These books span several subgenres, and represent those that we enjoyed most, in no particular order.
SecondWorld, by Jeremy Robinson
To be honest, this was a huge surprise. Robinson’s work typically leans more toward the fantasy genre, which isn’t our cup of tea. But once we got past the campy first chapter set in 1940s Nazi Germany, this one had us hook, like and sinker. The synopsis: Lincoln Miller, an ex-Navy SEAL turned NCIS special agent, is sent to Aquarius, the world’s only sub-oceanic research facility, located off the Florida Keys, to investigate reports of ocean dumping. A week into his stay, strange red flakes descend from the surface. Scores of fish are dead and dying, poisoned by the debris that turns to powder in Miller’s fingers and tastes like blood. Miller heads for the surface, ready to fight whoever is polluting on his watch. But he finds nothing. No ships. No polluters. No oxygen. Instead, he finds a cloudless sky full of red particles dropping like snow and coating the ocean with a thick film that stretches to the horizon. When a dead blue whale collides with Aquarius, Miller begins a harrowing race to escape the affected area. Cut off from the rest of the world and surrounded by death, Miller makes his way to Miami, where he discovers just one survivor and the awful truth: the strange phenomenon that robbed the air of its life-giving oxygen was an attack by an enemy reborn from the ashes of World War II. And they’re just getting started. Miami, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo have all been destroyed. Millions are dead. And if Miller can’t track down and stop those responsible in seven days, the rest of the world is next.
Kill Shot, by Vince Flynn
Not every book in the Mitch Rapp series is a winner, but this one sure is. The winning formula this time was taking the character back in time and learning about his formative years. That was good for the plot, and
somehow, good for Flynn’s prose as well. The synopsis: For months, Mitch Rapp has been steadily workinghis way through a list of men, bullet by bullet. With each kill, the tangled network of monsters responsible for the slaughter of 270 civilians becomes increasingly clear. He is given his next target: a plump Libyan diplomat who is prone to drink and is currently in Paris without a single bodyguard.
Rapp finds him completely unprotected and asleep in his bed. With confidence in his well-honed skills and conviction of the man’s guilt, he easily sends a bullet into the man’s skull. But in the split second it takes the bullet to leave the silenced pistol, everything changes. The door to the hotel room is kicked open and gunfire erupts all around Rapp. In an instant the hunter has become the hunted. Rapp is left wounded and must flee for his life.
The Fear Index, by Robert Harris
Harris’ finest novel since Fatherland. This book about the tense world of hedge fund management is incredibly scary, and kept us guessing until the last three or four chapter. Here’s the plot: His name is carefully guarded from the general public but within the secretive inner circles of the ultra-rich Dr Alex Hoffmann is a legend – a visionary scientist whose computer software turns everything it touches into gold.Together with his partner, an investment banker, Hoffmann has developed a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that tracks human emotions, enabling it to predict movements in the financial markets with uncanny accuracy. His hedge fund, based in Geneva, makes billions. But then in the early hours of the morning, while he lies asleep with his wife, a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of their lakeside house. So begins a waking nightmare of paranoia and violence as Hoffmann attempts, with increasing desperation, to discover who is trying to destroy him.
Gone Girl, by Jillian Flynn
Not every pick can be surprising. The cover of this creepy mystery was all over this year, but that didn’t deter us in the least. It shouldn’t scare you off, either. The synopsis, for those who haven’t read it yet:On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary.
Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wifedisappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
Raylan, by Elmore Leonard
Fans of TV’s Justified Series may have already read this book, but somehow, despite being dubbed one of the greatest American crime writers of all time, Elmore Leonard seems to fly under the radar. The synopsis:With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state. A hundred pounds of it can gross $300,000, but that’s chump change compared to the quarter million a human body can get you–especially when it’s sold off piece by piece.
So when Dickie and Coover Crowe, dope-dealing brothers known for sampling their own supply, decide to branch out into the body business, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to stop them. But Raylan isn’t your average marshal; he’s the laconic, Stetson-wearing, fast-drawing lawman who juggles dozens of cases at a time and always shoots to kill. But by the time Raylan finds out who’s making the cuts, he’s lying naked in a bathtub, with Layla, the cool transplant nurse, about to go for his kidneys