thriller

Recursion

By Blake Crouch
4
Rated by Heather C
Sep 30, 2019

Recursion occurs when a thing is defined in terms of itself or of its type.  --Wikipedia


I first heard about this book on NPR and was intrigued enough to immediately put it on my holds list.  You can find out more about how to make your own holds list here. Let me just say that this book did not disappoint!


Memory makes reality.  That's the tag line of the latest thriller by Blake Crouch.  Memory also makes you who you are.  Remembering what you learned in school, a moment from childhood, your favorite Christmas, your first kiss; but what if what you remember isn't real? 


Who hasn't

Safe Houses

By Dan Fesperman
4
Rated by Kari E.
Oct 1, 2018

Helen Abell runs four CIA safe houses for the Berlin Station in 1979. While performing routine microphone inspections she captures two important conversations that will change the course of her life. Helen knows her clearance does not allow her to investigate these agents, however a series of events leads her to uncover sinister cover ups within the CIA. In 2014, Helen and her husband are murdered in their Maryland farmhouse by their son. Anna goes home to bury her parents and discover what lead her brother to this horrific act. She enlists the help of a private investigator new to town, Henry

Jun 19, 2018

Violet has a strange secret ability. She can sense dead bodies, or at least those that were murdered. She can also feel the imprints the dead leave behind, and the imprints that attach to their killers. And now that a serial killer is terrorizing her town, she is swept up into the investigation. But can she help hunt down the killer before she becomes a target?


This book was so good and so suspenseful, that I couldn't put it down. I loved the author's writing style and how the characters were so well developed. I was captivated from page one. I could definitely see this being a movie in the

Jun 15, 2018

Esther is one of the Special Ones, four spiritual guides who provide leadership to eager followers on the outside. She lives under his protection in a remote farmhouse. But what the followers don’t know is that if she stops being special, he will renew her and replace her with another Esther. She is sure that renewing means certain death, so she must keep up the performance if she wants to survive long enough to escape. Because Esther also knows she is a fake, she has no ancient wisdom and needs help to leave behind her life in captivity.


This was one creepy book. Much creepier than I

Jun 10, 2018

"You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark."


Michelle McNamara’s book investigating the Golden State Killer is a truly masterful work. The author explains her obsession with this case and her hopes of discovering the identity of the killer. She presents a staggering amount of research and information in such an engaging and organized way, while her clarity of writing and ever-present empathy enhance the reading experience.


Foolishly, I was not prepared to read about the truly haunting crimes that the Golden State Killer committed in the 1970s and 1980s. The author never

The Girl Before

By J P Delaney
4
Rated by Diane H.
Dec 15, 2017

The house where so much of The Girl Before takes place is a minimalist’s dream; a testament to how we can get by with barely any material goods. The latter may seem impossible to those of us who carry our many belongings with us wherever we go. Yet, reading this book, I can see the lure of an uncluttered life.


The house, in fact, becomes a character in the story. More than just a backdrop, the house affects the main characters and seems at times to be an extension of Edward Monkton, the architect of this rule-bound home.


Two women, separated by time, are deemed worthy by Monkton to live

Aug 4, 2017

Che is trying to be normal. He has a list, even. Of things he wants to accomplish soon, after moving to New York with his family.
However, Item Number One is: Keep Rosa Safe.


Seems normal right? After all, Rosa's just his five-year-old sister. Completely normal. Except she's also a diagnosable psychopath. Rosa has a long trail of seemingly innocent acts of killing on her small hands, and it's only a matter of time before he kills again, maybe this time a person.


Che has to protect his sister from the world- but he may need to protect the world from his sister.


This was a gripping

Jun 28, 2017

Rosa seems like a charming and brilliant young girl, she makes it look like there is nothing wrong with her. But her brother knows better. She is so talented at deception and persuasion, he is certain she is a diagnosable psychopath. She hasn’t hurt any people yet, but he is sure it is only a matter of time. Ever since their parents moved them to New York City, Rosa has been playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world, but more importantly, can he protect the world against Rosa?


