The Real Book Spy’s Best Thrillers of 2022

It’s December, so you know what that means—end-the-year coverage and plenty of round-ups until we kick off a bunch of new coverage starting in January.

But before we look fully to 2023, let’s take one more trip down memory lane to appreciate what a special year 2022 has been for thriller enthusiasts everywhere. For me, personally, this year has been extra special. After eight years of being a Book Spy, I finally released my debut thriller, Fields of Fire, the first book in a new series starring a former Marine Raider named Matthew Redd, who returns to his hometown in Montana for the first time in a decade only to find his adopted father murdered, and a global conspiracy lurking deep in Big Sky country . . . one that only he can stop.

Since Fields of Fire came out back in September, I’ve been overwhelmed with responses from readers who’ve taken a chance on me and my series, and I’m pleased to announce that Matthew Redd will return next August in Lethal Range. I’m already hard at work on the third book, along with a short story called Redd Christmas, which will come out next holiday season. So, there’s a lot more of Matty Redd on deck, but for sake of remaining fair in my evaluation of other titles, that’s the last I’ll mention him in this article. Though, to get to know me better as a writer or to connect with other passionate readers, I encourage you to come join our growing Discord and Twitch communities. See you there!

As for 2022, well, let’s just jump right into it.

Happy Reading!


Top 15 Best Mysteries, Crime, & Thrillers of Psychological Suspense



Shadows Reels by C.J. Box

Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett and his wife Marybeth make separate discoveries that put the Pickett family in a pair of killers’ crosshairs in this thrilling new novel in the bestselling series.

A day before the three Pickett girls come home for Thanksgiving, Joe is called out for a moose poaching incident that turns out to be something much more sinister: a local fishing guide has been brutally tortured and murdered.  At the same time, Marybeth opens an unmarked package at the library where she works and finds a photo album that belonged to an infamous Nazi official. Who left it there? And why?

*Bonus* pick: Treasure State by C.J. Box

From The Real Book Spy: You could easily sub in Treasure State, Box’s other high-profile 2022 release, here—but for now, let’s focus on Shadows Reel. I’ve said it many times, but for my money, I think C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series is the best franchise in print today, regardless of genre. Period. The way he manages to capture the Wyoming setting, on top of developing the whole Pickett family, while always keeping his readers entertained and guessing right up until the final page, is second to none. In fact, nobody does it quite like Box. And not for nothing, but his next book, Storm Watch, is ever better and a serious contender for best book of 2023.


Narrator by Landon Beach

“In my career, having reviewed over 1,200 novels, I can honestly say . . . I have never read anything quite like this. Think Misery meets Gone Girl. Landon Beach delivers a special, unforgettable, jaw-dropping reading experience that readers won’t soon forget. Narrator is a masterpiece.”

The Real Book Spy

By the time playwright and actor Shawn Frost had won 2 Tony Awards by his late twenties, he was seen as a theater prodigy—a meteoric rise that the performing arts community had not witnessed in almost a hundred years. His work? Shakespearean in scope, character, and popularity—boundless and beautiful. His own character? Flawed.

And in a place like New York City, where failings get magnified, Shawn Frost finds that, even from the heights of artistic sublimity, no one is insulated from the demons that have caused the best of entertainers to fall from grace.

After surviving an accident that almost costs him his life, Shawn leaves NYC and the theater for the quiet, picturesque Pacific cliffs of Carmel-by-the-Sea and starts a new life as an audiobook narrator. As he rises through the ranks, narrating bestseller after bestseller, Shawn Frost once again flirts with artistic immortality.

But. As his limitless skills emerge in the exploding arena of voice arts, so do his flaws.

Then, he experiences every audiobook narrator’s worst fear: He is kidnapped by two obsessed fans, determined to make Shawn perform their novel…

Or was he?

Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind psychological thriller from #1 Bestselling Author Landon Beach.

From TRBS: I’ve never covered a book like this. I’ve never read a book like this. Until now. Landon Beach combines a Misery-like story with a Gone Girl-like unreliable narrator, and the end result is nothing short of brilliant. Every time you think you know what’s really going on, Beach throws in another twist. Another turn. And all the misdirection leaves you unable to tell up from down until he reveals his shocking ending that readers won’t soon forget. If you haven’t read this one yet, trust me, you don’t want to miss it!


The Other Side of Night by Adam Hamdy

I couldn’t stop thinking about the story’s incredible twist…like no crime novel I’ve ever read.” —James Patterson

For fans of Matt Haig and Anthony Horowitz, an “intriguing and thought-provoking” (Liv Constantine, author of The Last Mrs. Parrish) novel in which the lives of a disgraced police officer, a prolific author, and an upstanding citizen are inextricably bound together by a series of mysterious deaths.

The Other Side of Night begins with a man named David Asha writing about his biggest regret: his sudden separation from his son, Elliot. In his grief, David tells a story.

Next, we step into the life of Harriet Kealty, a police officer trying to clear her name after a lapse of judgment. She discovers a curious inscription in a secondhand book—a plea: Help me, he’s trying to kill me. Who wrote this note? Who is “he”?

This note leads Harri to David Asha, who was last seen stepping off a cliff. Police suspect he couldn’t cope after his wife’s sudden death. Still, why would this man jump and leave behind his young son? Quickly, Harri’s attention zeroes in on a person she knows all too well.

Ben Elmys: once the love of her life. A surrogate father to Elliot Asha and trusted friend to the Ashas.

Ben may also be a murderer.​

The Other Side of Night is a thought-provoking, moving “head-spinner of a novel” (John Connolly) with intriguing narratives and plot swerves that will leave you reeling. By the end, you’ll be shaken as each piece slots satisfyingly into place.

From TRBS: There’s been a lot of hype around this book since it was announced, and normally, when there’s that level of excitement, it’s hard for a book to live up to the expectations. In this case, Hamdy lives up to the hype and then some with this riveting, unputdownable thriller. Not since Harlan Coben’s Fool Me Once have I been so thrown by an ending that I never, ever, ever saw coming. I promise you, give this one a try, and when you’re finally finished, you’ll find yourself constantly thinking about the way Hamdy closes this terrific, unforgettable thriller for weeks . . . until you can’t take it anymore and dive back in for a second read to re-experience it all again.


The Island by Adrian McKinty




After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they’re deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.

When they discover remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.

