Michael Connelly /
Little, Brown and Company /
Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change stripes and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.Together, Bosch and Haller set off on a case fraught with political and personal danger. Opposing them is Jessup, now out on bail, a defense attorney who excels at manipulating the media, and a runaway eyewitness reluctant to testify after so many years.With the odds and the evidence against them, Bosch and Haller must nail a sadistic killer once and for all. If Bosch is sure of anything, it is that Jason Jessup plans to kill again.From Publishers WeeklyConnelly's new thriller features two of his series heroes-the wily defense attorney Mickey Haller and his half-brother, LAPD detective Harry Bosch. This time Haller is working the other side of the courtroom, as a special independent prosecutor trying to keep a very nasty child molester and killer behind bars, with Bosch doing his legwork. As we've seen in The Brass Verdict, the author has Haller narrating his chapters, while the Bosch-centered sections are told in the third person. For the former, Peter Giles has developed a breezy, fast-paced vocal approach, while the detective's process is presented in a tougher, no frills manner. Additional characters are provided their own unique voices, including the smooth-talking district attorney, the arrogant villain, Haller's icy-but-melting former wife, and a brave but wavering witness to the crime. Not only is the production highly entertaining, the package is particularly generous, offering an additional two CDs containing unabridged MP3-format versions of The Reversal and the previous Haller-Bosch match, The Brass Verdict, also read by Giles. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. From BooklistStarred Review Connelly may be our most versatile crime writer. His Harry Bosch series has taken the hard-boiled cop novel to a new level of complexity, both in its portrayal of the hero’s inner life and in Connelly’s ability to intertwine landscape and meaning. His Mickey Haller novels, on the other hand, starring the maverick lawyer who uses his Lincoln Town Car as an office, are testaments to the sublime architecture of plot. With the crime novel now commonly rubbing elbows with literary fiction, it sometimes seems that pure story has become a forgotten stepchild. In his Haller novels, Connelly reminds us how satisfying it can be to follow the path of a well-constructed plot. So it is here, in the third Haller novel, which finds the antiestablishment attorney accepting an unlikely offer: a one-time gig as a prosecutor, retrying a case in which a killer’s 24-year-old conviction has been overturned on the basis of DNA. Taking second chair will be Haller’s ex-wife, the formidable Maggie, with Harry Bosch (identified in The Brass Verdict, 2008, as Haller’s half brother) serving as special investigator. The table is set for a straightforward legal thriller, albeit one starring three superbly multidimensional characters. And, yet, Connelly bobs and weaves around all our expectations. There is suspense, of course, and there are plenty of surprises, both in the courtroom and outside of it, but this is a plot that won’t be pigeonholed. Reading this book is like watching a master craftsman, slowly and carefully, brick by brick, build something that holds together exquisitely, form and function in perfect alignment. --Bill Ott
Brad Taylor /
Former Delta Force officer and New York Times bestselling author Brad Taylor delivers a relentlessly fast-paced, gripping thriller featuring Taskforce operators Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill as they come face-to-face with an insidious threat to strike terror into the heart of America. Fifteen years ago, in order to win a contract in the Kingdom, a desperate defense contractor used a shell company to provide a bribe to a wealthy Saudi businessman. Now a powerful player in the defense industry, he panics when the Panama Papers burst onto the public scene. Providing insight into the illicit deeds of offshore financing, they could prove his undoing. To prevent the exposure of his illegal activities, he sets in motion a plan to interdict the next leak, but he is not the only one worried about spilled secrets. The data theft has left the Taskforce potentially vulnerable, leaving a trail that could compromise the unit. Back in the good graces of the new president, Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill are ordered to interdict the next leak as well, in order to control the damage. Unbeknownst to either group, the Saudi has been using the shell company to fund terrorists all over the world, and he has a spectacular attack planned, coinciding with the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. The information Pike and Jennifer uncover will put them on the trail of the imminent threat, but it’s one that they might be unable to stop. Called Ring of Fire, it will cause unimaginable destruction across the United States, and the ensuing chaos and terror will distract the Taskforce from a truth no one sees: Ring of Fire was only the beginning, and the danger is far from over. **Review Praise for Brad Taylor and his novels “Bestseller Taylor’s 11th Pike Logan thriller serves as a chilling primer for an all-too-feasible terrorist strike… the ever-escalating chaos will leave fans breathless for the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly on Ring of Fire “With Taylor’s latest Taskforce novel featuring Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill, he has further established himself as an elite military-thriller author. At this point, nobody is better at tackling hardcore action mixed with timely themes… Fine work from a thriller writer at the very top of his game.” —Booklist (starred review) on *Ring of Fire “Those looking only for action-filled suspense won't be disappointed, but Taylor does expand his story with brief and intriguing discourses on the role of women in combat and whether violence is an intrinsic element of the Islamic faith. A page-turner that's enriched by the author's obvious familiarity with the intricacies of combating 21st-century terrorism.” —Kirkus Reviews on Ring of Fire* “Taylor has become one of the very best writers of thrillers with a military and special-ops background. His consistency and his ability to mirror headline news with relevant, engrossing narratives are uncanny, and this exploration of the human side of war should quickly be recognized as one of Taylor’s best efforts. Comparisons to Vince Flynn and Brad Thor are expected and not inaccurate, but Taylor is now in a class by himself." —Booklist (starred review) on The Forgotten Soldier “Slick, exciting action and credible complexity are the hallmarks of Taylor’s high-caliber thrillers, and this latest installment (after The Insider Threat) does not disappoint. Readers will root for the solid crew; the lightning-fast plot filled with tradecraft and intriguing politics will satisfy series fans and newcomers alike. Suggest to all fans of military thrillers and as a read-alike for Vince Flynn.” —Library Journal on The Forgotten Soldier “Brad Taylor… takes his considerable talents to a new level with 'The Forgotten Soldier,' his latest thriller to feature Pike Logan and his stalwart Taskforce team. It’s one thing to write great action scenes, quite another to bring us into the actual mindset of the special ops world he knows so well.” —Providence Journal on The Forgotten Soldier “Taylor delivers the latest addition to his growing body of convincing plots. As in his previous thrillers (The Insider Threat, 2015, etc.), he spins a tale that could easily have been lifted from our current sociopolitical reality… A realistic page-turner that fills a need for thrills while questioning the complicated process of statecraft.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Forgotten Soldier “Fresh plot, great action, and Taylor clearly knows what he is writing about. . . . When it comes to tactics and hardware he is spot-on.” —Vince Flynn on All Necessary Force “[Brad Taylor] knows how to unveil the behind-the-scenes action....[A] terrific, fast-paced read." —Associated Press on Days of Rage “Bestseller Taylor’s fifth Pike Logan thriller takes all the energy of the previous installments and multiplies it by a force factor of 10… A great premise, nonstop action, and one of the baddest villains in the genre... make this a winner.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Polaris Protocol "A Pike Logan thriller filled with heart-thumping action and insane heroics....A fun, satisfying adventure." —Kirkus Reviews on Days of Rage (starred review) "Taylor continues to tell exciting action stories with the authenticity of someone who knows the world of special ops. He also has the chops to create terrific characters whom readers will root for. This series just gets better and better." —Booklist on The Polaris Protocol "Admirers of the late Tom Clancy will enjoy this and other works in the series." —Kirkus Reviews on The Polaris Protocol “Readers of novels set in the world of Special Forces have many choices, but Taylor is one of the best.” —Booklist on Enemy of Mine “Satisfies from start to finish.” —Kirkus Reviews on Enemy of Mine About the Author BRAD TAYLOR is the author of the New York Times bestselling Pike Logan series. He served for more than twenty years in the U.S. Army, including eight years in 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment–Delta, commonly known as Delta Force. He retired as a Special Forces lieutenant colonel and now lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
Nora Roberts /
The riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Liar. *“She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.”* Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes. Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton. Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away. **Review Praise for *The Obsession “Roberts retains her impeccably high standards in this excellently executed tale, once again dazzling readers with a sophisticated blend of edge-of-your-seat suspense and sexy romance.”—Booklist (starred review) “Roberts has an unparalleled ability to paint a picture with words—readers will easily picture Naomi’s photographic art and her rambling home with its beautiful view—and the story is expertly executed. Sizzling romance, affable characters, and enticing suspense make this a read to be savored.”—Publishers Weekly* (starred review) About the Author Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including The Liar, The Collector, Whiskey Beach, The Witness, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.
Dan Wells /
Tor Books /
New York Times bestselling author Dan Wells continues his popular John Wayne Cleaver series in Over Your Dead Body. John and Brooke are on their own, hitchhiking from town to town as they hunt the last of the Withered through the midwest--but the Withered are hunting them back, and the FBI is close behind. With each new town, each new truck stop, each new highway, they get closer to a vicious killer who defies every principle of profiling and prediction John knows how to use, and meanwhile Brooke's fractured psyche teeters on the edge of oblivion, overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of dead personalities sharing her mind. She flips in and out of lucidity, manifesting new names and thoughts and memories every day, until at last the one personality pops up that John never expected and has no idea how to deal with. The last of Nobody's victims, trapped forever in the body of his last remaining friend. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied. **Review "[T]he mundane struggles of their nomadic existence make the tale much richer than a simple monster vs. monster story." ---Publishers Weekly About the Author DAN WELLS lives in North Salt Lake, Utah, with his wife, Dawn, and their five children. He is author of three previous novels about John Wayne Cleaver, The Hollow City, and the popular Partials Sequence of young adult books.
