The Real Book Spy’s 2020 Reading Guide

Happy New Year, thriller fans!

As always, to kick the new year off right, we’ve compiled a list of all the thrillers hitting bookstores in 2020 . . . well, at least the ones that we already know about, along with some commentary. Browse the full list below, and more for information, or to pre-order your copy now, just click on the book’s title.

Happy reading!

(Note: We’ll update this list in the coming weeks as publishing schedules are rounded out and more books are announced. So, while authors such as Lisa Jewell, Ben Coes, Lisa Scottoline, Andrews & Wilson, Sean Parnell, Alafair Burke, Simon Gervais, and others aren’t listed here yet—check back soon for more updates to see if they’ll be putting new books out later on this year.)


Lost HillsLost Hills by Lee Goldberg

Release Date: January 1st

A video of Deputy Eve Ronin’s off-duty arrest of an abusive movie star goes viral, turning her into a popular hero at a time when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is plagued by scandal. The sheriff, desperate for more positive press, makes Eve the youngest female homicide detective in the department’s history.

Now Eve, with a lot to learn and resented by her colleagues, has to justify her new badge. Her chance comes when she and her burned-out, soon-to-retire partner are called to the blood-splattered home of a missing single mother and her two kids. The horrific carnage screams multiple murder—but there are no corpses.

Eve has to rely on her instincts and tenacity to find the bodies and capture the vicious killer, all while battling her own insecurities and mounting pressure from the media, her bosses, and the bereaved family. It’s a deadly ordeal that will either prove her skills…or totally destroy her.

Why you should check it out:  #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner called Goldberg’s latest the perfect combination of action and suspense,” before calling Eve Ronin “one of the best new female characters in ages.” That’s some high praise, and in this case, it’s absolutely deserving. The Lost Hills is phenomenal.

Hunter KillerHunter Killer by Brad Taylor

Release Date: January 7th

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 check it out: I’ve been saying for years that Brad Taylor is the best military thriller novelist writing today, and that’s never been more true than heading into 2020—where he puts even more distance between himself and the competition by delivering one of his most compelling, action-packed books yet.

Deep StateDeep State by Chris Hauty

Release Date: January 7th

Deep State is a propulsive, page-turning, compelling, fragmentation grenade of a debut thriller.” —C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wolf Pack and The Bitterroots

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 check it out: Hauty is one of two must-read debut novelists coming out in 2020, with his book dropping first. I’ve started calling him Chris “Hollywood” Hauty because of his long career as a successful screenwriter before penning Deep State. That experience has obviously served him well too because his first thriller reads like a big-budget conspiracy film—exploding on the page, creating an unputdownable experience.

Naked Came the Florida ManNaked Came the Florida Man by Tim Dorsey

Release Date: January 7th

The “compulsively irreverent and shockingly funny” (Boston Globe) Tim Dorsey returns with an insanely entertaining tale in which the inimitable Serge A. Storms sees dead people and investigates a creepy urban myth that may be all too real.

Though another devastating hurricane is raking Florida, its awesome power can’t stop the Sunshine State’s most loyal son, Serge A. Storms, from his latest scenic road trip: a cemetery tour. With his best bro Colman riding shotgun, Serge hits the highway in his ’69 gold Plymouth Satellite, putting pedal to the metal on a grand tour of the past. Beginning in Key West, the sunshine boys’ odyssey includes a forgotten mass grave in Palm Beach county holding the remains of African Americans killed by the Great Hurricane of 1928, and the resting place of one world-famous television dolphin (RIP Flipper) from the 1960s.

But one deadland—a haunted old sugar field—holds more than just the bones of those who’ve passed. For years, local children have whispered about a boogeyman hiding among the stalks. Could it be the same maniac known as Naked Florida man who’s been raising hell all over the place?

There are few things Serge loves more than solving a good mystery and bestowing justice on miscreants who sully his beloved home’s good name. With his partner bong boy, Florida’s psycho superhero will find the truth in this hilariously violent delight—packed with history, lore, and plenty of motel antics—from the insanely ingenious Tim Dorsey.

Why you should check it out: Dorsey is a super talented writer who goes against the grain in terms of genre standards. if you’re looking for a nice change-of-pace author, give his stuff a try.

The VanishingThe Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz

Release Date: January 7th

From New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz comes a gripping new romantic suspense trilogy fraught with danger and enigma.

Decades ago in the small town of Fogg Lake, The Incident occurred: an explosion in the cave system that released unknown gases. The residents slept for two days. When they woke up they discovered that things had changed—they had changed. Some started having visions. Others heard ominous voices. And then, scientists from a mysterious government agency arrived. Determined not to become research subjects of strange experiments, the residents of Fogg Lake blamed their “hallucinations” on food poisoning, and the story worked. But now it has become apparent that the eerie effects of The Incident are showing up in the descendants of Fogg Lake.…

Catalina Lark and Olivia LeClair, best friends and co-owners of an investigation firm in Seattle, use what they call their “other sight” to help solve cases. When Olivia suddenly vanishes one night, Cat frantically begins the search for her friend. No one takes the disappearance seriously except Slater Arganbright, an agent from a shadowy organization known only as the Foundation, who shows up at her firm with a cryptic warning.

A ruthless killer is hunting the only witnesses to a murder that occurred in the Fogg Lake caves fifteen years ago—Catalina and Olivia. And someone intends to make both women vanish.

Why you should check it out: Not a lot of romance-type titles on this list, but Krentz belongs here for a number of reasons. Chief among them is that she always adds a heaping dose of suspense and knows hows how to keep readers flipping pages.

Chokepoint by John P. Morse

A brutal, seemingly invincible Russian general flees the Motherland. Determined to control an international maritime chokepoint as the Ottoman Empire did 400 years earlier, he boldly trumpets his plan to the shipping industry. Skeptical, the free world is soon set back on its heels and seems powerless to deal with the self-styled despot. Negotiations are impossible. The Russians try a special-operations takedown. The General may hold a trump card that no one wants him to play. Conventional military operations against his Red Sea fortress and band of loyal fighters just won’t work.

An incident involving a modern British container ship provides the catalyst for action. Major capitals around the world examine all options to stop the rogue who has shown that he has the will and means to enforce his extortion of seagoing commerce. Dan Steele is a fearless ex-US Navy SEAL working in a top-secret cell as a warrior conducting America’s sensitive clandestine operations. Still mourning the loss of his wife and twin boys at the hands of a terrorist, he is determined to stay in the intelligence loop and to bring his family’s killers to justice. He plans a high-risk mission and finds himself executing it. Steele again puts himself at the point of the spear.

This heart-pounding thriller that will elevate your pulse rate as you follow a plausible, near-future scenario which blurs the distinction between fiction and reality. From the White House situation room to the depths of the Red Sea, the non-stop action will keep you turning pages. Find out what Dan Steele faces in this high-stakes mission.

Why you should check it out: This is a great, under-the-radar book that packs a mean punch. Dan Steele has terrific presence on the page, and readers will no doubt hope to see more of him in the future.

Too Close to HomeToo Close to Home by Andrew Grant

Release Date: January 7th

His cover: courthouse janitor. His cause: justice. But when Paul McGrath uncovers a shocking connection to a file of missing evidence, he finds the truth sometimes hits a little too close to home.

An intelligence agent-turned-courthouse janitor, Paul McGrath notices everything and everyone—but no one notices him. It’s the perfect cover for the justice he seeks for both his father and the people who’ve been wronged by a corrupt system. Now he’s discovered a missing file on Alex Pardew—the man who defrauded and likely murdered McGrath’s father but avoided conviction, thanks in large part to the loss of this very file. And what lies behind its disappearance is even worse than McGrath had feared.

Meanwhile, at the courthouse, he stumbles on the case of Len Hendrie, a small businessman who’s been accused of torching a venture capitalist’s mansion. Though Hendrie admits starting the fire, McGrath learns how the VC has preyed on average Joes to benefit himself—and his extensive wine collection. McGrath can’t resist looking deeper into this financial predator and soon finds himself in a gray area between his avenging moral compass and the limits of the law.

Then, just as the Hendrie case is heating up, McGrath receives word of the death of his father’s former housekeeper, sending him back to his family home to confront unfinished business from his past. And he’s about to find some unwelcome truths about the mother he lost as a child—and the father who hid even more secrets than he realized.

Why you should check it out: His last book was underrated, and this one’s even better. Falling somewhere between Michael Connelly’s Mickey Haller books (or John Grisham’s early work) and Mike Lawson’s Joe DeMarco, Grant’s latest is a good fit for fans of those writers.

The Unknown by Brett Battles

Release Date: January 7th

From USA Today bestselling author Brett Battles comes a new electrifying adventure in his award-winning Jonathan Quinn thriller series.

A snowy night. A train making its way through the mountains of Austria. 

Asleep in one of the private compartments is a very important passenger, a scientist who has created something others desperately want.

Precautions have been taken to ensure the man’s safe passage, but even with a highly-skilled bodyguard onboard, the trip does not go as planned. 

When the scientist vanishes, Jonathan Quinn and his team are sent in to locate him before the secrets in the man’s head can be extracted. Because if that happens, the world would change forever.

Why you should check it out: New York Times bestselling author James Rollins said, “The best word I can use to describe Battles’s writing is addictive,” and he’s spot on. I first fame across Battles work a couple of years ago and have been following him ever since.

HindsightHindsight by Iris Johansen & Roy Johansen

Release Date: January 7th

Investigator Kendra Michaels — whose former blindness has left her with uniquely insightful observational skills — must put her life on the line to catch a terrifying murderer setting his sights on some of society’s most vulnerable in this electrifying new novel from the #1 New York Times and Edgar Award-winning writing duo Iris and Roy Johansen.

Dr. Kendra Michaels, blind for the first twenty years of her life before gaining her sight via a revolutionary surgical procedure, is a renowned investigator known for her razor-sharp senses–honed during her years in the dark–and keen deductive abilities.

Now her skills are needed uncomfortably close to home. Two staff members have been murdered at a school for the blind where Kendra spent her formative years. But the murders are puzzlingly dissimilar: one victim was brutally stabbed, while the other was killed by a bullet to the head. Are the crimes related? Or is Kendra on the hunt for more than one dangerous killer?

With the killer (or killers) still on the loose, Kendra must put her life on the line to unravel a terrifying conspiracy. But Kendra soon discovers that she herself may hold the key to the deadliest secret of all.

Why you should check it out: Kendra Michaels is a unique and compelling character, and Iris Johanson knows just how to use her. This latest collaboration is everything readers have come to expect from this high-powered mother-son writing duo.

Long Bright RiverLong Bright River by Liz Moore

Release Date: January 7th

“Navigates assuredly between the plot twists and big reveals. . . . Long Bright River is equal parts literary and thrilling.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“A thoughtful, powerful novel by a writer who displays enormous compassion for her characters. Long Bright River is an outstanding crime novel… I absolutely loved it.”
—Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

Two sisters travel the same streets, though their lives couldn’t be more different. Then one of them goes missing.

In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don’t speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.

Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey’s district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit–and her sister–before it’s too late.

Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters’ childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.

Why you should check it out: On top of the blurbs from the heavy hitters above, Long Bright River was also named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, Marie Claire, PopSugar, Bustle, Forbes, and more. That’s a lot of hype.

Mr NobodyMr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman

Release Date: January 7th

He wants to remember. She needs to forget. . . . Memento meets Sharp Objects in a gripping psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water.

Who is Mr. Nobody?

When a man is found on a British beach, drifting in and out of consciousness, with no identification and unable to speak, interest in him is sparked immediately. From the hospital staff who find themselves inexplicably drawn to him, to international medical experts who are baffled by him, to the national press who call him Mr. Nobody, everyone wants answers. Who is this man? And what happened to him?

Some memories are best forgotten.

Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Emma Lewis is asked to assess the patient in a small town deep in the English countryside. This is her field of expertise, this is the chance she’s been waiting for, and this case could make her name known across the world. But therein lies the danger. Emma left this same town fourteen years ago and has taken great pains to cover all traces of her past since then.

Places aren’t haunted . . . people are.

But now something—or someone—is calling her back. And the more time she spends with her patient, the more alarmed she becomes that he knows the one thing about her that nobody is supposed to know.

Why you should check it out: Last year, I pegged Steadman as the next superstar of the genre, following Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins. I’m feeling pretty good about that prediction heading into 2020. She can really write.

The Wild OneThe Wild One by Nick Petrie

Release Date: January 14th

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 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 check it out: Lots of authors want to be the next Lee Child, but only Petrie has a real shot at that title. His Peter Ash series is every bit as good as the Jack Reacher books, and his latest—the first set outside of the United States—is his finest work to date. I read this one in one sitting and was hooked from the very first page.

The Rabbit HunterThe Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler

Release Date: January 14th

Ten little rabbits, all dressed in white
Tried to get to heaven on the end of a kite.
Kite string got broken, down they all fell,
Instead of going to heaven, they all went to…

It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die.

A masked stranger stands in the shadows. He watches his victim through the window. He will kill him slowly—make him pay.

Soon the Rabbit Hunter has claimed another three victims. This predator will stop at nothing to reap his ultimate revenge. It’s up to Joona Linna and Saga Bauer to untangle one of the most complex cases of their career, and follow the killer’s trail of destruction back to one horrific night of violence.

Why you should check it out: Kepler (the pseudonym of husband and wife co-authors Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril) continues to impress with The Rabbit Hunter, the next Joona Linna crime thriller . . . and nobody is thinking up better villains. Read this one with the light on.

Purgatory BayPurgatory Bay by Bryan Gruley

Release Date: January 14th

Twelve years ago, her life was torn apart. Now those who wronged her will pay.

Jubilee Rathman is a straight-A student and star soccer goalie destined for Princeton—until her family is brutally murdered. Twelve years later, she lives in a virtual fortress on Purgatory Bay near Bleak Harbor, plotting revenge on the people she considers responsible.

In her crosshairs is former reporter Michaela “Mikey” Deming, who Jubilee believes got her family in trouble with the Detroit mob. As retribution, Jubilee kidnaps Mikey’s sister and daughter, and that’s just the start in her ruthless quest for justice.

Bleak Harbor police chief Katya Malone, still reeling from her failure to find a kidnapped boy, leads the investigation. She’s determined to keep history from repeating, but Jubilee is more cunning than Malone can imagine.

All Mikey and Katya can do is follow Jubilee’s dangerous trail of clues. But in Bleak Harbor, nothing is what it seems, and no one can be trusted. As an ominous end draws ever nearer, the women must face the misdeeds of the past to find the kidnapping victims before it’s too late.

Why you should check it out: Gruley is a fine writer who has flashes real talent at bringing his picturesque settings to life. A natural storyteller, his latest grabs readers early and pulls ’em in—and offers a few twists along the way.

How Quickly She DisappearsHow Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann

Release Date: January 14th

The Dry meets The Silence of the Lambs in this intoxicating tale of literary suspense, set in the relentless Alaskan landscape, about madness and obsession, loneliness and grief, and the ferocious bonds of family….

My proposition is very simple: I am going to ask you for three gifts, and for each gift you deliver, I will take you one step closer to Jacqueline.

It’s been twenty years since Elisabeth’s twin sister, Jacqueline, disappeared without a trace. Now thirty-year-old Elisabeth is living far from home in a small Alaskan town. She’s in a loveless marriage and has a precocious young daughter she loves more than anything but who reminds her too much of her long-missing sister.

But then Alfred, a dangerous stranger with a plan of his own, arrives in town and commits an inexplicable act of violence. And he offers a startling revelation: He knows exactly what happened to Elisabeth’s sister, but he’ll reveal this truth only if she fulfills his three requests.

Increasingly isolated from her neighbors and imprisoned by the bitter cold and her own obsession, Elisabeth can almost hear her sister’s voice saying, Come and find me. And so she will, even if it means putting herself—and her family—in danger.

Why you should check it out: Set in Alaska, this book’s dark, noir-ish vibe is perfectly matched with the setting. Think Wind River meets The Silence of the Lambs.

The Last SisterThe Last Sister by Kendra Elliot

Release Date: January 14th

Three sisters’ secrets collide in a shocking novel of suspense by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Mercy Kilpatrick series.

Twenty years ago Emily Mills’s father was murdered, and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Her younger sister, Madison, claims she was asleep in her room. Her older sister, Tara, claims she was out with friends. The tragedy drove their mother to suicide and Tara to leave town forever. The killer was caught. The case closed.

Ever since, Emily and Madison have tried to forget what happened that night—until an eerily similar murder brings it all back. It also brings FBI special agent Zander Wells to the Oregon logging town. As eager as he is to solve the brutal double slaying, he is just as intrigued with the mystery of Emily’s and her sisters’ past.

When more blood is shed, Zander suspects there’s a secret buried in this town no one wants unearthed. Is it something Emily and Madison don’t know? Or aren’t telling? And Tara? Maybe Emily can’t bear to find her. Because when Tara disappeared, she took a secret of her own with her.

Why you should check it out: Suspense on top of suspense. This one will keep you guessing until the final page and shows Elliot at her very best.

The Body Outside the KremlinThe Body Outside the Kremlin by James May

Release Date: January 14th

Solovetsky occupies the island site of a former monastery in the White Sea. Here, hundreds of miles from civilization, and with a skeleton crew of secret-policemen in charge, some prisoners are consigned to all kinds of forced labor and others sit at comfortable desks in administrative or cultural positions. With the brutal winter fast approaching, Tolya Bogomolov, a young mathematician serving a three-year sentence, hopes an acquaintance he’s been cultivating will lead to a less brutal work assignment, maybe even a little more bread in his ration.

Knowing Gennady Antonov holds a privileged position restoring the monks’ seized collection of icons ought to improve Tolya’s odds of reassignment. But when Antonov’s body is discovered floating frozen in the bay, their connection turns dangerous. At first the authorities question Tolya, but then he’s mystified when they assign him to assist the elderly detective investigating the case―but better to find the real killer than have the murder pinned on him. Digging into Antonov’s secrets turns up strange expropriations of the museum’s icons, rumors of an escape conspiracy among White Army officers, and an illicit affair with a female prisoner who won’t tell all she knows.

To avoid becoming the murderer’s next victim, Tolya must defy Solovetsky’s unforgiving regime and make ruthless use of his fellow prisoners. Putting his story to paper at last means reckoning the true cost of his survival.

Why you should check it out: Fans of le Carre, Forsyth, and other old-school spy novelists will devour this one and leave fully satisfied.

