In this roundup of the best-reviewed BookLife titles, we highlight a mystery concerning public pension plans, a thriller about hunting humans, and more.

Chinook: A Miranda Chase Action-Adventure Technothriller

M.L. Buchman

Synopsis: Buchman delivers an exciting sixth outing for Miranda Chase.

PW’s takeaway: Technothriller fans will look forward to seeing a lot more of Miranda, who’s that rarity in the subgenre, a strong female lead.

The Quarantine of St. Sebastian House

John Pistelli

Synopsis: A pandemic-related lockdown tests the residents of an apartment building in this nicely considered outing.

PW’s takeaway: This thought-provoking exploration of lockdown life offers plenty of tension.


Tyler Michael

Synopsis: In this impressive debut, a riff on Richard Connell’s classic survival story “The Most Dangerous Game,” Michael imagines a covert organization that gets paid millions to set up hunts with humans as prey.

PW’s takeaway: Michael makes his leads fully realized characters and maintains nail-biting suspense throughout. This superior outing augurs well for future books from this author.

Sample line: “Kevin was a different case entirely. A descendent of Korean immigrants, he spent most of his childhood and adolescence living in Silicon Valley parked in front of a computer screen.”

The Pension Plan

Josiah Vencel

Synopsis: When reporter Owen Daniels, the hero of Vencel’s memorable mystery debut, learns of fatalities among the retired municipal workforce, he begins to suspect foul play.

PW’s takeaway: Vencel, who spent 15 years working for public pension plans, deserves plenty of credit for coming up with a believable plot hinging on pensions, and has created characters, even minor ones, who feel realistic.

Sample line: “Her unpracticed reasoning skills notwithstanding, Marigold was right. Nobody would visit her. Hardly a shadow—and rarely even her own—had darkened her doorway in many months.”