A Shattered Circle - Tor/Forge Blog

9 Blood-Pumping Thrillers for the Cold Winter Months

Blood pumping, heart racing, mind busy — these fast-paced thrillers will keep you warm (and distracted) during the freezing weather of winter! But we can’t promise you won’t get goosebumps…

A Shattered Circle by Kevin Egan

Poster Placeholder of - 41 A Shattered Circle is a legal thriller that’s anything but boring. NYC judge William Lonergan becomes mentally-impaired after an accident. His wife, who doubles as his secretary, preserves Lonergan’s career by covering up his condition — but she can only do it for so long. After Lonergan gets attacked, he and his wife move to their summer house for safety… a big mistake.

American Drifter by Heather Graham and Chad Michael Murray

Place holder  of - 85 Young vet River Roulet tries to escape his PTSD by moving to Brazil. He falls in love with journalist Natal who lives with the top drug lord of Rio, Tio Amato. River and Natal try to escape to the interior of Brazil, but Tio is after them. A psychological thriller as much as an action-packed one, American Drifter is an expected delight from bestselling author Heather Graham and famous celeb Chad Michael Murray!

And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason

Image Place holder  of - 67 Terrifyingly plausible, And Into the Fire follows journalist Jules Meredith and head of the CIA’s Pakistan desk Elena Moreno as they fight the clock to stop ISIS from dropping three Pakistani nukes on U.S. soil. This is no easy feat when the corrupt American president and a Saudi ambassador both want the two women killed. Realistic, character-driven, and fine-tuned, And Into the Fire is sure to get your heart racing!

Book of Judas by Linda Stasi

Placeholder of  -28 The breathtaking sequel to The Sixth Station, Book of Judas is original and a serious must-read. Stasi intertwines religion and history to create a suspenseful, high-stakes thriller. NYC reporter Alessandra Russo must save her kidnapped son by finding the last missing pages of the Book of Judas — pages that contain a secret that could upend Christianity in its entirety.

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

Image Placeholder of - 89 Based on the premise that a dangerous weapon has the power to destroy the United States in a single moment, One Second After looks at a small town’s response to an electromagnetic pulse attack on America. The country is thrown back to a time of chaos and the darkness of the past (literally – no electricity), forcing retired U.S. Army Colonel John Matherson to mobilize. This novel is so legit that Congress praised it for its realism and called it a book that all Americans should read (!).

Cutting Edge by Ward Larsen

Coast Guard rescue swimmer Trey DeBolt is in a tragic helicopter accident off the coast of Alaska. When he wakes up, he finds himself in Maine, cared for by a lone nurse. The world thinks Trey is dead… and someone wants to keep it that way. When his nurse is assassinated, Trey is forced to run for his life. Along the way, he discovers that he is deeply entrenched in a top-secret government project that has left him with a tremendous super power. Cutting Edge is a suspenseful mystery thriller that will keep you on your toes!

The Fallen by Eric Van Lustbader

Eric Van Lustbader is the bestselling author of the Bourne series, and The Fallen does not disappoint: it’s a pulse-pounding thriller that explores religion, politics, and good and evil. The Testament of Lucifer has been discovered in a remote cave — and has the possibility to unleash chaos and evil all over the world. Can it be stopped? We know the answer, but you’ll have to read to find out!

End Game by David Hagberg

Part of the Kirk McGarvey series, End Game throws you right into the heart of a serial killer case… occurring in the CIA headquarters. McGarvey, former CIA assassin, must find the killer — but first he must understand the motive, which traces back to something buried in the foothills of Iraq: something that could unleash an apocalyptic war in the Middle East. Oozing with action and suspense, you’ll love this thriller.

Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Boston reporter Jane Ryland reports a hit-and-run, destroying someone’s alibi. Her homicide detective fiancee Jake Brogan is searching for the killer of a famous Hollywood screenwriter. Meanwhile, Jane helps a date-rape victim tell her story, causing her to receive a threatening message: SAY NO MORE. The multiple plot lines seamlessly stream together in this unpredictable, complex, and relevant thriller.


