Here are more great thrillers I got from NetGalley:
- Shadows Reel–Joe Pickett is pulled into a WWII mystery and Nate Romanowski must retrieve his stolen raptors.
- Racing the Light–Elvis Cole with his partner Joe Pike solve another perplexing mystery
- Lethal Game–a coordinated attack on the core of Graves’ Security Solutions isn’t enough to stop Jonathan Graves
- Righteous Prey–love this series but this may end my addiction
- Hunting Time–raised in a survivalist home, Colter uses his skill to find and keep safe those in need
by C.J. Box
Another excellent story that just never slows, never stops, and introduces a few delicious twists that will have to be addressed in future books. Highly recommended.
by Robert Crais
In Racing the Light, Robert Crais’ nineteenth Elvis Cole and Joe Pike book (GP Putnam’s Sons 2022), Elvis is hired by a distraught mother to find her missing son, Josh Shoe, a podcaster and self-proclaimed investigative journalist. The police won’t take her seriously because he’s an adult and there’s no evidence of foul play. But the mother convinces Elvis that something happened that shouldn’t have (the thick envelope of money she offered might have been somewhat persuasive). Elvis as usual pulls a thread and then follows it, to Josh’s house, to his friends, to a porn-star-turned-artist that leads to a Chinese conglomerate and foreign spies with high tech equipment that exceeds even DARPA’s capabilities (maybe–that’s top secret so we don’t really know). As any aficionado of this series knows, once Elvis is hooked on a case, he doesn’t let go, and to solve this one takes many of his myriad contacts as well as clever intellect. Mixed in with his sleuthing is his long-distance former girlfriend who has decided to come for a visit and a chat.
As usual, Elvis is witty and quick. Pike is powerful and focused. I have loved every one of the books in this series, including this one. I can’t wait for the next.
One point that bugs me but didn’t detract from the rating: What’s with the covers? They seem… quirky? At best, or weird. But it doesn’t matter. I’ll keep reading.
by John Gilstrap
Jon Gilstrap’s Lethal Game (Pinnacle Books 2022), #14 in the Jonathan Grave Thrillers, is excellent. Like all the books in this series, it is high powered, fast-moving, clever, and makes you think. It has the Special Forces stuff with Jonathan Graves and his sidekick Boxer, the top two operatives at Graves’ company Security Solutions, specialists in finding and rescuing individuals from difficult to impossible circumstances. It also has the geeky side with Venice, the world’s best hacker and responsible for uncovering the secrets that allow Security Solutions to do what they’re so good at.
This particular story starts with bad-guys (no spoilers about who they are) who unleash coordinated attacks on Graves, his top operatives, and–oddly–Venice’s elderly mother. The intention is to destroy the core of what allows this company to operate by catching them off-guard, killing everyone important before they have a chance to mount a defense or a response. All attacks fail and place Jonathan on high alert. How he deals with this threat–well, if you’ve read any of the other books in this series, you know the answer to that.
I’ve loved every book in this series and can’t wait for the next one.
by John Sandford
John Sandford is an excellent writer. In all thirty-two books of the Prey series, he has spun tales like no one else. His iconic characters–Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers–have changed and grown over time–as you’d expect–which has kept this series always at the top of my read list.
In Righteous Prey (G.P. Putnam 2022), a group of six bored wealthy brilliant leaders of industry decide to kill other wealthy people this group deems contrary to the country’s values. They place a number on their forehead to count up to five (to account for one kill from each, not including the organizer) and issue a press release explaining the murder. Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport work together on this one, braving the frigid Minnesota winter temperatures to stop the killers before they finish. The story includes the usual blend of clever wit that makes this series a page turner and always on my list to grab as soon as a new book is published.
So why did I give it 4/5 for the first time in the entire series? Two reasons. One, I’m a little worried about the anti-police bent, mostly in Flowers. He is a clever detective I’ve respected because he does his job based on justice and fair play. He eschews guns, will do whatever possible to spare a life, but understands their part in police work. In this book, he seems to be losing his perspective on where the line is between a nation of laws and taking care of people (admittedly a difficult balance).
This comes to a head at one point when he’s trying to gain the cooperation of suspected illegals, trying to assure them he isn’t ICE and won’t depart them, is just looking for information. I understand that, but he crosses a line I don’t think he should at one point. As he’s talking with Lucas, trying to unravel his feelings about this, when he’s talking about ICE and the part they play in handling border issues, he says F*** those a**h****”. That wasn’t necessary to the plot and seemed out of character in a law enforcement official I had to this point admired.
End of spoiler
The second annoyance: The growing anti-Conservative trend that seems to becoming acceptable in otherwise great fiction stories. Why is it that writers can’t say conservative or Republican without appending something derogatory? Half their readers–or more–are bound to be insulted. I just don’t get it.
by Jeffrey Deaver
In Jeffrey Deaver’s Hunting Time (GP Putnam’s Sons), Book 4 in the Colter Shaw Novel series (and separate from Deaver’s Lincoln Rhymes series), former cop and alleged wife beater Jon Merritt is released from prison as a model prisoner. He now sets his sights on revenge against the wife who caused him to be incarcerated. Allison is a brilliant engineer, loving mother, but her child, Hannah, may be too sympathetic to her dad and the dad’s former police colleagues were never convinced he was guilty. Colter is hired by the wife’s boss to protect her until the father reveals himself as a danger to his wife and can be thrown back into prison. Why is her boss the one interested in her safety? Allison is the brains behind his new product.
As always, Deaver writes compelling descriptions and has a storytellers knack for revealing details. Hunting Time can be read as a stand alone, but I’m glad I read at least one of the prequels (see my review of The Final Twist) Why? Consider this: On Page One, Colter Shaw is already in a situation ordinary detectives might not survive, but because I knew his spot on instincts, his MacGyver-esque survival skills, the brilliance and speed of his brain–I knew I was in for a fun scene.
Two characteristics make this book stand out from other thrillers. One: The author includes rules taught to Cole by his dad on how to survive:
“Never let surprise dull your awareness”
“Never extend a handgun out in front of you when entering a blind doorway”
“Never engage unless you have to”
“Never let discomfort trick you into taking a risk”
Two. Colter makes decisions based on probabilities–
“Only when he assessed minimal threat–less than ten percent–did he turn fully to the man”
Couple these with Deaver’s clever mind for dropping breadcrumbs and then connecting seemingly disparate clues, I never wanted to put this book down. Having said that, there were two problems not serious enough to rate a star deduction. One, there was lots of backstory, probably how Deaver chose to build drama. Two, there was not enough of Colter Shaw and his amazing survival skills in the early parts.
Overall, an excellent series for Deaver fans, survivalists, and those who love surprises in their thrillers.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Summer 2022