Mike's Staff Picks

Mike Wilson, at Murder By The Book since 2023

Mike has over two decades in corporate HR and is currently a consultant. He has been an avid reader of mysteries and thrillers for much longer.

Some of his favorite authors include: Stephen Mack Jones, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Vince Flynn, Steve Cavanagh, SA Cosby, Jeffery Deaver, Joe Ide, Meg Gardiner, Dennis Lehane, Gregg Hurwitz, and Carl Hiaasen.

 

 

Everybody Knows: A Novel By Jordan Harper Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316458023
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mulholland Books - January 30th, 2024

My top book of 2023! Absolutely PHENOMENAL! Great choice if you love noir and darker plots. Further, it has the elements of classic noir and still keeps the pace high and the action going. Harper’s writing is unique and clever and atmospheric. He has a way with words that makes you able to relate intimately with any scene or situation. This is a story that takes you right into the dirt of the city, of power, of influence. It boldly exposes all the realities of the world, especially all that is and can be wrong with it. Definitely worth checking out. 


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Lone Wolf: An Orphan X Novel By Gregg Hurwitz Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9781250871732
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - February 13th, 2024

In Lone Wolf we see the most evolved Orphan X yet and this evolution, to his feelings and to the way he views the world and people in it, causes him to stray from his usual behaviors in ways you could not foresee in the beginning. This is the foundation of another phenomenal action thriller where X ends up matching wits with a mysterious assassin to protect a girl who’s lost her father to this assassin’s bullets. I couldn’t put it down, fastest read this year. 


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All the Sinners Bleed: A Novel By S. A. Cosby Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250831910
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - June 6th, 2023

One of my top two books of 2023! Cosby was already a fantastic writer but this shows he’s getting even better. Sheriff Titus Crown, former FBI agent who left under questionable circumstances, has come home to southern Charon County, a county still caught up in fighting the civil war on modern terms. Fighting for every ounce of respect he gets and being undermined by those who hate having a black man as top cop in this small county in Virginia, Sheriff Titus Crown is in charge when a school shooting leads to the hunt for a serial killer hiding in plain site in their small town. Cosby brings the modern struggles of race, power, and politics up front as he details Crown’s struggles to find the killer. It is written as if from today’s headlines and is arguably Cosby’s best work. The plot is well-conceived and written and the action is fast paced. The characters have incredible depth making this almost surreal. Can't wait for his next offering.


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California Bear: A Novel By Duane Swierczynski Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780316382977
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mulholland Books - January 9th, 2024

This book is unique in some of the best of ways. The author takes the serial killer novel and turns it on its head. He gives you the suspenseful thriller you would expect while giving you hilariously and sometimes tragically flawed characters, dark humor, and plot twists that keep you on your toes. You may think you know what’s going to happen, but you’re probably wrong. Part thriller, touch of detective, and a good amount of dark humor is a great combo here. This was a fast and fun read and a great start to my reading list for the year.  Mike 


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The Ascent By Adam Plantinga Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781538739877
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - January 2nd, 2024

This fiction debut from Plantinga, still an active police officer, is a non-stop thriller I hated to put down. I would have read it in one sitting if I didn’t have to take my turns driving home from the holidays. Ex-cop Kurt Argento is arrested on trumped up charges by a corrupt sheriff with a grudge and thrown into a max security prison. Meanwhile, the governors daughter is taking a tour of the same facility when the prison experiences massive electronic security malfunctions, letting inmates run free and wild within the facility. To call for  help and get free they must get to the roof, but each of the prison’s six floors is more dangerous than the previous one. Shocking at times in its unfiltered authenticity this one gives thrills and surprises as the danger and difficulty of the mission increase. This is a must read for thriller fans. 


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The Price You Pay (A Peter Ash Novel #8) By Nick Petrie Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780593540558
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - February 6th, 2024

Fantastic entry in the Peter Nash series that goes into new territory, digging into the past life of loyal friend Lewis.  This is an exceptional fast action-filled affair that shows the maturation, growth, and depth of Peter, Lewis, and their relationships with each other and their families. But yes, it kicks serious ass and is a great entry point to the series, if you are new to Petrie. 


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Malibu Burning By Lee Goldberg Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781662500688
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thomas & Mercer - September 1st, 2023

Great, entertaining heist novel and lightning fast read! Think Oceans 11 with wildfires! This one moves extremely quickly and Goldberg deftly tells the story as he shifts between the past and present as well as between the con men, who are staging the heist of the decade during a speeding wildfire that they set, and the investigators trying to figure everything out. One of my tops of the year, I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw this on the big screen one day. 


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Perfect Shot: A Thriller (Special Agent Alexandra Martel #1) By Steve Urszenyi Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781250879103
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - November 14th, 2023

This is an excellent and tense debut bridging international law enforcement and espionage. Urszenyi has created a compelling character in former sniper turned special agent Alexandra Martel. I'm looking forward to the sequel. 


