Welcome to May, thriller fans!
I hope you’re ready, because this month featured three of my favorite books coming out this year. Plus, there are a ton of other great books coming out too. So, whatever you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered.
As always, we’ve highlighted a few titles that we think stand above the rest, and this month, those books are Only The Dead by Jack Carr, The Libyian Diversion by Joel C. Rosenberg, and Drowning by T.J. Newman—three absolute must-read thrillers from three superstar authors. Find out more about those books, along with everything else hitting bookstores this month, below.
Tuesday, May 2
The 23ed Midnight by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
A copycat is recreating murders by a famous killer from The Women’s Murder Club’s past—and the Murder Club’s destruction as his goal.
Detective Lindsay Boxer put serial killer Evan Burke in jail.
Reporter Cindy Thomas wrote a book that put him on the bestseller list.
An obsessed maniac has turned Burke’s true-crime story into a playbook. And is embellishing it with gruesome touches all his own.
Now Lindsay’s tracking an elusive suspect, and the entire Murder Club is facing destruction.
The Ferryman by Justin Cronin
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Passage comes a riveting standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia—where the truth isn’t what it seems.
Founded by the mysterious genius known as the Designer, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera’s lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh.
Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process—and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he’s been dreaming—which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.
Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group—known as “Arrivalists”—who may be fomenting revolution.
Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized—and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.
Tuesday, May 16th
Only The Dead by Jack Carr (Featured Selection)
Navy SEAL James Reece faces a devastating global conspiracy in this high-adrenaline thriller that is ripped from the headlines—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr.
In 1980, a freshman congressman was gunned down in Rhode Island, sending shockwaves through Washington that are still reverberating over four decades later.
Now, with the world on the brink of war and a weakened United States facing rampant inflation, political division, and shocking assassinations, a secret cabal of global elites is ready to assume control. And with the world’s most dangerous man locked in solitary confinement, the conspirators believe the final obstacle to complete domination has been eliminated. They’re wrong.
From the firms of Wall Street to the corridors of power in Washington, DC, and Moscow, secrets from the past have the uncanny ability to rise to the surface in the present.
With the odds stacked against him, James Reece is on a mission generations in the making. Unfortunately for his enemies, the former SEAL is not concerned with odds. He is on the warpath. And when James Reece picks up his tomahawk and sniper rifle, no one is out of range.
From “a master novelist” (Ballistic Magazine), Jack Carr brings his signature authenticity to “create an incredibly vivid, emotional, action-packed tapestry of carnage and death” (Coffee or Die Magazine) in a plot that just might predict the headlines of tomorrow.
From TRBS: James Reece is back, and that’s really all you need to know about this book to pre-order it right this second. Need more? Okay. Carr is the closest thing to Vince Flynn or Tom Clancy that the genre has seen since their heydays, and in all seriousness, has a chance to pass both of them in his career—which is only six books long so far. It’s unbelievable how much he’s done in that short amount of time, and expectations are high for the former SEAL turned #1 New York Times bestselling author, but if anyone can surpass them, it’s Carr. If this book’s not on your radar, put it there.
The Lie Maker by Linwood Barclay
In this twisty, fast-paced thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Find You First and Take Your Breath Away, a man desperately tries to track down his father—who was taken into witness protection years ago—before his enemies can get to him.
Your dad’s not a good person. Your dad killed people, son.
These are some of the last words Jack Givins’ father spoke to him before he was whisked away by witness protection, leaving Jack and his mother to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives as best they could.
Years later, Jack is a grown man with problems of his own. He’s a talented but struggling author, barely scraping by on the royalties from his moderately successful first book. So when the U.S. Marshals approach him with a lucrative opportunity, he’s in no position to turn them down. They’re recruiting writers like Jack to create false histories for people in witness protection—people like Jack’s father.
The coincidence is astonishing to Jack at first, but he soon realizes this may be a chance to find his dad. Only there’s one problem—Jack’s father hasn’t made contact with his handlers recently, and they have no idea where he is. He could be in serious danger, and Jack may be the only one who can find him.
