Fiction Previews, Mar. 2013, Pt. 2: Balogh, Box, Koontz, Laukkanen, Steel, and More

Archer, Jeffrey. Best Kept Secret. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2013.448p. ISBN 9781250000989. $27.99. THRILLER
Archer’s latest falls into the newly trending category of family thriller, when danger threatens not the world but one little patch of it. In a continuation of the “Clifton Chronicles,” all seems well for Harry and Emma, but a bad guy from the past who has issues with both Harry and Emma’s brother Giles has surfaced to make trouble. Big deal: a one-day laydown on 3/26/13.

Balogh, Mary. The Arrangement. Mar. 2013. Delacorte. 336p. ISBN 9780345535870. $26; eISBN 9780345535887. ROMANCE
The New York Times best-selling author of the “Huxtable” series offers the second in her new “Survivors’ Club” series, featuring five gentlemen and one lady who have banded together to support one another after having sustained injuries (visible or otherwise) during the Napoleonic Wars. Here, Vincent Hunt, Lord Darleigh, withdraws into himself because he has been blinded by cannon fire. Obviously, that special someone will arrive to draw him out again.

Box, C.J. Breaking Point. Putnam. Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780399160752. $26.95. THRILLER
Box has won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Gumshoe, and Barry Awards, as well as the French Prix Calibre .38, and his last Joe Pickett thriller debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times best sellers list. So you’ll definitely want the latest Pickett title, which sends Joe on a hunt for neighbor Lyle Pendergast, who vanishes when it appears that he was responsible for the death of two EPA agents. With a national tour.

Cussler, Clive & Justin Scott. The Striker. Putnam. Mar. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9780399161773. $27.95. THRILLER
Cussler here returns to his No. 1 New York Times best-selling Isaac Bell series, which he writes with “Ben Abbott” detective series author Scott. As a newbie detective, Bell has been assigned to track unionists accused of sabotaging a mine, but after witnessing a horrible accident, he suspects that provocateurs are involved. Cussler’s on top with this series.

Davidson, MaryJanice. You and I, Me and You. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780312531195. $24.99. ROMANCE
Author of the “Undead” series, Davidson has been credited with creating paranormal chick lit. Here’s the conclusion to a trilogy with no paranormal aspirations whatsoever, just a wacky FBI agent named Candace whose path to romance is never straight. Here, she’s moved in with Patrick (and her sisters follow?) but keeps thinking about handsome Dr. Gallo. For the lighthearted.

Green, Jane. Family Pictures. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780312591830. $25.99. POP FICTION
Two women on two different coasts, both with husbands who travel frequently and children who are about to leave the nest. They don’t know each other, but soon they find that they are connected by a terrible secret. An author video and reading group guide, big promotion and a one-day laydown on 3/19/12: Green remains hot.

Koontz, Dean. Deeply Odd. Bantam. Mar. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780553807738. $28; eISBN 9780345535696. THRILLER
An e-original novella called Odd Interlude and the hardcover Odd Apocalypse have just been released in June and July, respectively, and an Odd movie is looming, so it’s time to talk about the next book in the series. Here, Odd attends the Eventide Festival, which celebrates all that’s on the margin, and discovers that it’s less hayride than hell ride. A big purchase.

Laukkanen, Owen. Criminal Enterprise. Putnam. Mar. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9780399157905. $26.95. THRILLER
Having debuted with The Professionals, which got raves (including a starred LJ review), Laukkanen returns with a second Stevens and Windermere thriller. Both Minnesota state investigator Stevens and FBI Special Agent Carla Windermere are tracking a string of increasingly violent bank robberies. We know the culprit upfront: Carter Tomlin, who launches his criminal career to support an upscale lifestyle after he loses his job but soon finds that guns are fun. What finally counts here is the thrill of the chase. With a national tour.

Mills, Kyle. Robert Ludlum’s™ Untitled Covert-One Novel No. 10. Grand Central. Mar. 2013. 500p. ISBN 9780446539890. $26.99. THRILLER
Dresner Industries has just introduced something revolutionary—the Merge, a personal computer that communicates directly with your brain and, coincidentally, gives you infrared eyesight and deadly accuracy with a gun. Covert-One operative Col. Joe Smith, an army microbiologist, is asked to take a look at this miraculous invention. His efforts are complicated by the discovery that an entire village of slaughtered Afghanis all have Merge studs embedded in their skulls, weeks before Merge’s official release date. Mills’s previous Covert-One title, The Ares Decision, has sold over 100,000 copies. More to come.

