Must-read thrillers and mystery novels for this spring

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Must-read thrillers and mystery novels for this spring

Mercy River by Glen Erik Hamilton, William Morrow, US $26.99, Pp 368, March 2019, ISBN 978-0062567437
The A List by J.A. Jance, Gallery Books, US $27.99, Pp 352, April 2019, ISBN 978-1501151019
The Elephant of Surprise by Joe R. Lansdale, Mulholland Books, US $26.00, Pp 256, March 2019, ISBN 978-0316479875

Van Shaw and Leo Pak developed a deep friendship bond when they were serving with the 75th Regiment in Afghanistan where Van was Leo’s sergeant. Back in the United States, Leo had helped Van whenever Van needed his help. It is now time for Van to help Leo who has been arrested on suspicion of murder and armed robbery. Van decides to travel to Mercy River — in a remote corner of Oregon County — to help his fellow Ranger. Van never thought that by helping his friend he himself is entering a dangerous world of smuggled opioids, ruthless mercenaries, and deadly family secrets that will change how he looks at brotherhood and justice. In Oregon, Van learns that Leo had planned to join a raucous three-day party that takes place at the end of each year. Hundreds of retired and active Rangers attend this raucous party. It is organized by a growing support network called the Rally, founded and led by a decorated Special Operations general named Macomb. It is more than a reunion of Rangers. At this time of the year, apart from the year-end Rangers party, a lot of things are happening in Mercy River. The murder victim is the owner of a local gun shop who was dealing in narcotic drugs including heroin. Mercy River is heavily populated with white supremacists who are growing both in numbers and strength. Worse, they want to turn Mercy River into their stronghold. The police believe that Leo is linked to the murder. Small towns like Mercy River very often go to any length to protect their own. As Van ties to clear Leo’s name, it stirs old grudges and deep- and long-buried dark secrets start coming in the open. His criminal instincts are pitted against his loyalties to his brothers in arms. He is forced to question his own beliefs in putting justice above the letter of the law. Van is an honorable character who is pulled by opposing forces that uphold the law and break it to save innocent lives. Mercy River is a fantastic thriller that will keep you entertained as you read.

About the author

Glen Erik Hamilton’s debut Past Crimes won the Anthony, Macavity, and Strand Magazine Critics awards for Best First Novel, and was also nominated for the Edgar, Barry, and Nero awards. The follow-up in the Van Shaw series, Hard Cold Winter, was published to rave reviews in 2016 and the third novel Every Day Above Ground was published in 2017. A native of Seattle, Glen grew up aboard a sailboat, finding trouble around the islands and marinas and commercial docks of the Pacific Northwest. He now lives in California with his family but frequently returns to his hometown to soak up the rain.

*****

Ali Reynolds was a high-profile broadcaster ten years ago when her career was suddenly ended. Over the last ten years, she moved to her hometown of Sedona in Arizona. She bought a new house and married again and set up a cybersecurity company — High Noon Enterprises — where she and her team of tech experts hunt down criminals. High Noon Enterprises is doing good business and they pursue just one case at a time. The smooth life of Ali Reynolds is interrupted when an old friend dies. Ali is reminded of the last story she reported as a broadcaster. It was a feel-good story about a young man in need of a kidney to save his life. This became a big medical scandal and a doctor — Dr. Edward Gilchrist — was convicted of murder and jailed. More than ten years have passed and Dr. Edward Gilchrist has not forgotten those who brought him down — five in all including his own wife and Ali Reynolds who reported the scam as a broadcaster. Dr. Gilchrist is bent upon taking revenge. He has even tattooed on his arms the initials of the names of those who were responsible for sending him behind bars. Dr. Edward Gilchrist was a gynecologist fertility specialist and worked out of his clinic in Santa Clarita. Women who could not conceive normally visited his clinic and left his care happily pregnant. These women never thought for a second that the biological father of the embryos in their wombs was none other than Dr. Gilchrist, who replaced the donor’s sperms with his own without the knowledge of the women. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is diagnosed with a kidney disease he had inherited from his real biological father, she returns to Dr. Gilchrist. Her struggle to discover the real donor unearths a huge medical scandal. Ali Reynolds helped a dozen or so other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. This is a heatwave of a novel, scorching and engrossing. It should be next on your reading list if you love to read crime novels.

About the author

J.A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the Ali Reynolds series, the J.P. Beaumont series, and the Joanna Brady series, as well as five interrelated Southwestern thrillers featuring the Walker family. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona. Visit her online at JAJance.com.

*****

Hap and Leonard are closest friends but they have little in common except for their interest in crime-solving which make them an odd pair. Hap is a self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard is a tough-as-nails Black, gay, Vietnam veteran and Republican. They have been in the business of crime-solving as private investigators (P.I.s) for many years. Hap recently married their P.I. boss Brett and has become a family man. As the worst flood and storm rage in East Texas, the two friends accidentally meet a young woman, named Nikki, who has had her tongue nearly cut by heavily armed goons. The girl had been mob attacked but survived and her boss had come to resolve the conflict. Nikki tells them how her life was in danger. Hap and Leonard want to save the girl and have the goons punished. They have to hurry because time is running out. This new case is a great challenge to Hap and Leonard but the question is will their friendship — or even themselves — survive. The first thing they have to do is to find one place after another to hide Nikki. As Hap and Leonard try to help Nikki, her torturers start targeting them. Hap and Leonard are two popular characters in the crime fiction who make the novels an instant success. The Elephant of Surprise is rich with Lansdale’s typical humor, engrossing dialogue, and nerve-numbing adventures. It is written in the typical style for which Lansdale is known. It is a very entertaining crime novel you wouldn’t be able to put down.

About the author

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than four dozen novels, including Jackrabbit Smile, the Edgar-award winning The BottomsSunset and Sawdust, and Leather Maiden. He has received nine Bram Stoker Awards, the American Mystery Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature. He lives with his family in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Most of the biographical notes in our reviews are provided by the publishers.

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