But how will he find a man he’s never truly known? A man who has done terrible things in his lifetime and made some deadly enemies in the process—enemies who wouldn’t think twice about using his own son against him.
The Libyan Diversion by Joel C. Rosenberg (Featured Selection)
From New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg comes the fifth military and international political thriller in the Marcus Ryker series.
The world’s most wanted terrorist is dead. Marcus Ryker recommended the drone strike himself. The intelligence was rock-solid. But what if it was wrong?
Abu Nakba―the man responsible for lethal attacks in Washington, D.C., London, and Jerusalem―is finally dead. Marcus Ryker has been tasked with hunting down and destroying what’s left of the terror group Kairos.
But before Ryker can mobilize his team of CIA operatives with their new assignment, a disturbing report from Libya suggests all may not be as it seems. The U.S. bombing that should have taken out Nakba’s headquarters now appears to have been a disastrous mistake―and Ryker himself may be responsible.
With Kairos gearing up for a major retaliatory strike against the U.S., time is short, and terror cells may already be inside American borders. But Ryker won’t be able to stop this threat until he clears his own name, and his closest ally inside the White House can no longer help him.
The Libyan diversion threatens to leave Ryker on the sidelines just when his country needs him most.
Packed with action and intrigue, this thriller novel is everything Joel’s fans have come to expect.
From TRBS: The best headline-beater in the business is back with another can’t-miss thriller starring battle-tested operator Marcus Ryker, one of the thriller genre’s brightest new stars. Want to know what future headlines might look like a year or two down the road? Pick up one of Rosenberg’s novels. He’s so on the money with his fictional storylines that it sometimes feels as if media outlets wait to see what he’s writing about to know what to cover. And this one, well . . . trust me, it’ll blow you away.
Tuesday, May 23
The Devil You Know by Chris Hauty
A Supreme Court justice is murdered and a conspiracy with potentially cataclysmic effects is uncovered in the latest of the nationally bestselling “edge-of-your-seat” (Book Riot) Hayley Chill series.
When a justice of the Supreme Court is killed by the police officer assigned to protect him, the country is shocked. Hayley Chill’s superiors suspect the assassination is part of a major conspiracy.
In Maui, where one member of the Supreme Court owns a vacation home, a busload of children is taken hostage with the justice’s death as ransom. Together with a deputy US marshal, Hayley embarks on the monumental task of rescuing the children while also protecting the justice. But with danger around every corner and no one to trust, has Hayley finally bitten off more than she can chew?
Tom Clancy Flash Point by Don Bentley
If there’s one thing Jack Ryan, Jr’s father taught him, it’s that freedom isn’t free, but nothing can prepare Jack for the price he must pay in the latest electrifying entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
Jack Ryan Jr. is in a world of trouble. When a benign surveillance operation takes a deadly turn, Jack finds himself locked in a struggle with an unseen enemy bent on destroying the Campus. The chase leads Jack to the South China Sea where a midair collision between aircraft from rival nations threatens to serve as a flash point for the entire region. As Jack frantically tries to put the pieces of the conspiracy together, the Campus is hit with a crippling attack. When the dust settles, Jack is one of the few operators still standing and the Campus’s de facto leader. But the fight is just beginning.
As tensions escalate, Jack’s mysterious adversary executes a brilliant campaign to paralyze the American government even as China inches closer to invading Taiwan. With the odds stacked against him and no help in sight, Jack and his shattered team must stop the world’s two remaining super powers from stumbling into war even as the noose around the Campus grows ever tighter.
Every operation has a cost.
This time the bill might just be too much to pay.
Rogue Justice by Stacey Abrams
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of While Justice Sleeps returns with another riveting and intricately plotted thriller, in which a blackmailed federal judge, a secret court and a brazen murder may lead to an unprecedented national crisis.
Supreme Court clerk Avery Keene is back, trying to get her feet on solid ground after unraveling an international conspiracy in While Justice Sleeps. But as the sparks of Congressional hearings and political skirmishes swirl around her, Avery is approached at a legal conference by Preston Davies, an unassuming young man and fellow law clerk to a federal judge in Idaho. Davies believes his boss, Judge Francesca Whitner, was being blackmailed in the days before she died. Desperate to understand what happened, he gives Avery a file, a burner phone, and a fearful warning that there are highly dangerous people involved.
