Thrillers and Suspense
Stolen Things by R.H. HerronStarring: cop-turned-911 dispatcher Laurie, who takes a call from her own daughter, JoJo.
What happens: Jojo's rape, the murder of a man, and the disappearance of another teenage girl all seem connected to a pro football player who, like the two girls, is an activist against police brutality. And Laurie and JoJo seem best poised to save the missing girl.
Want a taste? "'My daughter.' The man's words were a garbled gasp. 'She's gone.'"
Cold Storage by David KoeppWhat happens: A deadly, highly contagious fungus that kills humans for nourishment has already wiped out a remote Australian town. And it's about to escape its no-longer-secure storage facility in the U.S....
Author alert: This terrifying debut is by a screenwriter and director who has worked on numerous big Hollywood films (Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible among them).
Reviewers say: "this is a terrific thriller: ambitious, audacious, gory, scary, flamboyant, and funny" (Booklist).
The Whisper Man by Alex NorthWhat happens: After the death of his wife, Tom Kennedy moves with his young son to a new town, hoping for a fresh start. But Featherbank has a dark past: 20 years previously, a serial killer known as "the Whisper Man" lured away young boys. And now it's happening again.
Why you might like it: Dark and haunting, this intricately plotted thriller has supernatural overtones, well-depicted characters, and a menacing atmosphere.
For fans of: Sharon Bolton's The Craftsman, another eerie tale of history repeating itself.
The Murder List by Hank Phillippi RyanStarring: Rachel North, a 36-year-old Harvard law student; her prominent defense attorney husband, Jack Kirkland; and her boss for the summer (and Jack's sworn enemy), Assistant DA Martha Gardiner.
What happens: Martha and Rachel work a new murder case while flashbacks show past events in the trio’s lives, compellingly moving the story to its twisty ending.
About the author: Though this is her second standalone thriller, Hank Phillippi Ryan also writes the popular Jane Ryland mysteries and is an award-winning television news reporter in Boston.
The Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen; translated by Steve ScheinWhat it's about: Shot down behind Nazi lines, two British pilots escape by impersonating SS officers on a hospital train heading to a mental facility, where they are subjected to horrendous "treatments."
What happens next...has long-term consequences for the two men.
Why you might like it: While author Jussi Adler-Olsen is better known for his Department Q series, you'll find the same detailed characterization here, just in a bleaker setting. His historical settings are well-researched and atmospheric.
The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango; translated by Imogen TaylorThe deception: Henry Hayden is a bestselling author...but only he and his wife know that she actually wrote the books that made him famous.
What happens: When his mistress gets pregnant and his instinct for self-preservation kicks in, Henry makes a deadly mistake that attracts the attention of the police, and his carefully built world begins to crumble.
Want a taste? "Keeping silent goes against human nature."
Kill the Next One by Federico Axat; translated by David FryeWhat happens: Terminally ill Boston businessman Ted McKay has decided to commit suicide. But right at the critical moment, a stranger appears with an offer: in return for killing two men "deserving" of death, someone will kill him, sparing his family the shame of his suicide.
The twist: There are strange connections between McKay's life and those of his victims, and when he ends up in a mental hospital, he truly can't tell if he's a killer or the victim of a conspiracy.
Why you might like it: With an unreliable narrator in McKay, this English-language debut is complex and intriguing.
Cult X by Fuminori Nakamura; translated by Kalau AlmonyWhat it’s about: After his girlfriend Ryoko goes missing, Toru becomes embroiled in a sinister cult that may be responsible for her disappearance.
Read it for: a provocative storyline inspired by the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack; a big-picture exploration of politics, science, and religion.
Is it for you? The book’s explicit sex scenes and violence may be off-putting for some readers.
The English Teacher by Yiftach Reicher Atir; translated by Philip SimpsonWhat it’s about: When Mossad operative Rachel Goldschmitt disappears, her now-retired handler “Ehud” is tasked with finding her. But his search reveals just how little he -- or anyone -- knows about this missing agent.
Why you might like it: Ehud’s investigation alternates with flashbacks of Rachel’s missions in this suspenseful novel, which is informed by the author’s own experiences working in Israeli intelligence.
For fans of: the authentic tradecraft and psychological drama found in John Le Carré’s novels.
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