The Real Book Spy’s September 2021 Reading Guide

As summer comes to a close, some of the biggest stars on the thriller scene are set to release new books—kicking off fall with a thundering bang!

Welcome to September, thriller fans. While names like Thor and Silva dominated summer months, there are still a ton of great books set to hit store shelves this year, and September might feature the most star-studded lineup we’ve seen yet. As always, we’ve chosen several books to highlight, and this month, those Featured Selections are Robert B. Parker’s Stone’s Throw by Mike Lupica, The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewel, Dark Intercept by Andrews & Wilson, and, of course, Enemy at the Gates, an all-new Mitch Rapp novel from Kyle Mills. Read more about those titles, along with other offerings from a number of bestselling authors, below. 

Happy Reading!

 

 

Tuesday, September 7th

 

Robert B. Parker’s Stone’s Throw by Mike Lupica (Featured Selection)

Paradise is rocked by the mayor’s untimely death in the latest novel starring police chief Jesse Stone.

The town of Paradise receives a tragic shock when the mayor is discovered dead, his body lying in a shallow grave on a property on the lake. It’s ostensibly suicide, but Jesse’s has his doubts . . . especially because the piece of land where the man was found is the subject of a contentious and dodgy land deal.
 
Two powerful moguls are fighting over the right to buy and develop the prime piece of real estate, and one of them has brought in a hired gun, an old adversary of Jesse’s: Wilson Cromartie, aka Crow.  Meanwhile, the town council is debating if they want to sacrifice Paradise’s stately character for the economic boost of a glitzy new development. Tempers are running hot, and as the deaths begin to mount, it’s increasingly clear that the mayor may have standing in the wrong person’s way.  

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The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves 

New York Times bestseller Ann Cleeves returns with The Heron’s Cry, the extraordinary follow-up to The Long Call, soon to be a major TV series, alongside her two hit TV shows Shetland and Vera.

“In Matthew Venn, Ann has created a complex, daring, subtle character.” ―Louise Penny

“A complex mystery full of surprises . . . this character-driven exploration of people’s darkest flaws is a sterling example of Cleeves’ formidable talents.” ―Kirkus Reviews

North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder–Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter’s broken vases.

Dr. Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He’s a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.

Then another body is found–killed in a similar way. Matthew soon finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home.

DI Matthew Venn returns in The Heron’s Cry, in Ann Cleeves powerful next novel, proving once again that she is a master of her craft.

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The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewel (Featured Selection)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another riveting work of psychological suspense about a beautiful young couple’s disappearance on a gorgeous summer night, and the mother who will never give up trying to find them…

On a beautiful summer night in a charming English suburb, a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after partying at the massive country estate of a new college friend.

One year later, a writer moves into a cottage on the edge of the woods that border the same estate. Known locally as the Dark Place, the dense forest is the writer’s favorite area for long walks and it’s on one such walk that she stumbles upon a mysterious note that simply reads, “DIG HERE.”

Could this be a clue towards what has happened to the missing young couple? And what exactly is buried in this haunted ground?

With her signature “rich, dark, and intricately twisted” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Lisa Jewell has crafted a dazzling work of suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page.

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Dark Intercept by Andrews & Wilson (Featured Selection)

When dark forces rise, are faith and firepower enough?

On the eve of his medical retirement, Navy SEAL Jedidiah Johnson receives a frantic call from his estranged childhood best friend David Yarnell. David’s daughter has been kidnapped off the streets of Nashville in broad daylight. The police have no suspects and no leads. The only clue: the body of a dead priest left behind at the scene. With the clock ticking, David is growing desperate, as is his wife, Rachel . . . Jed’s first love.

Despite his painful history with David and Rachel, Jed agrees to help. But he’s spent his career as a door-kicking Navy SEAL, not an investigator. His presence immediately draws unwanted attention, creates friction with the local police, and triggers a mysterious attempt on his life. Just when he thinks things can’t get worse, it starts to happen again―the voices in his head, the nightmares, the visions. Dark memories and strange abilities, things he believed he’d left behind when he fled Nashville for the Navy at eighteen, begin to resurface.

Jed realizes that to save the missing girl, he must take a leap of faith and embrace the gifts he’s denied for all these years. To foil this dark intercept, he’ll need more than just his years as a SEAL operator, because he has no choice now but to take up arms and join the battle in the unseen spiritual warfare raging all around him. And there is far more at stake than just a missing girl: the world is not the place he thought it was―and he is not alone.

Follow the military heroes of The Shepherds series as they bring the power of light into the dark mystery of Sara Beth’s abduction.

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Forgotten in Death by J.D. Robb

In the latest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, homicide detective Eve Dallas sifts through the wreckage of the past to find a killer.

The body was left in a dumpster like so much trash, the victim a woman of no fixed address, known for offering paper flowers in return for spare change―and for keeping the cops informed of any infractions she witnessed on the street. But the notebook where she scribbled her intel on litterers and other such offenders is nowhere to be found.

