A thriller book recommendation: White Tears: A novel by Hari Kunzru

A critic review (source LA Times) can be read at: http://lat.ms/2xlV2pp.
A tidy ending to “White Tears” comes as a surprise after the muddled and perplexing second act, detracting from some of the powerful social commentary wrapped up in Seth’s sojourn to Mississippi.
Book description from Google Books:
White Tears is a ghost story, a terrifying murder mystery, a timely meditation on race, and a love letter to all the forgotten geniuses of American music and Delta Mississippi Blues. “An incisive meditation on race, privilege and music. Spanning decades, this novel brings alive the history of old-time blues and America’s racial conscience.”–Rabeea Saleem, Chicago Review of Books Two twenty-something New Yorkers. Seth is awkward and shy. Carter is the glamorous heir to one of America’s great fortunes. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Seth is desperate to reach for the future. Carter is slipping back into the past. When Seth accidentally records an unknown singer in a park, Carter sends it out over the Internet, claiming it’s a long lost 1920s blues recording by a musician called Charlie Shaw. When an old collector contacts them to say that their fake record and their fake bluesman are actually real, the two young white men, accompanied by Carter’s troubled sister Leonie, spiral down into the heart of the nation’s darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge, and exploitation.
The book is rated 3.73/5 at goodreads.com, from 1738 ratings. See 365 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wFWLlI.
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A thriller book recommendation: The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories by P. D. James

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2v7tLTb.
This is a small book and would make a marvelous holiday present for anyone who loves to read and enjoys a twist at the end of a story. Definitely belongs on the bookshelf.
Book description from Google Books:
Four previously uncollected stories from one of the great mystery writers of our time–swift, cunning murder mysteries (two of which feature the young Adam Dalgliesh) that together, to borrow the author’s own word, add up to a delightful “entertainment.” The newly appointed Sgt. Dalgliesh is drawn into a case that is “pure Agatha Christie.” . . . A “pedantic, respectable, censorious” clerk’s secret taste for pornography is only the first reason he finds for not coming forward as a witness to a murder . . . A best-selling crime novelist describes the crime she herself was involved in fifty years earlier . . . Dalgliesh’s godfather implores him to reinvestigate a notorious murder that might ease the godfather’s mind about an inheritance, but which will reveal a truth that even the supremely upstanding Adam Dalgliesh will keep to himself. Each of these stories is as playful as it is ingeniously plotted, the author’s sly humor as evident as her hallmark narrative elegance and shrewd understanding of some of the most complex–not to say the most damning–aspects of human nature. A treat for P. D. James’s legions of fans and anyone who enjoys the pleasures of a masterfully wrought whodunit.
The book is rated 3.80/5 at goodreads.com, from 2881 ratings. See 464 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uNVIE1.
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A thriller book recommendation: Anything Is Possible: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2svnoZr.
Anything Is Possible is a deeply moving, often disturbing and heartbreaking, beautifully written and composed collection of intertwining portraits of people from small town America. It does Lucy Barton proud.
Book description from Google Books:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * An unforgettable cast of small-town characters copes with love and loss in this new work of fiction by #1 bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout. Recalling Olive Kitteridge in its richness, structure, and complexity, Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. Here are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother’s happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton, the author’s celebrated New York Times bestseller) returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence. Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout’s place as one of America’s most respected and cherished authors. Praise for Anything Is Possible “When Elizabeth Strout is on her game, is there anybody better? . . . This is a generous, wry book about everyday lives, and Strout crawls so far inside her characters you feel you inhabit them. . . . This is a book that earns its title. Try reading it without tears, or wonder.”–USA Today (four stars) “Readers who loved My Name Is Lucy Barton . . . are in for a real treat. . . . Strout is a master of the story cycle form. . . . She paints cumulative portraits of the heartache and soul of small-town America by giving each of her characters a turn under her sympathetic spotlight.”–NPR “These stories return Strout to the core of what she does more magnanimously than anyone else, which is to render quiet portraits of the indignities and disappointments of normal life, and the moments of grace and kindness we are gifted in response. . . . Strout hits the target yet again.”–The Washington Post “In this wise and accomplished book, pain and healing exist in perpetual dependence, like feuding siblings.”–The Wall Street Journal “Anything Is Possible confirms Strout as one of our most grace-filled, and graceful, writers.”–The Boston Globe “In Elizabeth Strout’s Anything Is Possible, her stunning follow-up to My Name Is Lucy Barton, a famous author returns to the Midwestern hometown of her childhood, touching off a daisy-chain of stories narrated by those who knew her–memories of trauma and goodwill, resentments small and large, and the ever-widening gulf between haves and have-nots. Strout, always good, just keeps getting better.”–Vogue “If you miss the charmingly eccentric and completely relatable characters from Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout’s best-selling My Name Is Lucy Barton, you’ll be happily reunited with them in Strout’s smart and soulful Anything Is Possible.”–Elle “Strout pierces the inner worlds of these characters’ most private behaviors, illuminating the emotional conflicts and pure joy of being human, of finding oneself in the search for the American dream.”–NYLON
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 13054 ratings. See 2169 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2tOtZSx.
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A thriller book recommendation: Running: A Novel by Cara Hoffman

