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Books for Summer ... Thrills, Suspense and more...

Some very hot days in June had me staying inside where it was cool and catching up on my reading. As you know, my personal preferences are romantic suspense and thrillers, though I do read other genres occasionally. Luckily, I picked some great ones and wasn’t disappointed at all in my choices. Following are my recommendations:

First is THE DECEIVED (Delacorte hardcover, July 1, 2008) by Brett Battles, a follow- up to his exciting debut, THE CLEANER. Quinn, a professional “cleaner” and freelance operative, finds his latest job to be much more personal than he’d like. But the way Quinn handles the job, and the repercussions from it, puts him to the test. Brilliant plot!

Andrew Gross pens a smart and fast-paced page-turner with THE DARK TIDE (Wm. Morrow hardcover, March 18, 2008). A woman discovers that her dead husband is not really who she thought he was when secrets from his past place her in harm’s way. In trying to unravel the lies from the truth, she’s shocked at the outcome. Mesmerizing reading with lots of surprises!

Next I read STRANGERS IN DEATH by J. D. Robb (Putnam hardcover, February 19, 2008), the latest installment in the Lieutenant Eve Dallas/Roarke saga. It’s another incredible entry in this series set in futuristic 2060 with Eve solving another murder case while she keeps the rest of her life on track. (This book is set to be released in paperback August 5, 2008.)

Long on reflective narrative and short on dialogue, DEATH ANGEL (Ballantine, July 1, 2008) by Linda Howard tells the story of a bad girl who’s given a second chance – and how that affects the lives of others. Don’t be anticipating sympathetic characters as both protagonists are more the antihero type. It’s an exciting novel with some twists and turns that stunned me – quite a unique storyline.

I tried a new author (for me, anyway) when I decided to read COOL CACHE (Obsidian hardcover, June 3, 2008) by Patricia Smiley. This is the fourth outing for her no-nonsense L.A. marketing expert (and amateur sleuth!) Tucker Sinclair and I found it to be a wickedly amusing mystery with a feisty heroine. A fun read!

Last, but not least, was last year’s INNOCENT AS SIN (recently released in paperback) by Elizabeth Lowell. Private banker Kayla finds herself unwittingly involved in the illegal laundering of millions of dollars – and fearing for her life. Landscape painter Rand finally knows who murdered his twin brother – and it’s the same man who has set up Kayla. Seeking vengeance, Rand takes the assignment that will place him close to the killer – and also involves protecting Kayla. I had to read this one before I could start on Ms. Lowell’s newest hardcover featuring the St. Kilda Consulting firm, BLUE SMOKE AND MURDER (Wm. Morrow, May 27, 2008). Wonderful characters and great plots in this ongoing romantic suspense series make for satisfying reading.

From June through October 2008, NAL Obsidian Mysteries will be publishing popular overseas author Meg Gardiner’s five-book Evan Delaney series in the U.S. These California-set mysteries feature a fierce and sardonic heroine and intense crime-suspense. Titles and release months for these paperbacks include: CHINA LAKE (June), MISSION CANYON (July), JERICHO POINT (August), CROSSCUT (September) and KILL CHAIN (October). Gardiner debuted in the U.S. last month with THE DIRTY SECRETS CLUB (Dutton hardcover, June 12, 2008), featuring Jo Beckett, a forensic psychiatrist who performs psychological autopsies to uncover the truths behind grisly crimes.

The second novel in Patricia Rice’s Mystic Isle series, MYSTIC RIDER (Signet Eclipse), went on sale July 1, 2008. Ian Olympus, skilled fighter and visionary, has left the isle of Aelynn for the Outside World to retrieve a sacred chalice. He finds that Chantal Deveau has the chalice and demands she hand it over. Not only is she outraged at his forceful request, but she’s strongly attracted to this irritating, sexy man.

Christina Dodd continues her Darkness Chosen saga this month with INTO THE SHADOW (Signet), the third entry in this unique paranormal series. Endowed with the ability to change into a panther, Adrik Wilder forsakes his family and his honor to follow a life of iniquity. When he encounters Karen, he’s sure their destinies are entwined, but his wicked past threatens to destroy him and the woman he loves. Then next month, watch for INTO THE FLAME (Signet, August 5, 2008), the story of Doug Black who has the ability to change into a golden cougar. His search to find his birth family leads him to Firebird Wilder, who has some supernatural gifts of her own.

SAY GOODBYE (Bantam hardcover) is the title of Lisa Gardner’s next riveting psychological thriller set to go on sale July 15, 2008. FBI Agent Kimberly Quincy is now married and five-months pregnant when she becomes involved in finding a serial killer who’s been targeting young girls. The only problem is – there are no bodies. As Kimberly becomes obsessed with the case, it starts to take its toll. Is she being lured into the madman’s trap – a web as sticky as the creepy spiders he loves? With the help of her father, Quincy, and his wife, Rainie, they discover something more bizarre than they could ever have imagined. (I’ve already read SAY GOODBYE and it’s another phenomenal novel by this highly talented author. If you like thrills and chills and lots of shocking surprises, don’t miss this one.)

