Thrills from Lescroart, Patterson, Sandford, & More | Fiction Previews, May 2014, Pt. 2

Atkins, Ace. Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot. Putnam. May 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780399161582. $26.95. MYSTERY/DETECTIVE
Top New England Patriots player Kinjo Heywood is the media’s bad boy, ever on display for violently acting out, so his agent hires Spenser to find the men reputedly causing Kinjo’s outbursts by harassing him. But Spenser’s assignment changes when Kinjo’s son is kidnapped. Atkins, now continuing Spenser’s escapades after Robert B. Parker’s death, is a former defensive end for Auburn University who researched this book by visiting the Patriots’ stadium at the management’s invitation.

Berry, Steve. The Lincoln Myth. Ballantine. May 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780345526571. $27; ebk. ISBN 978034526595. CD: Random Penguin Audio. THRILLER
Cotton Malone is back, contending with Mormonism, a sneaky senator, and a letter passed from President to President until a dismayed Abraham Lincoln suppressed its shocking content. Nice touch: the No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, a cofounder of International Thriller Writers, was given the 2013 Poets & Writers “Writers for Writers” Award and was also named the first spokesman for the American Library Association’s National Preservation Week.

Beverly-Whittemore, Miranda. Bittersweet. Crown. May 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780804138567. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780804138574. Downloadable: Penguin Random. SUSPENSE
Modest Mabel is thrilled when class-act roommate Genevra Winslow invites her to summer at the WASPy Winslow family’s lakeside Vermont cottage. Soon, though, she realizes that a dark secret is casting a shadow on the family’s golden glow. Lots of international interest and pitches to the postgraduate and Hampton Jitney crowds.

Brookmyre, Christopher. Bred in the Bone. Atlantic Monthly. May 2014. ISBN 9780802122476. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780802192493. $24. THRILLER
Top-notch British crime novelist Brookmyre returns with his third stunner starring private investigator Jasmine Sharp and D.S. Catherine MacLeod. Even as the arrest of the lowlife who murdered Scottish gangster Stevie Fullerton forces Jasmine to face her twisty past (the culprit also murdered Jasmine’s father), Catherine frets over the odd symbol painted on the victim’s head—it’s a sign that this case is much bigger and nastier than it looks.

Brown, Dale. Starfire. Morrow. May 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780062262394. $27.99. lrg. prnt. CD: HarperAudio. THRILLER
The world’s first orbiting solar power plant, Starfire will be able to send an endless stream of cheap electricity to Earth while facilitating exploration of the solar system. But the President’s unwise decision to militarize and industrialize Earth’s orbit launches a ferocious arms race in space. With a 150,000-copy first printing; Brown always makes the New York Times extended best sellers list.

Cussler, Clive & Graham Brown. Ghost Ship. Putnam. May 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780399167317. $28.95. CD: Random Penguin Audio. ADVENTURE
Kurt Austin is back in another NUMA Files series, and though there’s no word on plot yet, you know that the No. 1 New York Times best-selling author will give events a real-life feel; NUMA actually exists, and Cussler and his NUMA crew have been out there, so far discovering 60 ships that have sunk beneath the waves.

Deaver, Jeffery. The Skin Collector. Grand Central. May 2014. 416p. ISBN 9781455517138. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781455517114. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
As the title suggests, thrillmeister Deaver—a multiple-award nominee whose books are sold in 150 countries in 25 different languages—is offering a sequel to The Bone Collector, a blockbuster title starring Deaver stalwart Lincoln Rhyme. More I can’t tell you, but there will be a seven-city tour.

Finder, Joseph. Suspicion. Dutton. May 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780525954606. $27.95. CD: Random Penguin Audio. THRILLER
Single dad Danny Goodman can’t pay for the private school his teenage daughter adores, so he’s ecstatic when the father of his daughter’s good friend offers to loan him $50,000. Then he finds he must choose between being indicted for accepting drug money or going undercover to help nab his benefactor. Tough choice for Danny, but easy for readers to pick up this much-loved author’s book.

Grecian, Alex. The Devil’s Workshop. Putnam. May 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780399166433. $26.95. CD: Penguin Random Audio. THRILLER
Though Grecian’s historical thrillers starring Scotland Yard Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith are nothing if not atmospheric, Grecian never actually visited London before writing the first two, depending on research instead. Now that he’s been there, this third novel in the series should have an even more authentic feel. Here, vigilantes who’ve been meting out their own measure of justice in late-1800s London go too far when they arrange for three murderers to escape from prison. The murderers elude their would-be punishers, which means real trouble for Day and Hammersmith.

Gross, Andrew. Everything To Lose. Morrow. May 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780061656002. $26.99. lrg. prnt. THRILLER
A car plunges down a slope and crashes into a tree, witnessed by Hilary Blum in the car behind. Next to the dead driver Hilary discovers a bag stuffed with money—enough to support her and her special-needs child, now that she’s lost her job and her ex-husband isn’t contributing. But her split-second decision to take the money and run proves catastrophic. The top-selling Gross gets a 150,000-copy first printing.

Hayes, Terry. I Am Pilgrim. Emily Bestler: Atria. May 2014. 624p. ISBN 9781439177723. $26.99. THRILLER
The dead woman in the downbeat hotel near Ground Zero has no teeth, no fingerprints, and no facial features (thanks to the acid she’s lying in), and the hotel walls have been washed clean of DNA. A topnotch secret agent codenamed Pilgrim recognizes methods he detailed in his own book, a classic of forensic science. But offering the NYPD some help puts him up against a nasty jihadist adversary. Big excitement for this debut from an award-winning movie producer (Bangkok Hilton).

