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June 6, 2022

3 Thrillers to Read on Vacation

by MK French

When most think of beach reads they think of romantic stories. However, thrillers are great vacation reads. You can get sucked into the twist and turns and you don't have to worry about regular life making you put down the book. Just don't forget the sunscreen!

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Cold Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann

book cover of thriller Cold Fear by Brandon Webb and John David Mann
June 2022; Bantam; 978-0593356319
audio, ebook, print (432 pages); thriller

Disgraced Navy SEAL Finn left the USS Abraham Lincoln, and is wanted for questioning in connection to war crimes committed in Yemen. His memory of that night is missing, and avenues so far in looking into the truth have come up empty. When Finn learns that three members of his former team are in Iceland, he goes to track them down. Unfortunately, a local detective suspects Finn’s involvement in a young woman drowning, and SEAL-turned-contract-killer is hired to make sure he never gets the answers he’s looking for.

This is the second of the Finn mysteries, following Steel Fear (read my review here) Finn has no time for social niceties and is single-minded in his pursuit of the truth. This earns him no friends, though he thinks he doesn't need any. He wants the truth of what happened in his missing time, but no one wants the truth brought to light. The higher-ups are more than happy to let him take the blame and kill him to cover it up. Finn has no idea what his former teammates are up to and doesn't care, and isn't sure why he's drawn to the drowned woman. Even though the detective suspects him due to chance, his involvement does help to point her in the right direction, especially when the former SEAL Boone arrives intending to kill Finn.

The entire novel is an elaborate cat and mouse game, with coincidentally intersecting threads that come through at the end. The short chapters and quick action scenes keep the story flowing and interest high. Flashes of characters and the relationships they have are just teased enough to keep us interested to know what happens next. We know what Finn is after, and the inevitable showdowns are well done. New information is gleaned, and more fragments of memory surface. It isn't enough for us to know the full story yet, but each book brings us closer. 

Buy Cold Fear at Amazon

Little Sister by Gytha Lodge

book cover of thriller Little Sister by Gytha Lodge
June 2022; Random House; 978-0593242919
ebook, print (400 pages); psychological thriller

Jonah is shocked when a bloody girl stumbles out of the forest when he's in a garden the girl insists she's fine, it's her little sister that needs help. Both girls disappeared a week ago, and Jonah is only allowed to help after listening to the girl's story. But what is the truth?

Keely is described constantly as cold and calculating, stressing that others should have found Nina if they only listened to the clues in her story. Rather than tell the police directly, she tells a story of several abusive households and the dismissive way she was treated by social workers, peers, carers, and the foster families that took her in. The subtle emotional abuse taught her how to manipulate expectations if her story is to be believed so that by sixteen she can manipulate the emotions of the police officers scrambling to check what she's saying or delve into her records. It's fascinating and drew me in immediately. 

Whatever you think you know about Keely and Nina is often inverted and upended as more information is revealed, slowly but surely. It's cleverly done and kept me raptly continuing until the end of the book. This is the fourth Jonah Sheens novel, but I hadn't read the previous novels and don't feel like I missed much at all. The mystery is fascinating, and will definitely keep you reading.

Buy Little Sister at Amazon

Her Darkest Secret by Jessica R. Patch

book cover of romantic thriller Her Darkest Secret by Jessica R. Patch
June 2022; Love Inspired Trade; 978-1335530028
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); romantic thriller

The sight of a goose feather at a murder scene frightens FBI special agent Fiona Kelly; two decades ago, a feather was left with her sister's body. The Nursery Rhyme Killer is back, and he seems after Fiona, the only victim that got away. Finding “Rhyme” had fueled her career and destroyed her marriage to fellow agent Asa Kodiak, but the two must team up to catch the killer. In doing so, Fiona might have to reveal her darkest secret.

As with any romantic thriller, the chase must have enough danger and personal connection to our main characters. We have it in spades with Fiona, but Asa has his own history as a victim that drove him into law enforcement. With a serial killer that's based in one area, there are a few potential suspects to investigate. Fiona and Asa still have feelings for each other, though it's complicated between them, and the old resentment of Fiona dropping everything to catch the killer rears up. I'm completely invested in the investigation and how the team interviewed everyone, going back over the past and came up with new theories. 

The romance took a back seat to the suspense, but I was fine with that because of how Fiona is. If she charged ahead back into a relationship, it wouldn't have fit. Kisses and an emotional attachment fit for her, and there's hope for the future. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, devouring it in a single day because I simply couldn't put it down.

Buy Her Darkest Secret at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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