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Suspense Novels and Thrillers for Summer 2017

By kileyturner
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Make room in your beach bag for at least one of these ...
Smoke

Smoke

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Hardcover
tagged : literary, suspense

“Dan Vyleta has conjured a rich and surprising counter-history, an England saturated with a substance so potent and evocative it vaults instantly into the pantheon that includes the dust of Philip Pullman, the soma of George Orwell and the opium of Amitav Ghosh. Smoke is enthralling.” —Robin Sloan, bestselling author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

England. A century ago, give or take a few years. An England where people who are wicked in thought or deed are marked by the Smoke that p …

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Be Ready for the Lightning

Be Ready for the Lightning

edition:Paperback

From acclaimed New Face of Fiction alumna Grace O'Connell, a suspenseful, poignant and provocative tale about violence, sibling love, friendship, heroism--all told through the lens of a young woman trapped in a hijacked bus.

On the surface, Veda's life in Vancouver seems to be going just fine--at nearly thirty, she has a good job, lifelong friends, and a close bond with her brother, Conrad. But Conrad's violent behavior, a problem since he was a teen, is getting more and more serious, and Veda's …

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Excerpt

I’ve never been shot. I’ve never even seen a gun up close, other than my father’s hunting rifles up at the cabin. And those old .22s, with their wooden stocks, are more like something from Davey Crockett than Quentin Tarantino.

He took Conrad into the woods to shoot sometimes—my dad, not Quentin Tarantino. Muffled booms from deep in the trees. It was just pop cans off stumps, and once, on a whim, the slowest, dumbest rabbit. Tears from Connie afterwards.

They didn’t invite me into the woods to shoot. It wasn’t because I’m a girl. Just an assumption that I wouldn’t have wanted to go. They were right. I wouldn’t have.

I get on the city bus that day in April after running three blocks down Fifth Avenue, along the side of Central Park. I’ve been in New York a couple of months already, but there’s still a part of me, a dorky tourist part, that can only think I’m running down Fifth Avenue. I’m running beside Central Park as I go. A numbskull commentary of the obvious.

I’m wearing my shoes that got ruined in the rain. They’re half-slipping off my feet, but the bus is almost at the stop, so I run past souvenir stands and lemonade carts and a pile of seemingly discarded blue wooden slats telling me sternly, “Police Line Do Not Cross.” It’s unseasonably hot in Manhattan, and I’m sweating in my pits, down my back and a little where my bra meets my skin.

On the bus, there isn’t an open seat except where I would have to really squeeze in beside someone, which I don’t like, so I just stand. I hang from the clammy pull-down handle, swinging and swaying around. I bump into a moustached man beside me and apologize.

He says, “Don’t worry dear,” and my homesick heart gives a little jump, because that is something my dad would say, the dear. I can almost hear him saying it, the faded Irish lilt buttering the edges of his voice. When I’m away from them, I miss a version of my parents
that doesn’t really exist, a sort of cuddly perfect-family nostalgia. Maybe I’m not the only one; maybe this is why people leave, move on, put distance between themselves and where they’re from—so they can miss a Vaseline-lens version of things.

Central Park goes on forever. Just before we pass by the Met and its grand entrance, a crowd of kids gets off the bus with a woman herding them, probably a teacher. There’s a playground peeking out above the stone wall of the park. I don’t know why—I don’t get sappy about
kids usually—but it makes me smile. 

After the kids go, there’s enough room to sit, but I don’t bother. Neither does the moustache man. I feel attached to him, as if we are friends. I do this with strangers all the time. I do it with cars that I drive behind on the highway for a long time. I get sad when they exit.

A tall guy, one of those slab-of-meat Russian types, gets on the bus and sits down in one of the spaces vacated by the children. He’s talking loudly into a cell phone.

