chaos, has mobilized killers of its own to preemptively hunt down and destroy each potential threat.
 
Among the most dangerous on that list are Jack and Jill.
 
Often estranged—always connected by a legacy they can’t escape—the siblings have eluded many who want them dead. As they board a flight to Berlin hoping to meet the father they’ve never known, they suspect a trap. What they can’t predict is how far a high-level Russian operation will go to secure their skills, or how hard the U.S. operatives sent to stop them will fight to assassinate them first. 
 
For the twins, resistance and cooperation both mean death.
 
Caught between two superpowers with unlimited resources and unable to trust each other, brother and sister will match wit against skill in a life-threatening chase across Europe, back to the United States, and into an unholy alliance that could change the balance of global power forever.
 
Filled with pulse-pounding tension, blistering action, and intense human drama, Liars’ Legacy is world-class intrigue at its best.

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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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2 comments

  1. Just finished “a minute to midnight” by Baldacci. Very disappointed in this book, and it was the most disappointing of all his books that I have read. The book was too long, and not worth the time it took to read it. Good character development is all I can say for it. Also, I do not understand the significance of the title. Three stars,andI am being kind.

  2. Crusader one.Another superb novel. I rated it five stars,but it deserved more. Magnificent iin every way,and as good or better than their other books together.

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