Iles, Greg. Natchez Burning. Morrow. May 2014. 800p. ISBN 9780062311078. $27.99. lrg. prnt.CD: HarperAudio. THRILLER
Southern lawyer and former prosecutor Penn Cage, star of Iles’s top New York Times best-selling The Devil’s Punchbowl (among other titles) is shocked when his father, Dr. Tom Cage, stands accused of murdering his former nurse, Viola. Even more shocking: the secrets that tumble forth lead Penn to the Double Eagle Club, a particularly violent branch of the Ku Klux Klan. First of a trilogy that will include The Bone Tree (May 2015) and Unwritten Laws (May 2016); with a whopping 400,000-copy first printing.

Kellerman, Jonathan, Ande Parks (scripter), & Michael Gaydos (illus.). The Web. Ballantine. Feb. 2014. 192p. ISBN 9780345541499. $24. GRAPHIC NOVEL
Last year, scripter Parks, who’s responsible for the highly regarded graphic novels Union Station and Capote in Kansas, joined with Marvel and DC illustrator Gaydos to put Kellerman’s Silent Partner into graphic format. Here they work together again to give us a rendering of The Web, the 1996 Kellerman novel that sends Alex Delaware on his tenth outing—to a tropical island where storm clouds are decidedly brewing. Pushed back from January.

Kerr, Philip. Prayer. Putnam. May 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780399167652. $26.95. THRILLER
Best known for moody historical thrillers starring World War II German homicide detective Bernie Gunther, a series that has won the British Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award, Kerr changes tact to offer a contemporary psychological thriller. Distraught when he realizes that he has sent an innocent man to death row, Gil Martins, an agent with the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Unit in Houston, must also contend with a serial killer who has religious motivations for targeting individuals of conscience. Kerr’s research for this novel took him not only to the FBI but to the megachurches of Houston, so expect some interesting detail.

Lescroart, John. The Keeper. Atria. May 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781476709185. $26.99. THRILLER
Here’s another Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky chillfest from the titanic Lescroart, author of 16 New York Times best sellers. When he returns from picking up his stepbrother at the airport one Thanksgiving, Hal Chase, a guard in the San Francisco County Jail, finds no sign of his wife, Katie. The couple has been having troubles (in fact, Katie has been seeing Hardy’s marriage counselor wife), the case has become a suspected homicide, and Hal wants Hardy for the defense.

Lotz, Sarah. The Three. Little, Brown. May 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780316242905. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316242929. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316370240. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
When four planes crash almost simultaneously on different continents, three children miraculously survive, and religious fanatics are insisting that the three are among the four harbingers of the apocalypse. Since there’s something really spooky about the three, maybe they are. South African Lotz, who’s written urban horror novels under the name SL Grey with author Louis Greenberg and a YA zombie series with her daughter, Savannah, under the name Lily Herne, breaks out on her own with a more broadly appealing thriller that has lots of international buzz and a five-city tour.

Mann, Don & Ralph Pezzullo. SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Jackal. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Apr. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780316247085. $26. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Mann, long associated with the SEALs as everything from platoon member to program director preparing civilians to enter SEAL training, brings a real sense of being there to his SEAL Team Six series. Here, after a senator’s wife and daughter are kidnapped, Crocker and SEAL Team Six chase down a Mexican drug lord known as the Jackal, who’s tough to identify because he’s changed his features through plastic surgery. With a four-city tour.

Palmer, Michael. Resistant. St. Martin’s. May 2014. 384p. ISBN 9781250030924. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250030900. CD: Macmillan Audio. MEDICAL THRILLER
The ever-popular Palmer turns in more medical suspense, this time with a political edge. When Dr. Lou Welcome is visiting the Centers for Disease Control, he’s disturbed to hear scientists chatting about antibacterial resistance and biological weapon agents before heading off to a restricted laboratory. Then a scientist doing top-secret work is kidnapped. A nice push; Palmer had a three-book deal with the publisher but is recently deceased, alas.

Patterson, James & Maxine Paetro. Unlucky 13. Little, Brown. May 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780316211291. $28. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Things would be great for San Francisco Det. Lindsay Boxer, a happy wife and mother, if she and the Women’s Murder Club weren’t being stalked by relentless serial killer Mackie Morales, whose fetching looks hide a twisted soul. Patterson has a record 79 New York Times best sellers so far, and doubtless this new title will grow his list.

Quirk, Matthew. The Directive. Little, Brown. May 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780316198646. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316198653. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316365697. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER
Quirk launched his career in a big way with 2012’s The 500, a nominee for multiple awards that sold to 14 countries and is currently being made into a movie. Now he’s back for another blast with 500 hero Mike Ford, a Harvard Law School grad with conman roots who steps in when he learns that his brother has been roped into a plot to steal a secret worth billions of dollars from a quietly powerful trading desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Sandford, John. Field of Prey. Putnam. May 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780399162381. $28.95. CD: Random Penguin Audio. THRILLER
A farmer traversing his cornfield finds a man burying a body and gets stabbed to death himself. Soon, police unearth more victims and call in Lucas Davenport, who finds 16 bodies in all, one killed each summer over the intervening years. Chalk up another creepy thriller from the No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of 24 Prey novels.

Talty, Stephan. Hangman. Ballantine. May 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780345538086. $26. SUSPENSE
Author of the nonfiction New York Times best seller Empire of Blue Water, Talty did nicely with his first thriller, Black Irish. Here, policewoman Abbie Kearney returns to track a nasty killer called the Hangman who has escaped from jail. Pushed back from March.

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:

    Presumably your Michal Palmer blurb was written before you all found out about his recent death. Making the 3-book deal puff all the sadder.