If you’re in the market for an exciting new thriller for your dad, then Paul Burke’s got you covered. Here are his top ten new and forthcoming thrillers that would make excellent Father’s Day (hint: it’s Sunday, 16th June) gifts:

1. All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride (30th May)

From the Blurb: Scream all you want, no one can hear… Inspector Logan McRae is looking forward to a nice simple case – something to ease him back into work after a year off on the sick. But the powers-that-be have other ideas… The high-profile anti-independence campaigner, Professor Wilson, has gone missing, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. There’s a war brewing between the factions for and against Scottish Nationalism. Infighting in the police ranks. And it’s all playing out in the merciless glare of the media. Logan’s superiors want results, and they want them now. Someone out there is trying to make a point, and they’re making it in blood. If Logan can’t stop them, it won’t just be his career that dies.

PB: The latest in a long-running quality police procedural series (book 12), with an interesting protagonist, Logan McRae. Scottish author MacBride is part of the tartan-noir clan, and a very safe pair of hands. Gritty.

2. Cari Mora by Thomas Harris (16th May)

From the Blurb: Twenty-five million dollars in cartel gold lies hidden beneath a mansion on the Miami Beach waterfront. Ruthless men have tracked it for years. Leading the pack is Hans-Peter Schneider. Driven by unspeakable appetites, he makes a living fleshing out the violent fantasies of other, richer men. Cari Mora, caretaker of the house, has escaped from the violence in her native country. She stays in Miami on a wobbly Temporary Protected Status, subject to the whims of ICE. She works at many jobs to survive. Beautiful, marked by war, Cari catches the eye of Hans-Peter as he closes in on the treasure. But Cari Mora has surprising skills, and her will to survive has been tested before. Monsters lurk in the crevices between male desire and female survival. No other writer in the last century has conjured those monsters with more terrifying brilliance than Thomas Harris. Cari Mora, his sixth novel, is the long-awaited return of an American master.

PB: Action/adventure thriller. Fans of Harris and his character Hannibal Lector have been made to wait thirteen years for this one and it’s a very different beast. A mix of crime thriller and familiar nightmare traits.

3. This Storm by James Ellroy (30th May)

From the Blurb: January, ’42. L.A. reels behind the shock of Pearl Harbor. Local Japanese are rounded up and slammed behind bars. Massive thunderstorms hit the city. A body is unearthed in Griffith Park. The cops tag it a routine dead-man job. They’re wrong. It’s an early-warning signal of Chaos. There’s a murderous fire and a gold heist, exploding out of the past. There’s Fifth Column treason – at this moment, on American soil. There are homegrown Nazis, commies and race racketeers. There’s two dead cops in a dive off the jazz-club strip. And three men and one woman have a hot date with History. Elmer Jackson is a corrupt Vice cop. He’s a flesh peddler and a bagman for the L.A. Chief of Police. Hideo Ashida is a crime-lab whiz, lashed by anti-Japanese rage. Dudley Smith is a PD hardnose working Army Intelligence. He’s gone rogue and gone all-the-way fascist. Joan Conville was bornrogue. She’s a defrocked Navy lieutenant and a war profiteer to her core.

PB: Historical/hard-boiled. This Storm is not published at time of going to print but Ellroy is a chronicler of twentieth century American crime/history and a fine writer with his own unique style. Ellroy’s thrillers are complex but massively entertaining.

4. Metropolis by Philip Kerr (April)

From the Blurb: Berlin, 1928, the dying days of the Weimar Republic shortly before Hitler and the Nazis came to power. It was a period of decadence and excess as Berliners – after the terrible slaughter of WWI and the hardships that followed – are enjoying their own version of Babylon. Bernie is a young detective working in Vice when he gets a summons from Bernard Weiss, Chief of Berlin’s Criminal Police. He invites Bernie to join KIA – Criminal Inspection A – the supervisory body for all homicide investigation in Kripo. Bernie’s first task is to investigate the Silesian Station killings – four prostitutes murdered in as many weeks. All of them have been hit over the head with a hammer and then scalped with a sharp knife. Bernie hardly has time to acquaint himself with the case files before another prostitute is murdered. Until now, no one has shown much interest in these victims – there are plenty in Berlin who’d like the streets washed clean of such degenerates. But this time the girl’s father runs Berlin’s foremost criminal ring, and he’s prepared to go to extreme lengths to find his daughter’s killer. Then a second series of murders begins – of crippled wartime veterans who beg in the city’s streets. It seems that someone is determined to clean up Berlin of anyone less than perfect. The voice of Nazism is becoming a roar that threatens to drown out all others. But not Bernie Gunther’s…

PB: Intelligent historical police procedural. Consummate storyteller, one of the most enduring detectives in fiction. A masterly work that entertains royally.