Then Eve is summoned away to a nearby building site to view more remains―in this case decades old, adorned with gold jewelry and fine clothing―unearthed by recent construction work. She isn’t happy when she realizes that the scene of the crime belongs to her husband, Roarke―not that it should surprise her, since the Irish billionaire owns a good chunk of New York. Now Eve must enter a complex world of real estate development, family history, shady deals, and shocking secrets to find justice for two women whose lives were thrown away…

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The House of Ashes by Stuart Neville

For fans of Gillian Flynn and Tana French, a chilling story of a Northern Irish murder sixty years buried
 
Sara Keane’s husband, Damien, has uprooted them from England and moved them to his native Northern Ireland for a “fresh start” in the wake of her nervous breakdown. Sara, who knows no one in Northern Ireland, is jobless, carless, friendless—all but a prisoner in her own house. When a blood-soaked old woman beats on the door, insisting the house is hers before being bundled back to her care facility, Sara begins to understand the house has a terrible history her husband never intended for her to discover. As the two women form a bond over their shared traumas, Sara finds the strength to stand up to her abuser, and Mary—silent for six decades—is finally ready to tell her story . . .

Through the counterpoint voices—one modern Englishwoman, one Northern Irish farmgirl speaking from half a century earlier—Stuart Neville offers a chilling and gorgeous portrait of violence and resilience in this truly haunting narrative.

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Left For Dead by Sean Parnell

Special Operative Eric Steele battles a renegade group of bioterrorists armed with a devastating virus in the fourth pulse-pounding military thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Outlaw Platoon. 

On a remote mountaintop in western China, Doctor Ai Liang is about to risk everything and defy the Chinese Communist Party. She and her team have created a terrifying new coronavirus, even more deadly than COVID-19, called C-62 that is capable of killing a person in twenty minutes. But her conscience tells her she must destroy the deadly bioweapon before it can bring devastation to millions. The doctor’s heroic plans are interrupted when mysterious commandos swarm the lab, kill everyone in sight, and take off with the C-62 virus.

Meanwhile, Eric Steele is on a cleanup mission, about to exact revenge on the group responsible for killing numerous alphas and forcing the Program to disband. When justice is served, Steele can turn his thoughts to other pressing matters—namely his long-lost father and his estranged girlfriend, Meg Harden.

But when news of CCP plans to attack US forces reach the United States, the President calls for the revival of the Program to deal with this new threat. Steele is back in action, and soon learns that the supposed CCP attack is related to a much more complex plot involving a fanatical Chinese Imperialist group—and the stolen C-62 bioweapon. It’s up to Steele and his team to find out who the real threat is and stop them before they can unleash another pandemic in the form of the deadly C-62 virus on the entire world.

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Master Mind by Andrew Mayne

Dr. Theo Cray and FBI agent Jessica Blackwood confront a cataclysmic conspiracy in a pulse-quickening thriller by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Naturalist.

A mysterious electrical storm plunges Manhattan into darkness. As a strange, smothering fog rolls in, all communication crashes. In the blink of an eye, the island seems to vanish into a void.

FBI special agent Jessica Blackwood and brilliant scientist Dr. Theo Cray know this isn’t a freak accident. It’s a sinister sleight of hand. Their greatest adversary, a serial killer and cultist known as the Warlock, has escaped during a prison transfer in New York. A depraved master of manipulation, he promised the end of days. He’s making good on it.

One by one, cities across the globe are erupting in chaos as they disappear into the same black holes. Even for two ingenious trackers like Jessica and Theo, there’s still so much to learn about the pattern to the Warlock’s madness. The voids are just a warm-up for something bigger. To discover it―to stop it―Jessica and Theo must descend into the darkest of shadows―and minds.

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Constance by Matthew FitzSimmons

A breakthrough in human cloning becomes one woman’s waking nightmare in a mind-bending thriller by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Gibson Vaughn series.

In the near future, advances in medicine and quantum computing make human cloning a reality. For the wealthy, cheating death is the ultimate luxury. To anticloning militants, it’s an abomination against nature. For young Constance “Con” D’Arcy, who was gifted her own clone by her late aunt, it’s terrifying.

After a routine monthly upload of her consciousness―stored for that inevitable transition―something goes wrong. When Con wakes up in the clinic, it’s eighteen months later. Her recent memories are missing. Her original, she’s told, is dead. If that’s true, what does that make her?

The secrets of Con’s disorienting new life are buried deep. So are those of how and why she died. To uncover the truth, Con is retracing the last days she can recall, crossing paths with a detective who’s just as curious. On the run, she needs someone she can trust. Because only one thing has become clear: Con is being marked for murder―all over again.

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Tuesday, September 14th

 

Enemy at the Gates by Kyle Mills (Featured Selection)

Picking up where the “tour de force” (The Providence Journal) Total Power left off, the next thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling Mitch Rapp series follows the CIA’s top operative as he searches for a high-level mole with the power to rewrite the world order.

Mitch Rapp has worked for a number of presidents over his career, but Anthony Cook is unlike any he’s encountered before. Cunning and autocratic, he feels no loyalty to America’s institutions and is distrustful of the influence Rapp and CIA director Irene Kennedy have in Washington.

