PositiveBookpageAuthor Paul Vidich has once again proved his mastery of the espionage thriller with his edge-of-your-seat novel ... fast paced and action packed, but Vidich lingers long enough to allow readers to experience Garin’s emotional highs and lows. In that regard, the novel deservedly draws comparisons to John le Carré’s tales of the intrepid spy George Smiley.
Fiona King Foster
PositiveBookpage... part adventure novel and part crime novel, set in a dystopian landscape where cellphones, the internet and vehicles are available to only certain people, particularly those in Federal-run cities ... This initial stonewalling is, admittedly, a bit frustrating for readers as well, but as a credit to Foster’s writing, she effectively keeps readers in suspense all the way through.
Chris Harding Thornton
PositiveBookPageThornton unravels the intrigue and suspense in meticulously detailed fashion in her solid debut novel ... Homesteads—many of which have folded or been abandoned—stretch over hundreds of acres, a detail which Thornton cannily uses to evoke the isolation and lonely frustration that bears down upon the remaining residents ... takes its time; there is no real sense of urgency or high stakes confronting Harley or any of the other characters. The closest thing to a central mystery is the weird series of thefts and break-ins. But Thornton, herself a seventh-generation Nebraskan, describes the landscape and interactions of the characters in such starkly realistic detail, you cannot help but get wrapped up in the novel’s noirish atmosphere and slow-burning mystery.
RaveBookPageDebut author Stephen Spotswood’s Fortune Favors the Dead introduces us to detective Lillian Pentecost and her right-hand woman/chronicler, Willowjean Parker, a mid-1940s pair that resembles a gender-swapped Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin ... Written with witty prose, Fortune Favors the Dead is and often humorous and fun—nowhere near the stuffy analytical voice of Dr. Watson. Instead, with its cast of suspects (all conveniently listed at the start of the book to help readers keep track), it has the hallmarks of an Agatha Christie mystery, and there’s a delightful dose of noir thrown in for the more hardcore pulp fiction crowd, too ... It’s as mysterious and fun a caper as you will ever read, with plenty of misdirection and intrigue to keep you guessing. You don’t need a clairvoyant to realize this duo will be around for years to come.
RaveBookPage\"While there are lulls during some of the legal procedural bits, Grisham’s mastery of the courtroom thriller is never in question. As usual, he presents as smooth a read as you’ll ever experience. The dialogue is sharp and pointed, layered with genuine emotions that make the characters pop off the pages of this morally complex story.\
PositiveBookPageThomas masterfully handles all the ins and outs of the mystery while layering the story with suspense and intrigue to keep readers guessing. There’s even some of Thomas’ trademark romance in Cold Street, as Holmes and her longtime beau Lord Ingram move closer emotionally.
RaveBookPage...staggering in scope ... Klay’s vividly descriptive yet lyrical prose keeps their stories interesting, though the novel is at its best when events cascade into occasional bursts of graphic violence ... a starkly realistic view of a war-torn region only hinted at on the nightly news ... a powerful glimpse of the psychological toll of war and a close look at people’s desperate attempts to find their place amid utter chaos.
David Heska Wanbli Weiden
PositiveBookPageOn the surface, David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s debut novel, Winter Counts, is somewhat typical for its genre: Bad guys disrupt the status quo when they muscle into the community, pushing bad drugs on an unsuspecting and highly susceptible teen population, until a vigilante or detective pushes back. The difference here is the setting on the Lakota reservation, the clash of policies between the U.S. government and Native American life, and the internal conflicts of the novel’s main characters ... Weiden, who is a member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation, elevates an otherwise routine crime novel with Native American culture and traditions, political differences and organized crime. His well-rendered, emotionally charged characters do the rest.
Seraphina Nova Glass
RaveBookPage... a sharply written, twisty psychological thriller ... convincingly heartbreaking ... Told exclusively through Faith’s point of view, Someone’s Listening allows readers to easily empathize with Faith while clinging to an element of doubt. Is she lying about something? Is she keeping something from us? The mystery and ambiguity build with each subsequent chapter en route to a suspense-filled and breathless finale.
