Previously I brought you the nonfiction edition of Books in Flight - recommended digital reads for any flight time. Today we are diving into (maybe that's not the right word… exploring!) mystery, thrillers, and suspense novels for those of you who like a little thrill in the air. The object here is to find that perfect suspense novel to keep you occupied from taxiing to touchdown, and to makes sure that it doesn't have anything to do with airplanes. So - less Before the Fall and more The DaVinci Code.
For the short skip (under two hours or a preflight-terminal-wait) - I am a self-proclaimed lover of mystery, thriller, and suspense novels… it's my go-to genre. When I started researching titles for this post, I was pleased to find that many of the authors I trust for a good thrill have short stories catalogued in the reading length by time lists.
You may know Jeffery Deaver from his Lincoln Rhyme series. His Kindle Short, Double Cross, is a move away from the Lincoln Rhyme detective novels and towards a mob squad thriller. If you haven't gotten enough of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, you can get a fix with his original short story, Switchblade, where Bosch is seeking justice for the forgotten. For Grisham fans who finished The Whistler and want a little more (or maybe you have never read any of Grisham's stuff and are looking for a taste) - Witness to the Trial is the prequel to The Whistler and a wonderful demonstration of Grisham's genius.
For the two hour flight - The king of suspense (Stephen King) recently released a novella with Richard Chizmar. Gwendy's Button Box is a tale of a chilling encounter, and the nightmares that follow, that takes place in the strange and unusual town of Castle Rock. With 84 pages, David Baldacci's short story, Bullseye, finds government assassin Will Robie caught in a bank heist -- it's sure to have you captivated for the full two hour hang time.
I feel like I found Gregg Hurwitz late in the game, but it's certainly a better late than never situation for me. I have just finished the latest book in his Orphan X series, Nowhere Man, and remain impressed by Hurwitz's craft mastery. Buy a Bullet is an 83 page short, and it's the perfect introduction to the mysteriously heroic world of Hurwitz's lead character, Evan Smoak.
The long haul (4-plus hours with little to no leg room) - If you jumped into the land of Grisham on the short skip with Witness to the Trial, you can keep the story going with The Whistler. If both titles are now crossed off your list, check out Dot Hutchinson's The Butterfly Garden. This is actually the first book in a trilogy and it is oh so good! With two FBI agents, a psychopath, and his butterflies, Hutchinson weaves together a captivating and terrifying thriller. The second book just came out last month (The Roses of May) so you won't even have to wait for your next helping of Hutchinson.
One of my favorite things about the mystery, thriller, and suspense genre is that it tends to lean heavily towards the series department, which feeds my binge-reading-watching tendencies nicely. There are far too many series to list here... but if you are looking at a full day of flying, start one - you may actually be sad when the flights are over! (Insert charming-yet-knowing winky face.) John le Carré is the quintessential spy novel writer. He has numerous standalone works, but I came to find him through the George Smiley series. Start with Call for the Dead and go ahead and have A Murder of Quality and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold on deck. There are a total of eight titles in the series, all rich with the just the right kind of distractions.
For more timed reads, check out this list of bestsellers based on reading times.
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