Big Lies in a Small TownBig Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Release Date: January 14th

From New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain comes an irresistible new novel in Big Lies in a Small Town.

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold―until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small-town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Why you should check it out: “Chamberlain’s writing is reminiscent of a quilt made up of pieces from different people, places, and times, stitched together into a single, emotional story,” says Booklist. I don’t always agree with their take, but I do on this one.

Many Rivers to Cross

Many Rivers to Cross by Peter Robinson

Release Date: January 14th

Peter Robinson, the acclaimed author of the bestselling series Stephen King calls “the best now on the market,” returns with a gripping, emotionally charged mystery in which the revered detective Alan Banks must find the truth about a murder with possible racial overtones—and save a friend from ruin.

In Eastvale, a young Middle Eastern boy is found dead, his body stuffed in a wheelbarrow on the East Side Estate. Detective Superintendent Banks and his team know they must tread carefully to solve this sensitive case. But tensions rise when they learn that the victim was stabbed somewhere else and dumped. Who is the boy, and where did he come from?

Then, in a decayed area of Eastvale scheduled for redevelopment, a heroin addict is found dead. Was this just another tragic overdose or something darker?

To prevent tensions from reaching a boiling point, Banks must find answers quickly. Yet just when he needs to be his sharpest, the seasoned detective finds himself distracted by a close friend’s increasingly precarious situation. He needs a break—and gets one when he finds a connection to a real estate developer that could be key to finding the truth.

With so many loose ends dangling, there is one thing Banks is sure of—solving the case may come at a terrible cost.

Why you should check it out: See the blurb from Stephen King above—that’s really all you need. It’s not? Okay, well, for what it’s worth, this one surprised me a great deal. I can’t even remember the last time I was this excited about one of Robinson’s books.

House on fireHouse on Fire by Joseph Finder

Release Date: Janaury 21st

In New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder’s electrifying new thriller, private investigator Nick Heller infiltrates a powerful wealthy family hiding something sinister.

Nick Heller is at the top of his game when he receives some devastating news: his old army buddy Sean has died of an overdose. Sean, who once saved Nick’s life, got addicted to opioids after returning home wounded from war.

Then at Sean’s funeral, a stranger approaches Nick with a job, and maybe also a way for Nick to hold someone accountable.

The woman is the daughter of a pharmaceutical kingpin worth billions. Now she wants to become a whistleblower, exposing her father and his company for burying evidence that its biggest money-maker was dangerously addictive. It was a lie that killed hundreds of thousands of people, including Sean.

All Nick has to do is find the document that proves the family knew the drug’s dangers. But Nick soon realizes that the sins of the patriarch are just the beginning.

Beneath the surface are barely concealed cabals and conspiracies: a twisting story of family intrigue and lethal corporate machinations. In a deadly game of chess that pits Nick against a family dynasty, against brothers and sisters with schemes of their own, Nick learns how far his enemy is willing to go to protect its name and its wealth.

Why you should check it out: Nick Heller is back, and all feels right in the thriller world because of it. Finder’s last Heller book, Guilty Minds, remains one of my favorite thrillers ever written . . . and even I have to admit, this one might be better. Even if you haven’t read the first three books in the series, you can jump in here without missing a beat.

Hi Five by Joe Ide

Release Date: January 28th

IQ is back- and working a case that involves juggling many more personalities than he expected.

Cristiana is the daughter of the biggest arms dealers on the West Coast, Angus Byrne. She’s also the sole witness and number one suspect in the murder of her boyfriend, found dead in her Newport Beach boutique.

Isaiah Quintabe is coerced into taking the case to prove her innocence. If he can’t, Angus will harm the brilliant PI’s new girlfriend, ending her career.

The catch: Christiana has multiple personalities. Five radically different ones. Among them, a naïve, beautiful shopkeeper, an obnoxious drummer in a rock band, and a wanton seductress.

Isaiah’s dilemma: no one personality saw the entire incident. To find out what really happened the night of the murder, Isaiah must piece together clues from each of the personalities- before the cops catch up.

Why you should check it out: Ide is probably my favorite crime novelist in the game today. His series reads like an urban take on Sherlock Holmes, and Ide excels here, once again allowing L.A. to become a part of the series in the same way that Michael Connelly is able to bring the city to life in his Bosch books. This time, IQ must crack a case involving a woman with multiple personalities, creating Ide’s most unique and entertaining premise yet.

Into the FireInto The Fire by Gregg Hurwitz

Release Date: January 28th

The New York Times bestselling Orphan X returns – just when Evan Smoak thinks he’s done, his deadliest job yet pulls him back Into The Fire…

Evan Smoak lives by his own code.

Once he was known as Orphan X. Trained as an off-the-books government assassin and spoken about only in whispers, Evan Smoak was one of the most talented – and most feared – men in the Program. But he broke free and reinvented himself as The Nowhere Man, a figure shrouded in mystery, known for helping the truly desperate.

If anyone is truly desperate, it’s Max Merriweather.

Max is at the end of his rope. His cousin has been brutally murdered, leaving Max an envelope that contains nothing but a mysterious key. However, someone really wants that key, badly enough that Max – and anyone he turns to – is in deadly danger. What seems like a simple job for The Nowhere Man turns out to be anything but. Behind every threat he takes out, a deadlier one emerges and Evan Smoak must put himself in greater danger than ever before as he heads once more Into The Fire.

Why you should check it out: I learned my lesson . . . I’ll never doubt Hurwitz ever again. Last year, I was convinced he could never top himself after Out of the Dark (which I still believe will go down as the book he’s remembered for), but he’s come up with another brilliant idea here, almost offering a soft reset of the series in some ways. Trust me, it works, and Hurwitz continues to show why he’s one of the best in the genre with this one.

When You see meWhen You See Me by Lisa Gardner

Release Date: January 28th

#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…which 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 check it out: Garder continues to put her three best characters together, a proven winning recipe that again delivers a pulse-pounding reading experience.

The Other PeopleThe Other People by C.J. Tudor

Release Date: January 28th

A gripping thriller about a man’s quest for the daughter no one else believes is still alive, from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man and The Hiding Place.

Q: Why are you called the Other People?
A: We are people just like you. People to whom terrible things have happened. We’ve found solace not in forgiveness or forgetting. But in helping each other find justice.

Driving home one night, Gabe is stuck behind a rusty old car. He sees a little girl’s face appear in its rear window. She mouths one word: Daddy. It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy. He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights traveling up and down the highway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe she’s dead.

When the car that he saw escape with his little girl is found abandoned with a body inside, Gabe must confront not just the day Izzy disappeared but the painful events from his past now dredged to the surface.

Q: What sort of justice?
A: That depends on the individual. But our ethos is a punishment that fits the crime.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the road. Not searching. Running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them—because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter.

She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up to her and Alice.

Q: Can I request to have someone killed?
A: If your Request is acceptable, and unless there are exceptional circumstances, we fulfill all Requests.

Why you should check it out: Tudor, fresh out off her win at ThrillerFest, returns with another near-perfect thriller here. How far would you go to find your child, even after everyone else believes they’re dead? For one dad, there is no end—and Tudor dials up the tension and suspense big time.

Presidential Retreat by J.T. Patten

Release Date: January 31st


The deep state isn’t pleased with the current president. An assassination would put the Vice President in a prime election position– if intelligence specialist Sean Havens doesn’t thwart the power players’ agenda.

Sent undercover to Martha’s Vineyard, a historic presidential summer retreat, Havens is tasked to conduct a recovery under the guise of a routine security assessment in advance of POTUS’s arrival.

A new threat is exposed forcing Havens into action with no backup save for a mysterious colleague, the Man from Orange, code-named BIRDDOG.

Unaware of a conspiracy theory dating back to our forefathers, Sean Havens is forced to trust old enemies in a twisted race between the CIA, the Pond, and the upcoming presidential election.

But is it Havens himself who is in the crosshairs?

Why you should check it out: For years, Patten has been one of the most underrated espionage writers in the game. Known for his black-than-black-ops brew of thrillers, Patten returns to his Sean Havens serirs in 2020, which fans of old school thrillers should check out right away.

Thief River FallsThief River Falls by Brian Freeman

Release Date: February 1st

Harrowing loss, psychological trauma, and a deadly mystery test the human will to survive in this electrifying novel from award-winning author Brian Freeman.

Lisa Power is a tortured ghost of her former self. The author of a bestselling thriller called Thief River Falls, named after her rural Minnesota hometown, Lisa is secluded in her remote house as she struggles with the loss of her entire family: a series of tragedies she calls the “Dark Star.”

Then a nameless runaway boy shows up at her door with a terrifying story: he’s just escaped death after witnessing a brutal murder—a crime the police want to cover up. Obsessed with the boy’s safety, Lisa resolves to expose this crime, but powerful men in Thief River Falls are desperate to get the boy back, and now they want her too.

Lisa and her young visitor have nowhere to go as the trap closes around them. Still under the strange, unforgiving threat of the Dark Star, Lisa must find a way to save them both, or they’ll become the victims of another shocking tragedy she can’t foresee.

Why you should check it out: Freeman, one of the few writers with two books on this list, outdid himself with Thief River Falls. I honestly had no idea what this book was about when I tore into it, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a thrilling, nonstop adventure waiting. (Check out his forthcoming Jason Bourne book below too.)

Crooked River New CoverCrooked River by Lincoln & Child

Release Date: February 4th

Racing to uncover the mystery of several light green-shoe-clad severed feet found floating in the Atlantic, Agents Pendergast is faced with most inexplicable challenge of his career in this installment of the #1 NYT bestselling series.


Appearing out of nowhere to horrify the quiet resort town of Sanibel Island, Florida, dozens of identical, ordinary-looking shoes float in on the tide and are washed up on the tropical beach–each one with a crudely severed human foot inside.


Called away from vacation elsewhere in the state, Agent Pendergast reluctantly agrees to visit the crime scene–and, despite himself, is quickly drawn in by the incomprehensible puzzle. An early pathology report only adds to the mystery. With an ocean of possibilities confronting the investigation, no one is sure what happened, why, or from where the feet originated. And they desperately need to know: are the victims still alive?


In short order, Pendergast finds himself facing the most complex and inexplicable challenge of his career: a tangled thread of evidence that spans seas and traverses continents, connected to one of the most baffling mysteries in modern medical science. Through shocking twists and turns, all trails lead back to a powerful adversary with a sadistic agenda and who–in a cruel irony–ultimately sees in Pendergast the ideal subject for their malevolent research.

Why you should check it out: Agent Pendergast is back and better than ever. Lots of readers still miss Gideon Crew, but the Pendergast series is as steady as they come, and Preston & Child have shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Golden in DeathGolden in Death by J.D. Robb

Release Date: February 4th

In the latest thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, homicide detective Eve Dallas investigates a murder with a mysterious motive―and a terrifying weapon.

Pediatrician Kent Abner received the package on a beautiful April morning. Inside was a cheap trinket, a golden egg that could be opened into two halves. When he pried it apart, highly toxic airborne fumes entered his body―and killed him.

After Eve Dallas calls the hazmat team―and undergoes testing to reassure both her and her husband that she hasn’t been exposed―it’s time to look into Dr. Abner’s past and relationships. Not every victim Eve encounters is an angel, but it seems that Abner came pretty close―though he did ruffle some feathers over the years by taking stands for the weak and defenseless. While the lab tries to identify the deadly toxin, Eve hunts for the sender. But when someone else dies in the same grisly manner, it becomes clear that she’s dealing with either a madman―or someone who has a hidden and elusive connection to both victims.

Why you should check it out: Nobody cranks out fan-pleasing bestsellers like Roberts, who keeps that streak alive and well here. The fact that this is her 50th Eve Dallas book is just incredible—and for those wondering, no, you don’t have to read the first forty-nine to enjoy this one.

Perfect Little ChildrenPerfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah

Release Date: February 4th

The New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders and Woman with a Secret returns with a sharp, captivating, and expertly plotted tale of psychological suspense.

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his soccer game, watch him play, and then return home. Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the field, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her.

Why would Beth do that and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn’t want to see her today—or ever again. But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches from across the road as Flora arrives and calls to her children Thomas and Emily to get out of the car.

Except . . . There’s something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt, but they haven’t changed at all. They are no taller, no older. Why haven’t they grown? How is it possible that they haven’t grown up?

Why you should check it out: Hannah made headlines last year with the A.J. Finn drama when at least one journalist theorized that she used Finn—real name Dan Mallory—as the inspiration for past storylines. Honestly, major props to her if that’s true, but even if it isn’t, she’s a fine writer who always delivers.

The Museum of DesireThe Museum of Desire by Jonathan Kellerman

Release Date: February 4th

Psychologist Alex Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis struggle to make sense of a seemingly inexplicable massacre in this electrifying psychological thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis has solved a lot of murder cases. On many of them—the ones he calls “different”—he taps the brain of brilliant psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware. But neither Alex nor Milo are prepared for what they find on an early morning call to a deserted mansion in Bel Air. This one’s beyond different. This is predation, premeditation, and cruelty on a whole new level.

Four people have been slaughtered and left displayed bizarrely and horrifically in a stretch limousine. Confounding the investigation, none of the victims seems to have any connection to any other, and a variety of methods have been used to dispatch them. As Alex and Milo make their way through blind alleys and mazes baited with misdirection, they encounter a crime so vicious that it stretches the definitions of evil.

Why you should check it out: Alex Deleware is a genre favorite, and Kellerman’s latest moves faster than his last few books. With improved pacing and a well-laid-out plot, fans of his series will especially enjoy this one.

A COLD TRAILA Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni

Release Date: February 4th

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 check it out: 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.

Salt RiverSalt River by Randy Wayne White

Release Date: February 11th

The sins of the past come back to haunt Doc Ford and his old friend Tomlinson in this thrilling new novel from New York Times-bestselling author Randy Wayne White.

Marine biologist and former government agent Doc Ford is sure he’s beyond the point of being surprised by his longtime pal Tomlinson’s madcap tales of his misspent youth. But he’s stunned anew when avowed bachelor Tomlinson reveals that as a younger man strapped for cash, he’d unwittingly fathered multiple children via for-profit sperm bank donations. Thanks to genealogy websites, Tomlinson’s now-grown offspring have tracked him down, seeking answers about their roots. . . but Doc quickly grows suspicious that one of them might be planning something far more nefarious than a family reunion.

With recent history on his mind, Doc is unsurprised when his own dicey past is called into question. Months ago, he’d quietly “liberated” a cache of precious Spanish coins from a felonious treasure hunter, and now a number of unsavory individuals, including a disgraced IRS investigator and a corrupt Bahamian customs agent, are after their cut. Caught between watching his own back and Tomlinson’s, Doc has no choice but to get creative–before rash past decisions escalate to deadly present-day dangers.

Why you should check it out: White’s last couple of books missed the mark, but he rights the ship here, producing his best novel in at least three years.

The ChillThe Chill by Scott Carson

Release Date: February 11th

“A creepy tale of supernatural terror.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

In this terrifying thriller, a supernatural force—set in motion a century ago—threatens to devastate New York City.

Far upstate, in New York’s ancient forests, a drowned village lays beneath the dark, still waters of the Chilewaukee reservoir. Early in the 20th century, the town was destroyed for the greater good: bringing water to the millions living downstate. Or at least that’s what the politicians from Manhattan insisted at the time. The local families, settled there since America’s founding, were forced from their land, but they didn’t move far, and some didn’t move at all…

Now, a century later, the repercussions of human arrogance are finally making themselves known. An inspector assigned to oversee the dam, dangerously neglected for decades, witnesses something inexplicable. It turns out that more than the village was left behind in the waters of the Chill when it was abandoned. The townspeople didn’t evacuate without a fight. A dark prophecy remained, too, and the time has come for it to be fulfilled. Those who remember must ask themselves: who will be next? For sacrifices must be made. And as the dark waters begin to inexorably rise, the demand for a fresh sacrifice emerges from the deep…

Why you should check it out: By now, most know that Carson is really Michael Koryta. Without giving anything away, he crushed this book—I’ve never felt so claustrophobic reading a thriller. The Chill is easily my favorite Koryta book that I’ve covered . . . and trust me, fans of Stephen King won’t want to miss this one.

One minute outOne Minute Out by Mark Greaney

Release Date: February 18th

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 check it out: 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.

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

Release Date: February 18th

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 check it out: It’s been a long wait for her third UNSUB book (the last, Into the Black, came out in January of 2018), but Meg Gardiner treats readers to her very best work yet . . . making that wait fully worth it and more. I am so high on this book. Of all the 2020 titles I’ve read over the last 4-6 months, this is easily one of my favorites.

The Last PassengerThe Last Passenger by Charles Finch

Release Date: February 18th

From bestselling author Charles Finch comes the third and final in a prequel trilogy to his lauded Charles Lenox series.

London, 1855. A young and eager Charles Lenox faces his toughest case yet: a murder without a single clue. Slumped in a third-class car at Paddington Station is the body of a handsome young gentleman. He has no luggage, empty pockets, and no sign of identification on his person. And putting together the clues to the mystery of the man’s identity only raises more questions, when Lenox discovers that the crime has a significant connection to America.

As he seeks to solve this impossible case, the young Lenox must confront an equally troublesome problem in his personal life. Kitty Ashbrook, beautiful and cultured, appears to be his soulmate―but love comes with obstacles of its own. In tandem, this fiendish early case and passionate, deeply felt affair will irrevocably shape the brilliant detective and thoughtful gentleman Lenox is destined to become.

Written in Charles Finch’s unmistakably witty and graceful voice, THE LAST PASSENGER is a cunning, thrilling, and deeply satisfying conclusion to this trilogy of prequels to his bestselling Charles Lenox series.

Why you should check it out: The final book in his prequel trilogy, Finch saved plenty of surprises for this one—and his longtime fans will no doubt be itching to get their hands on The Last Passenger.

The Other MrsThe Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

Release Date: February 18th

Altogether unpredictable.” —Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author

Propulsive and addictive, and perfect for fans of “You,” The Other Mrs. is the twisty new psychological thriller from Mary Kubica, the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

She tried to run, but she can’t escape the other Mrs.

Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.

But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.

Why you should check it out: Kubica has been rock-solid the last few times out, and there’s no reason to think that won’t be the case once again in 2020. Fans of psychological suspense who haven’t discovered her work yet should make doing so their New Year’s resolution.

jacket TREADSTONE RESURRECTIONRobert Ludlum’s The Treadstone Resurrection by Joshua Hood

Release Date: February 25th

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 check it out: Clear by Fire author Joshua Hood hasn’t had his name on a book since Warning Order came out back in 2016. Now, he’s been trusted with penning the first Jason Bourne spinoff series, and he rewards the Ludlum estate with a well-written, action-packed thriller that brings the heat and introduces a captivating, ass-kicking new hero in Adam Hayes. The sky is the limit for this new franchise, and Hood’s return to the genre is a good thing for readers everywhere.

