Thrillers to keep you on the edge of your hammock
Spies, scientists and dysfunctional families feature in these five new thrillers.
The Other Woman, Daniel Silva, Harper
This is the 18th outing for Gabriel Allon, art restorer, assassin and the new boss at The Office, Israel’s intelligence service. It begins with the botched attempt to bring in from the cold a deep-cover Russian officer, code-named Heathcliff. He’s shot down on the streets of Vienna during the top-secret extraction and it looks as it a mole in Britain’s MI6 sent word of the imminent defection to Moscow. Allon, a committed Russophobe, sets forth to identify the traitor, a quest that reaches back more than half a century to history’s most famous British double agent, Kim Philby. First-rate storytelling, as usual.
Caged, Ellison Cooper, Minotaur
Ellison Cooper is the latest member of the forensic sisterhood that includes Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell. Based in San Francisco, she’s an anthropologist with a background in archeology and cultural neuroscience — and she brings all that academic pizzazz to her first thriller. Her sleuth is FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair, who is called in when the decomposing remains of a young woman are found in a cage in an abandoned townhouse in Washington, D.C. Cause of death: starvation. Then another girl goes missing and it’s soon clear Sayer is tracking a killer with a strange obsession.
The Other Sister, Sarah Zettel, Grand Central
Geraldine, the “bad” sister, an authority on the Brothers Grimm, begins her story by announcing, “Twenty-five years ago, I killed my mother.” Now she has returned to the scene of her crime, to the bosom of the complicated Monroe family in small-town Michigan. In the next chapter, the “good” sister, Marie, a woman splayed beneath the thumb of her autocratic father, takes up the story, and it’s a complicated one. The sisters have a plan, and it involves balancing the books with dad once and for all. A wicked modern-day tale of the evil spells cast within dysfunctional households. This is Zettel’s 18th novel and it comes out Aug 28.
Give Me Your Hand, Megan Abbott, Little, Brown
Megan Abbott takes her readers deep into competitive slices of American life. Last time, in You Will Know Me, she focused on a group of young athletes involved in elite gymnastics. This time, the setting is a research lab, where post-docs vie for a place on a team studying PMDD, an extreme form of premenstrual syndrome — yes, the very setting of this creepy thriller is bathed in blood. Kit is the only woman on the team, until Diane gets hired. These two have a history. They competed in high school, where for a time they were BFFs, until Diane told Kit a devastating secret. Now they’re competing for a spot on the team. A marvellous read. Both You Will Know Me and Give Me Your Hand are being developed for TV.
The House Swap, Rebecca Fleet, Doubleday Canada
Caroline and Francis are trying to get their marriage back on track, but it will take some doing. Caroline is recovering from a dizzying affair with a younger man at work that ended badly. Francis, a therapist, is recovering from a lengthy depression that morphed into drug addiction. They’re delighted when they are offered a house exchange in a leafy London suburb in exchange for their city flat. But there’s something seriously off about their vacation property. Minimalist furnishings, a curious neighbour and a series of coincidences convince Caroline that whoever engineered this house swap knows a lot about her and a secret from her past. Chilling fun.