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2xeJIep.
The book and the characters refuse to conform to type, and “Running,” like all good outlaw literature, takes sharp aim at the contemporary culture’s pervasive willingness to do so.
Book description from Google Books:
From the critically acclaimed author of Be Safe I Love You comes a dark and breathtaking novel of love, friendship, and survival set in the red light district of Athens in the 1980s that Garth Greenwall calls “a ferocious, brilliant book.”Running brings together an ensemble of outsiders who get by as “runners”—hustlers who sell tourists on low-end accommodations for a small commission and a place to stay. Bridey Sullivan, a young American woman who has fled a peculiar and traumatic upbringing in Washington State, takes up with a queer British couple, the poet Milo Rollack and Eton drop-out Jasper Lethe. Slipping in and out of homelessness, addiction, and under-the-table jobs, they create their own kind of family as they struggle to survive. Jasper’s madness and consequent death frame a narrative of emotional intensity. In its midst this trio become linked to an act of terrorism. The group then splinters, taking us from Athens to the cliffs of the Mediterranean, and to modern-day New York. Whether in the red light district of Athens or in the world of fire jumpers in the Pacific Northwest, we are always in a space of gorgeously wrought otherness. Running shows novelist Cara Hoffman to be writing at the peak of her craft.
The book is rated 3.47/5 at goodreads.com, from 293 ratings. See 74 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wAsiVZ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xffwQC.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A thriller book recommendation: The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uXGqI9.
The great strength of The Executioner’s Song comes not from its journalistic depth or Mailer’s clear-eyed telling of Gilmore’s story, but with the willingness to leave the reader with an open question.
Book description from Google Books:
Norman Mailer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and unforgettable classic about convicted killer Gary Gilmore now in a brand-new edition.Arguably the greatest book from America’s most heroically ambitious writer, THE EXECUTIONER’S SONG follows the short, blighted life of Gary Gilmore who became famous after he robbed two men in 1976 and killed them in cold blood. After being tried and convicted, he immediately insisted on being executed for his crime. To do so, he fought a system that seemed intent on keeping him alive long after it had sentenced him to death. And that fight for the right to die is what made him famous.Mailer tells not only Gilmore’s story, but those of the men and women caught in the web of his life and drawn into his procession toward the firing squad. All with implacable authority, steely compassion, and a restraint that evokes the parched landscape and stern theology of Gilmore’s Utah. THE EXECUTIONER’S SONG is a trip down the wrong side of the tracks to the deepest source of American loneliness and violence. It is a towering achievement-impossible to put down, impossible to forget.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 15267 ratings. See 974 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uFpon3.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uXga0B.

