Contemporary Thrillers

Santa Fe Edge by Stuart Woods

By Jonathan Maberrysanta-fe-edge.JPG

Stuart Woods started out as an advertising copywriter in the 1960s and sold his first major novel, Chiefs, in 1981.  It was a modest hardback hit and then exploded in paperback and was made into a six-hour television drama for CBS-TV, starring Charlton Heston, Danny Glover, Billy Dee Williams and John Goodman.  The book also won the Edgar Award.
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The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson

By L.J. Sellers

the-damage-done.jpgdebut-author.jpgHilary Davidson smiles like an angel, but she broke into fiction with short stories that are as dark and twisted as they come. After being published in e-zines likeThuglit, Beat to a Pulp, and Crimefactory, she finally fulfilled her lifelong dream and wrote her first full-length crime novel. The Damage Done, called a “razor-sharp debut” by Publishers Weekly, features Lily Moore, a travel writer determined to resolve the disappearance of her troubled sister.
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Disappeared by Gary Alexander

disappeared.jpgBy John T. Cullen

In the 80’s and 90’s, Gary Alexander wrote a bunch (eight, to be exact) of successful and well-received detective novels published by top name houses like St. Martin’s and Doubleday. Things change, and his protagonists Bamsan Kiet, a police chief in the fictional Southeast Asian country of Luong, and Luis Balam, a shop keeper cum tourist guide cum private investigator in Cancun, gave way to such a whole new genre, hard-boiled female PI’s such as Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone and Sara Peretsky’s V.I. Warshawsky.
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Young Junius by Seth Harwood

By Jeff Ayersyoun-junius.jpg

Seth Harwood spotlights a character from his other novel, Jack Wakes Up, in his latest, Young Junius.  He talked to ITW about his new novel and how the Internet helped him with his career.

Why write and why teach writing?
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Silver Serenade by Nancy J. Cohen

silver-seranade.jpgIn Nancy J. Cohen’s latest, Silver Seranade, ace pilot Jace Vernon is forced to flee his home world after being framed for murder. He seeks justice, but S.I.N. agent Silver Malloy gets in his way. The platinum-haired beauty counters his every move in the quest to clear his name. As he makes it his mission to break down her defenses, he doesn’t count on the personal consequences of success.
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Loose Ends Kill by Bob Doerr

loose-ends-kill1.jpgIn Bob Doerr’s latest, Loose Ends Kill, once again a call from an old friend draws Jim West into the middle of a murder investigation. This time the police believe they already have the murderer in jail – Jim’s old friend. When Jim discovers that even his friend’s lawyers believe he is quilty, he knows he will have to go it alone.
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Velocity by Alan Jacobson

velocity.jpgBy George Ebey

Author Alan Jacobson has written a new thriller in his popular Karen Vail series.  Beginning with The Seventh Victim and continuing through its follow up Crush, the series features Vail, a rough and ready FBI profiler who has battled everything from serial killers to her own personal demons.  Now she is back in Velocity, a novel which Library Journal calls “….essential for anyone who craves nonstop action, danger, and a gutsy heroine.”
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Don’t Blink by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

don't-blink.JPGIn Thrillermaster James Patterson’s newest, Don’t Blink, written with Howard Roughan, New York s Lombardo s Steak House is famous for three reasons the menu, the clientele, and now, the gruesome murder of an infamous mob lawyer. Effortlessly, the assassin slips through the police s fingers, and his absence sparks a blaze of accusations about who ordered the hit.
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The Underbelly by Gary Phillips

the-underbelly.JPGThe Underbelly is a mystery novella by Gary Phillips in which a semi-homeless Vietnam vet named Magrady searches for a disabled friend who has disappeared from L.A.’s Skid Row. The flashback-prone protagonist must deal with the impact of gentrification; take-no-prisoners community organizers; an unflinching cop from his past in Vietnam; an elderly sexpot out for his bones; a lusted-after magical skull; chronic-lovin’ knuckleheads; and the perils of chili cheese fries at midnight.
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Black Sun by Graham Brown

black-sun.jpgIn Graham Brown’s newest, Black Sun, in the heart of the Amazon, NRI operative Danielle Laidlaw makes an incredible discovery: a translucent Mayan stone generating massive waves of energy while counting down toward the infamous apocalyptic date: December 21, 2012. And somewhere, there are three more just like it.
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Girl, Stolen by April Henry

