April’s Top Picks in Thrillers

One of the best parts of thriller fandom is the excitement you feel at the end of each month as you wait for a new batch of books from favorite authors and exciting new writers. There’s always a new nail-biting adventure to lose yourself in, a new puzzle to ponder, and a new character to get to know. April is no different on that front, although it’s often rainier (but us thriller fans like that, because it adds to the ambiance). Here are nine of the most excellent thrillers coming out this month. Load up your nightstand or recharge your NOOK with these twisty, exciting tales.

Memory Man, by David Baldacci
David Baldacci has been knocking it out of the park for years now, but with Memory Man he brings his dynamic energy to a brand-new character. Amos Decker’s NFL career was ended by one horrific hit on the field—and the brain injury he received left him unable to forget a single detail of his life. He recovers to become an effective police detective, which seems like a perfect career shift. Then his family is murdered. When a massacre at the local school seems connected not only to his family tragedy, but directly to Amos himself, he doggedly pursues the mystery to its shocking conclusion. Here’s hoping this is the first in a long series of Decker stories to come.

The Bone Tree, By Greg Iles
This sequel to Natchez Burningand the second in a planned trilogy, sustains the power and urgency of the first installment. The Bone Tree picks up the story of former prosecutor Penn Cage and reporter Caitlin Masters as they struggle to expose and destroy the Double Eagles, a secret sect of the KKK responsible for countless murders and immeasurable misery for over a century. As Cage and Masters work, they discover just how powerful the Double Eagles are, and just how connected their leadership is. Struggling to stay alive, to save Penn’s father from false murder charges, and to gain leverage against their enemies leads the pair to The Bone Tree, a terrifying place where the KKK has executed in secret for years. This is one of those books that just won’t let you catch your breath.

Hot Pursuit, by Stuart Woods
There are few more reliably exciting storytellers than Stuart Woods, and few more reliably entertaining characters than Stone Barrington, one of the only characters who might find himself in a dual plot involving both an assassination threat against the President and the threatening ex-boyfriend of a current lady friend. As usual, Woods writes with style and panache, weaving both threads of his story together in a masterful fashion. Barrington is a likable, charming gateway into a jet-set world of adventure, danger, and high-end everything, and Woods is in top form in the thirty-third entry in the Barrington series. He also brings a welcome escalation to the difficulty level of the challenges facing Barrington. The result of this little spice of trouble is a jolt of energy to an already exciting series.

Burn, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
The dynamic duo of Patterson and Ledwidge returns with the seventh Michael Bennett adventure, a story that opens with the sort of eerily calm respite that makes any experienced thriller fan nervous. Bennett and his family finally return to New York, triumphant and—supposedly—safe from the criminals who had threatened their lives. But soon Bennett takes over the Outreach Squad in Harlem and receives a strange report: well-dressed men are having some sort of strange ritualistic party in a condemned building. He dismisses this report until a burned body is discovered in the same building. From there it’s an unexpectedly twisty ride into a truth you won’t see coming, proving that the team of Patterson and Ledwidge are still setting the standard for electrifying modern-day thrillers.

Where They Found Her, by Kimberly McCreight
The author of Reconstructing Amelia is back with another taut, unpredictable story. Fans of Gillian Flynn’s mean and masterful Gone Girl, rejoice, because this is the one you’ve been waiting for. We all know that the more idyllic and lovely a small town is, the darker its secrets, and McCreight’s Ridgedale, New Jersey is no exception: when a baby girl is found dead in the woods, new Ridgedale resident Molly Sanderson initially resists the story assignment from her newspaper editor because of her own dark memories of losing a child. But as she reluctantly digs into the mystery, she discovers something much worse than mere loss. McCreight crafts three distinct female voices, telling the story from their unique perspectives, in a tour de force of literary talent that will grip you from page one and carry you—sometimes unwillingly—into the dark heart of this mystery.

House of Echoes, by Brendan Duffy
Thrillers and horror stories share a great deal of imaginary real estate, and debut author Duffy uses this overlap to great advantage: the setup of his new novel is pure horror story, with struggling writer Ben moving his family to an inherited estate in northern New York for a fresh start. As soon as the family arrives, they encounter ominous events, shifting personalities, and a claustrophobic sense of dread emanating from the small village outside the grounds. Duffy expertly ratchets up the tension as Ben’s investigation into the shared history of the town and estate turns up increasingly horrifying revelations, and his own family appears to teeter precariously on the edge of doom. One of the most assured and effective thriller debuts in recent memory, House of Echoes concludes with a shattering reveal that will not be easily forgotten.

Your Next Breath, by Iris Johansen
Adding a dash of the paranormal to a globe-trotting thriller tale can be tricky, but Johansen is a master, bringing all the dynamic vitality you expect from a Catherine Ling novel to this fourth installment in the series. Ling is finally reunited with her kidnapped son after nine long years of searching, but as readers know, she is rarely without enemies for long. A deadly drug lord is released from a Caracas prison wanting revenge on Ling for killing his wife, and every step he takes brings danger closer to Ling and her son. With the help of her old friend Hu Chang, her old contact Richard Cameron (with whom she shares a psychic link), and Eve Duncan (who will be familiar to Johansen fans from her own exceptional series of novels), Ling comes increasingly close to sacrificing everything to keep from losing her son all over again. Your nails may never be the same.

All Involved, by Ryan Gattis
There’s no rule that says thrillers have to be short and sweet. Ryan Gattis has earned comparison to Richard Price because of his depth and observational detail. Gattis creates a universe that is like ours and thoroughly believable while being entirely unique. Expertly weaving together more than a dozen storylines and points of view, Gattis’s new novel is set during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992—but instead of revisiting the familiar images and stories of the riots, his action occurs on the edges, in the shadowy areas of Los Angeles the media didn’t pay much attention to. We learn about people who saw grimy opportunity in the chaos—and chances to settle old scores. All Involved will get your blood pressure up with every page, ultimately forming disparate pieces of narrative into a singularly haunting experience.

One Mile Under, by Andrew Gross
The fourth Ty Hauck novel has a classic setup: a small town with secrets, a dead body on the banks of a river, big money and corporate interests, and local law uninterested in finding answers. Bring into this recipe the determined whitewater guide Dani Whalen seeking justice for a dead friend, however, and things get interesting—especially as Dani’s godfather is none other than Ty Hauck, who has been sailing the Caribbean as he recovers from his last adventure. With Hauck’s help, the secrets this small town in Colorado is built on begin to see sunlight, and the danger level quickly threatens to rise over their heads. Tautly written, expertly plotted, and with plot elements torn from today’s headlines, One Mile Under crackles with energy.

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