“Yeah, I’m on the M1 now, I’ll be there when I’m there, it’s good. Doesn’t matter, anyway, she wouldn’t even let me pick him up, like picking him up is something so big, too big for me apparently. It’s some bullshit, but what am I supposed to do? I got my mom to do it,
apparently that was okay, even she wouldn’t say no to my mom—”

A professorial-looking man across the aisle makes a shh sound and says, quietly, “Could you keep your voice down? You’re disturbing everyone.”

Without even moving the phone away from his mouth, the first man says, even louder, “Don’t tell me to shh, I ain’t disturbing anyone but you.” The two of them glare at one another for a second, and I get tense all over. I hate fights. There is that swollen, pre-storm feeling that crackles between men sometimes. Then the smaller guy drops his eyes, and the loud one returns to his call, and there is an air of relief and emasculation around the man who complained.

In the seat in front of him, two teenagers are taking photos of each other with a phone.

The girl says, “What’s it called? Photographic memory? I totally want that.”

And the boy says, “Anyone can do it, it’s easy.”

“No, it’s not, you have to be born with it.”

“No, you can learn it. You need these special lights, and there’s a book that teaches you how. My sister told me about it.”

At this the girl looks cowed, impressed. Then the boy points the phone at her, and she smiles again.

I’m looking out the window, somewhere in the lower fifties or upper forties, watching a man take a photo of his wife on the sidewalk as she pantomimes throwing her umbrella into a trash can.
I picture them torturing their nieces and nephews with a computer slideshow of those photos, when they get home. Why take a picture like that? Celebrating the end of the rain, the beautiful
day? I guess I opted for the bus over the subway for the same reason, and because I don’t like being underground, and because
I’m not in a hurry.

I haven’t been in a hurry since I got to New York. I’m filling my hours, wandering around, tutoring kids who are either too dumb for me to ever get them where their anxious parents want them to end up, or too smart to need me. I prefer the dumb ones. I can comfort them, and some of them have already developed appealing compensations for their dumbness—humour or charm or selfdeprecation. They know that they’re not going to make their parents happy. The smart ones are sadder, more desperate. They want to be even smarter than they are; they are already worried about being anything less than perfect.

One girl asked me to write a college essay for her. I was confused, because she’s one of the brightest kids I tutor. I knew whatever she wrote would be good. “Not good enough,” she said, her perfectly smooth hands twisting together on the dining room table. “I’ll pay you. I have my own account. How much do you want?” Sounding slightly manic, she started listing the things she could give me: this purse or that cell phone; she could give me her brand-new laptop and tell her parents she lost it; did I want her coat, her shoes, her dresses? I didn’t take her money or her stuff, but it wasn’t because it would have been wrong. It was because I could tell this girl didn’t have it in her to lie well, to lie blandly and in that small way lies need to be told in order to be believed. That she would panic and throw me under the bus, when her parents said, “Is that what really happened?” That she was still missing the slightly rotten thing I’d found in myself that keeps you calm and flat when you should be sorry.

In Midtown, a guy gets on wearing a checked shirt under a long, heavy coat. His thin legs poke out from shorts below the coat, sport socks yanked up above tennis shoes. It is a heartbreaking outfit, a clash of boy and man. He must be so hot. Also, he’s sort of goodlooking, despite the weird clothes, one of those dark honey blonds, sharp-nosed with the sort of finely veined skin that looks like it would bruise easily.

After the door closes behind him, just as the bus begins to pull away from the curb, he reaches into his jacket and takes out a gun, leans over the fare box, around the Plexiglas shield, and points it at the driver’s head. The gun is big and sort of rectangular, like a cell phone from the ’80s.

“Stop the bus,” he says.

I only see and hear this because I’m close to the front; I’m already looking at him. He couldn’t be more than thirty, if that, the same age as me. The driver slams on the brakes, the bus lurches to a halt, and my body goes forward and then back. I bump into the moustache man again, who says, “Don’t worry, don’t worry, I’m not made of glass,” even though I didn’t say anything this time. He’s behind me and hasn’t yet seen the man with the gun. But an older woman in front of me, sitting in the courtesy seats, has, and she is making small noises.

