Over the last few years, a continual stream of new and incredible authors have exploded onto the thriller and suspense scene. While the new kids on the block are worth a read, it’s time to pay credence to the time-tested authors who’ve consistently kept us up at night, enthralled us with their characters exploits and risks, and successfully beguiled away the hours when we most needed them to do just that. In homage to the tried-and-true, established veterans, here are the newest releases from a few of my favorite writers:
1. Stephen King
The Master of Suspense just released a new tale, and it’s been decreasing worker productivity all over the globe. As fans new and old lose sleep to read the book and then ponder its psychological aftermath, the bosses are left to question all the sudden sick leave. Published on September 10, The Institute combines the terror of Firestarter with the spectacular power of It. This is a gut-wrenching, dramatic story that pits good against evil, and the good guys don’t…always…win…
In the middle of the night on a quiet suburban street, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten- year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”
In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from The Institute.
This is another author who’s deservedly named in the same breath as the few other giants of his genre. Steven graduated from the US Naval Academy and spent his active duty years enforcing UN sanctions against Iraq as a maritime boarding officer in the Arabian Gulf and serving as a Forward Air Controller attached to a specialized Marine Corps unit. His thrillers drip with experience that no amount of research can duplicate, and his most recent release, The Raid, has “possible reality” written all over it.
After exposing and dismantling a deep-state conspiracy that nearly destroyed his life, Ryan Decker’s covert skills have caught the attention of influential Senator Steele, who now needs his help. A bizarre explosion kills two Border Patrol agents near the US-Mexico border and the evidence doesn’t corroborate the official story. Steele enlists Decker to run an undercover, off- the-books investigation, so he and his partner, Harlow, head south. When they’re caught in an ambush, Decker realizes the stakes are much higher and more dangerous than any of them expected. Rooted deep inside the Department of Defense, the cover-up puts their lives at risk and prevents Decker and Harlow from trusting anyone but their small circle of skilled associates. With the necks and legacies on the line, Decker and company initiate a risky plan to stop a ruthless international conspiracy.
An incredible writer whose fans have consumed more than 7.5 million copies of her novels, Melinda Leigh composes the kind of fiction you’ll tell your friends about. Self-described as a fully recovered banker, she studies a variety of martial arts and has taught women’s self-defense. Her writing is routinely nominated for awards, and Melinda has already been inducted into the New Jersey Romance Writers Hall of Fame. Her latest release, entitled Save Your Breath, is the sixth installment in her series about attorney Morgan Dane and PI Lance Kruger. It’s no surprise the publication has already amassed acclaim from critics and readers alike.
When true-crime writer Olivia Cruz disappears with no sign of foul play, her new boyfriend suspects the worst. Convinced she didn’t leave willingly, he turns to Morgan Dane and Lance Kruger to find her. Digging through Olivia’s abandoned life before it’s too late, the pair discovers a shocking connection between her current research into two cold case murders and the suicide of one of Morgan’s prospective clients. With time running short, the number of suspects grows and danger comes calling for Morgan and Lance. Their investigation might have made them a killer’s next targets.
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The next Bosch and Ballard installment, The Night Fire, by Michael Connelly, has just released. If you haven’t yet read his work, you’re not cheating anybody but yourself. As a career Los Angeles journalist with deep and historic connections to the LAPD, Connelly writes with such perspective and authority that I have trouble believing he never worked as a cop. The personalities, motivations, and insights of his characters are absolutely consistent with my experience working the streets, and my hat’s off to him for another perfect, gritty yarn.
When Harry Bosch was a rookie homicide detective, his mentor inspired him to take the job personally and light a relentlessness fire for every victim. After his mentor’s funeral, his widow gives Bosch a murder book. Stolen from the LAPD twenty years earlier, it documents the unsolved killing of a troubled young man. Bosch convinces Detective Renée Ballard to help him rectify this long standing wrong, and Ballad soon realizes much of the initial investigation doesn’t add up. Both investigators face a disturbing question: Did Bosch’s mentor intend to work the case in retirement, or to guarantee it never got solved?
I can’t say enough great things about Brian and his writing. He’s a legit cop’s cop who put in more than enough time on the job to write from experience, and it shines through in the pages of his novels. If you’re new to his work, this is the perfect time to jump in because he’s just started a new series called Boston Crime you’re gonna love as much as I do. Imagine The Departed meets Harry Bosch…
A child’s murder shocked the conscience of the entire city. But for Boston homicide detective Michael Kelly, the case hits particularly close to home. Born and raised only blocks from where the girl’s body was found, Kelly still has friends in the old neighborhood. Some are cops. Others run the Irish mob. When Kelly’s investigation uncovers a shocking conspiracy, he’ll need every unique connection on both sides of the law to bring the killer to justice, regardless of the cost…
THRILLERFIX ALL-STAR REVIEWER: A former law enforcement officer, Gavin Reese wrote his first six crime thrillers between patrol shifts. An author, thriller aficionado, and podcast host, Gavin has interviewed some of the top names in the genre. If you enjoy novels with authentic cops, crimes, and criminals, you'll want to follow Gavin Reese's book recommendations here on the Thrillerfix blog.