A thriller book recommendation: Cruel Mercy by David Mark

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2s84UOs.
Moving his protagonist out of Humberside was a risky move for Mark, but he pulls it off with aplomb, energised by both the change of locale and the multiple levels of mass malfeasance it offers.
Book description from Google Books:
Two men are taken into the woods. Forced to dig their own graves. But one of them survives the gunshot… The two men travelled from Ireland to America with another man, now missing, presumed guilty. His name is Valentine Teague. Petty criminal, bare-knuckle fighter – and DS Aector McAvoy’s brother in law. Back home, Val’s being held responsible for the blood spilt in the snowy woods of upstate New York. If McAvoy doesn’t find out the truth, all hell will break loose, putting his own family in the crossfire. Investigating proves harder than he could have imagined. New York City is a different world, with different rules. Soon, he finds himself up against squabbling cops, mafias old and new, and the culmination of a crime forty years in the making. All McAvoy can do is the right thing. Even if it kills him…
The book is rated 3.83/5 at goodreads.com, from 163 ratings. See 51 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2tqJvnx.
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A thriller book recommendation: Universal Harvester: A Novel by John Darnielle

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uAVRLe.
Perhaps this book isn’t for everyone. Perhaps it doesn’t always succeed in achieving what it sets out to do. This will no doubt be a polarizing read, but perhaps that’s exactly what Mr. Darnielle put pen to paper to create.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Bestseller“Brilliant . . . Darnielle is a master at building suspense, and his writing is propulsive and urgent; it’s nearly impossible to stop reading . . . [Universal Harvester is] beyond worthwhile; it’s a major work by an author who is quickly becoming one of the brightest stars in American fiction.” —Michael Schaub, Los Angeles Times“Grows in menace as the pages stack up . . . [But] more sensitive than one would expect from a more traditional tale of dread.”—Joe Hill, New York Times Book Review“The most unsettling book I’ve read since House of Leaves.” —Adam Morgan, Electric LiteratureLife in a small town takes a dark turn when mysterious footage begins appearing on VHS cassettes at the local Video Hut. So begins Universal Harvester, the haunting and masterfully unsettling new novel from John Darnielle, author of the New York Times Bestseller and National Book Award Nominee Wolf in White VanJeremy works at the Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa. It’s a small town in the center of the state—the first a in Nevada pronounced ay. This is the late 1990s, and even if the Hollywood Video in Ames poses an existential threat to Video Hut, there are still regular customers, a rush in the late afternoon. It’s good enough for Jeremy: it’s a job, quiet and predictable, and it gets him out of the house, where he lives with his dad and where they both try to avoid missing Mom, who died six years ago in a car wreck.But when a local schoolteacher comes in to return her copy of Targets—an old movie, starring Boris Karloff, one Jeremy himself had ordered for the store—she has an odd complaint: “There’s something on it,” she says, but doesn’t elaborate. Two days later, a different customer returns a different tape, a new release, and says it’s not defective, exactly, but altered: “There’s another movie on this tape.”Jeremy doesn’t want to be curious, but he brings the movies home to take a look. And, indeed, in the middle of each movie, the screen blinks dark for a moment and the movie is replaced by a few minutes of jagged, poorly lit home video. The scenes are odd and sometimes violent, dark, and deeply disquieting. There are no identifiable faces, no dialogue or explanation—the first video has just the faint sound of someone breathing— but there are some recognizable landmarks. These have been shot just outside of town.In Universal Harvester, the once placid Iowa fields and farmhouses now sinister and imbued with loss and instability and profound foreboding. The novel will take Jeremy and those around him deeper into this landscape than they have ever expected to go. They will become part of a story that unfolds years into the past and years into the future, part of an impossible search for something someone once lost that they would do anything to regain.“This chilling literary thriller follows a video store clerk as he deciphers a macabre mystery through clues scattered among the tapes his customers rent. A page-tuning homage to In Cold Blood and The Ring.”—O: The Oprah Magazine“A stellar encore after the success of [Darnielle’s] debut novel, Wolf in White Van . . . Beneath the eerie gauze of this book, I felt an undercurrent of humanity and hope.”—Manuel Roig-Franzia, The Washington Post“[Universal Harvester is] so wonderfully strange, almost Lynchian in its juxtaposition of the banal and the creepy, that my urge to know what the hell was going on caused me to go full throttle . . . [But] Darnielle hides so much beautiful commentary in the book’s quieter moments that you would be remiss not to slow down.”—Abram Scharf, MTV News“Universal Harvester is a novel about noticing hidden things, particularly the hurt and desperation that people bear under their exterior of polite reserve . . . Mr. Darnielle possesses the clairvoyant’s gift for looking beneath the surface.”—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal “[Universal Harvester is] constantly unnerving, wrapped in a depressed dread that haunts every passage. But it all pays off with surprising emotionality.” —Kevin Nguyen, GQ.com“Darnielle writes beautifully . . . He builds a deep sense of foreboding by giving pieces of the puzzle in such a way that you really can’t see the solution until that final piece is in place.” —Salem Macknee, News & Observer
The book is rated 3.27/5 at goodreads.com, from 6027 ratings. See 1183 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uAVK2d.
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A thriller book recommendation: Exposure by Helen Dunmore

