Chris Pavone, a former New York book editor, draws on his experiences living with his family in Luxembourg for his first novel, The Expats. This meticulously plotted, psychologically complex spy thriller about the travails of an American couple in Luxembourg compares favorably with early John le Carré and Robert Ludlum.
In Matthew Glass’s Trigger Point, a geopolitical thriller set in 2018, the Republican president of the United States orders American troops into Uganda to avenge an atrocity. Given the uncertain political climate, a hedge fund partner decides the time is right to short some U.S. banks. Small mistakes lead to the threat of nuclear war in a tale of gut-wrenching suspense, with nary a serial killer, assassin, damsel in distress, double agent, or lost religious icon.
Steven John’s debut, Three A.M., likewise offers a scary near future, one in which a horrific illness has devastated the country, and a fog has settled over the world. In this hellish environment, hard-boiled PI Tom Vale agrees to help exonerate a prisoner accused of murder for the blonde bombshell who walks into his office.
In James Renner’s first novel, The Man from Primrose Lane, true-crime journalist David Neff, already in agony over his troubled wife’s presumed suicide, seeks to prove himself innocent of an elderly hermit’s brutal murder. Time travel helps Neff track the real killer in this demanding genre bender, which provokes troubling reflections on guilt and innocence, good and evil, revenge and redemption.
In James Sallis’s Driven, a noir gem set seven years after the events in Drive, the man called Driver has left his old violent life behind now that he’s a successful Phoenix businessman. Driver hits the road again after dispatching two assailants—but not before one of them ices Driver’s fiancée.
Elizabeth Hand’s Available Dark, the sequel to Generation Loss, follows self-destructive punk photographer Cass Neary, who almost makes Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander seem like a model of mental stability, on a blood-soaked trail that leads from Helsinki to rural Iceland.
Mark Twain’s riverboats meet Southern noir in Joe R. Lansdale’s The Edge of Water. In Depression-era East Texas, 16-year-old Sue Ellen Wilson and her two best friends hatch an elaborate plan: to burn the body of May Lynn Baxter, a friend Sue Ellen finds in the Sabine River, and take the remains via a raft down the river to California to honor the dead girl’s Hollywood dream.
Nicci French delivers a superb novel of psychological suspense, Blue Monday, the first in a series starring London psychotherapist Frieda Klein, who gets into trouble after one of her patients describes longings for a child eerily similar to a recently abducted five-year-old boy.
Child murders figure in Lyndsay Faye’s The Gods of Gotham, set in 1845, the founding year of New York City’s police department, and introducing Timothy Wilde, a bartender turned lower Manhattan beat cop. Caleb Carr fans will appreciate the twisty plot, fully formed characters, and vivid period detail.
Sensual detail abounds in M.J. Rose’s The Book of Lost Fragrances, in which a broken pottery jar holds traces of a perfume that can cause recall of past lives. An ages-spanning romance and a quest for a lost artifact that starts in 18th-century Paris and leads to contemporary China drive this suspenseful paranormal.
PW’s Top 10: Mysteries & Thrillers
Chris Pavone. Crown, Mar.
Matthew Glass. Atlantic Monthly, Mar.
Steven John. Tor, Mar.
The Man from Primrose Lane
James Renner. Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Sarah Crichton, Mar.
James Sallis. Poisoned Pen, Apr.
Elizabeth Hand. Minotaur, Feb.
The Edge of Water
Joe R. Lansdale. Little, Brown/Mulholland, Mar.
Nicci French. Viking/Pamela Dorman, Mar.
The Gods of Gotham
Lyndsay Faye. Putnam/Amy Einhorn, Mar.
The Book of Lost Fragrances
M.J. Rose. Atria, Mar.
Mysteries & Thrillers Listings
Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder (Feb. 7, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-2006-9). The brutal murder of 16-year-old Lorne Wood in Bath, England, draws together two estranged sisters, one of whom, Zoë Benedict, is a detective inspector. Zoë discovers that Lorne’s modeling aspirations may have led the girl away from the catwalk and into something much seedier.