But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly-knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.

When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.

Now it’s up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don’t trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.

Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.

From TRBS: McKinty is on a serious hot streak. Following The Chain, a book that captivated readers with its unthinkably devilish twist on the old saying, “I’d do anything to protect my child,” the author churns out yet another stellar, mind-bending adventure that’ll leave you breathless and begging for more. McKinty has been a writer to watch for some time, but with his level of talent, execution, and back-to-back must-read books to his name, look for him to make the jump and enter the conversation as a darkhorse name for best crime novelist on the planet.



Heat 2 by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner

Michael Mann, four-time-Oscar-nominated writer-director of The Last of the Mohicans, The Insider, Ali, Miami Vice, Collateral, and Heat teams up with Edgar Award–winning author Meg Gardiner to deliver Mann’s first novel, an explosive return to the universe and characters of his classic crime film—with an all-new story unfolding in the years before and after the iconic movie

Heat 2 is now one of my favorite suspense novels. . . . I’m already quoting lines from Heat 2 to my writer friends (shamelessly saying the lines are mine).” – James Patterson

One day after the end of Heat, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) is holed up in Koreatown, wounded, half delirious, and desperately trying to escape LA. Hunting him is LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). Hours earlier, Hanna killed Shiherlis’s brother in arms Neil McCauley (De Niro) in a gunfight under the strobe lights at the foot of an LAX runway. Now Hanna’s determined to capture or kill Shiherlis, the last survivor of McCauley’s crew, before he ghosts out of the city.

In 1988, seven years earlier, McCauley, Shiherlis, and their highline crew are taking scores on the West Coast, the US-Mexican border, and now in Chicago. Driven, daring, they’re pulling in money and living vivid lives. And Chicago homicide detective Vincent Hanna—a man unreconciled with his history—is following his calling, the pursuit of armed and dangerous men into the dark and wild places, hunting an ultraviolent gang of home invaders.

Meanwhile, the fallout from McCauley’s scores and Hanna’s pursuit cause unexpected repercussions in a parallel narrative, driving through the years following Heat.

Heat 2 projects its dimensional and richly drawn men and women into whole new worlds—from the inner sanctums of rival crime syndicates in a South American free-trade zone to transnational criminal enterprises in Southeast Asia. The novel brings you intimately into these lives. In Michael Mann’s Heat universe, they will confront new adversaries in lethal circumstances beyond all boundaries.

Heat 2 is engrossing, moving, and tragic—a masterpiece of crime fiction with the same extraordinary ambitions, scope, and rich characterizations as the epic film.

From TRBS: Meg Gardiner brought her A-game here, delivering a can’t-miss, page-turning follow-up to Heat—Michael Mann’s iconic 1995 film starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, and Ashley Judd. Not only does Gardner flawlessly take readers right back into that universe, but she also answers so many questions moviegoers were left with after seeing the film, and that alone is worth the price of admission. Add to it additional character development and an engrossing storyline, not to mention top-notch writing, and you get one of the best books of the year.


The Blame Game by Sandie Jones

In the vein of the Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Club pick The Other Woman, Sandie Jones’s heart-pounding new novel The Blame Game will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Games can be dangerous. But blame can be deadly.

As a psychologist specializing in domestic abuse, Naomi has found it hard to avoid becoming overly invested in her clients’ lives. But after helping Jacob make the decision to leave his wife, Naomi worries that she’s taken things too far. Then Jacob goes missing, and her files on him vanish. . . .

But as the police start asking questions about Jacob, Naomi’s own dark past emerges. And as the truth comes to light, it seems that it’s not just her clients who are in danger.

From TRBS: Sandie Jones made the jump from an exciting debut writer to one of the best authors in her genre very quickly. She continues her string of hit thrillers with The Blame Game, another twisty, pulse-pounding adventure that her readers have come to expect. If you aren’t reading her, start.


Fox Creek by William Kent Krueger

The latest in the New York Times bestselling Cork O’Connor Mystery Series from the “master storyteller” (Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author) follows Cork in a race against time to save his wife, a mysterious stranger, and an Ojibwe healer from bloodthirsty mercenaries.

The ancient Ojibwe healer Henry Meloux has had a vision of his death. As he walks the Northwoods in solitude, he tries to prepare himself peacefully for the end of his long life. But peace is destined to elude him as hunters fill the woods seeking a woman named Dolores Morriseau, a stranger who had come to the healer for shelter and the gift of his wisdom.

Meloux guides this stranger and his great niece, Cork O’Connor’s wife, to safety deep into the Boundary Waters, his home for more than a century. On the last journey he may ever take into this beloved land, Meloux must do his best to outwit the deadly mercenaries who follow.

Meanwhile, in Aurora, Cork works feverishly to identify the hunters and the reason for their relentless pursuit, but he has little to go on. Desperate, Cork begins tracking the killers but his own skills as a hunter are severely tested by nightfall and a late season snowstorm. He knows only too well that with each passing hour time is running out. But his fiercest enemy in this deadly game of cat and mouse may well be his own deep self-doubt about his ability to save those he loves.

From “an author who never disappoints” (Bookreporter), this is another gripping and richly told addition to a masterful series.

From TRBS: With its quick pacing and multi-layered plot, William Kent Krueger’s Fox Creek dazzles early, sucking readers in before giving way to a heart-thumping final act that delivers one hell of a reading experience. He’s now 19 books into his beloved series and still going strong. I anxiously await his next offering in 2023.


What She Found by Robert Dugoni

An Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling series.

Solving a decades-old disappearance sets Tracy Crosswhite on a dangerous collision course with the past in a pulse-pounding novel by New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

Detective Tracy Crosswhite has agreed to look into the disappearance of investigative reporter Lisa Childress. Solving the cold case is an obsession for Lisa’s daughter, Anita. So is clearing the name of her father, a prime suspect who became a pariah. After twenty-five years, all Anita wants is the truth―no matter where it leads.

For Tracy, that means reopening the potentially explosive investigations Lisa was following on the dark night she vanished: an exposé of likely mayoral graft; the shocking rumors of a reserved city councilman’s criminal sex life; a drug task force scandal compromising the Seattle PD; and an elusive serial killer who disappeared just as mysteriously as Lisa.

As all the pieces come together, it becomes clear that Tracy is in the midst of a case that will push her loyalties and her resilience to the limit. What she uncovers will come with a greater price than anyone feared.

