The Ice Maiden: a small-town serial killer

This murder-mystery is all about its setting, the full force of the turning seasons and the stalwart townsfolk of a small community. The plot is driven by a gruesome series of weird killings that mimic historic religious rituals, from the auto da fé to pagan sacrifice, but the winter chill of rural Maine dominates proceedings.…

Psychopaths: inside warped minds

Although I mainly read fictional thrillers and mysteries, I’m also intrigued by the science behind the criminal mind and the psychology of the psychopath. So two non-fiction titles recently grabbed my attention. One turned out to be an excellent social/political study (if only loosely related to actual psychopathy) while the other was utter trash. I…

CzechM8: dark wit and lethal weapons

The life of a contract killer can be complicated. JJ Stoner’s boss wants him to kill someone. His best friend’s girlfriend also wants him to kill someone. His best friend could kill him for getting cosy with the wrong woman. Stoner just wants to ride his Harley – but the forces of law and order…

Ramus: gritty British crime debut

This unpredictable debut novel is massively informed by the author’s first-hand experience of every day British policing. Tony Ryan brings immense depth and detail of actual hands-on police work to his tale, down to every minor detail. Like the officers who illicitly smoke in a squad car and stink it up; the intricacy of the…

Best Crime Books 2019

The books we’ve read in the past 12 months have been packed with murder and mayhem, crime and punishment, despair and redemption – the very essence of the human condition, boiled down to brilliant crime-thriller fiction. We read more than 200 mystery and thriller books in 2019, from literary fiction by big-name bestsellers to dazzling…

A Killer’s Mind: less interesting than you might imagine…

Run of the mill FBI / serial killer hunt which lacks originality, style or substance. The murderer was scarcely more interesting than the mismatched investigators – the FBI bloke was so boring he almost faded into the wallpaper while the grumpy female profiler came over as needlessly shrill. Hey, authors, how about some professional professionals…

Trapped: outstanding Icelandic noir

The first season of the outstanding Icelandic crime-drama TRAPPED used the hook that the cast were physically confined in a remote small town, cut off by roads blocked with huge snowdrifts; ferries frozen in the fjord. Typical Nordic noir territory. The second series goes a more philosophical route. We return to the same small-knit community…