Library Column: New adult fiction suspense and thrillers

Published 8:00 am Saturday, June 19, 2021

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County – Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features suspense and thrillers from the New Adult Fiction section.

Author Flynn Berry tells the story of two sisters who become entangled in the IRA in her latest, “Northern Spy.” Tessa is a producer at the BBC and a mother of a new baby. One day while at work, she hears the news of another raid by the police. Though the IRA (Irish Republican Army) has been underground the two decades since the Good Friday Agreement, they never really went away. Lately, bomb threats, security checkpoints, and helicopters hovering over the city have once again become part of everyday life. Tessa watches as the news reporter asks for the public’s help in identifying those responsible for a robbery. She is horrified to see her sister, Marian, pulling a black ski mask over her face. The police believe Marian has joined the IRA, but Tessa thinks she must have been abducted or coerced. Both she and Marian have always opposed the violence used in the name of uniting Ireland. Besides, Tessa just talked to Marian yesterday and she is vacationing on the Northern Coast. As Tessa learns the truth about her sister, she questions her identity as a sister and a mother. She walks an increasingly perilous road and she finds herself having to make a choice between her love for her sister and the greater love she has for her son, Finn.

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Jaime Lynn Hendricks explores the psychology of relationships in her domestic thriller “Finding Tessa.” Jace and Tessa are a young couple who appear to be completely in love and have nothing to hide, but things are not as they seem. Jace comes home late from an evening entertaining clients and discovers Tessa missing. He finds broken glass at the back door, clumps of her hair and blood. The cops in his small New Jersey town scrutinize him as a suspect, especially when Jace yells at a reporter during a press conference. He maintains his innocence despite the mounting evidence, but when a coworker he has been accused of having an affair with also goes missing and an illegal gun turns up in Jace’s home, all signs point to him as the perpetrator. Tessa, meanwhile, finally feels safe. She set up her husband to take the fall for her disappearance and someone close to him is helping her put him away. Now that she has broken her lifelong pattern of falling for bad men, she only has to overcome her secret past while trying to stay alive.

“Basil’s War” is a taught World War II espionage thriller by Stephen Hunter. Basil St. Florian is an accomplished agent in the British Army. He is tasked with dozens of dangerous missions across the globe, but his current mission—going undercover in Nazi-occupied France—may be his toughest yet. Basil is searching for an ecclesiastic manuscript that doesn’t officially exist, but genius professor Alan Turing believes it to hold the key to a code that could prevent the deaths of millions and possibly end the war. In spite of his proclivity for swashbuckling, whisky drinking, and womanizing, Basil’s superiors know he’s the best man for the job. He will have to use all of his charm and quick wit against counter agents to get them to lower their guards and find the manuscript before the Nazis get wind of his presence.

“Unfinished Business” is the latest from bestselling author J.A. Jance. Ali Reynolds has just had her personal life thrown into chaos. A former employee of her husband has just been released from prison and there is a serial killer on the loose who has set his sights a little close to home. Mateo Vega once worked for Ali’s husband, B. Simpson, and has spent the last sixteen years behind bars for murdering his girlfriend. Upon receiving his parole, Mateo is determined to track the real killer and approaches Stu Ramey of High Noon Enterprises for a reference letter. Stu does Mateo one better and asks him to come and work for B. once more. Just as Mateo starts his new job, all hell breaks loose. A deadbeat tenant who is in arrears flees, and tech expert Cami Lee goes missing. Ali struggles to find a connection between the two disappearances and helps Mateo clear his name. Just when she thinks she has a handle on the case, tragedy strikes in her personal life and lives are left hanging in the balance.

Ragnar Jonasson’s latest is called “The Girl Who Died.” Una wants nothing more than to teach, but she has been unable to find steady employment in Reykjavik. Her savings are nearly gone, her love life is nonexistent, and she can’t bear to face another winter staring at the walls of her shabby apartment. Then she sees it: “Teacher Wanted at the Edge of the World.” Celebrating Christmas and ringing in 1986 in the remote fishing village of Skalar seems a small price to pay for a chance to earn some teaching credentials and get her life back on track. Skalar isn’t just one of Iceland’s most isolated villages, it is home to just ten people. Una’s only students are two girls aged seven and nine. Teaching only occupies so many hours in the day and the few adults she interacts with are distant, though civil. Her only connection is with Thor, who is mutually attracted to Una but is also determined to keep her at arm’s length. As Una becomes plagued by nightmares of a little girl in a white dress singing a lullaby, Skalar is beset with a sudden tragedy that echoes an event long buried in the village’s past. The citizens of the hamlet become more guarded, leaving Una suspicious and seeking to uncover the truth that has been kept secret for generations.

The latest Teddy Fay novel from bestselling author Stuart Woods is called “Jackpot.” When Peter Barrington and Ben Bachetti come under threat while working at a film festival in Macau, Teddy Fay is lured to the glittering city to resolve the problem. He soon comes to find the world of posh casinos, luxurious developments, and boundless wealth has a dark side of crime and intrigue—and the biggest players behind the scenes are far closer to home than expected. There are international deals and private vendettas at stake and the villains pulling the strings aren’t going to let Teddy get in their way. What the bad guys don’t know is that this innocuous film producer has more than a few tricks up his sleeve.