After an incredible run of top-notch thrillers in 2022, the New Year is kicking off with a bang—literally—thanks to new offerings from some of the biggest names in the genre.
As always, we’ve chosen a few titles to highlight, and this month’s Featured Selections are Murder Book by Thomas Perry, The Devil’s Ransom by Brad Taylor, and The Bullett Garden by Stephen Hunter. Perry, who hit a home run with his last book, The Old Man (which was made into a television show on FX starring Jeff Bridges), outdoes himself yet again with Murder Book. Likewise, Brad Taylor’s beloved hero, Pike Logan, is back in action and Taylor has more than a few surprises—and explosions—waiting for his readers. And finally, Stephen Hunter goes back in time to finally tell Earl Swagger’s origin story, and it’s fantastic.
Find out more about those books, and everything else hitting stores in January, below!
Tuesday, January 3
The Pyongyang Paradox by
After decades of writing utilitarian copy for trade magazines, Tom Huttle believes that he is on the path to a glamorous new life when he completes the first chapter of his novel, The Pyongyang Paradox, featuring dashing hero Buck Samson. The novel might give Tom the confidence he needs to pursue the woman of his dreams, and fulfill his abiding conviction that he is destined for a life of action and romance.
Tom gets more excitement than he bargained for when the explosion of a top-secret satellite sends him to Buck Samson’s fictional world, just as Buck takes over Tom’s pedestrian life.
For Tom, living a life of relentless peril and intrigue is a far cry from writing about it, and Tom’s normal world may not be ready for the likes of Buck Samson.
A rollicking blend of espionage, romance, and science fiction, The Pyongyang Paradox is laced throughout with Chris Westphal’s quirky brand of dark humor and psychological insight.
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.
Tuesday, January 10th
Jenny Wolf’s murdered father has left her in charge of a multi-billion-dollar empire—a newspaper, a football team, a holding company . . . and a family that makes Succession’s Roys and Yellowstone’s Duttons seem tame.
The Wolfs, the most powerful family in California, have a new head–thirty-six-year-old former high school teacher Jenny Wolf. That means Jenny now runs the prestigious San Francisco Tribune. She also controls the legendary pro football team, the Wolves. And she hopes to solve her father’s murder. The most suspenseful family story since Succession or Yellowstone.
Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica
“Grabs you on the first page and doesn’t let go until you reach the end. A riveting tale about marriage, trust, and secrets.” —Laura Dave, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Thing He Told Me
A husband’s disappearance links two couples in this twisty thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica
Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.
Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.
“Rich with detail and a mounting, almost suffocating sense of dread, Just the Nicest Couple is a dark and twisted exploration of loyalty, family, and how far we’ll go to protect the ones we love.” —Andrea Bartz, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Never Here.
Tuesday, January 17th
An ex-cop takes on a widespread criminal organization targeting midwestern towns in this new thriller from the author of The Old Man
When a sudden crime wave hits several small midwestern towns, the U.S. Attorney for the region calls on Harry Duncan to investigate. An ex-cop known for his unorthodox methods, Duncan is reluctant to go up against a widespread criminal organization―but the attorney in question is Ellen Leicester, the wife who left him fifteen years earlier, and to her, he can’t say no.
Initially brought in as a consultant to determine if the racketeering is severe enough to require an all-out investigation by the FBI, Duncan quickly finds himself in conflict with a syndicate far more violent than first suspected. As the investigation develops, he begins compiling a “murder book,” the notebook in which a detective keeps records, interviews, photos―everything he needs to build his case. But his scrutiny of the gang soon makes Duncan a target. And Ellen, too.
A thrilling and suspenseful tour of crime-addled midwestern towns, Murder Book is signature Thomas Perry, with characters you won’t soon forget, crisply-described action sequences, and breathlessly-tense plotting that will keep you racing through the pages.
The tremendous new thriller in Preston & Child’s #1 bestselling series features FBI Special Agent Pendergast and Constance Greene in their most extraordinary circumstances yet.
AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY
Astoundingly, Constance has found a way back to the place of her origins, New York City in the late 1800s, leaping at the chance, although it means leaving the present forever.
A DESPERATE OPPORTUNITY
Constance sets off on a quest to prevent the events that lead to the deaths of her sister and brother. But along the road to redemption, Manhattan’s most infamous serial killer, Dr. Enoch Leng, lies in wait, ready to strike at the slightest provocation.
Meanwhile, in contemporary New York, Pendergast feverishly searches for a way to reunite with Constance—but will he discover a way back to her before it’s too late.
Darkness is nothing new to LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan, but in P.J. Tracy’s The Devil You Know, even she isn’t prepared for the scandalous deception of deadly proportions that shakes the very foundation of Hollywood and its untouchables…and leaves her entangled in its rotten core.
