Our last preview before the full 2023 reading guide drops in January, Part 3 features a bunch of great thrillers that’ll soon be lining bookstore shelves. Check ’em out below, and if you missed Parts 1 and 2, check those out here and here.
Release Date: January 3
Harper Lee Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author James Grippando returns with a bold new thriller that asks at what price do we open our lives to Big Data.
Aspiring playwright, Kate Gamble, is struggling to launch a script she’s been secretly researching her entire life, mostly at the family dinner table. Her father is Christian Gamble, CEO of Buck Technologies, a private data integration company whose clients include the CIA and virtually every counter-terrorism organization in the Western World. Kate’s father adores her, and a play about the dark side of Big Data would be the ultimate betrayal in his eyes. But Kate is compelled to tell this story—not only as an artist exploring the personal information catastrophe that affects us all, but as a daughter trying to understand her mother’s apparent loss of purpose, made even more disturbing by the suicide note she left behind: I did it for Kate.
Then Patrick Battle comes back into her life, changing everything she has ever thought about her play, her father, and her mother’s tragic death. Patrick is a childhood friend, but he is now Buck’s golden boy with security clearance to the company’s most sensitive projects. When Buck comes under investigation by the Justice Department and Patrick suddenly goes missing, Kate doesn’t know who to trust. A phone call confirms her worst nightmare: Patrick has been kidnapped, and the ransom demand is “Code 6”—the most secret and potentially dangerous technology her father’s company has ever developed.
Kate’s fight to bring Patrick home safely reveals a conspiracy and cover up that may implicate one of the most powerful executives in the tech industry, while the development of Kate’s play unleashes family secrets and the demons behind her mother’s cryptic final note. The two paths converge in explosive fashion, leading to a shocking and terrifying discovery that puts Kate and Patrick in the crosshairs of forces who will stop at nothing to control Code 6.
TRBS: Grippando is always a safe bet to deliver an engrossing, page-turning thriller. This book had been slated to come out sooner, but for one reason or another, was pushed back to early 2023, making it one of the first must-buy thrillers of the new year. The question is, after nearly two years between releases, will Code 6 be worth the wait? My money says yes.
A Killing of Innocents by Deborah Crombie
Release Date: February 7th
New York Times bestseller Deborah Crombie returns with a new novel featuring Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James as they race to solve the shocking murder of a young woman before panic spreads across London.
On a rainy November evening, trainee doctor Sasha Johnson hurries through the evening crowd in London’s historic Russell Square. Out of the darkness, someone jostles her as they brush past. A moment later, Sasha stumbles, then collapses. When Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his sergeant, Doug Cullen, are called to the scene, they discover that she’s been stabbed.
Kincaid immediately calls in his detective wife, Gemma James, who has recently been assigned to a task force on knife crimes which are on the rise. Along with her partner, detective sergeant Melody Talbot, Gemma aids the investigation. But Sasha Johnson doesn’t fit the profile of the task force’s typical knife crime victim. Single, successful, career-driven, she has no history of abusive relationships or any connection to gangs. Sasha had her secrets, though, and some of them lead the detectives uncomfortably close to home.
As the team unravels the victim’s tangled connections, another murder raises the stakes. Kincaid, Gemma, and their colleagues must put even friendships on the line to find the killer stalking the dark streets of Bloomsbury.
TRBS: Crombie is a truly phenomenal writer who rarely misses. Whether you’re caught up on her series or just finding it for the first time with this one, readers should be able to jump in here with relative ease and trust me, if you’re just meeting Duncan and Gemma for the first time, you’ll soon be hooked.
The House at the End of the World by Dean Koontz
Release Date: January 24th
Soon no one on Earth will have a place to hide in this novel about fears known and unknown by #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense Dean Koontz.
In retreat from a devastating loss and crushing injustice, Katie lives alone in a fortresslike stone house on Jacob’s Ladder island. Once a rising star in the art world, she finds refuge in her painting.
