These five 2021 thrillers are true page-turners, from Laura Dave's already hugely best-selling The Last Thing He Told Me to a fast-paced debut by a former CIA intelligence officer, Taylor Moore.
The Killing Hills by Chris Offutt
The author of 2019's Country Dark brings us Army criminal investigator Mick Hardin — a combat veteran with a lot on his mind when he returns to his Kentucky home. His wife, Peggy, is about to give birth, but the baby might not even be his, and his sister Linda, the inexperienced sheriff in town, desperately needs his help in investigating a suspicious death. Mick ends up going AWOL to find the culprits, as more bodies turn up, local loyalties are tested, and old rivalries among the area's clans ignite. But he has an advantage over the killers: an intimate knowledge of the ways of rural eastern Kentucky — which Offutt, who's from the area, describes beautifully in this dark story.
Down Range by Taylor Moore
Debut author Moore's hold-your-breath thriller introduces DEA agent Garrett Kohl, a former Green Beret, sent home from Afghanistan with a young Afghan boy he's rescued. Back in his beloved Texas ranching community he faces another war: A nasty drug cartel has managed to infiltrate law enforcement and other local institutions — and when they start targeting his own family, the war gets personal. Though our hero's outnumbered, he's able to lead the brutal criminals into the Texas high plains for a wild Western showdown. Moore's previous experience as a CIA intelligence officer and deep Texas roots bring authenticity to this action-packed tale.
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
This one is burning up the best-seller lists, for good reason. It's a stunner with a heart and an ending you'll never see coming. The central question: How well do we know the ones we love? Hannah Hall's beloved husband, Owen, suddenly vanishes, leaving behind a half million in cash and a message: Protect her, referring to his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey. When the FBI shows up at Hannah's house suspecting Owen of criminal fraud and embezzlement at the family operation where he works. she realizes Owen isn't who he said he was. So who is he? The only thing that might offer clues is to help Bailey excavate her memories of the life she had with her father as a little girl — leading the pair down a thorny trail full of dangers, lies and surprises.
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Find You First by Linwood Barclay
The best-selling author of 2019's Elevator Pitch returns with the story of Miles Cookson, a multimillionaire who's been diagnosed with Huntington's disease, a fatal genetic disorder. He decides to look for the nine kids he sired years ago as a sperm donor so he can both warn them they might be at risk of developing the same disease and possibly leave them his fortune. But when he discovers his progeny are disappearing one by one, he sets out — soon joined by one of those children, 22-year-old Chloe — to stop the carnage. Discovering who-dunnit and why-they've-dunnit is thrilling, but even more rewarding is the story about the growing relationship between Miles and Chloe.
Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown
This thriller set in 1920s Prohibition-era Texas is a departure for Brown, a prolific writer of dozens of best-selling thrillers and romantic novels that are usually set in modern times. It's a winner, featuring a ranch hand, Thatcher Hutton, who becomes the prime suspect in the possible murder of the doctor's wife after returning home from the war. Only one thing is missing to solve the crime quickly: the body. Released for lack of evidence, Thatcher talks his way into becoming a deputy, and is now determined to crack the case — joined by Laurel Plummer, a lovely, tough young widow and mother eking out a living in the moonshine business with her stepfather. As the tide of corruption and menace rises, their hearts and their lives are on the line.