New Releases: 3/7/17

Here’s what went on sale today!

A Shattered Circle by Kevin Egan

Poster Placeholder of - 84 A private investigator needs Judge Lonergan’s help in investigating the murder of a well-known lawyer in upstate New York. A bitter litigant files a grievance against the judge with the Judicial Conduct Commission. Driven by loyalty and guilt, court officer Foxx is looking into a decades-old courthouse murder to exonerate a childhood friend who is dying in prison. He hits many dead ends, until he learns that Barbara Lonergan, who worked as a stenographer long before she married the judge, likely has information about the murder victim.

After the judge is attacked, Barbara decides they should leave New York City. Arriving at their summer house, Barbara believes that she and the judge are safe. She could not be more wrong.

Gather Her Round by Alex Bledsoe

Image Place holder  of - 70 Young Tufa woman Kera Rogers disappears while hiking in the woods by Needsville. Soon, her half-eaten remains are found, and hunters discover the culprits: a horde of wild hogs led by a massive boar with seemingly supernatural strength.

Kera’s boyfriend Duncan Gowen mourns her death, until he finds evidence she cheated on him with his best friend Adam Procure. When Adam’s body is the next one found, who is to blame: Duncan or the monstrous swine?

Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer

Place holder  of - 26 In a future of near-instantaneous global travel, of abundant provision for the needs of all, a future in which no one living can remember an actual war…a long era of stability threatens to come to an abrupt end.

For known only to a few, the leaders of the great Hives, nations without fixed location, have long conspired to keep the world stable, at the cost of just a little blood. A few secret murders, mathematically planned. So that no faction can ever dominate, and the balance holds. And yet the balance is beginning to give way.

Smells Like Finn Spirit by Randy Henderson

Placeholder of  -52 Finn Graymare is back in the final installment of Randy Henderson’s Familia Arcana series, Smells Like Finn Spirit.

Finn’s re-adaptation to the human world is not going so well. He’s got a great girlfriend, and is figuring out how things like the internet work, but he is still carrying the disembodied personality of Alynon, Prince of the Silver Demesne, the fae who had occupied his body during his imprisonment. And he’s not getting along at all with his older brother. And oh, by the way, his dead grandfather is still trying to possess him in order to bring about Armageddon.

Standard Hollywood Depravity by Adam Christopher

Image Placeholder of - 56 As the band shook the hair out of their British faces, stomping and strumming, the go-go dancer’s cage swung, and the events of that otherwise average night were set in motion. A shot, under the cover of darkness, a body bleeding out in a corner, and most of Los Angeles’ population of hired guns hulking, sour-faced over un-drunk whiskey sours at the bar.

But as Ray tries to track down the package he was dispatched to the club to retrieve, his own programming might be working against him, sending him down a long hall and straight into a mobster’s paradise. Is Honey still the goal—or was she merely bait for a bigger catch?

Just your standard bit of Hollywood depravity, as tracked by the memory tapes of a less-than-standard robot hitman.

Ungodly by Kendare Blake

As ancient immortals are left reeling, a modern Athena and Hermes search the world for answers in Ungodly, the final Goddess War novel by Kendare Blake, the acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood.

For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what Ares said.

So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.

Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.

Without Mercy by Col. David Hunt & R.J. Pineiro

The unthinkable has happened: ISIS, covertly assisted by Pakistan’s intelligence services, has acquired nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them anywhere in the world. They begin with an attack at Bagram Airfield, America’s largest military base in Afghanistan. A second weapon is detonated in Battery Park in New York City.

The blast levels a square mile of Manhattan, including the Financial District. Hundreds of thousands perish. The American economy is in chaos. Banks close their doors. The U.S. supply chain is disrupted. Riots and looting break out while enemies in the Middle East burn U.S. flags in celebration.

