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ISBN: 9780385532556
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Published: Doubleday Books - March 24th, 2015

I’d read an early David Levien book, but this one seemed far more cohesive and compelling to me – Levien has come into his own alongside the gory ranks of Tomi Hoag and Cody McFadyen and the like.

When Frank Behr, a down on his luck PI in Indianapolis notices a billboard with a $100,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of a young woman, he takes the no-win case and stumbles onto the trail of a serial killer who is leaving his artfully arranged ‘masterpieces’ all around town.

This is a gory book, and not for the faint of heart.  But if you like your heroes struggling with their own inner demons and your bad guys to be pure evil, this one’s for you.

ISBN: 9780399171642
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Published: Blue Rider Press - December 17th, 2014

Daniel Pyne is a screenwriter (Manchurian Candidate, Pacific Heights, Fracture) who has also written extensively for TV and recently, turned to novels.

His background goes a long way toward explaining the staccato writing that brings Fifty Mice alive.

Jay Johnson is an average-ish guy with an average-ish life.  When one day he wakes up sure that someone is in his apartment, he chalks it up to a bad dream.  And when he’s subsequently abducted and secreted away on an island, he’s convinced they’ve got the wrong guy.

And, as readers, we aren’t so sure either.  Does Jay have a life we know nothing about?  Does his mind harbor valuable secrets, or is he deeply paranoid?

This novel unspools like a film, and if you can wrap your head around the movie you’re reading, you’ll love the uncertainty that never really leaves you until the very last page.   

ISBN: 9780060004903
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Published: William Morrow & Company - March 10th, 2015

Joe Coughlin is consigliere to Tampa’s infamous Bartolo crime family in this 1940s mobster tale from mystery veteran Dennis Lehane.

When a rumor surfaces that someone wants Joe dead, he has only a few days to figure out who is behind the plot and what it is they are really after.

As the US becomes embroiled in WWII, the mob scene in Florida and Cuba is changing in ways the old families never anticipated, and if Joe is to remain on top, he will have to do some long-term strategizing.

An interesting, solid crime novel from Lehane.

ISBN: 9780143125310
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Published: Penguin Books - April 29th, 2014

LeCarre was born in 1931 and has been writing some of the world’s best spy novels for the last 50 years.

In A Delicate Truth, a ‘low flying’ civil servant is tapped to be the eyes and ears of a counter terror operation in Gibraltar.

Three years later a disgraced Special Forces soldier comes forth saying that, unlike the rousing success Operation Wildlife was believed to be, it was really a debacle that has been covered up at the highest levels.

Sadly, this, as many of LeCarre’s other novels, has a ring of truth and shows understanding of the way our society and government now work.

Twisty and compelling, A Delicate Truth is another espionage triumph for the undisputed master.

ISBN: 9780062267528
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Published: William Morrow & Company - February 3rd, 2015

This book is everything I like in a good mystery – smart writing, lots of red herrings, and a great ending.

There are crosses, double crosses, characters who lead perfectly normal lives who are anything but normal themselves.

In the spirit of a good, twisty old Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes story, Swanson turns your expectations upside down.

I can’t wait for him to write another!

ISBN: 9781476728001
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Published: Atria Books - June 3rd, 2014

A woman out birdwatching in the early morning witnesses what she thinks is a crime.

Nick Davis, the Federal Prosecutor, initially doubts her, but goes along to the scene to investigate.  Sure enough, they find a body.

But then more bodies start turning up, and the investigation becomes close to home and personal to Nick.

This is a well plotted legal thriller that poses moral and ethical dilemmas we hope we never have to face.

If you’re a Defending Jacob fan, or you love a good legal mystery, do yourself a favor and pick up Indefensible

ISBN: 9781476785592
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Published: Atria Books - September 30th, 2014

Joe Goldman works in a New York City bookstore when in walks the girl of his dreams.  And Joe has some weird dreams.

And when Beck’s fraught life starts to fall apart, it’s Joe she turns to for comfort.

But their bizarre and obsessive relationship hides some dark and twisted secrets and things quickly spiral out of control.

You is a stalker tale with a lot of raw physicality and more than a fair share of dangerous obsession.

Sick, twisted, and compelling as a train wreck, You is a powerful debut by Caroline Kepnes.

ISBN: 9781250060631
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Published: Picador USA - January 6th, 2015

Mr. Heming is a realtor in a leafy village a short way from London.  He knows every square inch of his town – for as he sells a house, he makes himself a copy of the key and lets himself in and out of people’s houses and lives at will.

Slowly this novel reveals dark secrets from Heming’s past which lend a decidedly sinister bent to his proclivity to insert himself into the lives of anyone who catches his fancy.

Creepy, sickeningly plausible and interestingly revealed, the story is one of my favorites so far this year!

ISBN: 9780062282569
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Published: William Morrow & Company - February 24th, 2015

Ariana Franklin was the award-winning author of one of my favorite historical-fiction series – Mistress of the Art of Death.  She died in 2011, just before completing this novel, which her daughter Samantha Norman, herself a successful writer, columnist, and film critic, finished.

The year is 1141 and England is consumed by a war between Stephen and his cousin, the empress Matilda, for the crown.  And when royals battle, no one is safe.

A mercenary named Gwil stumbles upon a young girl who has been brutalized by a depraved monk and his roving band, and he nurses her back to life.  But Emma, now renamed Penda by Gwil, has no recollection of her former life and prefers to pass as a young boy.

The pair become famous for their skills at archery and end up at a castle that’s being fought over by the royal cousins as an important river passage.

The duo is drawn into the intrigue and their lives are forever changed.

It’s sad that this was Franklin’s final book as her writing is always a great glimpse into a time long gone.  Thankfully for us, The Siege Winter is a fine final novel.

ISBN: 9781594633669
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Published: Riverhead Books - January 13th, 2015

If you like your thrillers twisty and your red herrings in abundance, Paula Hawkins’ psychological thriller The Girl on the Train will likely be one of your first great reads of 2015.

Rachael rides the train to London every day, and has created a fantasy life for a couple who are often in their yard as she goes past: Jess and Jason are wildly in love and have a fairy tale life.  Except one day, Rachael sees Jess kissing a man who isn’t Jason and the next day she reads in the paper that Jess, whose real name is Megan, is missing.

Just about anyone in the novel could have done just about anything, and that’s what makes reading it so fun.  Your imagination goes down countless avenues before you discover what is really going on – and by then you have definite opinions about each of the characters.

If you had a water cooler at your work, The Girl on the Train would be the topic of discussion as you gathered around it, just like Gone Girl was two years ago.