This book starts out as a fun YA with terrific characters and then gets

May 16, 2017

Amy and her best friend Dee were kidnapped six years ago, but one day she returns home alone, unwilling to share anything about her experience, and she is desperate to protect her secrets no matter what. Nothing she does feels right when she tries to adjust back at home, she is a stranger in her own family. She feels guilty that she was the one to return. She soon realizes that keeping her secrets may just hurt the people she loves most. She has to go back so she can move forward, but she is risking everything.


Whoa. This book. What a powerful story. The beautiful writing does justice to

Mar 20, 2017

At all of 13 years of age, fearless Ruby Redfort has seen more than the most adventurous of adults. She's a secret service agent, a position that gives her plenty of chances to exercise her mental and physical capabilities, but also comes with a high risk for injury. In the past she's dealt with a number of villains, but now that her town is plagued by a strange serial burglar and Ruby can't even keep her job, catastrophe might just strike.


Ruby Redfort: Feel the Fear is a refreshing read not only because of its very-original plotline, but also because of its interesting physical format and

The Last Star

By Yancey, Richard
4
Rated by Kari E.
Aug 20, 2016

The Last Star is the final book of The Fifth Wave trilogy and picks up six weeks after the events of The Infinite Sea. After the Others, an alien race, sent four waves of death they killed seven billion people. The final wave of brainwashed humans will kill off the remaining survivors including Cassie, Sam, Ben, Megan, and Ringer. This installment is darker and more desperate than the preceding two books and unfolds from multiple perspectives which add dimension and depth to this portion of the story. Strong characters and a fast-paced plot drive this story making it impossible to put down

Japantown

By Barry Lancet
3
Rated by Don M.
Aug 3, 2016

Jim Brodie conveniently runs an antique business in San Francisco and a security company in Tokyo. He also speaks Japanese and is a martial arts expert. When a family is gunned down in San Francisco, Brodie is hired by the brother of the victim to find out who did it. The reader learns that Brodie lost his wife, who was Japanese, in a suspicious fire and that the same kanji (Japanese language character) was left at the scene of each crime. When the Japanese linguist he hired to research the kanji doesn’t return, Brodie and his assistant follow his path to a certain village where death and

A Long Walk Up the Water Slide

By Don Winslow
4
Rated by Don M.
Jun 17, 2016

What a fun novel! There's a lot of double dealing, a lot of humor at everyone’s expense and a lot of action!

Neal Graham is hired by his father to hide the mistress of a man who is the other half of a famous television couple, who purport to be happily married. When the mistress decides to end the relationship, the man refuses to take no for an answer and she brings charges of rape. She goes into hiding until the trial and Neal is charged with babysitting her. The television husband’s business partners start looking for her and it is not to bring her flowers!

Cambodia Noir

By Nick Seeley
4
Rated by Don M.
May 28, 2016

Cambodia Noir is a full tilt boogie from the get go!

Will Keller is a photographer for a Cambodian newspaper and has lived in Cambodia for nine years. He has a drug and alcohol problem and just doesn’t care. 

When a fellow reporter on staff goes missing, her sister comes to Cambodia to look for her. Unsuccessful, she offers the job to Will, who takes the job and begins the search. Let the fun begin! Everybody has a history and not everybody is who they say they are. Seeley does an excellent job of conveying atmosphere and building suspense. I enjoyed every page.

Killers

By Howie Carr
4
Rated by Don M.
Mar 26, 2016

I really enjoyed this book! This is Howie Carr’s second novel and I am as impressed with this one as I was with the first. In what could be a nod to Hemingway, he titled this novel “Killers”, although Hemingway’s short story is “The Killers.” The author employs two alternating narrators to very good effect. One is Bench McCarthy, a businessman/killer who runs his own show but answers to Sally Curto, head of the local crime organization. Bench and Sally are under attack and they don’t know why.  The other narrator is Jack Reilly, a private investigator hired by political forces trying to find

The Cartel

By Don Winslow
4
Rated by Don M.
Jan 27, 2016

If you ever wanted to know what it would be like to be in the middle of a drug war, then pick up The Cartel. Art Keller is a DEA agent living in Mexico and trying to bring down the drug barons. The reader is slowly drawn into the political and economic landscape of Mexico and the reality of the effects of the “war on drugs” on Mexicans. While educating the reader about this conflict, the author entertains with a sizzling plot that is full of violence and pathos. Particularly, the author delves into what the drug war between the factions in Mexico has done to Juarez and the surrounding area

