Newcomer: Japanese intrigue

Japanese crime fiction is very different to its British and American counterparts, and this devious murder-mystery is definitely unconventional – and delightfully indulgent. The newcomer of the title is Sergeant Kaga, a compassionate and perceptive detective who’s recently arrived in Tokyo. While the lead policemen rush and bluster to solve the violent death of a…

Seven Hells: a new Stoner story

‘The black man stumbled, fell, parts of his head were somehow separated from the rest of him, a curiously unpleasant blend of grey and pink, with darker tones mingling, tangled on the pavement where randomly firing nerves twitched his soul-free body, although not for long…’ Seven Hells by Frank Westworth is out now — and…

The Sidewinder: when music leads to murder

Twenty years ago, Sidewinder were a half decent rock band. Then one musician died suddenly and the show was over. Nowadays, the young men have matured, moved on. They’ve got themselves families and careers – local politics, the police force, journalism and the like. Sidewinder was something to look back on… until another of the…

Recreation: an intriguing and unconventional female sleuth

There’s now an entire series of full-length crime novels in the Lena’s Friends series, and this prequel short story makes an ideal introduction to the imaginative characters who solve crimes, right wrongs and occasionally mete out righteous revenge in most unusual circumstances. This is not your average police procedural! ‘Recreation’ is a diverting short story…

Dead Reckoning: ugly things, beautifully written

Steel yourself for sixteen stories from the dark side; sinister slivers of broken and bloodied lives which blur genre boundaries to form a distinctly unsettling compendium. Several are bite-size rapid reads, others explore human frailty at greater length. They’re all united by the author’s distinctive voice which is unconventional and often complex. Dino Parenti crafts…

Blood Sons: a mafia family

Three striking stories intertwine in this American fable of family and fidelity. The author uses a vicious minor mobster in New York to explore the influence of nurture over nature – and it’s a set-up that works surprisingly well. The Family is all about family… isn’t it? That’s just one of the crime-thriller clichés which…

Cold Breath: hot stuff!

The latest ‘Icelandic Murder Mystery’ is an ideal introduction to this series. I’ve read all the preceding episodes but reckon you can sit straight down with this one without any introduction. Cold Breath is immensely readable and stylishly constructed from multiple viewpoints; the policewoman at the core of the story; an investigative journalist who’s off…