THE WILD ROAD (Leisure), the eighth book in Marjorie M. Liu’s Dirk & Steele series will be released July 29, 2008. As a sequel to A DREAM OF STONE AND SHADOWS, Where the Heart Lives (from MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON anthology) and SOUL SONG, it is therefore a gargoyle book. Lannes is one of a dying race born to protect mankind. And while most see a beautiful man, this illusion is nothing but a prison. But when he finds a woman covered in blood, with no memory or past, he will be drawn into a mystery that makes him question all he knows. Liu’s unique Dirk & Steele paranormal series just gets better and better with each installment.

The long wait is almost over for fans of Linnea Sinclair who’ve been anxiously looking for the sequel to GABRIEL’S GHOST. Coming July 29, 2008, from Bantam is SHADES OF DARK. (This book was originally titled Chasidah’s Choice.) Following her court-martial, Imperial Fleet Captain Chaz Bergren has become a fugitive from the corrupt Empire. Along with her lover, former monk, mercenary and telepath Gabriel Sullivan, she leaves the past behind – until she learns that her brother Thad has been arrested and will be executed for treason. Of course, it’s a ploy to force Chaz and Sully out of hiding – and it works. Treachery and betrayal abound, as well as questionable loyalties and fateful choices, which irrevocably change their relationship. And you’ll be happy to know Linnea has signed a contract with Bantam for two additional books set in the same universe as GABRIEL’S GHOST and SHADES OF DARK.

Another long-awaited sequel is coming August 1, 2008 – BODY MOVERS: 3 MEN AND A BODY (Mira trade paper) by Stephanie Bond. Carlotta Wren is back in this third installment about (you guessed it!) body movers (people who remove corpses from nursing homes, hospitals and/or crime scenes). When sexy Cooper Craft invites her to join him on a trip to Florida to pick up a famous corpse, they find they aren’t the only ones who are after it. Three different men are staking claim to the body…and someone is very determined that Carlotta and Cooper not maintain possession of it. For those of you who missed the second Body Movers book, 2 BODIES FOR THE PRICE OF 1, it’s being reprinted in paperback this month. The first book in the series is titled BODY MOVERS. “As of now,” Stephanie says, “there will be at least six books in the series, and if readers continue to enjoy and buy the books, hopefully more! 4 BODIES AND A FUNERAL, 5 BODIES TO DIE FOR and 6 KILLER BODIES will be released back-to-back in April, May and June 2009.” These crime/mystery novels feature Stephanie’s signature humor, romance and flamboyant style.

SOUTH OF HELL (Pocket Star) is the title of P. J. Parrish’s second Joe Frye thriller (and sequel to A THOUSAND BONES) set to be published July 29, 2008. P.I. Louis Kincaid finds himself investigating two mysteries with the help of his lover, Undersheriff Joette “Joe” Frye. He’s also having to deal with some ghosts from his past, as well as figuring out his still-evolving relationship with Joe.

Teresa Medeiros leaves the vampire world behind and returns to Regency Scotland for her next novel, SOME LIKE IT WICKED (Avon), to be released July 29, 2008. Fresh Fiction reviewer Suan Wilson says, “Favorite romance author Teresa Medeiros spins a memorable tale of girlhood dreams colliding with a man who believes he has nothing to offer. From the first page, readers will become engrossed in the characters and their struggles as their dreams crash down into reality.”

July 29, 2008, is the on-sale date for THE GARDEN OF EVIL (Delacorte hardcover), the sixth intriguing Nic Costa thriller by David Hewson. After two bodies are found in a deserted artist’s studio in Rome, Detective Nic Costa and his team become involved in a frenzied case that leads them on a journey through history as they follow clues left by a brilliant artist with bizarre and grisly tastes. Though the main suspect’s identity is known, he’s untouchable, being protected by a cadre of slick lawyers and a malevolent cult. (I’ve also read this novel and recommend it highly.)

Also on sale July 29, 2008, is FRACTURED (Delacorte hardcover) by Karin Slaughter. This new novel brings back Georgia FBI Agent Will Trent (from TRIPTYCH) for a shocking case of kidnapping and murder in one of Atlanta’s wealthiest suburbs. What looks like a home invasion gone bad, resulting in two murders, turns into kidnapping – and something much more bizarre. Trent’s unusual crime sense puts him at odds with his fellow officers, but also brings him an unlikely partner in the investigation. (Yes, this is another one I’ve already read – and could not turn the pages fast enough!)

The last week of this month, I’ll be traveling with Fresh Fiction reviewer Suan Wilson to San Francisco. Once there, we’ll be meeting up with others of the Fresh Fiction staff (Sara Reyes, Mindy Ewing, Gwen Reyes and Faye McMichael), as well as Fresh Fiction reviewer Lenore Howard, to attend the Romance Writers of America annual conference. Watch for my report about this event (and lots of photos, I hope!) in upcoming columns.

’Til then… Tanzey




1 comment posted.

Re: Books for Summer ... Thrills, Suspense and more...

I just finished Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon the Dark Hunters are a great read check them out
(Lisa Burleson 1:38pm August 8, 2008)

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