Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

THE SPY Is Hot

Monday, January 16th, 2017

19494John le Carré’s beloved 1963 thriller, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (PRH/Penguin, reprint 2013; OverDrive Sample), is headed to TV as a limited-series adaptation created by AMC and the BBC.

It follows on the success of The Night Manager adaptation, which just won three Golden Globes (stars Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Colman each took home awards) and racked up a great deal of critical praise during its run.

New York Magazine reports that “Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) will write the entire series.” The Hollywood Reporter quotes le Carré as saying “I’m very excited by the project, and have great confidence in the team.” As well he might, many of the figures behind Night‘s success are back at the helm.

Nearly fifty years after the novel’s original publication, author William Boyd summarized its enduring power, for The Guardian, calling the story,

“a complicated act of deadly triple-bluff perpetrated by the British Secret Service against its enemies in the German Democratic Republic … At its centre is Alec Leamas, sent, he believes, on a clever under-cover mission of revenge but in fact the unwitting tool of even cleverer British brains with other motives”

Boyd goes on to praise its tone and skillful construction, writing “one of the sheer pleasures of the grade one espionage novel is in unravelling its multifarious complexities and le Carré handles the unspooling web of narrative and motive with exemplary poise … there is a clear sense in The Spy of a writer hitting his stride with resolute confidence.”

mv5bmjyxodq0nzy1nv5bml5banbnxkftztcwnze4ntg5mq-_v1_The book was adapted into a movie, the 1965 Oscar nominated film starring Richard Burton and directed by Martin Ritt (Hombre, Norma Rae).

The TV project is just getting underway so there is no word yet on its stars or air date.

SLEEPWALKER Wakes Reviewers

Friday, January 13th, 2017

9780385538916_d5713The many librarian fans of Chris Bohjalian will be happy to learn that critics are raving over his latest and recommend it as a good starting point for readers who are new to his books.

The Seattle Times writes The Sleepwalker (PRH/ Doubleday; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) is “both literary and compelling, a combination so rare I’m tempted to apply for federal intervention … This is Bohjalian at his very best.”

USA Today says “Great mystery writers, like great magicians, have the ability to hide the truth that’s right before your eyes. Best-selling novelist Chris Bohjalian is at the full power of his literary legerdemain in his newest book.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says “Scary, limiting and downright dangerous, sleepwalking inspires a hard-to-put-down story that also mixes sex and a mystery in a polished package … Bohjalian is on top of his already stellar game.

As we noted in Titles to Know, it is an Indie Next pick and The Washington Post, in an early rave, calls it a “spooky thriller … a dark, Hitchcockian novel.

Below is the creepy trailer:

Holds Alert: THE DRY

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

9781250105608_46ab1Jane Harper’s debut thriller, The Dry (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), has already captured the attention of librarians, making the January LibraryReads list and leading our summary of titles that interested GalleyChatters back in October.

That enthusiasm it spreading. Hold ratios well exceed 3:1, as high as 7:1, in libraries.

In a strong review for the NYT, Janet Maslin writes Harper “has jampacked her swift debut thriller with sneaky moves that the reader has to track with care … it’s hard to believe this is her first novel … [it is] a book with a secret on every page [and] threats blooming everywhere, too.”

The thriller is rising on Amazon, moving to #166 from #734.

Prior to publication, Reese Witherspoon optioned the film rights and the book earned stars from Booklist, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly. It is also an Indie Next selection.

Under the Radar: CONCLAVE

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

9780451493446_b9ef1Robert Harris’s newest novel, Conclave (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample), about the political and personal machinations of electing a pope, is getting rave reviews, so glowing, it just appeared on BookMark‘s list of “Most Talked About Books.”


Many readers’ advisors who consider Harris a favorite will not be surprised. Harris writes bestselling historical fiction such as Pompeii and Fatherland as well as contemporary works, such as The Ghost (which was adapted into the feature film The Ghost Writer starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan). Conclave is a contemporary thriller set in the Vatican.

The Guardian opens its review with this gripping lure:

“I am about to use a word I have never knowingly used in any review of any book ever. During my 25-odd years of writing about books I have done my best to avoid cliches, slipshod summaries, oracular pronouncements and indeed anything else that might appear emblazoned on a book jacket. Nonetheless, there is only one possible word to describe Robert Harris’s new novel, and it is this: unputdownable.”

The NYT says that its culminating denouement is “so provocatively scandalous” it “could become a Catholic version of The Satanic Verses.”

The SF Chronicle writes “you eavesdrop on clandestine intrigues and late-night missions that play out in the shadows of the Vatican labyrinth … the author’s strong writing freshens the familiar with color, and his keen sense of character humanizes the baroque proceedings.”