Lisa Unger /
An instant page-turner (Lisa Gardner) that straddles the line between thriller and horror...sure to appeal to a wide range of readers, including Stephen King fans. (Booklist, starred) A young woman's mysterious gift forces her into the middle of a dangerous investigation of a little girl's disappearance. Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone. Visited by people whom others can't see and haunted by prophetic dreams, she has never been able to control or understand the things that happen to her. When Finley's abilities start to become too strong for her to handle - and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can't drown out the voices - she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York. Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey. With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery. Merri's not a believer, but she's just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she's not too late. Time, she knows, is running out. As a harsh white winter moves into The Hollows, Finley and Eloise are drawn into the investigation, which proves to have much more at stake than even the fate of a missing girl. As Finley digs deeper into the town and its endless layers, she is forced to examine the past, even as she tries to look into the future. Only one thing is clear: The Hollows gets what it wants, no matter what.**Amazon.com ReviewTess Gerritsen and Lisa Unger in ConversationPhoto Credit: Leonardo CendamoPhoto Credit: Jeff UngerTess Gerritsen: How did you come up with your main character in INK AND BONE, Finley Montgomery? Lisa Unger: When I was writing FRAGILE, I ran into a character I wasn’t expecting, psychic Eloise Montgomery. I thought: Oh! A psychic! Even if she’s a fraud, that’s still interesting. But my characters have minds of their own and she only had a small part to play in that book — yet she stayed with me. She’s had a couple of books since then, three short stories, and in my upcoming INK AND BONE we meet her granddaughter Finley, who has powers of her own. Eloise’s story has told itself in a way that I wouldn’t have expected, and it has led me down some roads I didn’t imagine I'd go as a writer. This is, of course, the joy and the magic of writing. So I was struck while reading PLAYING WITH FIRE that you, too, had walked into some of the same territory. Was it a character, or a story, or curiosity about something else that led you there?Tess Gerritsen: It was a nightmare! I was in Venice for my birthday, and after a night drinking a bit too much wine, I had a freaky dream. I dreamt I was playing my violin. A baby was sitting nearby, and as I played a dark and disturbing melody, the baby's eyes suddenly glowed red and she turned into a monster. I woke up wondering what it meant -- and knowing there was a story here. Something about the power of music to haunt and to transform people. That day I wandered around Venice and ended up in the old Jewish quarter. There I saw memorial plaques dedicated to the Venice Jews who were deported to death camps during WWII. That's when both parts of the novel came to me -- a story about a 1930s Jewish composer whose haunting melody will nearly destroy the life of a woman violinist 70 years later. I'm already a violinist (strictly amateur) with a lifelong love of music, and that knowledge helped inform the musical aspects of the story.Was there anything from your own life that worked its way into INK AND BONE? Some part of yourself that slipped into the character or plot?Lisa Unger: I have an enduring fascination with the idea of psychic phenomena in the Jungian sense, that it might be considered a natural extension of normal human ability. In my other life in publishing, I had a chance to work with psychic John Edwards. In a weird way, though this was many years ago, he was the inspiration for Eloise Montgomery. The fictional town in which INK AND BONE is set, The Hollows, first showed up in FRAGILE, which was very loosely based on a real event from my past. Though I didn’t see it at the time, The Hollows shares certain similarities with the place where I grew up. So, in a lot of ways I suppose I’m dreaming on the page, the real and the imagined get twisted into fiction.Tess Gerritsen: I’m intrigued by the fact your character in INK AND BONE was inspired by your work with psychic John Edwards. I love hearing about the research. It is the part I enjoy most about writing, because I can delve into new worlds. As a writer I've attended autopsies, watched the CT scan of a mummy, and scouted Boston for the best places to dump a body. What lengths have you gone to get the details right? Lisa Unger: Most writers are explorers. I like to think of myself as a spelunker, shimming into the dark spaces between things I don’t understand to try finding answers. So, yes, research (and life) is an important part of the process.I’ve taken a concealed weapons course (and absolutely hated the feeling of firing a gun). I’ve interviewed a woman who claimed to be a ghost hunter. One of my closest friends is a retired Federal Agent who, if he doesn’t know the answers to my million questions, can always find someone who does. I lived with a New York City police officer for eight years – okay, so that was a relationship, and a pretty bad one at that. But in the end I just wound up with a good knowledge of police work and fantastic recipe for roast pork -- which I guess is something. I’ve been lava tubing in Iceland (not sure where that’s going to turn up, but I’m guessing it will). Recently, I’ve become obsessed with birds. I’m an information junkie. I’m constantly reading non-fiction in all areas with a special focus on psychology, addiction, trauma, biology and the brain. For me, more than the nuts and bolts of procedure, its human nature and the mind, and where those things intersect with nurture and spirituality, that fascinate me. Much of INK AND BONE is laced through with those themes.What themes do you find come up again and again in your novels? Have you ever been surprised by a recurring question or idea that surfaces without your realizing it?Tess Gerritsen: I too hated firing a gun. I was painfully aware that if I was the slightest bit careless and didn't stay in control of where it was pointed, someone could die. When I'm writing, I'm thinking primarily about characters and plot, and it's only in retrospect that I understand what the theme might be. You asked whether I've been surprised by recurring questions that seem to surface in my books, and the answer is: yes, absolutely. When I was a child, I adored a family friend named Uncle Mike, who served very much as a father figure for me. He was a gentle soul who counseled me about school, life, and love. Then when I turned eighteen, Uncle Mike was arrested for murdering his sister-in-law. I was stunned because I never saw that violent side of him, and it led me to question whether anyone is who they seem to be. That's the theme I return to again and again -- which smiling face hides the monster? In a way, it's a universal theme for crime writers, the evil that lurks in the hearts of seemingly ordinary human beings. Lisa Unger: When I was fifteen, a girl I knew was abducted and murdered. We lived in a small, supposedly safe town, the kind of place you move to give your kids a happy, suburban upbringing. And then, on a day like any other day, a girl walking home from school fell victim to a monster. I never saw the world the same way again. The theme of the lost girl runs through almost all of my novels in one way or another, never with my intending it and always obvious to me only after the book is done. I think most of us are metabolizing fear on the page, and looking to put order to the chaos we perceive in the world. Maybe that’s why people read crime fiction, as well — because there’s a beginning, middle, and an end where some kind of justice is served. Not always so in the real world.I’m writing pretty close to the bone. I follow the voices in my head, and so far they’ve all been pretty dark and twisted, wrestling with questions of identity, struggling with everything from addiction to body dysmorphic disorder to hauntings. I have a voracious curiosity about people and all the different things that make us who we are. If someone else turns up with something different to explore, I’ll certainly honor that. For me that’s the joy of writing, following character voice wherever it takes me.Review"Engrossing, atmospheric, and fast-paced, for fans of dark and twisty psychological suspense, Lisa Unger's INK AND BONE is not to be missed." —Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author of Most Wanted "Instant page-turner! A race-against-the-clock thriller that brings together grieving families, small town secrets, and a troubled teen whose ghosts aren't just in her past." —Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Find Her “Engrossing. . . the tension is palpable. Unger straddles the fine line between thriller and horror, making this a very exciting and riveting read, sure to appeal to a wide range of readers, including Kay Hooper or Stephen King fans.” —Booklist (starred review) “Unger's beloved characters continue a deftly balanced story that's supernatural without a creepy aftertaste.”—Kirkus Reviews "Lisa Unger takes you to dark places then shows you the light. The universe she has created in The Hollows — the dead and the living, the haunted and the haunting, the lost and missing — resonates so deeply, it’s a world I want to go back to again and again and am always a little heartbroken to leave. In INK AND BONE, we return to The Hollows once more, and Unger weaves a story that casts a captivating spell, and will leave you feeling haunted long after you turn the last page." (Jennifer McMahon, author of The Night Sister) Praise for Crazy Love You: “Sharply drawn characters and occasional rest breaks of humor . . . Unger is adept at evoking the eerie, but she’s also capable of droll sociological commentary on the urban scene. . . . After reading Unger’s sinister thriller, anyone cavalier enough to think they can easily put the past to rest (and even live companionably with the dead) will think again.” —Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post “Exhilarating and gut-wrenching . . . Proves to be complex and surprising in several ways, and Unger has a gift for telling a story with great characters while also manipulating the reader. . . . It’s crazy good.” —Associated Press “At first I thought I knew where Unger was driving me, but then she slammed on the brakes, turned and drove me right off a cliff.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune “Nothing is what it seems in this creepy romance novel.” —The Oklahoman “Manages to keep us guessing.” —Raleigh News & Observer “An extraordinary psychological thriller . . . Manages to do an incredible amount of things, all of them well, including a truly unique romantic triangle and the blurred lines between unconditional friendship and romantic infatuation. . . . A simmering tale of romantic obsession and angst in the tradition of Body Heat or Fatal Attraction, laced with the noirish spirit of James M. Cain. Wonderfully crafted and beautifully executed.” —Providence Journal "CRAZY LOVE YOU kept me reading like a madwoman, desperate to find out what happens next. This is a haunting, compulsive tale that will have you under its spell long after you've closed the book." —Tess Gerritsen, author of Die Again “Unger’s skillful portrayal of complex and traumatized characters make her latest psychological thriller one that will keep readers engaged from start to finish. . . . This imaginative tale . . . may be the author’s best work yet.” —Library Journal (starred review) “Riveting . . . This is a complex, intricate story, yet the pages fly by as Ian, the most unreliable narrator since Nick Dunne in Gone Girl, leads us on a wild ride in this superb psychological thriller. Unger is at the top of her game here.” —Booklist (Starred review) “Darkly compelling psychological thriller.” —Family Circle "Scores another bull's eye with this one. Classic Unger and a surefire hit." —Kirkus Reviews “Emotionally involving . . . Unger skillfully keeps the reader off kilter as she delves into the psyches of Priss and Ian.” —South Florida Sun-Sentinel "Suspenseful . . . Will keep readers hooked." —Publishers Weekly “Crazy Love You ups the ante. Every time I thought I had a handle on what was really happening and why, [Unger] gave the plot another sly twist that left me scrambling to catch up. . . . Has enough supernatural elements to remind us of Stephen King territory.” —Tampa Bay Times "Page-turning psychological suspense."— DuJour Magazine.com “The psychological and paranormal dimensions of Crazy Love You are superbly drawn, endlessly fascinating and extremely frightening. The undertow of despair might not be safe for novice word-swimmers….A book so richly textured.”— Florida Weekly “A deeply layered and finely textured novel about a special relationship that has taken a dark turn. It is a novel of obsession, unrequited love, loneliness and the rage that comes from not fitting in.”— BookReporter "Mesmerizing and unnerving from its first pages to its stunner of an ending, Lisa Unger's Crazy Love You is a tale you won't soon forget." —Megan Abbott, author of The Fever "When I tell you I could not put this book down, I mean I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!!! It is dark and twisted and captivating and full of endless surprises. I promise you're in for a wild ride." —John Searles, author of Help for the Haunted and Strange But True “With CRAZY LOVE YOU, Lisa Unger has outdone herself. I’ve been a fan of hers for years but this is hands-down my favorite book she’s written. It has all the twists and turns we’ve come to expect from her, along with a delightfully unreliable narrator, and a psychological depth that is as poignant as it is shocking. People like to exaggerate claims of reading a book in a single sitting. I did—cover to cover without once rising from my chair. It’s that good.” —Gregg Hurwitz, author of Don't Look Back Praise for *In the Blood: * “Unger pulls off a bravura feat. . . . Readers will … savor the pleasure of being guided by Unger’s sure hand along a deliciously twisted narrative path. Another scary winner from an accomplished pro.” — Kirkus Reviews “In the Blood is an absolute corker of a thriller that cements Lisa Unger's status as one of the brightest stars in the game.” — Dennis Lehane "Reading In the Blood is like grabbing a live wire. . . . A shocking, unputdownable thriller." — Karin Slaughter "In the Blood is a riveting new thriller from Lisa Unger. Dark and haunting, with a deadly twist that you won't see coming 'til you're hit between the eyes, this book is a winner." — Linda Fairstein "In the Blood is a psychological thriller that played me--in the best sense--from beginning to surprising end. I guarantee Lisa Unger will pull the rug out from under you more than once, so hold tight." — Andrew Pyper Previous Praise for Lisa Unger: “Deeply plotted and complex and carries an undeniable momentum. Lisa Unger’s enthralling cast of characters pulled me right in and locked me down tight. This is one book that will have you racing to the last page, only to have you wishing the ride wasn’t over.” — Michael Connelly “Riveting psychological suspense of the first order. If you haven’t yet experienced Lisa Unger, what are you waiting for?” — Harlan Coben “I read Black Out in one hungry gulp and spent the rest of the night trying to calm my jangled nerves. This is a stunning, mind-bending shocker with moments of sheer terror — one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year!” — Tess Gerritsen “Suspenseful, sensitive, sexy, subtle … The best nail-biter I have read for ages. Highly recommended.” — Lee Child
Justin Cronin /
Ballantine Books /
“A thrilling finale to a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.”—Stephen King You followed The Passage. You faced The Twelve. Now enter The City of Mirrors for the final reckoning. As the bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale, Justin Cronin’s band of hardened survivors await the second coming of unspeakable darkness. The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place? The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future. But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him. One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate. Advance praise for *The City of Mirrors * “Justin Cronin’s Passage trilogy is remarkable for the unremitting drive of its narrative, for the breathtaking sweep of its imagined future, and for the clear lucidity of its language.”—Stephen King “Superb . . . This conclusion to bestseller Cronin’s apocalyptic thriller trilogy ends with all of the heartbreak, joy, and unexpected twists of fate that events in The Passage and The Twelve foreordained.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Readers who have been patiently awaiting the conclusion to Cronin’s sweeping postapocalyptic trilogy are richly rewarded with this epic, heart-wrenching novel. . . . Not only does this title bring the series to a thrilling and satisfying conclusion, but it also exhibits Cronin’s moving exploration of love as both a destructive force and an elemental need, elevating this work among its dystopian peers.”—Library Journal (starred review) Praise for Justin Cronin “One of those rare authors who work on two different levels, blending elegantly crafted literary fiction with cliff-hanging thrills.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram The Passage “Magnificent . . . Cronin has taken his literary gifts, and he has weaponized them. . . . The Passage can stand proudly next to Stephen King’s apocalyptic masterpiece The Stand, but a closer match would be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.”—*Time “Read this book and the ordinary world disappears.”*—Stephen King “[A] big, engrossing read that will have you leaving the lights on late into the night.”—The Dallas Morning News * The Twelve * “[A] literary superthriller, driven at once by character and plot.”—The New York Times Book Review “Gripping . . . Cronin [introduces] eerie new elements to his masterful mythology.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune “An undeniable and compelling epic . . . a complex narrative of flight and forgiveness, of great suffering and staggering loss, of terrible betrayals and incredible hope.”—Milwaukee* Journal Sentinel* From the Hardcover edition.**ReviewAdvance praise for *The City of Mirrors “Justin Cronin’s Passage trilogy is remarkable for the unremitting drive of its narrative, for the breathtaking sweep of its imagined future, and for the clear lucidity of its language. The City of Mirrors* is a thrilling finale to a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.”—Stephen King** “Superb . . . This conclusion to bestseller Cronin’s apocalyptic thriller trilogy ends with all of the heartbreak, joy, and unexpected twists of fate that events in The Passage and The Twelve foreordained.”—*Publishers Weekly (starred review)* “Readers who have been patiently awaiting the conclusion to Cronin’s sweeping postapocalyptic trilogy are richly rewarded with this epic, heart-wrenching novel. . . . Not only does this title bring the series to a thrilling and satisfying conclusion, but it also exhibits Cronin’s moving exploration of love as both a destructive force and an elemental need, elevating this work among its dystopian peers.”—*Library Journal (starred review)* Praise for Justin Cronin “One of those rare authors who work on two different levels, blending elegantly crafted literary fiction with cliff-hanging thrills.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram The Passage “Magnificent . . . Cronin has taken his literary gifts, and he has weaponized them. . . . The Passage can stand proudly next to Stephen King’s apocalyptic masterpiece The Stand, but a closer match would be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.”—*Time “Read this book and the ordinary world disappears.”*—Stephen King “[A] big, engrossing read that will have you leaving the lights on late into the night.”—The Dallas Morning News * The Twelve * “[A] literary superthriller, driven at once by character and plot.”—The New York Times Book Review “Gripping . . . Cronin [introduces] eerie new elements to his masterful mythology.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune “An undeniable and compelling epic . . . a complex narrative of flight and forgiveness, of great suffering and staggering loss, of terrible betrayals and incredible hope.”—Milwaukee* Journal Sentinel*About the Author Justin Cronin is the "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Passage, " "The Twelve, Mary and O Neil" (which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Stephen Crane Prize), and "The Summer Guest." Other honors for his writing include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Writers Award. A Distinguished Faculty Fellow at Rice University, he divides his time between Houston, Texas, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts."