girl-stolen.jpgIn April Henry’s newest, Girl, Stolen, while waiting in the car for her stepmother, 16-year-old Cheyenne is accidentally kidnapped by Griffin, a dropout who steals the family’s Escalade. When he realizes Cheyenne is blind, Griffin plans on letting her go. Then his father finds out her family is rich. Even if Cheyenne’s father pays a ransom, will they ever let her go?
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The Lazarus Vault by Tom Harper

the-lazarus-vault.jpgIn Tom Harper’s The Lazarus Vault, deep in the heart of London, the Monsalvat Bank is small, secretive and fabulously wealthy. When Ellie Stanton, an impoverished graduate student, is unexpectedly invited to join the firm, the privileged world they offer looks too good to turn down.
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Fatal Error by F. Paul Wilson

fatal-error.jpgIn F. Paul Wilson’s latest Repairman Jack novel, Fatal Error, Munir Habib’s life has become a nightmare. His American wife and son have been taken hostage and he must perform cruel acts of self-debasement to keep them alive. His tormentor, who seems to want nothing more than to humiliate him, has warned him not to go to the police or his family will pay a terrible price. But a friend tells him of a guy who hires out to fix situations like this.

A guy known as Repairman Jack…
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Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten

By Cathy Clamp

saving-max.JPGdebut-author.jpgA parent’s worst fear is at the heart of this harrowing debut thriller by Antoinette van Heugten. When single mother Danielle Parkman learns that her autistic teenager, Max, is accused of murder while confined to a psychiatric hospital for assessment, Danielle is forced to find the killer in order to absolve her son.
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Grim Reaper: End of Days by Steve Alten

grim-reaper.jpgBy Nate Kenyon

Bestselling thriller author Steve Alten has his own remarkable personal journey to tell. Signed to a first-contract mega-deal for his novel MEG, which was promptly sold to Disney as a blockbuster movie in the making, Alten seemed to be living the dream of all aspiring authors. Indeed, MEG hit the bestseller lists all over the world, and spawned a number of sequels. But the movie became caught up in Hollywood “development hell,” and Alten’s relationship with his first publisher soured after it was bought by another company.
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Innocent Monster by Reed Farrel Coleman

By Dan Levyinnocent-monster.jpg

Reed Farrel Coleman didn’t want to write–he had to write. “When you grow up in a household of people who scream, eventually nobody hears anything. As a kid, I searched for a voice to be heard.” Through the inspiration and encouragement of Mr. Isaacs, his seventh grade teacher, Coleman found it in poetry. And that sustained him until fate, or more accurately the scheduler of night classes at Brooklyn College, intervened.
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Worth Dying For by Lee Child

worth-dying-for.JPG#1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child follows the electrifying61 Hours with his latest Reacher thriller, Worth Dying For–a story that hits the ground running and then accelerates all the way to a colossal showdown.

There’s deadly trouble in the corn country of Nebraska . . . and Jack Reacher walks right into it. First he falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire county into submission. But it’s the unsolved case of a missing child, already decades-old, that Reacher can’t let go.
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Judgment Day by Wanda L Dyson

judgment-day1.JPGBy Austin Camacho

In mystery novels, investigative journalists are often heroic detectives.  But in Wanda L. Dyson‘s new thriller Judgment Day, the reporter is the victim framed for murder and on the run from a killer.

The star of the novel, Suzanne Kidwell, is also the star of Judgment Day, a popular investigative news TV show.  Her mission is to expose the darkest secrets of the rich and famous.  And that’s what gets her in trouble! While the reader comes to care about Kidwell’s fate, Author Dyson shows us the darker side of her character’s world.  Dyson says she thinks there’s a fine line between reporting that informs us and the sensationalism reporting that is just looking to titillate.  The danger comes when the truth doesn’t matter – ratings do.
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You Are Next by Katia Lief

By Sandra Parshallyou-are-next.JPG

Katia Lief, author of the new thriller You Are Next (September 28), remembers the moment when her desire to be a writer jelled: her third grade teacher, after reading a story she had written, sent her parents a note that said, “Katia could be a writer.”

