Veterans & Rising Stars: Essential Thrillers; Fiction Previews, Sept. 2020, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert 

From Iris Johansen and James Patterson to Sean Parnell and Wendy Walker, 12 thrillers for all libraries.

Six Big-Name Authors

Flynn, Vince & Kyle Mills. Total Power. Emily Bestler: Atria. Sept. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781501190650. $28.99. CD. THRILLER/ESPIONAGE

Hiaasen, Carl. Squeeze Me. Knopf. Sept. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781524733452. $28.95. lrg. prnt. CD. THRILLERcover of Johansen's Chaos

Johansen, Iris. Chaos. Grand Central. Sept. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781538713136. $28. lrg. prnt. CD.  THRILLER

Nesbø, Jo. The Kingdom. Knopf. Sept. 2020. 416p. ISBN 9780525655411. $28.95. lrg. prnt. THRILLER

Patterson, James & J.D. Barker. The California Murders. Little, Brown. Sept. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780316457422. $28. CD.  THRILLER

Robb, J.D. Shadows in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel. (In Death, Book 51). St. Martin’s. Sept. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781250207234. $28.99. CD. THRILLER

In Flynn/Mills’s Total Power, CIA counterterrorist agent Mitch Rapp and his team capture ISIS’s top technology expert but fail to stop ISIS from blowing out America’s entire power grid, and now they must find the ISIS agents who did it or the country will be in the dark for a long time coming (500,000-copy first printing, eight-city tour). Hiaasen goes for dark political humor in Squeeze Me, with Florida-based presidential supporter Kiki Pew Fitzsimmons found dead after a high society event, the president blaming crazed immigrants, the first lady claiming a Secret Service agent as her paramour, and pythons inexplicably overrunning the environs (talk about squeeze!). In Chaos, Johansen introduces paint-outside-the-lines CIA agent Alisa Flynn, helped by Croesus-rich inventor Gabe Korgan and animal whisperer Margaret Douglas as she seeks to rescue schoolgirls kidnapped from their African boarding school. In Nesbø’s The Kingdom, village mechanic Roy is increasingly alarmed by the return home of greedy entrepreneur brother Carl, whom he used to protect from bullies, especially when dark secrets about the town and especially their parents’ deaths start surfacing. Patterson/Barker’s The California Murders actually scurries from Los Angeles to upstate New York as Det. Garrett Hobbs and FBI Agent Jessica Gimble try to solve a cascading series of lookalike murders that seem to be instigated by members of the Fitzgerald family—but which ones? . Finally, in Robb’s Shadows in Death, Lt. Eve Dallas investigates when an heiress is found dead in Washington Square Park, even as Eve’s husband, Roarke, spots notorious killer-for-hire and personal nemesis Lorcan Cobbe standing idly by in the gathering crowd (750,000-copy first printing).

Six Rising Stars 

Henderson, Smith & Jon Marc Smith. Make Them Cry. Ecco. Sept. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780062825179. $27.99. lrg. prnt. THRILLER

Macmillan, Gilly. To Tell You the Truth. Morrow. Sept. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9780062875587. $26.99. lrg. cover of Walker's Don't Look for Meprnt. THRILLER/PSYCHOLOGICAL

Nemerever, Micah. These Violent Delights. Harper. Sept. 2020. 480p. ISBN 9780062963635. $27.99.  THRILLER/PSYCHOLOGICAL

Parnell, Sean. One True Patriot. Morrow. Sept. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780062986573. $27.99. lrg. prnt. SUSPENSE

Walker, Wendy. Don't Look for Me. St. Martin's. Sept. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781250198709. $27.99. SUSPENSE

Walschots, Natalie Zina. Hench. Morrow. Sept. 2020. 416p. ISBN 9780062978578. $27.99. lrg. prnt. ACTION & ADVENTURE

Henderson (Fourth of July Creek) and debuter Smith join forces in Make Them Cry, featuring DEA agent and master interrogator Diane Harbaugh, who rushes to Mexico when she is contacted by a high-ranking cartel member ready to share a big secret about the international black market and is soon digging through multiple layers of deception to events dating back to the start of the Afghanistan War (100,000-copy first printing). In Nanny author Macmillan’s To Tell You the Truth, mystery writer Lucy Harper’s obsequious husband has vanished, as did her brother three decades ago, and she must struggle to get control of these echoing narratives before it’s too late (100,000-copy first printing). In debuter Nemerever’s These Violent Delights, ambitious, working-class artist Paul and upper-crust Julian, charismatic but sometimes cruel, meet at college in the 1970s and are drawn into an ever tighter and more dangerous friendship (50,000-copy first printing). Parnell follows up the New York Times best-selling All Out War with One True Patriot, featuring special operative Eric Steele’s efforts to counter a foreign assassin chasing down top-tier US military personnel in venues ranging from Paris to Russia to Syria (200,000-copy first printing). In the acclaimed Walker’s Don’t Look for Me (following The Night Before), Nicole heads to the town where her mother was last seen and begins uncovering details—another vanished woman, a hole in the fence surrounding an isolated property—that could lead her to the truth (75,000-copy first printing). In Walschots’s darkly witty Hench, a young woman temping for the bad guys (because, hey, jobs are scarce) takes on an assignment that turns bloody, discovers that the good guys aren’t that good, loses her job, and decides that with her technical smarts and spreadsheet in hand she could shake up the world (50,000-copy first printing).   

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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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