January’s Best Thrillers

Liar, Liar, by James Patterson and Candice Fox
The third Harriet Blue book finds the detective marked as armed and dangerous, on the run from her peers, even as she races to chase down her brother’s killer, Regan Banks. Throwing aside her principles, Blue is determined to make Banks pay for all the people he’s killed before he kills her too—and in the process, she breaks just about every law she swore to uphold. Going from a respected officer to a fugitive, Blue is all in on finding justice, no matter the cost to her career or sense of self. Patterson and Fox deliver on the thrills with a gripping story of a woman willing to sacrifice everything for personal justice, including her own life.

An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Hendricks and Greer, whose The Wife Between Us made a splash last year, return with a dark, twisty story about manipulation centered on 28-year old Jessica Farris. Reeling from a #MeToo experience that’s left her career in shambles, Jessica cheats her way into a paid ethics and morality study run by the impossibly cool Dr. Lydia Shields. Farris finds herself engaging in real-world role-playing directed by Dr. Shields, with the scenarios progressing from the uncomfortable to the outright disturbing. Farris’s paranoia spikes, and soon, Dr. Shields seems to be pulling strings in every part of her life. When Farris discovers the terrifying truth about the last woman to participate in Shields’ study, she realizes that it’s only paranoia if no one is out to get you.

The Woman Inside, by E.G. Scott
Rebecca is a pharmaceutical sales rep who leverages her career to feed her growing addiction to opiates. Her 20-year marriage to Paul is falling apart, and her career is crumbling under the weight of her drug use. She suspects Paul is having an affair with her boss’ wife Sasha, who happens to have been Paul’s high school sweetheart—or perhaps with their sexy neighbor, Sheila. When Sasha and then Sheila both go missing, the police close in. Naturally, this is a thriller, so nothing is as it seems. Scott trades off points of view, each offering a varying level of unreliability, slowly revealing secrets via one dizzying twists after another, guaranteeing you will keep those pages turning.

48 Hours, by William R. Forstchen
Forstchen takes us a few minutes into the future, after a solar storm has dropped many areas of the country into chaos, with power grids knocked out and martial law imposed. Dr. Richard Carrington and his team have detected a second, much more dangerous flare—nicknamed Sauron’s Eye—that could wipe out all life on the planet. As Dr. Carrington briefs the president, struggling to see the right way to handle the situation, a former cop named Darren Brooks struggles with his knowledge that the underground facility he works security for could offer a safe haven to thousands. Except the military has just taken over, and isn’t in the mood to share. Tense, smart, and fast-paced, this is a near-future thriller ready-made for the summer blockbuster treatment.

Daughter of War, by Brad Taylor
Taylor’s 13th Pike Logan novel follows Amena, a 13-year old Syrian refugee who helps her family survive in Monaco by stealing from the wealthy tourists. One day, Amena makes a great score, stealing an iPhone—and finds herself and her family in serious trouble: the phone belongs to a Syrian intelligence agent, and contains information about a deadly North Korean poison known as Red Mercury. The Syrians plan to use the poison against the United States,. As Amena goes on the run for her life, Logan and Taskforce get wind of the Red Mercury plot, and the race is on as Pike, ally Jennifer Cahill, the Russians, Syrians, and North Koreans all pursue Amena and the information she holds.

The Rule of Law, by John Lescroart
Dismas Hardy returns as part of a newly-formed law firm held together by long-suffering secretary Phyllis McGowan. McGowan’s behavior and unexplained absences have alarmed Hardy of late, and his fears appear to be well-founded when Phyllis is arrested on accessory to murder charges. The victim is Hector Valdez, a human trafficker, and Hardy discovers that Phyllis is involved in saving refugees from ICE, smuggling through a modern-day underground railroad. With a new District Attorney determined to make his name on the case while destroying Hardy and his new firm in the process, Hardy must solve the riddle quickly, or lose more than just his invaluable secretary.

Judgment, by Joseph Finder
Judge Juliana Brody is smart, experienced, and loves her work. While presiding over a high-profile, high-stakes sex discrimination case, she travels to a conference in Chicago, where the married judge has a rare moment of weakness and indulges in a one night stand with a stranger named Matias Sanchez, who claims to be in town from Buenos Aires on business. When she gets back to work in Boston, however, Juliana is shocked to discover that Sanchez is actually part of the defense team involved in the trial. Juliana is told to rule in the defense’s favor or her indiscretion will be revealed. Juliana finds herself embroiled in a ruthless conspiracy that threatens everything she loves, including her family. When Juliana decides to fight back, she goes up against a cabal of enemies who are as ruthless as they are smart—and she’ll need every scrap of her wits to survive with her sense of justice intact.

Freefall, by Jessica Barry
In Barry’s crackling debut, Maggie Carpenter learns that her estranged daughter Allison died when a plane piloted by her wealthy fiancé, pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, crashed in the Rocky Mountains. Maggie, who had no idea her daughter was even engaged, can’t bring herself to believe the story everyone, including the police, is telling her, so she launches her own investigation. Plunging into a world of money, power, and deception, she learns her daughter was not the person she thought she was. To say too much more would spoil all the fun of this twisty, suspenseful thriller.

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