“Pull it right over to the curb,” says the man, “and put your hands on your head. Don’t speak on your radio. Please.” His voice is lower than you’d expect from his size, his looks. A baritone, a radio voice.

Some people behind me are grumbling and saying, “What the fuck?” because they don’t know why the bus has stopped. And all of this so far has taken only seconds. The driver puts the bus in gear and it trundles to the right. One wheel goes up on the curb, and more passengers yell. What the fuck. Is this idiot drunk? Jesus Christ. The driver puts his hands on his head, and I can just see a scrap of his elbow jutting out to the side.

“Put it back in park,” says the man, and the driver does so, the elbow dipping out of sight momentarily. I can hear him speaking now. He says, “Just walk off, just go home. You’re okay, man, you’re okay. It’s nothing, really, nothing at all.”

I’m not really thinking anything right now. In the morning, I’d been walking around in the Met feeling strangely disconnected, as if I’d gone deaf. I was still worrying, irrationally, that what happened to my ear in B.C. had damaged my hearing, though logically I knew that my zonked feeling was probably just a hangover from the bar night I’d just had for my birthday with Al and Marie. I got the Met tickets from the parents of a boy I’m tutoring who’s wonderfully rich and woefully stupid. Technically, you can go to the museum for free, but they ask you to buy a ticket–you can choose any price, or none at all. The idea of just ignoring the request and swanning in without paying was too intimidating, but paying for a free museum seemed wasteful on my limited budget. The pre-paid ticket was easy, anonymous. If I told Annie that, she’d make fun of me. Spineless. I know it.

On the bus, in this moment, it’s too quick. The whole thing seems like something that is happening but also not happening. I feel like I’m floating. I still have the little metal badge from the Met clipped to the neckline of my dress, a summer dress I’m wearing, because it is so oddly warm today. The only tiny working corner of my brain theorizes that this might be some sort of extreme ad campaign or maybe a movie shoot (how, somehow). Or something terribly strange
but legitimate, allowed. It can’t be real. 

The gunman steps back a little, blinks a few times. He looks at the Plexiglas barrier that half-shields the driver’s seat. Then he shoots the driver in the head.

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The Twilight Wife

The Twilight Wife

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Audiobook

NOW A USA TODAY AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER!

“Every page is packed with both peril and exquisite writing, and the novel reads like a wholly unique cross between Somewhere in Time and Memento. You won’t be able to put it down!” (David Bell, author of Since She Went Away)

From bestselling author A.J. Banner comes a dazzling new novel of psychological suspense in the vein of S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl that questions just how much we can tru …

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Our Little Secret

Our Little Secret

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

For fans of In a Dark, Dark Wood and All the Missing Girls comes Our Little Secret, a compulsive and thrilling debut about a missing woman, a tangled love triangle, the secrets we keep and the secrets we share.

The detective wants to know what happened to Saskia, as if I could just skip to the ending and all would be well. But stories begin at the beginning and some secrets have to be earned.

Angela is being held in a police interrogation room. Her ex’s wife has gone missing and Detective No …

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The Only Child

The Only Child

A Novel
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

The #1 internationally bestselling author Andrew Pyper returns with a thrilling new novel about one woman’s search for a killer and the stunning secret that binds them to each other.

What if you learned your father wasn’t who you thought he was? What if you learned you carried secrets deep within your blood?

Dr. Lily Dominick has seen her share of bizarre cases as a forensic psychiatrist working with some of New York’s most dangerous psychotic criminals. But nothing can prepare Lily for …

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The Twenty-Three

The Twenty-Three

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover Paperback

From New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Linwood Barclay comes the third and final spine-chilling thriller in the Promise Falls trilogy.

Everything has been leading to this.
     It's the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 23rd, and the small town of Promise Falls, New York, has found itself in the midst of a full-blown catastrophe. Hundreds of people are going to the hospital with similar symptoms--vomiting, dizziness, loss of consciousness--and dozens are dying. And those …

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Excerpt

ONE
 
I know I won’t be able to get them all. But I hope I’ll be able to get enough.
 