The stakes skyrocket when Islamabad CIA Station Chief Bill Gorman unearths evidence of a third bomb headed our way. Across two continents the chase is on to find the runaway terrorists led by the ruthless and capable Salma Bahmani, star agent of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, the dread ISI. She will stop at nothing to deliver what could be the final nail in America’s coffin.


Above His Proper Station by Lawrence Watt-Evans

After the Bugles and Llano River by Elmer Kelton

Design for Dying by Renee Patrick

Fatal Thunder by Larry Bond


A Certain Scientific Accelerator Vol. 5 Story by Kazuma Kamachi; Art by Yamaji Arata

Masamune-kun’s Revenge Vol. 4 Story by Takeoka Hazuki; Art by Tiv


Finding Inspiration Inside a NYC Courthouse

Place holder  of - 2Written by Kevin Egan

A Shattered Circle is my third thriller set in the New York County Courthouse in lower Manhattan. The iconic courthouse is a magnet not only for lawyers and litigants but also for tourists and movie production crews. In my two previous novels, the courthouse functioned as a character. Midnight focused on the self-contained world of a judge’s chambers. (The judge was dead, a minor fact his staff concealed for three days.) The Missing Piece featured the search for a stolen trial exhibit – a Roman urn worth $5 million – and took the reader to little-known corners of the complex building.

A Shattered Circle also explores the interior design of the courthouse, from the private assignations in a hidden room at the bottom of a back stairwell to the very public grand rotunda and its brilliant History of the Law mural arching 75 feet above the marble floor. But deep in its beating heart, A Shattered Circle is the story of a marriage.

The married couple are Bill and Barbara Lonergan. Bill is a judge and Barbara was his secretary before becoming his wife. Bill is a kind of courthouse raconteur – a story-teller, a jokester, the perfect hale-fellow-well-met. But after falling off a ladder, he has shown signs of dementia, and Barbara has drawn a protective circle around him to preserve his health, his reputation, and his career. Though the new Bill is more quiet and remote, he still shows flashes of his garrulous personality. Though he no longer confronts lawyers directly, he still issues rulings with the help, and sometimes the prodding, of his law clerk. The circle seems to be holding the outside world at bay, but as the Lonergans’ story opens, outside forces are massing. A disgruntled litigant files a judicial complaint, which could lead to a hearing that will expose Bill’s mental decline. A private detective investigating the murder of a lawyer in upstate New York badgers chambers for an audience with Bill. And a court officer, looking into a 25 year old courthouse murder as a favor to a friend, begins to ask Barbara uncomfortable questions.

I have spent most of my court career as a law clerk for two different judges. Working for a judge is a particular kind of job because you essentially meld your intellect, your legal philosophy, sometimes even your personality with those of the judge. The judge’s friends become your friends. The judge’s enemies become, well, not exactly your enemies but people you might rather avoid. And if the judge is married – and both of my judges had exceptionally solid marriages – you treat the spouse with the utmost respect and deference.

My two judges, and their spouses, became the models for the Lonergans. Not factual models; neither judge was a bird-watcher or had been, even briefly, a professional basketball player. But both spouses were exceedingly devoted and ferociously protective.

In Barbara, I needed to create a spouse who was even more devoted and more protective than her two real-life analogs. After Bill’s fall, she not only builds the protective circle but also manages every aspect of his life. It is exhausting work, even when doing something as mundane as taking a midday walk near the courthouse. As she reflects:

“She constantly worried about what he might do, what he might say, who they might encounter at an inconvenient moment. She constantly needed to think ahead, wargame the most routine activities to foresee any potential problem.”