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2urHb0Y.
This may be an unconventional thriller, but it’s still a page turner for that. Ultimately though, the focus is the couple — Lily and Simon — rather than the more usual twists and turns of plot in this genre.
Book description from Google Books:
“Dunmore so cleverly interweaves each of the character’s stories that as the tale unfolds it has the chilling ring of absolute authenticity. It’s gripping and page turning and all those things you expect in a Spy Drama–but always laced with her trademark humanity. I was totally caught up in the story which is paced perfectly. Her best book yet.”–Mavis Cheek Virtuoso storyteller Helen Dunmore returns with a thrilling Cold War espionage tale in which the closest ties are called into question and nobody is quite who they seem. It’s London, 1960. The Cold War is at its height, and a spy may be a friend or neighbor, colleague or lover. Two colleagues, Giles Holloway and Simon Callington, face a terrible dilemma over a missing top-secret file. At the end of a suburban garden, in the pouring rain, Simon’s wife, Lily, buries a briefcase containing the file deep in the earth. She believes that in doing so she is protecting her family. What she will learn is that no one is immune from betrayal or the devastating consequences of exposure.
The book is rated 3.87/5 at goodreads.com, from 2830 ratings. See 395 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1R2lbZw.
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A thriller book recommendation: The Evenings: A Winter’s Tale (Pushkin Collection) by Gerard Reve

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uBk7wG.
Only a writer such as Reve, who has viewed life in such an unflinching manner can include that final assertion without irony – and without falsity.
Book description from Google Books:
THE FIRST ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF A POSTWAR MASTERPIECE ‘I work in an office. I take cards out of a file. Once I have taken them out, I put them back in again. That is it.’ Twenty-three-year-old Frits – office worker, daydreamer, teller of inappropriate jokes – finds life absurd and inexplicable. He lives with his parents, who drive him mad. He has terrible, disturbing dreams of death and destruction. Sometimes he talks to a toy rabbit. This is the story of ten evenings in Frits’s life at the end of December, as he drinks, smokes, sees friends, aimlessly wanders the gloomy city street and tries to make sense of the minutes, hours and days that stretch before him. Darkly funny and mesmerising, The Evenings takes the tiny, quotidian triumphs and heartbreaks of our everyday lives and turns them into a work of brilliant wit and profound beauty.
The book is rated 3.53/5 at goodreads.com, from 4892 ratings. See 232 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uwS0Ph.
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A thriller book recommendation: Sustained (The Legal Briefs Series) by Emma Chase

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uOGY38.
Good for everyone that his friends pull out their lawyer cross examination techniques and crack down on his bullshit leading to his going down in Family Man flames. So, me enjoying a horny hero, a sweet heroine and six rug rats plus a dog? Who’d’ve thought?
Book description from Google Books:
Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled series, returns with a brand new funny, romantic, sexy story!A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight. When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand. Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be. Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I’m going to Mommy and Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal’s office. Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids. And that—that, I know how to do.
The book is rated 4.35/5 at goodreads.com, from 17296 ratings. See 2143 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uOOnPO.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uPqDv2.
Google Books preview available in full post.