Last updated on December 9th, 2019
As the nights grow longer and colder, what better time to read thrillers? A good thriller offers suspense, action, adventure and intrigue — no need to leave the house, just pick up one of these four titles. You won’t be disappointed.
The Tenderness of Wolves
Taking place in the Northern Territory in the late 19th century, The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney weaves fiction and history to create a thriller that transports the reader to a time and place perhaps forgotten. A local woman, Mrs. Ross, discovers the murdered body of her neighbor Laurent Jammet, a former trapper and trader, and then, after an investigation is launched, she quickly discovers her son is missing and now a suspect.
Mrs. Ross hires William Parker, a Native American trapper, to guide her on tracking her son as a whirlwind of suspicion and suspense blankets the remote small settlement of Caulfield. People converge on the town, each with hidden motives, and one-by-one, set out into a desolate wilderness in search of a murderer. This is an edge-of-your seat read that creates what one can imagine is a visually stunning cold landscape with unexpected twists and turns.
A Grain of Truth
A Grain of Truth is a Polish crime novel by former journalist Zygmunt Miloszewski featuring the lead character Teodor Szacki, a state prosecutor struggling to “rebuild” his life after ruining his marriage. We first met Szacki in Miloszewski’s debut novel from the series, Entanglement, but it is A Grain of Truth that sears a place in the reader’s mind for days.
When the story opens, Szacki has settled into the grey town of Sandomierz and, as he discovers, the town wears a history of anti-Semitism perhaps most pointedly defined by a now-covered painting of the infamous blood libel myth that hangs from a local cathedral wall. The case Szacki confronts is a series of ritual murders that appear to be inspired by that painting. Trying to solve these crimes and confront their unsettling truth creates an uncomfortable intensity for both Szacki and the reader. We want Szacki to solve these murders and the intense action scenes, subtle clues, and complicated characters compel us to read until the end, without stopping. But, given the nature of such crimes, we do not just want to know “who did it” but “why,” and it is the “why” that eludes us the most.
The Chocolate Assassin
Written by Peter Durantine, another journalist by training and experience, The Chocolate Assassin is a hard-boiled crime noir that opens with the murder of a fisherman who, as it turns out, is a German ex-pat living in America. Shell casings from a 1930’s Luger and a newspaper article identifying the victim as a former U-boat Captain are found at the crime scene, and we are subsequently plunged into a story that toggles between World War II and present day.
Enter Detective Sam Grey, a level-headed detective with a no-frills, diligent investigative style that compels him to seek out the leads needed to solve the crime. The newspaper clipping found at the scene takes him to Germany, where the mystery deepens and the actors involved have kept old secrets hidden: dark secrets that began with a mysterious WWII mission. This fast-paced thriller will not disappoint.
Jon Fixx by Jason Squire Fluck is categorized as hard-boiled crime fiction, a mystery, and even a romantic thriller. But these categories don’t aptly convey how engaging and entertaining this fast-paced story is, and how quickly you turn the page to see what happens next. The title character, Jon Fixx, is not your typical detective – in fact, he is not a detective at all and instead a writer of engagement novellas for soon-to-be married couples. And it is his writing that both launches him into a world of trouble and helps save him.
After being dumped by his girlfriend, Jon finds himself in an emotional black hole, ready to give up on his work. Yet when the leader of an organized crime syndicate offers him a job writing a novella for his engaged daughter, Jon has no choice (really) but to accept. Shortly after accepting the job, Jon realizes he is in over his head but cannot walk away. With his friend Luci and recently hired bodyguard Donovan at his side, Jon delves into the stories of this family – research for the novella — and uncovers hidden, dangerous secrets. It is what happens during the discovery of this family’s story and secrets that tests Jon and makes this thriller such a compelling, “can’t put it down” novel.