LJ Best Books 2016

A jury of our peers discussed, debated, disagreed, and finally declared LJ’s annual Top Ten Best Books of the year, selected by our editors, as well as Top Five lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles. VISIT THE WEBSITE

Patterson, Scottoline, Slaughter, & More | Thriller Previews, Aug. 2017

Brennan, Allison. Shattered. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Aug. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9781250129277. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250129284. THRILLER
After a friend’s young son is kidnapped and suffocated, a crime for which the friend’s wife now stands accused, investigative reporter Max Revere is looking into three brennansimilar cases over the last two decades. Funny how no one wants to cooperate until FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid, cousin to the first victim, steps in. From a New York Times best-selling author and ITW Award nominee.

Brown, Sandra. Seeing Red. Grand Central. Aug. 2017. 300p. ISBN 9781455572106. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781455572076. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455572052. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Brown has over 80 million books in print worldwide and 68 New York Times best sellers to her name. No plot details on this latest, but expect the usual Brown combination of chills and heat. With a 300,000-copy first printing.

Cleave, Paul. A Killer Harvest. Atria. Aug. 2017. 400p. ISBN 9781501153013. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501153037. THRILLER
Good news: blind teenager Joshua has a chance to regain his sight through a corneal donation, though it comes with a burden. He’s receiving this gift from his father, a detective killed cleavewhile investigating the homicide of a young woman, and with his new eyes he starts seeing the brutalities his father saw on the job. But he can’t quite see the killer targeting him. From New Zealand–based Edgar finalist Cleave.

Cook, Robin. Charlatans. Putnam. Aug. 2017. 416p. ISBN 9780735212480. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780735212497. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER
The author whose 30 titles virtually define the medical thriller cooks up another, this one featuring new chief resident Noah Rothauser of Boston Memorial Hospital. When healthy patients start dying during surgery in one of the hospital’s newly outfitted “operating rooms of the future,” Noah must probe the entire staff, including a vain surgeon and an anesthesiologist who has split herself into multiple personalities online.

Gattis, Ryan. Safe. Sean McDonald: Farrar. Aug. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780374253370. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374716615. THRILLER
From Kung Fu High School to the recent All Involved: A Novel of the 1992 L.A. Riots, Gattis writes high-energy narratives with a moral edge. Here, Ricky Mendoza Jr. wasted his youth on drugs, gangbanging, and bloodshed until he met Rose, whose memory he honors as an adult by walking the straight and narrow. Then he gets the chance to pay back past debts by cracking a safe and stealing drug money from both the gangs and the feds. He’ll be safe—as long as he survives. Library marketing.

Gerritsen,Tess. I Know a Secret: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel. Ballantine. Aug. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780345543882. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780345543899. THRILLER
For readers who like things creepy, here’s the 12th entry in the popular series that inspired TNT’s geritsenhighest-rated series. Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles don’t know what to make of a murder victim whose eyes have been wrenched out and placed in her upturned palms, a scenario echoing one of her scarefest films. Soon there’s another murder, and then an obvious target emerges who could stop the killer dead in his tracks if only she shared a secret. But why make it easy?

Hanson, Hart. The Driver. Dutton. Aug. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781101986363. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781101986387. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER
If you like FOX TV’s Bones, now enjoying its 11th season, you’ll likely love this debut thriller by its creator. Michael Skellig, an army special forces sergeant now working as a limo driver, is carting around skateboard mogul Bismark Avila when he gets an intuitive sense of danger—and saves Avila from two gunmen. Now he’s a person of interest in the murder of one of Avila’s bodyguards, which is where his enduring crush, LAPD detective Delilah Groopman, enters the picture. Great expectations.

Horst, Jorn Lier. Ordeal. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Aug. 2017. 352p. tr. from Norwegian by Anne Bruce. ISBN 9781250111364. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250111371. THRILLER
Once a senior investigating officer on the Norwegian police force, Horst published his first crime fiction in 2004 and hasn’t looked back; his William Wisting series has more than 500,000 copies out there, and his numerous honors include the prestigious Glass Key award for best crime novel by a Nordic author. Here, single mother Sofie Lund inherits her despised grandfather’s house and opens the basement safe to find shocking information that proves essential to a case the inspector has been trying to crack for a long time.

Lapena, Shari. A Stranger in the House. Pamela Dorman: Viking. Aug. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780735221123; $26. ebk. ISBN 9780735221147. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER
Lapena wrote award-winning literary fiction, then had a bang-up success with her first thriller, The Couple lapenaNext Door. Here she continues in thriller mode with a woman found injured in a shady part of town. Neither the police nor her husband believes that she had an inconvenient car crash there, and she herself isn’t sure what happened, though we do know she was responding to an unnerving phone call at book’s open. What secret is she keeping?

McFate, Sean & Bret Witter. Deep Black: A Tom Locke Novel. Morrow. Aug. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780062403735. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062403759.THRILLER
From a former U.S. Army paratrooper and private military contractor, this second in a series after Shadow War again features military contractor Tom Locke, who’s deep in Iraq (and dodging a shady private military corporation) when he’s asked by a Saudi middleman to find a government official’s missing son—a prince, no less. It seems that the young man may have been carrying documents posing a deep threat to his country’s security. Big promotion.