Barbara believes that she can handle the private investigator simply by ignoring him. She believes she can prepare Bill for his disciplinary hearing by hiring a lawyer and arranging for cutting-edge therapy that will temporarily mask his dementia. To repel the inquisitive court officer, she drops her role as judge’s secretary and summons the high dudgeon of a judge’s wife. But ultimately, the protective circle shatters, and it shatters because of secrets the two spouses have kept from each other – secrets Bill cannot remember and secrets Barbara thought she had buried.

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Excerpt: A Shattered Circle

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After an accident leaves New York City judge William Lonergan mentally impaired, his wife, Barbara, who doubles as the judge’s confidential secretary, is determined to protect his health, his career, and his reputation. Barbara and Larry Seagle, the judge’s law clerk, support Judge Lonergan enough for him to fulfill his judicial duties, keeping his true condition secret. Months pass under this exhausting routine, until suddenly Barbara finds her new way of life under siege.

A private investigator needs Judge Lonergan’s help in investigating the murder of a well-known lawyer in upstate New York. A bitter litigant files a grievance against the judge with the Judicial Conduct Commission. Driven by loyalty and guilt, court officer Foxx is looking into a decades-old courthouse murder to exonerate a childhood friend who is dying in prison. He hits many dead ends, until he learns that Barbara Lonergan, who worked as a stenographer long before she married the judge, likely has information about the murder victim.

After the judge is attacked, Barbara decides they should leave New York City. Arriving at their summer house, Barbara believes that she and the judge are safe. She could not be more wrong.

A Shattered Circle will become available March 7th. Please enjoy this excerpt.


Ken Palmer felt the big old Buick pull to the right when he was halfway across the field. He was off road, in a car not designed for off-road driving, and instead of stopping to confirm what he already suspected, he kept his foot on the gas. The double dirt track crossed an alfalfa field owned by a client. The alfalfa was just starting to push up among last year’s stalks, the field blending into a dull greenish brown as it stretched into the distance.

The car pulled harder, and Palmer gripped the steering wheel tighter, twisting himself to keep the wheels on the double track that now curved sharply left as the Beaverkill showed itself beyond the tree trunks. His suspicion blossomed into conviction; his right front tire was going flat. But he had no reason to stop, no reason to change plans. He had rescheduled his appointments and adjourned his court appearances for his annual day of hooky. A flat tire was not about to stop him.

It was mid-April, which meant that fishermen from all over creation had descended on the Trout Fishing Capital of the World. Most of the outsiders gravitated to the public fishing areas about twenty miles south, where the Willowemoc joined the Beaverkill at a place called Junction Pool. This land was owned by one of Palmer’s clients who hadn’t sold out to the state, which meant this three-mile section of the Upper Beaverkill was private property. Palmer could fly-fish the day away without any company. And he definitely did not want any company, because company and the river didn’t mix well for him. He’d invited the prospective client now and then, once entertained a lawyer up from the big city. None appreciated the river; none mustered the quiet patience necessary to make the day worthwhile. And so, a wiser man now, it was just him. One day a year, for many years.

The track ended at a thin line of trees, then turned into hardpan as solid as asphalt. Palmer got out to check the tire. It was flat, all right, but not shredded. Cell phone service was spotty, but he raised enough of a signal to connect with Simcoe’s Garage.

“Ken Palmer here. Need someone to change a tire.”

“You in a rush?” said Darwin.

Palmer explained where he was.

“I’ll see who I can rustle up. Just as long as you ain’t in a hurry.”

“I ain’t,” said Palmer. He knew Darwin would rustle somebody up. The garage was a hangout for every idler between Lew Beach and Roscoe. Somebody would be willing to pocket a few bucks for changing a flat tire.

Palmer opened the trunk of the car, where he neatly laid out all his gear. He stepped into his waders, then pulled on his vest, which had pockets for flies, tippets, leaders, even his cell phone if he were of a mind. He wasn’t. He peeled back the rubberized liner to expose the spare tire, then tossed the phone onto the front seat of the car. He couldn’t truly disconnect from the office with that thing in his pocket.