Trigger Point by Matthew Glass (Mar. 6, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-1997-1). In 2018, the Republican president decides that a recent atrocity in Uganda merits intervention by American armed forces. Meanwhile, a hedge fund partner decides, given the current political climate and based on an insider tip, that he can make a nice chunk of money by shorting U.S. banks.
The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose (Mar. 13, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1-4516-2130-3). A broken pottery jar holding traces of a perfume that can cause recall of previous lives drives this novel of suspense, which involves an ages-spanning romance and the present-day conflict between Tibetan exiles and the Chinese government.
Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon (May 29, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4391-5641-4). American businessman Leon Bauer, an undercover agent in 1945 Istanbul, does odd jobs and courier runs for the Allied war effort. As the war draws to a close, a final assignment, which should have been routine, plunges Bauer into a tangle of intrigue and moral confusion.
Dorchester Terrace: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel by Anne Perry (Apr. 17, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-345-51062-4). Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, husband-and-wife detectives in Victorian London, must deal with a mole inside Special Branch who’s been giving away British secrets.
Archive 17 by Sam Eastland (Feb. 28, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-345-52573-4). In 1939, Stalin sends Inspector Pekkala, a former czarist guard who served time as a political prisoner before becoming the dictator’s (mostly) trusted investigator, to his old labor camp, to determine who slit the throat of a former czarist cavalry captain, whose death threatens Stalin’s rule.
Berkeley Prime Crime
Death Comes Silently by Carolyn G. Hart (Apr. 3, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-425-24570-5). Annie Darling, the proprietor of the mystery bookstore Death on Demand in Broward’s Rock, S.C., looks into the demise of her fellow charity shop volunteer, Gretchen Burkholt, who took Annie’s shift with fatal results while Annie was hosting a book signing.
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie (Apr. 24, paper, $14, ISBN 978-1-60819-856-6). The son of the former archbishop of Canterbury delivers the first of six detective novels spanning 30 years of British history, featuring vicar and sleuth Sidney Chambers.
Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton (Apr. 24, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-307-71654-5). British author Lupton follows her debut, Sisters, with a suspense novel about a mother who will go to any lengths to protect her daughter, who came close to perishing in a school fire that was no accident.
The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher (Feb. 7, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-307-40664-4). Set in England in 1912, this whodunit introduces Sebastian Becker, a former policeman and Pinkerton agent, who now works as a special investigator into crimes involving any man of property whose sanity is under question.
The Expats by Chris Pavone (Mar. 6, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-307-95635-4). Kate Moore resigns from the CIA in Washington, D.C., after her financial systems security expert husband receives a lucrative job offer in Luxembourg, where the couple soon get caught up in international intrigue.
Sacrilege by S.J. Parris (Apr. 10, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-385-53547-2). In 1584, radical philosopher, ex-monk, and spy Giordano Bruno gets on the trail of a plot to restore the pilgrim shrine of Saint Thomas à Becket, the 12th-century archbishop murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.
The Third Gate by Lincoln Child (June 12, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-385-53138-2). An archeological team headed by famed explorer Porter Stone secretly attempts to locate the tomb of an ancient pharaoh, King Narmer, who united upper and lower Egypt in 3200 B.C.E., but a centuries-old curse plagues the expedition.
(dist. by PGW)
The Man Who Killed by Fraser Nixon (Feb., paperback, $18.95, ISBN 978-1-55365-569-5). Set in Prohibition-era Montreal, this noir debut charts the downward spiral of WWI veteran Mick as he gets involved with a femme fatale and smuggling contraband liquor across the border into the U.S.
Night Watch by Linda Fairstein (July 10, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-525-95263-3). ADA Alexandra Cooper, of Manhattan’s Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit, ventures into the fascinating world of New York City’s most beloved and storied restaurants—and into the dark underside of the culture of glamour and wealth they sustain.
Stay Close by Harlan Coben (Mar. 20, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-525-95227-5). The terrible consequences of long-ago events catch up with three people—a disaffected soccer mom with two kids and a perfect husband, a former documentary photographer reduced to posing as a paparazzo pandering to celebrity-obsessed rich kids, and a police detective obsessed with a 17-year-old cold case—in this novel of domestic suspense.