Joe Hill /
William Morrow /
From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.The fireman is coming. Stay cool.No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.**Amazon.com ReviewAn Amazon Best Book of May 2016: I admit, when I hit a saggy part in a story, I do skip ahead to see if the plot will pick up again. At no point in Joe Hill’s doorstop-weight novel did I have that urge, for each and every page had me entranced. Set in New Hampshire right about now, The Fireman opens with a man spontaneously combusting outside the office of school nurse Harper Grayson. He’s not the first victim of Draco incendia trychophyton, the spore responsible for this transformation, but he’s the signal that Dragonscale has spread to Harper’s small town. It also spreads to Harper soon after she realizes she’s pregnant. Highly contagious and 100 percent fatal, Dragonscale soon plunges the world into chaos. (An oddly affective moment is when Harper logs onto Google and finds, instead of the search engine, the words “Goodby.”) But Hill smartly focuses on Harper and her attempts at survival, keeping the stakes small but extremely personal as the uninfected hunt down and murder the infected, supposedly to protect the rest of the town but really to indulge in sociopathic tendencies now unleashed. The Fireman starts with a hot burn, simmers as Harper joins a group of infected hiding in a summer camp, and then heats up again as the near-utopian community ruptures. Hill weaves questions about the power of leadership, group-think, love, catastrophe, and family into the plot. His smartest move is to give no clear-cut answers to these questions, making The Fireman more substantial and real than a typical apocalyptic thriller. And his humdinger of an ending provides just the right closure. --Adrian LiangReview“[A] superb supernatural thriller . . . a tremendous, heartrending epic of bravery and love set in a fully realized and terrifying apocalyptic world, where hope lies in the simplest of gestures and the fullest of hearts.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on THE FIRMAN) “Hill has a talent for depicting fascinating characters caught in terrible situations. . . . With a full cast of characters and multiple story lines to keep the reader hooked, Hill’s enthralling fourth thriller hits another home run.” (Library Journal (starred review) on THE FIREMAN) “Joe Hill has always been good, but he’s created something incandescent here, soaring and original. He’s a master storyteller who writes with fire in his veins.” (Lauren Beukes, author of BROKEN MONSTERS on THE FIREMAN) “Fascinating and utterly engaging, this novel is sure to leave readers wanting more. One thing is for certain, however. After reading this book, readers will never hear Christmas carols in quite the same way again.” (Library Journal (starred review) on NOS4A2) “[An] undeniably readable work.” (Booklist (starred review) on NOS4A2) “Read it with the lights on and your children locked in a closet.” (BookRiot.com on NOS4A2) [Hill]’s got horror down pat, and his debut is hair-raising fun.” (Kirkus on HEART-SHAPED BOX) “[A] wrenching and effective ghost story . . . reads like good, early King mixed with some of the edgier splatterpunk sensibilities of David J. Schow . . . [HEART-SHAPED BOX] has genuinely touching emotional moments as well as action-packed confrontations with the dead.” (Library Journal (starred review) on HEART-SHAPED BOX) “A genuinely scary novel filled with people you care about; the kind of book that still stays in your mind after you’ve turned over the final page. I loved it unreservedly.” (Neil Gaiman, author of THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE on HEART-SHAPED BOX) “[HORNS is] a creepy murder mystery, a tragic love triangle, and a sweetly wistful coming-of-age story. It’s the kind of book that has you laughing on one page, crying on another and making sure the doors and windows are safely locked on a third.” (Miami Herald on HORNS) “[Horns is] devilishly good. . . . Hill is a terrific writer with a great imagination. He has a special talent for taking us and his characters to very weird places.” (USA Today on HORNS)
Mark Greaney /
Putnam Adult /
A North Korean ICBM crashes into the Sea of Japan. A veteran CIA officer is murdered in Ho Chi Minh City, and a package of forged documents goes missing. The pieces are there, but assembling the puzzle will cost Jack Ryan, Jr. and his fellow Campus agents precious time. Time they don’t have. The challenge facing President Jack Ryan is an old one with a terrifying new twist. The international stalemate with North Korea continues into its seventh decade. A young, untested dictator is determined to prove his strength by breaking the deadlock. Like his father before him, he hangs his plans on the country’s nuclear ambitions. Until now, that program was impeded by a lack of resources. However, there has been a dramatic change in the nation’s economic fortune. A rich deposit of valuable minerals have been found in the Hermit Kingdom. Coupled with their nuclear capabilities, the money from this find will make North Korea a dangerous force on the world stage. There’s just one more step needed to complete this perfect plan…the elimination of the president of the United States. ReviewLOCKED ON“Hard to put down”--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette“The action scenes alone come across beautifully, as visual as anything on a movie screen, with the added enticement of crisp, accurate and hard-driving prose.”--Orlando SentinelTHREAT VECTOR“Each plotline comes to us mainly in a series of tightly written action scenes...as visual as anything on a movie screen, with the added enticement of crisp, accurate and hard driving prose.”—Chicago Tribune“Hard to put down.”—Pittsburgh Post-GazetteCOMMAND AUTHORITY“Once again, the acrid scent of cordite wafted through my imagination during the climactic gun battle as Clancy’s characters from the world of intelligence achieved yet another victory over the forces of evil.”—The Washington Times“Vintage Clancy.”--Kirkus ReviewsAbout the AuthorTom Clancy was the author of eighteen #1 New York Times-bestselling novels. His first effort, The Hunt for Red October, sold briskly as a result of rave reviews, then catapulted onto the bestseller list after President Ronald Reagan pronounced it "the perfect yarn." Clancy was the undisputed master at blending exceptional realism and authenticity, intricate plotting, and razor-sharp suspense. He died in October 2013. Mark Greaney has a degree in international relations and political science. With Tom Clancy he is the coauthor of Locked On, Threat Vector, Command Authority, and Support and Defend. He has written four books in his own Gray Man series: The Gray Man, On Target, Ballistic, and Dead Eye. In his research for these novels, he traveled to more than fifteen countries and trained alongside military and law enforcement in the use of firearms, battlefield medicine and close-range combat tactics.
Michael Connelly /
In the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly, Detective Harry Bosch and his rookie partner investigate a cold case that gets very hot... very fast. In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet ten years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other clues are virtually nonexistent. Even a veteran cop would find this one tough going, but Bosch's new partner, Detective Lucia Soto, has no homicide experience. A young star in the department, Soto has been assigned to Bosch so that he can pass on to her his hard-won expertise.Now Bosch and Soto are tasked with solving a murder that turns out to be highly charged and politically sensitive. Beginning with the bullet that has been lodged for years in the victim's spine, they must pull new leads from years-old evidence, and these soon reveal that the shooting was anything but random.As their investigation picks up speed, it leads to another unsolved case with even greater stakes: the deaths of several children in a fire that occurred twenty years ago. But when their work starts to threaten careers and lives, Bosch and Soto must decide whether it is worth risking everything to find the truth, or if it's safer to let some secrets stay buried.In a swiftly-moving novel as relentless and compelling as its hero, Michael Connelly shows once again why Harry Bosch is "one of the most popular and enduring figures in American crime fiction" (Chicago Tribune).Review"This is the finest crime series written by an American....There are few fictional characters we know so well; Harry is an old friend now."—Patrick Anderson, *Washington Post* "Bosch has become one of the most popular and enduring figures in American crime fiction."—Kevin Nance, *Chicago Tribune* "The Black Echo introduced Connelly as the heir apparent to Raymond Chandler and also helped usher in a new approach to the police procedural. Now, twenty years later, Connelly is still writing about Harry Bosch, continuing to discover new layers to this now iconic character with increasingly complex and believable plots....Connelly makes him a fresh and original character each outing."—Oline H. Cogdill, *Miami Herald* "Bosch has become Mr. Connelly's most durable, well-entrenched creation."—Janet Maslin, *New York Times* "Connelly proves again that neither he nor Bosch has lost his touch."—Christian DuChateau, CNN "Harry Bosch is as formidable as he ever was."—Sherryl Connelly, *New York Daily News* "Connelly's writing is like the best flavor of ice cream: reliably delicious every time."—Jeff Ayers, *Associated Press*About the AuthorMichael Connelly is the author of twenty-five previous novels including the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Gods of Guilt, The Black Box, The Drop, The Fifth Witness, The Reversal, The Scarecrow, The Brass Verdict, and The Lincoln Lawyer, as well as the bestselling Harry Bosch series of novels. He is a former newspaper reporter who has won numerous awards for his journalism and his novels. He spends his time in California and Florida.
