Fiction Previews, Jul. 2013, Pt. 2: Lots of Thrillers, from Jeff Abbott to Catherine Coulter to Tom Young

Abbott, Jeff. Downfall. Grand Central. Jul. 2013. 480p. ISBN 9781455528431. $25.99. THRILLER
When a beautiful woman in a San Francisco bar asks former CIA agent Sam Capra to help her, of course he says yes. Now he’s trying to protect them both from the police and a secret group of obscenely successful men and women who seem to have made a pact with the devil. Abbott’s first Sam Capra novel, Adrenaline, was a New York Times best seller and has been optioned for film; the second one, The Last Minute, won the International Thriller Writers Best Paperback Original Award in its UK edition.

Blake, James Carlos. The Rules of Wolfe. Mysterious Pr: Grove Atlantic. Jul. 2013. 240p. ISBN 9780802121295. $24. ebk. ISBN 9780802193292.THRILLER
In this thriller from Los Angeles Book Prize winner Blake, Eddie Gato Wolfe wants more than his Texas family of gun runners and bootleggers can offer, so he strikes out on his own to work security for a Mexican drug cartel run by La Navaja. Alas, he falls for beautiful Miranda, the girlfriend of La Navaja’s brother, and soon the two young lovers are on the run. From a master of the sunbaked outlaw thriller.

Burke, James Lee. Light of the World. S. & S. Jul. 2013. 448p. ISBN 9781476710761. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476710761. CD: S. & S. Audio. THRILLER
Bad news for Dave Robicheaux. Vicious serial killer Asa Surrette has escaped from a prison transport van and is coming after the person who wrote scathing articles about other crimes Surrette may have committed. And that person happens to be Dave’s daughter, Alafair. From a two-time Edgar Award winner and Mystery Writers of America Grand Master beloved by lots.

Coes, Ben. Eye for an Eye: A Dewey Andreas Novel. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2013. ISBN 9781250007162. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250026095. CD: Macmillan Audio.  THRILLER
It’s Dewey Andreas against Chinese Intelligence—he’s revealed China’s highest-level asset in Israel’s Mossad, and the head of state security issues an immediate kill order. But someone near and dear takes the bullet instead, and Andreas retaliates, which creates trouble with his U.S. bosses. Doubtless a high body count, so be prepared; former George H.W. Bush speechwriter Coes wrote Power Down and Coup d’Etat.

Coulter, Catherine. Bombshell. Putnam. Jul. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780399157332. $26.95. THRILLER
No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Coulter returns with her FBI series featuring husband-and-wife duo of Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock. Things start happening when Savich drafts gifted Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith for his unit in Washington, DC. First, while traveling to his new job, Hammersmith stops to visit his sister at her Virginia school and learns that she has been found unconscious and covered with blood that isn’t hers. Second, a killer has planted a corpse at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. Can Hammersmith help figure this out?

Doiron, Paul. Massacre Pond. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781250033932. $24.99. THRILLER
Game Warden Mike Bowditch is handed a controversial case when five moose are found senselessly slaughtered on the property of animal rights activist Elizabeth Moore, who’s been buying up timberland to create a new national park—thereby costing some locals their jobs. Things get worse when Moore’s daughter dies in a suspect automobile accident. Debuting in 2011 with The Poacher’s Son, Maine-based Doiron lured in the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel and a bunch of impressive nominations as well.

Dufresne, John. No Regrets, Coyote. Norton. Jul. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780393070538. $25.95.THRILLER
Billed as South Florida noir and pitched to the Elmore Leonard crowd, this novel is certainly different from Dufresne’s best-known book, 1994’s Louisiana Power and Light, an offbeat Southern Gothic. Wylie “Coyote” Melville, a therapist and forensic consultant noted for his quick assessment of a crime scene, doesn’t agree that the brutal slaughter of the Halliday family was murder-suicide.

Dunn, Matthew. Slingshot: A Spycatcher Novel. Morrow. Jul. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780062038029. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062038081. THRILLER
When the CIA learns from a double agent that an important document has been stolen from the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), it sends its own indomitable force, special agent Will Cochrane, to discover what happened. Cochrane soon learns that the SVR traitor isn’t working for himself but for a former Stasi officer who once made a dangerous and very secret deal with a bunch of Russian and U.S. generals. Watch out, Will. The Spycatcher series from Dunn, a former senior field operative from M16, has done nicely; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Huston, Charlie. Skinner. Mulholland Bks: Little, Brown. Jul. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780316133722. $25.99. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Skinner is so ferocious in protecting his assets that even his CIA handlers are starting to quake. So he’s thrown to the dogs. But then, after an ongoing cyber-terrorist attack and evidence of a plot to dominate the world hatched in Mumbai, Skinner finds himself center stage. Punchy good stuff for hard-as-nails readers; sort of a cult author.

Johansen, Iris. Hunting Eve. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9781250019998. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250020000. THRILLER
Second in a new Eve Duncan trilogy after Taking Eve, this book features Eve seriously battling the man who holds her prisoner. The title of the third book, Silencing Eve, has a creepy ring of finality. Obviously huge for those diehard fans.

Kepler, Lars. The Fire Witness. Sarah Crichton: Farrar. Jul. 2013. tr. from Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg. 512p. ISBN 9780374298661. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374709273. CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER
Flora Hansen, who has spent her life pretending to commune with the dead (hey, it pays the rent), suddenly has scarily real visions of a murder at a home for delinquent girls. One inmate has fled, leaving behind a bloody hammer, but Flora sees the murder weapon as a stone, and police detective Joona Linna believes her. The pseudonymous Kepler, a husband-and-wife literary couple, has racked up enormous international sales since launching a thriller series with The Hypnotist, coming soon to the silver screen in a film directed by Lasse Hallström.