Meanwhile, when Kennedy discovers evidence of a mole scouring the Agency’s database for sensitive information on Nicholas Ward, the world’s first trillionaire, she convinces Rapp to take a job protecting him. In doing so, he finds himself walking an impossible tightrope: Keep the man alive, but also use him as bait to uncover a traitor who has seemingly unlimited access to government secrets.

As the attacks on Ward become increasingly dire, Rapp and Kennedy are dragged into a world where the lines between governments, multinational corporations, and the hyper-wealthy fade. An environment in which liberty, nationality, and loyalty are meaningless. Only the pursuit of power remains.

As “one of the best thriller writers on the planet” (The Real Book Spy), Kyle Mills has created another nail-biter that not only echoes the America of today, but also offers a glimpse into its possible future.

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Her Perfect Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The next thrilling standalone novel by USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Everyone knows Lily Atwood―and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all―fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret.

Her own.

Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips―but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he―or she―know the truth?

Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world―and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.

How much will she risk to keep her perfect life?

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Tuesday, September 21st

 

Daughter of the Morning Star by Craig Johnson

A new novel in the beloved New York Times bestselling Longmire series.

When Lolo Long’s niece Jaya begins receiving death threats, Tribal Police Chief Long calls on Absaroka County Sheriff Walt Longmire along with Henry Standing Bear as lethal backup. Jaya “Longshot” Long is the phenom of the Lame Deer Lady Stars High School basketball team and is following in the steps of her older sister, who disappeared a year previously, a victim of the scourge of missing Native Woman in Indian Country. Lolo hopes that having Longmire involved might draw some public attention to the girl’s plight, but with this maneuver she also inadvertently places the good sheriff in a one-on-one with the deadliest adversary he has ever faced in both this world and the next.

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The Burning by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman

Things get personal for Deputy Coroner Clay Edison when a murder hits close to home in this riveting, emotional thriller from the bestselling father-son team who write “brilliant, page-turning fiction” (Stephen King).

A raging wildfire. A massive blackout. A wealthy man shot to death in his palatial hilltop home.
 
For Clay Edison, it’s all in a day’s work. As a deputy coroner, caring for the dead, he speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves. He prides himself on an unflinching commitment to the truth. Even when it gets him into trouble.
 
Then, while working the murder scene, Clay is horrified to discover a link to his brother, Luke. Horrified. But not surprised. Luke is fresh out of prison and struggling to stay on the straight and narrow.
 
And now he’s gone AWOL.
 
The race is on for Clay to find him before anyone else can. Confronted with Luke’s legacy of violence, Clay is forced to reckon with his own suspicions, resentments, and loyalties. Is his brother a killer? Or could he be the victim in all of this, too?
 
This is Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman at their most affecting and page-turning—a harrowing collision of family, revenge, and murder.

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Tuesday, September 28th

The Kill Box by H. Ripley Rawlings

In the rip-roaring tradition of Red Dawn and The Dirty Dozen, this action-packed thriller from Lt. Col. “Rip” Ripley takes all-American patriotism to an explosive new level, as lone wolf patriot and Marine Corp officer Tyce Asher assembles a ragtag team of long-haul truckers and citizen-soldiers to save America from Russian invaders…

The United States has been invaded. The Russians have seized control. Now US Marine hero Tyce Asher has one final mission—to make America free again—in this explosive series from Lt. Col. Hunter “Rip” Ripley Rawlings IV…

THE CITIES HAVE FALLEN.

America is under new management. Russian forces have occupied both coasts. They are taking our weapons, pillaging our resources, and destroying our nation. Those who resist are swiftly punished. Those who revolt are savagely killed…

THE HEARTLAND FIGHTS BACK.

Marine Corps officer Tyce Asher is a lone wolf patriot who will never surrender. He’s assembled a ragtag team of long-haul truckers and citizen soldiers willing to die for their freedoms. Their network has learned that the invaders are planning to seize cargo that will bring America to its knees—and a sadistic Russian has marked Asher for death. There is only one way to stop them: Asher and his team must meet the enemy face-to-face—and enter the Kill Box . . .

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Marked Man by Archer Mayor

In Archer Mayor’s Marked Man, the death of a local millionaire becomes suspicious when Joe Gunther learns that he was not who he claimed.

A year ago, local philanthropist and millionaire Nathan Lyon died a natural death in his sprawling mansion, a 150,000 square foot converted mill, surrounded by his loving, attentive family. Or so it seemed at the time. Now Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation team has discovered that almost nothing about that story was true. Nathan Lyon was actually Nick Bianchi from Providence, Rhode Island. His money came from Mafia-tainted sources. And his family now seems to be dying themselves and their deaths are now revealed to be murders.

As Gunther’s team desperately works to uncover what is going on at The Mill, who is responsible and what they are trying to accomplish, Joe himself travels to Rhode Island to look into the original source of the money. While the police are doing their jobs, private investigator Sally Kravitz teams up with reporter Rachel Reiling to expose the truth behind this tangled and expanding web of duplicity, greed, and obsession. Having betrayed many, it’s no surprise that Nathan Lyon was a marked man. But now Gunther has to figure out who, among the many, killed him, and stop them before their killing spree claims another.

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The Real Book Spy’s September 2021 Reading Guide