John Grisham /
**John Grisham has a new hero . . . and she’s full of surprises**The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back. In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets. Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.About the AuthorJOHN GRISHAM is the author of twenty-seven novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and four novels for young readers. www.doubleday.com www.jgrisham.com www.facebook.com/JohnGrisham
Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan /
William Morrow /
SUMMARY: From the authors of the instant New York Times bestseller The Strain comes the next volume in one of the most imaginative and frightening thriller series in many, many years Last week they invaded Manhattan. This week they will destroy the world. The vampiric virus unleashed in The Strain has taken over New York City. It is spreading and soon will envelop the globe. Amid the chaos, Eph Goodweather—head of the Centers for Disease Control's team—leads a band out to stop these bloodthirsty monsters. But it may be too late. Ignited by the Master's horrific plan, a war erupts between Old and New World vampires, each vying for control. At the center of the conflict lies a book, an ancient text that contains the vampires' entire history . . . and their darkest secrets. Whoever finds the book can control the outcome of the war and, ultimately, the fate of us all. And it is between these warring forces that humans—powerless and vulnerable—find themselves no longer the consumers but the consumed. Though Eph understands the vampiric plague better than anyone, even he cannot protect those he loves. His ex-wife, Kelly, has been transformed into a bloodcrazed creature of the night, and now she stalks the city looking for her chance to reclaim her Dear One: Zack, Eph's young son. With the future of humankind in the balance, Eph and his team, guided by the brilliant former professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian and exterminator Vasiliy Fet and joined by a crew of ragtag gangsters, must combat a terror whose ultimate plan is more terrible than anyone has imagined—a fate worse than annihilation. Amazon.com Review Product Description The vampiric virus unleashed in Ignited by the Master’s horrific plan, a war erupts between Old and New World vampires, each vying for total control. Caught between these warring forces, humans—powerless and vulnerable—are no longer the consumers, but the consumed. Though Eph understands the vampiric plague better than anyone, even he cannot protect those he loves from the invading evil. His ex-wife, Kelly, has been turned by the Master, and now she stalks the city, in the darkness, looking for her chance to reclaim Zack, Eph’s young son. With the future of the world in the balance, Eph and his courageous team, guided by the brilliant former professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian and exterminator Vasiliy Fet, must combat a terror whose ultimate plan is more terrible than anyone first imagined—a fate worse than annihilation. A Q&A with Academy Award®-winner Guillermo Del Toro Q: You’ve written screenplays and directed numerous movies, to name a few of your many accomplishments. What motivated you to write a novel? Del Toro: Well, it’s a different challenge, but I've always written short stories and then, in my film work, storylines for movies (the storyline is a slightly "freer" form than screenplay writing) I have published some of my short stories in the past and it is my secret dream to write shivery tales for young readers. My favorite author in that sense is Q: You are one of the most extraordinarily imaginative and creative thinkers working in the arts today. What were some of the influences that have contributed to your success? Do you have any kind of a muse? Del Toro: Curiously enough I regularly draw more inspiration from painters and books than I do from other films. Painters like Carlos Schwabe, Odilon Redon, Fliecien Rops, Bocklin, Freud, Bacon, Thomas Cole and many others, never fail to excite me and in the book front there are just as many authors... Q: Many of your movies have centered on fantastical characters. Why did you choose to write your first novel about vampires? Del Toro: All of my life I’ve been fascinated by them but always from a Naturalist's point of view. Q: There are many stories, movies, and even a television show involving vampires. The Strain Trilogy uses the idea that vampires are a plague, and that the lead hunter is a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control. What was your inspiration for this twist? Del Toro: When I was a kid I loved Q: How did you and Chuck Hogan come together to write The Strain Trilogy? How does your collaboration work? Del Toro: It was a true collaboration. I had created a "bible" for the book. It contained most of the structural ideas and characters and Chuck then took his pass on it and invented new characters and ideas. Fet (one of my favorite characters) was completely invented by him. And then I did my pass, writing new chapters or heavily editing his pass, and then he did a pass on my pass and so on and so forth. This is the way I have co-written in the past. I loved Chuck's style and ideas from reading his books and I specifically wanted him as a partner because he had a strong sense of reality and had NEVER written a horror book. I knew we would complete each other in the creation of this book. What surprised me is that he came up with some gruesome moments all on his own! He revealed himself to be a rather disturbed man! A Q&A with Hammett Award-winner Chuck Hogan Q: What most surprised you about working with Guillermo Del Toro? Has working with him impacted your own work? In your former career as a video store clerk, did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine working on a project like this—with a legend like Del Toro? Hogan: I'd never co-authored anything, nor had I published a true work of horror before, and here I was embarking on an epic trilogy with a master of the genre. I probably should have been more intimidated--yet I felt an immediate kinship with the material, as well as true excitement at the challenge of bringing the story to life, both of which carried me through. Guillermo is a daunting first audience, and yet an incredibly generous collaborator. Not to mention an amazing resource: it's just fun to have to ask him a question—say, about why the vampires run hot instead of cold—know that, not only will he take me through their intricate biology, but he will embroider the account with corroborating examples from the field of entomology, marine life, and some arcane fact about the function of human blood platelets. Q:_ _ Hogan: Crime and horror are both genres of existentialism, and I am drawn to stories of man at his extremes, of people who find themselves tested, haunted, threatened. I believe a writer should challenge himself in his work just as he challenges the characters in his story—that anything less would be inauthentic and dishonest. What I love about The Strain is that the journey of the story takes this maxim and multiplies it by one thousand. From Publishers Weekly Set over the course of three intense weeks, Del Toro and Hogan's gripping second volume in their near-future vampire trilogy picks up where The Strain, the first volume, left off, as the undead, aided by elderly Eldritch Palmer, one of the world's three richest men, tighten their hold on the planet. Epidemiologists Ephraim Goodweather and Nora Martinez, Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian, and Vasiliy Fet, "New York City Bureau of Pest Control Services worker and independent exterminator," oppose the vampires (or strigoi), as they did in the first book. Setrakian pins his hopes for stopping the vampires on tracking down a 17th-century grimoire that describes the origins of their leaders, the Seven Original Ancients. Despite the story's essential grimness, the authors manage to inject some sardonic humor, even as the plot developments will leave readers wondering how the concluding book can possibly end well. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Guillermo del Toro; Chuck Hogan /
William Morrow /
SUMMARY: The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan's Labyrinth and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event. The Strain They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country. In two months—the world. A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold. In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . . So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and son—before it is too late.
Stephen King /
In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands. In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy. Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands. Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.**
Dan Brown /
In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.About the AuthorDan Brown is the author of numerous #1 bestselling novels, including the recent record-breaking The Lost Symbol, which had the biggest one-week sale in Random House history for a single title. His previous title, The Da Vinci Code, has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide, making it one of the bestselling novels of all time. In addition to numerous appearances on The Today Show, Mr. Brown was named one of the World's 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine. He has appeared in the pages of Newsweek, Forbes, People, GQ, The New Yorker, and others. His novels are published in over 50 languages around the world
Vince Flynn, Kyle Mills /
Atria/Emily Bestler Books /
In the next thrilling novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Mitch Rapp series, the anti-terrorism operative heads to Pakistan to confront a mortal threat he may not be prepared for. In fact, this time he might have met his match. Mitch Rapp is used to winning. But in this follow-up to #1 New York Times bestselling The Survivor, the CIA operative finds himself chasing false leads from continent to continent in an effort to keep Pakistani nukes from falling into the hands of terrorists. Together with friend and colleague Scott Coleman, Rapp struggles to prevent the loss of these lethal weapons, particularly because Russia is also interested in the nukes, though not for the same reason as Rapp and Coleman. Soon, it becomes alarmingly clear that the forces in Moscow are bent on fomenting even more chaos and turmoil in the Middle East, and Rapp must go deep into Russian territory, posing as an American ISIS recruit. There, he uncovers a plan much more dangerous and insidious than he ever expected, one that could have far-reaching and catastrophic consequences. Written with breathless tension and heart-pounding action, Mitch Rapp's latest adventure is as timely and provocative as ever. **Review "Just as compelling as when Flynn was doing the writing . . . . Satisfied fans will hope that Mills will fulfill their continuing Mitch Rapp needs far into the future." (Publishers Weekly (starred review)) "Flynn is a master maybe the master of thrillers in which the pages seem to turn themselves." (Book Reporter) “What thriller readers live for: tense and dramatic with a nice twist.” (Kirkus Reviews) "Flynn has never been better." (Providence Journal) "This series continues to be the best of the best in the high adventure, action heavy thriller field . . . . Flynn's name, Flynn's characters, and Mills' skill will take this one to the top of the charts, territory already familiar to Mitch Rapp." (Booklist (starred review)) “The biggest compliment one can give Mills is that it's totally unclear where Flynn's work ends and his begins, in The Survivor.” (San Jose Mercury News) “Mills has created a wonderful tribute to Flynn while also writing a great novel. While thriller readers and fans miss Flynn, Mills was the perfect choice, and Rapp will continue in good hands.” (Associated Press) “Mitch Rapp is indeed back…and as good as he ever was.” (pop topia.com) “Mills perfectly treads the line of bringing his own considerable talent and style to the table while being respectful of the source material and seemingly channeling Flynn’s own voice.” (Bookreporter.com) “The big questions in my mind when I started to read this book were whether, with the untimely death of Vince Flynn, Kyle Mills could take the Mitch Rapp story further and write a book that seamlessly followed Flynn's inimitable writing style. The answer to both questions is a definite ‘Yes.’” (Suncoast's Book Review) “The Survivor is truly a magnificent book.” (San Diego Book Review) “The book is vintage Flynn/Rapp.” (The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)) “Mr. Mills kept the pacing, the plotting and the story development so well; I really couldn't tell it was a different author writing the story… As with other Mitch Rapp books, I couldn't put The Survivor down.” (Just Talking Books) “Superb… the greatest post 9/11 series going.” (Providence Journal) "Give this book a try." (The Daily Pundit) “For readers who enjoy great spy and clandestine espionage novels, The Survivor is an excellent read. Plan on burning the "midnight oil" once the first page is read…destined to be a great success.” (Green Valley News) “I dare you to read this book. If you don't absolutely love it, it's time for you to try another genre.” (The Rappologist) About the Author "This series continues to be the best of the best in the high adventure, action heavy thriller field . . . . Flynn's name, Flynn's characters, and Mills' skill will take this one to the top of the charts, territory already familiar to Mitch Rapp." (Booklist (starred review)) "Just as compelling as when Flynn was doing the writing . . . . Satisfied fans will hope that Mills will fulfill their continuing Mitch Rapp needs far into the future." (Publishers Weekly (starred review)) "Flynn is a master maybe the master of thrillers in which the pages seem to turn themselves." (Book Reporter) “What thriller readers live for: tense and dramatic with a nice twist.” (Kirkus Reviews) "Flynn has never been better." (Providence Journal) “The biggest compliment one can give Mills is that it's totally unclear where Flynn's work ends and his begins, in The Survivor.” (San Jose Mercury News) “Mills has created a wonderful tribute to Flynn while also writing a great novel. While thriller readers and fans miss Flynn, Mills was the perfect choice, and Rapp will continue in good hands.” (Associated Press) “Mitch Rapp is indeed back…and as good as he ever was.” (pop topia.com) “Mills perfectly treads the line of bringing his own considerable talent and style to the table while being respectful of the source material and seemingly channeling Flynn’s own voice.” (Bookreporter.com) “The big questions in my mind when I started to read this book were whether, with the untimely death of Vince Flynn, Kyle Mills could take the Mitch Rapp story further and write a book that seamlessly followed Flynn's inimitable writing style. The answer to both questions is a definite ‘Yes.’” (Suncoast's Book Review) “The Survivor is truly a magnificent book.” (San Diego Book Review) “The book is vintage Flynn/Rapp.” (The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)) “Mr. Mills kept the pacing, the plotting and the story development so well; I really couldn't tell it was a different author writing the story… As with other Mitch Rapp books, I couldn't put The Survivor down.” (Just Talking Books) “Superb… the greatest post 9/11 series going.” (Providence Journal) "Give this book a try." (The Daily Pundit) “For readers who enjoy great spy and clandestine espionage novels, The Survivor is an excellent read. Plan on burning the "midnight oil" once the first page is read…destined to be a great success.” (Green Valley News) “I dare you to read this book. If you don't absolutely love it, it's time for you to try another genre.” (The Rappologist)
John Sandford /
G.P. Putnam's Sons /
Whenever you hear the sky rumble, that usually means a storm. In Virgil Flowers’ case, make that two. The exceptional new thriller from the writer whose books are “pure reading pleasure” (Booklist). The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen for their body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes those parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of them are a great deal more extreme than others—as Virgil is about to find out. Then there’s the homefront. Virgil’s relationship with his girlfriend Frankie has been getting kind of serious, but when Frankie’s sister Sparkle moves in for the summer, the situation gets a lot more complicated. For one thing, her research into migrant workers is about to bring her up against some very violent people who emphatically do not want to be researched. For another…she thinks Virgil’s kind of cute. “You mess around with Sparkle,” Frankie told Virgil, “you could get yourself stabbed.” “She carries a knife?” “No, but I do.” Forget a storm—this one’s a tornado. **Review PRAISE FOR THE VIRGIL FLOWERS SERIES “Another brainy thriller from a prolific author, Deadline fulfills readers’ expectations of Sandford’s fiction: tense, smart and character-driven.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch “Sandford’s best Flowers book to date. This book is the most fun I have had reading in a long time.” —The Huffington Post “The biggest joys of this series are Flowers himself (his boss is Lucas Davenport from Sandford’s Prey novels), the case of eccentric supporting characters, and the humorous dialogue.” —Shelf Awareness “Pure reading pleasure.” —Booklist “Sandford keeps one last surprise up his sleeve, and it’s a doozy. Exhilaratingly professional work by both Virgil and his creator.” —Kirkus Reviews “Rich characters [and] the descriptions of small-town life, politics and corruption and the concurrent trails of action make for a fast and entertaining read.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette About the Author John Sandford is the pseudonym for the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist John Camp. He is the author of twenty-six Prey novels, most recently Extreme Prey; four Kidd novels; nine Virgil Flowers novels; three YA novels coauthored with his wife, Michele Cook; and three stand-alones, most recently Saturn Run.
