CTG’s Xmas Gift Ideas (part 2): Action Thrillers

The holiday season is fast approaching, and along with it the search for the perfect gift. But there’s no need to panic. Hardback, paperback, audiobook or eBook, whatever your preferred format, books make a fabulous gift.

So, if you’re looking for a few ideas for the crime thriller lovers in your life (or you’re dropping a few hints about what you’d like in your Christmas stocking) here’s a recap of some of my favourite reads from 2013 …

Today’s picks: Action Thrillers

Action thrillers top my list of the many sub-genres within crime fiction. 2013 has been a great year for them, and some of my top picks are:

GHOSTMAN cover image

GHOSTMAN cover image

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs

From the opening page this story hurtles along at a breathless pace. Jack is a mysterious character. Able to change his appearance, his voice and his persona in a moment, he is a true master of disguise.

At the start of the novel Jack reluctantly agrees to sort out the aftermath of a bungled casino heist as repayment of an old favour to the criminal mastermind Marcus. His brief is simple – find Marcus’ missing man and find the stolen cash.

This rapid paced, nail bitingly tense action thriller has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. This is a distinctive debut by 24-year-old novelist Roger Hobbs.

You can check out my full review here https://crimethrillergirl.com/2013/02/10/review-ghostman-by-roger-hobbs/ 

The Blood Whisperer cover image

The Blood Whisperer cover image

The Blood Whisperer by Zoë Sharp

CSI Kelly Jacks has the skill and instinct to read a crime scene to rival that of Dexter Morgan (of the series, DEXTER) but without any of his serial killer tendencies. Having served her time for a crime that she still has no memory of committing, she’s picked up her life and has a job as a specialist crime scene cleaner, cleaning up the crime scenes that she once used to be working. Slowly she’s getting her life back.

But when Kelly and her work partner, Tyrone, are called in to clean a bathroom where a suicide has taken place, Kelly finds evidence to suggest foul play was involved. She questions whether the police should re-look at the scene. They don’t. But from then on bad things start to happen.

High on suspense and tightly plotted, the pace moves ever more rapidly as Kelly unravels a tangled web of lies, greed and deception that will take her from the streets of London to the world of horse racing via seedy warehouses, end-high escorts, plush offices and swanky apartments. I love this book for the pulse pounding action, the artfully woven conspiracy, and the fabulous characters.

You can check out my full review here https://crimethrillergirl.com/2013/12/06/ctg-reviews-the-blood-whisperer-by-zoe-sharp/

NEVER GO BACK cover image

NEVER GO BACK cover image

Never Go Back by Lee Child

When I was halfway through this book I started to slow down, I was so enjoying the story that I wanted to make it last longer. Now that, to me, is a great book. In fact, I think this might just be my new favourite of the series – and that’s a tough call to make because they are all so good.

Anyway, this book sees Reacher finally getting to Virginia. Only Major Susan Turner isn’t there and Reacher is recalled back into the army to face an old homicide charge (and another, more personal relationship-based, legal situation). But does Reacher quit? Of course not, he’s going to find out why both he and Susan Turner are being held on trumped-up charges, and ensure that justice is served.

Classic Reacher. Unputdownable.

You can check out my full review here https://crimethrillergirl.com/2013/11/01/ctg-reviews-never-go-back-by-lee-child/

UK cover image

UK cover image

DOWNFALL by Jeff Abbott

DOWNFALL is the third book in the Sam Capra series and begins with ex-CIA agent, Sam, living in relative peace, working for The Round Table and enjoying his cover life as owner of a chain of bars across the States. He wants a normal life, and this is as close to it as he’s had in a long while. But his peace is shattered when a young woman fleeing two male attackers rushes into the bar and begs for his help. Sam leaps to her aid, and in the process kills one of the men. As well as bringing him unwanted attention from the police and the media, this brings Sam to the attention of Balias – a master criminal who can make a person’s dreams come true, for a price.

As readers of the series will have come to expect, the story charges along at a breakneck pace. The stakes are high and the constant raising of the tension makes the story compulsive reading. A real page-turner of a story.

You can check out my full review here https://crimethrillergirl.com/2013/08/01/downfall-by-jeff-abbott/

[Watch out for the next installment of CTG’s Xmas Gift Ideas: Crime in Colder Climates]

DOWNFALL by Jeff Abbott

UK cover image

UK cover image

What the blurb says: “’Help me.’ When a young woman rushes into Sam Capra’s San Francisco bar and whispers these desperate words, Sam feels compelled to help. A moment later she is attacked by two killers. With Sam’s aid she manages to overpower the men, saving his life in the process before vanishing into the night. On discovering that one of the attackers is no mere thug, but, shockingly, one of the most powerful investors in America, Sam searches for the beguiling young woman who asked for help and unearths a deadly network run by some of the most powerful and influential people in the world …”

DOWNFALL is the third book in the Sam Capra series and begins with ex-CIA agent, Sam, living in relative peace, working for The Round Table and enjoying his cover life as owner of a chain of bars across the States. He wants a normal life, and this is as close to it as he’s had in a long while. But his peace is shattered when a young woman fleeing two male attackers rushes into the bar and begs for his help. Sam leaps to her aid, and in the process kills one of the men. As well as bringing him unwanted attention from the police and the media, this brings Sam to the attention of Balias – a master criminal who can make a person’s dreams come true, for a price.

As readers of the series will have come to expect, the story charges along at a breakneck pace. Using first person narration for main character, Sam Capra, as he sets out to discover who this mysterious network is and why they are after the young woman, and third person narration for the other main point-of-view characters, Abbott weaves the stories of Diana – a young woman who has discovered a terrible secret about her mother, Janice – a mother who will protect her daughter at any cost, Holly – a woman enchained by the choice of her ex-husband, and Belias – a man who thirsts for power and control at the highest level – between Sam’s. The stakes are high for all of the principle characters; the question is who will succeed and who will fail.

This constant raising of the tension made the story compulsive reading. DOWNFALL is an action thriller and so as you’d expect there are a lot of action sequences and fight scenes. Abbott is a master at the fight scene – they’re dynamic and tense with a real cinematic quality, making the reader feel like they’re in the scene ducking the punches along with the characters. What I especially like about his books, and this one doesn’t disappoint, is the locations these scenes often take place in – for example a child’s bedroom in a suburban house (the child is at school) – creating a great juxtaposition and additional conflict between Sam’s desire for domestic normality and the nature of his job.

Tight plotting, high stakes and high action make this page-turner of story a must for fans of action thrillers.

Highly Recommended [As are books one and two – ADRENALINE and THE LAST MINUTE].

[I bought my copy of DOWNFALL]

On Pre-Order: DOWNFALL by Jeff Abbott

Jeff Abbott at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, A...

Jeff Abbott at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, so hands-up, I’m a huge Jeff Abbott fan.

I love both his standalone thrillers like FEAR, TRUST ME, and RUN along with his Whit Mosley series and now his newest series featuring Sam Capra.

The first two novels in the Sam Capra series – ADRENALIN and THE LAST MINUTE – are just the type of breathlessly paced, page-turning action thrillers that got me hooked on the genre in the first place. So, I’m really excited to have discovered that the third book in the Sam Capra series – DOWNFALL – is scheduled for release on July 16th 2013.

I really can’t wait.