July’s most thrilling books include a new hero from the masterful David Baldacci, the next Gabriel Allon adventure from Daniel Silva, James Patterson’s first foray into epic fantasy, and more.
One Good Deed, by David Baldacci
Baldacci spins a tightly-plotted period piece to introduce a new hero: Aloysius Archer, a veteran of World War II in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. When released in 1949, he finds himself in Poca City with strict instructions to get a job and stay out of trouble. Archer visits a local bar seeking a little bit of both when he gets a job offer: businessman Hank Pittleman wants a debt collected. Archer takes on the job, and soon finds himself in a mess of small-town plotting, as Pittleman’s mistress tries to use Archer for her own ends and the debt proves harder to collect than Archer expected. When someone shows up dead, the local police seem to think Archer, recently-arrived ex-con, did the deed. Archer brains, brawn, and desperation are all that’s keeping him from returning to prison—or worse.
The New Girl, by Daniel Silva
The 19th Allon novel centers on a tony private school in Switzerland—the sort of exclusive place only the children of the rich and powerful attend. The students buzz about the new arrival, a beautiful young girl who appears every morning and leaves every afternoon in a motorcade, surrounded by bodyguards. Her classmates all have theories as to who she might be—but they’re all wrong. When the girl is kidnapped while across the border in France, Gabriel Allon, chief of Israeli intelligence, is called into action. As Allon goes up against a familiar old enemy, the fate of girl and the world lies with him.
Sophia, Princess Among Beasts, by James Patterson with Emily Raymond
The prolific James Patterson (with Emily Raymond) stretches to infuse a new genre his trademark tension and thriller grit. At the core of this epic fantasy is a mystery that only Sophia, princess of a kingdom under dire threat, can solve. Sophia is smart and capable, beautiful and beloved by the people, and an avid reader who spent long hours as a child reading about a terrible realm filled with monsters. When she discovers that the place—and the resident monsters—are very real, and that an army is marching on her kingdom, Sophia knows it is her duty to protect the people who have put their trust in her. Her only hope is to solve an ancient a mystery—if she has time.
Red Metal, by Mark Greaney and H. Ripley Rawlings IV, USMC
Greaney knows just how to spin a modern thriller, and his co-writer H. Ripley Rawlings is a lieutenant colonel in the marines. Together they’ve created a razor-sharp near-future story of brutal combat and global maneuvering centered on a rare-earth mine in Africa. The mine was in Russian hands until Kenya reclaimed it out from under Russian special forces Colonel Yuri Borbikov. Borbikov draws up an ambitious, dangerous plan to get it back—Operation Red Metal. With simultaneous attacks on the U.S. Central Africa Command in Germany and the mine itself, Russia sets in motion a series of battles that Greaney and Rawlings depict through the eyes of the dedicated warriors tasked with carrying out their orders—no matter what. The result is a gripping and finely detailed story of modern warfare no fan of the genre should miss.
Smokescreen, by Iris Johansen
Johansen’s 25th Eve Duncan novel introduces Jill Cassidy, a journalist who returns from the war-torn country of Maldara haunted by what she’s witnessed. She seeks out forensic sculptor Duncan and asks her to help reconstruct the skulls of 27 children massacred by rebel soldiers. Duncan is moved but troubled by the opportunity, but she accepts the job and jumps on a flight to the site of the killings, the village of Robaku. Jill also wants Eve to reconstruct the skull of a mercenary named Nils Varak, the man responsible for the uprising that led to the murders—because Jill doesn’t believe Nils is actually dead and hopes to prove a government cover-up is underway. In an unfamiliar country, Duncan finds herself isolated and uncertain who she can trust. She must rely on her gut to get to the bottom of the mystery without becoming the next victim.
The Russian, by Ben Coes
Coes launches a new series and a new protagonist, former Navy SEAL Rob Tacoma. As the book begins, the Russian mafia has asserted itself as the most powerful organized criminal force in the United States, meeting any effort to curtail its activities with brutal violence. When its actions cross the line into the outright assassination of politicians, the president authorizes the CIA to recruit an elite team tasked with identifying, locating, and killing the powerful criminals ordering the murders. Tacoma and another former SEAL, Billy Cosgrove, are brought in—but Cosgrove is almost immediately identified and murdered in his own home by the Russians. Cosgrove must take on the mob single-handedly, both to get revenge for his comrade-in-arms, and to keep himself alive the only way he can—by killing all of his well-funded, well-protected enemies.
What books are thrilling you this July?