• David Darling

Top 10 Novels for 2020

Updated: Dec 13, 2020




Top Ten Novels for 2020 – by David Darling


I have thoroughly enjoyed these novels, and they helped make 2020 a better place! I have arranged them in the order of their release date, not in preference. There is an inherent problem with lists, and you always forget something. I omitted Nick Petrie, C.J. Box, Daniel Silva, and several others from this list for one simple reason – I am working my way through the series and didn’t want to read the novels out of order!


1) Chris Hauty, Deep State – Released January 7, 2020

Recently elected President Richard Monroe—populist, controversial, and divisive—is at the center of an increasingly polarized Washington, DC. Never has the partisan drama been so tense or the paranoia so rampant. In the midst of contentious political turf wars, the White House chief of staff is found dead in his house. A tenacious intern discovers a single, ominous clue that suggests he died from something other than natural causes, and that a wide-ranging conspiracy is running beneath the surface of everyday events: powerful government figures are scheming to undermine the rule of law—and democracy itself. Allies are exposed as enemies, once-dependable authorities fall under suspicion, and no one seems to be who they say they are. The unthinkable is happening. The Deep State is real. Who will die to keep its secrets and who will kill to uncover the truth?


2) Meg Gardiner – The Dark Corners of the Night (UNSUB #3) Released February 18, 2020.

I am the legion of the night … He appears in the darkness like a ghost, made of shadows and fear—the Midnight Man. He comes for the parents but leaves the children alive, tiny witnesses to unspeakable horror. The bedroom communities of Los Angeles are gripped with dread, and the attacks are escalating. Still reeling from her best friend’s close call in a bombing six months ago, FBI behavioral analyst Caitlin Hendrix has come to Los Angeles to assist in the Midnight Man investigation and do what she does best—hunt a serial killer. Her work is what keeps her going, but something about this UNSUB—unknown subject—doesn’t sit right. She soon realizes that this case will test not only her skills but also her dedication, for within the heart of a killer lives a secret that mirrors Caitlin’s own past. Hesitancy is not an option, but will she be able to do what must be done if the time comes?


3) Don Bentley, Without Sanction – Released March 3, 2020

Defense Intelligence Agency operative Matt Drake broke a promise. A promise that cost three people their lives and crippled his best friend. Three months later, he's paralyzed by survivor's guilt and haunted by the memories of the fallen. Matt may have left Syria, but Syria hasn't left him. In the midst of his self-imposed exile, Matt is dragged back into the world of espionage and assets that he tried to forget. A Pakistani scientist working for an ISIS splinter cell has created a terrifying weapon of mass destruction. The scientist offers to defect with the weapon, but he trusts just one man to bring him out of Syria alive—Matt Drake


4) James Rollins, The Last Oddessey – Released March 23, 2020

For eons, the city of Troy—whose legendary fall was detailed in Homer’s Iliad—was believed to be myth, until archaeologists in the nineteenth century uncovered its ancient walls buried beneath the sands. If Troy was real, how much of Homer’s twin tales of gods and monsters, curses and miracles—The Iliad and The Odyssey—could also be true and awaiting discovery? In the frozen tundra of Greenland, a group of modern-day researchers stumble on a shocking find: a medieval ship buried a half-mile below the ice. The ship’s hold contains a collection of even older artifacts—tools of war—dating back to the Bronze Age. Inside the captain’s cabin is a magnificent treasure that is as priceless as it is miraculous: a clockwork gold map imbedded with an intricate silver astrolabe. The mechanism was crafted by a group of Muslim inventors—the Banū Mūsā brothers—considered by many to be the Da Vincis of the Arab world—brilliant scientists who inspired Leonardo’s own work. Once activated, the moving map traces the path of Odysseus’s famous ship as it sailed away from Troy. But the route detours as the map opens to reveal a fiery river leading to a hidden realm underneath the Mediterranean Sea. It is the subterranean world of Tartarus, the Greek name for Hell. In mythology, Tartarus was where the wicked were punished and the monstrous Titans of old, imprisoned. When word of Tartarus spreads—and of the cache of miraculous weapons said to be hidden there—tensions explode in this volatile region where Turks battle Kurds, terrorists wage war, and civilians suffer untold horrors. The phantasmagoric horrors found in Homer’s tales are all too real—and could be unleashed upon the world. Whoever possesses them can use their awesome power to control the future of humanity. Now, Sigma Force must go where humans fear to tread. To prevent a tyrant from igniting a global war, they must cross the very gates of Hell.


