David Baldacci’s latest thriller The Hit, featuring Will Robie (The Innocent is the first in this series) is a fast-paced, action packed story with plot twists and surprises at every turn. Robie, a CIA assassin, is asked to hunt down and eliminate a fellow agent Jessica Reel. Reel has killed two CIA employees and it appears she has turned on the US. But are things as they initially appear? As Robie gets more involved in the case, and more mysteries and murders are revealed, he begins to doubt the reasons for the mission he has been assigned. He uncovers a plot that could have far-reaching effects on the world and must race to prevent a global catastrophe, all the while searching for a rogue agent. Complex and compelling characters, conspiracies and an intricate plot make this a fascinating and memorable story.
Pediatrician Jill Farrow’s idyllic life with her daughter, Megan and her fiance, Sam, is turned upside down when one of her ex-stepdaughters, Abby, arrives on the doorstep at midnight, drunk, soaked to the skin, and crying that her dad, William, Jill’s ex, has been murdered. Despite distaste for her ex and a three-year estrangement from her ex-stepdaughters, Jill is overcome with love and concern for Abby. Jill is propelled into a dangerous cat-and-mouse chase that risks her relationships with Megan and Sam and eventually threatens her life. Come Home is a satisfying thriller with a family story at its core.
If you are looking for non-stop action and a riveting story line, try The Survivor by Greg Hurwitz. In this fast-paced novel, we meet Nate Overbay–an Iraq war veteran, distanced from his wife and daughter, suffering from PTSD and newly diagnosed with ALS. Seeing no reason to continue living, Nate goes to the ledge of a building to step off to his death (thoughtfully arranging to land in a dumpster so that no one is forced to clean up his remains) when, through a window behind him, he hears gunshots being fired. He sees masked robbers shooting customers and bank employees and when the criminals have their backs to him, he sneaks through the window and becomes a hero, killing 5 of the gunmen as a 6th man escapes. The media hails his heroic actions but Nate is concerned about a comment that the 6th man said to him as he ran out–that Nate would be made to “suffer in ways he never imagined” for his interference. Nate and his family are then hunted by a Ukrainian mobster, whose henchmen have no qualms about committing horrific crimes and killing in cold blood to get to Nate. The plot twists and the action keep the reader glued to the pages–this is a wonderfully written thriller. The character development make this more than just an action-packed story–characters are well-developed and the relationships between Nate, his wife and daughter are believable and touching. Nate has everything to lose and is faced with difficult choices in order to save the lives of his family. Poignant, funny at times, suspenseful and terrifying, this is a thriller you won’t want to put down.
Malcolm Bannister is a lawyer that got caught-up in an unfortunate money laundering scheme. Never intending to help a client hide ill-gained money he now is in a federal prison camp in Maryland. As a lawyer and the camp librarian, Malcolm meets and helps many of the inmates challenging the system and hoping to find a loophole to get out. Now Malcolm is working the system as he applies the ‘rule of 35′. Rule 35 allows for the reduction of a sentence if a defendant provides “substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person.”. Malcolm is put in a witness protection program after identifying the killer of a federal judge. Now known as Max, and with a new face courtesy of plastic surgery, we are lead on a wild storyline with unusual schemes never knowing if this is trickery or truth.
Special Agent John Puller, Army CID, uses his R and R time to travel to Paradise, Florida after receiving a letter from his elderly aunt, in which she hints of mysterious happenings at night and people not being what they seem. He arrives to find her deceased–is it murder? The local police believe it is an accident, but Puller begins his own investigation. As the story unfolds, Puller uncovers layers of crime, deception and murder beneath the beautiful surface of the tourist town. Discovering a conspiracy that involves human trafficking and slavery, Puller races to save the prisoners as well as himself. Puller is a strong character–brave, smart and brash–the ideal hero who has a strong sense of right and wrong. The Forgotten is a fast-paced, intense, exciting thriller that keeps the reader guessing–characters are not what they appear and plot twists and turns add to the suspense. Baldacci has written another riveting action-filled novel! The first novel by Baldacci featuring the character John Puller is Zero Day.