From TRBS: Few writers have shown the range that Robert Dugoni has displayed over the last decade or so. Truly, there’s not a genre he can’t thrive in, but for my money, Dugoni is at his best when he’s delivering fast-paced thrillers wrapped in a mystery—and the Tracy Crosswhite series is the perfect vehicle for him to do just that. What She Found is an excellent, captivating story that fans of Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke will thoroughly enjoy.


What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline

From #1 bestselling author Lisa Scottoline comes a pulse-pounding new novel.

Your family has been attacked, never again to be the same.
Now you have to choose between law…and justice.

Jason Bennett is a suburban dad who owns his owns a court-reporting business, but one night, his life takes a horrific turn. He is driving his family home after his daughter’s lacrosse game when a pickup truck begins tailgating them, on a dark stretch of road. Suddenly two men jump from the pickup and pull guns on Jason, demanding the car. A horrific flash of violence changes his life forever.

Later that awful night, Jason and his family receive a visit from the FBI. The agents tell them that the carjackers were members of a dangerous drug-trafficking organization – and now Jason and his family are in their crosshairs. The agents advise the Bennetts to enter the witness protection program right away, and they have no choice but to agree. But WITSEC was designed to protect criminal informants, not law-abiding families. Taken from all they know, trapped in an unfamiliar life, the Bennetts begin to fall apart at the seams. Then Jason learns a shocking truth and realizes that he has to take matters into his own hands.

From TRBS: One of the most gifted writers still in the game today, Scottoline treated readers to one of her best books yet in 2022 with What Happened to the Bennets, a brilliantly crafted standalone thriller that’s impossible to put down. Scottoline’s smooth, easy prose and rich character development pair perfectly with this electrifying story about a father and husband who will stop at nothing to not only protect his family . . . but also their way of life. Don’t miss this one.


City on Fire by Don Winslow

New York Times Bestseller!

From the #1 internationally bestselling author of the Cartel Trilogy (The Power of the DogThe Cartel, and The Border), The Force, and Broken comes the first novel in an epic new trilogy.

“Superb. City on Fire is exhilarating.” – Stephen King

“Epic, ambitious, majestic, City on Fire is The Godfather for our generation.” – Adrian McKinty, New York Times bestselling author of The Chain

Two criminal empires together control all of New England.

Until a beautiful woman comes between the Irish and the Italians, launching a war that will see them kill each other, destroy an alliance, and set a city on fire.

Danny Ryan yearns for a more “legit” life and a place in the sun. But as the bloody conflict stacks body on body and brother turns against brother, Danny has to rise above himself. To save the friends he loves like family and the family he has sworn to protect, he becomes a leader, a ruthless strategist, and a master of a treacherous game in which the winners live and the losers die.

From the gritty streets of Providence to the glittering screens of Hollywood to the golden casinos of Las Vegas, two rival crime families ignite a war that will leave only one standing. The winner will forge a dynasty.

Exploring the classic themes of loyalty, betrayal, and honor, City on Fire is a contemporary masterpiece in the tradition of The Godfather, Casino, and Goodfellas—a thrilling saga from Don Winslow, “America’s greatest living crime writer” (Jon Land, Providence Journal).

From TRBS: Don Winslow is the best crime writer alive today, and City on Fire, an instant classic that launches a breathtaking final trilogy, is exactly what you’d expect from the most prolific writer of our time. While it’s both hard and devastating to imagine a future where Winslow isn’t sharing his extraordinary gift of storytelling with us any longer, the author is giving his readers one final three-book sendoff before he exits the industry, and he’s saved some of his best work for last.


Going Rogue: Rise and Shine Twenty-Nine by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum breaks the rules, flirts with disaster, and shows who’s boss in the latest smash hit from #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.

Monday mornings aren’t supposed to be fun, but they should be predictable. However, on this particular Monday, Stephanie Plum knows that something is amiss when she turns up for work at Vinnie’s Bail Bonds to find that longtime office manager Connie Rosolli, who is as reliable as the tides in Atlantic City, hasn’t shown up.

Stephanie’s worst fears are confirmed when she gets a call from Connie’s abductor. He says he will only release her in exchange for a mysterious coin that a recently murdered man left as collateral for his bail. Unfortunately, this coin, which should be in the office—just like Connie—is nowhere to be found.

The quest to discover the coin, learn its value, and save Connie will require the help of Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur, her best pal Lula, her boyfriend Morelli, and hunky security expert Ranger. As they get closer to unraveling the reasons behind Connie’s kidnapping, Connie’s captor grows more threatening and soon Stephanie has no choice but to throw caution to the wind, follow her instincts, and go rogue.

Full of surprises, thrills, and humor, Going Rogue reveals a new side of Stephanie Plum, and shows Janet Evanovich at her scorching, riotous best.

From TRBS: Stephanie Plum is one of the most recognized names in all of fiction, and Janet Evanovich is one of the few authors who carries “buy now” status simply by seeing her name on the cover of the book. Everything she writes is must-read material, and that’s certainly the case with Going Rogue—which packs the mean punch by offering up the type of fun, easy-to-read adventure her readers love to devour.


Desert Star by Michael Connelly

LAPD detective Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch team up to hunt the brutal killer who is Bosch’s “white whale”—a man responsible for the murder of an entire family.

A year has passed since LAPD detective Renée Ballard quit the force in the face of misogyny, demoralization, and endless red tape. But after the chief of police himself tells her she can write her own ticket within the department, Ballard takes back her badge, leaving “the Late Show” to rebuild and lead the cold case unit at the elite Robbery-Homicide Division.

For years, Harry Bosch has been working a case that haunts him—the murder of an entire family by a psychopath who still walks free. Ballard makes Bosch an offer: come volunteer as an investigator in her new Open-Unsolved Unit, and he can pursue his “white whale” with the resources of the LAPD behind him.

First priority for Ballard is to clear the unsolved rape and murder of a sixteen-year-old girl. The decades-old case is essential to the councilman who supported re-forming the unit, and who could shutter it again—the victim was his sister. When Ballard gets a “cold hit” connecting the killing to a similar crime, proving that a serial predator has been at work in the city for years, the political pressure has never been higher. To keep momentum going, she must pull Bosch off his all-consuming investigation, the case that is the consummation of his lifelong mission.

