Suburra: gritty, bitter Eurocrime

An Italian neo-noir thriller about organised crime in modern day Rome. Gritty, violent, explicit and enthralling, it depicts the semi-fictional events of a single week building up to its ultimate ‘apocalypse’. Suburra pulls absolutely no punches in its depiction of brutal, street level intimidation and corruption among politicians and the clergy at the highest level.…

Crime Time: new titles and recommended reads

Start stacking the shelves for your summer holiday – this week’s list of cracking crime fiction includes Nordic noir, international espionage, murder mysteries, Scandi crime, literary fiction and historical investigations: thrillers, killers and all-action assassins, from world-class writers and newly discovered indie authors. HELLFIRE by Karin Fossum The 12th Inspector Sejer investigation is very welcome;…

Die Dog: pure pulp and hardcore horror

These three very different novellas go far beyond the boundaries of backwoods noir into no-holds-barred horror. Gator Bait (which I read first) is maybe the most mature and most conventional of the trio – stylised, snappy prose in the hard-assed tradition of hard-boiled crime. It oozes the atmosphere of the Louisiana swamps to evoke a…

Criminal encounters: new books and recommended reads

The dead bodies are really starting to stack up! There are just too many excellent new crime-thrillers and murder mysteries to cram into one update this month. So here’s an initial assortment of killer priests, Nordic noir, American blues, black comedy, private eyes, psychological thrillers, Scandi crime and savage assassins. Look out for more next…

Hard Rock: a stolen show

Hard Rock is the sequel to the opening John Rockne investigation, Dead Wood, and it picks up almost immediately where the first book left off. A sensible person would start with Dead Wood, so of course I didn’t, and had to play catch-up during the opening chapters. Happily, author Dan Ames capably balanced the back…

Eastern Shadows: all-action opening episode

  Alexandria Thorne is a disgraced special agent who’s given one last chance to get back on the right side of the unreliable men from the ministry. An arms dealer has been kidnapped in Belarus and Alex can rehabilitate herself by leading the rescue effort. More importantly, there’s a shadowy Russian figure from her family’s…

The Poison Artist: a cup half-empty

The first half of this sinister, surreal psychological thriller is deeply intoxicating, darkly beguiling and more than a little bewildering. It’s magnificent modern gothic which unleashes a powerful fever dream upon the familiar mechanics of the police procedural. One chapter we’re in a research lab, running mass spectrometry to identify peculiar samples from a series…