I was a Lisa Unger fan from the get-go, when she wrote more of a crime-fiction type mystery. In Confessions on the 7:45, Unger shows us her versatility by writing a really good psychological thriller.
Selena pretty much has it all - two great kids, a husband who keeps it exciting, a nice house, a good job, friends, family - until she discovers that her husband is keeping things exciting for their nanny, Geneva, too, while Selena's at work. And when Selena meets a compelling woman on the 7:45 train, she finds herself returning the stranger's confession with her own knowledge of Graham's affair with their nanny.
And a few days later, the nanny disappears, and Selena starts getting texts to meet up with Martha - from the train.
Nicely twisty with lots of fairly complex characters, Confessions on the 7:45 is well worth the read - whether you are a long time Lisa Unger fan, or this will be your very first one.
This is the first Jack Reacher novel that also has Andrew Child's name on it. We all know Andrew as Lee's brother who writes his own mysteries under the name Andrew Grant - and of course many of you met him here when he and his wife, historical mystery author Tasha Alexander, came for an event.
Lee Child is retiring from the Jack Reacher stories and Andrew will be taking over, so I was of course anxious to read The Sentinel to see how that transition would go, and I'm relieved to report that Jack is the same drifting do-gooder he has always been, and once again he saves the day.
In The Sentinel, Reacher is hitching a ride in Tennessee and stops in a town and almost immediately sees an attempted kidnapping - attempted, of course, because Reacher intervenes, leaving the would-be abductors broken in his wake and the intended victim under his wing.
This one gets complicated as spies, the Russians, the FBI, and big tech are all involved in this furious race to recover some data thought destroyed forever.
If you are a Reacher fan, good news - it looks like you'll be able to continue reading his adventures for many years to come!
Bill Clegg has written a novel about a disparate group of people connected in ways that don't completely reveal themselves until the very end:
A rich woman who has never had to think about anyone but herself.
A new father who has missed the last chance to connect with his own father.
An unhappy housewife.
A taxi driver in Hawai'i.
And other minor characters whose rolls in the background made them pivotal.
Bill Clegg is known for his 'elegant voice,' and if you enjoy character-driven novels, you should check out The End of the Day.
"They found the bodies on' a Tuesday." So begins one of my favorite thrillers of the season.
When Matt Pine returned to his dorm room to discover an FBI agent whose job it was to tell him that his parents and two younger siblings had been found dead in a resort town in Mexico, Matt's life was upended for the second time. The first was when his older brother was convicted of murdering a girlfriend and sentenced to prison. So much of his family's energy since that moment had been spent trying to overturn Danny's conviction. And now they were gone and only Matt and Danny remain.
Think you know where this is going? Think again.
Attention, thriller lovers - John Hart's new novel, The Unwilling, has all the hallmarks of his other mysteries we've loved - a really vivid Southern setting, characters about which to feel strongly - for good or for bad - and a story that seems like it's meandering along until the reader realizes it's all coming together so elegantly that they didn't see it coming. Combine all that with a twisted serial killer and you get the thriller that perhaps only John Hart could write.
It's about a family torn apart by the death of the eldest son in Vietnam, by the second son returning from war damaged and the antithesis of his cop father. Of the mother who can't deal with this and over protects her youngest son until their house is suffocating.
But when the middle son, Jason, turns up fresh from prison and Gibby really wants to connect with his brother, they both go down a dark path with some very surprising twists.
Harlan Coben has called John Hart 'a masterful storyteller' and I couldn't say it better myself. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.
This is already the sixth Orphan X novel from Gregg Hurwitz, and it's a blockbuster. Evan gets a call he never expected - from a woman claiming to be this mother. And she asks him to help out Andrew Duran - an unfortunate figure who was really in the wrong place at the wrong time - he witnessed an assassination using a top-secret military weapon, and as soon as Evan shows up, he becomes a target, as well.
This is a thriller about power gone awry and the frightening precipice we may find ourselves upon as technology becomes so sophisticated it really doesn't need humans at all anymore. Although fantastical in the way all of the Orphan X scenarios are, Prodigal Son leaves you feeling that there may be more to this premise than we really want to know.
Kate Russo's father is Richard Russo, so I guess good writing genes run in that family! Kate, who is also a fine artist, divides her time between the UK and the US. She and her character, Bennett Driscoli, have that in common. But Bennett is letting his comfortable house out and living in his potting shed because his wife has left him for an American and he hasn't sold a painting in years.
Super Host follows Bennett and three of his guests as the 50-something man comes to terms with the changes in his life.
This is an utterly absorbing novel with characters who alternately bemuse and frustrate; make sound choices and absurd ones and learn their lessons or don't. Kinda like real people. With a familiarity that assures us that Kate Russo has a keen eye for human behavior, Super Host is a beguiling read from beginning to end.
Linus Baker has worked his whole career as a dutiful caseworker for the Department of Magical Youth. But everything changes the day he is summoned by Extremely Upper Management and sent to a far-off island where six dangerous magical children are housed, to determine if they might be conspiring to bring about the end of days. Timid Linus encounters creatures - children - who are unlike any he's ever met, but despite their fearsome reputation, the kids and their curiously wonderful caretaker, Arthur, capture Linus' heart.
While that sounds like the plot of a children's book, the fantasy is really meant for adults. It's a fable about acceptance - of LGBTQ individuals, of disabled people, or of anyone, really who is outside of our usual stereotypes of 'normal'. It's a sweet tale in its own way and reads perfectly well as a fantasy of the monsters who may or may not live under the bed, and the monsters we blow way out of proportion in our minds.
Author Chris Hauty, whose novel Deep State became an instant national bestseller, is a screen writer by trade, and that is readily apparent in Savage Road.
White House staffer and deeper state operative Hayley Chill is tasked with 'running' the biggest double agent in U.S. history. When cyber attacks rock the country, Hayley is tasked with using her unique position to unmask the culprits before it's too late.
What this book lacks in narrative finesse, it makes up for with a good, twisty plot that it's easy to envision as a movie spooling out as you read. If you love the big commercial thrillers with NTY potential, this one should be on your list.
Jane, the narrator of this twisty psychological thriller, is a young widow whose best friend, Marnie, is now in a very serious relationship. And Jane, Marnie's bff since grade school, unfortunately detests Charles.
So when Marnie asks Jane if she thinks he's the one, Jane tells the first lie, and says yes.
The lies get progressively more serious from there as the story, told from Jane's point of view, follows the women's disintegrating friendship.
I'm not sure why I didn't see the end coming in this one, but I didn't - and that delights me. It's tough to surprise me with a plot twist most days, so I'm happy to recommend Seven Lies- right down to the very last page.