PositiveBookPageStories about drug addiction and the emotional toll it exacts on both the addict and their family members are inherently tragic. But in the hands of a master storyteller, they can be unforgettably powerful as well. Such is the case with David Joy’s When These Mountains Burn ... The novel moves at a brisk pace as it alternates points of view between Raymond and Denny. But what stands out here isn’t the story—harrowing though it is, this tale has been told before—but rather Joy’s unflinching and gritty depiction of his fully realized characters, from their raw loss to their helplessness and rage to their final acceptance. Joy has thoroughly captured their experiences in vivid, memorable prose that burns to be read.
Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
PositiveBookPage... a bit complicated, but suffice it to say there’s a good bit of world building behind the strange goings-on, which all leads up to a modern-day, high-stakes pursuit by Odessa and Silence to capture the entity before it can do more harm ... has TV series written all over it. At the very least, it promises to be the first in a new series of literary adventures, and that’s a good thing, as Silence is a fascinating character you’ll want to see again.
PositiveBookPageMost people resign themselves to their lot in life, but not Edie, which makes her story fascinating but also profoundly sad ... Watson’s writing style is simple but powerfully effective. It’s easy to sympathize with Edie and understand the difficult choices she makes. Everyone has a moment when they wish they could just chuck everything and start over. Watson leaves enough room for readers to ponder whether they should.
PositiveBookPageAuthor and screenwriter David Klass turns the serial killer mythology on its head ... Klass...writes in terse, straightforward prose. Chapters alternate between Smith and the Green Man’s point of view, allowing a close-up perspective of each character’s motivations and desires. While his intentions may have some merit and his deeds may cause readers to stop and think, you know the Green Man’s going down. The fun is in the thrill of the chase, and in that respect Klass delivers.
PositiveBookPageThere’s a darkness lurking in The Bright Lands, and it’s apt to give you a case of the shivers. John Fram’s debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets Supernatural, but it’s an enticing read any way you slice it ... Fram, who was raised in Texas before moving to New York, effortlessly captures the reader’s attention with his fleshed-out characters and all the dark secrets you could want in this gripping debut.
S. A. Cosby
RaveBookPageAuthor S.A. Cosby quickly establishes Bug’s financial burdens and emotional dilemma in his new novel, Blacktop Wasteland, and never lets up on the gas. The result is a high-octane, white-knuckle thriller that will have readers whipping through the pages at breakneck speed ... Cosby’s tightfisted prose fuels this story with heart-pumping (and often brutal) action that begs to be adapted for the big screen but somehow never loses its compassionate edge ... a welcome return apperance ... one hell of a ride.
PositiveBookPageThe scope of the novel—from its vast conspiracies and social commentary to its decades-long timeline—is at times impressive to behold. Castleberry’s intricate narration (some sentences seem to run on for pages at a time) may even compel you to read some passages over again just to make sure you didn’t miss something. But it’s worth it to take your time and savor this one.
RaveBookPage... a bizarre and fascinating read that proves that anything is possible in the capable hands of author Jordan Farmer. The novel is immediately engrossing, its characters uniquely memorable, its prose both heartfelt and stunning ... The novel takes a number of unexpected and thrilling turns as Hollis struggles with haunted memories of his past life with his father and his relationships with girlfriends past and present. The mix of situations and characters is admittedly odd, but Farmer more than manages to keep things grounded through Hollis’ close viewpoint. The result is a story rich in compassion and empathy as Hollis tries to find his place in a world that would just as soon shun him and silence his dreams altogether.
PositiveBookPage... unflinchingly graphic ... Moloney sugarcoats nothing in this novel. Instead he pulls back the veil on this dark underbelly of society in stark and brutal prose. Barker House is not for the faint of heart or a reader looking for a fun escape (in fact, you may want to take a shower after finishing), but its importance as a portrait of our corrections system is undeniable.
