A “Suspenseful Six” to introduce you to our top 20 of the year
Every fall the Amazon Books editors select the best mysteries and thrillers of the year, and it’s always a fun list to pick. Inevitably, some heavy hitters of the genre will be included on the list. (I’m talking to you, John Grisham, Louise Penny, Lee Child, Stephen King, and a few others.) But the biggest pleasure is in reviewing the year to find the debut novels that introduced exciting new authors.
Here are six books that stood out for us in 2019. Call it the “Suspenseful Six.” Some are debuts, and some were penned by seasoned veterans. All of them are worth checking out. Happy reading.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
This debut thriller was our top pick in the mystery category. Alicia Berenson is an artist who inexplicably shoots her husband five times and then refuses to speak again. Sent to the Grove, an institution outside of London, she becomes the silent patient. When a psychotherapist named Theo Faber grows obsessed with her case, a story of twists and turns starts to take shape.
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
Another debut, Lauren Wilkinson’s American Spy, places a young black woman in the events of the Cold War. She is a brilliant intelligence officer, but the FBI’s old boys’ club keeps passing her over for the best jobs. Then she is offered an opportunity to go to Burkina Faso to work against the revolutionary president there, and her life takes a turn that will cause her to question what it means to be a good American.
The New Girl by Daniel Silva
You will find the source material for Daniel Silva’s 19th Gabriel Allon novel in the headlines. Prince Khalid bin Mohammed of Saudi Arabia (or KBM) promises to introduce more freedoms to his country and reject radical Islam. Yet he is also responsible for the brutal murder of a dissident journalist. When KBM’s daughter is kidnapped, he turns to Israeli intelligence agent Gabriel Allon to try to retrieve her. Allon will do his best to save the girl, but he is not in an enviable situation. After nearly 20 books, Allon and his adventures still make for great reading.
The Whisper Man by Alex North
Twenty years ago, the small town of Featherbank was terrorized by a serial killer. After five murders, Frank Carter was caught and put in jail. Carter was known as “the Whisper Man” because he would lure people by whispering at their bedroom windows. Tom and his son Jake have recently moved to Featherbank — but now a boy has vanished. And even though Frank Clark is still in jail, it looks like the work of the Whisper Man.
Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill
With books like Heart-Shaped Box, The Fireman, and NOS4A2, Joe Hill long ago established himself as a talented author who can write the heck out of a story. That’s good, because when your father is Stephen King, you’ve got quite the reputation to live up to. Full Throttle is a collection of 13 suspenseful and gripping stories — two of which he co-wrote with his father, including “In the Tall Grass,” which is the inspiratation for a feature film released in October by Netflix.
The Killer Collective by Barry Eisler
Veteran author Barry Eisler brings in characters from different series to form a killer collective — a retired assassin, a police detective, a Marine sniper, and a Mossad agent. Each is able to carry a book on his or her own, but when they are joined together the sum is worth even more than the parts. Together they set out to take down an international child-pornography ring with connections to some very powerful people.