The two must put aside old resentments and new tensions to run to ground not one but two dangerous killers who have operated with brash impunity. In what may be his most gripping and profoundly moving book yet, Michael Connelly shows once again why he has been dubbed “one of the greatest crime writers of all time” (Ryan Steck, Crimereads).

From TRBS: One of the best books of the year, Connelly brings back both Ballard and Bosh for yet another suspense-filled, page-turning experience that shows once again why he’s one of the greatest crime writers to ever do it. Bosch, who’s getting old by most standards, is no longer required to carry this franchise on his back. While his presence looms large and the famed former LAPD detective does get significant screen time, it’s clear that Ballard is the future. That said, Connelly appears to be in no rush to completely move on from Bosch, and with great chemistry between the co-leads, the author seems to find a nice balance in this book that could pave the way for more adventures starring both protagonists in the years to come.


The Hidden One by Linda Castillo

The discovery of an Amish bishop’s remains leads chief of police Kate Burkholder to unearth a chilling secret in The Hidden One, a new thriller from bestselling author Linda Castillo.

Over a decade ago, beloved Amish bishop Ananias Stoltzfus disappeared without a trace. When skeletal remains showing evidence of foul play are unearthed, his disappearance becomes even more sinister.

The town’s elders arrive in Painters Mill to ask chief of police Kate Burkholder for help, but she quickly realizes she has a personal connection to the crime. The handsome Amish man who stands accused of the murder, Jonas Bowman, was Kate’s first love. Forced to confront a painful episode from her past, Kate travels to Pennsylvania’s Kishacoquillas Valley, where the Amish culture differs dramatically from the traditions she knows. Though Bishop Stoltzfus was highly respected, she soon hears about a dark side to this complex man. What was he hiding that resulted in his own brutal death?

Someone doesn’t want Kate asking questions. But even after being accosted and threatened in the dead of night, she refuses to back down. Is she too close to the case―and to Jonas―to see clearly? There’s a killer in the Valley who will stop at nothing to keep the past buried. Will they get to Kate before she can expose the truth? Or will the bishop’s secrets remain hidden forever?

From TRBS: Few authors can spin a nail-biting mystery like Linda Castillo, who puts on a clinic here—showing everyone how to develop a plot in such a way that it’s impossible to set down. Kate Burkholder is a fantastic character who Castillo continues to flesh out and challenge in new ways.


The Twist of Knife by Anthony Horowitz

In New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s ingenious fourth literary whodunit following The Word is Murder, The Sentence is Death, and A Line to Kill, Horowitz becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation—and only one man can prove his innocence: his newly estranged partner in solving crime, Detective Hawthorne.

“I’m sorry but the answer’s no.” Reluctant author, Anthony Horowitz, has had enough. He tells ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne that after three books he’s splitting and their deal is over.

The truth is that Anthony has other things on his mind.

His new play, a thriller called Mindgame, is about to open at the Vaudeville Theater in London’s West End. Not surprisingly, Hawthorne declines a ticket to the opening night.

The play is panned by the critics. In particular, Sunday Times critic Margaret Throsby gives it a savage review, focusing particularly on the writing. The next day, Throsby is stabbed in the heart with an ornamental dagger which turns out to belong to Anthony, and has his fingerprints all over it.

Anthony is arrested by an old enemy . . . Detective Inspector Cara Grunshaw. She still carries a grudge from her failure to solve the case described in the second Hawthorne adventure, The Sentence is Death, and blames Anthony. Now she’s out for revenge.

Thrown into prison and fearing for both his personal future and his writing career, Anthony is the prime suspect in Throsby’s murder and when a second theatre critic is found to have died in mysterious circumstances, the net closes in. Ever more desperate, he realizes that only one man can help him.

But will Hawthorne take the call?

From TRBS: If you like Sherlock Holmes with a little Knives Out tossed in there, you have to check out this series from Anthony Horowitz. This time around, Anthony—a fictional version of the author himself—is arrested, and the only one who can help him is Hawthorne, meaning it’s up to him to connect the dots and figure out what really happened before it’s too late. Expertly written and masterfully plotted, The Twist of the Knife is a must for all fans of the genre.


The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

“A powerful family and a deadly game. Be prepared for a nail-biting, roller-coaster of a ride in Catherine Steadman’s classy and ingenious new thriller.”—B. A. Paris, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors

From the New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water, Mr. Nobody, and The Disappearing Act. . . .

1. Listen carefully
2. Do your research
3. Trust no one
4. Run for your life

Harriet Reed, a novelist on the brink of literary stardom, is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir of an extremely powerful family. And even though Edward has long tried to severe ties with them, news of the couple’s marital bliss has the Holbecks inching back into their lives.

As Harriet is drawn into their lavish world, the family seems perfectly welcoming. So when Edward’s father, Robert, hands Harriet a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen.

But as she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t just a novel. It’s a confession.

A confession to a grisly crime. A murder. And, suddenly, the game is in motion.

Feeling isolated and confused, Harriet must work out if this is part of a plan to test her loyalty. Or something far darker. What is it that Robert sees in her? Why give her the power to destroy everything?

This might be a game to the Holbeck family—but losing might still prove deadly.


From TRBS: Steadman is a star, and this book—which features an author who finds herself in a dangerous situation set up by a powerful family—is probably her best work so far. Once you start this one, there is no stopping.



The Top 15 Action, Political, Military, and Spy Thrillers



Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva

In a spellbinding new masterpiece by #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva, Gabriel Allon undertakes a high-stakes search for the greatest art forger who ever lived

Legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon has at long last severed ties with Israeli intelligence and settled quietly in Venice, the only place where he has ever truly known peace. His beautiful wife, Chiara, has taken over the day-to-day management of the Tiepolo Restoration Company, and their two young children are discreetly enrolled in a neighborhood scuola elementare. For his part, Gabriel spends his days wandering the streets and canals of the watery city, bidding farewell to the demons of his tragic, violent past.

But when the eccentric London art dealer Julian Isherwood asks Gabriel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the rediscovery and lucrative sale of a centuries-old painting, he is drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse where nothing is as it seems.

Gabriel soon discovers that the work in question, a portrait of an unidentified woman attributed to Sir Anthony van Dyck, is almost certainly a fiendishly clever fake. To find the mysterious figure who painted it—and uncover a multibillion-dollar fraud at the pinnacle of the art world—Gabriel conceives one of the most elaborate deceptions of his career. If it is to succeed, he must become the very mirror image of the man he seeks: the greatest art forger the world has ever known.