The Warsaw ProtocolThe Warsaw Protocol by Steve Berry

Release Date: February 25th

n 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 check it out: Berry is the best in the business when it comes to mixing historical fiction with present-day plot threads that both beat the headlines and keep readers guessing. Cotton Malone is a great character, and Berry uses him perfectly yet again in this one.

The Big LieThe Big Lie by James Grippando

Release Date: February 25th

As the Electoral College battle for the White House lands in a Florida courtroom, Miami attorney Jack Swyteck has never felt farther from the truth, fighting for a “faithless elector,” caught between a corrupt president and his manipulative opponent—with each revelation more explosive than the next.

The country is reeling. For the sixth time in American history, the winner of the popular vote will not occupy the Oval Office. President Malcolm MacLeod, the Machiavellian incumbent, was spared from impeachment only because his political foes were certain they would oust him at the ballot box. Now, he appears to have secured a second term, thanks to a narrow victory in the Electoral College.

His opponent, Florida Senator Evan Stahl, saw his campaign rocked by allegations of an extramarital affair—with another man. Despite the salacious headline-making scandal and the surrounding media frenzy, most Americans chose Stahl to lead the politically polarized nation. But Stahl is refusing to concede. Backed by millions of supporters, he looks to individual members of the Electoral College to cross party lines.

Gun lobbyist Charlotte Holmes is one of Floridas twenty-nine electors who is bound by law and by oath to cast her vote for MacLeod, who won Florida by the thinnest of margins. When Charlotte announces that she intends to vote her conscience and throw the Electoral College to Stahl, the president and his Florida machine haul her into court on felony charges—which, for some, isn’t nearly punishment enough.

Miami attorney Jack Swyteck is going to use every legal maneuver he can to keep his new client free—and alive. MacLeod’s hand-picked prosecutor is determined to prove Charlotte is unfit to cast a vote. Dredging through her past, he’s looking for skeletons to humiliate and discredit her, while others with far deadlier intentions have begun acting on their threats.

As the pressure mounts, Charlotte and Jack must decide how far they’ll go to stand their ground in the stand-your-ground state.

Why you should check it out: Grippando’s last effort, The Girl in the Glass Box, was pretty solid but ultimately fell a bit short of expectations, in my opinion. So, it’ll be fun to see if he can reclaim the magic he displayed before with this one. Thankfully, the plot sounds intriguing, and Jack Swyteck is a terrific character. The makings are all there, now let’s see if he can deliver.

Pretty as a PicturePretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little

Release Date: February 25th

An egomaniacal movie director, an isolated island, and a decades-old murder–the addictive new novel from the bestselling author of Dear Daughter

Marissa Dahl, a shy but successful film editor, travels to a small island off the coast of Delaware to work with the legendary–and legendarily demanding–director Tony Rees on a feature film with a familiar logline.

Some girl dies.

It’s not much to go on, but the specifics don’t concern Marissa. Whatever the script is, her job is the same. She’ll spend her days in the editing room, doing what she does best: turning pictures into stories.

But she soon discovers that on this set, nothing is as it’s supposed to be–or as it seems. There are rumors of accidents and indiscretions, of burgeoning scandals and perilous schemes. Half the crew has been fired. The other half wants to quit. Even the actors have figured out something is wrong. And no one seems to know what happened to the editor she was hired to replace.

Then she meets the intrepid and incorrigible teenage girls who are determined to solve the real-life murder that is the movie’s central subject, and before long, Marissa is drawn into the investigation herself.

The only problem is, the killer may still be on the loose. And he might not be finished.

A wickedly funny exploration of our cultural addiction to tales of murder and mayhem and a thrilling, behind-the-scenes whodunit, Pretty as a Picture is a captivating page-turner from one of the most distinctive voices in crime fiction.

Why you should check it out: I’ve heard great things about this book from several people I trust, and while I haven’t read it, it’s high on my TBR pile heading into the new year. If you’re looking for something fun but with plenty of suspense to go with it, keep an eye out for this one.

Hide AwayHide Away by Jason Pinter

Release Date: March 1st

“Pinter is in fine form with Hide Away. You’ll burn through the pages.” —David Baldacci

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 check it out: I cannot rave about this book enough. I read my review copy a couple of months back, and couldn’t put it down for a second. Pinter absolutely blew me away. The story is awesome and the pacing is as fast as anything he’s ever written, but what really makes this one special is Rachel Marin, Pinter’s new protagonist. Fans of Baldacci’s Atlee Pine will want to check this one out ASAP.

Long RangeLong Range by C.J. Box

Release Date: March 3rd

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must investigate an attempted murder–a crime committed from a confoundingly long distance–in the riveting new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author C. J. Box.

When Joe Pickett is asked to join the rescue efforts for the victim of a startling grizzly attack, he reluctantly leaves his district behind. One survivor of the grizzly’s rampage tells a bizarre story, but just as Joe begins to suspect the attack is not what it seems, he is brought home by an emergency on his own turf. Someone has targeted a prominent local judge, shooting at him from a seemingly impossible distance. While the judge was not hit, his wife is severely wounded, and it is up to Joe to find answers–and the shooter.

The search for the would-be assassin becomes personal when Joe’s best friend, Nate Romanowski –just as he’s adjusting to the arrival of his first child–falls under suspicion for the crime. It’s a race against the clock as Joe tries to clear Nate’s name and identify the real shooter, all while deciphering the grizzly encounter. 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 check it out: Box’s Joe Pickett series is the best franchise in print today, regardless of genre—period. Pickett, a Wyoming game warden, is a special character, and Box has developed him (and Joe’s family) in a way rarely seen in print or on the screen. Box continues to use his deep cast of characters masterfully, and if you read his last one, Wolf Pack, then you know changes are in store for Joe and the gang in 2020. Whatever you do, do not miss this book.

Without Sanction_FINALWithout Sanction by Don Bentley

Release Date: March 3rd

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 check it out: The second of two must-read debuts set to come out this year (following Chris Hauty’s Deep State), Bentley’s first book is the best start to a series I’ve read since Jack Carr’s breakout hit, The Terminal List. Fans of Brad Thor, Brad Taylor, and Mark Greaney, this one’s for you.

Eight Perfect MurdersEight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Release Date: March 3rd

“Fiendish good fun.” —Anthony Horowitz

From the hugely talented author of Before She Knew Him comes a chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders.

Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox’s Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald’s The Drowner, and Donna Tartt’s A Secret History.

But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. There is killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.

To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects . . . and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.

Why you should check it out: Swanson has been terrific of late, putting out back-to-back hits that makes his latest one of the hottest psychological suspense titles of the year.

Credible ThreatCredible Threat by J.A. Jance

Release Date: March 10th

Ali Reynolds and her team at High Noon Enterprises must race against the clock to save an archbishop as he faces mysterious death threats in the next “devilish page-turner” (People) in the New York Times bestselling series by J.A. Jance.

Why you should check it out: We don’t know much about this one, but Ali Reynolds is always a lock, and Jance has been delivering must-read books for a long time.

Journey of the oharos place holderJourney of the Pharaohs by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

Release Date: March 10th

Kurt Austin and the NUMA crew risk everything to stop a cutthroat arms dealer from stealing a priceless ancient treasure in the thrilling new novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling grand master of adventure.

In 1074 B.C., vast treasures disappear from the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs. In 1927, a daredevil American aviator vanishes on an attempted transcontinental flight. And in the present day, a fishing trawler–along with its mysterious cargo–sinks off the coast of Scotland. How are these three mysterious events connected? And, more importantly, what do they mean for Kurt Austin and his NUMA team?

As they search for answers, the NUMA squad join the agents of the British MI5 to take on a wide-reaching international conspiracy. Their common enemy is the Bloodstone Group, a conglomerate of arms dealers and thieves attempting to steal ancient relics on both sides of the Atlantic. Kurt and his team soon find themselves wrapped up in a treacherous treasure hunt as they race to find the lost Egyptian riches. . . before they fall into the wrong hands.

Why you should check it out: The NUMA series has come on strong the last couple of years, and while I’d still put the Fargo books slightly ahead of this series, Brown’s latest collab with Cussler is really very entertaining. Fans of Clive’s universe will enjoy this one.

A Reasonable DoubtA Reasonable Doubt by Phillip Margolin

Release Date: March 10th

A magician linked to three murders and suspicious deaths years ago disappears in the middle of his new act in New York Times bestseller Phillip Margolin’s latest thriller featuring Robin Lockwood

Robin Lockwood is a young criminal defense attorney and partner in a prominent law firm in Portland, Oregon. A former MMA fighter and Yale Law graduate, she joined the firm of legal legend Regina Barrister not long before Regina was forced into retirement by early onset Alzheimer’s.

One of Regina’s former clients, Robert Chesterfield, shows up in the law office with an odd request―he’s seeking help from his old attorney in acquiring patent protection for an illusion. Chesterfield is a professional magician of some reknown and he has a major new trick he’s about to debut. This is out of the scope of the law firm’s expertise, but when Robin Lockwood looks into his previous relationship with the firm, she learns that twenty years ago he was arrested for two murders, one attempted murder, and was involved in the potentially suspicious death of his very rich wife. At the time, Regina Barrister defended him with ease, after which he resumed his career as a magician in Las Vegas.

Now, decades later, he debuts his new trick―only to disappear at the end. He’s a man with more than one dark past and many enemies―is his disappearance tied to one of the many people who have good reason to hate him? Was he killed and his body disposed of, or did he use his considerable skills to engineer his own disappearance?

Robin Lockwood must unravel the tangled skein of murder and bloody mischief to learn how it all ties together.

Why you should check it out: I loved his 2018 book but was a little down on the follow-up from last year. So, which Margolin will we get in 2020? He’s a solid writer, and Lockwood is a fun character, so let’s hope Margolin rebounds with this one.

The Jerusalem AssassinThe Jerusalem Assassin by Joel C. Rosenberg

Release Date: March 17th

“A taut, brilliant thriller ripped right from today’s headlines. Joel Rosenberg is masterful! The Jerusalem Assassin is an absolute home run.” ―Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Backlash

From the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author!

The enemy is invisible and moving fast. The body count is rising. And time is running out.
Marcus Ryker has spent his entire career studying killers. One thing he knows for sure: a peace summit is the ultimate stage for an assassination.

President Andrew Clarke is determined to announce his historic peace plan from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But when senior American officials who support the plan begin violently dying, Clarke orders Ryker and his team of CIA operatives to hunt down those responsible and bring the killing spree to an end.

When the Palestinians denounce the American plan, the Saudis signal they may be ready to forge a historic treaty with Israel. Could the Saudi king’s support be the missing ingredient that will lead to peace at long last?

Ryker soon uncovers a chilling plot to kill the American president. A well-resourced international alliance is dead set against the peace plan. They will stop at nothing to strike a blow against the Americans and seize leadership of the Muslim world.

With all eyes on Jerusalem and the president in the crosshairs, it’s up to Ryker to eliminate the terrible evil that’s been set in motion. The fate of the region depends on his success. He has 48 hours.

Why you should check it out: See Brad Thor’s blurb above. I have but one thing to say: Co-sign! Well, okay, I have more to say . . . Rosenberg, who still holds the title of best headline-beater in the game, continues to flash his almost eerie ability to predict world events before they happen. Heading into 2019, if you had asked me to rank his different series (by their protagonist), I’d have said John Bennet, David Shirazi, J.B. Collins, and then Marcus Ryker. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any way you might choose to rank them, though, as they’re all must-read series. But after reading the last two Ryker books, to me, there’s no question that he’s quickly becoming Rosenberg’s best character, and that’s saying a lot when you consider his impressive body of work. Bottom line: This is easily one of the most anticipated thrillers of 2020, and I cannot recommend The Jerusalem Assassin enough.

A Conspiracy of BonesA Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs

Release Date: March 17th

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with a new riveting novel featuring her vastly popular character forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, who must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and why the dead man had her cell phone number.

It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.

An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.

To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue, working mostly outside the system. That’s because Tempe’s new boss holds a fierce grudge against her and is determined to keep her out of the case. Tempe bulls forward anyway, even as she begins questioning her instincts. But the clues she discovers are disturbing and confusing. Was the faceless man a spy? A trafficker? A target for assassination by the government? And why was he carrying the name of a child missing for almost a decade?

With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.

But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes…

Why you should check it out: Reichs has long been dazzling readers with her smart yet entertaining crime novels starring Temperance Brennan—who has been MIA since 2016’s The Bone Collection. Her return is great for the genre, but the question is if Reichs can deliver another winner after shelving the character for so long. The smart money says yes. 

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

Release Date: March 17th

A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away.

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place 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 check it out: The king of suspense returns with another show-stopper in 2020, proving yet again that he’s the best writer on the planet at tricking readers and landing hard-hitting twists. I don’t want to give anything away, but this is my favorite book from Coben since Fool Me Once, which was my pick for best book of the year back in 2016.

The Last TouristThe Last Tourist by Olen Steinhauer

Release Date: March 24th

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

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 encounter.

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

Why you should check it out: Milo Weaver is back, a brilliant move by Steinhauer, who capitalizes by churning out a truly great thriller that reminds readers why they fell in love with the CIA analyst turned reluctant hero to begin with. I was really high on Steinhauer’s standalone book last year, but this one’s better—no doubt about it.

The Last OdysseyThe Last Odyssey by James Rollins

Release Date: March 24th

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 researchers 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 map imbedded with an intricate silver astrolabe. The mechanism was crafted by a group of Muslim inventors—the Banū Mūsā brothers—considered by many to be the Da Vincis of the Arab world—brilliant scientists who inspired Leonardo’s own work.

Once activated, the moving map traces the path of Odysseus’s famous ship as it sailed away from Troy. But the route detours as the map opens to reveal a fiery river leading to a hidden realm underneath the Mediterranean Sea. It is the subterranean world of 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 check it out: I am so excited about this book. A fan of Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, I fell in love with Rollins’ latest plot about scientists who unearth further proof of Homer’s account and the journey the Sigma Force gang is forced to go on in order to keep devastating forces from falling into the wrong hands. Very Michael Crichton-like, this is James Rollins at his very best.

ShakedownShakedown by Newt Gingrich and Pete Earley

Release Date: March 24th

Mayberry and Garrett, introduced in the thrilling Collusion, are caught in the middle of a deadly crisis with Iran in this action-packed adventure from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors.

Unlikely partners Valerie Mayberry and Brett Garrett are at loose ends. The obsessive and uptight Mayberry has left the FBI on bad terms. Garrett’s recent heroics have helped take a little of the sting out of his dishonorable discharge, but he’s got a way to go to find redemption.

When a former Iranian scientist is assassinated in Washington, D.C., the former counterintelligence agent and ex-SEAL are pulled back into the world of clandestine ops—and the fate of the entire East Coast is at stake. Joining ranks with a heralded Mossad agent, Mayberry and Garrett pursue an international killer whose motives remain a mystery.

But he isn’t the only threat. They uncover another planned attack—with too many potential enemies to track down and too little time. When Iran offers to help, the already tense political situation gets more complicated. Operating outside official channels, maneuvering between enemy powers, the two know they must tread carefully to prevent an international incident and keep themselves alive.

Is Iran playing us for fools, again? Or are they undermining some other enemy? Can a dysfunctional Washington do the right thing to protect the country? Will political infighting at the FBI grind the investigation to a halt? Will Mayberry and Garrett find the truth before innocent lives are lost?

Why you should check it out: Former Speaker Gingrich obviously knows a lot about what goes on behind the closed doors in Washington, and he uses that experience to craft another timely thriller. This series is a little underrated, and fans of other conservative political thriller novelists (like Brad Thor and even Glenn Beck) should check it out.

Texas OutlawTexas Outlaw (Rory Yates #2) by James Patterson and Andrew Bourelle

Release Date: March 31st

A Texas Ranger is justice. Until he sidesteps the law.

Texas Ranger Rory Yates is not keen for hero status. But it’s unavoidable once his girlfriend, country singer Willow Dawes, writes a song about his bravery. Rory escapes his newfound fame when he’s sent to the remote West Texas town of Rio Lobo, a municipality with two stoplights. And now, according to the Chief of Police, it has one too many Texas Rangers.

Rio Lobo Detective Ariana Delgado is the one who requested Rory, and the only person who believes a local councilwoman’s seemingly accidental death is a murder. Then Rory begins to uncover a tangle of small-town secrets, favors, and lies as crooked as Texas law is straight.

To get to the truth before more people die, Rory is forced to take liberties with the investigation. The next ballad of Rory Yates may not be about a hero, but rather an outlaw song.

Why you should check it out: For my money, this is Patterson’s best series right now, and that includes his Alex Cross books. Think Walker Texas Ranger, but darker and grittier.

DevotedDevoted by Dean Koontz

Release Date: March 31st

From Dean Koontz, the international bestselling master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying threat to humanity and the singular compassion it will take to defeat it.

Woody Bookman hasn’t spoken a word in his eleven years of life. Not when his father died in a freak accident. Not when his mother, Megan, tells him she loves him. For Megan, keeping her boy safe and happy is what matters. But Woody believes a monstrous evil was behind his father’s death and now threatens him and his mother. And he’s not alone in his thoughts. An ally unknown to him is listening.

A uniquely gifted dog with a heart as golden as his breed, Kipp is devoted beyond reason to people. When he hears the boy who communicates like he does, without speaking, Kipp knows he needs to find him before it’s too late.

Woody’s fearful suspicions are taking shape. A man driven by a malicious evil has set a depraved plan into motion. And he’s coming after Woody and his mother. The reasons are primal. His powers are growing. And he’s not alone. Only a force greater than evil can stop what’s coming next.

Why you should check it out: Koontz’s first book with Thomas & Mercer is fantastic and should leave readers excited about his future with the Amazon-owned imprint.

