Our latest list of cracking crime fiction includes Nordic noir, international espionage and adventure, English investigators, wartime military mysteries, Scandi crime, literary fiction and historical intrigue: the weird, the witty and the gritty; thrillers, killers and all-action assassins from world-class writers and indie authors. Get ready to load your Kindle…
ROAD TO ITHACA by Ben Pastor
A WW2 military mystery which leans towards the literary end of the spectrum. Wehmacht officer Martin Bora is sent to recently occupied Crete and must investigate the brutal murder of a Red Cross representative befriended by Himmler. All the clues lead to a platoon of trigger-happy German paratroopers but is this the truth? Bora takes to the mountains of Crete to solve the case, navigating his way between local bandits and foreign resistance fighters.
Recommended for readers who enjoy Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther books or Alan Furst’s WW2 espionage adventures.
THE REDEMPTION OF CHARM by Frank Westworth
In this tightly-woven tale of betrayal and retribution, anti-hero JJ Stoner prowls the threatening territory familiar to readers of ‘Galveston’ or ‘The Winter Of Frankie Machine’ but with a distinctly British twist. Imagine what might happen if Jack Reacher lost the only fight that really matters… Black humour and wry realism underscore intense episodes of brutal, no-holds-barred conflict. Snappy dialogue segues into surreal, sometimes deadly sexual encounters. Finally, Stoner must take his last stand and face his ultimate foe. Survival is far from certain.
Ideal for readers who enjoy Lee Child, Don Winslow and Nic Pizzolatto, this is the third book in the Killing Sisters series but works perfectly well as a stand-alone.
TOO MANY CROOKS by Paul D Brazill
This new novella features an international trawl among the underworld to rediscover the Totenkopfring, a legendary piece of WW2 memorabilia. The action gallops from sleazy backstreet London pubs to the freezing landscape of rural Poland, where an amnesiac Englishman is found half-dead in the snow. And how are the biker gang involved in all this? Too Many Crooks is a fast-moving and action-packed cocktail of bodies, bullets and death-black comedy.
‘Right from the start there’s a blast of violence and gallows humour which sets the tone,’ said the first five-star review. ‘Too Many Crooks is littered with the usual Brazill razor-sharp one-liners honed to perfection, as the eccentric characters weave in and out of trouble.’
WHEN IT GROWS DARK by Jorn Lier Horst
This Scandi crime prequel to the William Wisting detective series takes us back to 1983. After a brutal robbery the ambitious young Norwegian policeman is edged off the investigation by more experienced officers, but he soon uncovers another case – not only unsolved but as-yet unrecognised as murder. A bullet-riddled old car is discovered in a dilapidated barn, and it seems that driver couldn’t have escaped alive. This case shapes William Wisting’s police career, influencing his later investigations.
If you’ve not met Wisting before then this is an ideal introduction – especially if you’re looking for a well-constructed characters who’s as interesting as Henning Mankell’s Wallander.
A FALLING BODY by Anders Kermod
Andrea is a successful businesswoman in need of a new challenge. She enters an unusual arrangement with a wealthy but physically failing old man: he can share her experiences as if they were his own. Wary of the pitfalls, Andrea is attracted by the salary and fascinated by the technology. At first, her ever-present internal observer changes her behaviour in unexpected but not wholly unwelcome ways. Soon, though, it becomes clear that her new employer wants to share the kind of experiences which threaten her very self. How can Andrea resist and outwit an adversary who instantaneously knows her every thought and feeling?
An innovative thriller, pushing at the edge of our reality.
RETRIBUTIONS by Chris Graham
An explosion in an empty bookshop harms nobody, and is followed by a string of apparently unconnected murders. The method of killing varies and the victims are apparently uninvolved. Yet all the murders are claimed by the same killer, who emails the investigating officers. Each new murder raises more questions. Why are they being chosen as victims? What kind of victim will the killer choose next? Who is targeting these people so accurately, whilst taking such extreme care to avoid any accidental victims? And what have they all done to incur his obvious displeasure?
Retributions draws together atheist scientists, Muslim and Christian clerics, entrepreneurs and entertainers, and a fifteen year old youth. Unravelling the mystery involves a gay, atheist vicar, a sexually-charged grieving widow, a high class hooker and her biker boyfriend, along with several extremely baffled policemen…
CHASE: THE HUNT FOR A KING by Thomas Dellenbusch
A clever blend of historical treasure hunt and current-day political thriller, this novella-length ‘movie of the mind’ explores Arthurian legend and modern Scottish independence. Set in the (very…) near future, Scotland is poised to vote for separation. A seemingly unconnected fatal car crash proves to be anything but accidental, and the victim’s sons call on members of the CHASE detective agency for assistance. As they start tugging on the threads of the mystery, one of the sons disappears. Secret societies who’ve been hiding the shadows for centuries start taking dramatic action – to bring a new king to the throne of Scotland… or to kill him.
Recommended for fans of the Da Vinci Code, this second ‘CHASE’ story to be translated into English offers a mix of intriguing historical possibilities with non-stop action adventure.
TOKYO NIGHTS by Jim Douglas
Charlie Davis, a modern-day heretic, ditches his past and rushes into a picaresque journey through the glistening nights of Tokyo and the desolate wilds of northern Hokkaido. But the past is not so ready to ditch him; a private investigator has been hired to look into the death of a wealthy businessman’s daughter. He’s got some hard questions for Charlie and won’t give up until he’s got answers. And he’s not the only one on Charlie’s trail…
Enter a world of empty orchestras, night butterflies, polite assassins, decadent TV celebrities and a pit-bull called Marvin. Tokyo Nights is a quest and an investigation into what we have become, a dark parable, a wake-up call to the dead 21st century obsessed with compromise, safety and longevity, and a novel that celebrates the excitement and energy of a culture like no other.
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE NINE-DRAGON SIGIL by Tim Symonds
This new investigation set in 1906 spirits Holmes and Watson away from the pea-soup streets of London to the exotic Orient. Rumours abound that a deadly plot is hatching in the Forbidden City in faraway Peking. Holmes must discover whether such a plot exists and if so, foil it. Are the assassins targeting the young and progressive Ch’ing Emperor or his imperious aunt, the fearsome Empress Dowager Cixi? The murder of either could spark a civil war. China’s fate and the interests of Britain’s Empire in the Orient could be at stake.
Early reviews say it’s ‘a great addition to the Sherlockian world, with a brilliantly constructed plot, complete with clever clues and moments of action, humour and mystery.’
BLOOD MOON by John David Bethel
Inspired by a true story of kidnapping, torture, extortion and murder, Blood Moon tells the story of businessman Recidio Suarez who is brutally beaten and abducted. Handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded, he has no idea why he has been targeted. He endures a month of captivity until finally, under torture and the threat of harm to his family, Suarez is forced to hand over his multi-million dollar holdings to his captors. He survives, but then struggles to convince the Miami-Dade police that a crime has been committed.
Includes a foreword by the only surviving victim of the crime and an afterword by the private investigator who was instrumental in solving the case. The blurring of fact and fiction gives Blood Moon ‘an extra edge… the story reveals the horrific extent of the physical and mental torture Recidio Suarez has to endure in the hands of his captors. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted.’
More ripping reads will follow in our next round-up. Authors / publishers: feel free to drop an email or find us on Facebook if you’d like your title to be mentioned next time around (and please share this post to assist your fellow scribblers. Thanks!)