Los Angeles has many faces: the real LA where regular people live and work, the degenerate underbelly of any big city, and the rarefied world of wealth, power, and celebrity. LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan’s latest case plunges her into this insular realm of privilege, and gives her a glimpse of the decay behind the glitter.
Beloved actor Evan Hobbes is found in the rubble of a Malibu rockslide, a day after a fake video ruins his career. It’s not clear to Nolan if it’s an accident, a suicide, or a murder, and things get murkier as the investigation expands to his luminary friends and colleagues. Meanwhile, Hobbes’s agent is dealing with damage control, his psychotic boss, and a woman he’s scorned.
A sensational new novel from the best-selling author of Less Than Zero and American Psycho that tracks a group of privileged Los Angeles high school friends as a serial killer strikes across the city.
Bret Easton Ellis’s masterful new novel is a story about the end of innocence, and the perilous passage from adolescence into adulthood, set in a vibrantly fictionalized Los Angeles in 1981 as a serial killer begins targeting teenagers throughout the city.
Seventeen-year-old Bret is a senior at the exclusive Buckley prep school when a new student arrives with a mysterious past. Robert Mallory is bright, handsome, charismatic, and shielding a secret from Bret and his friends even as he becomes a part of their tightly knit circle. Bret’s obsession with Mallory is equaled only by his increasingly unsettling preoccupation with the Trawler, a serial killer on the loose who seems to be drawing ever closer to Bret and his friends, taunting them—and Bret in particular—with grotesque threats and horrific, sharply local acts of violence. The coincidences are uncanny, but they are also filtered through the imagination of a teenager whose gifts for constructing narrative from the filaments of his own life are about to make him one of the most explosive literary sensations of his generation. Can he trust his friends—or his own mind—to make sense of the danger they appear to be in? Thwarted by the world and by his own innate desires, buffeted by unhealthy fixations, he spirals into paranoia and isolation as the relationship between the Trawler and Robert Mallory hurtles inexorably toward a collision.
Set against the intensely vivid and nostalgic backdrop of pre-Less Than Zero L.A., The Shards is a mesmerizing fusing of fact and fiction, the real and the imagined, that brilliantly explores the emotional fabric of Bret’s life at seventeen—sex and jealousy, obsession and murderous rage. Gripping, sly, suspenseful, deeply haunting, and often darkly funny, The Shards is Ellis at his inimitable best.
Tuesday, January 24th
In the latest explosive thriller from New York Times bestselling author and former special forces officer Brad Taylor, Pike Logan races to stop an insidious attack orchestrated by a man who knows America’s most treasured secrets.
Conducting a routine cover development trip to Tajikistan, Pike and Jennifer learn that Afghanistan has fallen, and there’s a man on the run. One that has done more for the United States in Afghanistan than anyone else. Pulled in to extract him, Pike collides headlong into a broader mystery: His covert company, along with every other entity in the Taskforce, has been hit with a ransomware attack, and there’s some connection between the Taliban and the hack. Given the order to track down the perpetrators, he has no idea that the problem set is much, much larger and more dangerous than a simple attack on his organization. That hack was just a test-run, and the real one is coming soon, engendered by a former NSA specialist in the U.S. government.
A man who wants to return to the bipolar world of the Cold War, the turncoat has cloaked his attack behind hackers from Serbia and Russia, and if successful, his target will alter the balance of power on the global stage. So far, the specialist has remained one step ahead of the Taskforce, but he has just made one massive mistake: hitting Pike Logan.
The long-anticipated origin story of legendary Marine, fan favorite, and father of literary icon Bob Lee takes us to the battlefields of World War II as Earl Swagger embarks on a top secret and deadly mission—from Pulitzer Prize–winning and New York Times bestselling Stephen Hunter, “one of the best thriller novelists around” (The Washington Post).
July, 1944: The lush, rolling hills of Normandy are dotted with a new feature—German snipers. From their vantage points, they pick off hundreds of Allied soldiers every day, bringing the D-Day invasion to its knees. It’s clear that someone is tipping off these snipers with the locations of American GIs, but who? And how?
General Eisenhower demands his intelligence service to find the best shot in the Allied military to counter this deadly SS operation. Enter Pacific hero Earl Swagger, assigned this crucial and bloody mission. With crosshairs on his back, Swagger can’t trust anyone as he infiltrates the shadowy corners of London and France for answers.
From “a true master at the pinnacle of his craft” (Jack Carr, author of the Terminal List series), The Bullet Garden is an electrifying historical thriller that is sure to become a classic.
With the 80’s nostalgia of Stranger Things, this horror drama from NYT bestselling author Christopher Golden follows neighborhood families and a mysterious, lurking evil on one Halloween day.