Fearless: A Novel (Ben Koenig #1) By M. W. Craven Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250864567
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - July 11th, 2023

This is the excellent debut of Ben Koenig, a special division US Marshall who has disappeared (for reasons unknown at first) for 6 years. He’s kept himself safe until he sees his name and picture on the tv screen. He’s been put on the most wanted list by his own former agency, but doesn’t know why. His old boss has done it to try to draw him out to ask for a personal favor: find those responsible for the taking of his daughter, find out why, and deliver justice. This is a fresh new take on the uniquely skilled highly trained military/law enforcement badass. This was well-written with fantastic character development and background. The twist ending sets up the probable sequel and hints at future topics for the author. I really enjoyed this one and look forward to the sequel. For fans of Lee Child, Petrie, Carr.


Deus X (An August Snow Novel #4) By Stephen Mack Jones Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781641294959
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Crime - November 7th, 2023

Jones and his creation August Snow never disappoint. The fourth in the Snow series is another one where you lose time as you fly through the pages. The only disappointment I have is knowing I have a long wait until the fifth novel. 


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Resurrection Walk By Michael Connelly Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780316563765
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - November 7th, 2023

Classic Connelly!  This is another top notch legal thriller featuring the Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller and long-time feature character, retired LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch. Bosch is now working as an investigator for Haller, trying to prove the innocence of a woman convicted of killing her husband. She originally pleaded no contest but claims she was coerced, forced to negotiate a plea even though innocent. Full of plot twists and shrewd legal maneuvers, this is a must read from the master of police procedurals and legal thrillers. This is easily one of Connelly's best. 


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Hanging the Devil (Cape Weathers Mysteries) By Tim Maleeny Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781728279169
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Poisoned Pen Press - November 14th, 2023

This is an entertaining mystery in which a young girl witnesses an elaborate art heist go wrong, resulting in her uncle being killed and her being on the run. It has smart and quirky characters-one a savvy detective with no masters and the other, a former triad assassin turned self-appointed guardian of Chinatown- that complement each other as well as elements of noir that bring San Francisco and its underbelly to life. This was my first Maleeny book and I've seen enough that I'm going back to read the others. I liken this to a mystery with pieces of Connelly and a dash of Hiaasen. Worth a look!


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The Gatekeeper: A Thriller (A Dez Limerick Novel #1) By James Byrne Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781250890030
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - April 25th, 2023

Byrne has created the most unique and fun main character in the thriller genre I’ve seen in many years. Dez is subtly hilarious, smart, effective, and as dangerous as he needs to be as he approaches every problem with alacrity and calm. I have to see what he does next. Extremely fun read. - Mike


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The Stowaway: A Novel By James S. Murray, Darren Wearmouth Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9781250263674
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - March 21st, 2023

Imagine being in a place you can’t get out of, where no help is coming, and you happen to be there with a serial killer you’ve admitted to setting free as the lone juror voting not guilty. Maria is trying to put her life back together after the trial and relax with her fiancé and two kids when bodies start showing up. She suspects the killer she set free may be on the cruise ship in the middle of the Atlantic. This one is a scary, fast-paced thriller that I flew through. Perfect for fans of Michallon, serial killer novels or just plots a little on the disturbing and suspenseful side. - Mike


The Handler (Handler Thriller, A #1) By M.P. Woodward Cover Image
$9.99
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ISBN: 9780593441657
Published: Berkley - February 7th, 2023

A disgraced former CIA operative must go back in the field with only his ex-wife as his handler in this electrifying thriller from a former intelligence officer.


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August Snow (An August Snow Novel #1) By Stephen Mack Jones Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781616958688
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Crime - January 23rd, 2018

A must read new author! Jones makes you feel and taste Detroit, good and bad, while delivering action with complicated main character August Snow. - Mike


Vertical Run: A Novel By Joseph R. Garber Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593160275
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bantam - July 7th, 2020

One of my top 3 thrillers of all time! 'Nuff said! - Mike


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Chameleon: A Black Box Thriller By Remi Adeleke Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780063238831
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - July 25th, 2023

Black Box is the CIA’s elite special operations group. Ultra-skilled and multi-talented, these agents operate as chameleons and ghosts performing special operations and tasks all over the world. This time, they are investigating “Hostage, Inc.,”a group that uses kidnapping of important figures to manipulate stock prices for huge financial gain. While looking into this, they discover a much more dangerous international plot. Weaving the Nigerian childhood past of main character Kali Kent, with his leadership in his Black Box team in the present, this is an exciting and lightning fast read and is a welcome introduction of Remi Adeline as a thriller writer. Great for fans of the espionage/thriller offerings of Carr, Flynn, and Bentley. - Mike