Stone Cross HCStone Cross by Marc Cameron

Release Date: March 31st

“Cameron’s books are riveting page-turners.”
—Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author
In a remote Alaskan village, Deputy US Marshal Arliss Cutter searches for a stone-cold killer amid a hotbed of corruption, lies, and long-buried secrets . . .
Winter comes early to the rural native community of Stone Cross, Alaska—and so does hunting season. Caribou and moose are a major source of food through the long, dark months ahead. But Arliss Cutter has come here for a very different game. A federal judge is receiving death threats and refuses protection. Cutter and his deputy Lola Teariki have been assigned to shadow him on his trip to this icy outland to make sure that he’s safe. But they quickly discover that no one is ever really safe in a place like this. And no one is above suspicion . . .

When Cutter and Lola arrive, the village is already gripped with fear. A young couple has disappeared from their fishing lodge, just eight miles upriver. Their handyman has been found dead, next to a crude drawing of a mysterious symbol. To make matters worse, a dense fog has descended on the region, isolating the town from civilization. With the judge’s life still at risk, and two people still missing, Cutter and Lola have their work cut out for them. But navigating the small-town customs and blood-bound traditions of this close-knit community won’t be easy. When the secrets come out, the deadly hunt is on . . .
Because in Alaska, nothing runs colder than blood.

Why you should check it out: Cameron just keeps pumping out A+ thrillers, and that includes the incredible job he’s done with Jack Ryan since taking over for Mark Greaney, keeping Tom Clancy’s iconic hero alive and well. He’s also still writing Jericho Quinn books, but it’s his latest series I’m most excited about. Written in the same vein as C.J. Box and William Kent Krueger, Cameron’s Arliss Cutter series shows why he’s perhaps the most versatile writer in the game today.

Hour of the AssassinHour of the Assassin by Matthew Quirk

Release Date: March 31st

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, Nick finds himself entangled in a vicious crime that will shake Washington to its foundations—as all the evidence points to Nick.

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 dark 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.

Why you should check it out: Coming off The Night Agent, one of the best books of 2019, Quirk is set to release a similar type of thriller this year, which David Baldacci says, “Opens with a bang and keeps exploding for three hundred pages.”

After SundownAfter Sundown by Linda Howard and Linda Jones

Release Date: March 31st

Danger brings together two guarded hearts in a battle for survival in this irresistible story from New York Times bestselling authors Linda Howard and Linda Jones.

Sela Gordon, the shy owner of a Tennessee general store, finds safety in solitude. But if anyone can pierce her protective shell it’s the handsome, mysterious ex-military man living alone in the wilds of Cove Mountain. For two years, he’s kept his distance—until the day he appears to warn her that a catastrophic solar storm capable of taking down the power grid is coming. Now, Sela must find the courage to become the leader Wears Valley needs.

Bitter experience has taught Ben Jernigan it’s best to look out for number one. For two years the former soldier has lived in a self-imposed exile, using a top-notch security system to keep people away. But he had to let Sela know about the impending threat—and now the quiet and undeniably sexy woman is making it too easy for him to lower his guard.

As panic spreads, Sela and Ben discover that in the dark, cut off from the outside world, there’s no more playing it safe—in life or in love.

Why you should check it out: A talented writing duo, Howard and Jones have turned in a really solid story that, while it does have a lot of romance, has plenty of tension and suspense too.

The Final DeceptionThe Final Deception by Heather Graham

Release Date: March 31st

How do you confront a threat that is hiding in plain sight? FBI agent Craig Frasier and psychologist Kieran Finnegan hunt an escaped serial killer in the latest explosive thriller in the New York Confidential series.

It was one of Kieran’s most chilling cases: her assessment of a murderer known as the Fireman. There was no doubt that the man needed to be locked away. Now Craig is called to a gruesome crime scene that matches the killer’s methods, and news breaks that the Fireman has escaped prison.

Amid a citywide manhunt, Kieran and Craig need to untangle a web of deceit, privilege and greed. They suspect that those closest to the killer have been drawn into his evil, or else someone is using another man’s madness and cruelty to disguise their crimes.

When their investigation brings the danger right to the doorstep of Finnegan’s Pub, Kieran and Craig will have to be smarter and bolder than ever before, because this time it’s personal, and they have everything to lose.

Why you should check it out: Heather Graham, a true pro’s pro, continues to do what she’s done for so long . . . entertain readers from beginning to end.

A Silent DeathA Silent Death by Peter May

Release Date: March 31st

The scorching new thriller from worldwide bestselling author of The Blackhouse, Coffin Road and I’ll Keep You Safe.

Spain, 2020
When ex-pat fugitive Jack Cleland watches his girlfriend die, gunned down in a pursuit involving officer Cristina Sanchez Pradell, he promises to exact his revenge and destroy the policewoman.

Cristina’s aunt Ana has been deaf and blind for the entirety of her adult life: the victim of a rare condition named Usher Syndrome. Ana is the center of Cristina’s world–and of Cleland’s cruel plan.

John Mackenzie–an ingenious yet irascible Glaswegian investigator–is assigned to aid the Spanish authorities in their manhunt. He alone can silence Cleland before the fugitive has the last, bloody, word.

Peter May’s latest bestseller unites a strong, independent Spaniard with a socially inept Scotsman; a senseless vendetta with a sense-deprived victim, and a red-hot Costa Del Sol with an ice-cold killer.

Why you should check it out: Under-read and underappreciated in the U.S., May’s series really is very well written and entertaining. Those looking for mysteries slightly on the darker side should give him a try.

Chosen OnesChosen Ones by Veronica Roth

Release Date: April 7th

The mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise delivers her masterful first novel for adults

Fifteen years ago, five ordinary teenagers were singled out by a prophecy to take down an impossibly powerful entity wreaking havoc across North America. He was known as the Dark One, and his weapon of choice—catastrophic events known as Drains—leveled cities and claimed thousands of lives. Chosen Ones, as the teens were known, gave everything they had to defeat him.

After the Dark One fell, the world went back to normal . . . for everyone but them. After all, what do you do when you’re the most famous people on Earth, your only education was in magical destruction, and your purpose in life is now fulfilled?

Of the five, Sloane has had the hardest time adjusting. Everyone else blames the PTSD—and her huge attitude problem—but really, she’s hiding secrets from them . . . secrets that keep her tied to the past and alienate her from the only four people in the world who understand her.

On the tenth anniversary of the Dark One’s defeat, something unthinkable happens: one of the Chosen Ones dies. When the others gather for the funeral, they discover the Dark One’s ultimate goal was much bigger than they, the government, or even prophecy could have foretold—bigger than the world itself.

And this time, fighting back might take more than Sloane has to give.

Why you should check it out: Roth has never reached the level of success and acclaim post-Divergent that she probably became used to when penning her beloved series. Now, though, as she continues writing for adult audiences, it would appear she’s found her footing—the question is, will this one be as well-received as her YA stuff?

Strike Me DownStrike Me Down by Mindy Mejia

Release Date: April 7th

From the critically acclaimed author of Leave No Trace, the “nail-biting page-turner that grabs you early and never lets go” (The Real Book Spy), comes a visceral thriller following an accountant’s complicated and potentially deadly search for missing money.

Nora Trier catches thieves. As a forensic accountant and partner in her downtown Minneapolis firm, she’s unearthed millions in every corner of the world. She prides herself on her independence, the most essential currency of accounting, until her firm is hired by Strike.

An anti-corporate, feminist athletic empire, Strike is owned by Logan Russo, a brash and legendary kickboxer, and her marketing genius husband, Gregg Abbott. They’re about to host a major kickboxing tournament with twenty million dollars in prize money, and the chance for the champion to become the new face of the company. Gregg suspects his wife already has a new face in mind—a young trainer named Aaden, for whom Logan feels an unexpected connection.

Days before the tournament begins, it’s discovered that the prize money is missing. Gregg hires Nora’s firm to find both the thief and the money but Nora has a secret connection to Strike that threatens her independence. Her partner pressures her into taking the case anyway, hinting he has information about Strike that could change the course of the investigation in a shocking and deadly way.

Why you should check it out: Mejia has been riding a hot streak since Everything You Want Me to Be came out in 2017. Her latest is just as twisting and packs an even meaner punch. Honestly, it’s time to start talking about her as one of the top writers in the genre, because her stuff is right up there with the Harlan Cobens of the world. She’s that good. 

BrokenBroken by Don Winslow

Release Date: April 7th

In six intense short novels connected by the themes of crime, corruption, vengeance, justice, loss, betrayal, guilt and redemption, Broken is #1 international bestseller Don Winslow at his nerve-shattering, heart-stopping, heartbreaking best. In Broken, he creates a world of high-level thieves and low-life crooks, obsessed cops struggling with life on and off the job, private detectives, dope dealers, bounty hunters and fugitives, the lost souls driving without headlights through the dark night on the American criminal highway.

With his trademark blend of insight, humanity, humor, action and the highest level of literary craftsmanship, Winslow delivers a collection of tales that will become classics of crime fiction.

Why you should check it out: Winslow is probably the most talented author, speaking purely from a writing standpoint, working today—anything that he puts out becomes must-read material. Sure, it’s a short story collection and not a novel, but that just means we’re getting six different stories in one.

The Third SisterThe Third Sister by Sara Blaedel

Release Date: April 7th

Six Feet Under meets Lisa Scottoline in the explosive conclusion to #1 international bestselling author Sara Blaedel’s new Family Secrets series, where family drama is infused with edge-of-your-seat suspense.

When Ilka Jensen inherited a funeral home after her father’s death, she impulsively abandoned her quiet life in Denmark to visit the small town in Wisconsin where her father lived. There she was devastated to discover her father’s second family: a stepmother and two half-sisters she never knew existed. Before long, Ilka is entangled in decades of family drama, secrets and lies, blackmail, and even murder.

The riveting conclusion to the Family Secrets trilogy picks up right where the cliffhanger ending of Her Father’s Secret left off with the astonishing revelation that Ilka’s father is actually still alive. Reeling from the news, Ilka sets off for her father’s last known location, where she is faced with a formidable task: to confront a man who abandoned her as a child–then pulled her as an adult into a frightening, violent world–and finally get the answers she has been desperately seeking.

But when she meets her father for the first time in her adult life, he raises more questions than answers. Ilka and her father form a tense alliance and set out to unravel decades-old mysteries and intrigue–before her father’s secrets destroy them both.

Why you should check it out: This series started off with a bang and just gets better and better. It’s being billed as the final book in the trilogy, and if that’s true, it’ll be sad to see Ilka Jensen go. That said, we have to know how it ends, making this one of the most anticipated releases come springtime.

Hidden SalemHidden Salem by Kay Hooper

Release Date: April 7th

A town shrouded in the occult. An evil that lurks in the dark. The SCU returns in a hair-raising novel from New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper.

Nellie Cavendish has very good reasons to seek out her roots, and not only because she has no memory of her mother and hardly knew the father who left her upbringing to paid caregivers. In the eight years since her twenty-first birthday, very odd things have begun to happen. Crows gather near her wherever she goes, electronics short out when she touches them, and when she’s upset, really upset, it storms. At first, she chalked up the unusual happenings to coincidence, but that explanation doesn’t begin to cover the vivid nightmares that torment her. She can no longer pretend to ignore them. She has to find out the truth. And the only starting point she has is a mysterious letter from her father delivered ten years after his death, insisting she go to a town called Salem and risk her life to stop some unnamed evil. Before her thirtieth birthday.

As a longtime member of the FBI’s Special Crimes Unit, Grayson Sheridan has learned not to be surprised by the unusual and the macabre–but Salem is different. Evidence of Satanic activities and the disappearance of three strangers to the town are what brought Salem to the attention of the SCU, and when Gray arrives to find his undercover partner vanished, he knows that whatever’s hiding in the seemingly peaceful little town is deadly.  But what actually hides in the shadows and secrets of Salem is unlike anything the agents have ever encountered.

Why you should check it out: Hooper’s series is right up there with Catherine Coulter’s, and fans of one will likely enjoy the other as well.

Savage Son SDSavage Son by Jack Carr

Release Date: April 14th

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 check it out: The thriller world hasn’t seen 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.

Masked PreyMasked Prey by John Sandford

Release Date: April 21st

Lucas Davenport investigates a vitriolic blog that seems to be targeting the children of U.S. politicians in the latest thriller by #1 New York Times-bestselling author John Sandford.

The daughter of a U.S. Senator is monitoring her social media presence when she finds a picture of herself on a strange blog. And there are other pictures . . . of the children of other influential Washington politicians, walking or standing outside their schools, each identified by name. Surrounding the photos are texts of vicious political rants from a motley variety of extremist groups.

It’s obviously alarming–there’s an unstated but deadly threat here–but when the FBI is called in, there isn’t much the feds can do. The anonymous photographer can’t be pinned down to one location or IP address, and more importantly, at least to the paper-processing bureaucrats, no crime has actually been committed. With nowhere else to turn, influential Senators decide to call in someone who can operate outside the FBI’s constraints: Lucas Davenport.

Why you should check it out: Every year, like clockwork, Sandford puts out two books . . . and every year, fans gobble them up, anxious to spend more time with Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers. Davenport returns first, but look for Flowers sometime later on in the fall.

Dead LandDead Land by Sara Paretsky

Release Date: April 21st

Chicago’s legendary detective, V.I. Warshawski, knows her city’s rotten underbelly better than most, but she’s unable to avoid it when her goddaughter drags her into a fight over lakefront land use, in this propulsive novel from New York Times bestseller Sara Paretsky.

Chicago may be the city of broad shoulders, but its political law is “Pay to Play.” Money changes hands in the middle of the night, and by morning, buildings and parks are replaced by billion-dollar projects.

Chicago PI V.I. Warshawski gets pulled into one of these clandestine deals through her impetuous goddaughter, Bernie Fouchard. Bernie tries to rescue Lydia Zamir, a famed singer-songwriter now living on the streets; Zamir’s life fell apart when her lover was murdered next to her in a mass shooting at an outdoor concert. Not only does Bernie plunge her and V.I. headlong into the path of some ruthless developers, they lead to the murder of the young man Bernie is dating. He’s a computer geek working for a community group called SLICK.

V.I. is desperate to find a mysterious man named Coop, who roams the lakefront in the middle of the night with his dog. She’s sure he holds the key to the mounting body count within SLICK. Coop may even know why an international law firm is representing the mass murderer responsible for Lydia’s lover’s death. Instead, the detective finds a terrifying conspiracy stretching from Chicago’s parks to a cover-up of the dark chapters in America’s meddling in South American politics. Before she finds answers, this electrifying novel pushes V.I. close to the breaking point: People who pay to play take no prisoner.

Why you should check it out: Warshawski is a fan favorite for sure, and Paretsky’s series exploded a few years back, taking her series to a new level. If you’re looking for a great new series to binge, give it a try.

Walk the WireWalk the Wire (A New Memory Man) by David Baldacci

Release Date: April 21st

The #1 New York Times bestselling author with over 130 million books in print worldwide returns with his next blockbuster thriller.

Why you should check it out: We don’t know any plot details yet, but that doesn’t matter here. Baldacci is one of the few writers on the planet who walks around with instant “buy now” cred based on his long track record of delivering crowd-pleasing hits. Amos Decker might be his best character going right now, making this an even easier decision.

Camino WindsCamino Winds by John Grisham

Release Date: April 28th

#1 New York Times bestselling author John Grisham returns to Camino Island in this irresistible page-turner that’s as refreshing as an island breeze. In Camino Winds, mystery and intrigue once again catch up with novelist Mercer Mann, proving that the suspense never rests—even in paradise.

Why you should check it out: A sequel to Camino Island, Grisham is returning to the universe he created just a couple short years ago. More mystery than anything else, fans need not worry about what that means for a new legal thriller this fall, as we’re almost certain to get one of those too later in the year.

Call of the RavenCall of the Raven by Wilbur Smith

Release Date: April 28th

The right of the cat over the mouse, of the strong over the weak. The natural law of existence.’ Augustus Mungo St John, A Falcon Flies

The son of a wealthy plantation owner and a doting mother, Augustus Mungo St John is accustomed to the wealth and luxuries his privilege has afforded him. That is until he returns from university to discover his family ruined, his inheritance stolen and his childhood sweetheart, Camilla, taken by the conniving Chester Marion. Fuelled by anger, and love, Mungo swears vengeance and devotes his life to saving Camilla – and destroying Chester.

Camilla, trapped in New Orleans and powerless to her position as a kept slave and Chester’s brutish behaviour, must learn to do whatever it takes to survive.

As Mungo battles his own fate and misfortune to achieve the revenge that drives him, and regain his power in the world, he must question what it takes for a man to survive when he has nothing, and what he is willing to do in order to get what he wants.

An action-packed and gripping adventure by bestselling author, Wilbur Smith, about one man’s quest for revenge, the brutality of slavery in America and the imbalance between humans that can drive – or defeat – us.Ca

Why you should check it out: Smith’s books aren’t as mainstream as they used to be, but the writing is still there. He’s had a few really under-the-radar books over the last few years. Maybe this is the one that brings more eyeballs back to his work.

Close UpClose Up by Amanda Quick

Release Date: May 5th

Welcome to Burning Cove, California where 1930s Hollywood glamour conceals a ruthless killer…

Vivian Brazier never thought life as an art photographer would include nightly wake-up calls to snap photos of grisly crime scenes or headshots for aspiring male actors. Although she is set on a career of transforming photography into a new art form, she knows her current work is what’s paying the bills.

After shooting crime scene photos of a famous actress, the latest victim of the murderer the press has dubbed the “Dagger Killer,” Vivian notices eerie similarities to the crime scenes of previous victims—details that only another photographer would have noticed—details that put Vivian at the top of the killer’s target list.

Nick Sundridge has always been able to “see” things that others don’t, coping with disturbing dreams and visions. His talent, or as he puts it—his curse—along with his dark past makes him a recluse, but a brilliant investigator. As the only one with the ability to help, Nick is sent to protect Vivian. Together, they discover the Dagger Killer has ties to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood royalty and high society. It is a cutthroat world of allure and deception that Vivian and Nick must traverse—all in order to uncover the killer who will stop at nothing to add them to their gallery of murders.

Why you should check it out: Quick, a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, brings her strong prose and superb character developmental to this series, which is already four books deep. If you haven’t picked ’em up yet, now’s a great time to jump in.

if it bleedsIf it Bleeds by Stephen King

Release Date: May 5th

From #1 New York Times bestselling author, legendary storyteller, and master of short fiction Stephen King comes an extraordinary collection of four new and compelling novellas—Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, The Life of Chuck, Rat, and the title story If It Bleeds—each pulling you into intriguing and frightening places.