This thriller by Italian author Carrisi was a bestseller throughout Europe before being translated into English and released in the US. The Whisperer is a gripping murder mystery about a serial killer that preys on children, but also watches the investigation and places roadblocks and questions in the path of the investigating team of police, seemingly taunting the team. Goran Gavila is a criminologist heading the team, and Mila Vasquez is a profiler brought in to assist the team in locating the missing children. These as well as the other characters in this novel are well-drawn with distinct points of view. The police procedural aspect of investigating the crimes is detailed and fascinating. The Whisperer is a fast-paced complex mystery, filled with twists and turns, that revolves around the theme of good vs. evil and what is the true nature of evil. This is a page-turner, a psychological thriller that will keep you up at night until the final page is read.
After his father’s accidental death, Ray Kilbride returns for the funeral and to care for his brother Thomas, mentally ill and with an obsession for maps. Thomas spends all of his time using a map program that allows him to explore the world from his computer. A savant, he is able to memorize each city and its streets, and believes he is working for the CIA to create maps in his memory for use in some future catastrophe. In his exploration of New York City, Thomas sees an image in a window that appears to be a murder. Unwilling to leave home, he asks Ray to investigate the image. Ray and Thomas uncover a deadly conspiracy and must run for their lives. Trust Your Eyes is a fast-paced thriller with non-stop action, plot twists and turns, likeable and unique main characters and lots of suspense–this is a story that will keep you glued to the pages until the end!
If you are looking for a great legal thriller try Randy Singer’s books. I found that The Last Plea Bargain rivaled any John Grisham book for intriguing plot and interesting characters. High profile courtroom drama is just a part of the excitement of this book. Written by a veteran trial attorney, who is also a part time pastor, Singer brings elements of faith into the story but is not preachy. Jamie Brock has never recovered from the heartache of losing her mother to a murderer 12 years ago. She is waiting anxiously for Antoine Marshall to pay the penalty for this heinous crime. As an assistant DA, Jamie is also deeply involved in prosecuting a powerful attorney whom she believes murdered his wife. As this jailed attorney is waiting for bail many of the other jailed criminals are sabotaging the legal system by not accepting plea bargains and the legal system is becoming overwhelmed with criminals. Who is behind this and why? The Last Plea Bargain won’t disappoint.
Jason Stafford is a rich, high-powered Wall Street trader with a trophy wife and a young, autistic son whose his illegal trades land him in prison for 2 years. Upon his release, he finds that his wife has taken their son out-of-state and he must retrieve the boy from an abusive situation, bringing him back to New York and learning to live with the oddities of life with an autistic child. Stafford is asked by an investment firm to use his criminal expertise to look into the files of a trader who died in an accident–there are rumors of an SEC investigation into the company and corporate heads are hoping to discover irregularities before formal charges are filed. While meticulously searching through records, Stafford uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy, putting his and his son’s lives in danger. Stafford is a complex, likeable character with overwhelming love and a desire to be the best parent he can be to his autistic son, and they develop a touching relationship.
Black Fridays is a fast-paced, timely, intelligent thriller. The author, a former Wall Street trader, provides insight as to how financial corruption can spread and influence people and economies well beyond the boundaries of Wall Street. This is the first in a planned series featuring the character Jason Stafford and his son, and Michael Sears is off to a great start with this debut mystery.
Rory Mackenzie has returned home to Ransom River and is serving on a jury when two gunmen enter the courtroom and hold the jury, judge and spectators hostage, with a siege that begins a long, nightmarish ordeal for Rory. She is singled out by the gunmen and later accused by police of being an accomplice in their crime. Surrounded by a dysfunctional family and unsure of whom to trust, Rory must race to uncover the reasons for the courtroom violence and to discover why she has been made the target of attacks. Edgar Award-winning author Gardiner has created a taut, complex, fast-paced novel filled with action and suspense–one that will keep you guessing until the end.
Can your whole life change in 15 Seconds? Dr. Henry Steadman finds out that it can–Steadman arrives in Miami for a medical conference when he is stopped for a minor traffic violation. While the police officer is writing up a warning, a car pulls up to the officer, shooting and killing him. Henry is on the scene, and suddenly he is the target of a massive manhunt. As his life spirals out of control, Henry realizes that he has been framed for crimes he didn’t commit and has to try to save the life of someone he loves. Author Andrew Gross skillfully weaves the story line between Steadman’s actions and those of the character controlling Steadman’s situation. This is a fast-paced thriller, filled with action, plot twists and suspense, a story that is hard to put down. If you like Robert Crais, karin Slaughter or James Patterson, you will enjoy Gross’ latest thriller.
