There’s something about the chase, the bad guy’s seeking out the innocent protagonist and following him or her through hell or high water, that leads to exciting thrillers. Throw in the officers of the law, endangering the protagonist in their efforts to get the killer, and you have an edge of the seat read, like three of the new thrillers here at The Field this month.
No Easy Target, by the always good Iris Johansen, has as its protagonist Margaret Douglas, the survivor of a brutal childhood, a woman who discovered she had the power to understand and communicate with animals. That gift helped her get through the nightmare of her past, and she’s grown into a woman who keeps as far as she can from anyone who might want to get close enough to use her as a pawn. However, sometimes you can’t run away from danger, and when a nightmarish enemy from her past sets his sights on Margaret, not only does she have to avoid him, but she also has to keep away from John Lassiter, the CIA operative who’s hunting her enemy and wants to use her as bait to find him.
The enemy hunting the protagonist in Burntown, by Jennifer McMahon, has been haunting the family for two generations now. Miles Sandeski witnessed the murder of his mother, searched out and discovered the identity of the murderer, and then spent his adulthood trying to protect his daughter from the murderer’s continued interest in the family and something the family has. Unfortunately for Miles and even more for his daughter, his efforts to protect her fail: there’s an attempt on her life, she loses her memory and ends up in hiding in Burntown, the underbelly of the New England town where she’d been living. There, among other misfits with problems and issues of their own, she tries to survive the police and the killer, who’s still looking for her and will not give up.
A house is the connection in Lisa Unger’s new book, The Red Hunter. It’s a house where, years before, Zoe witnessed the terrifying deaths of her parents, an event that shaped the rest of her life. She’s dedicated herself to learning the martial arts, to becoming the Red Hunter, and find the men who killed her parents, so she can destroy them. That same house has inexplicably drawn Claudia, a woman whose life fell apart after she was assaulted in her own home. She’s rebuilt her life, sort of, and has found her way to this particular house, though she senses there are dark secrets lurking there. Claudia’s purchase of Zoe’s childhood home starts an inexorable chain of events that brings her into contact with Zoe, and brings both of them into horrible danger.