Ordeal: substantial Scandi crime

Both the English title and the suggestion that this book is noir (Nordic or otherwise) are pretty misleading. This is character-driven police procedural set in small-town Norway, along the lines of Wallander or Beck. It places realistic human characters at the core of a criminal investigation; the discovery of a dead body juxtaposed alongside everyday…

Criminal encounters: thrillers, killers and conundra

Need something new to read? Here’s 20 or more psychological thrillers, global conspiracies, murder mysteries, Scandi crime, police procedurals, neo noir, private detectives, military sedition, ruthless gangsters, corrupt lawmen, cosy crime and historical whodunnits, which feature stealing, lying, cheating, kidnapping, spying, stalking and the odd dead body or ten. Just the job for a Bank…

Breakdown: criminal psychology with a social conscience

The early Dr Alex Delaware investigations were all about the science of the mind. Author Jonathan Kellerman used his psychologist character to explore the impulses that accompany insanity, to pull apart the pathological behaviours that can create death, despair, chaos and cruelty. Then the series stopped being so analytical, the mystery and murders became submerged…

Gator Bait: superbly snappy

Pure pulp fiction which doesn’t take itself too seriously, Gator Bait was a taut, toothy grin from beginning to end. You know you’re in for a rollicking ride when the spilled blood soaks in to the sawdust floor, and Smitty Three Fingers plays that bad boy boogie on the ol’ pee-anna down at The Grinnin’…

Meet the author: living with killers

For five years, West Country crime writer Frank Westworth has been living with killers, the fictional characters who populate his gritty thrillers. Undercover operatives, hard as nails hitmen, ice cold contract killers, manipulated men and bewildering women: they’ve all been a part of his daily life. On the afternoon of Thursday 12th May 2016, Frank…

Nightmare Range: sleaze and spirituality in South Korea

This anthology of short stories serves as an ideal introduction to the world of Sueño and Bascome, American army investigators serving in South Korea during the 1970s. If you enjoy Martin Limón’s full-length novels then these mini-mysteries will be a welcome to return to the sweltering, sex-soaked streets of the Ville, where servicemen spend their…