The Girl Before: A Novel by J.P. DelaneyPsychological Suspense. Two books with the title The Girl Before have been published in recent months; this is the second, a "debut" by a pseudonymous author (who's published under other names) that has already been selected for big screen treatment by Ron Howard. It unfolds in two time periods, each focusing on a young woman who has seized the opportunity to live in a one-of-a-kind home, albeit with some rather strict and unusual rules. Their stories unfold in parallel, as the second learns what happened to the girl before her and unwittingly follows the same doomed path. Check it out if you liked Peter Swanson's similarly creepy Her Every Fear.
The Freedom Broker: A Kidnap-and-Ransom Thriller by K.J. HoweThriller. In this action-packed series debut, kidnap-and-rescue negotiator Thea Paris' worst nightmare comes true when her own father is kidnapped. But despite the massive wealth he's accrued from the oil business, no ransom note arrives. Instead, cryptic messages are sent from his phone. Whether or not his disappearance has anything to do with the kidnapping of his own son decades ago -- Thea's brother Nikos has never quite forgiven his father for his nine months of violent captivity -- is at first unclear, but it soon becomes apparent that Nikos may know more than he's sharing. A "spectacular" debut, says Kirkus Reviews.
Behind Her Eyes: A Novel by Sarah PinboroughPsychological Suspense. There's nothing worse than learning that the person you've been flirting with is married. Unless, as in Louise Barnsley's case, it's arriving to work one day and learning that person is your new boss. But this situation isn't written for laughs -- it's only the beginning of the story in this riveting novel, which depicts a web of controlling behaviors and dark secrets that gradually reveal profound and dangerous flaws in each of the characters: Louise; her new boss; and his wife, who cultivates Louise as a friend. Shifting perspectives and ominous references to past deeds deepen the menacing suspense in this downright creepy new book.
Falling into the Mob by Steve ZousmerCaper Novel. Phillip Vail is over the hill, a speechwriter with only one client, not much of a social life, and not much to get excited about. Until he's presented with an amazing opportunity: his client has decided to run for the presidency of the United States and needs a speechwriter. But Phil has also met the daughter of a dying mob boss, fallen in love with her, and been offered the chance to take over as head of the Sforza crime family. What's a guy to do? Well, in Phil's case, it's follow his heart, which leads to plenty of hijinks in this "clever, captivating romp" (Publishers Weekly).
Great Books You Might Have Missed
Fool Me Once by Harlan CobenSuspense Fiction. Only four months after her sister's violent death, U.S. Army helicopter pilot Maya Burkett watched her husband Joe die in front of her after being shot by muggers in Manhattan's Central Park. Two weeks after his funeral, she checks the memory card of her hidden nanny cam and is shocked to see Joe -- alive and well -- in her living room. Now unsatisfied by the official inquiry into his death, she launches her own investigation -- one that will force her to uncover his family's deeply buried secrets in her quest to unearth the truth. Like most of Harlan Coben's books, this one was a bestseller -- but we're guessing that the daunting holds list might be a bit shorter now.
The One Man by Andrew GrossHistorical Spy Fiction. By 1944, only two people have ever escaped from Auschwitz, but U.S. intelligence hopes that they can not only infiltrate the Nazi concentration camp, but locate a single man there and bring him to safety. Why just the one man? It's believed that this man, a professor of electromagnetic physics, holds the key to building an atom bomb and bringing World War II to an end. Rich historical details lend a compassionate air to this emotional, atmospheric story, which incorporates real historical characters and events.
Assassin's Silence: A David Slaton Novel by Ward LarsenThriller. David Slaton was once a Mossad assassin, but he's buried his past so firmly that his wife and several governments believe him to be dead. Which is why the fact that an assault team nearly kills him comes as such a shock -- how did they even find him? Not willing to wait around to give them a second chance, Slaton goes on the offensive, leaving behind bodies that capture the attention of a CIA agent. Fans of author Ward Larsen's other series will also note the appearance of airline crash investigator Jammer Davis, but newcomers are encouraged to try this "perfect action-adventure thriller" (Booklist),even if it is the 3rd of the David Slaton novels.
All the Missing Girls: A Novel by Megan MirandaSuspense Fiction. All the Missing Girls could be a fairly standard story of the prodigal daughter who returns home to care for her dementia-addled father, if it weren't for a few things. One, Nic Farrell hasn't been back to Cooley Ridge, NC, since her best friend disappeared right after their high school graduation. Two, Annaleise, the woman who provided Nic with an alibi for the still-unsolved disappearance goes missing herself not long after Nic returns. Three, things haven't really cooled off between Nic (who's engaged) and her ex-boyfriend, who happens to be Annaleise's current flame. But mainly it's that the story is told in reverse chronological order, forcing readers to rethink everything as new details unfold. If you missed this one in the sea of books with "girl" in the title, here's your second chance.
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