PositiveThe Nashville SceneWinslow takes a breather from the intensely dark depictions of violence in his Cartel crime trilogy, but he still provides plenty of action to satisfy readers. The six little doses of crime fiction here run the gamut from gritty, bloody thrillers to a humorous encounter with a gun-wielding chimpanzee ... The bulk of the tales here include serious and cautionary themes of corruption, vengeance, loss and redemption. But time and again, Winslow creates deeply believable characters by highlighting their desires and the setbacks to fulfilling those desires — goals to which readers can easily relate ... Longtime readers will be especially happy to see some of his recurring characters making return appearances here...But rest assured, if you haven’t encountered Winslow’s cast before, you won’t feel lost. Winslow takes deliberate care to make each character and story stand alone.
PositiveBookPage... mystery, intrigue and riveting suspense ... The complex plot loses a bit of immediacy when Meyer switches from one storyline to the other, but after a few chapters it promptly sweeps you along again. Part of the fun is trying to discern how the two stories will connect and in anticipating the action-packed finale ... A resident of Stellenbosch, South Africa, Meyer handles the intricate plotlines with superb skill, proving why he is an internationally acclaimed, prize-winning author of 12 thrillers. The action alone is enough to keep you reading, but Meyer gives us multifaceted characters who are just as interesting ... Whether you’re in it for the mystery or for the action, The Last Hunt delivers on both counts.
Michael Farris Smith
RaveBookPageIf you’re looking for an uplifting escape from the harsh cruelties of life, don’t read anything from Michael Farris Smith. Blackwood, the title itself cold and bleak, is the latest example of his evocative storytelling ... startling, brutal and eerie as events spiral out of control for both the boy and Colburn ... Smith weaves the pair’s stories together in a hauntingly memorable fashion ... Blackwood places Smith firmly among the masters of Southern gothic literature.
PositiveBookPage... Appelfeld gives readers an up-close, deeply moving story of characters haunted by grief and loss yet buoyed by courage and hope in the most adverse conditions ... a memorable chronicle of those who sought to persevere at the height of one of the world’s worst moments.
PositiveBookPage... a crazy read from start to finish, and I mean that in a good way ... Admittedly, the misadventures and seemingly aimless wanderings of Dorsey’s characters take a bit of getting used to, but once you do, you’ll be all too eager to go along for the ride ... Dorsey has shirked his commitment to serious recounts of the day’s top events in favor of over-the-top tall tales and wacky characters like Serge and Coleman. I have to admit, they are a lot more fun.
PositiveBookPage... high-octane ... Kepler builds suspense with each subsequent murder while planting more clues to tantalize readers. Joona is constantly one step behind the killer, increasing the stakes for the next victim in line. While there are instances of graphic violence and admittedly gratuitous sex, Kepler keeps things grounded with real emotional threads for each of his characters. Joona’s relationship with his former co-workers is especially intriguing as he tries to put his criminal misdeeds behind him while rebuilding the trust of his colleagues ... grips readers from the start and rarely lets up throughout its 500-plus pages ... a chase you’ll want to get in on.
RaveBookPageReading Scott Carson’s The Chill gave me shivers like the ones I got when I first read Stephen King’s The Shining ... Carson ably and exponentially ramps up the intrigue and danger ... Carson includes plenty of factual exposition about real New York reservoirs and tunnel systems, sections that could have been dry and boring were it not for his deep characterizations and a pervading sense of doom. The result is a fast-paced, frenzied tale of survival against both natural and supernatural forces that will leave you gasping for air.
PositiveBookPage... Shelton delivers in every way. A sense of dread persists from the opening page to the novel’s surprising conclusion, with an overall tense mood and an all-too-real terror felt by the book’s protagonist, Beth Rivers ... Shelton methodically introduces Beth to a wide-ranging cast while swiftly ramping up the tension ... nothing cozy here, only danger.
PositiveBookPageIt’s hard to believe that there are stories about the hunt for Nazi war criminals yet to be tol...Fortunately, Kanon’s skill as a master storyteller quickly allayed my fears ... a fast-paced, emotionally charged novel. While the subject matter is familiar, Kanon’s characters were so well-drawn and authentic in their portrayal that it was easy to put those early doubts behind ... Kanon uses taut prose and sly dialogue to dial up the intrigue and tension to satisfy any reader, including skeptics like me.