WSJ says “Robert Harris is a master storyteller and accomplished craftsman who, like Graham Greene and Somerset Maugham, marries a searching moral imagination to his rare ability to tell a compelling tale. He understands that people read novels for pleasure, not under compulsion.” (subscription may be required)

Despite the strong reviews and Harris’s auto-buy reputation, holds are light at libraries we checked. That might be due to the timing of the book (it came out just a few weeks after the election) and its subject matter (a contentious, heated battle for power). It has not appeared on best seller lists.

As a result, readers’ advisory librarians may be able to put this book into patron’s hands. Based on the reviews, it’s a good bet to hand-sell.

Running Start: HISTORY OF WOLVES

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

9780802125873_cb9d6Emily Fridlund’s debut novel, History of Wolves (Atlantic Monthly Press; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample), just got a rave review on NPR’s web site.

Calling it “electrifying,” reviewer Michael Schaub says it “isn’t a typical thriller any more than it’s a typical coming-of-age novel; Fridlund does a remarkable job transcending genres without sacrificing the suspense that builds steadily in the book … History of Wolves is as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it’s set, and with her first book, Fridlund has already proven herself to be a singular talent.”

Among other buzz, it is an Amazon best of the month title as well as their featured debut for January. As we pointed out in Titles to Know for the week, People magazines picks it in the new issue, calling it, “a compelling portrait of a troubled adolescent trying to find her way in a new and frightening world.” It is also the #1 Indie Pick this month.

Holds are growing, ranging from 3:1 to 12:1 where ordering is light. One library we checked has a 25:1 ratio, triggering a large second order. 

“Mind-Bending” Spanish-Language Novel Gains Notice

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

9780316354219_9dd5aCalling the book a “sensation,” Deadline Hollywood reports that film rights were just acquired to Kill The Next One, a psychological thriller by Argentinian-born Federico Axat (Hachette/Mulholland Books; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample). Published in Spanish “to acclaim,” rights were also sold for translation into 30 other languages.

Released here earlier this month, it received a good, but not sensational, review in the most recent NYT BR crime column: “mind-bending … Truth, illusion and downright deceit keep crossing invisible lines in this hallucinatory plot.” However, the review continues, “it becomes easy to lose focus on who’s who and what’s what. The shape-shifting characters and fantastic events keep sending [the main character] to his therapist (and us to ours) for clarification … Axat is the kind of hypnotic writer you love to read but can never entirely trust.”

Other coverage to date, while decent, does not indicate a “sensation”:

USA Today includes it on a recent list of new and noteworthy books, quoting the Booklist review that also calls it “mind-bending” as well as “intriguing.”

PW gave it a star, writing “Axat fuses weird fiction with psychological suspense in his stunning U.S. debut.” 

Bustle counts it as one of “The 8 Best Fiction Books Coming Out This December That Are Perfect For Holiday Snuggles,” writing “Like a chilling, murder-y version of Pay It Forward, this thriller unfolds as a man seeking to end his life is given the opportunity to kill two other people and then be killed.”

Canadian librarians picked it as a November Loan Stars title.

Holds are commensurate with cautious ordering in American libraries we checked, but Hollywood’s excitement may foretell growing interest.

BIG LITTLE LIES, First Full Trailer

Monday, December 5th, 2016

1410472035_08b27HBO’s adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s 2014 best seller, Big Little Lies, begins airing on February 19, 2017.

The just-released first full-length trailer is making headlines. Glamour calls it “The Mom Version of Pretty Little Liars You’ve Been Waiting For” and Entertainment Weekly says that the “Trailer Hints At Dark Underbelly Of Parenting.”

The cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley, causing the  A.V. Club to note, “this one seems to star every famous white woman under the sun (plus Adam Scott).”

Tie-ins hit shelves in February:

Big Little Lies (Movie Tie-In), Liane Moriarty (PRH/Berkley trade pbk; February 7, 2017; Mass Market).

BIG LITTLE LIES. HBO Trailer

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

The first teaser trailer for HBO’s adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s 2014 best seller, Big Little Lies, has just been released. Shailene Woodley plays Jane, a young single mother who moves to a coastal community so her son can attend a better school. There she becomes entangled in the messy lives of the seemingly perfect mothers of her son’s classmates, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Madeline (Reese Witherspoon). PopSugar gives a full rundown of the cast, with comparisons to the characters in the book.

The setting has been changed from the book’s Australia to Southern California. The seven-episode series is directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club), who also worked with Witherspoon on the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild.

Release is planned for some time in 2017. No specific start date has been set.

