For Readers

5 Fab Thriller Novels that Span the Globe

By: Hidden Gems on July 28, 2020

Hidden Gems Books ARC service.

By: Hidden Gems on July 28, 2020


Every month, hundreds of new thriller novels get published – and some of the best of them are offered to Hidden Gems subscribers to read for FREE. We looked back over some of the recent action packed tales shared with our subscribers and cross-referenced their reviews, rankings, and popularity to pick five ‘hidden gems’ to highlight for you.  The stories here span the globe, with thrills from the heat of Texas, to the rains of London. 

Never Look Back in Texas by Russ Hall 

Russ Hall has brought us six vibrant adventures featuring retired Texas lawman Al Quinn – rich with detail, and filled with taut, terrifying action. In Book Six, Al is on the hunt for a school friend’s missing son – but that path places him in the sights of the vicious Mara Salvatrucha gang; and what should have been a manhunt now turns into a battle for Al’s survival.

BooksAndTrouble wrote a review that really sums up my thoughts about this thriller novel: “I’m not the biggest action-thriller fan, but these books are always a good break from the norm. Where this author shines is his knack for character development and punchy dialogue. Also, I love his descriptions of the various Texas settings—from the rolling hill country peppered with bluebonnets to the congested Austin cityscape to the long and lonely desert roads. I can’t wait to see where they will land in their next adventure—perhaps a fishing trip turned bad on the Texas Coast!”

“I love this book and this series,” writes reviewer AmazonCustomer. “With Never Look Back in Texas Russ Hall does it again! Al, Fergie and the gang (Tanner included) are at their best in this adventure set in Southeast Texas with Al and Fergie facing a dangerous drug cartel. Russ Hall writes beautiful descriptions that will make anyone feel like they are right there in Texas. This book is good clean fun so treat yourself to a great read and get it!”

Winds of Fear by Gledé Browne KabongoWinds of Fear by Gledé Browne Kabongo

Bestselling Author Gledé Browne Kabongo was recognized for the Best Fiction Series in the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards with Winds of Fear, and once you open the (digital) pages you’ll immediately understand why. It’s an intensely gripping thriller novel about neighbors who take a little too intent an interest in our heroine’s son; with potentially deadly consequences.

“Best book I’ve read in a long time,” writes Susan Butler in a 5-star review. “The story is riveting and very well-detailed. The characters are well developed and you want to know them. There are clues that make you think a little more. It was an edge of your seat to find out what will happen. A very good read. Can’t wait to read more from this author.”

“This book is an intriguing, suspenseful, chilling, and ‘edge of your seat’ thriller. It grabbed me from the get-go and had me avidly reading to discover just how everything would play out,” writes Angela Hayes in her 5-star review. “Winds of Fear is the third thrilling installment in the Fearless series by Gledè Browne Kabongo. This is my first read by Ms. Browne Kabongo, and so I was excited to see what she could do. The blurb certainly promised a thrilling and suspenseful read- so I was sold- happily one-clicking a copy for myself and diving in- and I am happy to say it was every bit as good as I hoped it would be! Even though this is the third book in the series it can be read as a standalone, which is exactly what I did. Anyway, this story has made me want to explore the other two books to see what they hold. It looks like they may be about Abbie, our main character in this book- so I am intrigued by the ‘backstory’ that may be contained there.

Libya Story by James Ward Libya Story by James Ward 

When British Intelligence Officer John Mordred’s sister is kidnapped in Libya, he has to retire from the Secret Service in order to mount a rescue – and that’s what we follow in Libya Story, which is a classic espionage thriller that brings the best of a well-trodden genre right up to date. James Ward’s writing is tight and tense, and makes sure every page of this adventure is one you’ll read on the edge of your seat.