PositiveBookPage... whereas Dickens’ novel is ultimately uplifting—our stingy protagonist wholly embraces the lessons learned from ghostly visitations and immediately sets about amending his ways—Marley is anything but. It’s darkly haunting in its own way, but also devilishly fun reading. There are good reasons for the heavy chains wrapped around Jacob Marley’s ghost when he visits Scrooge that fateful Christmas Eve, and author Jon Clinch spares no detail as he depicts Marley in this prequel as a harsh, uncaring, coldly calculating, deceitful individual, showcasing his malevolent influence on Scrooge ... Clinch...has successfully added a layer of depth and intrigue to Dickens’ beloved characters.
PositiveBookPage... powerful ... suspenseful, heartfelt ... an eloquently written story of two people and their ambitions, yearnings and passions amid a key historical period.
PositiveBookPageReaders yearning for a noir mystery in the vein of Mike Hammer or Sam Spade are in luck. Peter Colt has delivered just such a tale of intrigue with his debut novel, The Off-Islander. ... Set in 1982, the book features all the classic tropes of noir: a lonely detective on a missing persons case, shady suspects and red herrings, sultry ladies to entice him, rainy streets and seedy bars, danger lurking at nearly every turn. ... Colt, an Army veteran who served in Kosovo and Iraq and now is a police officer in a small New England city, captures his firsthand, on-the-job experience in moody prose. The novel spends nearly as much time exploring Roark’s inner demons from the Vietnam War and life afterward as it does with the case at hand, adding a deeply evocative perspective to events.
RaveBookPage... whether King is chasing Stranger Things or Stranger Things is chasing King, the result is the same: shocking suspense and hallmark thrills ... The concept of family separation takes on an eerie weight here, with unsettling parallels between the events of the novel and the real-life images we see on the news of kids huddled under silver mylar blankets in cramped cages at the U.S.–Mexico border ... Political leanings aside, The Institute offers a thrilling reading experience and rousing tribute to the resilience of children and the unending fight against evil.
RaveBookPage... riveting ... Narrated by Malin, whose intelligence and cunning drive the story, Tell Me Everything is an edgy exploration of loyalty and human desire. Readers in search of a true page-turner will savor this electrifying novel.
PositiveBookPageLisa Lutz’s new novel, The Swallows, is fast-moving, darkly humorous and at times shockingly vicious. The battle of the sexes within its pages couldn’t be more compelling ... Lutz delivers a frantic, morbidly funny story about what happens when girls are no longer willing to excuse bad behavior as \'boys will be boys.\'
Jorge Zepeda Patterson, trans by Achy Obejas
PositiveBookPageReaders looking for fast-paced, page-turning suspense and intrigue need look no farther ... Patterson, whose work is aptly translated by award-winning writer Achy Obejas, mixes edge-of-your-seat racing action with dark suspense, all leading up to a surprising finale. Race out to get this one.
PositiveBookPage... fascinating ... Williams alternates Lulu’s story with that of German baroness Elfriede von Kleist and her love affair with Wilfred Thorpe in the early 1900s, linking the generations together. Readers will be spellbound by Williams’ elegant prose, fascinating characters and unforgettable settings while fully engrossed by the novel’s dual plots.
PositiveBookPageFirst-time novelist Sara Collins crafted her debut as a tribute to Jane Eyre, \'but with a protagonist who would have lived outside the margins set by history.\' In that regard, Collins has succeeded admirably, resulting in a novel that reads like a classic gothic romance.
PositiveBookPageKoryta puts the reader in Tara’s shoes for some truly claustrophobic chapters in which her predicament is made all too clear ... While staying in Tara’s tortured mind is harrowing enough, Koryta throws in a few other characters and a half dozen plot twists to ratchet up the tension even further ... Koryta keeps the action fast and furious, tempered with his characters’ determination to persevere against all odds.