The novella is a form King has returned to over and over again in the course of his amazing career, and many have been made into iconic films, including “The Body” (Stand By Me) and “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (Shawshank Redemption). Like Four Past Midnight, Different Seasons, and most recently Full Dark, No Stars, If It Bleeds is a uniquely satisfying collection of longer short fiction by an incomparably gifted writer.

Why you should check it out: It’s a book with Stephen King’s name on it. Honestly, if you need to know more than that, it’s probably not for you anyway.

Hard Cash ValleyHard Cash Valley by Brian Panowich

Release Date: May 5th

Return to McFalls County and Bull Mountain in Hard Cash Valley, where Brian Panowich weaves another masterful tale of Southern Noir.

Dane Kirby is a broken man and no stranger to tragedy. As a life-long resident and ex-arson investigator for McFalls County, Dane has lived his life in one of the most chaotic and crime-ridden regions of the south. When he gets called in to consult on a brutal murder in a Jacksonville, Florida, motel room, he and his FBI counterpart, Special Agent Roselita Velasquez, begin an investigation that leads them back to the criminal circles of his own backyard.

Arnie Blackwell’s murder in Jacksonville is only the beginning – and Dane and Roselita seem to be one step behind. For someone is hacking a bloody trail throughout the Southeast looking for Arnie’s younger brother, a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who possesses an unusual skill with numbers that could make a lot of money and that has already gotten a lot of people killed―and has even more of the deadliest people alive willing to do anything it takes to exploit him.

As Dane joins in the hunt to find the boy, it swiftly becomes a race against the clock that has Dane entangled in a web of secrets involving everyone from the Filipino Mafia to distrusting federal agents to some of hardest southern outlaws he’s ever known.

Why you should check it out: Panowich is a strong storyteller who writes with authority. His first two books were both critically acclaimed, winning all kinds of awards. He reminds me of a younger James Lee Burke, and though his style is a fair bit darker, he too uses the story’s setting brilliantly, making it an intricate part of the plot.

The Lincoln ConspiracyThe Lincoln Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

Release Date: May 5th

The #1 bestselling author of The First Conspiracy, which covers the secret plot against George Washington, now turns his attention to a little-known, but true story about a failed assassination attempt on President Lincoln

Everyone knows about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, but not everyone knows there was also a conspiracy to kill him four years earlier in 1861, literally on his way to Washington, DC, for his first inauguration. The conspirators were part of a secret society that didn’t want an abolitionist in the highest office. They planned an elaborate scheme to assassinate the brand new President in Baltimore as Lincoln’s Inauguration train was headed to the Capital. The plot was foiled thanks to famed detective Allan Pinkerton, who infiltrated the group with undercover agents, including one of the first female private detectives in America. Had the assassination succeeded, there would have been no Lincoln presidency, and the Civil War would’ve had a potentially far different ending. This is the story of the secret plot that nearly changed history.

Why you should check it out: Brad Meltzer does it all. Adult fiction. Nonfiction. Kids’ books. Comics. TV shows. Seriously, is there anything he can’t do? (He even predicted the biggest spoiler about Rey’s parentage in the new Star Wars trilogy. For real!) Anyways, what I love about him is that he’s a great writer who understands his craft and knows how to make nonfiction just as fun as, say, one of his thrillers. That’s incredibly hard to do, which is probably why he’s one of the only authors doing it.

The PaladinThe Paladin by David Ignatius

Release Date: May 5th

When a daring, high-tech CIA operation goes wrong and is disavowed, Michael Dunne sets out for revenge.

CIA operations officer Michael Dunne is tasked with infiltrating an Italian news organization that smells like a front for an enemy intelligence service. Headed by an American journalist, the self-styled bandits run a cyber operation unlike anything the CIA has seen before. Fast, slick, and indiscriminate, the group steals secrets from everywhere and anyone, and exploits them in ways the CIA can neither understand nor stop.

Dunne knows it’s illegal to run a covert op on an American citizen or journalist, but he has never refused an assignment and his boss has assured his protection. Soon after Dunne infiltrates the organization, however, his cover disintegrates. When news of the operation breaks and someone leaks that Dunne had an extramarital affair while on the job, the CIA leaves him to take the fall. Now a year later, fresh out of jail, Dunne sets out to hunt down and take vengeance on the people who destroyed his life

Why you should check it out: Those looking for a new age CIA thriller, add this one to your list. It’s less Brad Thor and more Matthew Quirk, for what that’s worth, so expect some misdirection along the way.

The Goodbye ManThe Goodbye Man by Jeffery Deaver

Release Date: May 12th

A thrilling new Colter Shaw adventure by the master of suspense, Jeffery Deaver.

In pursuit of two young men accused of terrible hate crimes, Colter Shaw stumbles upon a clue to another mystery. In an effort to save the life of a young woman–and possibly others–he travels to the wilderness of Washington State to investigate a mysterious organization. Is it a community that consoles the bereaved? Or a dangerous cult under the sway of a captivating leader? As he peels back the layers of truth, Shaw finds that some people will stop at nothing to keep their secrets hidden.

All the while, Shaw must unravel an equally deadly enigma: locating and deciphering a message hidden by his father years ago, just before his death–a message that will have life-and-death consequences.

Why you should check it out: I know it hovers on blasphemy to suggest that Colter Shaw might be a better character than Lincoln Rhyme (especially when there’s a new TV show about Rhyme), but I’m willing to go there. Honestly, I think Deaver’s doing some of his best work with this new series, and have been really impressed so far.

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

Release Date: May 5th

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 check it out: 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.

THe Last TrialThe Last Trial by Scott Turow

Release Date: May 12th

In this explosive legal thriller from New York Times bestselling author Scott Turow, two formidable men collide: a celebrated criminal defense lawyer at the end of his career and his lifelong friend, a renowned doctor accused of murder.

At 85 years old, Alejandro “Sandy” Stern, a brilliant defense lawyer with his health failing but spirit intact, is on the brink of retirement. But when his old friend Dr. Kiril Pafko, a former Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, is faced with charges of insider trading, fraud, and murder, his entire life’s work is put in jeopardy, and Stern decides to take on one last trial.

In a case that will provide the defining coda to both men’s accomplished lives, Stern probes beneath the surface of his friend’s dazzling veneer as a distinguished cancer researcher. As the trial progresses, Stern will question everything he thought he knew about his friend. Despite Pafko’s many failings, is he innocent of the terrible charges laid against him? How far will Stern go to save his friend, and–no matter the trial’s outcome–will he ever know the truth? Stern’s duty to defend his client and his belief in the power of the judicial system both face a final, terrible test in the courtroom, where the evidence and reality are sometimes worlds apart.

Full of the deep insights into the spaces where the fragility of human nature and the justice system collide, Scott Turow’s The Last Trial is a masterful legal thriller that unfolds in page-turning suspense–and questions how we measure a life.

Why you should check it out: I wasn’t a fan of his last book, which was clunky and underwhelming, but overall, Turow has long proven to be one of the top legal thriller novelists in the game. I expect him to bounce back in 2020. 

The BountyThe Bounty by Janet Evanovich and Peter Evanovich

Release Date: May 12th

Kate and Nick race against time to find a buried train filled with Nazi gold…And this time they’re bringing their fathers on the adventure.

Forced into an unlikely partnership by the FBI, Special Agent Kate O’Hare and international conman Nick Fox have brought down some major criminals together, but nobody this big: A vast international organization known as The Brotherhood. Directly descended from the World War II Vatican Bank priests who served Hitler, they’re now searching for a lost train loaded with $30 billion in Nazi gold that has been hidden deep inside a labyrinthine maze of tunnels in the Tatra Mountains of Eastern Europe, untouched for over seventy-five years.

The key to bringing down The Brotherhood and finding the fortune they’re hunting lies in the hands of one man – the man who taught Nick Fox everything he knows: His father, Quentin Fox. Quentin’s desperately trying to find the same train, and The Brotherhood will stop at nothing to get there first. Pursued by relentless assassins, Kate and Nick quickly learn that the only way to save Nick’s father is to join the hunt and put themselves between the bounty and The Brotherhood.

Enter Jake O’Hare, Kate’s own father. In order to save Nick’s dad, she’ll need Jake’s help. The only problem: He gave Kate her grit and her stubbornness – which means they can never agree on anything.

From a remote monastery in the Swiss Alps to a secret CIA safe house in London… From the rugged mountains on the Polish-Slovak border to the lawless desert of the Western Sahara… Against all odds, Kate, Nick, and the two men who made them who they are must solve the mystery, save their families, and stop the Brotherhood in the biggest and most deadly adventure of their lives.

Why you should check it out: When Janet Evanovich puts a book out, you buy it. Simple as that. And for those wondering, there’s been no official word on another Plum book this fall, but I expect that announcement will come sooner rather than later. 

Reaper Drone StrikeReaper: Drone Strike by Nicholas Irving and Anthony J. Tata

Release Date: May 12th

Nicholas Irving’s Reaper: Drone Strike is the next book in the explosive thriller series by the former special operations sniper and New York Times bestselling author of The Reaper.

On a classified mission to help the Israeli Defense Forces stop a Syrian and Hezbollah invasion to seize the Golan Heights, Ranger sniper Vick Harwood and his spotter go deep undercover. Operating with limited support from the American and Israeli governments, Vick is out on the edge.

Alessandra Cavezza, Director of Operations in Syria for the Italian UN Commission for Refugees, is moving families out of an embattled neighborhood. The nearly vacant suburb has been a haven for anti-Assad forces, ISIS militants, and Russian private military contractors. As she crawls into the basement of a home to help find a young girl’s doll, she finds a secret room that has detailed descriptions of unthinkable attacks on the United States, and falls into the hands of a madman: Jasar Tankian, Lebanese mastermind behind the plots.

As Syrian tanks attempt to push through Israeli defenses at the border, Team Reaper picks off Syrian tank commanders as they battle Israeli tanks, jets, and infantrymen. Combat intensifies as Vick goes black on ammunition. Commandeering a cargo drone to deliver Team Reaper to a landing zone near the coordinates, Vick becomes Alessandra’s―and America’s―only hope for survival.

Why you should check it out: This is one of the very best new series out there, and Harwood, who is equal parts Bob Lee Swagger and Jason Bourne, has quickly become a favorite among Book Spy readers. I’ve seen a ton of great feedback from the first two books, and I have to agree—Irving and Tata are an awesome writing team. 

The Ballad of Songbirds and snakesThe Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Release Date: May 19th

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.

Why you should check it out: While much of the plot details are still being kept under wraps, there’s no denying that a prequel to Collins’ iconic Hunger Games trilogy is pretty big news . . . even if it is set more than sixty years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute to save her sister, igniting a rebellion in the process. 

The Nemesis ManifestoThe Nemesis Manifesto by Eric Van Lustbader

Release Date: May 19th

Russian meddling, American fragmentation, and global politics collide in this action-packed, international thriller.

In The Nemesis Manifesto, New York Times bestselling author Eric Van Lustbader,the master of the smart thriller,”* delivers an epic and harrowing adventure of the predatory forces that are threatening the very fabric of democracy and kicks off a compelling new series with a singular new hero for our time.

Evan Ryder is a lone wolf, a field agent for a black-ops arm of the DOD, who has survived unspeakable tragedy and dedicated her life to protecting her country. When her fellow agents begin to be systematically eliminated, Evan must unravel the thread that ties them all together…and before her name comes up on the kill list.

The list belongs to a mysterious cabal known only as Nemesis, a hostile entity hell-bent on tearing the United States apart. As Evan tracks them from Washington D.C. to the Caucasus Mountains, from Austria to a fortress in Germany where her own demons reside, she unearths a network of conspirators far more complex than anyone could have imagined. Can Evan uproot them before Nemesis forces bring democracy to its knees?

Why you should check it out: I’ve said for years that Lustbader has done some of his best work outside of Ludlum’s Bourne franchise. Case in point, his latest has a ton of hype behind it, and word is he hit this one of the park.

From the GraveFrom the Grave by David Housewright

Release Date: May 19th

A past case comes back to haunt Twin Cities P.I. McKenzie as a stolen sum of money threatens to resurface in From the Grave, the next mystery in David Housewright’s award-winning series.

Once a police detective in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rushmore McKenzie became an unlikely millionaire and an occasional unlicensed private investigator, doing favors for friends. But this time, he finds himself in dire need of working on his own behalf.

His dear friend and first love Shelby Dunston attends a public reading by a psychic medium with the hope of connecting with her grandfather one final time. Instead, she hears McKenzie’s name spoken by the psychic in connection with a huge sum of stolen―and missing―money.

Caught in a world of psychic mediums, with a man from his past with a stake in the future, and more than one party willing to go to great and deadly lengths to get involved, McKenzie must figure out just how much he’s willing to believe―like his life depends on it―before everything takes a much darker turn.

Why you should check it out: Readers pretty much know what they’re getting with one of Housewright’s books by now, which is a solid mystery and a bunch of fun characters. McKenzie is one of the better characters still hanging around, along with Sandford’s Lucas Davenport. 

Fair Warning Promo CoverFair Warning by Michael Connelly

Release Date: May 26th

The hero of The Poet and The Scarecrow is back in the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly. Jack McEvoy, the journalist who never backs down, tracks a serial killer who has been operating completely under the radar–until now.

Veteran reporter Jack McEvoy has taken down killers before, but when a woman he had a one-night stand with is murdered in a particularly brutal way, McEvoy realizes he might be facing a criminal mind unlike any he’s ever encountered.

McEvoy investigates—against the warnings of the police and his own editor—and makes a shocking discovery that connects the crime to other mysterious deaths across the country. But his inquiry hits a snag when he himself becomes a suspect.

As he races to clear his name, McEvoy’s findings point to a serial killer working under the radar of law enforcement for years, and using personal data shared by the victims themselves to select and hunt his targets.

Called “the Raymond Chandler of this generation” (Associated Press), Michael Connelly once again delivers an unputdownable thriller that reveals a predator operating from the darkest corners of human nature—and one man courageous and determined enough to stand in his way.

Why you should check it out: Some fans will be bummed out that this isn’t a Bosch book, but if you’ve read Connelly’s The Poet or The Scarecrow, you know what a great character Jack McEvoy is. I’m thrilled to see him back, and as a bonus, we’re getting another Mickey Haller book this fall, likely sometime in October. 

A Private CathedralA Private Cathedral by James Lee Burke

Release Date: May 26th

Dave Robicheaux returns for his twenty-third adventure. 

Why you should check it out: Set sometime after the events of New Iberia Blues, Burke’s iconic character will return yet again for what’s sure to be another page-turner from one of the true masters still working in the genre. Expect more details soon, as we should have an official plot synopsis within a few weeks. 


Eagle StationEagle Station by Dale Brown

Release Date: May 26th

In this thrilling geopolitical technological adventure from New York Times bestselling legend Dale Brown, Brad McLanahan and the Space Force must fight to preserve America’s freedom when a pair of ruthless enemies forge an unlikely alliance to control not only the earth, but the moon and beyond.

Because its enemies never stop trying to undermine the United States’ security, the men and women who serve to protect America must always be vigilant. Few know this better than warriors Brad McLanahan and Nadia Rozek. Newly married, the two are just beginning to settle into their new life together when they are called back into action.

Though the Russians were badly defeated by Brad and the Iron Wolf Squadron in their previous bid for world dominance, they are back and doubling down on their quest for control of outer space. In addition to their cutting-edge weaponry, they have a formidable new ally: China’s energetic and ruthless leader, President Li Jun.

To protect America and the rest of the free world from the Russians and the Chinese, the Americans plan to mine the moon’s helium-3 resources, which will allow them to fully exploit the revolutionary fusion power technology Brad and his team captured from the Russians aboard the Mars One weapons platform.

But Leonov and Li have devised a daring plan of their own. They are building a joint secret base on the moon’s far side fortified with a powerful Russian plasma rail gun that can destroy any spacecraft entering lunar orbit. If the heavily armed base becomes operational, it will give America’s enemies control over the world’s economic and military future.

As this latest skirmish in the war for space accelerates, Brad, Nadia, and their compatriots in the Space Force must use their cunning and skill—and America’s own high-tech weaponry—to derail the Sino-Russian alliance and destroy their lunar site before it’s too late for the U.S. . . . and the entire world.

Why you should check it out: Brown was one of the first writers to work Trump’s newly formed Space Force into his books, and the result has paid off nicely, giving Brown’s series a shot of adrenaline that it needed. That’s not to say other books weren’t good, but when a franchise has hung around this long, a change is often needed in order to keep it fresh—and he sure found that. 

Untitled Fargo 12Untitled Sam and Remi Fargo Adventure from Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell

Release Date: May 26th

From New York Times-bestselling author Clive Cussler comes a new adventure featuring the husband-and-wife treasure-hunting team of Sam and Remi Fargo.

The latest suspenseful adventure in the beloved and bestselling series featuring Sam and Remi Fargo.

Why you should check it out: Burcell is, by far, the most talented co-author Cussler is currently working with, and even though we don’t know much about their latest collaboration, Fargo fans are safe pre-ordering this one well in advance. 

HideawayHideaway by Nora Roberts

Release Date: May 26th

A family ranch in Big Sur country and a legacy of Hollywood royalty set the stage for Nora Roberts’ emotional new suspense novel.

Why you should check it out: Roberts never disappoints, and she hasn’t gotten this far without knowing what her readers are looking for. Expect her to deliver yet again. 


Lone Jack TrailLone Jack Trail by Owen Laukkanen

Release Date: May 26th

For fans of CJ Box and Michael Koryta, Owen Laukkanen’s thrilling Neah Bay series continues with a new adventure for the tough ex-Marine, the sensitive ex-convict, and the rescue dog who changed both their lives.

A body washes up on the shore near Deception Cove. It belongs to “Bad” Brock Boyd, a disgraced former professional athlete from Makah County who recently finished a prison sentence for dogfighting.

Marine veteran Jess Winslow, now a trainee deputy in Deception Cove, is assigned to help investigate the suspicious death. But when it comes out that her friend, ex-convict Mason Burke, had a run-in with the victim on the day of his death, she’s forced to question whether everything she thinks she knows about Burke is wrong.

As prime suspect in the case, Burke is forced to go on the run. Jess is torn between the man she could love and the facts of the case, which seem to point squarely at him

Why you should check it out: Laukkanen has had a career resurgence of sorts thanks to this new series, which is a great fit for fans of Paul Doiron, Marc Cameron, and Nick Petrie. 

The PersiasionThe Persuasion by Iris Johansen

Release Date: June 2nd

When Eve Duncan’s daughter, Jane MacGuire, becomes a madman’s target, Jane must team up with longtime love interest Seth Caleb in this suspense novel from the #1 bestselling author of Smokescreen.

