March’s Top Picks in Thrillers

There’s a reason we love thrillers, and it’s right there in the name: the thrills. Those thrills keep our hearts pounding and our fingers flying. You can’t help but turn pages as fast as you can to find out what happens next, how they get out of that trap, if they’re ever going to realize they’re being lied to. If you need to stock up on thrillers to ride out the rest of the winter, don’t worry: these eleven new books hitting the shelves and NOOKs in March will keep you up way past your bedtime.

NYPD Red 3

Hardcover $25.20 | $28.00

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NYPD Red 3, by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
The third book in the NYPD Red series is crammed full of the banter, sex appeal, and violent twists that have made Patterson’s books—and his collaborations with Karp—must-reads for thriller fans for decades. Once again, detectives Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald, members of the elite NYPD division that serves and protects the rich and famous, stumble into a sordid tale of power, politics, and money when they make a horrifying discovery in a billionaire’s townhouse. When the billionaire responds with apathy to his son’s disappearance, the mystery deepens until it threatens the city’s entire power structure.

The Patriot Threat, by Steve Berry
Steve Berry’s latest Cotton Malone adventure pivots not on a threat of violence, but on the (untrue) claim that the Federal income tax is actually illegal—the revelation of which could destroy the U.S. economy. Weaving together historical facts, hidden clues in paintings and currency, and a North Korean villain aiming to destroy the United States and achieve power in his own country, Berry once again offers up an exciting, modern page turner.

The Assassin, by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
Teaming up with Scott for another in the Isaac Bell series, Cussler delivers a thriller that’s best described as a romp. Bell is assigned to investigate none other than John D. Rockefeller as his Standard Oil buys up smaller oil companies on its way to monopoly status. The case turns violent when a master assassin—someone who can kill with a sniper rifle from seemingly impossible distances, set off deadly bombs, and poison people with impunity—begins taking down people associated with the case. Bell and his team of detectives have to travel the world to get answers in a twisty story marked by Cussler’s trademark wit and expertise with character, romance, and surprising plot developments that will draw you back to the book time and time again until you get to the surprising, delightful epilogue.

Leaving Berlin, by Joseph Kanon
Set in Berlin directly after World War II, Leaving Berlin opens on a claustrophobic, ruined city in which the Soviet Union is busy establishing its espionage apparatus. Into this minefield of postwar danger walks Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer who fled the Nazis and now finds himself a target of the increasingly powerful House Un-American Activities Committee. Agreeing to help the CIA in order to escape the shadow of McCarthyism, Meier returns to his native Berlin only to discover his mission is to spy on the only woman he has ever been in love with—the woman he left behind years ago. Few thrillers offer this combined power of history, emotion, and taut, fast-paced action.


Hardcover $24.26 | $26.95

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Host, by Robin Cook
When you think “medical thriller,” chances are good you think of Robin Cook, who more or less defined the genre with Coma. In Host, Cook returns to the hospital setting, introducing us to Lynn Pierce, an intelligent and passionate fourth-year medical student. When her boyfriend dies mysteriously after routine surgery, she goes looking for evidence of malpractice, persuading her lab partner, Edward, to help. The pair soon find themselves in over their heads. Expect death threats, an expert’s eye for the often inscrutable world of medicine, and a steady stream of surprises.

The Fifth Gospel, by Ian Caldwell
With The Rule of Four, Caldwell established himself as a must-read author for fans of Dan Brown, exploring the same Catholic history that gave The Da Vinci Code such interest, but with a more erudite style and complex worldview. Ten years later, he’s returned with a stunning tale once again based on real-life aspects of both the Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches. With Pope John Paul II ailing, the curator of a mysterious exhibit in the Vatican Museum is murdered. His friend, Father Alex Andreou, investigates the crime and, along the way, discovers what the so-called “Fifth Gospel”—a real historical document—reveals about the church. Tautly written, deeply researched, and filled with breakneck action, this novel hits that Brown sweet spot.

Lacy Eye

Hardcover $23.40 | $26.00

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Lacy Eye, by Jessica Treadway
During a violent home invasion, Hanna’s husband is killed, and Hanna herself is left disfigured and memory- and speech-impaired. Though there is no evidence to prove her involvement, the police suspect Hanna’s daughter, Dawn, an awkward, unhappy girl with a lazy eye. Hanna refuses to believe her daughter could be involved and helps convict Rud, Dawn’s boyfriend. When Rud wins an appeal that could mean his release, Hanna sets out to retrieve her memories of that fateful evening—and begins to realize she may not like what she finds in them. Nothing is scarier than not being able to trust your own mind, and Treadway crafts a story that will drive you to find out what really happened with a desperation that matches Hanna’s.

The Valley

Hardcover $24.26 | $26.95

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The Valley, by John Renehan
John Renehan drops the reader straight into the fear and tension of the Valley in Afghanistan, one of the most remote and dangerous places in a remote and dangerous place. Sent there to investigate a shooting incident, Lieutenant Black, an Army officer plagued by dissatisfaction, comes to realize the platoon tasked with defending nearly indefensible terrain is hiding something—a secret that threatens the Valley’s fragile peace. As Black descends more deeply into his investigation, the reader feels his isolation, his desperation—and the need to know what drives him.

The Pocket Wife, by Susan Crawford
Playing with some of the worst aspects of bipolar disorder—the inability to trust your own memory, or to exert control over your actions when in a manic period—Crawford spins a story about a woman who is horrified to hear of the murder of a friend and neighbor—but who can’t be 100% certain she didn’t commit the crime. The narrator’s increasingly loose grip on reality has the effect of keeping the reader off balance, wondering how to interpret events and clues when the narrator herself can’t be trusted. As the book speeds to its nail-biting conclusion, you’ll be hard-pressed to put it down.

Normal, by Graeme Cameron
This brilliant novel uses an experience many people will identify with—meeting someone who makes you want to change your life—and applies it to a serial killer. The unnamed killer keeps a victim in a cage under his house; when he goes shopping for groceries for his prisoner, he meets the girl who changes everything, and suddenly he doesn’t want his old normal any more. But it’s difficult to change your life when you have a girl in a cage under your house, isn’t it? Original and hilarious if you can stomach the main character’s worldview, this is a book that will have you rooting for a psychopath and hating yourself for it.

Too Bad to Die, by Francine Mathews
Most people know that Ian Fleming, the creator of icon James Bond, did in fact serve in the British Naval Intelligence. Mathews cleverly imagines an alternate history in which Fleming, making up spy stories in his head to pass the time at his boring desk job, is tipped off that a Nazi assassin has infiltrated the 1943 Tehran conference, where all the Allied leaders—including Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin—have gathered to plan the D-Day invasion. Fleming, who can’t convince his superiors of the danger, sees his chance to act out his spy fantasies, and the result is a surprisingly tense and incredibly fun pseudo-historic romp that will leave you too excited to sleep.

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