Harlan Coben /
Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home in Harlan Coben’s gripping thriller. A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home. **Review Praise for Harlan Coben and his novels “Edgar-winner Coben's action-packed 11th thriller featuring sports agent Myron Bolitar (after 2011's Live Wire) blends family drama with a twisty plot… This page-turner is sure to please Coben's many fans.” —Publishers Weekly on *Home “Series fans will be happy to see Myron, Win, Esperanza, and other recurring characters… given the size of Coben’s audience, this one is sure to be popular. With five years since the last Bolitar novel, expect holds.” —Booklist on Home* “Coben is simply one of the all-time greats—pick up any one of his thrillers and you’ll find a riveting, twisty, surprising story with a big, beating heart at its core.” —Gillian Flynn, bestselling author of *Gone Girl "Master of 'the hook'" —Charlotte Observer "Coben is like a skilled magician saving the best, most stunning trick for the very end." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Fool Me Once "Coben hits the bull's eye again...masterfully paced plotting...a tale guaranteed to fool even the craftiest readers a lot more than once." —Kirkus (starred review) on Fool Me Once* “Coben proves his thriller mastery once more.” —Entertainment Weekly on Fool Me Once “Harlan Coben, master of the suburban thriller, has written another compelling and twist-filled tale with ‘Fool Me Once.’…The unpredictability of the story will keep readers literally turning the pages to try and figure out what is really going on. Even those savvy enough to figure out some of the ending will not uncover everything, and the whopper of a payoff not only will have jaws dropping, but also demonstrates Coben's skill as a writer.” —Associated Press on *Fool Me Once "Coben has done it again with this fast-paced, smart thriller.” —Library Journal(starred review) on Fool Me Once “Harlan Coben has long been the master of the jaw-dropping twist. But in Fool Me Once, he knocks our legs out from under us as well…Fool Me Once just might be his crowning achievement.” —Providence Journal* "Harlan Coben is a master of his craft and a wizard with words… Fool Me Once is him at his best and there is no shame in having him trick us one more time. In fact most of us will be begging him to fool us again and again and again.” —Jackie K. Cooper, Book Critic, The Huffington Post About the Author With over 70 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the internationally bestselling author of more than twenty-five previous novels. His last nine consecutive novels have all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in over a dozen countries.
Oliver Bowden /
1789: The magnificent city of Paris sees the dawn of the French Revolution. The cobblestone streets run red with blood as the people rise against the oppressive aristocracy. But revolutionary justice comes at a high price... At a time when the divide between the rich and poor is at its most extreme, and a nation is tearing itself apart, a young man and woman fight to avenge all they have lost. Soon Arno and Élise are drawn into the centuries-old battle between the Assassins and the Templars—a world with dangers more deadly than they could ever have imagined.About the AuthorOliver Bowden is a pseudonym for an acclaimed novelist.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.12 SEPTEMBER 1794On my desk lies her journal, open to the first page. It was all I could read before a flood tide of emotion took my breath away and the text before me was splintered by the diamonds in my eyes. Tears had coursed down my cheeks as thoughts of her returned to me: the impish child, racing through the hallways of the great Palace of Versailles; the firebrand I came to know and love in adulthood, tresses of red hair across her shoulders, eyes intense beneath dark and lustrous lashes. She had the balance of the expert dancer and the master swordsman. She was as comfortable gliding across the floor of the palace beneath the desirous eye of every man in the room as she was in combat.But behind those eyes lay secrets. Secrets I was about to discover. I pick up her journal once again, wanting to place my palm and fingertips to the page, caress the words, feeling that on this page lies part of her very soul.I begin to read. EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OF ÉLISE DE LA SERRE9 APRIL 1778iMy name is Élise de la Serre. My father is François, my mother Julie, and we live in Versailles: glittering, beautiful Versailles, where neat buildings and grand châteaus reside in the shadow of the great palace, with its lime-tree avenues, its shimmering lakes and fountains, its exquisitely tended topiary.We are nobles. The lucky ones. The privileged. For proof we need only take the fifteen-mile road into Paris. It is a road lit by overhanging oil lamps, because in Versailles we use oil lamps, but in Paris the poor use tallow candles, and the smoke from the tallow factories hangs over the city like a death shroud, dirtying the skin and choking the lungs. Dressed in rags, their backs hunched either with the weight of their physical burden or of mental sorrow, the poor people of Paris creep through streets that never seem to get light. The streets stream with open sewers, where mud and human effluent flow freely, coating the legs of those who carry our sedan chairs as we pass through, staring wide-eyed out the windows.Later we take gilded carriages back to Versailles and pass figures in the fields, shrouded in mist like ghosts. These barefooted peasants tend noble land and starve if the crop is bad, virtual slaves of the landowners. At home I listen to my parents’ tales of how they must stay awake to swish sticks at frogs whose croaking keeps landowners awake; how they must eat grass to stay alive; how the nobles are exempt from paying taxes, excused from military service and spared the indignity of the corvée, a day’s unpaid labor working on the roads.My parents say Queen Marie Antoinette roams the hallways, ballrooms and vestibules of the palace dreaming up new ways to spend her dress allowance while her husband King Louis XVI lounges on his lit de justice, passing laws that enrich the lives of nobles at the expense of the poor and starving. They talk darkly of how these actions might foment revolution.My father had certain “associates.” His advisers, Messieurs Chretien Lafrenière, Charles Gabriel Sivert, and Madame Levesque. “The Crows,” I called them, with their long black coats, dark felt hats and eyes that never smiled.“Have we not learned the lessons of the Croquants?” says my mother.Mother had told me about the Croquants, of course. Those peasant revolutionaries of two centuries ago.“It would appear not, Julie,” Father replies.There is an expression to describe the moment you suddenly understand something that had previously been a mystery to you. It is the moment when “the penny drops.”As a small child, it never occurred to me to wonder why I learned history, not etiquette, manners and poise; I didn’t question why Mother joined Father and the Crows after dinner, her voice raised in disagreement to debate with as much force as they ever did; I never wondered why she didn’t ride sidesaddle, nor why she never needed a groom to steady her mount, and I never wondered why she had so little time for fashion or court gossip. Not once did I think to ask why my mother was not like other mothers.Not until the penny dropped.iiShe was beautiful, of course, and always well dressed though she had no time for the manner of finery worn by the women at court, of whom she would purse her lips and talk disapprovingly. According to her they were obsessed with looks, status, with things.“They wouldn’t know an idea if it hit them between the eyes, Élise. Promise me you’ll never end up like them.”Intrigued and wanting to know more about how I should never end up, I used my vantage point at the hem of Mother’s skirt to spy on these hated women. What I saw were overpowdered gossips who pretended they were devoted to their husbands even as their eyes roamed the room over the rims of their fans, looking for unsuspecting lovers to snare. Unseen, I would glimpse behind the powdered mask, when the scornful laughter dried on their lips and the mocking look died in their eyes. I’d see them for what they really were, which was frightened. Frightened of falling out of favor. Of slipping down the society ladder.Mother was not like that. For one thing she couldn’t have cared less about gossip. And I never saw her with a fan, and she hated powder, and she had no time whatsoever for charcoal beauty spots and alabaster skin, her sole concession to fashion being shoes. Otherwise, what attention she gave her comportment was for one reason and one reason only: to maintain decorum.And she was absolutely devoted to my father. She stood by him—at his side, though, never behind him—she supported him, was unswervingly loyal to him, backing him in public even though behind closed doors they would debate and I would hear her cooling his temper.It’s been a long time, though, since I last heard her debating with Father.They say she may die tonight.iShe survived the night.I sat by her bedside, held her hand and spoke to her. For a while I had been under the delusion that it was me comforting her, until the moment she turned her head and gazed at me with milky but soul-searching eyes, and it became apparent that the opposite was true.There were times last night when I gazed out of the window to see Arno in the yard below, envying how he could be so oblivious to the heartache just feet away from him. He knows she’s ill, of course, but consumption is commonplace, death at the doctor’s knee an everyday occurrence, even here in Versailles. And he is not a de la Serre. He is our ward, and thus not privy to our deepest, darkest secrets, nor our private anguish. Moreover, he has barely known any other state of affairs. For most of his time here. To Arno, Mother is a remote figure attended to on the upper floors of the château; to him she is defined purely by her illness.Instead, my father and I share our turmoil via hidden glances. Outwardly we take pains to appear as normal, our mourning mitigated by two years of grim diagnosis. Our grief is another secret hidden from our ward.iiWe’re getting closer to the moment that the penny dropped. And thinking about the first incident, the first time I really began to wonder about my parents, and specifically Mother, I imagine it like a signpost along the road toward my destiny.It happened at the convent. I was just five when I first entered it, and my memories of it are far from fully formed. Just impressions, really: long rows of beds; a distinct but slightly disconnected memory of glancing outside a window crowned with frost and seeing the tops of the trees rising above billowing skirts of mist; and . . . the Mother Superior.Bent over and bitter, the Mother Superior was known for her cruelty. She’d wander the corridors of the convent with her cane across her palms as though presenting it to a banquet. In her office it was laid across her desk. Back then we’d talk of it being “your turn,” and for a while it was mine, when she hated my attempts at happiness, begrudged the fact that I was swift to laughter and would always call my happy smile a smirk. The cane, she said, would wipe that smirk off my face.Mother Superior was right about that. It did. For a while.And then one day Mother and Father arrived to see the Mother Superior on what matter I have no idea, and I was called to the office at their request. There I found my parents turned in their seats to greet me, Mother Superior standing from behind her desk, the usual look of undisguised contempt upon her face, a frank assessment of my many shortcomings only just dry on her lips.If it had been Mother alone to see me, I should not have been so formal. I would have run to her and hoped I might slip into the folds of her dress and into another world out of that horrible place. But it was both of them, and my father was my king. It was he who dictated what modes of politeness we abided by; he who had insisted I was placed in the convent in the first place. So I approached and curtsied and waited to be addressed.My mother snatched up my hand. How she even saw what was there I have no idea, since it was by my side, but somehow she’d caught a glimpse of the marks left by the cane.“What are these?” she demanded of the Mother Superior, holding my hand toward her.I had never seen the Mother Superior look anything less than composed. But now I would say that she paled. In an instant my mother had transformed from proper and polite, just what was expected of a guest of the Mother Superior, to an instrument of potential anger. We all felt it. Mother Superior the most.She stammered a little. “As I was saying, Élise is a willful girl and disruptive.”