The New Thrillers
Posted By Bret Anthony Johnston On June 23, 2010 @ 3:24 pm In Cover Stories
By Brett Anthony Johnston
True masters of suspense transform the hack genre into something much more than the runty stepchild of so-called “real literature.” The best of them jolt us into thinking about the world in new ways, even if the insights they offer are frightening. Three emerging authors do this by marrying breakneck plots to heady issues: the ethics of science and medicine, the politics of war, old codes of loyalty. Even better, they give readers what so many “serious” novels don’t: the desire to turn the page. These new releases have enough punch to keep you up at night.
by Justin Cronin
This inventively imagined novel is the first in a trilogy by Cronin, a graduate of both Harvard and the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Set in the not-too-distant future — in the wake of Katrina, New Orleans is just an oil refinery cordoned off by the Feds — the book chronicles the government’s program to turn death-row inmates into weapons. The novel is addictive, terrifying, and deeply satisfying. Not only is this one of the year’s best thrillers; it’s one of the best of the past decade — maybe one of the best ever.
by Patrick Lee
Travis Chase, an ex-con and ex-cop, is hiking in Alaska when he finds a downed passenger jet full of murder victims, including the first lady of the U.S. From there Chase is drawn into an odyssey to locate “The Breach,” the product of a classified government experiment that, if it falls into the wrong hands — spoiler alert: thankfully, it has — could have world-ending consequences. Chase uses his regrets and resourcefulness like weapons, and Lee’s writing, stark and swift, only gets better as the story gathers speed.
by Stella Rimington
Rimington is the former director general of Britain’s MI5; Dead Line, her fourth novel, follows MI5 officer Liz Carlyle as she tries to stop a terror attack on a Middle East peace conference in Scotland. Syria is implicated in the chatter leading up to the attack, but Carlyle suspects the real threat hits much closer to home. The plot is as psychologically taut as it is suspenseful, with the added bonus of the author’s wealth of real-life experience. There’s just one difference: “I didn’t always say the things I allow Liz ——————————————————————Carlyle to say.”
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