It’s Halloween night, 1984, in Coventry, Massachusetts, and two families are unraveling. Up and down the street, horrifying secrets are being revealed, and all the while, mixed in with the trick-or-treaters of all ages, four children who do not belong are walking door to door, merging with the kids of Parmenter Road. Children in vintage costumes with faded, eerie makeup. They seem terrified, and beg the neighborhood kids to hide them away, to keep them safe from The Cunning Man. There’s a small clearing in the woods now that was never there before, and a blackthorn tree that doesn’t belong at all. These odd children claim that The Cunning Man is coming for them…and they want the local kids to protect them. But with families falling apart and the neighborhood splintered by bitterness, who will save the children of Parmenter Road?
New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning author Christopher Golden is best known for his supernatural thrillers set in deadly, distant locales…but in this suburban Halloween drama, Golden brings the horror home.
All Hallows. The one night when everything is a mask . . .
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.
“Downright spectacular. A riveting page-turner as prescient as it is purposeful.” —Providence Journal on Tell No Lies
A family torn apart. A botched investigation. She’ll stop at nothing to get answers.
US Marshal Regan Merritt never bought the FBI’s theory that her ten-year-old son’s murder was tied to her job. Yet as leads went cold, she’d had to walk away from the marshals, the case and her now ex-husband, Grant, who blamed her for Chase’s death.
After Regan receives a chilling voice mail from her former boss, Tommy, claiming new information about Chase’s murder, she can no longer stay away from her pain-filled past. Especially when Tommy’s murdered before she can return his call.
Now more than ever, Regan’s determined to find the truth, but the more she digs, the more evidence points to Grant as the killer’s true target. But Grant isn’t talking. As she tries to pin down her ex, Regan discovers something much bigger and far more sinister is at play—and she’s running out of people she can trust.
It is the year 2051. Warnings of climate catastrophe have been ignored, and vast areas of the planet are under water, or uninhabitably hot. A quarter of the world’s population has been displaced by hunger and flooding, and immigration wars are breaking out around the globe as refugees pour into neighboring countries.
By contrast, melting ice sheets have brought the Gulf Stream to a halt and northern latitudes, including Scotland, are being hit by snow and ice storms. It is against this backdrop that Addie, a young meteorologist checking a mountain top weather station, discovers the body of a man entombed in ice.
The dead man is investigative reporter, George Younger, missing for three months after vanishing during what he claimed was a hill-walking holiday. But Younger was no hill walker, and his discovery on a mountain-top near the Highland village of Kinlochleven, is inexplicable.
Cameron Brodie, a veteran Glasgow detective, volunteers to be flown north to investigate Younger’s death, but he has more than a murder enquiry on his agenda. He has just been given a devastating medical prognosis by his doctor and knows the time has come to face his estranged daughter who has made her home in the remote Highland village.
Arriving during an ice storm, Brodie and pathologist Dr. Sita Roy, find themselves the sole guests at the inappropriately named International Hotel, where Younger’s body has been kept refrigerated in a cake cabinet. But evidence uncovered during his autopsy places the lives of both Brodie and Roy in extreme jeopardy.
As another storm closes off communications and the possibility of escape, Brodie must face up not only to the ghosts of his past, but to a killer determined to bury forever the chilling secret that George Younger’s investigations had threatened to expose.
A Winter Grave is Peter May at his page-turning, passionate and provocative best.
Tuesday, Janaury 31st
After nearly one million books sold in the US, New York Times bestselling author Jane Harper is back with a new mystery featuring Aaron Falk, the detective from our bestselling novel and major motion picture The Dry
At a busy festival site on a warm spring night, a baby lies alone in her pram, her mother vanishing into the crowds.
A year on, Kim Gillespie’s absence casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather deep in the heart of South Australian wine country to welcome a new addition to the family.
Joining the celebrations is federal investigator Aaron Falk. But as he soaks up life in the lush valley, he begins to suspect this tight-knit group may be more fractured than it seems. Between Falk’s closest friend, a missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge.
Three ordinary people risk everything for a chance at redemption in this audacious, utterly gripping novel of catastrophe and survival at the end of the world, from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man.
Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. Evacuated from a secluded boarding school during a snowstorm, her coach careered off the road, trapping her with a handful of survivors. They’ll need to work together to escape – with their sanity and secrets intact.
Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She’s in a cable car stranded high above snowy mountains, with five strangers and no memory of how they got on board. They are heading to a place known only as “The Retreat,” but as the temperature drops and tensions mount, Meg realizes they may not all make it there alive.
Carter is gazing out of the window of an isolated ski chalet that he and his companions call home. As their generator begins to waver in the storm, the threat of something lurking in the chalet’s depths looms larger, and their fragile bonds will be tested when the power finally fails—for good.
The imminent dangers faced by Hannah, Meg, and Carter are each one part of the puzzle. Lurking in their shadows is an even greater threat—one that threatens to consume all of humanity.
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 is building a growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” is now available. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. And to take part in free, exclusive BOOK CLUBS each month, join The Real Book Spy on Discord.