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Cotton, Alex, Will, Travis and David

Thrillers. Books perfect for the summertime. Even though they were not exclusively tied to the beach, in my case, of all occasions, somehow sand and Kindle went along hand by hand the best. Every time. As with default definition, thriller stories and novels engage all your senses and trigger right level of entertainment and all kind of emotions during those couple of days of intense reading. Also, they alway successfully keep away your thoughts from your job, your daily issues and raw reality from your mind. In previous couple of years (mostly summers), my stock of thrillers piled up significantly, so I decided to create a recommendation and small glimpse into stories of five different styles of writing and with that many main characters stored in the similar background of political or fictitious conspiracies. And all that in familiar form of classic 'villains vs heroes' storytelling with the hero winning the girl every time. Cliché, I know, but I love it and enjoy it all the same. Furthermore, in all the novels, if chosen carefully, there are always tons of new stuff to learn about.

Højbro Plads, Copenhagen, during Christmas

I decided to write this post in fashion of the 'first names' thread I started before and with thriller novels that comes in sequel. With five book series, five novelist and five main characters. Perhaps the best description of the first character is to introduce a public square in the heart of Copenhagen. Højbro Plads. The place where no tourist misses to visit and the place where Cotton Malone, the hero from the Steve Berry's stories lives and owns a bookshop. This is, sort of, his base of operations and the place that provided great action and suspense in couple of novels. Needless to say, several years ago, when we visited Copenhagen, I definitely wanted to see the place myself and to experience the feeling from the books. I surely have nothing to add to the Steve's choosing of the Cotton's home, except to recommend a visit during the Christmas time. Because of festivity and ... sausages. Perhaps, if you ask many people about Danish national cuisine and their prime dish, first thing that will come to their minds are pastry and cookies. Not me. When I go to Denmark, one of the reasons are their sausages. And the best ones can be found on the street, like those in above image. The only problem with Danish sausages is that they come in wide variety of flavour, sizes and aromas. You cannot try them all with just one visit of Højbro Plads or other places. So if you like them like I do, prepare to be frequent visitor of Danish capital especially on holidays.

Cotton Malone series by Steve Berry

But and to get back to Steve Berry and his series of twelve books of Cotton's adventures (so far), I have to admit that I didn't read them all. I learned about the series late - perhaps in the time when I switched reading from paper to Kindle and in the process skipped several from the middle. I read them enough though to state the obvious - the writing and the storytelling are gradually improved and getting better and better with every new book. The stories are of course not linked, they are stand alone novels, but the characters are more than connected and intersected in many ways and this can only be understood with reading entire sequel. The research of the background is thorough and I love Steve's final chapter with "separating facts from fiction" and if you add plots and twists from both history and present time of many global nations, these books definitely offers more than just entertainment. Events are described to the level that there is almost no need for later googling and further research and that's what I like the most with this series. I remember I learned a lot about history of Antarctica, China, Korea, Alexandria, US and countries throughout Europe including Russia. I have just finished reading the last novel "The Lost Order" and needless to say that my knowledge about America and their Civil War expanded a lot. If you asked me yesterday about the cause of it, I would promptly say 'slavery', but today after this book (and others before, especially the one with plot knitted around Mormons in Utah and the previous one related to cold war) I definitely learned a lot more about true complexity of the 18th and 19th century as well as all the political relations in present days between countries and intelligence services throughout the world. Conclusion for this series would be simple - if you like political thriller search no more. Enough said.

Alex Cross series by James Patterson

Next in line, after Cotton Malone and his 12 novels is Alex Cross, another great character introduced in book "Along Came a Spider", the classic thriller from 1993 written by James Patterson. The writing is amazing. Chapters are short and always force you to start reading another one in search for more information and it goes effectively well from true punk-ish style narrated by the main character, toward the well described other chapters when action goes from leading investigation to the villains or other characters. The main impression with this book (and others I read so far) is that it gives you strong feeling of plausibility of the full story. Not just the crime story but also the credibility of how the system works. Even though Cross is, in a way, the leader in the large police chase, there are no moments of epiphany in this book, like we used to in so many novels and movies where one brilliant character does all the work and in true hero style saves the lives of all the others. No, in here, you will find the real team work and true relations between several agencies and law in action. I did read several more books from the Alex Cross series (shown in the image above) but I have to admit it was all in the paperback time. There are twice as many novels in this sequel comparing to Steve Berry's but to tell the truth, pure and raw crime stories like these are not high in my priority list. But I do love action and crime solving and I am sure more Alex Cross stories will be loaded into my Kindle's memory. One already has - "I, Alex Cross" is the very next book I intend to read in the future as it seems that is probably the best so far according to other reviews.