5. Stasi 77 by David Young (April)

From the Blurb: Karin Müller of the German Democratic Republic’s People’s Police is called to a factory in the east of the country. A man has been murdered – bound and trapped as a fire burned nearby, slowly suffocating him. But who is he? Why was he targeted? Could his murderer simply be someone with a grudge against the factory’s nationalisation, as Müller’s Stasi colleagues insist? Why too is her deputy Werner Tilsner behaving so strangely? As more victims surface, it becomes clear that there is a cold-blooded killer out there taking their revenge. Soon Müller begins to realise that in order to solve these terrible crimes, she will need to delve into the region’s dark past. But are the Stasi really working with her on this case? Or against her? For those who really run this Republic have secrets they would rather remain uncovered. And they will stop at nothing to keep them that way . . . A gripping and evocative crime thriller, moving between the devastating closing weeks of the Second World War and the Stasi-controlled 1970s, STASI 77 is David Young’s most compelling and powerful novel yet.

PB: Police procedural, historical crime. Interesting female protagonist, exotic DDR location and dark secrets from the war – what’s not to like?

6. Secret Service by Tom Bradby (30th May)

From the Blurb: The world is on the brink of crisis. The Cold War is playing out once more on the global stage. And governments will do whatever it takes to stay at the top . . . To those who don’t really know her, Kate Henderson’s life must seem perfectly ordinary. But she is in fact a senior MI6 officer, who right now is nursing the political equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Kate’s most recent mission has yielded the startling intelligence that the British Prime Minister has cancer – and that one of the leading candidates to replace him may be a Russian agent of influence. Up against the clock to uncover the Russian mole, Kate risks everything to get to the truth. But with her reputation to uphold, her family hanging by a thread and a leadership election looming, she is quickly running out of options, and out of time.

PB: Spy/adventure. Bradby writes exciting, light and engaging thrillers, usually with a contemporary theme.

7. A Shadow Intelligence by Oliver Harris (2nd May)

From the Blurb: There is a dark side to MI6 that needs men like Elliot Kane – mercurial, inquisitive, free floating. He’s spent fifteen years managing events overseas that never make the papers, deniable and deeply effective. Kane is a ghost in his own life, picking up and dropping personalities as each new cover story comes into play. But when a woman he loves, Joanna Lake, vanishes without a trace in Kazakhstan, he is forced centre stage. Drawn ever deeper into a realm of deception, Kane moves from merely infiltrating events to steering them. He’s used to a new mode of hybrid psychological warfare – but snowbound Kazakhstan presents unique challenges. Poised between China, Russia and the West, dictatorship and democracy, state intelligence and an increasingly powerful world of private agencies, it’s impossible to work out who is manipulating who. And Kane’s not the only one trying to figure out where Joanna Lake has gone or what she learned before disappearing. Unable to trust anyone, hunted by his own colleagues, and with the life of someone he loves at stake, Kane needs to work out who is driving events, and why…

PB: International/spy stories. Harris writes exciting, complex but readable, pacy thrillers.

8. A Single Source by Peter Hanington (2nd May)

From the Blurb: Veteran BBC reporter William Carver is in Cairo, bang in the middle of the Arab Spring. ‘The only story in the world’ according to his editor. But it isn’t. There’s another story, more significant and potentially more dangerous, and if no one else is willing to tell it, then Carver will – whatever the consequences. A Single Source tells two stories, which over a few tumultuous months come together to prove inextricably linked. There are the dramatic, world-changing events as protests spread across North Africa and the Middle East, led by a new generation of tech-savvy youngsters challenging the corrupt old order. And then there are two Eritrean brothers, desperate enough to risk everything to make their way across the continent to a better life in Europe. The world is watching, but its attention span is increasingly short. Carver knows the story is a complex one and, in the age of Facebook, Twitter and rolling news, difficult stories are getting harder to tell. If everyone is a reporter, then who do you believe?

PB: I’m reading this intelligent and exciting world/news thriller at the moment and loving it. Even better than the first William Carver novel, A Dying Breed.

9. Book of Bones by John Connolly (April)

From the Blurb: On a lonely moor in the northeast of England, the body of a young woman is discovered near the site of a vanished church. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull. Each is a sacrifice, a summons. And something in the shadows has heard the call. But another is coming: Parker the hunter, the avenger. Parker’s mission takes him from Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border; from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London – he will track those who would cast this world into darkness. Parker fears no evil. But evil fears him . . .

PB: Dark supernatural influenced thriller. One of the finest Irish crime writers and that’s saying something. No. 17 in the Charlie Parker series.

10. Conviction by Denise Mina (16th May)

From the Blurb: It’s just a normal morning for Anna McDonald. Gym kits, packed lunches, getting everyone up and ready. Until she opens the front door to her best friend, Estelle. Anna turns to see her own husband at the top of the stairs, suitcase in hand. They’re leaving together and they’re taking Anna’s two daughters with them. Left alone in the big, dark house, Anna can’t think, she can’t take it in. With her safe, predictable world shattered, she distracts herself with a story: a true-crime podcast. There’s a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean, multiple murders and a hint of power and corruption. Then Anna realises she knew one of the victims in another life. She is convinced she knows what happened. Her past, so carefully hidden until now, will no longer stay silent. This is a murder she can’t ignore, and she throws herself into investigating the case. But little does she know, her past and present lives are about to collide, sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall.

PB: One of the finest crime writers out there. Modern themes in this contemporary novel.

Paul Burke
May 2019