Matthews, Jason. The Kremlin’s Candidate. Scribner. Aug. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9781501140082. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501140105. CD: S. & S. Audio. THRILLER
In this wrap-up to the “Red Sparrow Trilogy,” Russian counterintelligence chief colonel Dominika Egorova continues her affair with the CIA handler for whom she is stealing Putin’s secrets. Rumors that a mole will be placed high in U.S. intelligence has her scrambling to find the mole’s identity and as many other secrets as she can before quitting Russia to save her skin. With a seven-city tour.

Neggers, Carla. Thief’s Mark. Mira: Harlequin. Aug. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780778330318. $26.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
What’s up next for FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan? They’re helping Oliver York discover who murdered his parents and kidnapped him when he was eight years old. That Oliver is an international art thief does make things interesting. From a frequent New York Times best-selling wallsauthor; the previous title in this series made the USA Today best sellers list.

Overton, Hollie. The Walls. Redhook: Hachette. Aug. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780316268769. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780316268783. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316268752. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
In this follow-up to Overton’s big-attention debut, Baby Doll, single mom Kristy Tucker is worn out from her job with the Texas Department of Corrections, which entails working with death row inmates. So she’s initially delighted to become involved with her son’s hunky martial arts instructor. But when he turns ferociously abusive, getting rid of him (permanently) seems like the only choice. This book went to auction both here and in the UK and has been sold to a half-dozen countries.

Parker, T. Jefferson. The Room of White Fire. Putnam. Aug. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780735212664. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780735212688. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER
Tasked with tracking down traumatized young veteran Clay Hickman, who has escaped from a mentalparkerjefferson institution, private investigator Roland Ford gets contradictory stories from the authorities and realizes that there’s more to this case than he had imagined. It also brings back painful memories of his own service as a marine in First Fallujah. Three-time Edgar Award winner Parker launches a new series.

Patterson, James. The Store. Little, Brown. Aug. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9780316395458. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316395540. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316395557. CD: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
“The Store doesn’t just want your money—it wants your soul.” That suggestive mantra is the premise underlying Patterson’s latest, featuring a store in the near future that can deliver anything but that dark secrets struggling writer Jacob Brandeis, with the help of his increasingly reluctant wife, is trying to uncover. He could get himself killed. With a 500,000-copy first printing.

Robinson, Peter. Sleeping in the Ground. Morrow. Aug. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780062395078. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062395092. lrg. prnt. THRILLER
Not what you’d expect: a bloody massacre on the steps of a pretty little Yorkshire church. Detective Superintendent Alan Banks is on the case, and since his cases have won Edgar, Dagger in the Library, and Martin Beck awards, among other honors, this next one should be good. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Scottoline, Lisa. Exposed. St. Martin’s. Aug. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781250099716. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250099730. CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER
Lacking plot details, what can I say about this fifth book in Scottoline’s New York Times best-selling Rosato & DiNunzio series? It follows hard on the high heels of Damaged, a People Pick and Amazon exposedBest Book, and you need to get ready for a national one-day laydown on August 15.

Slaughter, Karin. The Good Daughter. Morrow. Aug. 2017. 400p. ISBN 9780062430243. $27.99. lrg. prnt. CD: HarperAudio. THRILLER
Famed for her Grant County and Will Trent series, ITW Silver Bullet honoree Slaughter returns with another stand-alone after 2015’s Pretty Girls, which has sold 400,000 copies across formats to date. Her heroine, a New York–based lawyer who lost her mother to violence that left her sister emotionally shattered, returns home to Atlanta to help her father defend a young woman accused of a school shooting. With a 200,000-copy first printing and a five-city tour to Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, and Portland.

Spindler, Erica. The Other Girl. St. Martin’s. Aug. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9781250083654. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250083661. CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER
Called to a gruesome murder scene, Officer Miranda Rader of the Hammond, LA, police department is utterly thrown to discover a tattered newspaper clipping about a dark night in the past that she’s long suppressed. When the cop who took her statement that night turns up dead, too, and Miranda’s fingerprints materialize at the scene of the first murder, she has a lot of explaining to do to prove her innocence. From the New York Times best-selling author, most recently of The First Wife.

Sternbergh, Adam The Blinds. Ecco. Aug. 2017. 400p. ISBN 9780062661340. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062661364. THRILLER
Sternbergh moves away from the New York setting of his Edgar-nominated debut, Shovel Ready, blindsand its sequel, taking us to a remote Texas town called The Blinds. Its citizens, who have either committed or witnessed terrible crimes, have had their memories altered, but a suicide and murder in their midst has everyone uneasy. What’s more, the sheriff has secrets to protect, especially from his new deputy. An sf/noir/Western mashup with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Woods, Stuart & Parnell Hall. Barely Legal. Putnam. Aug. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780735217232. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780735217256. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER
Mentored by Stone Barrington, nerdy Herbie Fisher has become the polished youngest partner at the white shoe law firm Woodman & Weld. And then (not surprisingly), there’s trouble. As with 2016, Woods is on track to do five books this year, with this one a second collaboration with Edgar finalist Hall after the successful Smooth Operator. Smooth work indeed.

 

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Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

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