Proving Ground by Peter BlaunerLegal Thriller. Traumatized Iraq War veteran Natty Dresden never really got along with his father (in fact, Natty joined the Army to spite him). But when he learns that the controversial criminal defense attorney has been murdered, he's really the only one who cares. Though David Dresden had plenty of enemies, Natty -- who suffers from PTSD -- is suspected of the crime (but then again, so's the FBI). Rich characterization, a host of daddy issues (Natty isn't the only one), and a compelling lead detective in ambitious Lourdes Robles add flavor to a complex read.
What's Become of Her: A Novel by Deb CalettiPsychological Suspense. If you’re looking to increase your baseline level of anxiety, check out this literary suspense novel, which follows a woman dealing with her mother's death, the dissolution of her marriage, a cross-country move, and a new career. Stressed and grieving but ready to move on, Isabelle Austin is easily charmed by the attentions of a handsome new man, though he's rather too reserved about his past. When alarm bells finally start ringing, it may well be too late. Increasing tension makes for a nail-biting game of cat and mouse; you'll be "guessing until the last page" (Booklist).
A Single Spy by William ChristieSpy Fiction. While author William Christie is known for contemporary military thrillers, this World War II-era tale of double-crossing follows an Azerbaijani thief who became a spy on pain of death. Trained by Soviet intelligence, he's sent undercover into Nazi Germany, where he joins the intelligence service and is tasked with pulling off a stunning assassination. While inspired by the same historical premise as Francine Matthews' Too Bad to Die (the assassination of Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill), lots of historical detail and a complex protagonist who just wants to save his own skin characterize A Single Spy.
The Good Assassin: A Novel by Paul VidichSpy Fiction. Set in 1950s Cuba, this follow up to The Good Spy tells the tale of the months before Castro took power in Havana in 1959, tracing the myriad ways that American agencies influenced events. With a reluctant spy (he's happier teaching literature) and plenty of moral complexity, this "simmering, old-fashioned literary spy tale" (Publishers Weekly) has echoes of Graham Greene.
Black and White (and Read All Over)
White Plague by James AbelThriller. Deep in the Arctic Ocean, an American submarine is in trouble. Not only is it adrift, it's also on fire -- and many of the crew members have been struck by a mysterious and deadly disease. Marine physician and bioterrorism expert Joe Rush has been sent to figure out what went wrong -- and to either save or destroy the sub and all aboard. A blistering pace, plausible medical concerns, advanced technologies, and plenty of twists and turns make this series debut a great choice for fans of Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton. The 4th book in the series, Vector, will be published in July.
White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln ChildThriller. When Special Agent Pendergast's protégé, aspiring criminologist Corrie Swanson, examines the recently exhumed victims of a series of fatal grizzly bear attacks that occurred in 1876 Roaring Fork, Colorado, she makes a shocking discovery -- the attacks were made by humans. But the mauled prospectors aren't the only suspicious deaths in Roaring Fork, now a posh ski resort: a modern-day serial killer is at work, slaughtering the area's wealthiest residents and burning down their homes. White Fire is the 13th book in a series, now numbering 16, starring the FBI's Pendergast, whose expertise with respect to serial killers has stood him in good stead since his first outing in The Relic.
The Black Hour by Lori Rader-DayPsychological Suspense. This debut, which won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, is a good bet for fans of menacing stories set in academia. Chicago professor Amelia Emmet teaches on the subject of violence, which now has a personal connection -- ten months ago, she was shot by a student she'd never met. Desperate to know why she was targeted, she digs into her own case, as do the graduate student who hopes to write about her and a reporter who's a little too close for comfort. Alternating perspectives provide an "irresistible combination of menace, betrayal, and self-discovery" (Publishers Weekly).
The Black Widow by Daniel SilvaSpy Fiction. In this 16th entry in the Gabriel Allon series, the art restorer and spy is working his biggest case ever: infiltrating a deadly Islamic terrorist group in order to kill its leader and prevent the biggest attack the world has yet seen. There are two black widows -- one is an escaped terrorist, but the second is the real draw. She's a civilian, a Jerusalem doctor whom Gabriel and his team have trained as a spy to help locate their target. Plenty of tension, an in-depth look at politics and war in the Middle East, and well-wrought characters are among the appeals of this sobering novel.
The Comfort of Black: A Novel by Carter WilsonPsychological Suspense. After a horrible start in life, Hannah Parks now has it made…at least until her adoring millionaire husband starts saying terrible things in his sleep, awakening suspicions that are certainly not mollified when she realizes she’s being followed. But it's unclear if those who are following her are out to hurt her -- or protect her. Check this one out if you liked the equally unsettling relationship in Karin Slaughter's Pretty Girls.
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