“So she’s caned?” demanded my mother, her anger rising.Mother Superior squared her shoulders. “How else do you expect me to keep order?”Mother snatched up the cane. “I expect you to be able to keep order. Do you think this makes you strong?” She slapped the cane to the table. Mother Superior jumped and swallowed and her eyes darted to my father, who was keeping watch with an odd, unreadable expression, as though these were events that did not require his participation. “Well, then you are sorely mistaken,” added Mother. “It makes you weak.”She stood, glaring at the Mother Superior, and made her jump again as she slapped the cane to the desk a second time. Then she took my hand. “Come along, Élise.”We left, and from then on I have had tutors to teach me schoolwork.I knew one thing as we bustled out of the convent and into our carriage for a silent ride home. As Mother and Father bristled with things left unsaid, I knew that ladies did not behave the way my mother had just done. Not normal ladies, anyway.Another clue. This happened a year or so later, at a birthday party for a spoiled daughter in a neighboring château. Other girls my age played with dolls, setting them up to take tea, only a tea for dolls, where there was no real tea or cake, just little girls pretending to feed tea and cake to dolls, which to me, even then, seemed stupid.Not far away the boys were playing with toy soldiers, so I stood to join them, oblivious to the shocked silence that fell over the gathering.My nursemaid Ruth dragged me away. “You play with dolls, Élise,” she said, firmly but nervously, her eyes darting as she shrank beneath the disapproving stare of other nursemaids. I did as I was told, sinking to my haunches and affecting interest in the pretend tea and cake, and with the embarrassing interruption over, the lawn returned to its natural state: boys playing with toy soldiers, the girls with their dolls, nursemaids watching us both, and not far away a gaggle of mothers, highborn ladies who gossiped on wrought-iron lawn chairs.I looked at the gossiping ladies and saw them with Mother’s eyes. I saw my own path from girl on the grass to gossiping lady, and with a rush of absolute certainty realized I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to be like those mothers. I wanted to be like my own mother, who had excused herself from the gaggle of gossips and could be seen in the distance, alone, at the water’s edge, her individuality plain for all to see.iiiI have had a note from Mr. Weatherall. Writing in his native English, he tells me that he wishes to see Mother and asks that I meet him in the library at midnight to escort him to her room. He urges me not to tell Father.Yet another secret I must keep. Sometimes I feel like one of those poor wretches we see in Paris, hunched over beneath the weight of expectations forced upon me.I am only ten years old.11 APRIL 1778iAt midnight, I pulled on a gown, took a candle and crept downstairs to the library, where I waited for Mr. Weatherall.He had let himself into the château, moving like a mystery, the dogs undisturbed, and when he entered the library so quietly that I barely even heard the door open and close, he crossed the floor in a few strides, snatched his wig from his head—the accursed thing, he hated it—and grasped my shoulders.“They say she is fading fast,” he said, and needed it to be hearsay.“She is,” I told him, dropping my gaze.His eyes closed, and though he was not at all old—in his mid-thirties, the same age as Mother and Father—the years were etched upon his face.“Mr. Weatherall and I were once very close,” Mother had said before. She’d smiled as she said it. I fancy that she blushed.iiIt was a freezing-cold day in February the first time I met Mr. Weatherall. That winter was the first of the really cruel winters, but while in Paris the River Seine had flooded and frozen, and the poverty-stricken were dying in the streets, things were very different in Versailles. By the time we awoke, the staff had made up the fires that roared in the grates, and we ate steaming breakfast and wrapped up warm in furs, our hands kept warm by muffs as we took morning and afternoon strolls in the grounds.That particular day the sun was shining although it did nothing to offset the bone-chilling cold. A crust of ice sparkled prettily on a thick layer of snow, and it was so hard that Scratch, our Irish wolfhound, was able to walk upon it without his paws sinking in. He’d taken a few tentative steps, then on realizing his good fortune, given a joyous bark and dashed off ahead while Mother and I made our way across the grounds and to the trees at the perimeter of the south lawn.Holding her hand, I glanced over my shoulder as we walked. Far away our château shone in the reflection of sun and snow, its windows winking, then, as we stepped out of the sun and into the trees, it became indistinct, as though shaded by pencils. We were farther out than usual, I realized, no longer within reach of its shelter.“Do not be alarmed if you see a gentleman in the shadows,” said Mother, bending to me slightly. Her voice was quiet. I clutched her hand a little tighter at the very idea and she laughed. “Our presence here is no coincidence.”I was six years old then and had no idea that a lady meeting a man in such circumstances might have “implications.” As far as I was concerned, it was simply my mother meeting a man, and of no greater significance than her talking to Emanuel, our gardener, or passing the time of day with Jean, our coachman.Frost confers stillness on the world. In the trees it was even quieter than on the snow-covered lawn and we were absorbed by an absolute tranquility as we took a narrow path into the depth of the wood.“Mr. Weatherall likes to play a game,” said my mother, her voice hushed in honor of the peace. “He might like to surprise us, and one should always be aware of what surprises lie in store. We take into account our surroundings and cast our expectations accordingly. Do you see tracks?”The snow around us was untouched. “No, Mama.”“Good. Then we can be sure of our radius. Now, where might a man hide in such conditions?”“Behind a tree?”“Good, good—but what about here?” She indicated overhead and I craned my neck to gaze into the canopy of branches above, the frost twinkling in shards of sunlight.“Observe everywhere, always.” Mother smiled. “Use your eyes to see, don’t incline your head if at all possible. Don’t show to others where your attention is directed. In life you will have opponents, and those opponents will attempt to read you for clues as to your intentions. Maintain your advantage by making them guess.”“Will our visitor be high in a tree, Mama?” I asked.She chuckled. “No. As a matter of fact, I have seen him. Do you see him Élise?”We had stopped. I gazed at the trees in front of us. “No, Mama.”“Show yourself, Freddie,” called Mother, and sure enough, a few yards ahead of us a gray-bearded man stepped from behind a tree, swept his tricorn from his head and gave us an exaggerated bow.The men of Versailles were a certain way. They looked down their noses at anybody not like them. They had what I thought of as “Versailles smiles,” hoisted halfway between bemused and bored, as though constantly on the verge of delivering the witty quip by which, it seemed, all men of court were judged.This man was not a man of Versailles, the beard alone saw to that. And though he was smiling, it was not a Versailles smile; instead, it was soft but serious, the face of a man who thought before he spoke and made his words count.“You cast a shadow, Freddie.” Mother smiled as he stepped forward, kissed her proffered hand then did the same to me, bowing again.“The shadow?” he said, and his voice was rough, uncultured, the voice of a seaman or soldier. “Oh, bloody hell, I must be losing my touch.”“I hope not, Freddie,” laughed Mother. “Élise, meet Mr. Weatherall, an Englishman. An associate of mine. Freddie, meet Élise.”An associate? Like the Crows? No, he was nothing like them. Instead of glaring at me, he took my hand, bowed and kissed it. “Charmed, mademoiselle,” he rasped, his English accent mangling the word “mademoiselle” in a way that I couldn’t help but find charming.Mother fixed me with a serious expression. “Mr. Weatherall is our confidant and protector, Élise. A man to whom you may always turn when in need of help.”I looked at her, feeling a little startled. “But what about Father?”“Father loves us both dearly, and would gladly give his life for us, but men as important as your father need shielding from their domestic responsibilities. This is why we have Mr. Weatherall, Élise—that your Father need not be troubled by those matters concerning his womenfolk.” An even more significant look came into her eyes. “Your father need not be troubled, Élise, do you understand?”“Yes, Mama.”Mr. Weatherall was nodding. “I am here to serve, mademoiselle,” he said to me.“Thank you, monsieur.” I curtsied.Scratch had arrived, greeting Mr. Weatherall excitedly, the two of them evidently old friends.“Can we talk, Julie?” said the protector, replacing his tricorn and indicating that the two of them might walk together.I stayed some steps behind, hearing brief snatches and disjointed snippets of their hushed conversation. I heard “Grand Master” and “King,” but they were just words, the kind I was used to hearing from behind the doors of the château. It’s only in the years since then that they’ve taken on a much greater resonance.And then it happened.Looking back I can’t remember the sequence of events. I remember seeing Mother and Mr. Weatherall tense at the same time as Scratch bristled and growled. Then my mother wheeled. My gaze went in the direction of her eyes and I saw it there, a wolf standing in the undergrowth to my left, a black-and-gray wolf standing absolutely still in the trees, regarding me with hungry eyes.Something appeared from within Mother’s muff, a silver blade, and in two quick strides she had crossed to me, had swept me up and away and deposited me behind her so that I clung to her skirts as she faced the wolf, her blade outstretched.Across the way Mr. Weatherall held a straining, growling, hackles-risen Scratch by the scruff of his neck, and I noticed that his other hand reached for the hilt of a sword that hung at his side.“Wait,” commanded Mother. An upraised hand stopped Mr. Weatherall in his tracks. “I don’t think this wolf will attack.”“I’m not so sure, Julie,” warned Mr. Weatherall. “That is an exceptionally hungry-looking wolf you got there.”The wolf stared at my mother. She looked right back, talking to us at the same time. “There’s nothing for him to eat in the hills; it’s desperation that has brought him to our grounds. But I think this wolf knows that by attacking us, he makes an enemy of us. Far better for it to retreat in the face of implacable strength and forage elsewhere.”Mr. Weatherall gave a short laugh. “Why am I getting the whiff of a parable here?”“Because, Freddie”—Mother smiled—“there is a parable here.”The wolf stared for a few moments more, never taking its eyes from Mother, until at last it dipped its head, turned and slowly trotted away. We watched it disappear into the tress and my mother stood down, her blade replaced in her muff. I looked at Mr. Weatherall; his jacket was once again buttoned and there was no sign of his sword.And I came one step closer to the penny dropping.iiiI showed Mr. Weatherall to her room and he asked that he see her alone, assuring me that he could see himself out. Curious, I peered through the keyhole and saw him take a seat by her side, reach for her hand and bow his head. Moments later I thought I heard the sound of him weeping.12 APRIL 1778iI gaze from my window and remember last summer, when in moments of play with Arno I ascended from my cares and enjoyed blissful days of being a little girl again, running with him through the hedge maze in the grounds of the palace, squabbling over dessert, little knowing that the respite from worry would be so temporary.Every morning I dig my nails into my palms and ask, “Is she awake?” and Ruth, knowing I really mean, “Is she alive?” reassures me that Mother has survived the night.But it won’t be long now.iiSo. The moment that the penny dropped. It draws nearer. But first, another signpost.The Carrolls arrived in the spring of the year I first met Mr. Weatherall. What a gorgeous spring it was. The snows had melted to reveal lush carpets of perfectly trimmed lawn beneath, returning Versailles to its natural state of immaculate perfection. Surrounded by the perfectly cut topiary of our grounds, we could barely hear the hum of the town, while away to our right the slopes of the palace were visible, wide stone steps leading to the columns of its vast frontage. Quite the splendor in which to entertain the Carrolls from Mayfair in London, England. Mr. Carroll and Father spent hours in the drawing room, apparently deep in conversation and occasionally visited by the Crows, while Mother and I were tasked with entertaining Madame Carroll and her daughter, May, who lost no time at all telling me that she was ten and that because I was only six, that made her much better than me.We invited them for a walk and wrapped up against a slight morning chill soon to be burned away by the sun: Mother and I, Madame Carroll and May.Mother and Madame Carroll walked some steps in front of us. Mother, I noticed, wore her muff, and I wondered if the blade was secreted within. I had asked about it, of course, after the incident with the wolf.“Mama, why do you keep a knife in your muff?”“Why, Élise, in case of threats from the marauding wolves, of course.” And with a wry smile she added, “Wolves of the four-legged and two-legged variety. And anyway, the blade helps the muff keep its shape.”But then, as was quickly becoming customary, she made me promise to keep it as one of our vérités cachées. Mr. Weatherall was a vérité cachée. Which meant that when Mr. Weatherall had given me a sword lesson, that became a vérité cachée as well.Secrets by any other name.May and I walked a polite distance behind our mothers. The hems of our skirts brushed the lawn so that from a distance we would appear to be gliding across the grounds, four ladies in perfect transport.“How old are you, smell-bag?” whispered May to me, though as I’ve said, she had already established our ages. Twice, in fact.“Don’t call me smell-bag,” I said primly.“Sorry, smell-bag, but tell me again how old you are.”“I’m six,” I told her.She gave a six-is-a-terrible-age-to-be chortle, like she herself had never been six. “Well, I am ten,” she said haughtily. (And as an aside, May Carroll said everything haughtily. In fact, unless I say otherwise, just assume she said it haughtily.)“I know you are ten,” I hissed, fondly imagining sticking out a foot and watching her sprawl to the gravel of the driveway.“Just so you don’t forget,” she said, and I pictured little bits of gravel sticking to her bawling face as she picked herself up from the ground. What was it Mr. Weatherall had told me? The bigger they are, the harder they fall.