She wonders what would have happened if the teacher’s note had encouraged her to be a dentist. Fortunately for her and for readers, it didn’t.
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Never Wave Goodbye by Doug Magee

never-wave-goodbye.JPGBy J. H. Bográn

In Doug Magee’s Never Wave Goodbye, a woman puts her daughter on the bus taking her to sleep away camp, goes back in her house, and fifteen minutes later the real bus from the camp arrives. Three other children have been similarly kidnapped. The four families are kept in horrible suspense, unaware that there children are in even deeper trouble than they can imagine.
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Lost Empire by Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood

lost-empire.JPGBy Jeff Ayers

Grant Blackwood continues his trend of writing terrific reads with the biggest names in the business.  His latest collaboration with Clive CusslerLost Empire, is the second book in an ongoing series featuring the married couple Sam and Remi Fargo.
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While Galileo Preys by Joshua Corin

By Dan Levywhen-galileo-preys.jpg

Joshua Corin described himself as “restless” and “antsy”, which is what initially drove the award-winning writer for stage and screen into the new authorial territory of the thriller. “Thrillers, by their very nature, are structurally restless and antsy and provide constant stimulation,” said Corin. “In that, they are most akin to sports, and as I lack any athletic ability whatsoever, the closest I can come to that adrenalized lifestyle is thriller writing.”
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Bolt Action by Charlie Charters

by Charlie Charters

bolt-action.jpgI have a very unusual relationship with the events of 9/11.

You see our house is one of the very few where we actually celebrate when that date falls, because that was the day our daughter was born. Our first girl and second child. September 11 2001.

Yes, that day.
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Death On A Budget by Michael W. Sherer

By John T. Cullendeath-on-a-budget.jpg

Michael W. Sherer, whose latest Emerson Ward thriller Death on a Budget is due out from Five Star Publishing, is interviewed by ITW Contributing Editor John T. Cullen.

Mike Sherer’s publishing career keeps gathering praise from leading reviewers and top-selling fellow novelists. Please see synopses of all seven Emerson Ward novels, and the mainstream thriller Island Life, along with a short biography, below after the interview.
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Eureka: Substitution Method by Cris Ramsay

eureka-substitution-method.JPGBy John Darrin

I’ve been writing these articles for a while now, and Cris Ramsey was the most difficult author yet to research – there is literally nothing about him on the Internet, just references to his novel Eureka: Substitution Method. Then my editor pointed out that Cris Ramsey is a pseudonym, a pen-name for Aaron Rosenberg, a very prolific author from New York City with over 100 published works to his credit. Great, I thought, this will be easy.
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In the Echo of Violence by Jordan Dane

the-echo-of-violence.JPGBy Jeannie Holmes

Allison Brennan describes Jordan Dane’s books as “… romantic suspense [that] sizzles with an effective blend of hot romance and cold suspense. Intense and satisfying.” I completely agree. I had the pleasure of meeting Jordan last year at Bouchercon in Indianapolis and have enjoyed reading her books ever since.
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Baked by Mark Haskell Smith

baked.jpgBy Austin Camacho

It is rare to find a novel that is both a true thriller and outright hilarious.  If you treasure that combination as much as I do when it’s done right, then you’ll want to practically inhale Baked, the unique, drug-fueled romp from Mark Haskell Smith.

The story revolves around popular botanist Miro Basinas. Popular, because he has created an award-winning strain of marijuana for his rather exclusive clientele. Of course the illegal drug trade leads to murder, but the book is so much more than a crime novel. In between the laughs it tackles concepts like greed, and morality in ways that Weed and Breaking Bad haven’t even considered.
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Street: Clairvoyance by Ryan A. Span

street-clairvoyance.jpgIn Ryan A. Span’s novel Street: Clairvoyance, stranded in a hostile country, separated from her friends and haunted by terrible visions, telepath Gina Hart is in a bad position.

Worse, she might be the only one capable of stopping an all-out war between the people who want her for their own purposes.

Now it’s just a question of how much more she can take.
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The Thousand by Kevin Guilfoile

By John Darrinthe-thousand.JPG

Kevin Guilfoile told me, “Expectations never work in your favor unless they are low, and nobody wants low expectations.”

Expectations for The Thousand, his second novel, releasing this month, were hardly low. Not after his debut novel, Cast of Shadows, earned Kevin critical acclaim from every point on the literary compass.
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Blind Man’s Alley by Justin Peacock

blind-mans-alley.jpgBy Milton C. Toby

Think “thriller” and any number of things come to mind:

International conspiracies;


Weapons of mass destruction;


Real Estate.

Wait a second–Real Estate?   Donald Trump’s hair aside, real estate seems to be unlikely subject matter for a thriller.  Until you talk to Justin Peacock, author of Blind Man’s Alley, due for release this month from Doubleday.
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