Thriller Kickoff for Fall: Sept. 2023, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Edge-of-seat reading from big-name authors.

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Abdullah, Kia. Perfectly Nice Neighbors. Putnam. Sept. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780593713815. pap. $17. THRILLER/DOMESTIC

Salma Khatun is excited to move her Bangladeshi family into a UK suburban development called Blenheim until she spots a white neighbor yanking up the antiracist sign her son has placed in the front yard. She repositions the sign in the window, which gets dabbed over with paint. The stage is thus set for confrontation in this follow-up to Take It Back, a Guardian and Telegraph thriller of the year.

Berney, Lou. Dark Ride. Morrow. Sept. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9780062663863. $30. CD. THRILLER

Happy-go-lucky stoner Hardy “Hardly” Reed is just getting by when he spots two young children sitting alone at the amusement park where he works as a minimum-wage scare actor. He can tell they’ve been abused and reports the situation to the Child Protective Service, which is too swamped to do much. So Hardly decides to protect the children on his own.

Brown, Graham. Untitled. Putnam. (NUMA Files, Bk. 20). Sept. 2023. 416p. ISBN 9780593543979. $29.95. lrg. prnt. CD. THRILLER

Kurt Austin and the NUMA team are back in the newest entry in the No. 1 New York Times best-selling series, with Brown again taking the reins from the late Clive Cussler.

Chidgey, Catherine. Pet. Europa. Aug. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781609459307. pap. $18. THRILLER

In 1980s New Zealand, 12-year-old Justine is dazzled by the glamorous new teacher and wants to be her pet. But a series of thefts at the school makes Justine suspicious of everyone and everything. From the Betty Trask Award–winning, Dublin Literary Award short-listed, Women’s Prize long-listed New Zealander Chidgey.

Connolly, John. The Land of Lost Things. Emily Bestler: Atria. (Book of Lost Things, Bk 2). Sept. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9781668022283. $28. THRILLER/SUPERNATURAL

As Ceres sits by the bedside of daughter Phoebe, desperately reading aloud the fairy tales she hope might pull Phoebe from her coma, she finds herself drawn to a tumbledown house on the hospital grounds. It’s linked to an author who has since disappeared, and it promises all the delights (and terrors) of her childhood reading. Connolly, author of the New York Times best-selling “Charlie Parker” series, sets his latest in the world of 2006’s beloved The Book of Lost Things.

Flynn, Vince & Kyle Mills. Code Red: A Mitch Rapp Novel by Kyle Mills. Emily Bestler: Atria. Sept. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9781982164997. $29.99. CD. THRILLERS/ESPIONAGE

Because he owes a favor to crime lord Damian Losa, CIA counterterrorist agent Mitch Rapp ends up in Syria planning to block its distribution of a highly addictive new narcotic throughout Europe, which could undermine Losa’s business. Then Mitch learns that the drug was actually created by Russia as a weapon against the West. Mills again takes over Flynn’s durable Rapp.

Goldberg, Tod. Gangsters Don’t Die. Counterpoint. Sept. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9781640093041. $28. THRILLER

Sal Cupertine wants quits with his life as a Mafia hitman, but trying to pass himself off as Rabbi David Cohen isn’t working as planned. He’s still being pursued by enemies within and without the law, including Peaches Pocotillo, the Indigenous head of a crime syndicate based in the U.S. West. Wrapping up the Hammett Prize–nominated “Gangsterland” trilogy.

Herron, Mick. The Secret Hours. Soho Crime. Sept. 2023. 360p. ISBN 9781641295215. $27.95. THRILLER

Launched by Britain’s prime minister, the Monochrome inquiry aims to ferret out “historical over-reaching,” that is, misconduct, within MI5. But the head of MI5 keeps blocking it, and then the prime minister goes down in defeat. It looks as if Monochrome will go down, too—but for one case file that emerges, detailing an utterly botched mission in 1994 Berlin. Herron boasts both CWA Gold and Steel Daggers.

Jance, J.A. Blessing of the Lost Girls: A Brady and Walker Novel. Morrow. Sept. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780063010109. $30. lrg. prnt. THRILLER

When the remains of a young Apache woman are found in Cochise County, Joanna Brady welcomes in federal investigator Dan Pardee to investigate. He belongs to the newly created Missing and Murdered Indigenous People’s Task Force, and he’s Brandon Walker’s son-in-law, which brings together two of Jance's New York Times series, “Joanna Brady” and “Walker Family,” in one book. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

King, Stephen. Holly. Scribner. Sept. 2023. 464p. ISBN 9781668016138. $30. CD. THRILLER

Introduced in Mr. Mercedes, then seen as Bill Hodges’s partner inFinders Keepers and a detective in her own right in The Outsider, Holly Gibney gets top billing in King’s latest. With partner Pete down with COVID and her difficult mother recently deceased, Holly isn’t eager to take on the search for Penny Dahl’s missing daughter. But she makes the leap, and soon she’s entangled in a case involving multiple disappearances and a seemingly innocuous octogenarian couple with something evil in their basement.

Patterson, James. 23 1/2 Lies. Grand Central. 336p. ISBN 9781538752722. $29. lrg. prnt. THRILLER/ANTHOLOGY

Patterson’s latest features three all-new thriller novellas in one. In “23 1/2 Lies,” written with Maxine Paetro, Det. Lindsay Boxer of the “Women’s Murder Club” series investigates her estranged father’s execution-style murder. In “Fallen Ranger,” written with Andrew Bourelle, Texas Ranger Rory Yates pursues a former ranger suspected of armored car robbery. In “Watch Your Back,” written with Loren D. Estleman, a struggling artist paid to expose a client’s cheating wife finds his life in danger.

Patterson, James & Mike Lupica. Jane Smith. Little, Brown. Sept. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780316405690. $30. lrg. prnt. CD. THRILLER

Once an NYPD cop, then a private investigator, Jane Smith is now an undefeated defense attorney who’s steering a client possibly responsible for multiple murders through a headlines-making trial. She’s confident and newly in love, but there are problems: she’s facing a terminal diagnosis with just 14 months to live, and someone is trying to kill her.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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