Witherspoon, who set up her production company Pacific Standard to develop better roles for women, worked with Kidman to produce the series. The pair have also acquired the rights to Moriarty’s most recent book, Truly Madly Guilty (Macmillan/Flatiron; Macmillan Audio).

Tie-ins will be published in February.

Big Little Lies (Movie Tie-In)
Liane Moriarty
PRH/Berkley trade pbk; February 7, 2017
Mass Market

New Dan Brown Next Year

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

9780385514231Just weeks before Inferno hits screens, comes news that Robert Langdon will star in yet another book by Dan Brown, Origin (PRH/Doubleday; Sep 26, 2017; ISBN 9780385514231), the fifth in the series.

The news is being widely reported. In a press release Doubleday says:

“In keeping with his trademark style, Brown interweaves codes, science, religion, history, art and architecture into this new novel.
Origin thrusts Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon into the dangerous intersection of humankind’s two most enduring questions, and the earth-shaking discovery that will answer them”

The title is already on wholesaler systems for pre-order.

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10
Catches a New Wave

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

9781501132933_ed13a

Fall books have replaced most of the summer titles on best seller lists, but one is still going strong. Months after its publication on July 19, Ruth Ware’s second novel,  The Woman in Cabin 10 (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample), continues at #17 on USA Today’s list released today, and is therefore declared “a sleeper hit.”

According to the book’s publicist, quoted by USA Today, the success is due in part to word of mouth and the April release in paperback of Ware’s debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood, which “set the table for Cabin.”

Although it was listed on multiple summer reading lists, it received few reviews in the consumer press, other than a glowing mention in a thriller roundup from the Washington Post comparing it aptly to Alfred Hitchcock’s films.

Librarians were early advocates. Both her novels have been Library Reads picks as well as Galleychat favorites.

Library holds queues are long are growing.

More is coming from Ware. She signed a deal with her British publisher for two more books, to be released in the summers of 2017 and 2018 and Reese Witherspoon acquired the film rights to her first book, In a Dark, Dark Wood.

Hitting Screens, Week of Aug. 22

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

9780765322470Just one adaptation opens in the coming week but  it will not make much noise, since it opens in a limited number of theaters (also on VOD), which is unfortunate because it received strong reviews when it premiered at this year’s SXSW.

I Am Not a Serial Killer is based on the 2009 thriller of the same title by Dan Wells. The first in a series, it received a starred review from Kirkus, which called it a “gory gem …this deft mix of several genres features a completely believable teenage sociopath (with a heart of gold), dark humor, [and} a riveting mystery.” Other titles in the series received equally strong reviews from both Booklist and Kirkus.

The plot line is reminiscent of  another series, Dexter. In this case, the main character is a 15-year-old struggling with the realization that he exhibits the classic personality traits of a serial killer. As he fights his own tendencies, he uses his special knowledge to try to help solve a series of murders happening in his small town.

The movie stars Back to the Future‘s Christopher Lloyd and, as the main character, Max Records (Where the Wild Things Are).

INFERNO’s Olympic Bounce

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

MV5BMjIwMjUyODExOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjE0NDM4ODE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_It might not be the gold medal that Michael Phelps and the American women gymnastics earned last night, but the next Dan Brown film adaptation, Inferno, won its own Olympic competition. On the strength of a trailer played between high profile events, the novel jumped on Amazon, rising from #384 to #6.

9780804172264_02d10Inferno (PRH/Anchor; trade pbk. ISBN 9780804172264; May 6, 2014; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) spent five straight weeks at #1 on the NYT hardcover bestseller list , and an additional 13 weeks in the top five.

It’s the fourth of the Robert Langdon novels but the third film adaptation, after The Da Vinci Code and Angels & DemonsThe third novel, The Lost Symbol, was attempted, but was abandoned after the screenplay proved difficult, running through three screenwriters.

Ron Howard again directs, with Tom Hanks starring as Langdon, a Harvard symbologist who cannot seem to stay out of trouble. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Rogue One), Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi), Omar Sy (The Intouchables), and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor) also join the cast. David Koepp (Indiana Jones/Crystal Skull, Angels & Demons, Jurassic Park) wrote the screenplay.

Entertainment Weekly provides a concise summary of the action, saying Langdon “attempts to untangle a deadly mystery rooted in history, and this time, he finds himself swept up in a murderous conspiracy and plague tied to Dante Alighieri’s Inferno and the nine circles of hell.”

The first movie was a blockbuster.  Angels and Demons followed three years later. Although deemed a success, it did not do as well as its predecessor. Collider points out that the seven-year gap between the last film and the new one raises the question of whether “the audience remains all this time later.” If the book’s movement on Amazon’s rankings is an indicator, the answer to that question is yes.

The movie premieres on October 28, 2016 in the US with an international start date of October 12th.