The Man from Primrose Lane by James Renner (Feb. 28, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-20095-4). Set in the near future, this genre-bending debut novel charts the efforts of widower David Neff, a true-crime journalist, to clear himself of a murder charge. Neff makes use of a time-travel vehicle in his quest for justice.
Cliff Walk: A Liam Mulligan Novel by Bruce DeSilva (May 3, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-3237-0). Liam Mulligan, an old-school investigative reporter at a Providence, R.I., newspaper, suspects the governor has been taking payoffs to keep prostitution legal in the state. Meanwhile, the body of an Internet pornographer turns up on the rocks below Newport’s famed Cliff Walk.
The Stolen Bride by Tony Hays (Apr. 10, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-2629-4). King Arthur’s chief adviser, Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, must investigate a village massacre horribly similar to the one that claimed the life of his wife, Gwyneth, years earlier—and solve the murder of a tribal leader that has political repercussions.
Robert Ludlum’s The Janson Command by Paul Garrison (Feb. 14, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-446-56450-2). Ludlum fans will welcome the return of Paul Janson, a former member of a U.S. government covert agency now running his own private security outfit. A Texas oil company dispatches Janson to rescue one of its employees kidnapped by insurgents in a breakaway African country.
The Family Corleone by Ed Falco (May 8, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-446-57462-4). Based on a screenplay written by Mario Puzo, this prequel to The Godfather charts the violent rise of gangster Vito Corleone in Depression-era New York City.
Harbor Nocturne by Joseph Wambaugh (Mar. 12, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-8021-2610-8). MWA Grand Master Wambaugh shifts his focus from the landlocked Hollywood area to Los Angeles’s San Pedro district, one of the world’s busiest harbors, where a human trafficking operation may have resulted in the death of 13 Asian immigrants smuggled in a ship container.
Hard Case Crime
The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake (Feb. 21, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-85768-409-7). Set in 1977, this posthumous crime novel from MWA Grand Master Westlake (1933–2008) shows how things fall apart after a group of radicals kidnap a prominent comedian known for his support of the troops through his USO tours during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
Elegy for Eddie: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear (Mar. 7, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-204957-5) In 1933, five old friends ask psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs to look into the suspicious death of another old friend, Eddie Pettit, crushed by a huge roll of paper in a factory accident.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Dark Monk: A Hangman’s Daughter Tale by Oliver Pötzsch. (May 16, paper, $18, ISBN 978-0-54780768-3). In 1648, in a small Alpine village, a priest who’s been fatally poisoned summons the last of his strength to scratch a sign in the frost that will lead the town hangman and others in search of a treasure of the Knights Templar. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Helpless by Daniel Palmer (Feb., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-7582-4665-3). When 15-year-old Lindsay Wells texts a nude photo of herself to a boy she hopes will take her to the prom, all hell breaks loose in her small New Hampshire community and beyond. Lindsay’s soccer coach, a man with a past, in particular feels the heat.
The Fear Index by Robert Harris (Feb., hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-307-95793-1). Technology runs amok in this philosophical thriller as a computer that predicts the movements of financial markets takes on a mind of its own.
Bleed for Me by Michael Robotham (Feb. 27, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-316-12638-0). It appears that 14-year-old Sienna Hagerty slit the throat of her abusive father, ex-cop Ray Hagerty, but London psychologist Joe O’Loughlin finds that Siena had to cope with more than a troubled home life in Bath.
The Demands by Mark Billingham (June 12, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-316-12663-2). A grieving father, desperate to know what really happened to his beloved son, who died in prison a year earlier, takes hostages at a London convenience store. Among them is Det. Helen Weeks, whose colleague, Det. Tom Thorne, may know more about the case than anyone else involved.
The Edge of Water by Joe R. Lansdale (Mar. 25, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-316-18843-2). Set in Depression-era East Texas, this crime thriller takes 16-year-old Sue Ellen Wilson and her two best friends down the Sabine River on a raft, on a quixotic quest to deliver the ashes of a murdered girl they knew to California.
Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark (May 8, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-316-12953-4). Whip-smart Los Angeles DA Rachel Knight takes on a near-impossible case—the murder of a homeless man—that turns out to have a link to the vicious murder of an LAPD cop a year earlier.
Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur
The 500 by Matthew Quirk (June 5, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-316-19862-2). Mike Ford, a former con artist, is plucked from Harvard Law School by Washington’s most respected strategic consulting firm, the Davies Group, which specializes in pulling strings and peddling influence for the 500 most powerful people inside the Beltway. Davies’s founder thinks Mike is perfect for a high-stakes deal.
Wild Thing by Josh Bazell (Feb. 8, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-316-03219-3). In this sequel to Beat the Reaper, retired mob hit man Pietro Brnwa goes on a highly unusual mission for a reclusive billionaire—to determine whether a monster really exists in a Minnesota lake.
An American Spy by Olen Steinhauer (Feb. 23, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-312-62289-3). Ex-CIA officer Milo Weaver is unwillingly drawn into his bosses’ plans for revenge against the Chinese agent who orchestrated the deaths of 33American undercover agents one by one around the world. 125,000-copy announced first printing.
Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand (Feb. 14, hardcover, $23.99, ISBN 978-0-312-58594-5). In this sequel to Generation Loss, self-destructive photographer Cass Neary travels to Helsinki to give her opinion on some macabre photos to a Norwegian collector who’s considering purchasing them. When the collector winds up dead, Neary flees to Iceland, where she ends up wandering the frozen, desolate countryside.
Restless in the Grave by Dana Stabenow (Feb., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-312-55913-7). When an Alaskan self-made billionaire dies in a suspicious plane crash, PI Kate Shugak goes undercover as a barmaid to investigate, assisted by Mutt, her stalwart and highly intelligent half-wolf, half-husky companion. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
The Unseen by Heather Graham (Mar. 27, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-7783-1329-8). Texas Ranger Logan Raintree turns for help in a serial killer case to paranormally gifted U.S. marshal Kelsey O’Brien. While staying in a room at a haunted saloon-hotel where two women were murdered 150 years apart, Kelsey has visions that could be the key to solving the crimes.
The Boy Who Stole the Leopard’s Spots by Tamar Myers (Apr. 18, paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-06-199773-0). What would you do if the only way to save your life was to take part in a horrible ritual? That’s the question at the heart of this mystery set in the Belgian Congo. 20,000-copy announced first printing.
Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers (Mar. 13, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-123154-4). In this supernatural thriller, the vampiric ghost of John Polidori, the onetime physician to Lord Byron, stalks Victorian London while serving as muse to poet Christina Rossetti and her artist brother, Dante Gabriel.
The Key by Simon Toyne (May 30, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-203833-3). In the ancient Turkish city of Ruin, American journalist Liv Adamsen lies in an isolation ward, an amnesia victim aware that she entered the monumental Citadel at the heart of Ruin. Something is whispering to her that she’s “the key”—but the key to what? 100,000-copy announced first printing.
An Unmarked Grave: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd (May 16, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-06-201572-3). WWI nurse and amateur sleuth Bess Crawford tries to catch a devious killer in this English historical from the mother-son team who write under the name Charles Todd. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Stonecutter by Camilla Läckberg (May 9, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-60598-330-1). The drowning murder of a little girl in the Swedish coastal town of Fjällbacka presents challenges for Det. Patrick Hedström, an exhausted new father whose partner is suffering serious postpartum depression. Meanwhile, a venomous schemer lusts after honest stonecutter Anders Andersson.
The Child Who by Simon Lelic (Feb. 28, paper, $25, ISBN 978-0-14-312091-9). A horrific real-life crime inspired this psychological thriller, in which a 12-year-old boy is charged with the sex murder of an 11-year-old girl.
(dist. by IPG)
Bloody Winter by Andrew Pepper (June 1, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-7802-2011-6). The murder of a supposed vagrant in Ireland—the vagrant was wearing a Savile Row suit—may be linked to a kidnapping and a group of rebels in Wales. Detective Inspector Pike investigates in this 19th-century British historical.
Desert Wind: A Lena Jones Mystery by Betty Webb (Feb. 7, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-59058-979-3). Arizona PI Lena Jones looks into the murder of a PR man for a new uranium mine, whose owner has connections to a long-closed mine that years earlier caused cancer deaths and polluted the Navaho reservation on which it was located.
