James Sallis, a master of literary noir, serves up a hallucinatory, almost visionary novel of suspense set in Phoenix, Ariz., The Killer Is Dying. Three alienated characters must each deal with tough personal situations, including a hired gun dying from an unspecified disease.
Another American crime master, George Pelecanos, delivers The Cut, the gripping first in a new series introducing Spero Lucas, a 29-year-old Iraq War vet who does investigative work for a Washington, D.C., defense attorney. An idealist in some ways but no innocent, Lucas accepts a deal from an imprisoned marijuana dealer that nearly destroys Lucas and his multiracial family.
William Kent Krueger never writes the same book twice, as shown by his superb 11th novel featuring PI Cork O'Conner, Northwest Angle. A storm strands Cork and his grown daughter, Jenny, on an island in Minnesota's Northwest Angle, where Jenny finds the dead body of a young Native American woman and her dehydrated but alive infant son.
Forensic anthropologist Clea Koff, author of The Bone Woman, a memoir of her experiences investigating war crimes in places like Rwanda and Bosnia, makes her fiction debut with Freezing. A nonprofit group devoted to identifying missing persons, modeled on the organization the author herself has founded, looks into frozen human body parts that fall off a van on a Los Angeles freeway.
Eoin Colfer, best known for his middle-grade Artemis Fowl series, makes his much anticipated crime novel debut with Plugged, a pitch-perfect comic noir. The murder of a cocktail waitress prompts Daniel McEvoy, an Irish army veteran turned doorman at a sleazy New Jersey casino, to go on the run chased by the cops, a local mob boss, and a smitten psychopath with a thing for casseroles.
Anthony Horowitz, author of the Alex Rider YA series, makes his adult debut with The House of Silk, a Sherlock Holmes novel. Fans of the great detective may feel the way they did the first time they read The Hound of the Baskervilles.
That South African author Deon Meyer happens to resemble Michael Connelly can't hurt when he goes on tour to promote Trackers, his seventh crime novel, which could be his breakout book in the U.S. Lemmer, the bodyguard introduced in Blood Safari, joins forces with Mat Joubert, the veteran cop from Dead Before Dying, in a plot involving smuggling rare black rhinos out of Zimbabwe.
Agent 6, Tom Rob Smith's third novel featuring Soviet secret policeman Leo Demidov, is more of an international thriller than its two predecessors, as much of the action is set in the U.S. Forbidden to accompany his wife and daughters on a "peace tour" to New York City in 1965, Demidov later insists on investigating after his family is caught up in a conspiracy that ends in tragedy on foreign soil.
Arnaldur Indridason, the author of Jar City and other novels in his Icelandic detective series, offers something different with Operation Napoleon, a thriller that's been favorably compared to the work of Stieg Larsson. The present-day discovery of a Nazi bomber that crashed on an Iceland glacier in 1945 threatens to expose a terrible secret from WWII.
Stieg Larsson fans will find a lot to like in The Boy in the Suitcase by Danish authors Lene Kaaberbol and Agnette Friis. Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse who tries to help a three-year-old boy she finds inside a suitcase, will strike many, particularly female readers, as a more appealing version of Lisbeth Salander.
PW's Top 10 Fiction: Mysteries & Thrillers
The Killer Is Dying
James Sallis. Walker, Aug.
George Pelecanos. Little, Brown/
Reagan Arthur, Aug.
William Kent Krueger. Atria, Aug.
Clea Koff. Severn House, Nov.
Eoin Colfer. Overlook, Aug.
The House of Silk
Anthony Horowitz. Little, Brown/
Deon Meyer. Atlantic Monthly, Sept.
Tom Rob Smith. Grand Central, Jan.
Arnaldur Indridason. Minotaur, Oct.
The Boy in the Suitcase
Lene Kaaberbol and Agnette Friis. Soho Crime, Nov.
Mysteries and Thrillers
Trackers by Deon Meyer (Sept., hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-8021-1993-3). When Lemmer, a freelance South African bodyguard, agrees to help a wealthy farmer smuggle two rare black rhinos out of Zimbabwe, he soon finds himself in big trouble.
Northwest Angle by William Kent Krueger (Aug., hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-4391-5395-6). A violent storm strands PI Cork O'Conner and his grown daughter, Jenny, on a remote island in Minnesota's Northwest Angle, where they discover the dead body of a teenage girl and her barely alive infant son.
The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Spencer Quinn (Sept., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-4391-5709-1). PI Bernie and his canine companion, Chet, attend a private eye convention, where Bernie winds up agreeing to find a boy who's gone missing on a wilderness hike.
The Burning Soul by John Connolly (Sept., hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4391-6527-0). PI Charlie "Bird" Parker, an ex-NYPD detective, crosses paths with Randall Haight, who's tormented by a past crime, in the small town of Pastor's Bay, Maine.
Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry (Aug., hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-345-51060-0). William Monk, commander of London's River Police, investigates the death of a smalltime crook, curiously strangled with an expensive cravat, in the 17th entry in Perry's bestselling Victorian series.
Rip Tide by Stella Rimington (Sept., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-60819-489-6). MI5 intelligence officer Liz Carlyle tries to figure out why a British-born Pakistani has joined a gang of pirates attacking a cargo ship off the coast of Somali.
The Innocent by Taylor Stevens (Dec., hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-307-71712-2). In this sequel to The Informationist, series heroine Vanessa Michael Munroe gets on the track of a cult known as the Chosen, whose leader, the Prophet, has kept an American girl, kidnapped at age five, hidden abroad for eight years.
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (Nov., hardcover, $23, ISBN 978-0-385-34401-2). Precocious 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce investigates when a body, strangled with a strip of film, turns up late one night after the filming of a movie at her family's decaying English estate.
The Affair by Lee Child (Sept., hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-385-34432-6). Jack Reacher, ex-military cop, goes undercover in Carter Crossing, Miss., to find out what he can about a coverup involving the murder of a young woman back in 1997.
dOUBLEDAY/Nan a. talese
The Litigators by John Grisham (Oct., hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-385-53513-7). Once again the master of the legal thriller takes the reader deep into the labyrinth that is the American justice system.
The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Aug., hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-525-95248-0). Denmark's leading crime writer makes his U.S. debut with the first in his Department Q series, in which Copenhagen homicide detective Carl Morck looks into a cold case from seven years earlier—the disappearance of a prominent and attractive female politician.
Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George (Jan., hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-525-95258-9). Det. Insp. Thomas Lynley, still grieving for his murdered wife, welcomes the opportunity to leave London to look unofficially into the circumstances surrounding the death of a business magnate's nephew in the Lake District.
Savage Rage by Brent Pilkey (Oct., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-55022-968-4). An old enemy drags Toronto police officer Jack Warren against his will into a case involving criminal mastermind Randall Kayne, who's been committing violent, bloody crimes that are hitting close to home in 51 Division, Warren's old unit.
Kings of Vice by Ice-T and Mal Radcliff (Sept., hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-2513-6). The star of Law & Order: SVU makes his fiction debut with a thriller centered on the Vice Kings, the most powerful syndicate in New York City.
Lethal by Sandra Brown (Sept., hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-4555-0147-2). A widowed Texas mom and her four-year-old daughter cross paths with a man accused of shooting seven people dead just the night before in this taut thriller.
Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith (Jan., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-4465-5076-5). Set in 1965, Smith's third novel takes Leo Demidov, a former Soviet secret police agent, to the United States to investigate a crime against a member of his family.
HArD CASE CRIME
Getting Off by Lawrence Block (Sept., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-85768-287-1) In Hard Case Crime's first hardcover original, a young woman who likes to bed men then kill them sets out to hunt down the few who got away.
The Sixes by Kate White (Aug., hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-06-157662-1). Mean girl games run amok at a small rural Pennsylvania college in this mystery thriller from Cosmo editor-in-chief White.
The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill (Aug., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-206074-7). Hill combines an edgy tale of betrayal and revenge with the trappings of a modern-day fairy tale in this sly, enchanting stand-alone.
Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum (Aug., hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-547-48334-4). Norwegian Insp. Konrad Sejer looks into a mysterious drowning that may be linked to the disappearance of a Vietnamese immigrant.
Beast of Burden by Ray Banks (Aug., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-15-101453-8). Manchester (U.K.) PI Cal Innes, who's recovering from a drug-induced stroke that's left him barely able to speak, settles numerous scores with the people who have wrecked his life and destroyed his family in his final, violent outing.
Pampered to Death by Laura Levine (Aug., hardcover, $22, ISBN 978-0-7582-3847-4). Freelance L.A. copywriter Jaine Austen takes a trip to a spa that could be very dangerous for her health in the 10th entry in this popular cozy series.
Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson (Nov., hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-316-19873-8). When the U.S. president's son and daughter are kidnapped, Det. Alex Cross goes into action, but someone very high up is using the FBI, Secret Service, and the CIA to thwart him.
The Drop by Michael Connelly (Nov., hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-316-06941-0). Nearing retirement from the LAPD, Harry Bosch gets two high-profile cases, one involving suspicious DNA evidence, the other a suspicious death at the Chateau Marmont.
Triple Crossing by Sebastian Rotella. (Aug., hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-316-10530-9). Journalist Rotella makes his fiction debut with this thriller that explores the hot-button issue of immigration, with its political, social, and emotional ramifications.
The House of Silk by Anthony Horo-witz (Nov., hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-316-19699-4). Authorized by the Conan Doyle estate, this new Sherlock Holmes novel captures the authentic Watsonian voice.