Why you should check it out: It’s hard to believe, but this is Johansen’s 27th Eve Duncan book to date, and the veteran bestseller is still churning out great new thrillers year after year. 

The AttackThe Attack by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV

Release Date: June 2nd

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

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

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

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

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

Why you should check it out: This series has struggled a bit, drawing some negative reviews over the last few years. That said, there’s a lot to like about the characters, especially if you’re in search of a mystery/procedural to sink your teeth into. 

SafecrackerSafecracker by Ryan Wick

Release Date: June 2nd

In this wicked debut, safecracker Michael Maven must pull off the most dangerous theft of his long career―or his friends and family will be killed.

Safecracker Michael Maven’s latest job should be simple: steal a rare coin from a New York apartment. But when the coin’s owner comes home with a beautiful woman, who then murders him, Maven realizes his mission won’t be so easy. And once the woman tries to take the coin for herself, Maven’s forced into action. While he narrowly escapes being killed himself, Maven’s then coerced by the woman’s boss, a sadistic drug lord, into a far more complicated and dangerous job.

If Maven fails to crack the safe of a rival cartel boss in Miami, his friends and family will die. If he succeeds, they still might. Which means he not only has to somehow pull off an impossible heist, but also outwit two crime bosses as well as the woman, his reluctant new partner.

Ryan Wick hits the right combination in Safecracker, unlocking a fast-paced, action-packed, cinematic thriller that fans of the genre won’t want to miss.

Why you should check it out: Wick has turned in a heck of a debut here. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first cracked it open but assumed it was somewhere between Oceans 11 and Chris Reich’s The Take. It can be hard capturing suspense and tension on the page when you’re writing about safecracking (a subject that ordinarily would be better suited for film or television), but Wick—without spoiling anything—nailed it. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed it and closed the back flap both impressed and excited for whatever he writes next. 

Firing Point coverTom Clancy Firing Point by Mike Maden

Release Date: June 9th

Jack Ryan, Jr is out to avenge the murder of an old friend, but the vein of evil he’s tapped into may run too deep for him to handle in the latest electric entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

While on vacation in Barcelona, Jack Ryan, Jr. is surprised to run into an old friend at a small café. A first, Renee Moore seems surprised to see Jack, but then she just seems irritated and distracted. After making plans to meet later, Jack leaves only to miss the opportunity to ever speak to Renee again as the café is destroyed minutes later by a suicide bomber. A desperate Jack plunges back into the ruins to save his friend, but it’s too late. As she dies in his arms, she utters one word, “Sammler.”

When the police show up they are initially suspicious of Jack until they are called off by a member of the Spanish Intelligence Service. This mysterious sequence of events sends the young Campus operative on an unrelenting search to find out the reason behind Renee’s death. Along the way, he discovers that his old friend had secrets of her own–and some of them may have gotten her killed.

Jack has never backed down from a challenge, but some prey may be too big for one man.

Why you should check it out: Mike Maden has been a godsend for this franchise, breathing new life into Jack Ryan Junior and the rest of the Campus since taking over for Grant Blackwood several years back. With a string of well-received Junior books under his belt, look for Maden to change things up a bit here. And whatever you do, get this one pre-ordered right away. 

High Treason by Sean McFate

Release Date: June 9th

“An American James Bond meets the twists and turns of Homeland.”―Adm James Stavridis, USN (Ret), Supreme Allied Commander at NATO

In this pulse-pounding third action thriller for fans of Brad Thor and David Baldacci, hero Tom Locke, introduced in Shadow War and Deep Black, must stop traitors and ruthless mercenaries working together to overthrow the president.

En route to the National Prayer Breakfast, the U.S. vice president’s motorcade is hit in a vicious, expertly planned attack that throws Washington, D.C. into chaos. Everyone assumes it’s ISIS―everyone but young FBI agent Jennifer Lin. She is certain that Russia is behind the strike.

Half a world away, military contractor Tom Locke has his own doubts about what happened―and who did it. He suspects his former employer, Apollo Outcomes, might be involved. But why would the global security firm orchestrate an attack on US soil?

Returning to D.C., Locke discovers that a civil war has fractured Apollo. A division has splintered off, a rogue unit led by an ambitious, unprincipled former colleague who may have planned the attack himself. But Apollo couldn’t have pulled this off without help from inside the government. The official’s itinerary and route were confidential―which means there must be a traitor high up in either the White House or the NSA who is leaking information to Apollo.

But why? And who could be pulling the strings? Islamic fundamentalist terrorists? Or is this a new ploy by Putin to discredit the U.S. government and divide it from its democratic allies? Only Locke can get to the bottom of the conspiracy that traverses the globe and blow it apart with one strategic strike before it’s too late.

Why you should check it out: McFate came on strong a couple of years ago with Shadow War (2016), his first Tom Locke book—but hasn’t turned in a new once since 2017’s Deep Black. Readers in search of a Brad Taylor-like military thriller series should give him a go. 

The Half SisterThe Half Sister by Sandie Jones

Release Date: June 16th

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Hello Sunshine Book Club pick The Other Woman, comes a compelling new domestic suspense novel about a family who is forever changed when a stranger arrives at their door.

Why you should check it out: It’s crazy to think that Jones is just three books into her career as a novelist. In my time running The Real Book Spy, nobody has ascended the psychological suspense genre as fast as she has, becoming one of the premier writers the publishing world has to offer in no time. I cannot recommend her enough . . . if you still haven’t discovered her work, change that. Soon. 

The Unwilling.jpgThe Unwilling by John Hart

Release Date: June 23rd

Set in the South at the height of the Vietnam War, The Unwilling combines crime, suspense, and searing glimpses into the human mind and soul in New York Times bestselling author John Hart’s singular style.

Gibby’s older brothers have already been to war. One died there. The other came back misunderstood and hard, a decorated killer now freshly released from a three-year stint in prison.

Jason won’t speak of the war or of his time behind bars, but he wants a relationship with the younger brother he hasn’t known for years. Determined to make that connection, he coaxes Gibby into a day at the lake: long hours of sunshine and whisky and older women.

But the day turns ugly when the four encounter a prison transfer bus on a stretch of empty road. Beautiful but drunk, one of the women taunts the prisoners, leading to a riot on the bus. The woman finds it funny in the moment, but is savagely murdered soon after.

Given his violent history, suspicion turns first to Jason; but when the second woman is kidnapped, the police suspect Gibby, too. Determined to prove Jason innocent, Gibby must avoid the cops and dive deep into his brother’s hidden life, a dark world of heroin, guns and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

What he discovers there is a truth more bleak than he could have imagined: not just the identity of the killer and the reasons for Tyra’s murder, but the forces that shaped his brother in Vietnam, the reason he was framed, and why the most dangerous man alive wants him back in prison.

This is crime fiction at its most raw, an exploration of family and the past, of prison and war and the indelible marks they leave.

Why you should check it out: A dark horse contender for best book of 2020, I am really high on Hart’s latest, which combines great writing with a fascinating plot to deliver an unforgettable experience for readers. 

Near DarkNear Dark by Brad Thor

Release Date: June 23rd

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

Why you should check it out: Thor’s last offering, Backlash, was my easy pick for best book of 2019. Now, rolling into 2020, all eyes are on Brad Thor to see if he can top himself yet again with his 20th Scot Harvath thriller. For what it’s worth, there’s no way in hell I’d bet against him, especially after Thor (who went George R.R. Martin on some fan-favorite characters in 2019) showed a willingness to perform a soft reboot of sorts last time out. Doing so made two things clear—Harvath is still one of the most badass characters in the genre, and he’s got a whole lot of gas left in the tank. 

Lost RiverLost River by J. Todd Scott

Release Date: June 23rd

A blistering crime novel of the opioid epidemic–and its cops, villains, and victims–written by a twenty-five-year veteran of the DEA.

Angel, Kentucky: Just another one of America’s forgotten places, where opportunities vanished long ago, and the opioid crisis has reached a fever pitch. When this small town is rocked by the vicious killing of an entire infamous local crime family, the bloody aftermath brings together three people already struggling with Angel’s drug epidemic: Trey, a young medic-in-training with secrets to hide; Special Agent Casey Alexander, a DEA agent who won’t let the local law or small-town way of doing things stand in her way; and Paul Mayfield, a former police chief who’s had to watch his own young wife succumb to addiction.

Over the course of twenty-four hours, loyalties are tested, the corrupt are exposed, and the horrible truth of the largest drug operation in the region is revealed. And though Angel will never be the same again, a lucky few may still find hope.

Why you should check it out: You will not find a more criminally underrated author on this list. Scott, who writes in the same vein as Don Winslow, knows his stuff and continues to release gritty, heart-thumping crime thrillers that aren’t to be missed. 

The Hollow onesThe Hollow Ones by Guillermo del Toro

Release Date: June 23rd

A horrific crime that defies ordinary explanation. A rookie FBI agent in dangerous, uncharted territory. An extraordinary hero for the ages.

Odessa Hardwicke’s life is derailed when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devasted, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn’t the tragedy itself-it’s the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent’s body after his death.

Questioning her future with the FBI and her sanity, Hardwicke accepts a low-level assignment to clear out the belongings of a retired agent in the New York office. What she finds there will put her on the trail of a mysterious figure named John Silence, a man of enormous means who claims to have been alive for centuries, and who is either an unhinged lunatic, or humanity’s best and only defense against unspeakable evil.

Why you should check it out: An accomplished filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro is the director of the films CronosMimicThe Devil’s BackboneBlade IIHellboyHellboy IIPacific Rim, and Pan’s Labyrinth. The guy clearly knows a thing or two about storytelling. 

The mistThe Mist by Ragnar Jónasson

Release Date: June 23rd

The final nail-biting installment in Ragnar Jonasson’s critically-acclaimed Hidden Iceland series, The Mist, from the newest superstar on the Icelandic crime fiction scene.

1987. An isolated farm house in the east of Iceland.

The snowstorm should have shut everybody out. But it didn’t.

The couple should never have let him in. But they did.

An unexpected guest, a liar, a killer. Not all will survive the night. And Detective Hulda will be haunted forever.

Why you should check it out: Is this really the end of Jónasson’s Hidden Iceland series? Plenty of fans will hope it’s not, but if it is, what a loss. This series, which is one of the best around, has come on strong lately as more American readers continue to discover the author’s work. Think Stephen King meets Harlan Coben . . . these books are fantastic. 

The Dirty SouthThe Dirty South by John Connolly

Release Date: June 30th

The New York Times bestselling author of A Book of Bones and “one of the best thriller writers we have” (Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author) goes back to the very beginning of Private Investigator Charlie Parker’s astonishing career with his first terrifying case.

It is 1999, and someone is slaughtering young women in Burdon County, Arkansas.

But no one in the Dirty South wants to admit it.

In an Arkansas jail cell sits a former NYPD detective, stricken by grief. He is mourning the death of his wife and child, and searching in vain for their killer. Obsessed with avenging his lost family, his life is about to take a shocking turn.

Witness the dawning of a conscience.

Witness the birth of a hunter.

Witness the becoming of Charlie Parker.

Why you should check it out: Connolly joins the growing list of writers who’ve gone back in time to tell the origin story for their longrunning protagonists (Vince Flynn, Phillip Kerr, Lee Child, etc.), and his fans will likely jump at the chance to see Charlie Parker work his first case. 

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

Release Date: June 30th

A woman’s birthday party takes a dark turn in a poignant, heart-stopping new novel from the reigning queen of suspense, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back.

Why you should check it out: Behind Closed Doors was incredible, but since then, Paris’ stuff, in my opinion, has failed to live up to the hype that book created. She’s still a premier talent, and I’m hoping she finally finds a way to top herself in 2020. 

One Last Lie by Paul Doiron

Release Date: June 30th

A sudden disappearance reveals a startling connection to a 15-year-old cold case in One Last Lie, the new thriller from bestselling Edgar Award finalist Paul Doiron.

“Never trust a man without secrets.” These are the last words retired game warden Charley Stevens speaks to his surrogate son, Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch, before the old man vanishes without explanation into a thousand miles of forest along the Canadian border. Mike suspects his friend’s sudden disappearance has to do with an antique badge found at a flea market―a badge that belonged to a warden who was presumed dead fifteen years ago but whose body was never recovered.

On a mission to find Charley before he meets a similarly dark fate, Mike must reopen a cold case that powerful people, including his fellow wardens―one of whom might be a killer―will do anything to keep closed.

Why you should check it out: Paul Doiron continues to be among the best crime writers in the genre, and his stuff just seems to get better and better. If you’re a fan of William Kent Krueger, John Sandford, or James Lee Burke, you’ve got to pick up Doiron’s Edgar-winning series. In fact, make that your New Year’s resolution. 

The RequestThe Request by David Bell

Release Date: June 30th

When a man agrees to do a favor for a friend, he gets more than he bargained for as he becomes embroiled in a woman’s murder in this new thriller from the USA Today bestselling author of Layover.

Ryan Francis has it all—great job, wonderful wife, beautiful child—and he loves posting photos of his perfect life on social media. Until the night his friend Blake asks him to break into a woman’s home to retrieve incriminating items that implicate Blake in an affair. Ryan refuses to help, but when Blake threatens to reveal Ryan’s darkest secret—which could jeopardize everything in Ryan’s life—Ryan has no choice but to honor Blake’s request.

When he arrives at the woman’s home, Ryan is shocked to find her dead—and just as shocked to realize he knows her. Then his phone chimes, revealing a Facebook friend request from the woman. With police sirens rapidly approaching, Ryan flees, wondering why his friend was setting him up for murder.

Determined to keep his life intact and to clear his name, Ryan must find the real murderer—but solving the crime may lead him closer to home than he ever could have imagined.

Why you should check it out: If you’re looking for a high-energy, twisting thriller that’ll keep you guessing, add this one to your list. 

The black swan of PrisThe Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards

Release Date: June 30th

From New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards comes one of the most anticipated novels of the summer

A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected.

Paris, 1944

Celebrated singer Genevieve Dumont is both a star and a smokescreen. An unwilling darling of the Nazis, the chanteuse’s position of privilege allows her to go undetected as an ally to the resistance.

When her estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis, Genevieve knows it won’t be long before the Gestapo succeeds in torturing information out of Lillian that will derail the upcoming allied invasion. The resistance movement is tasked with silencing her by any means necessary—including assassination. But Genevieve refuses to let her mother become yet one more victim of the war. Reuniting with her long-lost sister, she must find a way to navigate the perilous cross-currents of Occupied France undetected—and in time to save Lillian’s life.

For fans of The Nightingale, The Women in the Castle and The Lost Girls of Paris, this exquisite novel illuminates three women’s strength, courage and capacity for unconditional love.

Why you should check it out: Everything she writes is incredible, and I’d expect nothing less from Robards this time around. 

The OutsiderThe Outsider by Linda Castillo

Release Date: July 7th

Linda Castillo follows her instant NYT bestseller, Shamed, with Outsider, an electrifying thriller about a woman on the run hiding among the Amish.

Chief of Police Kate Burkholder’s past comes back to haunt her when she receives a call from Amish widower Adam Lengacher. While enjoying a sleigh ride with his children, he discovered a car stuck in a snowdrift and an unconscious woman inside. Kate arrives at his farm and is shocked to discover the driver is a woman she hasn’t seen in ten years: fellow cop Gina Colorosa.

Ten years ago, Kate and Gina were best friends at the police academy, graduating together as rookies with the Columbus Division of Police. But the reunion takes an ominous turn when Kate learns Gina is wanted for killing an undercover officer. Gina claims she’s innocent, that she was framed by corrupt officers who want her gone because she was about to turn them in for wrongdoing.

Kate calls upon state agent John Tomasetti for help and with a blizzard bearing down, they delve into the incident. But no one wants to talk about what happened the night Gina allegedly gunned down a fellow cop. Even Tomasetti is stonewalled, his superior telling him in no uncertain terms to back off.

With whisperings of corruption and the threat of rogue cops seeking revenge, Kate and Gina hunker down at Adam Lengacher’s farm. As Kate gets closer to the truth, a killer lies in wait. When violence strikes, Kate must confront a reality that changes everything she thought she knew not only about friendship, but the institution to which she’s devoted her life.

Why you should check it out: I’m a big fan of Castillo’s series, which stands out for its uniqueness and attention to characters. Kate Burkholder is easily among the best female protagonists still anchoring a series today. At times, Castillo’s writing reminds me of J.A. Jance, so if you like her books, definitely check out this franchise too. 

Home Before DarkHome Before Dark by Riley Sager

Release Date: July 7th

In the latest thriller from New York Times bestseller Riley Sager, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound—and dangerous—secrets hidden within its walls?

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

Alternating between Maggie’s uneasy homecoming and chapters from her father’s book, Home Before Dark is the story of a house with long-buried secrets and a woman’s quest to uncover them—even if the truth is far more terrifying than any haunting.

Why you should check it out: Sager has grown into a legit star the last few years, consistently pumping out nail-biting crime thrillers that keep attracting more and more readers.

Out of TimeOut of Time by David Klass

Release Date: July 7th

In this explosive thriller, a fiendishly clever serial bomber and self-styled “eco-terrorist” hits targets across America–and a conflicted young FBI agent may be the only person possessing the unique skills needed to catch him.

A massive FBI manhunt is underway for an elusive and terrifyingly adept serial bomber. He’s just struck his sixth target, Idaho’s Boon Dam, killing a dozen innocent people. But the bomber, who the press has dubbed “Green Man,” insists these drastic acts of violence–each one carefully selected to destroy a target that threatens the environment–are necessary to draw the world’s attention to the climate-change emergency.

The FBI has no real leads. It’s as if Green Man can predict every step of their investigation, skillfully evading all their standard tactics.

Until young agent Tom Smith approaches the task-force leader with an unexpected insight. Tom, a computer programmer by training, may be the only person with the unique skill set needed to catch Green Man before he strikes again . . .

David Klass is the author of many critically acclaimed young adult novels and has also written more than forty feature screenplays for the Hollywood studios including Kiss the Girls (starring Morgan Freeman and adapted from the novel by James Patterson), Desperate Measures (starring Michael Keaton), Walking Tall (starring The Rock), and In the Time of the Butterflies (starring Salma Hayak and adapted from the novel by Julia Alvarez). He has also written for Law and Order: Criminal Intent and currently runs the TV Writing concentration at Columbia University’s Film Schoo

Why you should check it out: If you’re looking for a political thriller that doesn’t feature the typical middle eastern/Russian/North Korean antagonist, you might want to pick this one up and give it a try. 