Driven by James Sallis (Apr. 3, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-4642-0010-6). Seven years after the events in Drive, the man known as Driver has become a respectable Phoenix businessman, but he returns to his old ways after two thugs jump him and his fiancée on the street, leaving his fiancée dead.
Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman (June 28, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15903-9). In this sendup of the blockbuster thriller, a has-been middle-aged college professor and failed novelist, Arthur Pfefferkorn, finds himself in trouble after reconnecting with his lost love, the widow of his oldest friend, bestselling thriller author Bill de Vallée, who was lost at sea.
The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen (Mar. 29, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15789-9). Four recent college grads, who possess varying skills but are unable to find work in today’s grim job market, decide to make money by kidnapping bankers and other wealthy men around the U.S. The group’s luck runs out when they abduct someone with Mafia connections.
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Mar. 15, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15837-7). Set in 1845 as Irish immigrants flood New York City, Faye’s first in a new mystery series introduces Timothy Wilde, a member of New York’s newly formed police force, who soon finds himself looking into a couple of gruesome child murders.
Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr (Apr. 12, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15902-2). In 1941, hard-boiled Berlin cop Bernie Gunther accepts an invitation from Reinhard Heydrich to the SS general’s country house in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, where Bernie soon has a locked-room murder to solve.
Jack 1939 by Francine Mathews (July 12, hardcover, $26.95, 978-1-59448719-4). In this thriller in the tradition of Ian Fleming and Ken Follett, President Franklin Roosevelt dispatches a young Jack Kennedy to Europe on a secret mission as the world braces for war.
Come Home by Lisa Scottoline (Mar. 22, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-312-38082-3). Jill Farrow, a Philadelphia pediatrician, reluctantly helps her estranged 19-year-old stepdaughter investigate the suspicious drug death of Jill’s unscrupulous ex-husband in this tale of complex family dynamics and carefully concealed secrets.
Children of Wrath by Paul Grossman (Feb. 8, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-312-60191-1). Set in the fall of 1929, this prequel to Grossman’s debut, The Sleepwalkers, reveals how, by investigating a series of child murders, WWI hero Willi Kraus becomes the most famous Jewish detective in Weimar Germany.
Dublin Dead by Gerard O’Donovan (Mar. 13, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-4516-1063-5). Irish Det. Insp. Mike Mulcahy takes on a complex big-time cocaine smuggling case, while Mike’s girlfriend, reporter Siobhan Fallon, investigates the disappearance of a Cork accountant. The two cases converge in a brutal shoot-’em-up.
Guns in the Gallery by Simon Brett (Mar. 1, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-78029-015-7). Amateur sleuth and new grandmother Carole Seddon looks into a suspicious suicide at a contemporary art exhibition in the cozy West Sussex village of Fethering.
The Fallen by Jassy Mackenzie (Apr. 10, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-61695-065-1). The threat of environmental terrorism turns personal for South African PI Jade de Jong after the stabbing murder of one of Jade’s scuba instructors at the coastal resort where she and her occasional lover, Supt. David Patel, are on holiday.
Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman (May 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-4027-9812-2). The bad blood between two Minnesota rural communities—affluent Barron and blue-collar St. Croix—escalates into open warfare after a beautiful Barron girl is murdered and a St. Croix girl is accused of the crime.
Three A.M. by Steven John (Mar. 8, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-765-33116-8). In this debut speculative thriller set in a near future where a fog has settled over the world, hard-boiled PI Tom Vale strong arms witnesses, crooks, and recalcitrant clients to survive. Then a blonde bombshell walks in his door.
Broken Harbor by Tana French (July 24, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-670-02365-3). At Broken Harbor, a half-built estate outside Dublin, Pat Spain and his two children are dead; his wife is headed to intensive care. Was Spain a casualty of the recession who tried to kill all his family before killing himself? The evidence suggests the case is not so simple.
Blue Monday by Nicci French (Mar. 1, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-670-02336-3). This series debut introduces cerebral, self-contained London psychotherapist Frieda Klein, one of whose patients may be a child abductor. When Frieda reports her suspicions to the police, her personal life gets entangled in the ensuing investigation.