Is a hot July in Kansas getting you down? How about spending a few hours in frigid New England during a December snowstorm? In the Bleak Midwinter is a riveting mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming set in Millers Kill, a small town in the Adirondacks of New York. This first story begins a series with Clare Fergusson, an ex-army helicopter pilot and rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and the local chief of police, Russ Van Alstyne. A baby is found in a box on the steps of the St. Alban’s Episcopal Church by the new-to-town former Army chaplain and she calls for the assistance of the police to identify the parents. This tough, former helicoptor pilot is a determined and kindhearted sidekick to the chief of police and the sparks begin to fly between these two as they cross paths looking for answers. This chiller is guaranteed to give you goosebumps during the hottest 100 degree July days. There are six books in this series with the seventh due out late 2012.
In The Innocent, David Baldacci’s latest suspense thriller, a government assassin is teamed with a teenaged girl and an FBI agent to determine the connections between several murders and to keep themselves alive in the process. Will Robie is the agent who assassinates enemies for the government–he is a loner and is careful and plans for any and every possibility that something could go wrong, trusting no one but himself. But an assignment goes wrong when he is told to kill a woman and her children–his refusal makes him a target and he is on the run, the hunter becoming the hunted. While fleeing from the scene, he crosses paths with Julie Getty, a 14 year old runaway who witnessed the murder of her parents. He saves her life and the two team up to try to discover the reason for the murders. They encounter Agent Vance when she is involved in investigating the murders and she eventually believes in Will and Julie and wants to help them solve the cases, but circumstances create more questions than answers. More killings, a plot with twists and turns and more turns, strong and complex characters, and wonderful descriptions of characters and settings combine to make this a story that is hard to put down. If you enjoy the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child or the Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum, The Innocent is a book you will enjoy!
This political thriller by Adam Johnson deservedly gets starred reviews from BookList, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal. The Orphan Master’s Son takes place in modern-day North Korea. The book follows the life of Pak Jun Do, from an orphanage, to a tunnel soldier, kidnapper, hero, starving prisoner, and impersonator. I had difficulty putting this book down even though I knew there were most likely horrors waiting around the corner. It was like watching a train wreck about to happen but being unable to take your eyes off of it. Reading about some of the physical and mental torture, starving people, and other brutalities inflicted on individuals was hard to stomach. To give a further sense of living under a dictatorship, the book is interspersed with narration by the national radio station that spouts propaganda all day long. As people are starving and living in constant fear, the national broadcasts paint a rosy picture of North Korea while portraying western nations as villainous. Some of the propaganda is so darkly funny that I would almost catch myself laughing at its absurdity. And of course the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il is ever present, if not physically then always in thought. The reader gets a real sense of the fear that the North Korean constantly lives under, where one misspoken word from yourself, lie from another, or bad luck can spell doom for yourself and your family. Amidst all the tragedy, there are some very touching moments and the love story is truly heartwarming. Obviously, don’t pick up this book if you’re looking for a light, feel-good read, but if you want a book that is intense and thought provoking, that will keep you thinking long after you have finished reading it, put this on your to-read list for 2012.
>Dave Gurney, retired NYPD Homicide Detective, is lured from retirement by an old college acquaintance, Mark Mellery. Mellery has received threatening notes in the mail, the most recent of which asked him to Think of a Number. When a letter with his number appears, Mellery is convinced that the threats are authored by someone who can read his mind. Gurney is a master at unraveling puzzles and becomes deeply involved in the case, much to the dismay of his wife– they are supposed to be enjoying retirement. Mellery is found murdered and the criminal leaves behind very specific clues–but are they leading police on a false trail and taunting them for their ineptness? Gurney realizes that the murder is part of a series committed by a serial killer and the hunt is on. Verdon has created interesting characters with depth and complexity. The suspense unfolds as Gurney follows the clues of the crimes with a thoughtful and methodical process that leads to a final confrontation with the killer. This is a thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. The next title in the Dave Gurney series is
Shut Your Eyes Tight.