Thrillers and Suspense
Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta HallFeaturing: Mike, who changed everything about himself to make his girlfriend Verity happy, and Verity herself, who's marrying someone else.
What it's about: Convinced that Verity's wedding is just part of a twisted game they used to play called The Crave, Mike knows he must stop the wedding at all costs.
Why you might like it: A tangled, twisted tale, this disturbing psychological suspense novel is as much about sexual politics as it is about obsession and manipulation.
Paper Ghosts: A Novel of Suspense by Julia HeaberlinWhat it's about: The unnamed narrator of this twisty psychological suspense novel is convinced that Carl Feldman, a photographer now living in an assisted care facility due to dementia, murdered her sister. To find out if she's right, she poses as his daughter to take him on a cross-country drive to all the places where she believes he killed other young women.
Got questions? We do too. Does Carl actually have dementia? Is he physically as weak as he seems? Who, exactly, is manipulating whom?
The Perfect Mother by Aimee MolloyWhat happens: Exhausted single mom Winnie leaves her son in the care of another family's nanny while she and the rest of a new-mothers support group hits a trendy Brooklyn bar -- never expecting that her son will disappear.
Read it for: flawed and realistic characters dealing with new parenthood; a nail-biting investigation by the mothers themselves; plenty of devious twists.
Book buzz: The Perfect Mother is already being adapted for the screen by actress Kerry Washington.
Our Little Secret by Roz NayWhat it's about: Back in high school, Angela and HP dated; 15 years later, she's living with him and his wife, Saskia. Right now, though, she's being interrogated by the police, for Saskia is missing.
Why you might like it: With an unreliable narrator and enough tangled emotions to keep fans of Ruth Ware or Paula Hawkins happy, this debut features strong characterizations and enticing plot twists.
Reviewers say: "sneaky-smart [and] charismatic" (Booklist).
Focus on: Killer First Lines
The Prisoner by Alex BerensonKiller first line: "The horses knew." From there, the tension builds inexorably -- the Turkish geldings are being prepped to make a dangerous border crossing into Syria, where they'll be used to smuggle out an Islamic State bureaucrat important to the CIA.
Why you might like it: This 11th entry in a fast-paced yet well-researched spy series has stalwart John Wells trying to unearth a CIA mole -- from inside a Bulgarian prison, where he's disguised as an al-Qaida jihadi.
Little Black Lies by Sharon BoltonKiller first line: "I've been wondering if I have what it takes to kill." Two sentences later, you'll be chilled by where this line of questioning goes.
What it's about: In the Falkland Islands, children have been going missing, and suspicion has fallen on Catrin Quinn, whose two young sons were killed in an accident not long ago.
Why you might like it: With a compelling story line, complex characters, and an unusual, desolate setting, this tale is "mesmerizing" (Publishers Weekly).
Orphan X by Gregg HurwitzKiller first line: "After picking up a set of pistol suppressors from a nine-fingered armorer in Las Vegas, Evan Smoak headed for home in his Ford pickup, doing his best not to let the knife wound distract him."
Why you might like it: Doses of humor and plenty of authentic details round out this fast-paced and adrenaline-pumping series debut (followed by The Nowhere Man and Hellbent), which stars a man trained since childhood as an elite assassin (now working pro bono for those in need) -- who has now become the target of someone with similar skills.
I See You by Clare MackintoshKiller first line: "The man behind me is standing close enough to moisten the skin on my neck with his breath." If that doesn't make you feel creeped out and claustrophobic, we don't know what will.
What it's about: Told from three viewpoints, this disturbing novel relates the story of a suburban mom who discovers that her face is being used to advertise for a dating website -- and that the previous "models" have been the victims of violent crimes.
Be warned: You'll never look at your familiar routines the same way again.
Ring of Fire by Brad TaylorKiller first line: "Dexter Worthington didn't set out to murder anyone."
What it's about: In this 11th thriller starring Pike Logan and the covert counter-terrorism taskforce he works with, they're racing against time to stop multiple catastrophic events across the U.S.
Why you might like it: With its ripped-from-the-headlines plot centering on modern terrorism, this fast-paced tale fairly pulses with authenticity -- author Brad Taylor spent more than 20 years in the military.
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