Adrenaline rush

Image of a car crashing into a helicopterIt’s vacation time, and my first choice for holiday reading is always a good thriller – nothing like implausible plots, indestructible characters, and faraway settings to signal your brain that you’re officially on vacation!

Last month the International Thriller Writers association presented their sixth annual Thriller Awards. I haven’t read any of the winners yet, so I’m looking forward to catching up on these.

Bad Blood by John Sandford is the latest entry in his Minnesota-set Virgil Flowers series. State investigator Virgil Flowers quickly gets a murder confession out of a teenager – then the next day, the boy is found hanging in his cell. Remorse or something darker? Virgil’s further investigation uncovers a multi-generational conspiracy of truly monstrous crimes.

The Cold Room by J.T. Ellison follows a Nashville homicide detective in pursuit of one of the unending supply of fictional serial killers. This one’s called the Conductor, for his carefully orchestrated body disposal scenes.

Canadian author Chevy Stevens won Best First Novel for Still Missing, the story of a woman trying to rebuild her life after escaping a year of captivity in a psychopath’s remote cabin. Is she paranoid, or is someone who wishes her harm still out there somewhere…? Billed as nearly impossible to put down, this one sounds almost too scary for me.

Other mystery and thriller writers I can highly recommend:

Tana French writes atmospheric, spooky – almost Gothic – mysteries with a very strong sense of their Dublin, Ireland setting. Her gorgeous prose is definitely a cut above most thriller writers, too.

MI5 special ops spy Tara Chace makes James Bond look like a wimp. She’s appeared in a series of graphic novels as well as stand-alone thrillers, all written by Greg Rucka. His latest book tells the final installment of Tara’s story: The Last Run.

Lee Child‘s incredibly popular Jack Reacher series has won multiple awards and reached a peak in 2010 with two No. 1 New York Times best sellers. A movie is also in pre-production, with Tom Cruise apparently set to star (no comment). While ex-military cop Reacher miraculously absorbs any amount of pain and still comes back swinging, somehow Child ensures that he never seems cartoonish.


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