Silence

By Thomas Perry
4
Rated by Don M.
Nov 30, 2015

Jack Till is a private investigator who helped a woman disappear six years ago. Now the woman’s ex-boyfriend is being set up for her murder, and Till must find her to prove to the District Attorney that she is alive. I really enjoyed the intelligent plot (in many ways, it resembles Narrow Margin, the 1990 film written and directed by Peter Hyams and starring Gene Hackman). When Till finds her, they have to avoid several attempts on their lives as they make their way back to Los Angeles. It is nonstop action as Jack Till negotiates his way against a full cast of tawdry characters.

Ways of the Dead

By Neely Tucker
4
Rated by Don M.
Oct 21, 2015

This is a gritty urban tale but it is also a look at how newspaper reporters go about their business. This is a well-constructed thriller by a former reporter for the Washington Post. When the daughter of a judge is murdered, Sully Carter is assigned the job even though Carter has had problems with the judge in the past.(The judge lied, but Carter couldn't prove it.) Carter finds that things are not what they seem to be! Tucker has left deftly placed clues throughout the novel that point to a great ending.  I admire the craft he used and thoroughly enjoyed the novel!

Night of the Jaguar

By Joe Gannon
4
Rated by Don M.
Oct 9, 2015

Set in 1986 in Nicaragua, Night of the Jaguar drops the reader into the turmoil of Nicaragua after the Sandinistas have won and are struggling to govern. Ajax Montoya, a former guerrilla, now a police captain, is literally haunted by the ghosts of his victims. He is assigned a case where a man is murdered in the same way that the Contras kill people. Nicaraguan State Security has also involved itself in the case, as has an American reporter, the American Ambassador, and an American senator. Everybody is watching each other and trust is just a word. It’s complicated. Gannon takes you to a

Still Missing

By Chevy Stevens
4
Rated by Colleen O.
Jun 16, 2015

Annie O’Sullivan is a realtor heading out to show a house one summer afternoon. Near the close of the open house, Annie is abducted by a potential client, a stranger who drugs and transports her to a remote mountain cabin on Vancouver Island where he repeatedly beats, rapes, and terrorizes her. As the days and nights of her captivity begin to blur together, Annie is forced to conform to the whims of a psychopath, "The Freak,” and to sacrifice parts of herself in an effort to survive. When she resurfaces a year later, it is as a shell of the person she used to be.


Annie’s story unravels in a

Mr. Lucky

By James Swain
3
Rated by Don M.
Nov 12, 2014

James Swain has written a series of novels featuring Tony Valentine as the main character. Mr. Lucky is the fifth in a series that has been one enjoyable read after another. Tony is a retired Atlantic City policeman who runs his own consulting firm that assists casinos in determining if they have been victims of fraud.  There is a lot in these novels about the culture of casinos and gambling which I find interesting.  In Mr. Lucky, a new and different scam unfolds for our entertainment.  Mr. Lucky is a guy (Ricky Smith) who wins at every casino game, and Tony Valentine must figure out how he

Beautiful Malice

By Rebecca James
4
Rated by Jed D.
Oct 12, 2014

Beautiful Malice by Australian author Rebecca James immediately made me think of a teenaged take on Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, except Malice came out first.  Katherine has been keeping a secret about her dark past.  Her very popular and pretty new best friend Alice has a lot of secrets, as well.  There are so many secrets that I can’t say anything else without there being major spoilers!  This quick summer read is filled with bad decisions, youthful indiscretions, and a psychotic stalker.  Fans of books by the previously mentioned Flynn or Lisa Jackson will probably enjoy this escapist

Six Years

By Harlan Coben
4
Rated by Don M.
Oct 8, 2014

Jake Fisher notices an obituary online and is swept up in a maelstrom of events.  Six years before, Jake’s girlfriend Natalie married an “old boyfriend”, makes Jake promise to leave them alone and then disappears!  When Jake sees an obituary for Natalie’s husband, he thinks it’s a new ballgame. But Natalie is nowhere to be found. Everything Jake does to find his missing love seems believable, and the mystery of Natalie evolves. Once Harlan Coben sets the hook, I just keep turning the page, and so will you!