Another shocking murder leads Avery to a list of names – all federal judges – and, alarmingly, all judges on the FISA Court (the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court), also known as America’s “secret court.” It is this body which grants permission to the government to wiretap Americans or spy on corporations suspected of terrorism. As Avery digs deeper, she begins to see a frightening pattern – and she worries that something far more sinister may be unfolding inside the nation’s third branch of government. With lives at stake, Avery must race the clock and an unexpected enemy to find the answer.
Drawn from today’s headlines and woven with her unique insider perspective, Stacey Abrams combines twisting plotlines, wry wit, and clever puzzles to create another immensely entertaining suspense novel.
The Senator’s Wife by Liv Constantine
A D.C. philanthropist suspects that her seemingly perfect employee is secretly plotting to steal her husband, her reputation—even her life—in this seductive novel of psychological suspense from the internationally bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish.
In this town, anyone is replaceable. . . .
After a tragic chain of events led to the deaths of their spouses two years ago, DC philanthropist Sloane Chase and Senator Whit Montgomery are finally starting to move on. The horrifying ordeal drew them together, and now they’re ready to settle down again—with each other.
As Sloane returns to the world of White House dinners and political small talk, this time with her new husband, she’s also preparing for an upcoming hip replacement—the latest reminder of the lupus she’s managed since her twenties. With their hectic schedules, they decide that hiring a home health aide will give Sloane the support and independence she needs postsurgery. And they find the perfect fit in Athena Karras.
Seemingly a godsend, Athena tends to Sloane and even helps her run her charitable foundation. But Sloane slowly begins to deteriorate—a complication, Athena explains, of Sloane’s lupus. As weeks go by, Sloane becomes sicker, and her uncertainty quickly turns to paranoia as she begins to suspect the worst. Why is Athena asking her so many probing questions about her foundation—as well as about her past? And could Sloane be imagining the sultry looks between Athena and her new husband?
Riveting, fast-paced, and full of unbelievable twists, The Senator’s Wife is a psychological thriller that upends the private lives of those who walk the halls of power. Because when you have it all, you have everything to lose.
Liable by Karen S. Gordon
“Smart, quick, and wildly entertaining, LIABLE is Gordon at her very best. If you aren’t reading this series . . . start!” — Ryan Steck, The Real Book Spy
Vance Courage and Lauren Gold are on route to Paradise Island, Bahamas to gamble when the twin-engine prop plane they’ve chartered is forced to make an emergency landing on a tiny private island in The Bahamas. The pilot, a crusty army veteran named Blade, makes a harrowing landing then orders his five passengers to take their baggage and walk to the island’s only resort to wait for the weather to clear. While Vance is away from the table, Lauren sees the plane take off into the sunset, stranding them and two of the three other passengers.
Vance soon realizes his is the only missing baggage. He hurries to the footpath leading to the small runway and finds his belongings strewn on the gravel in the clearing. His duffle bag is turned inside-out, and his passport and gun are gone. Why did they target him and why did Blade take the third passenger, Tonk, with him? Vance and Lauren and two young budget-minded travelers from California—C.J. and Chan—are forced to spend the night on the island.
When a personal emergency forces Lauren to return to Miami in the morning, Vance joins C.J. and Chan who’ve mapped out a daring plan to escape the island. Believing they can lead him to the thief, the ex-cop tracks the young couple and soon discovers his gun and passport haven’t fallen into the hands of an ordinary thief. He’s on the trail of a madman.
Cartel Hunter by Robert Goluba
A cartel moves in and threatens his family, so Jason Mulder goes hunting.
Narcos operate without detection deep in the forests of Northern Arizona until they murder a local teen.
Air Force Pararescueman Jason Mulder returns home with his elite training and skills to do what local law enforcement cannot do… bring his brother’s killers to justice.