Stylish, sophisticated, and ingeniously plotted, Portrait of an Unknown Woman is a wildly entertaining journey through the dark side of the art world—a place where unscrupulous dealers routinely deceive their customers and deep-pocketed investors treat great paintings as though they were just another asset class to be bought and sold at a profit. From its elegant opening to the shocking twists of its climax, the novel is a tour de force of storytelling and one of the finest pieces of heist fiction ever written. And it is still more proof that, when it comes to international intrigue and suspense, Daniel Silva has no equal.

From TRBS: To read Daniel Silva is to watch a master at work, and somehow, Silva—who is perhaps the greatest spy novelist of all time (he’s certainly in the discussion with John le Carre)—continues to get better with each book. Part of the reason may very well be the author’s unflinching decision to shake up his series yet again by having Gabriel Allon leave the Office, where he’s been the Chief for several books now after a long career with Israel’s Mossad. It’s a gutsy move, but it also opens the door for different types of stories, allowing Silva to have his character take on new challenges and adversaries in the future.


Rising Tiger by Brad Thor


Deadly operative Scot Harvath faces down democracy’s most powerful enemy in #1 New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Brad Thor’s new white-knuckle thriller.

High in the Himalayas, armed with a host of barbaric, improvised weapons, Chinese troops ambush a contingent of highly decorated Indian soldiers. The brutal, hand-to-hand combat lasts for over six hours, destabilizing the already tenuous relationship between the two nuclear neighbors.

Fearful of the global consequences of engaging Beijing head-on, countless United States administrations have passed the buck.

But when a covert American diplomat tasked with negotiating an Asian version of NATO is murdered on the streets of Jaipur, doing nothing is no longer an option. It is time to unleash Scot Harvath.

As America’s top spy, Harvath has the unparalleled skills and experience necessary to handle any situation, but this mission feels different.

Thrust into a completely unfamiliar culture, with few he can trust, the danger begins to mount the moment he lands in India. Amidst multiple competing forces and a host of deadly agendas, it is nearly impossible to tell predator from prey.

With democracy itself hanging in the balance, Harvath will risk everything to untangle the explosive plot and bring every bad actor to justice.

From TRBS: Anyone who reads Brad Thor knows that reading one of his books is like getting an early look at future headlines, and that’s never been more true than with his latest blockbuster novel, Rising Tiger. When factoring in the quality of his books on top of the longevity he’s had throughout his career, where he’s sat atop the genre for so long, nobody is doing what Thor is doing. After more than twenty books, the argument could easily be made that Brad Thor is the greatest political thriller novelist ever. Trust me, don’t miss this book.


In the Blood by Jack Carr

#1 New York Times bestselling author

​​“Take my word for it, James Reece is one rowdy motherf***er. Get ready!” —Chris Pratt, star of The Terminal List, coming to Amazon Prime

The “explosive and riveting” (Kevin Maurer, coauthor of No Easy Day) New York Times bestselling Terminal List series continues as James Reece embarks on a global journey of vengeance.

A woman boards a plane in the African country of Burkina Faso having just completed a targeted assassination for the state of Israel. Two minutes later, her plane is blown out of the sky.

Over 6,000 miles away, former Navy SEAL James Reece watches the names and pictures of the victims on cable news. One face triggers a distant memory of a Mossad operative attached to the CIA years earlier in Iraq—a woman with ties to the intelligence services of two nations…a woman Reece thought he would never see again.

Reece enlists friends new and old across the globe to track down her killer, unaware that he may be walking into a deadly trap.

From TRBS: I’ll be honest, I almost picked this as my best book of 2022. In fact, I had it slotted there until pretty recently, but really, In the Blood is absolutely deserving of that title—and nobody is hotter right now that Jack Carr, whose rise from exciting debut to superstar author, is unlike anything I’ve seen since I started covering the industry in 2014. Not only do his books bring an unprecedented level of been-there-done-that authenticity, but Carr knows how to dial up the action without relying solely on explosions and gunfights to make his work stand out from the rest. There’s a reason why readers love James Reece, and In fact, I would argue that Carr’s character development is among the best in the thriller scene today. A student of the genre before ever penning his first book, Carr is now teaching the publishing world a thing or two as he continues to deliver hit after hit. His recently announced sixth novel, Only the Dead, is already one of the most anticipated books of 2023.


Hostile Intent Don Bentley

In the espionage community, Vienna is known as the City of Spies, and Matt Drake is about to learn why in the latest electrifying thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Tom Clancy Target Acquired and The Outside Man.

When a mysterious walk-in to the US embassy in Vienna claims to have critical information about a Russian intelligence operation, he raises eyebrows. But when he asks for Matt Drake by name and calls himself the Irishman, he gets the DIA’s premier case officer on a one-way flight.

Matt arrives to find Austria’s charming capital lousy with intelligence officers, all swirling around Nolan Burke—a onetime member of the real IRA. But before Matt can debrief Nolan, the Irishman is kidnapped by a Russian direct action team. Now, Matt must find a way to repay the debt of honor he owes Nolan while stopping World War III in the process.

From TRBS: Don Bentley has really taken off in the last few years, and thanks to his Matt Drake series, is rightfully being lauded as one of the brightest new stars the genre has to offer. He’s now doing the Jack Ryan Junior books too, and they’re fantastic, but still, I prefer the Drake books—which have a certain level of rawness and grittiness to them that few can match. Hostile Intent is perhaps his finest work yet, and even so, it feels like we haven’t seen the best from Bentley just yet.


Sierra Six by Mark Greaney

It’s been years since the Gray Man’s first mission, but the trouble’s just getting started in the latest entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Before he was the Gray Man, Court Gentry was Sierra Six, the junior member of a CIA action team.

In their first mission they took out a terrorist leader, at a terrible price. Years have passed. The Gray Man is on a simple mission when he sees a ghost: the long-dead terrorist, but he’s remarkably energetic for a dead man.

A decade of time hasn’t changed the Gray Man. He isn’t one to leave a job unfinished or a blood debt unpaid.