That Night

By Chevy Stevens
4
Rated by Lisa J.
Sep 29, 2014

High school seniors Tony and Ryan had a plan for after graduation.  They were going to get jobs and an apartment and live together—Toni to get away from her mom who favored her younger sister, and Ryan to leave behind his alcoholic and abusive father.  It all seemed so simple.  But that's not what happened.  Senior year the "mean girls" clique started harassing Toni, just to be mean.  Then, unbelievably, Toni's little sister, Nicole, starts hanging out with the clique and harassing Toni too.  Nicole has also changed a lot since starting high school; she's gotten secretive, and sullen, although

The Cuckoo's Calling

By Robert Galbraith
4
Rated by Colleen O.
Sep 25, 2014

Cormoran Strike is a private detective who has just broken up with his on-again/off-again girlfriend of fifteen years. He's living in his office, where he gets almost daily calls asking for the money he owes for the business.  Robin is a temp sent from an agency to help run his office, although she quickly discovers that there's not much to do because there's not much business. Out of the blue, in walks a man asking Strike to investigate the death of his sister, Lula Landry. She was a famous supermodel whose official cause of death was suicide, although her brother believes she was murdered

Now You See Me

By Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Dave Franco
4
Rated by Robin D.
Sep 16, 2014

Tagged as a magical crime thriller, the movie Now You See Me is about four magicians (illusionists) who call themselves the Four Horsemen who get together to pull off some of the greatest tricks the world has ever seen.  Unfortunately, most of the magic tricks happen to be of a criminal nature.  Thus, the scenario sets up a fast-paced plot of cat and mouse between an FBI super sleuth (played by Mark Ruffalo) and the Four Horsemen (played by Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Dave Franco).


Now You See Me is by far the most entertaining DVD I have seen in quite a while.  The

Remember Me Like This

By Bret Anthony Johnston
3
Rated by Bryan V.
Jul 16, 2014

Despite the blurbs on the back cover, Bret Anthony Johnston’s debut novel, Remember Me Like This, is not a thriller in the traditional sense. The elements are all here: a kidnapping, a possible murder, a family in turmoil. But to Johnston’s credit,  his novel is partly about  thwarting expectations—mostly the reader’s, and not always in ways that we’re accustomed to.


The story begins in noir mode with the happenstance discovery of a floating body in Corpus Christi, Texas, and its possible connection to a long-forgotten kidnapping. It soon becomes apparent, however, that Johnston is not

A Spy's Life

By Porter, Henry
4
Rated by Don M.
Jun 3, 2014

This is a very well-written thriller!  The action starts when a plane goes down and Robert Harland, the only survivor, hears a cell phone ringing in the East River.  He wades to the sound and finds his old friend from the CIA dead. Harland uses the phone and takes his friend's wallet, which just happens to contain some discs, for his widow.  Robert Harland is a former British spy, now working for the UN.  The explanation for the crash does not ring true to him and he suspects sabotage. But why? The answer lies in Harland's past!


The plotting is first rate, grounded and realistic. The action

Orphan Black, Season One

By BBC America
4
Rated by Josh N.
May 27, 2014

The BBC America series Orphan Black is about...well, it's difficult to say what it's about without giving away spoilers. The first episode opens with a young, streetwise grifter named Sarah arriving at a train station, where she witnesses another woman folding her clothes carefully on the platform and taking off her shoes. The woman turns, looks at Sarah...and Sarah sees her own face looking back at her. Then the identical woman walks in front of an oncoming train to her death. Sarah steals the woman's purse and clothes, gets her name and address from her ID, and decides to sneak into this

The Double

By GEORGE PELECANOS
4
Rated by Don M.
Jan 23, 2014

In his Spero Lucas Mystery series, Pelecanos features a present day Travis McGee (series by John D. MacDonald). Lucas is a U.S. Marine veteran of the war in Iraq and the Washington D.C. setting is a character in itself.


People come to Speros when they want to retrieve something that would normally be irretrievable. He obliges them because he loves danger and he keeps 40% of the item's value. In The Double, second in the series,(The Cut is the first) the item in question is a painting that has been stolen, and the woman from whom it was stolen wants it back. Finding and retrieving the