“Family drama mixed with espionage,” says V.E., a Vine Voice, in a 5-star review. “J.J. Ward certainly has a way with words. His latest, Libya Story is no exception. This is a classically styled espionage thriller set in the present day Middle East, with a wonderful mix of spy thriller and family drama. The lead character, John Mordred must search for his missing younger sister Mabel, but first he must resign his job with MI-7. Ward walks the reader through a series of events that not only provide adequate suspense, but paints Mordred as incredibly human with typical family problems. Mordred must deal with a lot of shady characters and disquieting circumstances to find his sister. It’s fascinating to read such a well-researched book, as is evident here, in addition to learning more about relevant current events told through the lens of fiction. A must-read for fans of spy fiction, this is a completely entertaining book. Highly recommend and looking forward to the next Mordred novel.”

“A page turner!” writes missaliax, in a 5-star review. “Suspense thrillers are one of my favorite genres. They get you hooked right from the start, Libya Story had me hooked from the front cover. J.J. Ward doesn’t disappoint – he makes every detail to crisp and clear you feel like you’re running through back alleys with John too!”

The Memorandum by Robert W. KelleyThe Memorandum by Robert W. Kelley

Florida attorney Robert W. Kelley gives us something different with The Memorandum. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a tightly written thriller in which lives are on the line – but the difference is: It’s all true. It’s the real-life story of how Robert Kelley and a team of passionate lawyers took on one of America’s biggest car companies – General Motors – and brought them to justice for trying to cover up the negligence that had led to the death of a 13-year-old in an automobile collision. 

We’re so used to reading about ruthless fictional plots that it’s disturbing when somebody like Kelley shines the light on real cases of conspiracy and cover-up, and how they’re often so much worse than anything we could create in fiction.

In a 5-star review, Erin Lunde writes: “The first chapter is so hard to get through without crying. I went back and read it again after I finished the book and cried even harder the second time. What this family went through was so harrowing and awful- as a nurse who has seen firsthand how horrible recovery from burn injuries can be the story of what happened stays with me even now as I watch patients receive debridements and therapies to recover – I think about the Murphy family, especially Matt. This story is SO good – I finished it in two days and truly looked forward to reading it when I got home and was bummed to put it down when I was forced to do something else.”

“Hurrah for justice, at long last, for Matt and his folks,” writes Dr. Ronald K. Wright. “Good God, probably the best book I have ever read, and I have 70 years of experience reading books. Mr. Kelley’s facility with the English language is awe inspiring. His descriptions bring Matt alive again. The behavior of General Motors in this matter is reprehensible, and Mr. Kelley and Uustal brought their duplicity into the open in spite of GM’s best efforts to keep it covered up. Considering how well he writes, as is demonstrated in this book, he might want to re-consider his career choice. However, that would deprive the world of a great plaintiff’s attorney, which the world probably needs more.”

Court Me Kill Me by David BradwellCourt Me Kill Me by David Bradwell

Author David Bradwell’s chilling British-set thriller novels stand apart from their peers through the injection of a lot of dark humor, which suits his style of writing and the plots of his intense stories very well. In Court Me Kill Me, David continues to follow fashion photographer Anna Burgin, who has her business destroyed when somebody wrecks her studio – but replacing cameras and lens is easier than dealing with the aftermath of the other crimes the intruder is guilty of; murders in Seattle, Frankfurt, Venice and London.

“Close to home,” Doug William writes in a 5-star review. “This is a mystery novel at its core. Nothing wrong with that. The story is well written, easy to read and packs a complex plot with lots of twists and turns which keep everyone guessing as to where it is going and who the bad guy is. I really liked the characters and the banter between them, even when they were in rather sticky situations. The story moved at a good pace for me and kept my attention throughout. Overall, an excellent tale and I look forward to reading more from this author.”

“A welcome return of the old gang,” writes Amazon Customer in a 5-star review. “A welcome return of a host of old familiar characters. A really good plot which had me guessing the end several times only to be wrong (again). Well written and a great sequel. Written well enough that it works as a stand alone. However I would definitely recommend reading the series. David writes well and gives enough narrative to give you the back story subtly so you can read each book independently. It also is a great way of reminding you of a few key facts to remind you of the story so far that enables you to enjoy the book even more. I do hope there will be another….can’t wait!”

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