Ohlsson, Kristina. Silenced. Atria: S. & S. Mar. 2013. 320p. ISBN 978143919890. $25. THRILLER
A Counter-Terrorism Officer at OSCE (the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), Ohlsson won the 2012 Stabilo Prize for Best Crime Writer of Southern Sweden for her first installment in the Frederika Bergman crime series. This second in the series features three seemingly unrelated cases: a teenager Midsummer’s Eve rape 15 years ago, a man’s hit-and-run death, and the apparent suicide of a priest and his wife. Fingers crossed that it’s as good as the first.

Perry, Thomas. The Boyfriend. Mysterious Pr: Grove Atlantic. Mar. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780802126061. $25. THRILLER
Quit of the LAPD after a long and distinguished career, Jack Till works contentedly as a private investigator. He’s blown off course, though, when asked to investigate the murder of a young woman about the same age as his daughter, Holly, who has Down syndrome. It turns out that the victim was a high-class prostitute, one of several with strawberry blonde hair killed by a 9mm handgun around the same time in cities nationwide. From the Edgar Award–winning author of The Butcher’s Boy and the Jane Whitefield series; I trust the title is ironic.

Reich, Christopher. The Prince of Risk. Doubleday. Mar. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9780385535069. $25.95; eISBN 9780385535076. THRILLER
A top author of financial thrillers—his “Rules” novels have sold 835,000 copies—Reich puts hero Robert (“Bobby”) Astor in a highly untenable situation. Bobby’s father, chair of the New York Stock Exchange, has been murdered while attempting to communicate a crucial secret to the President, and Bobby’s hedge-fund business is now in free fall. At stake: the U.S. financial system itself. Scarier than murder.

Rose, M.J. Seduction. Atria. Mar. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9781451621501. $24. THRILLER
Jac L’Etoile, the heroine of The Book of Lost Fragrances, returns to look for something else that’s been lost: a transcript of Victor Hugo’s conversation with the mysterious Shadow of the Sepulcher. His 19-year-old daughter having drowned in 1843, Hugo sought to contact her through séances and claimed that in the process he chatted with Plato, Shakespeare, Jesus, and others (even the Devil), whose comments he transcribed and published—but for one. Ghost story or thriller? Read it and find out.

Steel, Danielle. Until the End of Time. Delacorte. Mar. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780345530882. $28; eISBN 9780345538659. $28. lrg. prnt. POP FICTION
Hmm, a little paranormal twist? Jenny and Bill aren’t just a married couple but clearly soul mates (not always the case), so Jenny’s death is devastating for Bill. More than 30 years hence, as a tough-skinned old publisher, Bill is drawn to the shy but unmistakably talented writer Lillibet, a young Amish woman. They both feel that they’ve known each other…forever. And it seems that Steel’s been successfully doing this sort of love-and-fate saga…forever. Not a lot of folks have nearly 600 million copies of their books in print.

Thompson, James. Helsinki Blood. Putnam. Mar. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780399158889. $26.95. THRILLER
Kentucky-born Thompson now lives in Finland, so he got that chilly Scandinavian mood just right with his debut, Snow Angels, nominated for the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Strand Magazine Critics Award. In his fourth work starring Finnish detective Kari Vaara, an Estonian women asks Vaara to find her Down syndrome daughter, missing since she went to Finland after being promised better work. Vaara jumps at the chance to prove himself, but the culprits may be beyond his reach.

White, Randy Wayne. Night Moves. Putnam. Mar. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780399158124. $26.95. THRILLER
A poisoning, an explosion, an errant plane—all suggest that someone is trying to kill Doc Ford or perhaps his friend Tomlinson. They’d better figure out what’s going on, because their neighbors at Dinkin’s Bay on Sanibel Island are getting really anxious. Doc Ford’s 20th outing sounds like fun; with a national tour.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @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.


  1. Stan Ulrich says:

    “Mills, Kyle. Robert Ludlum’s™ Untitled Covert-One Novel No. 10.” Wow, that’s something to live for — the next untitlled book feeding off Ludlum’s corpse.