The Cut by George Pelecanos (Aug., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-316-07842-9). Spero Lucas, a 29-year-old Iraq War vet, does special investigations for a Washington, D.C., defense attorney in this remarkable first in a new crime series.
Sucker Punch by Jeremy Brown (Aug., paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-60542-225-1). Noir fans will find plenty to savor in this impressive first novel set in the violent world of professional mixed martial arts.
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (Aug., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-312-65545-7). Chief Inspector Gamache of the Quebec Sûreté once again proves himself one of the most well-rounded of fictional sleuths in Penny's seventh murder mystery centered on the outwardly idyllic town of Three Pines.
Operation Napoleon by Arnaldur Indridason (Oct., hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-312-65910-3). The crash of a German airplane on a glacier in Iceland in the waning days of WWII has serious present-day repercussions in this thriller, a departure for crime author Indridason.
Spycatcher by Matthew Dunn (Aug., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-203767-1). MI6 agent Will Cochrane must capture a brilliant and ruthless Iranian spy in this international espionage debut by a real-life former field officer.
The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman (Sept., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-170651-6). Childhood friends, long since splintered off, uneasily reunite after the death of one of their own in this unsettling tale of the consequences of long-buried secrets.
The Charlestown Connection by Tom MacDonald (Aug., hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-60809-024-2). Dermot Sparhawk, who tries to remain sober while running a food pantry in Boston's impoverished Charlestown neighborhood, looks into the murder of his godfather, a Vietnam vet, in this crime thriller debut.
Plugged by Eoin Colfer (Aug., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-59020-463-4). Irish author Colfer, best known for his middle-grade Artemis Fowl series, makes his much anticipated crime novel debut with this pitch-perfect comic noir.
All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen (Sept., hardcover, $29, ISBN 978-1-57962-222-0). Rosen combines the mathematics of chaos theory with a thriller plot in his first novel.
A Crack in Everything by Angela Gerst (Sept., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-59058-944-1). In this tightly constructed debut mystery, Waltham, Mass., political consultant Susan Callisto finds that choosing clients can have deadly consequences.
Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues by Michael Brandman (Sept., hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15784-4). Brandman, a longtime collaborator of the late Robert B. Parker, continues Parker's series featuring Paradise, Mass., police chief Jesse Stone.
V Is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton (Nov., hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15786-8). Grafton approaches the end of her iconic alphabet series featuring PI Kinsey Millhone.
Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell (Dec., hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15802-5). Kay Scarpetta's investigation of the murder of her former deputy chief takes her to the Georgia Prison for Women in search of answers.
Coup d'Etat by Ben Coes (Oct., hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-312-58076-6). In this sequel to Power Down, a conflict between Pakistan and India threatens disaster for the rest of the world.
Freezing by Clea Koff (Nov., hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-7278-8096-3). The inadvertent discovery of a bundle of frozen body parts leads FBI agent Scott Houston to Agency 32/1, a nonprofit missing persons identification resource center, in Koff's forensic thriller debut.
simon & schuster
The Gentlemen's Hour by Don Wins-low (Aug., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-4391-8339-7). PI and surfer Boone Daniels reluctantly agrees to defend a young man accused of murdering surfing legend Kelly Kuhio, "Uncle K" to Boone, who worshipped him as a kid.
Feast Day of Fools by James Lee Burke (Sept., hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-4516-4311-4). When Sheriff Hackberry Holland investigates the torture murder of a man in the Texas desert, he ends up facing his old nemesis, serial killer Preacher Jack Collins.
Soft Target by Stephen Hunter (Dec., hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-4391-3870-0). Retired Marine sergeant Ray Cruz takes on terrorists who have taken over a mall outside Minneapolis and are holding 1,000 hostages.
The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnette Friis (Nov., hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1-56947-981-0. After Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, discovers a three-year-old boy inside a suitcase, she begins a dangerous quest to find out who he is and to whom he belongs.
Cell 8 by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom (Jan., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-40278715-7). Det. Insp. Ewert Grens investigates a beating on a ferry between Finland and Sweden that proves to be far more than a drunken brawl.
Dark Tangos by Lewis Shiner (Aug., hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-1-59606-396-9). The dark recent history of Argentina forms the backdrop for this tale that mixes a love story with sheer terror.
trafalgar square/Little, Brown U.K.
Murder in the Minster by Susanna Gregory (Nov., hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-84744-297-0). In 1358, series hero Matthew Bartholomew travels from Cambridge to York, where he learns that several of the archbishop of York's executors have died in unexplained circumstances.
White Heat by M.J. McGrath (Aug., hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-670-02248-9). Journalist McGrath's fiction debut introduces Edie Kiglatuk, a half Inuit/half white Arctic guide, who winds up investigating a tourist's murder.
The Killer Is Dying by James Sallis (Aug., hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-8027-7945-8). In this novel of suspense set in Phoenix, Ariz., Sallis explores the thoughts and motives of three very different characters, including a dying gun for hire.