What thrills the master of thrillers? Brad Thor, the New York Times bestselling author of 22 books "Near Dark" and the "Black Ice,” stopped by the 3rd Hour of TODAY to share books worth reading, including two bonus picks for digital.
For the last of summer
Thor calls this one of Hilderbrand’s “best books ever,” going on to describe the beach read’s tantalizing premise. “When restaurant manager Lizbet Keaton has her heart badly broken by her longtime boyfriend (who also happens to be the restaurant’s chef,) she sets out in search of a fresh start. Her second act appears in the form of a promising Gilded Age gem – the Nantucket Hotel – where Lizbet agrees to take the reins as general manager. But all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold. Has she bitten off more than she can chew? Will she get another chance at love? And what about the ghost from the fire of 1922 that still roams the halls? Packed with great surprises, fabulous writing, and an army of wonderful characters, ‘The Hotel Nantucket’ will keep you pinned to your beach chair until the very last page.”
"There are so many reasons I’m such a big fan of this book," Thor says. "For starters, the setup grabs you right by the heart and immediately crushes it. Your best friend from childhood, who has ghosted you for years, is suddenly back. Guess what? She’s getting married and wants you to attend. Who is she marrying? Ready for this? Your ex-boyfriend. You can’t allow it to happen so, of course, you travel to beautiful Sri Lanka to try to stop it. But as soon as you arrive, your childhood friend disappears, is assumed to have been murdered and you are the number one suspect. And the more you dig, the more secrets are uncovered, both about your past, as well as every other guest in attendance. Amanda Jayatissa has knocked this richly delicious, absolutely addictive thriller out of the park."
"Sometimes the best stories in life are its most difficult. In the struggles of other people, particularly highly successful, highly gifted people, we find the best of what makes us human – courage, humility, and resilience, just to name a few. In this posthumous memoir from iconic actor, Michael K. Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Lovecraft Country), we see his life fearlessly laid out on the page. From his early years as a dancer, through his battles with addiction (and the barfight that gave him his distinct facial scar), to his desire to better himself as an actor and always give back, this incredibly powerful, incredibly moving book should be on everyone’s must-read list.
What Brad's reading now
Thor called this one of the "most exciting books" of the summer. "The novel picks up one day after the 1995 film “Heat,” starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer leaves off. LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Pacino) is chasing a wounded Chris Shiherlis(Kilmer), who is holed up in Koreatown. Hanna is intent upon capturing (or killing) the fugitive before he can escape Los Angeles and disappear. As if this crackling storyline wasn’t gripping enough, Mann and Gardiner go back in time seven years to explore how the stunningly efficient criminal gang, headed by Neil McCauley (De Niro), got its start. We also see how the gang crossed paths with Hanna (then a Chicago homicide detective) and how these brilliantly-crafted, explosive forces of good and evil were destined to clash until only one of them was left standing. An absolutely nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat-read," he said.
Best book to screen
Thor recommended "Bullet Train," which inspired the recent Brad Pitt and Bad Bunny movie. "As a thriller writer, I am in awe when an author can pull all of the pieces together — a super cool plot, fantastic characters, tons of tension, high stakes, and just the right amount of humor. In “Bullet Train,” now a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock, best selling Japanese author, Kotaro Isaka has done just that. When five unique assassins board a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka, anything can (and does) happen as they’ve all been given the same assignment — to locate a briefcase filled with money and get off at the next stop. The job is a lot harder than it sounds. Cross 'Murder On the Orient Express' with 'Smokin’ Aces' and layer in a healthy dose of the humor from 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,' and you wind up with 'Bullet Train,' which is as brilliant on the page as it is on the screen," he said.
Best read for Hispanic Heritage Month
Thor called this 2022 book "a beautifully written, emotionally compelling debut novel set on the Texas coast." The book "follows a tight-knight community of Mexican and Filipino American families who live in a part of Galveston known as 'Fish Village,' which most of the sun-and-sand seeking tourists never see. As a hurricane barrels down, each resident must make a life-altering choice - stay and fight it out, or head inland, maybe never to return. Either way, their choices will not only impact who they are, but will reflect upon the sacrifices of those who came before them. For Carly Castillo, who has only known Fish Village, it is a chance for freedom — a chance to define who she is going to be, rather than being defined by her family’s past. But, with her talented boyfriend determined to hunker down and stay put, what will Carly choose to do? This exquisite book marks the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and prodigious writing career by the extraordinary Kimberly Garza."
Best funny read
"I’m such a fan of Tom Segura that I will drop anything I’m doing anytime I see him on TV," Thor said, and the same excitement applies to his memoirs. "He’s simply one of the smartest, funniest comedians working today. If you read and loved (as much as I did) last year’s 'Inside Comedy' by David Steinberg, or you have found yourself laughing out loud at the books of George Carlin, then 'I'd Like To Play Alone, Please” is for you.' Segura is an incisive, self-confessed curmudgeon with side-splitting takes on everyday life that all of us can relate to. Pick up Segura’s new book, put down your troubles, and laugh your cares away. You’re going to love it – and that’s no joke.