From The Real Book Spy: If you aren’t reading Mark Greaney’s books, you’re missing out on one of the best authors since Vince Flynn took the genre by storm two decades ago. Like Flynn’s Mitch Rapp, Greaney’s Court Gentry is a certified badass and one of the most lethal characters in print today. Unlike Rapp, Gentry is a bit more on edge, unpredictable, and operates almost entirely on his own. Here, Greaney weaves in answers and backstories (which his longtime fans will enjoy) to an explosive plot that shows exactly why he’s the premier pick for readers in search of hard-hitting action.


End of Days by Brad Taylor

Pike Logan must stop a deranged killer hell-bent on igniting an international conflagration in this explosive, action-packed thriller from New York Times bestselling author and former special forces officer, Brad Taylor.

When a paragliding trip over the picturesque mountains of Switzerland results in the brutal murder of the former head of Israeli intelligence, Mossad brings in terrorist hunters Aaron and Shoshana to investigate. But they’ll need help to find out who was behind the attack and what they’re planning next. Luckily, Aaron and Shoshana know exactly who to call.

Taskforce operators Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill have been trapped in Charleston, South Carolina during COVID-19, so when Aaron and Shoshana show up on their doorstep with Israeli passports and a new mission, they jump at the chance to assist their friends. Some suspect that Keta’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian-funded militia group operating in Iraq, might be responsible for the “accidental” deaths of key members of the American and Israeli governments. But something isn’t adding up, and Pike, Jennifer, and the two Mossad operators are determined to find the real assassins before more people are cut down.

As they stumble upon the trail of a serial killer loose on the streets of Rome connected to the deaths and follow evidence leading to the exalted Knights of Malta, they must wade deep into the contentious religious and political fractures of Israel and the greater Middle East. It’s a dangerous world where fanatics and legitimate organizations exist side by side, and it’s up to the Taskforce to determine who is really pulling the strings. What they find could have disastrous consequences not only for them, but for the entire world…

From The Real Book Spy: You could get into a heated argument when debating which character on this list is the most badass of them all, but Pike Logan might just get my vote this year. Certainly, much of that comes from Pike’s creator, Brad Taylor—a twenty-one-year veteran of the U.S. Army Infantry and Special Forces, includ­ing eight years with Delta Force—who knows more about the life and mind of an elite soldier than any other author working today. Thing is, Taylor isn’t just a former Delta Force operator who happens to be an author now. No, he’s the New York Times bestselling author of more than sixteen books who just so happens to be a former Delta Force operator, and trust me, there’s a difference. From understanding characters and how to build relationships in his universe to knowing how to mix headline-beating plots with relatable human dynamics, Taylor continues to show why he’s one of the best authors working today. And that’s before the action kicks in—which really brings the house down.


Storm Rising by Chris Hauty


Nationally bestselling author Chris Hauty leads fans into the depths of a dangerous white supremacy conspiracy that threatens to tear the country apart in his propulsive new thriller.

Former White House intern turned intelligence operative Hayley Chill is filling her time by training as an MMA fighter. When she’s convinced to pursue the truth about her father’s mysterious fate, she stumbles upon a ciphered document under the floorboards of her father’s house.

With permission from her handler to probe deeper, she is led into a terrifying subculture of white supremacy within the United States military. As her investigation intensifies, she uncovers an expansive conspiracy to bring about the secession of several states from the country. It’s up to Hayley to stop a second Civil War before it starts, while also confronting the ultimate truth about her own father’s role in this harrowing chapter of American history.

From TRBS: Hauty has been known to keep readers on the edge of their seats with his never-see-them-coming twists and turns, and he delivers another good one here. Beyond that, he continues to flesh out Hayley Chill while giving readers a timely story that sometimes feels a little too real for comfort.


Dark Horse by Gregg Hurwitz

Gregg Hurwitz’s New York Times bestselling series returns when Orphan X faces his most challenging mission ever in Dark Horse.

Evan Smoak is a man with many identities and a challenging past. As Orphan X, he was a government assassin for the off-the-books Orphan Program. After he broke with the Program, he adopted a new name and a new mission–The Nowhere Man, helping the most desperate in their times of trouble. Having just survived an attack on his life and the complete devastation of his base of operations, as well as his complicated (and deepening) relationship with his neighbor Mia Hall, Evan isn’t interested in taking on a new mission. But one finds him anyway.

Aragon Urrea is a kingpin of a major drug-dealing operation in South Texas. He’s also the patron of the local area–supplying employment in legitimate operations, providing help to the helpless, rough justice to the downtrodden, and a future to a people normally with little hope. He’s complicated–a not completely good man, who does bad things for often good reasons. However, for all his money and power, he is helpless when one of the most vicious cartels kidnaps his innocent eighteen-year-old daughter, spiriting her away into the armored complex that is their headquarters in Mexico. With no other way to rescue his daughter, he turns to The Nowhere Man.

Now not only must Evan figure out how to get into the impregnable fortress of a heavily armed, deeply paranoid cartel leader, but he must decide if he should help a very bad man–no matter how just the cause.

From TRBS: Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series is unlike anything else being cranked out today. From the deep, thorough character development that has driven this series to date to the many heart-thumping action sequences and jaw-dropping twists, Hurwitz always manages to serve it all up in a way that only he can.


The Lightning Rod by Brad Meltzer

“Trust me, this is a terrific, compelling, unputdownable thriller.”  — Lee Child

Zig and Nola are back—in the hugely entertaining, highly anticipated follow-up to Brad Meltzer’s #1 New York Times bestselling thriller The Escape Artist.

Archie Mint has led a charmed life—he’s got a beautiful wife, two impressive kids, and a successful military career. When he’s killed while trying to stop a robbery in his own home, his family is shattered—and then shocked when the other shoe drops. Mint’s charmed life, so perfect on the surface, held criminal secrets none of them could have imagined.

While working on Mint’s body before his funeral, mortician “Zig” Zigarowski discovers something he was never meant to see. That telling detail leads him to Dover Air Force Base, where he uncovers Mint’s involvement in a top-secret military unit and his connection to military artist Nola Brown. Two years ago, Nola saved Zig’s life—so he knows better than most that she’s as volatile and dangerous as a bolt of lightning.

Everyone wants to talk to Nola, but she’s not cooperating—and indeed doesn’t want to be found. In order to track her down, Zig teams with Nola’s long-missing brother, who’s just as combustible as she is. As they follow Nola’s trail, they discover one of the U.S. government’s most intensely guarded secrets—an undisclosed military facility that dates back to the Cold War and holds the key to something far more sinister: a hidden group willing to compromise the very safety and security of America itself.