RaveBookPage\"Kerr treats his readers to a stark, unflinching look at life in Germany for many citizens still reeling from the effects of the prior war, crushing poverty and growing anti-Semitic bigotry in the years prior to Hitler’s ascension. His writing is crisp, highly detailed and beautifully rendered, immersing the reader as much in the adventure as Gunther immerses himself in his disguise. Metropolis is an unforgettable tribute to both Kerr’s greatest detective and to the remarkable storyteller Kerr was.\
PositiveBookPage\" ... heart-wrenching ... Wilkins, who grew up in rural Montana where this story is set, details the pair’s growing bond and sense of hope with vivid, heartfelt strokes—before, just as powerfully, pulling the rug out from under them.\
RaveBookPageFlora Dane, the tough-as-nails survivor of a traumatic kidnapping, is back in Never Tell, the twisty new thriller from the always reliable Lisa Gardner. ... Gardner gives plenty for readers to ponder as Flora’s ordeal is only part of the myriad mysteries and surprises in store in her latest novel ... Told in emotionally gripping chapters from each character’s perspective, Never Tell is layered with the type of mystery, surprise and suspense that Gardner is rightfully acclaimed for.
PositiveBookPageMeanders quite a bit due to its impressive cast and multiple storylines, taking its time to explore each’s feelings and tribulations, but Verble keeps Check at its grounded center. Readers shouldn’t expect to fly through these pages at breakneck speed, but rather enjoy a more leisurely pace that will leave them wholly immersed in Check’s world.
PositiveBookpageWhile not as complex as a John le Carré spy thriller, Wilkinson’s debut is both emotional and poignant, and one that readers can easily get caught up in.
RaveBookPage\"... explosive ... Hammer skillfully guides Martin through a series of interviews with the reluctant townsfolk to get to the truth. With vivid prose, a smothering sense of atmosphere and an at-times heart-wrenching story, Scrublands is a sizzling hot read for a cold winter night.\
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse
PositiveBookPageAs engrossing as the plot is by itself, Abdul-Jabbar ups the emotional quotient ... The author clearly has fun with the tit-for-tat deductive prowess displayed by each brother, while developing a sibling rivalry that will linger throughout Sherlock’s adult career. Readers will find plenty of reasons to celebrate this latest Sherlockian adventure.
RaveBookPageThrough gorgeous prose, the Edgar, Macavity and Anthony Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone elevates an otherwise simple cat-and-mouse story into a heartfelt journey of hope and discovery for two characters running from their pasts ... In the end, November Road is more than the sum of its parts—a thrilling plot, an iconic period piece and unforgettable characters. Above all, it’s an American novel not to be missed.
PositiveBookPage...a shocking crime novel about the famous real-life 1948 abduction that inspired Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and the film that followed ... Readers will sympathize with Sally’s tragic plight while being revolted by LaSalle’s predatory instinct as he sexually exploits her ... Greenwood reportedly spent more than two years researching Sally’s abduction and years drafting Rust & Stardust. The result is an unflinching portrait of a vile criminal and his helpless victim.
PositiveBookPageWestern novels are cool again, and Whiskey When We’re Dry by John Larison is a perfect example of why. Set in 1885 in the heart of the Midwest, the novel shirks the traditional white-hat-versus-black-hat shtick for a more grounded, emotional view of life on the range ... Like Philipp Meyer’s The Son or Robert Olmstead’s Savage Country, Whiskey When We’re Dry draws on Larison’s own experiences with the \'cowboy arts\' to paint a vivid portrait of the American West as witnessed by an unforgettable character.
PositiveBookPage...an intriguing, albeit challenging, read ... for lovers of spy novels, it’s more than worth the read ... The snapshot-like style of the novel takes some getting used to, and readers would be advised to read as much of the book in one or two sittings. Long pauses away from the novel may only serve to kill momentum and possibly sow confusion ... [Carpenter] is well-versed in the shadowy world of espionage as well as adept at crafting an emotional page-turner.
