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For Readers

Thrillers to Get You Ready for Halloween

By: Hidden Gems on October 18, 2022

Hidden Gems Books ARC service.

By: Hidden Gems on October 18, 2022


The seasons are changing; as the leaves turn and the weather changes, it’s time to carve pumpkins, pick out costumes, or read scary stories. However you celebrate Halloween there are tales that will thrill you and keep you turning the pages. Today we’re focusing on hidden gems that our readers loved that do just that, and hope you will enjoy them just as much.

The Sinister

The Sinister by David Putnam

Currently marked as an Editor’s Pick on Amazon, with 60+ reviews and a 4.6 star average, The Sinister is book nine in the 10 book Bruno Johnson Crime Series, and can be read out of order.

This book promises to be an unrelenting thriller, recommended for fans of Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke. In Lou J.’s five star Amazon review, he raves of this installment, “…David Putnam proves to be a masterful storyteller as he weaves an intricate and convoluted series of catastrophic events together in a twisted and fast paced page-turner, that benefits from a cast of colorful multidimensional characters…Although this is the ninth foray into the world of Bruno Johnson, it can be enjoyed and gobbled up as a stand alone, due to Putnam seamlessly supplying the necessary back story. The exploits of Bruno Johnson rival those of Harry Bosch and Jack Reacher, and will certainly quench the thirst of action-thriller enthusiasts.”

“David Putnam has done it again,” John M. concurs in his five star Amazon review. “His latest Bruno Johnson thriller is a rocket-paced ride full of surprise twists. As with the other wonderful books in this series, there is a dark undercurrent to the story as Bruno sometimes takes the law into his own hands, meeting out his ‘blood and bone’ brand of justice. The details of Los Angeles neighborhoods and of police-procedures are spot on—the result of Putnam’s 30+ years as a cop. The Sinister kept me up late several nights in a row because I didn’t want to put it down. I highly recommend The Sinister and all of the books in the Bruno Johnson series.”

The First Harm

The First Harm by Steven Piskula

With 90+ reviews and a 4.5 star average, this medical thriller is recommended for fans of Michael Crichton and the like. The First Harm follows a first year medical student who stumbles upon evidence of a crime and is thrown into a world of cover-ups, murder, and a desperate search for truth.

“Combining my two favorite genres, this premier book by this author did not disappoint,” Kim writes in her five star Amazon review. “ I was snagged from the get-go and had the hardest time putting it down. It keeps you enthralled with every turn of the page…”

Ben G. raves in his five star Amazon review, “Move over Adrian McKinty and Harry Dolan, there is a new author in the suspense game! The First Harm, the first book – of hopefully many – for Steven Piskula is nothing short of fantastic. From the opening pages, I was drawn in and couldn’t put the book down…There were plot twists throughout the book that kept you guessing up until the last page. I am an avid reader in the genre and love authors like Winslow, Child, and Greaney. I think Piskula’s first book is right up there with all the greats! Can’t wait for the next one!!”

Liberty Justice

Liberty Justice by Brett McKay

With 42 reviews, and a 4.7 star average, Liberty Justice is the story of thirteen year old Liberty, as she and her mother find themselves suddenly on the run and unsure who to trust after the unthinkable happens.

Ronda P. writes in her five star Amazon review, “I found Liberty Justice intense, it blends danger, adventure, and hope into one explosive story. The characters are well-rounded, yet you grieve over the choices made in Liberty’s childhood that brought her to this point. The author skillfully enhances the risks the longer Liberty is on the run until you are engulfed in her fight. The twists in this book make it a memorable journey. It is a first-class thriller that leaves you satisfied that good could win over evil, yet the road is rocky getting to that point.”

Marjorie G. warns in her five star Amazon review, “Liberty Justice is a young teenager that has to deal with a seriously drug addicted mom all alone. The story takes you into their lives in clear detail that makes you think and gain a new perspective in to their world. An understanding that can be applied to many in our regular lives. There is some profanity, no real sex scenes, drug use and a lot of violence, including malicious and deliberate torture, which can be hard to read. I definitely recommend this book and I look forward to more from this author.”

Chasing Time

Chasing Time by Thomas Reilly

With 38 reviews and a 4.9 star average, Chasing Time is a fantasy/thriller which follows Tony, as he frantically races through time in his search for a cure to his wife’s terminal illness. From Ancient Rome to present day, reviewers were spellbound by this tale by Thomas Reilly.

“Once I picked up this book I could not put it down!” Katie raves in her five star Amazon review. “The plot of Chasing Time is gripping and completely original. The author does a remarkable job of combining realistic fiction with magical realism as the protagonist, Tony Lucas, unravels cryptic clues from an ancient key in an effort to save his wife from a terrible disease. The characters are realistic and heartfelt, the settings are descriptive, and the author’s extensive knowledge of medical science shines throughout. I highly recommend this captivating book to anyone looking for a great read!”

Julianna K. concurs in her five star Amazon review, “Chasing Time by Thomas Reilly is a heartwarming yet suspenseful tale of a devoted husband who goes to extraordinary lengths to help his wife combat an incurable disease. That storyline would be compelling enough but this story includes subplots that involve the husband’s psychic ability and an ancient artifact with mystical powers, futuristic headlines, chance meetings that keep the reader entranced and rooting for the couple every step of the way. I loved how all of the storylines were woven together! One of those books that makes you feel invested in the characters long after you have read the last line!” 

Dagger Quest

Dagger Quest by Edward Hochsmann

With 35+ reviews, and a 4.4 star average on Amazon, Dagger Quest is the first book in a three book Cutter Kauai Sea Adventures series which follows an elite Coast Guard crew in a military thriller tale of a world on the brink of war.

“…a well written exciting book,” Nick L. writes in his five star review. “I am getting ready to read the second book in the series. I highly recommend the series!”

A review by Self-Publishing Review captures what readers love about this series, “Submerging readers in the octane-fueled action of America’s coastal military, Dagger Quest by Edward M. Hochsmann is a highly entertaining cross between a seafaring adventure and a high-stakes military drama…  the authenticity of the prose and the detailed technical writing makes readers forget this isn’t a direct account of an international incident. Hochsmann also captures the pace, attitude, hierarchy, and seriousness of life on board a cutter, evidence of his own law enforcement experience in the Coast Guard.”

Hidden Gems readers got to read these terrifying novels first, so if you want more books that make your heart and mind race, sign up today! Subscribers to Hidden Gems receive invitations to read books like these – plus other titles from any of up to 15 other genres – for free. All we ask is that you leave an honest review of them on Amazon when you’re done reading!

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