Confessions of an Innocent Man by David R. DowStarring: Rafael Zhettah, an Austin-based chef and son of immigrant parents who is wrongfully convicted of his wealthy wife's murder.
Life behind bars: Rafael spends six years on death row, until he is exonerated by DNA evidence and freed. But his time in prison has changed him, and now all Rafael wants is vengeance.
About the author: David R. Dow is the founder of the Texas Innocence Network, an organization that investigates wrongful conviction claims and represents death row inmates through the appeals process.
The Elephant of Surprise by Joe R. LansdaleWhat it's about: When they see a bloodied young woman run out into the road, odd couple detective duo Hap and Leonard stop to help her without hesitation. But no good deed goes unpunished, and soon all three of them are running for their lives.
Who it's for: thriller fans who appreciate dark humor and violent, fast-paced action.
Series alert: The Elephant of Surprise is the 14th entry in Joe Lansdale's series of novels about white, working class conscientious objector Hap Collins and black, gay, heat-packing Vietnam veteran Leonard Pine.
Save Me From Dangerous Men by S.A. LelchukFeaturing: Nikki Griffin, a bookstore owner and part-time private investigator who isn't afraid to confront the violent men who have mistreated her female clients.
What goes wrong: Nikki agrees to take a well-paying and seemingly straightforward corporate espionage case, only to find out that the target is a woman who needs protection. Luckily, Nikki has experience with dangerous men.
Read it for: the exploration of serious issues like domestic violence, income inequality, and addiction; Nikki's complex relationship with her violent impulses.
Saving Meghan by D.J. PalmerWhat it's about: Meghan Gerard is a star high school athlete who begins to develop odd symptoms of an illness her doctors can't diagnose, and despite her seemingly adoring parents and their considerable financial resources of, her condition only gets worse.
Is it for you? This medical thriller features a deteriorating marriage, toxic family dynamics, difficult characters, and frank discussions of childhood trauma.
Did you know? Munchausen syndrome is a disorder in which a person or their caregiver fabricates or inflicts symptoms of an illness for attention and sympathy (not a spoiler!).
Science Fiction Thrillers
The Lightning Stones by Jack Du BrulWhat it's about: Geologist Philip Mercer vows to discover the truth when his mentor is killed by a group of gunmen while doing fieldwork. Soon Mercer learns who ordered the attack, and what lengths his adversary will go to in order to protect his business interests.
Science fiction elements: a crystal found deep underground that has the power to interrupt and control electronic equipment -- such as Amelia Earhart's navigation instruments, a prominent conspiracy theory in the novel.
Series alert:The Lightning Stones is the 8th of Jack Du Brul's Philip Mercer novels.
The Rising by Heather Graham and Jon LandFeaturing: Alex Chin, a star high school athlete; Samantha Dixon, his fellow student and science tutor who has an irrepressible curious streak.
What happens: Alex goes to the hospital after a football injury, where tests reveal he's something other than human. He goes on the run with Samantha, and together they discover his origins, government secrets, and a massive threat to the future of humanity.
Science fiction elements: plasma guns, aliens among us, superhuman breeding programs.
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain NeuvelThe premise: When Rose Franklin was a little girl, she stumbled across a massive metal artifact near her South Dakota town. Now an adult, she's working with a team of fellow scientists to figure out what it is, how it got there, and what the markings on it mean. And the clock is ticking.
Science fiction elements: giant robot parts hidden across the earth, inscrutable extraterrestrial contact.
Series alert: Sleeping Giants is book one of three in the Themis Files series, followed by Waking Gods and Only Human.
The Dead Lands by Benjamin PercyWhat it is: a compelling and descriptive reimagining of the journey of Lewis and Clark, set in a near-future world devastated by war and a flu pandemic.
Science fiction elements: post apocalyptic setting, massive nuclear fallout, mutated flora and fauna.
Reviewers say: "a compelling and at times disturbing story that will leave readers wanting more" (Booklist).
Invasion of Privacy by Christopher ReichStarring: Mary Grant, a canny and tenacious widow who doesn't quite buy the story of her FBI agent husband's death; Jessie Grant, Mary's equally suspicious teenage daughter whose hacking skills will come in handy for discovering the truth.
Science fiction elements: unbreakable computer code and advanced, untraceable surveillance technology.
Read it for: the amoral, creepy villain(s), strong family ties, and an exploration of privacy concerns that may be just around the corner for us all.
Contact your librarian for more great books!