He and his unlikely allies, a special recon warrior and a third-generation tracker from the White Mountain Apache Tribe, scour millions of acres of rugged forest. But as they close in on their prey, the ruthless gang learns of Jason and sends assassins to wipe out the remaining Mulder family.
Hunter becomes the hunted.
With time running out and a body count that could explode, can Jason eliminate this deadly threat before it puts an end to him and his family?
Tuesday, May 30th
Drowning by T.J. Newman (Featured Selection)
Flight attendant turned New York Times bestselling author T. J. Newman—whose first book Falling was an instant #1 national bestseller, an international sensation translated into thirty languages, and the biggest thriller debut of 2021—returns for her second book, which “reads like Apollo 13 underwater” (Don Winslow).
Six minutes after Flight 1421 takes off, it crashes into the ocean.
The passengers who survive the crash think it’s a miracle. They believe they’re the lucky ones. Then the plane begins to sink to the ocean floor.
The survivors are trapped inside.
Against all odds, a massive rescue operation is launched to save them. There is not much time.
There is even less air.
From TRBS: Falling (2021) was one of the biggest debuts I’ve ever covered. That book cemented Newman as a legitimate star in the making, but it’s Drowning that’ll prove she has the staying power to do this for a very, very long time. If you’ve not yet discovered her work, trust me, you need to.
The Overnights by Ian K. Smith
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ian K. Smith brings back former Chicago detective turned private eye Ashe Cayne in this eagerly anticipated mystery in which the investigator finds himself in a race against the clock to protect a high-profile Chicago news anchor and solve the racially charged murder of a Black teen by a white police officer.
“Chicago PI Ashe Cayne is the perfect hero for our times.”—Harlan Coben
Someone wants Morgan Shaw dead—or so the beautiful, brilliant, and hugely popular evening news anchor of top-rated Chicago TV station WLTV believes. Fearing for her safety, she turns to P. I. Ashe Cayne for protection. Though he sympathizes, Ashe turns her down—he’s not a bodyguard. But when Morgan’s car tires are slashed and she’s threatened again, Ashe agrees to help her.
Her mysterious assailant isn’t the only threat worrying Morgan. She’s nervous about the upcoming “sweeps”—the all-important overnight ratings period—which will determine Chicago’s highest-rated television newscast and the city’s number-one anchor. Morgan has long been Chicago’s news queen. Now, though her crown is in jeopardy. She refuses to lose to her crosstown rival, and will risk everything to stay on top—including an audacious investigation into the suspicious shooting of an unarmed African American man by a white cop. The explosive case and her discoveries boost her ratings—and create powerful enemies eager to protect their secrets.
To save his client and find the truth, Ashe must wade through the tangled layers of competitive local news and the deceptive schemes of its power players, and uncover the identities of those behind the murder of a seemingly innocent man.
The Body in the Web by Katherine Hall Page
In the 26th book in the award-winning Faith Fairchild Mysteries series, Katherine Hall Page’s beloved amateur detective is hunkered down with her family during the pandemic when a Zoom-bombing scandal sends the community into a tailspin … and a dead body is discovered.
Faith Fairchild joins the rest of the world in lockdown mode when reality flips in March 2020. As the pandemic spreads, Faith and her family readjust to life together in Aleford, Massachusetts. Her husband, Tom, continues his sermons from Zoom; their children, Ben, who’s in college, and Amy, a high school senior, are doing remote learning at home .
Faith is happy to have her family under the same roof and grateful for her resilient community, friends, and neighbors in Aleford. Town halls remain lively and well-attended, despite residents joining from their living rooms. It is at one of these town halls that scandal breaks out. In the midst of a Zoom meeting, damaging images suddenly flash upon everyone’s screens. Claudia, local art teacher and Faith’s dear friend, is immediately recognized as the woman who has been targeted.
When Claudia is later discovered dead, Faith, with the help of her friends, journeys deep into the dark web to unravel the threads of Claudia’s mysterious history and shocking passing.
