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Blackout by Marc ElsbergTechno-Thriller. A bestseller in its home country of Germany, this high-octane thriller imagines what would happen if Europe's electrical grid were to collapse (nothing good, as you might imagine). Short chapters make the action speed by, while terrifyingly plausible scenarios will have you packing a bug out bag and hoping your local electrical grid is better defended...
He Said/She Said: A Novel by Erin KellyPsychological Suspense. Fifteen years ago, Kit and Laura interrupted a rape, earning the gratitude of the victim, Beth, and helping to send the perpetrator to prison. But when Beth's behavior veered into unstable territory, they tried to distance themselves. Things went so badly awry that they now live under assumed names. But enough time has passed to risk traveling for pleasure...or so they think. Though this story of obsession and deception takes time to unravel, you'll be rewarded with "airtight plotting, mounting tension, and shocking twists" (Publishers Weekly).
Do Not Become Alarmed: A Novel by Maile MeloySuspense Fiction. Two wealthy L.A. families take a vacation cruise through Central America, enjoying all the luxuries the liner can offer. But during a shore excursion with their mothers, the children (along with two other teen guests from the boat) disappear into the jungle. As the parents panic and attempt to work with authorities, the children undergo harrowing experiences that their privileged lifestyle has done nothing to prepare them for. With a literary style, building tension, and plenty of character development (each member of the large cast is distinct from the others), this brings to mind a more lethal version of Ann Patchett's Bel Canto.
Enemy of the Good by Matthew PalmerSpy Fiction. Curious about real-world diplomacy? Give this book by a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service a try. Set mostly in Kyrgyzstan, where the U.S. is trying to broker a controversial agreement with the government, it stars Foreign Service officer Kate Hollister, who grew up in the area and has been assigned to help support the rebels fighting the very government the U.S. is trying to work with. Authentic details of both spycraft and the Kyrgyz culture make this a nuanced spy novel.
Recent Releases (from Prison)
The Broken Places by Ace AtkinsSuspense Fiction. In this 3rd action-packed novel to star Quinn Colson, the Afghanistan War veteran turned rural Mississippi sheriff has plenty to deal with. Not only is recently pardoned killer Jamey Dixon back in town, looking to start up a ministry, but he's dating Quinn's sister. Worse than that, two violent escaped cons are looking for Dixon and the money they claim he has -- and a tornado might just wipe out the whole town. With a strong sense of place, a dark and gritty feel, and a flawed central character, this popular series is now up to seven books. The latest, The Fallen, publishes this month.
Personal by Lee ChildSuspense Fiction. Back when Reacher was an MP, he played a part in putting a talented sniper behind bars. That sniper is now a free man, looking to pick off governmental notables at the G8 summit -- and if he can hone his skills on Reacher, so much the better. Paired with a rookie CIA agent (and possible romantic interest), Reacher travels to London to save the world once more. Personal is the 19th book in a series that's now up to 21 (plus some short stories); next up is The Midnight Line, which will be published in early November.
Redemption Road by John HartSuspense Fiction. In a small North Carolina town, troubled police detective Elizabeth Black is trying to track down a serial killer. She's also facing suspension for shooting two men 18 times, and is more than a little obsessed with Adrian Wall, a former cop recently released from prison (she thinks he's innocent). Their paths are about to cross with that of the disturbed son of a dead woman. A twisting plot and increasing tension are only part of the appeal -- well drawn characters and a strong sense of place make this a multi-dimensional novel.
The Son by Jo NesbøScandinavian Crime Fiction. Though author Jo Nesbø is known for his brooding series star Harry Hole, The Son is a highly praised stand-alone. Vengeance drives much of the intricately plotted, fast-paced narrative, and political conspiracies play no small part. With complex characters (like Sonny, an incarcerated heroin addict who escapes after learning new information about his father's death), this is an excellent choice for Stieg Larsson fans.
Life or Death by Michael RobothamCrime Fiction. After spending ten hellish years in a Texas prison for his part in an armored-truck robbery, Audie Palmer escapes...the night before he's due to be paroled. No one knows why (or where he's gone), but the local cops, the FBI, and Audie's best friend in prison (who's been offered a deal: find Audie and go free) would all like to find out. While they all believe that Audie plans to retrieve the never-recovered seven million dollars, he escaped for entirely different reasons. Peppered with stunning plot twists and peopled with fascinating, unforgettable characters, this complex, suspenseful crime novel also includes a love story.
Black Fridays by Michael SearsFinancial Thriller. Though his career was destroyed after his illegal financial maneuverings came to light, former Wall Street hotshot Jason Stafford is out of prison after a two-year sentence. He's been tapped by an investment firm to investigate irregularities in the work handled by a recently deceased employee, a job that quickly attracts trouble. In addition to plenty of action, this compelling series debut is packed with authentic details of financial misdeeds, while Jason's interactions with his autistic son (and his unstable ex-wife) provide a touching counterpoint.
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