Daniel Silva Authoer picUntitled Gabriel Allon Novel from Daniel Silva

Release Date: July 14th

From Daniel Silva, author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers The New Girl and The Other Woman, comes a stunning new action-packed thriller of high stakes international intrigue featuring the enigmatic art restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon.

Master of the spy thriller Silva has entertained readers with twenty-two thoughtful and gripping suspense novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back―from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East.

He returns with another blockbuster―a powerhouse novel that showcases his outstanding skill and brilliant imagination, destined to be a must-read for both his multitudes of fans and growing legions of converts.

Why you should check it out: At this point, Silva is chasing only John le Carre for the title of greatest spy novelist of all time, having already surpased the rest of the competition. It’s truly incredible to think that Gabriel Allon is now heading into his 20th book, and yet Silva continues to get better and better with each new release. To read his stuff is to witness a master at work . . . and even without a cover, title, or official plot details, Daniel Silva’s latest thriller is one of the most anticipated books of 2020. 

Never Ask MeNever Ask Me by Jeff Abbott

Release Date: July 14th

From New York Times bestselling author Jeff Abbott, a story of a family full of secrets. One conceals a long-hidden crime, one is trapped in a dangerous relationship. Another may be a murderer.

One seemingly perfect American family finds themselves targeted for destruction after the shocking murder of a family friend in the park behind their backyard. Early one morning, Danielle Roberts, who lives next door to the Pollitts and has for a decade been like family to them, is found dead just beyond their property line, throwing the the exclusive Winding Creek neighborhood of a wealthy Austin suburb into chaos.

The Pollitt family–dad Kyle, mom Iris, daughter Julia, and son Grant–are caught in a maelstrom of suspicion and intrigue. Ask your parents why they killed her, an anonymous email charges the son, Grant. No one can learn the truth now, thinks the father, Kyle. Never ask me what I’d do to protect my family, resolves the wife, Iris. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect him, vows Julia of her best friend, Danielle’s grieving teenage son, Ned, a boy in the midst of his own dangerous crisis, which may or may not have brought on his mother’s murder.

Why you should check it out: Abbott has been lights-out since Blame (2017) and his latest promises to be one of his most twisting, shocking books yet. 

Dead Man DancingDead Man Dancing by John Galligan

Release Date: July 14th

In this sequel to the “gritty, brash, and totally gripping” (The Real Book Spy) thriller Bad Axe County, Sheriff Heidi Kick is investigating an illicit cage fighting ring with ties to white nationalism when her husband suddenly goes missing.

It’s a time for celebration in Bad Axe County as the town gathers for the annual Syttende Mai—or Norwegian Independence Day—festival. During this rollicking family-oriented event filled with dancing and food, Sheriff Heidi Kick discovers a dark and shocking event—a migrant worker has been savagely beaten but refuses to explain what happened. Then, a sudden disappearance of a band member shatters the festival. Something is deeply wrong in Bad Axe County.

As she looks for answers, Heidi plunges into a secret underworld where high-stakes cage fights double as combat training for the White Nationalist movement. Then all hell breaks loose for Heidi when her husband disappears and his deepest secret is revealed—he fathered a mixed-race child before their marriage. Can she solve these alarming mysteries, reclaim her husband, and save the life of a stepson she never knew existed?

A timely portrait of the deep divisions and simmering tensions brewing in our country today, Dead Man Dancing takes you into the dark heart of a movement defined by violence and hate. Featuring John Galligan’s signature “striking prose, engaging characters” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), and unforgettable twists and turns, Dead Man Dancing is a breathless thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Why you should check it out: Bad Axe County was phenomenal, falling somewhere between the kind of books we see from Ace Atkins and Brian Panowich. Book two has all the makings to be even better. If you aren’t reading Galligan’s stuff, start. 

Survival InstinctsSurvival Instincts by Jen Waite

Release Date: July 14th

By the bestselling author of A Beautiful, Terrible Thing, a haunting thriller about a mother and daughter who must draw strength from each other when they find themselves trapped in a cabin with a stranger who wants to either control them–or kill them.

FOURTEEN YEARS BEFORE THE CABIN: Twenty-something Anne meets the man of her dreams right out of college, but after they get married, Anne notices that her husband begins acting differently. Why is Ethan suddenly so moody? And will their marriage endure?

A WEEK BEFORE THE CABIN: Ten years later, Anne and her twelve-year-old daughter, Thea, are safely living in Vermont. Anne is a successful therapist, Thea has friends at her new school, and they receive an endless stream of love, support, and baked goods from Anne’s sweet mom, Rose. When Thea takes to brooding and showing classic signs of teen angst, a trip for the three women to the White Mountains of New Hampshire seems like the perfect chance to bond.

THE CABIN: A man follows the three women on a hike at a nature reserve and drags them at gunpoint to an abandoned cabin in the woods. And just like that their peaceful weekend away turns into a fight for survival. It isn’t clear what this man wants from these women or how he is connected to them if at all, but it is increasingly clear that they won’t all get out of the cabin alive.

SURVIVAL INSTINCTS is a captivating and terrifying novel that brings to life one of the scariest truths of all–that people’s inner monsters come in various forms, some more recognizable than others, and that we are all one random encounter away from tragedy.

Why you should check it out: A survival tale wrapped in a thriller, this book from Jen Waite should appeal to fans of Alafair Burke. 

The RevelatorsThe Revelators by Ace Atkins

Release Date: July 14th

In this gripping new crime novel from the New York Times-bestselling author, Quinn Colson is about to find out whether his quest for justice can coexist with his loyalty to the law…

Shot up and left for dead, Sheriff Quinn Colson has revenge on his mind. With the help of his new wife Maggie, rehabilitation, and sheer force of will, he’s walking again, eager to resume his work as a southern lawman and track down those responsible for his attempted murder. But someone is standing in his way: an interim sheriff, appointed by the newly elected Governor Vardaman, the man who Quinn knows ordered his murder. Vardaman sits at the top of the state’s power structure–both legal and criminal–and little does he know, Quinn is still alive. And coming for him.

Quinn will enlist the help of his most trusted friends, including federal agent Jon Holliday, U.S. Marshal Lillie Virgil, and Donnie Varner, a childhood buddy now working for the Feds as an informant. Since Quinn’s been gone, the criminal element in north Mississippi has flourished, with queenpin Fannie Hathcock enjoying unbridled freedom. As an ice storm bears down on north Mississippi and Memphis, and Tibbehah County is isolated from the outside world, the killers will return to finish the job.

But this time, Quinn Colson and company will be waiting, ready to bust apart a criminal empire running on a rigged system for far too long. This is the battle of Jericho, the epic showdown that’s been years in the making. In the end, the war will end–for better or worse.

Why you should check it out: Nobody writes southern fried homicide quite like Ace Atkins, whose series continues to grow in popularity—and for good reason. Quinn Colson is a star, and it’s almost criminal someone hasn’t snatched up the rights turn Atkins’ books into a television series in the same vein as Longmire. 

A Dangerous BreedA Dangerous Breed by Glen Erik Hamilton

Release Date: July 14th

“This guy has got what it takes.”―Lee Child

Van Shaw’s past and present collide when an ingenious blackmailer pushes him to the brink in this electrifying fifth novel in Glen Erik Hamilton’s gritty and emotionally powerful thriller series.

An invitation addressed to his long-dead mother sparks Van Shaw’s curiosity about the woman he barely knew. As he digs into young Moira Shaw’s past, he uncovers startling details about her life, including her relationship to a boy named Sean Burke―a boy Moira may have been seeing when she became pregnant. Could this Burke be the biological father who abandoned Van before he was born? Although Van knows all too well that some doors shouldn’t be opened, he decides to investigate the man―only to discover that Burke has an even darker family history than Van’s own.

But Van’s got more immediate problems. His friend Hollis is in a jam, and helping him out accidentally steers Van into the path of a master extortionist named Bilal Nath.  Nath demands that the talented thief to mastermind a daring heist targeting a Seattle biotechnology firm, or the blackmailer will destroy the lives of people Van loves. Will Van be forced to steal a viral weapon with the potential to  kill thousands?

With Bilal Nath coercing him into a possible act of domestic terrorism, Van turns to his formidable crew of lawbreaking friends―including Hollis, Big Will Willard, and Willard’s sly and seductive niece Elana―for help. Yet even this team may not be enough. To outwit a brilliant sociopath, Van might just need a cold-blooded killer . . . a criminal whose blood may run through his own veins.

Why you should check it out: Van Shaw returns in 2020 following last year’s Mercy River, which racked up a confusing 13 total reviews on Amazon. This series is really good, far better than 13 reviews on Amazon, and Hamilton is a fine writer. If you’re on the lookout for a new franchise to jump into this year, I highly recommend this one. 

DRAGON FIREDragonfire by Ted Bell

Release Date: July 21st

Alex Hawke, British lord and gentleman spy, is looking for the Queen’s missing grandson, whose disappearance may be the culmination of a plot almost a century old in this breathtaking new adventure from New York Times bestselling novelist Ted Bell.

December 8, 1941, Washington, D.C.
The new Chinese ambassador to the United States, Tiger Tang, meets with President Roosevelt one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. For the next four years, China and the U.S. will be wartime allies, but the charming, sophisticated ambassador may be playing his own treacherous game.

Today, The Bahamas
Alex Hawke is recovering from serious injuries incurred during a battle with a malevolent enemy. His recuperation is interrupted by a desperate call from the Queen. Her favorite grandson has disappeared in the Bahamas. Lord Hawke is the only man she trusts with a mission this sensitive. All she knows is that the young prince was last seen at the exclusive Dragonfire nightclub owned by the nefarious Tang brothers, grandsons of Ambassador Tiger Tang.

Why you should check it out: Alex Hawke, one of the thriller genre’s best characters, returns to action in 2020. Coming off of his most jaw-dropping ending to date in Overkill, Bell sounds confident that Dragonfire is his best novel to date. Back in July, he told me, “You’ve never seen Alex Hawke operating at this level before,” which is exciting when you consider Bell’s incredible run and just how much Lord Hawke has accomplished. Trust me, get your pre-orders in early for this one! 

Half Moon BayHalf Moon Bay by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman

Release Date: July 21st

Deputy coroner Clay Edison discovers that buried secrets can be deadly in this riveting thriller from a father-son team of bestselling authors who write “brilliant, page-turning fiction” (Stephen King).

Deputy Coroner Clay Edison has his hands full. He’s got a new baby who won’t sleep. He’s working the graveyard shift. And he’s trying, for once, to mind his own business. Then comes the first call. Workers demolishing a local park have made a haunting discovery: the decades-old skeleton of a child. But whose? And how did it get there?

No sooner has Clay begun to investigate than he receives a second call–this one from a local businessman, wondering if the body could belong to his sister. She went missing fifty years ago, the man says. Or at least I think she did. It’s a little complicated. And things only get stranger from there.

Clay’s relentless search for answers will unearth a history of violence and secrets, revolution and betrayal. Because in this town, the past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past. It’s very much alive. And it can kill.

Why you should check it out: Now several books in, this series continues to get stronger each time out. Also, that blurb from Stephen King at the top kind of says it all. 

The Lies you ToldThe Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce

Release Date: July 21st

In the playground, it’s the law of the jungle. At the school gate, there are no rules at all…

Life is hard for Sadie Roper. Her ex-husband is unkind and domineering, she’s struggling with her return to work as a barrister after nearly ten years away from chambers, and her children hate their new school. They haven’t made any friends yet and neither has she. She’s at rock bottom when Liza, queen of the school gate, befriends her. Sadie is drawn into the heart of the world from which she was previously excluded, and both she and her kids start to thrive. So when Liza’s family comes under threat, Sadie is the first to offer support, too loyal to worry about the danger to which she and her children might be exposed. She’s keeping her friends close—what Sadie doesn’t know is that her enemies are closer still…

Why you should check it out: Tyce was one of my favorite debut writers of 2019, and though most everyone was still focused on A.J. Finn’s overrated novel, I thought it was Tyce who turned in perhaps the best suspense thriller of the year. Can she do it again? 

The Silent Wife Promo CoverThe Silent Wife by Karlin Slaughter

Release Date: July 28th

New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter returns with another electrifying thriller filled with twists and surprises, in which Will Trent plunges into a dangerous investigation involving two similar crimes ten years apart. 

Atlanta, Georgia. Present-day. A young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. The police search for the culprit but the trail goes cold, until Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Will Trent makes a startling discovery. A prisoner in the state penitentiary tells Will that he recognizes the MO in the unsolved case. The attack looks identical to the crime he was convicted for ten years earlier. The imprisoned man has always maintained his innocence. Now, he’s sure he was framed.

As Will digs into both crimes, it becomes clear that the original case holds the answers, and he must solve it first to find the truth.

But ten years have passed―time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear. As far as the cops and prosecutors are concerned, that investigation was successfully closed. Will knows there is only one person who can help him hunt down a ruthless killer who roams free―and possibly clear an innocent man―his girlfriend Sara.

But when the past and present collide, Will quickly realizes that all he values is at stake, and that one wrong move could cost him everything.

Why you should check it out: Slaughter is as consistent a crime writer as you’ll find, and though her standalones are great too, there’s something special about her Will Trent series.

Strong from the heartStrong from the Heart by Jon Land

Release Date: July 28th

Caitlin Strong wages her own personal war on drugs against the true power behind the illicit opioid trade in the blistering and relentless 11th book in the award-winning series.

The drug crisis hits home for fifth-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong when the son of her outlaw lover Cort Wesley Masters nearly dies from an opioid overdose. On top of that, she’s dealing with the inexplicable tragedy of a small Texas town where all the residents died in a single night.

When Caitlin realizes that these two pursuits are intrinsically connected, she finds herself following a trail will take her to the truth behind the crisis that claimed 75,000 lives last year. Just in time, since the same force that has taken over the opiate trade has even more deadly intentions in mind, specifically the murder of tens of millions in pursuit of their even more nefarious goals.

The power base she’s up against―comprised of politicians, Big Pharma, along with corrupt doctors and drug distributors―has successfully beaten back all threats in the past. But they’ve never had to deal with the likes of Caitlin Strong before and have no idea what’s in store when the guns of Texas come calling.

At the root of the conspiracy, lies a cabal nestled within the highest corridors of power that’s determined to destroy all threats posed to them. Caitlin and Cort Wesley may have finally met their match, finding themselves isolated and ostracized with nowhere to turn, even as they strive to remain strong from the heart.

“Caitlin Strong is my kind of gal!” ―Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author

Why you should check it out: Land’s Caitlin Strong is like a female version of Walker Texas Ranger, but with more attitude and grit. He hasn’t written a bad book in the series yet, and I wouldn’t expect him to this time around. 

DeadlockDeadlock by Catherine Coulter

Release Date: July 28th

This exhilarating FBI thriller by #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter finds Savich and Sherlock confronting two baffling mysteries.

A young wife is forced to confront a decades-old deadly secret when a medium connects her to her dead grandfather.

A vicious psychopath wants ultimate revenge against Savich, but first, she wants to destroy what he loves most—his family.

A series of three red boxes are delivered personally to Savich at the Hoover Building, each one containing puzzle pieces of a town only FBI agent Pippa Cinelli recognizes. Savich sends in Cinelli to investigate undercover but someone knows who she is.

Savich and Sherlock are up to their eyebrows in danger, but can they figure out the red box puzzle and the young wife’s secret before it’s too late?

Why you should check it out: Coulter’s 24th FBI thriller sounds great, and there’s no reason to think she won’t deliver another top-notch book in 2020. 

The HooligansThe Hooligans by P.T. Deutermann

Release Date: July 28th

A gripping and authentic World War II naval adventure by a master storyteller

The Hooligans fictionalizes the little-known but remarkable exploits of “The Hooligan Navy” that fought in the Pacific theatre of World War II. Loosely-organized in fast moving squadrons, PT (patrol torpedo) boats were the pesky nemesis of the formidable Japanese navy, dubbed “the mosquito fleet” and “devil boats” for their daring raids against warships, tankers, and transport ships.

After the Pearl Harbor raid plunges America into war, young surgical resident Lincoln Anderson enlists in the Navy medical corps. His first deployment comes in August 1942 at Guadalcanal, when after a brutal sea battle and the landing of Marines on the island, Anderson finds himself triaging hundreds of casualties under relentless Japanese air and land attacks.

But with the navy short of doctors, soon Anderson is transferred to serve aboard a PT boat. From Guadalcanal to the Solomon Islands to the climactic, tide-turning battle of Leyte Gulf, Anderson and the crew members of his boat confront submarines and surface ships, are attacked from air by the dreaded Kawanishi flying boats, and hunted by destroyers. In the end, Anderson must lead a division of boats in a seemingly-impossible mission against a Japanese battleship formation―and learn the true nature of his character.

Informed by Deutermann’s own experience as a commander of a patrol gunboat in Vietnam, The Hooligans is first-rate military adventure fiction.

Why you should check it out: Another underrated writer on this list, Deutermann’s last few books have been really strong, earning him new readers and high praise along the way. 

Find them dead promo CoverFind Them Dead (Roy Grace #16) by Peter James

Release Date: August 1st

A Brighton crime overlord is on trial for conspiracy to murder, following the death of a rival crime family boss.

As the jury files into court, one person sits in the public gallery secretly filming them. Later, a computer-savvy colleague produces the names, ages, and addresses of each of the 12 jurors. The accused’s henchmen need to influence two of them—a jury can convict if directed on a 10-2 majority verdict but no less. But which two? One emerges as the front runner: Sarah Hope, Foreman of the jury. Her daughter is backpacking in a remote area of Ecuador. Sarah gets sent a series of aerial photos of her daughter, along with the coordinates of her position, and a stark message. A second juror, an outwardly respectable lawyer, is photographed in a dominatrix dungeon. If he doesn’t want the photographs made public, all he has to do is ensure the accused walks free. When Roy Grace is called in to investigate a murder that has links to the accused and the trial, he finds the reach and power of the accused’s tentacles go higher than he had ever imagined.

Why you should check it out: James, an international bestseller, remains one of the top writers in the genre, and it’s always nice to see Roy Grace return for yet another high-stakes case that’ll almost certainly keep readers flipping pages well into the night. 