As we pointed out when the first trailer appeared, several tie-ins arrive in September:

Inferno (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Dan Brown
Trade Paperback, (PRH/Anchor)
Mass Market, (PRH/Anchor)
Audio CD (PRH/Random House Audio)
Inferno (Movie Tie-in edition en Espanyol), (PRH/ Vintage Espanyol)

 

Crystal Ball: YOU WILL KNOW ME

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

9780316231077_73720With her 8th novel, a dark thriller about a young female gymnast, You Will Know Me (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), author Megan Abbott is poised to break out,

It got the NPR bounce on Amazon (rising to #145) after Maureen Corrigan reviewed it on yesterday’s Fresh Air, using gymnast metaphors to describe it as a “terrific new psychological suspense novel [with] a plot that somersaults and back flips whenever a safe landing seems in sight.”

It’s been racking up positive reviews, with the daily NYT ‘s critic Jennifer Senior enthusing that Abbott “is in top form in this novel … filling her readers with queasy suspicion at every turn.”

The timing of the release conveniently ties in to the Summer Olympics.  Interviewed by  Entertainment Weekly  Abbott says that the inspiration for the parents in the novel came directly from US Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, who recently pulled off a nail bitter to qualify for the women’s all-around finals. Abbott references video footage that went viral in 2012, but Aly’s mom and dad are also getting noticed this year (see video below).

Holds are soaring, with some libraries we checked running as high as 5:1.

NYT BR Surveys Thrillers

Friday, July 29th, 2016

In a rare move, The New York Times Book Review devotes a full issue to a single genre.  Summer Thrills, offers 19 reviews, some covering multiple titles, that highlight buzzy books (reviewed by buzzy authors) and titles new to the scene.

9780316231077_73720Sophie Hannah (Woman with a Secret) reviews Megan Abbott’s You Will Know Me (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), a novel about murder and an Olympic hopeful. Hannah says that Abbott “sticks the landing,'”admiring the “glittering carapace of [her] lush, skillful, subtle writing,” praising some of the novel’s “radical and satisfying” elements, and calling it “brilliant” and “excellent.”

9780316300506_ffac5Lee Child, whose Jack Reacher thrillers are reliable best sellers, reviews The Death of Rex , by  C.B. George (Hachette/Lee Boudreaux Books; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), set in contemporary Zimbabwe and focused on three married couples.

Part of the buzz around the novel is the author. George is a pseudonym for a writer Child doubts is new at the game, writing that it is unlikely the novel is a debut, in fact “it would be astonishing if it were — like being able to play the Moonlight Sonata with no prior experience of the piano. Therefore ‘C.B. George’ must be a pen name, and speculating about who — or, more accurately, what kind of established writer — lies behind it became a matter of ongoing interest, illuminated by what I took to be clues scattered throughout the text.” In the end Child decides “C.B. George is a screenwriter — and now also a novelist of great quality.”

9781632865267_4b4489780399175015_cd34fAnother best-selling author, Joseph Finder, reviews two books by insiders. The first is the latest by Stella Rimington (the former director general of MI5 said to be the model for 007’s M). Breaking Cover (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA; OverDrive Sample) is the ninth Liz Carlyle thriller and Finder says Rimington writes it with “crisp authority.”

Matthew Palmer works in the US State Department, with stints on the National Security Council, and has written two novels previous to The Wolf of Sarajevo (PRH/Putnam; OverDrive Sample). This one Finder says contains “some
truly exciting scenes … And its conclusion is thrilling … The aura of authenticity on the smaller scale helps lend gravity to plot twists that, in other hands, might have seemed outlandish.”

9781101982730_2f87eA debut, the historical thriller The Devils of Cardona, Matthew Carr (PRH/Riverhead; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample), is the first crack at fiction by a nonfiction author. It is set in 1584, Spain and involves the Inquisition and the murder of a priest. Reviewer/author Esmeralda Santiago says that it advances through “well-structured chapters and harrowing scenes” and that it “is as exciting as it is enlightening from its first pages to its satisfying end.”

Titles we have covered such as Missing, Presumed, Dark Matter, and Crow Girl also get attention.

Holds Alert: TRULY MADLY GUILTY

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Truly Madly GuiltyClose behind the holds leader for the week (and perhaps the summer),  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine) is Liane Moriarty’s latest psychological thriller, published today, Truly Madly Guilty (Macmillan/Flatiron; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Holds have risen dramatically since we wrote about it on Friday, but if readers agree with reviewers, they may stall. The NYT gave it a less than stellar early review, USA Today chimes in today, calling it a “summer bummer,” accusing it of stringing out its mystery and not being “as much fun as The Husband’s Secret or Big Little Lies.”