From TRBS: Mega bestseller Harlan Coben said, “For those of us who are longtime fans, it’s a great time to rejoice and read. For those new to the series, you’re in for a treat.” Look, when one of the most prolific suspense authors to ever do it gives someone’s work such a resounding endorsement, that means you better check it out. Plain and simple.
Killing Moon by Joe Nesbo
This killer will get inside your head. • Brilliant rogue police investigator Harry Hole is back, this time as an outsider assembling his own team to help find a serial killer who is murdering young women in Oslo in the next novel in the New York Times best-selling series.
“One of today’s most interesting thriller writers.” —Lee Child, author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Jack Reacher series
THE HUNT IS ON AND THE POLICE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME. Two young women are missing, their only connection a party they both attended, hosted by a notorious real-estate magnate. When one of the women is found murdered, the police discover an unusual signature left by the killer, giving them reason to suspect he will strike again.
THEY’RE FACING A KILLER UNLIKE ANY OTHER. And exposing him calls for a detective like no other. But the legendary Harry Hole is gone—fired from the force, drinking himself to oblivion in Los Angeles. It seems that nothing can entice him back to Oslo. Until the woman who saved Harry’s life is put in grave danger, and he has no choice but to return to the city that haunts him and track down the murderer.
CATCHING HIM WILL PUSH HARRY TO THE LIMIT. He’ll need to bring together a misfit team of former operatives to accomplish what he can’t do alone: stop an unstoppable killer. But as the evidence mounts, it becomes clear that there is more to this case than meets the eye.
Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott
From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Megan Abbott, an eerie and prescient novel about a family outing that takes a terrifying turn.
Honey, I just want you to have everything you ever wanted. That’s what Jacy’s mom always told her.
And Jacy felt like she finally did. Newly married and with a baby on the way, Jacy and her new husband, Jed, embark on their first road trip together to visit his father, Dr. Ash, in Michigan’s far-flung Upper Peninsula. The moment they arrive in the cozy cottage in the lush woods, Jacy feels bathed in love by the warm and hospitable Dr. Ash, if less so by his house manager, the enigmatic Mrs. Brandt.
But their Edenic first days take a turn when Jacy has a health scare. Swiftly, vacation activities are scrapped, and all eyes are on Jacy’s condition. At the same time, whispers about Jed’s long-dead mother and complicated family history seem eerily to be impeding upon the present. As the days pass, Jacy begins to feel trapped in the cottage, her every move surveilled, her body under the looking glass. But are her fears founded or is it paranoia, or cabin fever, or—as is suggested to her—a stubborn refusal to take necessary precautions? The dense woods surrounding the cottage are full of dangers, but are the greater ones inside.
From TRBS: Author Ashley Audrain said, “Megan Abbott can do no wrong,” and I must agree. Her latest is of CrimeReads’ Most Anticipated Crime Fiction Books of 2023, and by year’s end, I predict it’ll be featured in many “best of” lists too.
Central Park West by James Comey
In the thrilling first crime novel from the former director of the FBI, a murder investigation reveals deadly connections between high-ranking politicians and the mafia
The gripping crime fiction debut from former FBI director James Comey takes readers deep inside the world of lawyers and investigators working to solve a murder while navigating the treacherous currents of modern politics and the mob.
When a years-long case against a powerful mobster finally cracks and an unimpeachable witness takes the stand, federal prosecutor Nora Carleton is looking forward to putting the defendant away for good. The mobster, though, has other plans. As the witness’s testimony concludes, a note is passed to the prosecution offering up information into the assassination of a disgraced former New York governor, murdered in his penthouse apartment just days before. It’s enough to blow the case wide open, and to send Nora into a high-stakes investigation of conspiracy, corruption, and danger.
Drawing from the author’s decades in federal law enforcement, including his years in Manhattan as a mob prosecutor and later the chief federal prosecutor, Central Park West is a fast-paced legal thriller with an intriguing plot enriched by real-life details and experiences. That unique perspective gives the novel much of its allure, but it’s the unforgettable characters, shocking twists, and courtroom scenes as authentic as they are dramatic that will leave readers looking forward to more from this bold new talent in the genre.
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.