Lutz, Lisa. The Last Word. S. & S. Jul. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781451686661. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451686685. THRILLER
Fired from the family firm, Spellman Investigations for breaching client confidentiality, Isabel (Izzy) Spellman retaliates by staging a hostile takeover. Her parents go on strike, and sister Rae returns with ulterior motives. But it’s a charge of embezzlement from filthy-rich Mr. Slayter, whose Alzheimer’s Izzy has been trying to hide, that could put Izzy and her business over the edge. Another in this appealingly wacky (and best-selling) series.

McKenzie, Sophie. Close My Eyes. St. Martin’s. Jul. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9781250033895. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250033918. CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER
Geniver Loxley has been mourning stillborn daughter Beth for eight years, turning her back on her writing for a mind-numbing teaching job and enduring her husband’s demands that they try another round of in vitro fertilization. Then a woman knocks on her door to tell her that Beth was born healthy and was stolen away, but her husband seems oddly reluctant to follow up. A best-selling children’s and YA author in the UK, McKenzie here jumps ship.

Marr, Melissa.  The Arrivals. Morrow. Jul. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780061826962. $24.99.THRILLER
When Chloe blows five years of sobriety by wandering into a bar, she wakes up in The Wasteland, a place full of monsters and other humans like her, who have been mysteriously brought to this strange kingdom to keep the peace. In the company of folks like Jack and Kitty, brother and sister from the Wild West; Edgar, a Prohibition rumrunner and Kitty’s former lover; and a hippie named Francis, Chloe tries to figure out how to go home. Marr, the best-selling YA author of the “Wicked Lovely” series, offers her second adult novel after The Graveminder, a book that sneaks persuasively into the reader’s mind. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Mennuti, Nicholas with David Guggenheim. Weaponized. Mulholland Bks: Little, Brown. Jul. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780316199957. $25.99. THRILLER
Why does Kyle West agree to trade passports with a shady fellow American? Because he’s really, really paranoid, having crossed his old boss, a billionaire government contractor. But his new identity makes things even worse. Mennuti’s short stories have appeared in places like Agni; Guggenheim wrote the script for the hit film Safe House, starring Denzel Washington.

Pochoda, Ivy. Visitation Street. Dennis Lehane: HarperCollins. Jul. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780062249890. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062249913. THRILLER
One summer in blue-collar Red Hook, Brooklyn, 15-year-olds June and Val beat the heat (and the boredom) by taking a raft out on the bay. Only Val returns, and she’s found semiconscious on the shore with little to tell. June’s disappearance has tremendous repercussions for the entire community, especially Val and her teacher Jonathan, a Juilliard dropout, who has a sketchy past of his own to fill out. A promising second novel, featured in the new Dennis Lehane imprint; with a 40,000-copy first printing.

Rollins, James. The Eye of God: A Sigma Force Novel. Morrow. Jul. 2103. 448p. ISBN 9780061784804. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062194916. lrg. prnt. CD: HarperAudio.THRILLER
It’s bad enough that a U.S. military research satellite sent skyward to study dark energy has crashed somewhere along the border between China and Mongolia. What’s scarier is that its last projected image was a view of America’s East Coast in utter, flaming ruin. Then there’s the package sent to the head of Pontifical studies at the Vatican containing a skull and a book bound in human skin—with both skull and skin evidently from Genghis Khan. Soon Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma have joined with two Vatican scholars to uncover a secret, tied to the fall of the Roman Empire, that goes to the heart of Christianity. Rollins’s demonstrably out-there plots continue to attract readers, as the one-day laydown on June 25, 350,000-copy first printing, and ten-stop blog tour attest.

Silva, Daniel. The English Girl. Harper: HarperCollins. Jul. 2013. xxp. ISBN 9780062073167. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062073204. CD: HarperAudio. THRILLER
Art-restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon is back, drawn into international intrigue when a beautiful young woman vanishes from Corsica. No one was concerned at first—“it had been that kind of summer, and Madeline was that kind of girl”—but in the end a prime minister’s career suddenly looks less than secure. Allon’s last outing, The Fallen Angel, was Silva’s top seller ever, so the one-day laydown on July 16, the 500,000-copy first printing, and the nine-city tour to Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, don’t seem out of order.

Taylor, Brad. The Widow’s Strike: A Pike Logan Thriller. Dutton. Jul. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9780525953111. $26.95. THRILLER
Scientists should have known better, but they went ahead and created a dangerous mutation of the H5N1 virus—the bird flu—and now the bad guys have it. A state angered by sanctions against its nuclear program plans to infect one of the Black Widows—female suicide terrorists of Chechen descent with the highest kill rate of any terrorist organization—so that when she pulls the pin on U.S. soil the virus will spread like wildfire. All that stands in the killer’s way is Taskforce, an extra-legal counterterrorism unit operated by Pike Logan. Fourth in retired Special Forces lieutenant colonel Taylor’s New York Times best-selling series; look for a five-city tour.

Thor, Brad. Hidden Order. Emily Bestler Bk: Atria. Jul. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9781476717098. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476717111. CD: S. & S. Audio. THRILLER
First come the kidnappings of top-drawer Washington, DC, folks. Then the victims start turning up dead. But it’s the ransom demand that is the real killer. The usual chills from a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author.

Young, Tom. The Warriors. Putnam. Jul. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780399158476. $26.95.THRILLER
When Lt. Col. Michael Parson finds opium aboard a C-27 plane that crashed at the U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan, he ends up crossing swords with a Serbian warlord who wants the Balkans to go up in flames. Again. Young has flown over 4,000 hours as a flight engineer for the Air National Guard, covering dangerous territory that includes Bosnia and Kosovo. So he knows his stuff.


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.