The neighboring island of Ringrock houses a secret: a government research facility. And now two agents have arrived on Jacob’s Ladder in search of someone―or something―they refuse to identify. Although an air of menace hangs over these men, an infinitely greater threat has arrived, one so strange even the island animals are in a state of high alarm.
Katie soon finds herself in an epic and terrifying battle with a mysterious enemy. But Katie’s not alone after all: a brave young girl appears out of the violent squall. As Katie and her companion struggle across a dark and eerie landscape, against them is an omnipresent terror that could bring about the end of the world.
TRBS: After a stellar career, Koontz remains one of the biggest names in the industry today. A special talent, Koontz sure looks to have no shortage of story ideas as he continues to crank out everything from mysteries to psychological thrillers, and I’d say it’s safe to say that readers should expect a twist or two in this one.
The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Release Date: February 7th
The House Guest is another diabolical cat-and-mouse thriller from USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan―but which character is the cat, and which character is the mouse?
After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her―leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.
And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others’ problems.
But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.
TRBS: One of my favorite writers working today (and one of my favorite people in the industry), Hank Phillip Ryan reached “must-read” status for me several years back. I was fortunate enough to catch up with her a few times this year, hearing a bit more about this book each time, and I personally cannot wait to get my hands on it. My advice here is to pre-order ASAP.
The Cliff’s Edge by Charles Todd
Release Date: February 14th
In the aftermath of World War I, nurse Bess Crawford is caught in a deadly feud between two families in this thirteenth book in the beloved mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd.
Restless and uncertain of her future in the wake of World War I, former battlefield nurse Bess Crawford agrees to travel to Yorkshire to help a friend of her cousin Melinda through surgery. But circumstances change suddenly when news of a terrible accident reaches them. Bess agrees to go to isolated Scarfdale and the Neville family, where one man has been killed and another gravely injured. The police are asking questions, and Bess is quickly drawn into the fray as two once close families take sides, even as they are forced to remain in the same house until the inquest is completed.
When another tragedy strikes, the police are ready to make an arrest. Bess struggles to keep order as tensions rise and shots are fired. What dark truth is behind these deaths? And what about the tale of an older murder—one that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Nevilles? Bess is unaware that when she passes the story on to Cousin Melinda, she will set in motion a revelation with the potential to change the lives of those she loves most—her parents, and her dearest friend, Simon Brandon.
TRBS: It’s safe to say there isn’t another character quite like Bess Crawford in print today, and honestly, the same is true for this series in general. If you’re looking for powerful historical fiction that’ll suck you in and hold your attention, here it is.
Robert Ludlum’s The Treadstone Rendition by Joshua Hood
Release Date: April 4th
The final days of the American presence in Afghanistan bring Adam Hayes a summons he can’t ignore in the latest electrifying thriller from the world of Robert Ludlum.
Adam Hayes has stepped away from the field for the last time. He’s promised his wife that he won’t put his life on the line any more, and there’s nothing that will make him break a promise to his wife.
Well…almost nothing. With America withdrawing from Afghanistan and the Taliban closing in, Abdul Nassir reached out to his old friend. Ten years ago, he saved the American’s life, and the time has come for repayment. The Afghan is desperate to flee his homeland. Like most of his countrymen, he is petrified by the Taliban takeover, but he also can’t trust the Americans. He’s the only eyewitness to a massacre committed by a rogue team of CIA contractors. Not only can he identify the butcher who directed the bloodbath, he also has photographic proof. He’ll only be safe when those pictures are made public
Now, there’s just one man he can trust to get him to safety–Adam Hayes.
TRBS: Hood has done a really good job developing this series. The last book had new energy to it, and was (for my money), the best in the series so far. So, it’ll be interesting to see where Hood takes Hayes this time around.
Standing in the Shadows by Peter Robinson
Release Date: April 11th
The 28th twisting installment in the DCI Alan Banks mystery series that Stephen King calls “the best now on the market.”
In November 1980, Nick Hartley returns home from a university lecture to find his house crawling with police. His ex-girlfriend, Alice Poole, has been found murdered, and her new boyfriend Mark Woodcroft is missing. Nick is the prime suspect. The case quickly goes cold, but Nick cannot let it go. He embarks on a career in investigative journalism, determined to find Alice’s murderer—but his obsession leads him down a dangerous path.
