The Wolf And The Watchman: a Scandi stunner

Historical crime fiction novels typically lean towards the gentler end of the murder / mystery / suspense spectrum. Not this one. It is every bit as grim and grisly as a contemporary noir novel, and reveals characters as morally corrupt and callously cruel as any modern serial-killer thriller. But there’s much more to this gory…

The Fish That Climbed A Tree: criminally weird

If you like the quirky combination of cold-blooded murder and life-affirming integrity, then give this off-the-wall novel a whirl. It’s inventive, original and utterly unpredictable, a bizarre blend of metaphysical meandering alongside a cracking crime-thriller. ‘The Fish…’ also features a simply brilliant beginning – one of the best opening chapters I’ve ever read, in fact…

Changeling: smart and spooky

I owe the author, Matt Wesolowski, an apology. He probably put months of effort into Six Stories: Changeling, and I devoured it in a single day. It disappeared as rapidly as a double-pepperoni stuffed-crust deep-pan pizza. I simply wolfed it down, propelled through the pages by its oh-so clever construction, Wesolowski’s storytelling technique, the convincing…

The Righteous Spy: superb spy story

Maybe, like me, you had high hopes when Stella Rimington started writing espionage adventure novels. After all, she was the first female head honcho at MI5. Surely her spy stories would be brilliant? And maybe, like me, you were deeply disappointed by Rimington’s unremarkable early outings which fell far short of their tantalising potential. After…

Lucifer Falls: a killer concept (but not much more)

This book had me at the title. Lucifer Falls. The suggestion of a biblical / supernatural scenario lured me to the line. Then the blurb set the hook: a serial killer in London, twisting Catholicism to his own psychopathy, making grisly martyrs from genuinely good people. Sign me up! And Lucifer Falls delivers all that…

Russian Roulette: Brit grit with a SovBloc scoundrel

Ex-KGB agent Konstantin – most definitely an international man of murky mystery – has somehow washed up on the shores of England’s seedy Kent coast, and he’s carving a niche for himself among the lowlives and street-scum of a dilapidated seaside town. This is effectively Konstantin’s origin story, told in a series of seven interlocking…

The Whisperer: the silent sound of Scandi crime

You can rely on Karin Fossum to never write a normal crime novel. And this is a very long way from being normal, even for a genre as diverse and unconventional as Scandi crime. The Whisperer does feature Fossum’s long-standing investigator, Inspector Sejer, but that’s about the only thing this story has in common with…