The crime files are over-flowing right now with big-name blockbusters and outstanding indie authors. In fact there’s too many to fit into this round-up of ten intriguing titles, so come back in a fortnight for more gripping criminal activity. In the meanwhile we’ve a superb selection of police procedurals, serial killers, Nordic noir, vengeful vigilantes, ice-cool assassins, supernatural sleuths, mystery, murder… and the long-anticipated new novel from one of the acclaimed kings of crime fiction. Plenty here to read over the summer holidays!
WATCHING YOU by Arne Dahl
Arne Dahl – the pen-name of accomplished Swedish author Jan Arnald – already has one outstanding Scandi crime series to his credit in the shape of the Intercrime series which are painfully slowly being translated into English. But if that’s not enough (and it’s not… well, not for us) a new Nordic noir series starts this summer with Watching You.
Someone is watching. At each scene there’s a hidden clue, almost invisible to the naked eye. Someone is sending Detective Sam Berger a message, and that someone knows that only he will understand the cryptic trail. When another teenaged girl disappears, Sam must convince his superiors that they’re dealing with a serial kidnapper and possible killer. As the police hunt to find the latest kidnap victim, Sam is forced to unearth long buried personal demons – he has no choice if he is to understand the brute’s darkly personal message before time runs out. Somebody is killing just for him.
Publication on 6 July 2017. Full review coming soon
TWO NIGHTS by Kathy Reichs
OK; we confess. We kinda lost the plot with the Tempe Brennan forensic anthropologist series a couple of lifetimes ago – which is why this new standalone thriller attracted our attention. It introduces ‘Sunday Night’, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.
Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? Sunnie must face down her own demons to discover the truth.
Out now. Full review coming soon
MISSING by William Markham
If you enjoy a walk on the weirder side, look out for this hard-boiled detective novel which comes with a supernatural twist. When Mason Gray, previously a police detective and now a PI, finds a dead man in his living room, he knows he’s in trouble. Again. Booted from the Chicago PD years ago, Gray’s former colleagues would just love to sling him in the clink. He must find the real killer before the cops can pin it on him…
But Gray’s computer has been hacked and the files from another case, about a missing woman, have been erased. The two cases look to be linked; and the kidnappers could easily turn into killers with Gray on their hit-list. The police are corrupt, he’s being chased by an assassin, and he learns that the monsters of legend might actually be real. Gray must step through the looking glass, wrestle with demons both figurative and literal, and (maybe) save the girl.
Out now. Full review coming soon
BONGO FURY by Simon Maltman
A new character joins the author’s cast of ne’er-do-wells in Northern Ireland in this blackly comedic noir novella. Jimmy Black is trying to go straight (ish) and settle down. He’s juggling a music shop, his paramilitary family and a newborn baby with a little bit drug dealing and private detection on the side. Early reviews praise its dark humour and down-to-earth realism. ‘There is mystery and a little action at the heart of this story,’ comments one reviewer. ‘I am curious to see how it all unfurls from here. An enjoyable interlude and a great start to a new series.’
‘A lot of story in a little book’ says another. ‘Get ready to meet some pretty scary guys.’
A WANTED MAN by Robert Parker
Ex-soldier Ben Bracken just got out of Strangeways, but not by the front door. Rejected by the army and disowned by his father, Ben has no anchors in his life – no one to keep him steady. No one to stop his cause. He plans to deliver justice to the man who put him in prison in the first place. But before that can happen he owes and old friend a favour, and starts seeking a killer who hides in the criminal backstreets or Manchester. Ben gets drawn into the fold of Manchester’s most notorious crime organisation – the Berg – the very people he wants to bring down…
An action-packed, fast-paced story in which the city of Manchester itself plays a starring role.
ZERO SUM by Barry Eisler
The ninth in the John Rain assassin series is a prequel set in 1982. Rain returns to Tokyo after a decade of mercenary work overseas. He learns that the killing business is now controlled by Victor, a half-Russian, half-Japanese sociopath who has ruthlessly eliminated all potential challengers. Victor gives Rain a choice: kill a government minister or die a grisly death. The result? A no-holds-barred battle between kingpin and newcomer, master and apprentice: a zero-sum contest that can only end with one man dead and the other the world’s foremost assassin.
MARKED FOR DEATH by Matt Hilton
Matt Hilton writes punchy, action-packed thrillers and this is the 12th in his Joe Hunter series. Hunter is a testosterone-fuelled vigilante who metes out justice on the backstreets of America. This time he should be on a routine assignment providing security for an elite event in Miami. But… heck, you guess it: things go wrong. Hunter is drawn into what appears to be a domestic altercation. When he crosses the mysterious Mikhail however, he soon finds something altogether more sinister…
We’re promised a rollercoaster ride as the frantic action bounces from the bars of Miami beach to car chases and super-yacht grenade battles.
Publication on 17 July 2017. LOOK OUT! for a Joe Hunter giveaway and full review in August
SHARKNOSE by Chris Graham
This one might win the prize for the most mysterious blurb we’ve read recently: it’s hard to say what the book is actually about but that in itself is intriguing…
When a man takes his final journey, it would normally be in a hearse. He’d be wearing his best suit or at the very least a shroud. However, when that journey’s taken in a small aircraft, and he’s dressed in a basque with stockings and suspenders, and wearing women’s make up, then something’s obviously gone awry. But he’s still dead, just the same.
When something historic, that was thought to have been destroyed many years before, has been discovered, it should be a cause for celebration. So why is it causing so many upsets? Commerce is said to make the world go round, but there are many ways of making money that break too many rules yet people will still use them. So when Lena is abducted, why are they holding her when no ransom has been demanded? When the boundaries blur between national heritage and notions of honour, greed, and violence, death won’t be too far away.
THE BREAKING OF LIAM GLASS by Charles Harris
A blackly-humoured satire which explores the aftermath of one of those headline-grabbing events which go viral and then typically vanish. The young Liam is stabbed on a London estate. An opportunistic journalist sets out to make the most of the story and build a crusade against teenage knife-crime.
In the following 24 hours, he creates his campaign, hiding a scoop from rival journalists and avoiding arrest. But other powerful figures are determined to exploit the boy’s story as much as they can, and they have fewer scruples! Liam Glass is a darkly satirical look at the societal splits in modern communities, asking deep moral questions in a sympathetic and humorous way.
THE FORCE by Don Winslow
We’ve been waiting for this one all year. The guy who gave us the unforgettable Winter Of Frankie Machine and Savages has penned a New York thriller which is billed as being ‘a cinematic epic as explosive, powerful, and unforgettable as The Wire.’
Detective sergeant Denny Malone leads an elite unit to fight gangs, drugs and guns. For eighteen years he’s been on the front lines, doing whatever it takes to survive in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean. But Malone himself is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash. Now he’s caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk a thin line of betrayal, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.
We’re promised ‘a haunting story of greed and violence, inequality and race, and a searing portrait of a city on the edge of an abyss. Full of shocking twists, this is a morally complex and riveting dissection of the controversial issues confronting society today.’
Out now. Full review coming once we stop drooling
Find Frank Westworth’s thrillers at Amazon
More ripping reads will follow in our next round-up.
Authors / publishers: feel free to send us details of your new publication for possible inclusion in future listings (but please take note of our comments about co-operative reciprocation over on the contact page)