Will Piper series by Glenn Cooper

Surely, thriller as a genre cannot survive on it's own. It requires a background story as a bottom layer and in previous two series, reality is dominant and conspiracies are believable. The world around us is filled with political agenda and criminal behaviour and to base stories upon that is not a big brainer. On the other end, "Library of The Dead" by Glenn Cooper and it's sequel novels "Book of Souls" and "The Librarians" are something entirely else. The stories behind Will Piper adventures are much, much suitable for the hot sand and lazy days of one summertime or any leisure time no matter when. It has it all, great mystery that remains mystery to the very end with lots of action, guns and villains all over the place with one dedicated hero portrayed with all his good and bad sides and all that filled with tiny dose of humor. Pure entertainment. If you go for this, and I couldn't recommend it more, prepare to swallow the trilogy in a record time. It really occupies you from dusk till dawn and writing is very well done with all it's chapters jumping from one timeline to another. What I also liked very much in Glenn Cooper's trilogy is how nicely he used "the library" story to explain many historical and modern puzzles, like possible explanation of evolution in christian religion, existence of prophets and psychics, background of nowadays governmental conspiracies and with usage of well known people in history of mankind he managed to give good credits to the whole thing and to mask the fiction into great thriller. As for the mystery theme in all three novels and the divine (or whatever it is) connection related to our already written destiny on this world, even though it is walking on the very thin wire it serves the purpose as the backbone of the story and never goes on the front light. Yes, it triggers, at least with me, couple of thoughts of good and old dilemmas of what life along with soul really is and whether or not we are just bunch of dummies in the hands of one master puppeteer, but still, in the end, this is there just in form of one great entertainment and nothing more.

Travis Chase series by Patrick Lee

However, and if we stay in the world of entertainment, government conspiracies are very high in my reading and watching list. It's hard to explain why. I simply love the mystery and possibility that there is something out there, something extraordinary and new. Something that only lives in fiction. And for today's glimpse into this world I chose to show you one extraordinary novel series, written by Patrick Lee and called "The Breach". After I have read all three books with Travis Chase in lead role I can tell you that if you enjoy 'conspiracies' genre this is standing shoulder to shoulder with Fox Mulder. And not just conspiracies. Sci-Fi part, all the twists and storytelling is something I was never encountering often with other authors so far. Everything was perfectly wrapped and almost unpredictable to the very end. Something I am secretly hoping with any book I start to read. I admire both authors, Patrick Lee and A.G.Riddle, the author of the next trilogy I am about to recommend, for the imagination they have and willing to transform into letters. I can't thank them enough for entertainment I had for weeks.

David Vale series by A.G.Riddle

As for the last main character and the final recommendation, if I would have to say anything about expectations, when I loaded The Origin Mystery, with David Vale in the hero role, written by A.G.Riddle, two summers ago I expected a lot and this is exactly what I got! You have to be brave to make yet another novel about Atlanteans and the author wrapped it just right. He managed to connect several Sci Fi genres into one successful story. For my taste all the sciences are there and connected perfectly. Biology, virology and genetic research including junk-DNA involvement, physics and space travels, quantum entanglement, Antarctica, known history and use of connection and conspiracy theories like Nazi bell (Die Glocke) or Roswell UFO sighting. Script play with time dilatation and hibernation. Space battles of enormous proportion. Explanation of Gods and ancient astronauts. If you add usual 'Indiana Jones' type of adventures and romance there was no better choice for me entire summer. Perhaps, using so many connected sciences in the plot is too risky as the author faces with challenges of choosing what is more important and deserves to be explained better at the expense of other technologies or speculations but I don't mind. All in all, Riddle's Atlanteans are perhaps the best version I read in a long while and I warmly recommend it.

Everybody love heroes, great happy endings and eternal fight between good and evil. Thrillers are about that. No matter if they are following reality or fiction or any mixture between those two, these books will always be there and always number one entertainment. And not just for the summers.

Cotton Malone

Alex Cross

Will Piper

Travis Chase

David Vale

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