Trouble always finds her…

She’s the lightning rod.

From TRBS: Few writers can predict headlines better than Brad Meltzer, who puts his crystal ball down just long enough to churn out some of the best action we’ve seen from him. Most of the fireworks come thanks to Nola, and frankly, Meltzer hasn’t ever had a character quite like her to work with. But what really makes Nola’s personality—shaped by her dark, mysterious past—work is the way he plays that off of Zig, who’s more comparable to Meltzer’s other series protagonist, Beecher White. It all just works, and that’s before you toss in another adrenaline-pumping conspiracy that’ll have readers flipping pages, racing to see how this one ends.


The Last Sentinal by Simon Gervais

From the celebrated author of The Last Protector comes an action-packed sequel about a man whose duty to his country threatens the life of the woman he has vowed to protect.

Ex–Secret Service agent Clayton White doesn’t miss the relentless danger that defined his career. These days, he’s enjoying life at sea with his fiancée―who also happens to be the daughter of the double-dealing vice president, Alexander Hammond. But for the most part, Clayton has made peace with his old nemesis.

Then their ship, the NOAAS Surveyor, comes under attack. That same day in Miami, the Second Lady of the United States is assassinated. Hammond, who dodged the bullet meant for him, calls upon Clayton to help him hunt down the responsible party.

Clayton wants nothing to do with the notorious vice president, who boasts a violent and capricious history. But with his fiancée’s life in the balance, Clayton has no choice. He jumps back into the fray, where he’ll face off with enemies new and old. And unbeknownst to Clayton, a deep-rooted enemy has been waiting in the shadows and has now set his sights on him.

This time, it’s not just the world Clayton’s trying to save―but the woman he loves.

From TRBS: Simon Gervais has really made a name for himself these last couple of years. From underrated to promptly taking his place among the best action writers working today, Gervais puts on a show with The Last Sentinel, one of his most exciting books yet. He also wrote The Blackbriar Genesis, a spinoff from the Jason Bourne series, and that one could have easily made this list as well. But since we’re trying to keep it to one book per writer, Sentinal just edged it out.


Dark Fall by Andrews & Wilson

When a remote Peruvian village is reduced to ash in seconds, the Shepherds face a horrific question: Is this the work of a man-made weapon of unthinkable power, or is God raining down judgment from above, as some believe?

As the recently installed leader of the Joshua Bravo team, Jedidiah Johnson shifts into covert operation mode to follow rumors of a new energy-based weapon able to incinerate a target―even a human target―with no warning. With the assistance of the CIA, Jed’s team deploys to Hong Kong to extract the Chinese scientist who helped develop the weapon.

What the Shepherds learn from Dr. Zhao confirms their worst fears: The weapon is real and has disappeared from the testing facility where it was held. With help from the Watchers, Jed discovers that Victor, the leader of the Dark Ones, has the weapon and intends to use it to wreak untold damage and destabilize the faith of millions. But as Jed and his team race the clock to find and disable the weapon, Victor begins to unfold secret plans for another attack . . .

And this target is much closer to home.

From TRBS: The next book in this phenomenal series from Andrews & Wilson brings plenty of action and suspense as the Shepherds race to save the day yet again, only to realize there’s more going on than they first realized.  A truly unique and exciting series, there’s nothing else quite like these books anywhere else.


The Maze by Nelson DeMille

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille returns with a blistering thriller featuring his most popular series character, former NYPD homicide detective John Corey, called out of retirement to investigate a string of grisly murders much too close to home.

In his dazzling #1 bestseller, Plum Island, Nelson DeMille introduced readers to NYPD Homicide Detective John Corey, who we first meet sitting on the back porch of his uncle’s waterfront estate on Long Island, convalescing from wounds incurred in the line of duty. A visit from the local Chief of Police results in the legendary Detective Corey becoming involved in the investigation of the murders of a married couple who were scientists at the top-secret biological research facility on Plum Island.

Fast forward through six more bestselling John Corey novels and The Maze opens with Corey on the same porch, but now in forced retirement from his last job as a Federal Agent with the Diplomatic Surveillance Group. Corey is restless and looking for action, so when his former lover, Detective Beth Penrose, appears with a job offer, Corey has to once again make some decisions about his career—and about reuniting with Beth Penrose.

Inspired by, and based on the actual and still unsolved Gilgo Beach murders, The Maze takes the reader on a dangerous hunt for an apparent serial killer who has murdered nine—and maybe more—prostitutes and hidden their bodies in the thick undergrowth on a lonely stretch of beach.

As Corey digs deeper into this case, which has made national news, he comes to suspect that the failure of the local police to solve this sensational case may not be a result of their inexperience and incompetence—it may be something else. Something more sinister.

The Maze features John Corey’s politically incorrect humor, matched by his brilliant and unorthodox investigative skills along with the surprising and shocking plot twists that are the trademark of the #1 New York Times bestselling author, Nelson DeMille.

From TRBS: There has been a steady infusion of new, notable protagonists entering the thriller genre over the last few years, but don’t sleep on John Corey, who is still a fan favorite and one of the premier heroes in the game today. Nelson DeMille delivers his best book in years with The Maze.


No Plan B by Lee Child and Andrew Child

The gripping new Jack Reacher thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors Lee Child and Andrew Child

No Plan B is not to be missed. A perfectly plotted, fast-paced thriller, with bigger twists than ever before. It’s no wonder Jack Reacher is everyone’s favorite rebel hero.”—Karin Slaughter

In Gerrardsville, Colorado, a woman dies under the wheels of a moving bus. The death is ruled a suicide. But Jack Reacher saw what really happened: A man in a gray hoodie and jeans, moving stealthily, pushed the victim to her demise—before swiftly grabbing the dead woman’s purse and strolling away.

When another homicide is ruled an accident, Reacher knows this is no coincidence. With a killer on the loose, Reacher has no time to waste to track down those responsible.

But Reacher is unaware that these crimes are part of something much larger and more far-reaching: an arsonist out for revenge, a foster kid on the run, a cabal of powerful people involved in a secret conspiracy with many moving parts. There is no room for error, but they make a grave one. They don’t consider Reacher a threat. “There’s too much at stake to start running from shadows.” But Reacher isn’t a shadow. He is flesh and blood. And relentless when it comes to making things right.