DAY ONE
 
TWO
 
 
Patricia Henderson, forty-one, divorced, employed at the Weston Street Branch of the Promise Falls Public Library System as a computer librarian, was, on that Saturday morning of the long holiday weekend in May, among the first to die. 

She was scheduled to work that day. Patricia was annoyed the library board chose to keep all of the town’s libraries open. They were slated to close on the Sunday, and on the Monday, Memorial Day. So, if you’re going to close Sunday and Monday, why not close for the Saturday, too, and give everyone at the library the weekend off? 

But no. 

Not that Patricia had anywhere in particular to go. 

But still. It seemed ridiculous to her. She knew, given that it was a long weekend, there’d be very few people coming into the library. Wasn’t this town supposed to be in the midst of a financial crisis? Why keep the place open? Sure, there was a bit of a rush on Friday as some customers, particularly those who had cottages or other weekend places, took out books to keep them occupied through to Tuesday. The rest of the weekend was guaranteed to be quiet. 

Patricia was to be at the library for nine, when it opened, but that really meant she needed to be there for eight forty-five a.m. That would give her time to boot up all the computers, which were shut down every night at closing to save on electricity, even though the amount of power the branch’s thirty computers drew overnight was negligible. The library board, however, was on a “green” kick, which meant not only conserving electricity, but making sure recycling stations were set up throughout the library, and signs pinned to the bulletin boards to discourage the use of bottled water. One of the library board members saw the bottled water industry, and the bins of plastic bottles it created, as one of the great evils of the modern world, and didn’t want them in any of the Promise Falls branches. “Provide paper cups that can be filled at the facility’s water fountains,” she said. Which now meant that the recycling stations were overflowing with paper cups instead of water bottles. 

And guess who was pissed about that. What’s-his-name, that Finley guy who used to be mayor and now ran a water bottling company. Patricia had met him the first–and she hoped, last –time just the other evening at the Constellation Drive-in. She’d taken her niece Kaylie and her little friend Alicia for the drive-in’s final night. Kaylie’s mom – Patricia’s sister Val – had lent her their minivan, since Patricia’s Hyundai was a little too cramped for such an excursion. God, what a mistake that turned out to be. Not only did the screen come crashing down, scaring the little girls half to death, but then Finley showed up, trying to get his picture taken giving comfort to the wounded. 
Politics, Patricia thought. How she hated politics and everything about it. 

And thinking of politics, Patricia had found herself staring at the ceiling at four in the morning, worried about next week’s public meeting on “Internet filtering.” The debate had been going on for years and never seemed settled. Should the library put filters on computers used by patrons that would restrict access to certain websites? The idea was to keep youngsters from accessing pornography, but it was a continuing quagmire. The filters were often ineffective, blocking material that was not adult oriented, and allowing material that was. And aside from that, there were freedom of speech and freedom to read issues. 

Patricia knew the meeting would, as these kinds of meetings always did, devolve into a shouting match between ultraconservatives who saw gay subtext in the Teletubbies and didn’t want computers in the library to begin with, and ultra left-wingers who believed if a kindergartner wanted to read Portnoy’s Complaint, so be it. 

At ten minutes after five, when she knew she wasn’t going to get back to sleep, she threw back the covers and decided to move forward with her day. 

She walked into the bathroom, flicked on the light, and studied her face in the mirror. 

“Ick,” she said, rubbing her cheeks with the tips of her fingers. “ABH.” 

That was the mantra from Charlene, her personal trainer. Always Be Hydrating. Which meant drinking at least seven full glasses of water a day. 

Patricia reached for the glass next to the sink, turned on the tap to let the water run until it was cold, filled the glass and drank it down in one long gulp. She reached into the shower, turned on the taps, held her hand under the spray until it was hot enough, pulled the long, white T-shirt she slept in over her head, and stepped in. 

She stayed in there until she could sense the hot water starting to run out. Shampooed and lathered up first, then stood under the water, feeling it rain across her face. 