(And now I have reached the age of ten I wonder if I am arrogant like her. Do I have that mocking tone when I talk to those younger or lower in status than I? According to Mr. Weatherall I’m overconfident, which I suppose is a nice way of saying “arrogant,” and maybe that’s why May and I rubbed up against each other the way we did, because deep down we were actually quite similar.)As we took our turn around the grounds, the words spoken by the ladies ahead of us reached our ears as Madame Carroll said, “Obviously we have concerns with the direction your Order appears to want to take.”“You have concerns?” said Mother.“Indeed. Concerns about the intentions of your husband’s associates. And as we both know, it is our duty to ensure our husbands do the right thing. Perhaps, if you don’t mind my saying, your husband is giving certain factions leave to dictate his policies?”“Indeed, there are high-ranking members who favor, shall we say, more extreme measures regarding the changing of the old order.”“This concerns us in England.”My mother chortled. “Of course it does. In England you refuse to accept change of any kind.”Madame Carroll bridled. “Not at all. Your reading of our national character lacks subtlety. But I’m beginning to get a feel for where your own loyalties lie, Madame de la Serre. You yourself are petitioning for change?”“If change be for the better.”“Then do I need to report that your loyalties lie with your husband’s advisers? Has my errand been in vain?”“Not quite, Madame. How comforting it is to know that I enjoy the support of my English colleagues in opposing drastic measures. But I cannot claim to share your ultimate goal. While it’s true there are forces pushing for violent overthrow, and while it’s true that my husband believes in God-appointed monarchy, indeed, that his ideals for the future encompass no change at all, I myself tread a middle line. A third way, if you like. Perhaps it won’t surprise you to learn that I consider my belief to be the more moderate of the three.”They walked on some steps and Madame Carroll nodded, thinking.Into the silence my mother said, “I’m sorry if you don’t feel our goals are aligned, Madame Carroll. My apologies if that makes me a somewhat unreliable confidante.”The other woman nodded. “I see. Well, if I were you, Madame de la Serre, I would use my influence with both sides in order to propose your middle line.”“On that issue I shouldn’t like to say, but be assured your journey has not been in vain. My respect for you and your branch of the Order remains a steadfast as I hope it does in return. From me you can rely on two things: firstly that I will abide by my own principles, and secondly that I will not allow my husband to be swayed by his advisers.”“Then you have given me what I want.”“Very good. It is some consolation, I hope.”Behind, May inclined her head to me. “Have your parents told you of your destiny?”“No. What do you mean, ‘destiny’?”She put a hand to her mouth, pretending to have said too much. “They will do, perhaps, when you turn ten years old. Just as they did me. How old are you, by the way?”“I am six.” I sighed.“Well, perhaps they will tell you when you are ten, as they did me.”In the end, of course, my parents’ hand was forced, and they had to tell me my “destiny” much earlier, because two years later, in the autumn of 1775, when I had just turned eight years old, Mother and I went shopping for shoes.iiiAs well as the château in Versailles, we had a sizable villa in the city, and whenever we were there, Mother liked to go shopping.As I have said, while she was contemptuous of most fashions, detesting fans and wigs, conforming to the very minimum of flamboyance when it came to her gowns, there was one thing about which she was fastidious.Shoes. As I’ve said, she loved shoes. She bought silk pairs from Christian in Paris, where we would go, regular as clockwork, once every two weeks, because it was her one extravagance, she said, and mine too, since we always came away with a pair of shoes for me as well as her.Christian was located in one of Paris’s more salubrious streets, far away from our villa on the Île Saint-Louis. But still, everything is relative and I found myself holding my breath as we were helped out of the comfortable and fragrant-smelling interior of our carriage and into the noisy, surging street, where the sound was of shouting and horses’ hooves and a constant rumbling of carriage wheels. The sound of Paris.Above us women leaned from windows across folded arms and watched the world go by. Lining the street were stalls that sold fruit and fabrics, barrows piled high with goods manned by shouting men and women in aprons who immediately called to us. “Madame! Mademoiselle!”My eyes were drawn to the shadows at the edges of the street, where I saw blank faces in the gloom, and I fancied I saw starvation and desperation in those eyes as they watched us reproachfully, hungrily.“Come along now, Élise,” said Mother, and I picked up my skirts just as she did and trod daintily over the mud and excrement beneath our feet and we were ushered into Christian’s by the owner.The door slammed behind us, the outside world denied. A shop boy busied himself at our feet with a towel, and in moments it was as though we had never made that perilous crossing, those few feet between our carriage and the door of one of Paris’s most exclusive shoe shops.Christian wore a white wig tied back with a black ribbon, a justaucorps and white breeches. He was a perfect approximation of half nobleman, half footman, which was how he saw himself on the social ladder. He was fond of saying that it was in his power to make women feel beautiful, which was the greatest power a man possessed. And yet to him Mother remained an enigma, as though she was the one customer upon whom his power did not quite work. It didn’t, and I knew why. It was because other women simply saw the shoes as tributes to their own vanity, whereas Mother adored them as things of beauty.Christian, however, hadn’t yet reached that conclusion, so every visit was marked by him barking up the wrong tree.“Look, Madame,” he said, presenting to her a pair of slippers adorned with buckles. “Every single lady through that door goes weak at the knees at the mere sight of this exquisite new creation, yet only Madame de la Serre has ankles pretty enough to do them justice.”“Too frivolous, Christian.” My mother smiled and with an imperious wave of the hand swept past him to other shelves. I cast an eye at the shop boy, who returned my look with an unreadable gaze, and followed.She chose briskly. She made her choices with a certainty that Christian remained bewildered by her. I, her constant companion, saw the difference in her as she chose her shoes. A lightness. A smile she cast in my direction as she slipped on yet another shoe and admired her beautiful ankles in the mirror to the accompanying gasps and bleats of Christian—every shoe an exquisite work of art in progress, my mother’s foot the final flourish in order to make them complete.We made our choices, Mother arranged for payment and delivery and we left, Christian helping us out onto the street where . . .There was no sign of Jean, our coachman. No sign of our carriage at all.“Madame?” said Christian, face creased with concern. I felt her stiffen, saw the tilt of her chin as her eyes roamed the street around us.“There’s nothing to worry about, Christian,” she assured him, breezily. “Our carriage is a little late, that is all. We shall enjoy the sights and sounds of Paris as we await its return here.”It was beginning to get dark and there was a chill in the air, which had thickened with the first of the evening fog.“That is quite out of the question, Madame, you cannot wait on the street,” said an aghast Christian.She looked at him with a half smile. “To protect my sensibilities, Christian?”“It is dangerous,” he protested, and leaned forward to whisper with his face twisted into a slightly disgusted expression, “and the people.”“Yes, Christian,” she said, as though letting him into a secret, “just people. Now please, go back inside. Your next customer values her exclusive time with Paris’s most attentive shoe salesman as highly as I do, and would no doubt be most put out having to share her time with two strays awaiting their negligent coachman.”Knowing my mother as a woman who rarely changed her mind, and knowing she was right about the next customer, Christian bowed acquiescence, bid usau revoir and returned to the shop, leaving us alone on the street, where the barrows were being removed, where people dissolved into shapes moving within the murky fog.I gripped her hand. “Mama?”“Don’t concern yourself, Élise,” she said raising her chin. “We shall hire a carriage to return us to Versailles.”“Not to the villa here in Paris, Mama?”“No,” she said, thinking, chewing her lip a little, “I think I should prefer that we return to Versailles.”She was tense and watchful as she began to lead us along the street, incongruous in our long skirts and bonnets. From her purse she took a compact to check her rouge and we stopped to gaze in the window of a shop.Still as we walked she used the opportunity to teach me. “Make your face impassive, Élise, and do not show your true feelings, especially if they are nerves. Don’t appear to hurry. Maintain your calm exterior. Maintain control.”The streets were thinning out now. “At the square they have carriages for hire, and we shall be there in a few moments. First, though, I have something I need to tell you. When I tell you, you must not react, you must not turn your head. Do you understand?”“Yes, Mama.”“Good. We are being followed. He has been following us since Christian’s. A man in a tall felt hat and cloak.”“Why? Why is the man following us?”“Now that, Élise, is a very good question, and that is something I intend to find out. Just keep walking.”We stopped to look into another shop window. “I do believe our shadow has disappeared,” she said thoughtfully.“Then that’s a good thing,” I replied, with all the naivety of my unburdened eight-year-old self.There was concern on her face. “No, my darling, it’s not a good thing. I liked him where I could see him. Now I have to wonder if he really has gone or, as seems more likely, he’s sped on ahead to cut us off before we can reach the square. He will expect us to use the main road. We shall fox him, Élise, by taking another route.”Taking my hand she led us off the street, first onto a narrower highway, then into a long alleyway, dark apart from a lit lantern at each end.We were halfway along when the figure stepped out of the fog in front of us. Disturbed mist billowed along the slick walls on either side of the narrow alley. And I knew Mother had made a mistake.ivHe had a thin face framed by a spill of almost pure white hair, looking like a dandyish but down-at-the-heel doctor in his long black cape and tall shabby hat, the ruff of a shirt spilling over his collar.He carried a doctor’s bag that he placed to the ground and opened with one hand, all without taking his eyes off us as he took something from it, something long and curved.Then he smiled and drew the dagger from its sheath, and it gleamed wickedly in the dark.“Stay close, Élise,” whispered Mother. “Everything’s going to be all right.”I believed her because I was an eight-year-old girl and of course I believed my mother. But also because having seen her with the wolf, I had good reason to believe her.Even so, fear nibbled at my insides.“What is your business, monsieur?” she called levelly.He made no answer.“Very well. Then we shall return to where we came from,” said Mother loudly, taking my hand and about to depart.At the alley entrance a shadow flickered and a second figure appeared in the orange glow of the lantern. It was a lamplighter; we could tell by the pole he carried. Even so, Mother stopped.“Monsieur,” she called to the lamplighter cautiously, “I wonder if I might ask you to call off this gentleman bothering us?”The lamplighter said nothing, going instead to where the lamp burned and raising his pole. Mama started, “Monsieur . . .” and I wondered why the man would be trying to light a lamp that was already lit and realized too late that the pole had a hook on the end—the hook that they used for dousing the flame of the candle inside.“Monsieur . . .”The entrance was plunged into darkness. We heard him drop his pole with a clatter and as ours eyes adjusted I could see him reach into his coat to bring something out. Another dagger. Now he, too, moved forward a step.Mother’s head swung from the lamplighter to the doctor.“What is your business, monsieur?” she asked the doctor.In reply the doctor brought his other arm to bear. With a snicking sound a second blade appeared from his wrist.“Assassin,” she said with a smile as he moved in. The lamplighter was close now too—close enough for us to see the harsh set of his mouth and his narrowed eyes. Mother jerked her head in the other direction and saw the doctor, both blades held at his side. Still he smiled. He was enjoying this—or trying to make it look as though he was.Either way, Mother was as immune to his malevolence as she was to the charms of Christian, and her next move was as graceful as a dance step. Her heels clip-clopped on the stone as she kicked out one foot, bent and drew a boot knife, all in the blink of an eye.One second we were a defenseless woman and her child trapped in a darkened passageway, the next we were not: she was a woman brandishing a knife to protect her child. A woman, who by the way she’d drawn her weapon and the way she was now poised, knew exactly what to do with the knife.The doctor’s eyes flickered. The lamplighter stopped. Both given pause for thought.She held her knife in her right hand, and I knew something was amiss because she was left-handed, and presented her shoulder to the doctor.The doctor moved forward. At the same time my mother passed her knife from her right hand to her left, and her skirts pooled as she dipped and with her right hand outflung for balance slashed her left across the front of the doctor, whose justaucorps opened just as neatly as though cut by a tailor, the fabric instantly soaked with blood.He was cut but not badly wounded. His eyes widened and he lurched backward, evidently stunned by the skill of Mother’s attack. For all his sinister act, he looked frightened, and amid my own fear I felt something else: pride and awe. Never before had I felt so protected.Still, though he had faltered he stood his ground, and as his eyes flicked to behind us, Mother twisted too late to prevent the lamplighter’s grabbing me from behind, a choking arm around my neck.