The hardpan sloped down to the river, meeting the water at a tiny patch of sand. Upstream was a stretch of riffles, but they smoothed out as the water dived into a deep, wide pool where Palmer knew the trout liked to gather. He waded out till the water was knee-deep and he could see the dark edge of the pool. He flicked his wrist and launched a blue-winged olive mayfly toward the pool.

In that moment, everything fell away. The flat tire, the office, the clients clamoring about their problems. It was the perfect day. Bright overcast, mild temperature, the birds chirping, the soothing rush of the river against his waders. He didn’t give a damn when Darwin Simcoe sent someone to change his tire. He was here for the day.

He caught four browns the first hour, then switched out the blue-winged olive for a little black caddisfly and caught three more. He heard a car pull up, a door slam, and then he saw a man looking appraisingly at the flat tire. The man waved, and Palmer waved back.

Palmer flicked his wrist and whipped the fly over the pool. A trout struck, and he hooked it. This is some lucky day, he thought as he reeled in the trout. He grabbed it, lifted it out of the water, turned toward the bank to display his latest prize. But the man did not look his way. He had the spare tire leaning against the back bumper and was elbow deep in the trunk, rooting around for the jack.

Oh well, thought Palmer, not every local gave a damn about trout. He pinned the rod under his arm, squeezed the fish’s mouth, and worked out the hook. Eight caught, eight released. Still early.

He stayed in the water, flicking flies over the pool until he heard the trunk slam and saw the man dusting his hands. The man did not look familiar; at least he wasn’t a Swayze or a Berkeley or Reid, the usual collection who hung out at the garage, eating pork rinds and generally getting in the way until Darwin pressed them into service. But he had done his job and done it quickly, and so Palmer slogged toward the sand patch, running numbers in his head. Twenty seemed too much, but ten not enough. Fifteen, he decided. He’d give the man fifteen bucks.

The man crossed the hardpan slope. Maybe he wasn’t a Swayze or a Berkeley or a Reid, but as he got closer, there was something about the slope of his shoulders, the swing of his arms, and the tilt of his head that formed a vaguely familiar pattern in the cortex of Palmer’s brain.

Palmer set his fly rod down on a large flat rock where the water was ankle deep. He patted his waders, trying to remember if he had his wallet in his pants pocket or if he’d left it on the seat of the car along with his cell phone.

The man came down off the slope, onto the sand, and then into the water. “Mr. Palmer?” he said.

“Yes,” said Palmer.

“Mr. Kenneth Palmer?”

Palmer nodded.

“I changed your tire.”

“Thank you.” Palmer located his wallet in his back left pocket and worked his hand inside his waders. “Just want to pay you for your trouble.”

“No trouble, Mr. Palmer. Besides, I’m here to pay you.”

“Pay me?” Palmer’s hand reached his wallet. “For what?”

The man mumbled a name.

“Who?” said Palmer.

The man cleared his throat and repeated the name.

“But you’re not one of them,” said Palmer.

“That was the whole point, wasn’t it?” said the man. A smile slowly spread across his face; then he lunged.

Palmer backed away, but the man grabbed him in a bear hug. Palmer bucked and thrashed, but with one arm in his waders and the other pinned to his side, he couldn’t break the man’s hold. The man waded out to his waist, tightening his arms around Palmer’s chest as if to squeeze every molecule of air out of Palmer’s lungs. At the edge of the pool, he loosened his hold. Palmer managed one long breath before the man spun him around and shoved him facedown.

Palmer tried to get his feet under him, but the man pressed him deeper into the cold, smooth water. Palmer flailed his arms and kicked his legs, but the water dampened the force of his blows. Three feet away, he could see the edge of the pool where the eight trout he had caught and released on his day of hooky now hid in the dark depths. His lungs hurt; his neck hurt. He kicked one more time. The air exploded from his lungs, and as he drew in a chest full of cold water, he saw the darkness of the pool swirling up to envelop him.

Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Egan

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