genre thriller

Captain Alatriste

“The first action-packed historical adventure in the internationally acclaimed Captain Alatriste series of 6 books all translated into English, featuring a Spanish soldier who lives as a swordsman-for-hire in 17th century Madrid.

Needing gold to pay off his debts, Captain Alatriste and another hired blade are paid to ambush two travelers, stage a robbery, and give the travelers a fright. “No blood,” they are told.

Then a mysterious stranger enters to clarify the job: he increases the pay, and tells Alatriste that, instead, he must murder the two travelers. When the attack unfolds, Alatriste realizes that these aren’t ordinary travelers, and what happens next is only the first in a riveting series of twists and turns, with implications that will reverberate throughout the courts of Europe...”

“Splendidly paced and filled with a breathtaking but not overwhelming sense of the history and spirit of the age, this is entertainment at its best: the characters have weight and depth, the dialogue illuminates the action as it furthers the story and the film-worthy plot is believable throughout.” - Publisher’s Weekly

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Cat's Whirld

Winner of the Ignotus Award for Best Novel (the Spanish equivalent of the Hugo Awards)

Cat's Whirld is an intriguing conundrum of a novel that hurtles along at breakneck speed. This is a character-driven sci-fi thriller at it’s finest.

The neutral Convergence Space Station No. 1, known as the Whirld, is the unofficial, but deadly battleground in which several Galactic powers fight to obtain a certain piece of information that could inevitably determine their whole future. But then an all-powerful malevolent AI, for reasons known only to itself, also enters the game…

Cat's Whirld, a book indispensable for understanding the evolution of Spanish science fiction, is an original fusion of thriller, cyberpunk, and space opera, with unforgettable characters, and a frenetic pace and rhythm that never falter; a hybrid novel in which elements from distinct genres make a surprisingly harmonious whole.

Originally published in 1995, it was the first cyberpunk novel in Spanish; a specially remarkable achievement in that it was also the first of Rodolfo Martínez' many novels, and yet was not afraid to tread new ground, and, moreover, to do so with great narrative confidence. Twenty-five years later, the story still retains its power, as fresh and exciting as ever.”

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The Neruda Case

“Published for the first time in English, an atmospheric, brilliant novel from an internationally bestselling literary luminary.

Roberto Ampuero’s novels starring the wonderfully roguish Cayetano Brulé are an international sensation. In The Neruda Case, readers are introduced to Cayetano as he takes on his first case as a private eye. Set against the fraught political world of pre-Pinochet Chile, Castro’s Cuba, and perilous behind-the-Wall East Berlin, this mystery spans countries, cultures, and political ideas, and features one of literature’s most beloved figures—Pablo Neruda.

Cayetano meets the poet at a party in Chile in the 1970s. The dying Neruda recruits Cayetano to help him solve the last great mystery of his life. As Cayetano fumbles around his first case, finding it hard to embrace the new inspector identity foisted upon him, he begins to learn more about Neruda’s hidden agenda. Neruda sends him on a whirlwind expedition around the world, ending back in Chile, where Pinochet’s coup plays out against the final revelations of their journey.

Evocative, romantic, and full of intrigue, Ampuero’s novel is both a glimpse into the life of Pablo Neruda as death approaches and a political thriller that unfolds during the fiercely convulsive end of an era.”

(A special thank you to book club member, Elke Richelsen for the suggestion.)

Note: This novel about the poet Neruda was the book voted to be read by the club. Since a number of book club members also wanted to read Neruda’s poetry which was included in the list as well, the poetry is a slim volume, & reviewers have noted the novel is best accompanied by the poet’s work, both this novel above & the poetry are included as the monthly read. (Members can read either or both.)

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The Collini Case

“The internationally bestselling courtroom drama centering on a young German lawyer and a case involving World War II.

A bestseller in Germany since its 2011 release—with rights sold in seventeen countries—The Collini Case combines the classic courtroom procedural with modern European history in a legal thriller worthy of John Grisham and Scott Turow.

Fabrizio Collini is recently retired. He’s a quiet, unassuming man with no indications that he’s capable of hurting anyone. And yet he brutally murders a prominent industrialist in one of Berlin’s most exclusive hotels.

Collini ends up in the charge of Caspar Leinen, a rookie defense lawyer eager to launch his career with a not-guilty verdict. Complications soon arise when Collini admits to the murder but refuses to give his motive, much less speak to anyone. As Leinen searches for clues he discovers a personal connection to the victim and unearths a terrible truth at the heart of Germany’s legal system that stretches back to World War II. But how much is he willing to sacrifice to expose the truth?”

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The Nightwalker

“A psychological thrill-ride of a novel that finds an insomniac wondering if his nighttime excursions have turned into something beyond his imagination.

As a young man, Leon Nader suffered from insomnia. As a sleepwalker, he even turned to violence during his nocturnal excursions and had psychiatric treatment for his condition. Eventually, he was convinced he had been cured—but one day, years later, Leon's wife disappears from their apartment under mysterious circumstances. Could it be that his illness has broken out again?

In order to find out how he behaves in his sleep, Leon fits a movement activated camera to his forehead—and when he looks at the video the next morning he makes a discovery that bursts the borders of his imagination. His nocturnal personality goes through a door that is totally unknown to him and descends into the darkness.”

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Lexicon

Awarded Book of the Year among other accolades from 16 major media sites including Time, Goodreads, Vogue, & NPR

“A novel of international intrigue and weaponized linguistics,” it's about “as close you can get to the perfect cerebral thriller: searingly smart, ridiculously funny, and fast as hell.”

“Stick and stones break bones. Words kill.

They recruited Emily Ruff from the streets. They said it was because she's good with words. They'll live to regret it.

They said Wil Parke survived something he shouldn't have. But he doesn't remember. Now they're after him and he doesn't know why.

There's a word, they say. A word that kills. And they want it back . . . “

Beloved by a variety of authors the likes of Hugh Howey, NY Times bestselling author of Wool who titled itA masterpiece!”, Kirkus notes this is “an up-all-night thriller for geeks who want to see their wizards all grown up in the real world and armed to the teeth in a bloody story.”

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I Remember You

Winner of the Icelandic Crime Fiction Award

"International superstar Yrsa Sigurdardottir has captivated the attention of readers around the world with her mystery series featuring attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir. Now, Yrsa will stun readers once again with this out-of-this-world ghost story that will leave you shivering. In an isolated village in the Icelandic Westfjords, three friends set to work renovating a rundown house. But soon, they realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave, and it's making its presence felt. Meanwhile, in a town across the fjord, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son. When the two stories collide, the terrifying truth is uncovered. In the vein of John Ajvide Lindqvist, this horrifying thriller, partly based on a true story, is the scariest novel yet from Yrsa Sigurdardottir, who has taken the international crime fiction world by storm."

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