“Lay down your knife, or . . .” was what the lamplighter started to say.But never finished, because half a second later, he was dead.Her speed took him by surprise—not just the speed with which she moved but the speed of her decision, that if she allowed the lamplighter to take me hostage, then all was lost. And it gave her the advantage as she swung into him, finding the space between my body and his, leading with her elbow, which with a yell she jabbed into his throat.He made a sound like boak and I felt his grip give, then saw the flash of a blade as Mother pressed home her advantage and drove her boot knife deep into his stomach, shoving him up against the alley wall and with a small grunt of effort driving the blade upward, then stepping smartly away as the front of his shirt darkened with blood and bulged with his spilling guts as he slid to the floor.Mother straightened to face a second attack from the doctor, but all we saw of him was his cloak as he turned and ran, leaving the alley and running for the street.She grabbed my arm. “Come along, Élise, before you get blood on your shoes.”vThere was blood on Mother’s coat. Apart from that there was no way of telling she’d recently seen combat.Not long after we arrived home messages were sent and the Crows bustled in with a great clacking of walking canes, huffing and puffing and talking loudly of punishing “those responsible.” Meanwhile, the staff fussed, put their hands to their throats and gossiped around corners, and Father’s face was ashen and I noticed how he seemed compelled to keep embracing us, holding us both a little too tightly and a little too long and breaking away with eyes that shone with tears.Only Mother seemed unruffled. She had the poise and authority of one who has acquitted herself well. Rightly so. Thanks to her, we had survived the attack. I wondered, did she feel as secretly thrilled as I did?I would be asked to give my account of events, she had warned me in the hired carriage on the way back to our château. In this regard I should follow her lead, support everything she said, say nothing to contradict her.And so I listened as she told versions of her story, first to Olivier, our head butler, then to my father when he arrived, and lastly to the Crows when they bustled in. And though her stories acquired greater detail in the telling, answering all questions fired at her, they all lacked one very important detail. The doctor.“You saw no hidden blade?” she was asked.“I saw nothing to identify my attackers as Assassins,” she replied, “thus I can’t assume it was the work of Assassins.”“Common street robbers are not so organized as this man seems to have been. You can’t think it a coincidence that your carriage was missing. Perhaps Jean will turn up drunk but perhaps not. Perhaps he will turn up dead. No, Madame, this has none of the hallmarks of an opportunistic crime. This was a planned attack on your person, an act of aggression by our enemies.”Eyes would flick to me. Eventually I was asked to leave the room, which I did, finding a seat in the hallway outside, listening to the voices from the chamber as they bounced off marble floors and to my ears.“Grand Master, you must realize this was the work of Assassins.”(Although to my ears, it was the work of “assassins” and so I sat there thinking, Of course it was the work of assassins, you stupid man. Or “would-be assassins” at least.)“Like my wife, I would rather not leap to any false conclusions,” replied Father.“Yet you’ve posted extra guards.”“Of course I have, man. I can’t be too careful.”“I think you know in your heart, Grand Master.”My father’s voice rose. “And what if I do? What would you have me do?”“Why, take action at once, of course.”“And would that be action to avenge my wife’s honor or action to overthrow the king?”“Either would send a message to our adversaries.”Later, the news arrived that Jean had been discovered with his throat cut. I went cold, as though somebody had opened a window. I cried. Not just for Jean but, shamefully, for myself as well. And I watched and listened as a shock descended on the house and there were tears to be heard from below stairs and the voices of the Crows were once more raised, this time in vindication.Again they were silenced by Father. When I looked out the windows, I could see men with muskets in the grounds. Around us, everybody was jumpy. Father came to embrace me time and time again—until I got so fed up I began wriggling away.vi“Élise, there’s something we have to tell you.”And this is the moment you’ve been waiting for, dear reader of this journal, whoever you are—the moment when the penny finally dropped, when I finally understood why I had been asked to keep so many vérités cachées, when I discovered why my father’s associates called him Grand Master, and when I realized what they meant by Templar and why “assassin” actually meant “Assassin.”They had called me into Father’s office and requested that chairs be gathered by the fire before asking the staff to withdraw completely. Father stood while Mother sat forward, her hands on her knees, comforting me with her eyes. I was reminded of once when I had a splinter and Mother held me and comforted me and hushed my tears while Father gripped my finger and removed the splinter.“Élise,” he began, “what we are about to say was to have waited until your tenth birthday. But events today have no doubt raised many questions in your mind, and your mother believes you are ready to be told, so . . . here we are.”I looked at Mother, who reached to take my hand, bathing me in a comforting smile.Father cleared his throat.This was it. Whatever dim ideas I’d formed about my future were about to change.“Élise,” he said, “you will one day become the French head of a secret international order that is centuries old. You, Élise de la Serre, will be a Templar Grand Master.”“Templar Grand Master?” I said, looking from Father to Mother.“Yes.”“Of France?” I said.“Yes. Presently, I hold that position. Your mother also holds a high rank within the Order. The gentlemen and Madame Levesque who visit, they too are Knights of the Order and, like us, they are committed to preserving its tenets.”I listened, not really understanding but wondering why, if all these knights were committed to the same thing, they spent every meeting shouting at one another.“What are Templars?” I asked instead.My father indicated himself and Mother, then extended his hand to include me in the circle. “We all are. We are Templars. We are members of a centuries-old secret order committed to making the world a better place.”I liked the sound of that. I liked the sound of making the world a better place. “How do you do it, Papa?”He smiled. “Ah, now, that is a very good question, Élise. Like any other large, ancient organization there are differing opinions on how best to achieve our ends. There are those who think we should violently oppose those who oppose us. Others who believe in peacefully spreading our beliefs.”“And what are they, monsieur?”He shrugged. “Our motto is, ‘May the father of understanding guide us.’ You see, what we Templars know is that despite exhortations otherwise, the people don’t want real freedom and true responsibility because these things are too great a burden to bear, and only the very strongest minds can do so.“We believe people are good but easily led toward wickedness, laziness and corruption, that they require good leaders to follow, leaders who will not exploit their negative characteristics but instead seek to celebrate the positive ones. We believe peace can be maintained this way.”I could literally feel my horizons expand as he spoke. “Do you hope to guide the people of France that way, Father?” I asked him.“Yes, Élise, yes we do.”“How?”“Well, let me ask you—how do you think?”My mind went blank. How did I think? It felt like the most difficult question I had ever been asked. I had no idea. He looked at me kindly yet I knew he expected an answer. I looked toward Mother, who squeezed my hand encouragingly, imploringly with her eyes, and I found my beliefs in words I myself had heard her speak to Mr. Weatherall and to Madame Carroll.I said, “Monsieur, I think our present monarch is corrupted beyond redemption, that his rule has poisoned the well of France and that in order for the people’s faith to be restored in the monarchy, King Louis needs to be set aside.”My answer caught him off guard and he looked startled, casting a quizzical look at Mother, who shrugged as though to say, Nothing to do with me, even though they were her words I was parroting.“I see,” he said. “Well, your mother is no doubt pleased to hear your espouse such views, Élise, for in this matter she and I are not in full agreement. Like you she believes in change. Myself, I know that that monarch is appointed by God and I believe that a corrupt monarch can be persuaded to see the error of his ways.”Another quizzical look and a shrug and I moved quickly on. “But there are other Templars, Papa?”He nodded. “Across the world, yes. There are those who serve the Order. Those who are sympathetic to our aims. However, as you and your mother discovered today, we have enemies, too. Just as we are an ancient order hoping to shape the world in our image, so there is an opposing order, one with as many adherents sensitive to their own aims. Where we hope to unburden the good-thinking people of the responsibility of choice and be their guardians, this opposing order invites chaos and gambles on anarchy by insisting man should think for himself. They advocate casting aside traditional ways of thinking that have done so much to guide humanity for thousands of years in favor of a different kind of freedom. They are known as Assassins. We believe it was Assassins who attacked you today.”“But, monsieur, I heard you say you weren’t sure . . .”“I said that purely in order to quench the warlike thirst of some of the more vocal members of our Order. It can only be Assassins who attacked you, Élise. Only they would be so bold as to kill Jean and send a man to kill the wife of the Grand Master. No doubt they hope to destabilize us. On this occasion they failed. We must make sure that if they try again, they fail again.”I nodded. “Yes, Father.”He glanced at Mother. “Now, I expect your mother’s defensive actions today came as a surprise to you?”They hadn’t. That “secret” encounter with the wolf had seen to that.
Catherine Coulter /
Gallery Books /
Insidious is the twentieth thriller in #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter's FBI series. FBI agents Savich and Sherlock must discover who is trying to murder Venus Rasmussen, a powerful, wealthy society icon. They soon find out that the danger may be closer than expected. Venus Rasmussen, a powerful woman who runs the international conglomerate Rasmussen Industries, believes someone is poisoning her. After Savich and Sherlock visit with her, someone attempts to shoot her in broad daylight. Who’s trying to kill her and why? A member of her rapacious family, or her grandson who’s been missing for ten years and suddenly reappears? Savich and Sherlock must peel away the layers to uncover the incredible truth about who would target Venus. Meanwhile, Special Agent Cam Wittier leaves Washington for Los Angeles to work with local Detective Daniel Montoya to lead the hunt for the Starlet Slasher, a serial killer who has cut the throats of five young actresses. When a sixth young actress is murdered, Cam comes to realize the truth might be closer than she’d ever want to believe. With breakneck speed and unexpected twists and turns, Coulter’s Insidious will leave you breathless until the shocking conclusion. **Review Praise for the FBI Series Catherine Coulter is one writer who always brings along the suspense and entertainment hand in hand . . . yet another can t put down read. "Suspense Magazine" on "Nemesis" Another suspenseful and entertaining entry by a genre star. "Booklist" on "Nemesis" Coulter s eighteenth FBI suspense thriller features her trademark brisk style and short chapters, plus a measure of compassion and an eminently satisfying epilogue. Coulter is at the top of her game here. "Booklist" on "Power Play" A breakneck plot, magnetic characters and just enough romance to make everything sizzle that is to say, exactly what the world loves about [Coulter s] best-selling FBI series. . . . The double-barreled plot explodes in the first chapter and doesn t slow down until the breathtaking end. "The Huffington Post" on "Bombshell" Exciting . . . A tight plot full of unexpected twists will keep readers turning the pages. "Publishers Weekly" on "Split Second"" About the Author Catherine Coulter is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over seventy-five novels, including the FBI Thriller series and the Brit in the FBI series, which she co-writes with J.T. Ellison. Coulter lives in Marin County, California.
James Patterson, Maxine Paetro /
"I'm not on trial. San Francisco is." An accused murderer called Kingfisher is about to go on trial for his life. Or is he? By unleashing unexpected violence on the lawyers, jurors, and police involved in the case, he has paralyzed the city. Detective Lindsay Boxer and the Women's Murder Club are caught in the eye of the storm. Now comes a courtroom shocker you will never see coming. BookShots LIGHTNING-FAST STORIES BY JAMES PATTERSON Novels you can devour in a few hours Impossible to stop reading All original content from James Patterson **About the AuthorJames Patterson has written more bestsellers and created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today. He lives in Florida with his family. Maxine Paetro has collaborated with James Patterson on the bestselling Women's Murder Club and Private series. She lives with her husband in New York State.