RaveBookPageThe plot of David Joy’s third novel, The Line That Held Us, is simple ... The complexity of the novel comes in Joy’s evocative language, his unforgettable characters and how he weaves themes of family, friendship and justice throughout this darkly engrossing Southern crime noir ... Joy has been heralded for his ability to craft a powerful sense of place in his previous novels ... He does so again in The Line That Held Us, bringing the Appalachian region and lifestyle to life. But it is his unforgettable characters and their moral dilemmas that will stay with you in the end.
PositiveBookPage[A] stunning new novel ... Soli’s novel is both gut-wrenchingly violent and heart-wrenching, but above all, it’s an unforgettable journey of loss and hope.
PositiveBookPage\"Frazier returns to form with this emotional and often harrowing depiction of a complicated woman. While Frazier paints Varina as a strong mother and staunch defender of her husband, he skillfully shows the consequences of her complicity in Davis’ decisions.\
PositiveBookPageBarbed Wire Heart is a gritty, bloody, in-your-face affair and definitely not for the faint of heart. Her heroine is fiercely independent, morally complex and desperate to forge her own path to freedom—no matter the cost.
RaveBookPageOnly Killers and Thieves is brutally violent and shocking, from its depiction of racial bias to its savage realism, but at its heart, it is a coming-of-age novel. Howarth includes many parallels to the novel’s Old West counterparts: a family trying to tame the land and create a livelihood for themselves amid a harsh, unforgiving climate; a rival landowner who threatens to control them at every turn; and the constant threat of attack by the region’s indigenous population. Howarth manages to infuse the old tropes with a depth of emotion and moral complication that will stay with readers long after closing the book.
RaveBookPageChicago is a master class in the author’s trademark 'Mamet speak,' made famous by his Pulitzer Prize-winning screenplay Glengarry Glen Ross. Every page is layered with sharply drawn, often biting dialogue. Some of the conversations are so thick you may have to read them twice to catch everything, but they’re so good you won’t mind one bit.
RaveBookPageMoore’s latest novel is a noirish, moody mystery shrouded with conspiracies that would make any X-Files fan rejoice … Carver, with Mia’s help, sets off to find out what happened during his blackout. In typical gumshoe fashion, Carver follows one lead to the next and slowly begins piecing together a trail of people, places and events, ultimately leading to the discovery of a staggering conspiracy. Moore expertly paints a bleak cityscape for our hero, and in this world, no one can be trusted, and dangerous secrets are just waiting to be uncovered.
RaveBookPage...a harrowing story about a young girl living in captivity and the one woman who could possibly find her and bring her home … Naomi’s personal journey from foster child to adulthood parallels her search for Madison. As Naomi’s fears and sources of determination come to light, the narrative also dips into Madison’s mind, allowing readers to experience her terrifying ordeal at the hands of her captor, known only as Mr. B. Both narratives are expertly intertwined into a deeply moving story of survival and hope … The Child Finder is a chillingly good read.
PositiveBookPage...when Child himself makes note of it, you know the book at hand has got to be pretty damn good. Such is the case with Erik Storey’s debut novel, Nothing Short of Dying ...novel follows loner Clyde Barr—adventurer, soldier and most recently an unjustly imprisoned convict—as he attempts to blend into his Utah countryside and escape the burdens of humanity. But as fate would have it, he receives a desperate call for help from his estranged sister Jen and must drop everything to come to her aid ...rugged countryside lends itself well to the story, creating a bleak, rugged landscape for Clyde to play in, like a classic Western showdown ... Storey doesn’t pull any punches with his crisp, in-your-face dialogue and vivid action, and neither does his hero.
RaveBookPageUnlike most novels that delve closely into the life of a main protagonist, McGregor distances the reader in a more omniscient fashion, picking and choosing whom to look in on and when. Sharing only fleeting glimpses of their lives like an unattached observer, McGregor darts in and out of the lives of his characters in seemingly random fashion. Chapters are divided into years, years into quick flashes of months or days—moments in time all indelibly etched into the fabric of the community, into the souls of the people therein, and into the hearts and minds of readers. Despite the unusual style—no direct dialogue and no paragraph breaks here—McGregor’s lyrical prose and sense of detail totally immerse the reader. Reaching the end of a chapter is like coming up for a brief gulp of air before diving in to see what happens next.