Dried off. 
Dressed. 
Felt–and this was kind of weird–itchy all over. 
Did her hair and makeup. 

By the time she was in her apartment kitchen, it was six-thirty. Still plenty of time to kill before driving to the library, a ten-minute commute. Or, if she decided to ride her bike, about twenty-five minutes. 

Patricia opened the cupboard, took out a small metal tray with more than a dozen bottles of pills and multivitamins. She opened the lids on four, tapped out a calcium tablet, a low-dose aspirin, a vitamin D, and a multivitamin, which, while containing vitamin D, did not, she believed, have enough. 

She tossed them all into her mouth at once and washed them down with a small glass of water from the kitchen tap. Moved her upper body all around awkwardly, as though her blouse were made of wool. 

Patricia opened the refrigerator and stared. Did she want an egg? Hard-boiled? Fried? It seemed like a lot of work. She closed the door and went back to the cupboard and brought down a box of Special K. 

“Whoa,” she said. 

It was like a wave washing over. Light-headedness. Like she’d been standing outside in a high wind and nearly gotten blown over. 

She put both hands on the edge of the counter to steady herself. Let it pass, she told herself. It’s probably nothingUp too early. 

There, she seemed to be okay. She brought down a small bowl, started to pour some cereal into it. 

Blinked. 
Blinked again. 

She could see the “K” on the cereal box clearly enough, but “Special” was fuzzy around the edges. Which was pretty strange, because it was not exactly a tiny font. This was not newspaper type. The letters in “Special” were a good inch tall. 

Patricia squinted. 

“Special,” she said. 

She closed her eyes, shook her head, thinking that would set things straight. But when she opened her eyes, she was dizzy. 

“What the hell,” she said. 
I need to sit down. 

She left the cereal where it was and made her way to the table, pulled out the chair. Was the room spinning? Just a little? 

She hadn’t had the “whirlies” in a very long time. She’d gotten drunk more than a few times over the years with her ex, Stanley. But even then, she’d never had enough to drink that the room spun. She had to go back to her days as a student at Thackeray for a memory like that. 

But Patricia hadn’t been drinking. And what she was feeling now wasn’t the same as what she’d felt back then. 

For one thing, her heart was starting to race. 

She placed a hand on her chest, just about the swell of her breasts, to see if she could feel what she already knew she was feeling. 
Tha-thump. Tha-thump. Tha-tha-thump. 

Her heart wasn’t just picking up the pace. It was doing so in an irregular fashion. 

Patricia moved her hand from her chest to her forehead. Her skin was cold and clammy. 

She wondered whether she could be having a heart attack. But she wasn’t old enough for one of those, was she? And she was in good shape. She worked out. She often rode her bike to work. She had a personal trainer, for God’s sake. 
The pills. 

Patricia figured she must have taken the wrong pills. But was there anything in that pill container that could do something like this to her? 
No. 

She stood, felt the floor move beneath her as though Promise Falls were undergoing an earthquake, which was not the sort of thing that happened often in upstate New York. 
Maybe, she thought, I should just get my ass to Promise Falls General. 

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Follow Me Down

Follow Me Down

An Orwell Brennan Mystery
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
tagged :

A man, hanging from a tree at the edge of the forest that surrounds Dockerty, Newry County, has been shot with arrows, two of which pin his belly to the tree trunk. Orwell Brennan, Dockerty’s chief of police, questions the validity of it being a hunting accident when a sergeant tells him it’s been ruled a murder. He also tells the chief that the investigation is now in the hands of Metro Homicide and outside his concern. But Orwell has never listened much to those telling him to mind his own …

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A Harvest of Thorns

A Harvest of Thorns

A Novel
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Paperback

Bestselling author Corban Addison returns with another tale ripped straight from the headlines, intertwining unforgettable characters and gripping action with the global labour issues of sweatshops and workers’ rights

A beloved American corporation with an explosive secret.

A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption.

A corporate executive with nothing left to lose.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers. Amid the rubble, a b …

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