The Dying Squad: unconvincing afterlife

Normally, I’m a sucker for a supernatural detective story, so figured this life-after-death investigation, in which a dead policeman must find his own murderer, would be straight up my street. It certainly started in five-star style, with the confused Detective Joe Lazarus (what else could he have been called, eh?) being confronted by his own…

Butcher Pen Road: running wild in the backwoods

A dead body found in a sleepy creek in rural Oklahoma – at first glance, this is a city-slicker fisherman, sneaking some fly-time out of season, who’s slipped on the rocks. But tribal policeman Bill Maytubby and country deputy Hannah Bond aren’t so easily fooled. The fish in dead man’s keep-net are all wrong for…

The Colours Of Death: EuroCrime with a telepathic twist

The idea of extra-sensory detectives has been successfully explored by several authors – check out Kay Hooper’s SCU series, Spencer Kope’s Special Tracking Unit, or Nik Morton’s psychic spy Tana Standish. The uber-abilities of the investigator are usually employed within a special psy-cop unit, but with The Colours Of Death author Patricia Marques takes a…

Giveaway! Win compelling crime drama NAIL’S CROSSING

Next week sees the publication of the latest Bond and Maytubby investigation, Butcher Pen Road by Kris Lackey. We can’t wait to read the latest addition to this superb series, set in rural Oklahoma, and featuring First Nations investigator Bill Maytubby and county deputy Hannah Bond. But in case you’ve not been introduced to these…

River Sing Out: bleak but beautiful

This bittersweet story of southern noir swims through familiar waters, with obvious echoes of modern classics like Winter’s Bone. In East Texas, a young lad reaches beyond the loveless boundaries of his white-trash background. But his initial exploration of the bigger world beyond the backwoods might turn out to be his last – he risks…

The Girl Who Died: off-kilter in Iceland

Ragnar Jónasson is one of my favourite authors, a master at capturing the unique Icelandic environment and drawing it into the narrative of some of the best character-led stories I’ve read. He’s superbly skilled at reflecting the bleakly beautiful aspects of Iceland’s landscape in the tangled threads of his compelling – frequently chilling – mysteries.…

Island Reich: a WW2 spy story

This is such a well-researched spy story that you won’t be able to tell where real events end and the author’s keen imagination takes over. It’s set in WW2 in the ‘phoney war’ phase of 1940. Operation Sealion is on the cards but hasn’t been launched. The Battle of Britain has yet to fill the…

The Law Of Innocence: on trial for his life

In the most recent book in the ‘Lincoln lawyer’ series, defence counsel Mickey Haller can at last be convinced of his client’s innocence… because he IS the client. He’s been brilliantly done up like a kipper, when a very dead body is discovered by a police patrolman in the trunk of his town car. It…

Annika Stranded: bite-size Scandi crime

This top-quality series of short crime dramas started life as 15-minute audio episodes, starring the excellent actor Nicola Walker as Annika herself, a quirky, quick-witted Norwegian detective on the Oslo boat patrol. The series is now being filmed for TV, translated not just in format but also in location as it’ll now be based in…

The Man With The Iron Heart: WW2 drama

This dramatised bio-pic about the WW2 assassination of Reinhard Heydrich is based on a novel entitled ‘HHhH’ – ‘Himmler’s brain is named Heydrich.’ Quite clever, but perhaps too subtle for a mainstream movie audience. There’s another film about the same subject – Anthropoid – which majors on the Czech soldiers and their undercover mission. ‘The…