5) Jack Carr, The Savage Son – Released April 14, 2020

Deep in the wilds of Siberia, a woman is on the run, pursued by a man harboring secrets—a man intent on killing her. A traitorous CIA officer has found refuge with the Russian mafia with designs on ensuring a certain former Navy SEAL sniper is put in the ground. Half a world away, James Reece is recovering from brain surgery in the Montana wilderness, slowly putting his life back together with the help of investigative journalist Katie Buranek and his longtime friend and SEAL teammate Raife Hastings. Unbeknownst to them, the Russian mafia has set their sights on Reece in a deadly game of cat and mouse.


6) Jennifer Hillier, Little Secrets – Released April 21, 2020.

All it takes to unravel a life is one little secret... Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken. A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She's lost her son; she's not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.


7) Brad Thor, Near Dark – Released June 23, 2020.

The world’s largest bounty has just been placed upon America’s top spy. His only hope for survival is to outwit, outrun, and outlast his enemies long enough to get to the truth. But for Scot Harvath to accomplish his most dangerous mission ever—one that has already claimed the lives of the people closest to him, including his new wife—he’s going to need help—a lot of it. Not knowing whom he can trust, Harvath finds an unlikely ally in Norwegian intelligence operative Sølvi Kolstad. Just as smart, just as deadly, and just as determined, she not only has the skills, but also the broken, troubled past to match Harvath’s own.

The world’s largest bounty has just been placed upon America’s top spy. His only hope for survival is to outwit, outrun, and outlast his enemies long enough to get to the truth. But for Scot Harvath to accomplish his most dangerous mission ever—one that has already claimed the lives of the people closest to him, including his new wife—he’s going to need help—a lot of it. Not knowing whom he can trust, Harvath finds an unlikely ally in Norwegian intelligence operative Sølvi Kolstad. Just as smart, just as deadly, and just as determined, she not only has the skills, but also the broken, troubled past to match Harvath’s own.


8) Jim Butcher, Peace Talks (July 14, 2020) AND Battle Ground (September 29, 2020)

The Dresden Files – Jim had written such a large novel that he had separated it into two and released them within months. It more than made up for the long wait before Peace Talks!

Peace Talks (#16 Dresden Files) - When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, joins the White Council's security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago--and all he holds dear?

Battle Ground (#17 Dresden Files) - Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies above his weight class. The Red Court of vampires. The fallen angels of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. The Outsiders. But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous on an order of magnitude beyond what the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army. The Last Titan has declared war on the city of Chicago, and has come to subjugate humanity, obliterating any who stand in her way. Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: Save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago, and the mortal world forever.


9) Kyles Mills/Vince Flynn, Total Power – Released September 15, 2020

When Mitch Rapp captures ISIS's top technology expert, he reveals that he was on his way to meet a man who claims to have the ability to bring down America's power grid. Rapp is determined to eliminate this shadowy figure, but the CIA's trap fails. The agency is still trying to determine what went wrong when ISIS operatives help this cyber terrorist do what he said he could - plunge the country into darkness. With no concept of how this unprecedented act was accomplished, the task of getting the power back on could take months. Perhaps even years. Rapp and his team embark on a desperate search for the only people who know how to repair the damage - the ones responsible. But his operating environment is like nothing he's experienced before. Computers and communication networks are down, fuel can no longer be pumped from gas stations, water and sanitation systems are on the brink of collapse, and the supply of food is running out. Can Rapp get the lights back on before America Descends irretrievably into chaos?


10) Simon Gervais, Time to Hunt – Released November 10, 2020

In the latest addition to the acclaimed Pierce Hunt series, Hunt races across Europe to stop an ever-changing threat to national security before it’s too late to save his country or his friends. When the CIA calls on former Army Ranger Pierce Hunt to find a missing operative and friend, the last thing he wants to do is leave the peace of home and family behind. But there’s more to this mission than meets the eye, and Hunt knows he has no choice but to risk everything to save his friend and protect his country. Hunt’s target is Jorge Ramirez, who allegedly has information that poses a threat to the national security of the United States. As Hunt tracks Ramirez in Switzerland, he learns that someone close to his operation has betrayed the CIA. His team is attacked, and not everyone makes it out alive. Facing betrayal on an international scale, Hunt doesn’t know who to trust. The rules of engagement have changed, and the body count is rising. Will he find out the truth in time, or will this be Hunt’s final mission?


I look forward to 2021, for many new novels that are coming out as well. Stay tuned!

ALSO, I would like to advise everyone to stay tuned for a future article, where I talk with many of the above authors (and more!) on advice for new and aspiring writers. Advice that is worth it's weight in gold.


Stay safe everyone and enjoy the holidays.

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