For when the threat is Reacher, there is No Plan B.

From TRBS: This series got a shot in the arm when Andrew Child came on to co-author with his brother, Lee Child, a few books back, bringing fresh energy to Reacher—who goes after a killer in this one. Relentless pacing, big action sequences, and a masterfully plotted adventure that sets the beloved drifter on a collision course with another powerful antagonist make the 27th Jack Reacher novel one of the best books in the series to date.


Tom Clancy Red Winter by Marc Cameron

In this previously untold adventure, a young Jack Ryan goes behind the Iron Curtain to seek the truth about a potential Soviet defector in the most shocking entry in Tom Clancy’s #1 New York Times bestselling series.


A top secret F117 aircraft crashes into the Nevada desert. The Nighthawk is the most advanced fighting machine in the world and the Soviets will do anything to get their hands on its secrets.

In East Berlin, a mysterious figure contacts the CIA with an incredible offer—invaluable details of his government’s espionage plans in return for asylum.

It’s an offer they can’t pass up…if it’s genuine, but the risks are too great to blindly stumble into a deal. With the East German secret police closing in, someone will have to go to behind the Berlin Wall to investigate the potential defector. It’s a job Deputy Director James Greer can only trust to one man–Jack Ryan.

Ryan is a former Marine and a brilliant CIA analyst who’s been the architect of some of the CIA’s biggest coups but this time he’s in enemy territory with a professional assassin on his tail. Can he get the right answers before the Cold War turns into a Red Winter?

From TRBS: Bravo to Marc Cameron, who absolutely crushed this one. Not just the best Jack Ryan story in years, but maybe the best since Clancy himself was still churning books out.  While probably best suited for longtime fans of the series, even newcomers will quickly find themselves lost in Cameron’s exceptionally plotted thriller.


Firestorm by Taylor Moore

DEA Special Agent Garrett Kohl must rescue a CIA officer when she’s kidnapped in Texas by a nefarious band of criminals in this pulse-pounding thriller for fans of C. J. Box.

Special Agent Garrett Kohl has just taken down a dangerous and deadly cartel boss when he finds trouble brewing back on his family’s homestead. A powerful energy consortium, Talon Corporation, has started an aggressive mining operation that threatens to destroy Garrett’s land, his family’s way of life, and everything they hold dear. To achieve its goals, Talon is flouting the law, bribing public officials, and meeting anyone who challenges it with physical violence. When the Kohls themselves are attacked by Talon guards, Garrett goes on the offensive, embarking on an investigation that he hopes will rid the Texas High Plains of the intruders once and for all.

Garrett soon discovers that the company has origins in the dark hinterlands of countries across the globe. Using coercion and assassination levied by men from former Russian special operations forces, Talon is working on a highly secretive scheme to commandeer precious U.S. resources. The tit-for-tat exchange between Talon and the Kohls erupts into a full-scale war when Russian spy, Alexi Orlov, kidnaps Garrett’s friend and ally, CIA operative Kim Manning. While Talon may be accustomed to getting its way in many places around the world, they have yet to encounter this rare breed of warrior down in Texas—a man who will fight to the death to protect those that he loves.

From TRBS: Just two books in, Taylor Moore is already carving out a name for himself with his action-packed, modern-day Westerns that straddle multiple genres. The sky is the limit for Moore and his hero, Garrett Kohl, a character unlike anyone else in the thriller world today.



Best Thriller of 2022



Oath of Loyalty by Kyle Mills


Mitch Rapp—“the best hero the thriller genre has to offer” (The Real Book Spy)—confronts a very different kind of killer in this explosive addition to Vince Flynn’s #1 New York Times bestselling series, written by Kyle Mills.

With President Anthony Cook convinced that Mitch Rapp poses a mortal threat to him, CIA Director Irene Kennedy is forced to construct a truce between the two men. The terms are simple: Rapp agrees to leave the country and stay in plain sight for as long as Cook controls the White House. In exchange, the administration agrees not to make any moves against him.

This fragile détente holds until Cook’s power-hungry security adviser convinces him that Rapp has no intention of honoring their agreement. To put him on the defensive, they leak the identity of his partner, Claudia Gould. As Rapp races to neutralize the enemies organizing against her, he discovers that a new type of assassin is on her trail.

Known only as Legion, the shadowy killer has created a business model based on double-blind secrecy. Neither the assassin nor the client knows the other’s identity. Because of this, Legion can’t be called off nor can they afford to fail. No matter how long it takes—weeks, months, years—they won’t stand down until their target is dead. Faced with the seemingly impossible task of finding and stopping Legion, Rapp and his people must close ranks against a world that has turned on them.

From TRBS: It’s hard to imagine the Mitch Rapp series getting better since the tragic passing of Vince Flynn in 2013, but’s impossible to deny that the franchise has risen to new heights under the control of Kyle Mills, who took over in 2014 and is now eight books into his reign as the man behind the (arguably) most badass character ever created. What makes Mills’ run so impressive is that the world has changed considerably since Flynn’s passing, meaning Mitch Rapp is operating at a time when new threats are constantly emerging. To stay relevant and timely, the focus can no longer stay exclusively on middle eastern terrorism. And here, Mills dares to introduce a new threat—one that’s as honest to today’s real world as it is controversial: The United States of America.

What happens when the country that Mitch Rapp has spent his entire adult life fighting to protect suddenly turns on him? Well, that is the premise of Oath of Loyalty, and incredibly, Mills manages to write an explosive political thriller without being, well, overly political. Neither political party is mentioned, and no sides are taken via party lines. Instead, a corrupt president with one too many skeletons in his closet decides that Mitch Rapp is a threat to his political future and gives the order to have him taken out. The man who receives that order is, or was, one of Rapp’s closest friends—setting up a showdown that’ll leave longtime fans scrambling to pick their jaws off of the floor. But that’s just the beginning. From there, Rapp must decide how far he’ll go to fight the country he’s bled to protect, paving the way for a stunning ending that ranks among the best in the entire series.

Bottom line: Oath of Loyalty is the best thriller of 2022, but even more exciting for fans of Mitch Rapp is that the American assassin’s future continues to look incredibly bright under Kyle Mills.



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.


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