The PalaceThe Palace by Christopher Reich

Release Date: August 4th

Rafael Castille– forty, a newlywed, and soon to be a father– is days away from opening a luxury boutique hotel on the sun-splashed island of Koh Samui, off the southern coast of Thailand. That is until the Royal Thai Police storms the hotel, arrests him, and flies him to Bangkok where he is placed in the city’s most notorious, overcrowded jail. Charged with blackmail, extortion, and embezzlement, “Rafa” needs help to prove his innocence.

At the request of Rafael’s father-in-law Sir Nicholas, Simon Riske rushes to Bangkok to ensure Rafa’s release. But the two soon find themselves in the throws of a violent interrogation deep in the jungle.

On the run in a foreign country and pursued by unseen forces for the murder of a top military official, Simon Riske must fight to stay alive long enough to uncover the truth. Simon’s quest takes him from Bangkok to Singapore, and, ultimately, to Rome, and the Cannes Film Festival, as he unravels a complex, audacious theft of enormous magnitude.
In his greatest challenge yet, Simon must foil a plot with global implications whose masterminds will stop at nothing to ensure its success.

Why you should check it out: Reich struck gold with Simon Riske, who might be his best character to date. If you aren’t reading this series, you’re missing out in a big way. 

Robert-Pobi.jpgUnder Pressure by Robert Pobi

Release Date: August 4th

A series of deadly explosions rock the city of New York and with too many victims and no known motive, the F.B.I. turns once again to Dr. Lucas Page.

On a beautiful October evening, New York City’s iconic Guggenheim Museum is closed for a tech company’s private gala. Until an explosion rocks the night, instantly killing 702 people, including every single attendee―yet the damage to the building itself was minimal.

An explosion of that precision was no accident and, in response, the FBI mobilizes its entire team — but the sheer number of victims strains their resources. Were all 702 victims in the wrong place at the wrong time, or was there only one target and 701 unlucky bystanders? That many victim files is a staggering amount of data to sort through and Brett Kehoe, Special Agent in Charge of Manhattan, decides that he can’t do this without more computational power.

Dr. Lucas Page, astrophysicist, university professor, and former FBI agent, is uniquely gifted for the task at hand―he can visualize a crime scene as if he was a bystander and can break down any set of data at a glance. Even though Page wants nothing to do with the FBI, with his city under attack and his family at risk, he steps in to find a killer in a haystack before they strike again.

Why you should check it out: Pobi’s last book, City of Windows, earned rave reviews from readers and critics alike. Now he’s set to follow that up with the next Lucas Page thriller as he builds what has all the makings of a really great new series. 

The Killings at the Kingfisher hillThe Killings at Kingfisher Hill (a New Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Sophie Hannah

Release Date: August 4th

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot―the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile―returns in a delectably twisty mystery.

Hercule Poirot is travelling by luxury passenger coach from London to the exclusive Kingfisher Hill estate. Richard Devonport has summoned him to prove that his fiancée, Helen, is innocent of the murder of his brother, Frank. There is one strange condition attached to this request: Poirot must conceal his true reason for being there from the rest of the Devonport family.

On the coach, a distressed woman leaps up, demanding to disembark. She insists that if she stays in her seat, she will be murdered. A seat-swap is arranged, and the rest of the journey passes without incident. But Poirot has a bad feeling about it, and his fears are later confirmed when a body is discovered in the Devonports’ home with a note that refers to “the seat that you shouldn’t have sat in.”

Could this new murder and the peculiar incident on the coach be clues to solving the mystery of who killed Frank Devonport? And can Poirot find the real murderer in time to save an innocent woman from the gallows.

Why you should check it out: Gillian Flynn, New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl, said, “I was thrilled to see Poirot in such very, very good hands.” I  couldn’t agree more. Hannah has done a fantastic job since taking over this series.

Then She VanishedThen She Vanished by T. Jefferson Parker

Release Date: August 11th

What if the client who’s hired you can’t be trusted…and the woman you’re looking for doesn’t want to be found? With Then She Vanished, three-time Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestselling-author T. Jefferson Parker delivers a new and pulse-pounding thriller.

Private Investigator Roland Ford has taken a job for a fellow Marine and a rising politician, Dalton Strait. Strait is contending with unexplained bombings of government buildings in his district…but that is not why he hired Ford. Strait’s wife, Natalie, has gone missing, leaving behind a cryptic plea for help. Strait has made many enemies during his time in politics–including some of his own family members–all of whom could be looking for revenge. But as Ford digs into the details of a troubled marriage, Natalie’s disappearance becomes more and more complicated.

Meanwhile, the bombings in the city intensify, with a mysterious group known only as the Chaos Committee claiming responsibility. Ford soon learns that the seemingly random attacks may be connected to the case he’s on–and suddenly, his hunt for a missing woman might decide the fate of an entire city.

Why you should check it out: Private Investigator Roland Ford has been around for a few years now, and in that time, Parker has turned him into the star of a must-read series that continues to surprise readers in new ways. The New York Times called his last book an “adrenaline-charged adventure.” I’d argue that’s true for the entire series thus far. 

When These Mountains BurnWhen These Mountains Burn by David Joy

Release Date: August 18th

Acclaimed author and “remarkably gifted storyteller” (The Charlotte Observer) David Joy returns with a fierce and tender tale of a father, an addict, a lawman, and the explosive events that come to unite them.

When his addict son gets in deep with his dealer, it takes everything Raymond Mathis has to bail him out of trouble one last time. Frustrated by the slow pace and limitations of the law, Raymond decides to take matters into his own hands.

After a workplace accident left him out of a job and in pain, Denny Rattler has spent years chasing his next high. He supports his habit through careful theft, following strict rules that keep him under the radar and out of jail. But when faced with opportunities too easy to resist, Denny makes two choices that change everything.

For months, the DEA has been chasing the drug supply in the mountains to no avail, when a lead–just one word–sets one agent on a path to crack the case wide open . . . but he’ll need help from the most unexpected quarter.

As chance brings together these men from different sides of a relentless epidemic, each may come to find that his opportunity for redemption lies with the others.

Why you should check it out: Joy, known for his gritty style and spot-on dialogue, is a real talent who has flashed major breakout potential over the years. I wouldn’t be shocked if this is the book that finally takes off in a big way. 

Deep StrikeDeep Strike by Rick Campbell

Release Date: August 18th

The U.S. Atlantic fleet is in a race to stop a rogue Russian submarine―funded by ISIS―en route to launch a missile attack against the east coast of the U.S.

A shoulder-launched missile attack on a convoy of vehicles leaving the U.N. headquarters in New York kills several diplomats, including the American ambassador. Security footage reveals that the killer behind the attack is a disgraced former special forces operative, Mark Alperi. But before U.S. intelligence operatives can catch up with him, Alperi is already onto the next phase of his plan.

With funding from the nearly shattered ISIS, Alperi plans an attack on the U.S. that will be more devastating than 9/11. He bribes a desperate Russian submarine commander with access to an expensive experimental drug for his daughter who is suffering from a rare disease. In exchange, the Russian commander will take his submarine to the Atlantic Ocean and launch a salvo of missiles at various targets along the East Coast of the United States. The commander lies to his crew that it’s a secret mission, with dummy missiles, for a training exercise. At the same time, unbeknownst to the commander, Alperi has arranged for four of the missile warheads to be replaced with four surplus nuclear warheads and arms them.

When the Russian submarine sinks the U.S. sub that is tracking it, the U.S. military is alarmed. When Intelligence uncovers Alperi’s plot, though, it becomes a race against time―find the Russian sub and sink it before it can launch a devastating nuclear attack.

Why you should check it out: Writing in the same vein as Tom Clancy and Larry Bond, Campbell is the best technothriller writer on the scene today. 

Assassins StrikeAssassin’s Strike by Ward Larsen

Release Date: August 18th

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

In a Syrian palace, the presidents of Russia and Syria undertake a clandestine meeting. No staff or advisors are permitted in the room. No records are kept. By necessity, however, there are two witnesses: the interpreters. The Russian, Ludmilla Kravchuk, returns to her hotel room burdened by what she has heard. When her Syrian counterpart is murdered before her eyes, Kravchuk fears she is next and goes into hiding in Syria.

The CIA gets word of the defection. Desperate to uncover the purpose of the meeting, they task their newest off-the-books operator―legendary assassin David Slaton―to undertake a daring rescue. Deep inside Syria’s war-torn borders, what Slaton finds is a plot that will tear the Middle East apart. And one that only he can stop.

Why you should check it out: Think of an Israeli Jason Bourne, and you’ve got Larson’s hero, David Slaton. More capable and dangerous than his enemies realize, Slaton, an ex-Mossad operative, just wants to live his life in peace. That never seems to work out for him though, and while it affects his family each time he’s pulled away, it’s a major positive for readers. 

Cover Image - THE BOURNE EVOLUTIONThe Bourne Evolution by Brian Freeman

Release Date: August 25th

America’s most enduring hero, Jason Bourne, returns–with old skills and new plot twists–in a propulsive, action-packed addition to the Bourne canon.

After the death of his wife in a mass shooting, secret agent Jason Bourne is convinced that there is more to her murder than it seems. Worse, he believes that the agency that trained him and made him who he is–Treadstone–is behind the killing. Bourne goes rogue, leaving Treadstone behind and taking on a new mission to infiltrate and expose an anarchist group, Medusa.

But when a congresswoman is assassinated in New York, Bourne is framed for the crime, and he finds himself alone and on the run, hunted by both Treadstone and the tech cabal who had hired him. In his quest to stay one step ahead of his enemies, Bourne teams up with a journalist, Abbey Laurent, to figure out who was behind the frame-up, and to learn as much as he can about the ever-growing threat of the mysterious Medusa group. As more and more enemies begin to hunt Bourne, it’s a race against the clock to discover who led him into a trap…and what their next move may be.

Why you should check it out: Everything I’ve heard has said that Freeman crushed his first Bourne book, which will attempt to reboot the series with a younger, more dangerous Bourne than we saw last time around in Eric Van Lustbader’s The Bourne Initiative

SpinSpin by Patricia Cornwell

Release Date: August 25th

Captain Calli Chase returns in a page-turning thriller from internationally bestselling author Patricia Cornwell.

Why you should check it out: Quantum has over 3,600 reviews and holds a 2.6/5 star rating. Yeah, that’s bad. But at the same time, I have to admit that I didn’t hate her first book in this new series—though I certainly didn’t love it either. There was a lot wrong with book one, but the characters and premise are intriguing, and Cornwell is far too good a writer to not fix this franchise moving forward. 

Oregon files promo coverUntitled Oregon Adventure by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison

Release Date: September 8th

Juan Cabrillo and the crew of the Oregon are back with a new adventure in this thrilling suspense novel in Clive Cussler’s #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Juan Cabrillo and his team of expert operatives return in this latest entry in Clive Cussler’s Oregon Files series. Aboard the Oregon, one of the most advanced spy ships ever built, they face new challenges and nemeses as they undertake another dangerous mission.

Why you should check it out: The crew of the Oregon returns for another adventure from Cussler and Morrison, and while little is known about the plot itself, fans of the series probably have a good idea of what to expect. 

Robert B Parkers Fools ParadiseRobert B. Parker’s Fool’s Paradise by Mike Lupica

Release Date: September 8th

When an unknown man is found murdered in Paradise, Jesse Stone will have his hands full finding out who he was–and what he was seeking.

When a body is found at the lake in Paradise, police chief Jesse Stone is surprised to find he recognizes the murder victim–the man had been at the same AA meeting as Jesse the evening before. But otherwise, Jesse has no clue as to the man’s identity. He isn’t a local, nor does he have ID on him, nor does any neighboring state have a reported missing person matching the man’s description. Their single lead is from a taxi company that recalls dropping off the mysterious stranger outside the gate at the mansion of one of the wealthiest families in town…

Meanwhile, after Jesse survives a hail of gunfire on his home, he wonders if it could be related to the mysterious murder. When both Molly Crane and Suit Simpson also become targets, it’s clear someone has an axe to grind against the entire Paradise PD.

Why you should check it out: Lupica proved to be a brilliant choice to resurrect Parker’s Sunny Randall series, so it makes sense that the same estate would trust him with the Jesse Stone franchise, which had been continued by Reed Farrel Coleman. Expect Lupica to mirror Parker’s style more closely than Coleman and for him to find success with these characters as well.

The Evening and the MorningThe Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

Release Date: September 15th

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ken Follett, a thrilling and addictive new novel–a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth–set in England at the dawn of a new era: The Middle Ages

It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns.

In these turbulent times, three characters find their lives intertwined: A young boatbuilder’s life is turned upside down when the only home he’s ever known is raided by Vikings, forcing him and his family to move and start their lives anew in a small hamlet where he does not fit in. . . . A Norman noblewoman marries for love, following her husband across the sea to a new land. But the customs of her husband’s homeland are shockingly different, and as she begins to realize that everyone around her is engaged in a constant, brutal battle for power, it becomes clear that a single misstep could be catastrophic. . . . A monk dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a center of learning that will be admired throughout Europe. And each in turn comes into dangerous conflict with a clever and ruthless bishop who will do anything to increase his wealth and power.

Thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, Follett’s masterful new prequel The Evening and the Morning takes us on an epic journey into a historical past rich with ambition and rivalry, death and birth, love and hate, that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins.

Why you should check it out: Follet is one of the most iconic novelists of our time, and this happens to be a prequel to one of his most famous works. Expect to see this on everyone’s “best of” lists at the end of the year.

Mitch Rapp promo coverUntitled Mitch Rapp #19 by Kyle Mills

Release Date: September 15th

In the next thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling Mitch Rapp series, it’s a race against the clock when ISIS takes down the entire US power grid and throws America into chaos.

Why you should check it out: Mitch Rapp, the hero America needs now more than ever, returns to take on ISIS in the latest (still untitled) thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kyle Mills. Over the course of 18 previous novels, Rapp has proven time and time again to be the most badass character in print today—and he’ll need that to be true if he hopes to make it out of this one alive. When the US power grid crashes, the country will no doubt be thrown into chaos. But chaos is where Rapp thrives, and he’s spent a lifetime in third-world countries killing bad guys, so he knows how to operate in a low-tech setting with only the essentials. Look for Mills to dial up another action-packed adventure here and continue his dominant run into 2020 and beyond. 

The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child 

Release Date: October 29th

Following Blue Moon, Jack Reacher is set to return for his 25th adventure this fall in another must-read novel from Lee Child.

Why you should check it out:

News just broke that Lee Child is preparing to step away from his mega-popular franchise and will be handing his brother, fellow author Andrew Grant, the keys moving forward. One stipulation, of course, is that Grant uses the name “Child” when writing Reacher, which he’s agreed to do. According to Lee Child, 65, they will co-write the next “few” books together before Andrew, 51, sets out on his own. There’s no official word on how many books Lee will be involved in, or what his role will be during that time. It’s completely conceivable that his role will diminish with each collaboration, so diehard fans would cherish this year’s release while they know Child is still the driving force behind things.

The Wolves of Helmand by Frank “Gus” Biggio

Release Date: November 10th

At turns poignant, funny, philosophical, and raw—but always real—The Wolves of Helmand is both a heartfelt homage to the Marine brotherhood with whom Biggio served and an expression of respect and love for the people of Afghanistan who ultimately trusted, shared, and appreciated their purpose.

Ten years after serving his country as a U.S. Marine, Captain Frank “Gus” Biggio signed up once again because he missed the brotherhood of the military. Leaving behind his budding law career, his young wife, and newborn son, he was deployed to Helmand Province—the most violent region in war-torn Afghanistan—for reasons few would likely understand before reading this book. 

Riven by conflict and occupation for centuries because of its strategic location, the region he landed in was, at that time, a hotbed of Taliban insurgency. As a participant in the landmark U.S.-led Operation Khanjar, Biggio and his fellow Marines were executing a new-era military strategy. Focused largely on empowerment of the local population, the offensive began with a troop surge designed to thwart the Taliban, but was more importantly followed by the restoration of the local government and real-time capacity building among the withdrawn and destitute Afghan people.

The Wolves of Helmand is unlike other war memoirs. It takes us less into the action—though there is that too—and more into the quiet places of today’s war zones. Yes, you’ll read of our Marines’ stealth arrival in a single night, our advanced weaponry, and our pop-up industrial village command centers. You’ll read, as well, about the ambushed patrols and the carnage of IEDs. But you will also read of the persistence, humility, ruggedness, loneliness, tedium, diplomacy, and humanity of our Marines’ jobs there, which more than anything else reveals the magnitude of even the smallest victories.  

Completed years after the author’s return from his mission, The Wolves of Helmand is most of all a decade-long self-examination of a warrior’s heart, conscience, and memory. Whether intended or not, Biggio’s deep reflections and innate honesty answer every question you’ve ever wanted to ask about life and death in war—and even questions you probably never thought to ask. 

What calls a warrior to duty? 

What makes, sustains, plagues, and even breaks a warrior?

These are bigger questions than the ones impolite society pokes around when a veteran returns home—Did you kill anyone? Did you have to go? Why would you fight for another country? Why were we even there?

Yet the answers to those queries are here, too, in this thoughtful memoir that will make you think about war, family, love, and loss.

Why you should check it out: Raw, honest, and so real you can’t help but feel like you’re right there with Gus, this war memoir isn’t like the ones you’ve read before it. In a year where the fiction market is bringing the heat in a big way, don’t miss out on this must-read nonfiction account.

All fall downAll Fall Down by James Brabazon

Release Date: December 8th

British intelligence operative and hardened assassin Max McLean must discover who’s killing the members of his team in this new electrifying thriller from James Brabazon, author of The Break Line.

Soldier, assassin, and special agent—Max McLean works for a highly secretive unit called The Unknown: a black ops team which delivers off-the-books justice on behalf of the British Government.

When a straightforward operation to kill a terrorist commander goes badly wrong, Max finds himself framed for murder. Cut off from his base and cut loose by his Government handlers, he’s forced to go even deeper underground, propelled across Europe on a personal, high-stakes investigation to clear his name.

Racing against time to find out who his enemy is before his enemy finds him, Max has to unravel the only clue he has to their identity: an unusual hundred-dollar bill clutched in the dead terrorist’s fist.

But in this brutal game of spies nothing is as it seems: as hostile powers prepare to move against the West, Max McLean must face the shocking possibility that the traitor he seeks has been with him all along.

Why you should check it out: one of the most anticipated debut authors of 2019, Brabazon will release his follow-up later this year. The good news is that Max McLean is back, and this time he’s tasked with finding out who’s killing members of his team—and taking them out before any more damage is done. Judging by his first book, readers are in for a wild ride come December. 



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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