Rakehell: sneak preview of the post-Covid secret agent

Meet MI6 agent, cynical spy and all-round anti-hero John Caul. He’s the post-Covid equivalent of James Bond or Jason Bourne – and appears here in an exclusive sneak preview from this brand-new thriller. Caul operates under a ‘Blanket7’ licence to commit any crime in the service of the British state. He’ll take any risk to…

Crime Time: recent releases and the best new books

The days are getting shorter and autumn’s storms have started to arrive. Time to settle down with a gripping thriller and ignore what’s going on in the world outside. This time we have two top-notch Scandi crime novels from best-selling Nordic noir authors; an historic spy story set in WW2; the Lincoln Lawyer’s most important…

She’s As Good As Dead: a new Agent Starling?

Lara Jones isn’t your typical, hard-bitten FBI investigator. In fact, she’s unusually vulnerable for a veteran of the specialist behavioural science unit, who used to spend her time profiling the worst of America’s criminals. We meet her at a troubling time in her life: starting a new job in a local field office, trying to…

Rapid Reviews: the weird and the wonderful

This week’s selection of criminal encounters goes beyond the usual police procedurals to uncover murder in the desert and monsters on the movie lot; eugenics in tomorrow’s world and courtroom dramas from yesteryear, and an assassin who kills for kindness… THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael ConnellyIt may be a touch long in the tooth –…

The Bridge: goes back to the beginning

Before Bron /Broen, there was The Killing. After The Bridge there have been too many Scandi crime dramas to even mention the most memorable ones. But there’s something special about this Nordic noir; it set the standard for what follows. The combination of achingly beautiful visuals; compellingly complicated characters, brutally uncompromising violence and off-kilter, laugh-out-loud…

Masters of Murder: short, sharp stabs

This is a clever confection of 15 tales of the unexpected, in which someone deserving dies an appropriate death – and the killer gets away scot-free thanks to meticulous planning and fancy footwork. For such a dark subject, these stories offer an implausible helping of fun as you attempt to second-guess the plot twists: who…

The Dirty South: introducing Charlie Parker

If you’ve never read any of the Charlie Parker books before then this is a great place to start. Never mind that it appears to be the umpteenth in the series; it might be the new-for-2020 story but it’s set back in the mists of time, in the late 1990s, shortly after the murderous events…

The Conviction: vigilante action

This would make a great movie. In fact, The Conviction strongly reminds me of a sci-fi flick from the late 1990s, Cube, in which a group of strangers navigate their way through a sequence of lethal puzzles trying to discover why they’ve been abducted. The Conviction features a similar theme, with locked rooms containing potentially…

Rapid Reviews: killers and twists

Bit of a mixed bag this month – several stand-out  thrillers which think wicked and don’t disappoint… and a couple of distinctly duff examples of mainstream mush. A big name on the cover doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to pick up a great book and, just to prove that point, a couple of our faves…