Decades later, in November 2019, an archaeologist unearths a skeleton that turns out to be far more contemporary than the Roman remains she is seeking. Detective Superintendent Alan Banks and his team are called in to investigate, but there is little to be gleaned from the remains themselves. Left with few clues, Banks and his team must rely on their wits to hunt down a killer.
As the two cases unfurl, the investigations twist and turn to an explosive conclusion.
TRBS: Another prolific writer who cranks out must-read historical fiction, Robinson continues to deliver in a big way with this DCI Banks mysteries. If you’re fan of Crombie and Todd, you’ve got to check out this series as well.
The Way of the Bear by Anne Hillerman
Release Date: April 25th
Fossil harvesting, ancient lore, greed, rejected love and murder combine in this gripping new installment of New York Times bestselling author Anne Hillerman’s Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito series.
An unexpected death on a lonely road outside of Utah’s Bears Ears National Park raises questions for Navajo Tribal Police officers Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito. Why would a seasoned outdoorsman and well-known paleontologist freeze to death within walking distance of his car? A second death brings more turmoil. Who is the unidentified man killed during a home invasion where nothing seems to have been taken? Why was he murdered?
The Bears Ears area, at the edge of the Navajo Nation, is celebrated for its abundance of early human habitation sites and the discovery of unique fossils which revolutionized the scientific view of how early animals dealt with their changing world. For Chee and Bernie, the area glows with geological interest and spiritual insight. But their visit to this achingly beautiful place is disrupted by a current of unprecedented violence that sweeps them both into danger.
An illicit business, a fossilized jaw bone, hints of witchcraft, and a mysterious disappearance during a blizzard and to the peril. It will take all of Manuelito’s and Chee’s experience, skill, and intuition to navigate the threats that arise beneath the twin buttes that give Bears Ears its name and to see justice served.
TRBS: I was hooked on this one just from the synopsis alone. Read it again and be honest, you’re wondering how it all ties together, right? Me too. I can’t wait to find out next spring!
Robert B. Parker’s Bad Influence by Alison Gaylin
Release Date: June 13th
Robert B. Parker’s PI Sunny Randall takes on another thrilling case in this beloved series.
TRBS: It was Mike Lupica who first resurrected this beloved series, keeping yet another one of Robert B. Parker’s iconic characters alive and well. But after pulling double-duty the last couple of years, writing both the Jesse Stone books and the Sunny books, on top of multiple projects with James Patterson, Lupica is now passing the torch to Alison Gaylin, another talented author who will soon unveil her vision for this series moving forward. A capable writer who in a lot of ways remains underrated, I’m excited to see what Gaylin brings to the franchise and look forward to seeing her take on Sunny. I wouldn’t expect radical changes, as there seems to be an importance on keeping Parker’s characters true to who he created, but a new voice means new energy, and that’s not a bad thing.
Malibu Burning by Lee Goldberg
Release Date: June 20th
For a professional criminal and a relentless arson investigator, fear and revenge spread like wildfire in an incendiary thriller by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Goldberg.
Hell comes to Southern California every October. It rides in on searing Santa Ana winds that blast at near hurricane force, igniting voracious wildfires. Master thief Danny Cole longs for the flames. A tsunami of fire is exactly what he needs to pull off a daring crime and avenge a fallen friend.
As the most devastating firestorms in Los Angeles’ history scorch the hills of Malibu, relentless arson investigator Walter Sharpe and his wild card of a new partner, Andrew Walker, a former US marshal, suspect that someone set the massive blazes intentionally, a terrifying means to an unknown end.
While the flames rage out of control, Danny pursues his brilliant scheme, unaware that Sharpe and Walker are closing in. But when they all collide in a canyon of fire, everything changes, pitting them against an unexpected enemy within an inescapable inferno.
TRBS: Goldberg has incredible range, something he’s proven throughout his career. I’d follow him anywhere, and am really excited to check this book out.