The autumn reading season delivers Nordic noir, cosy crime, sci-fi thrillers, feisty female detectives, murder in the Outback and sleaze in Sicily: detectives, vendettas, hardboiled heroes and even some gore-splattered horror. Oh, and the George Smiley spy story which everyone’s been patiently waiting for…
A LEGACY OF SPIES by John Le Carre
A throwback to the legendary Smiley espionage series set in The Circus, this new spy story sees Peter Guillam long retired from the Secret Service to his family farmstead in Brittany. He’s suddenly summoned back to London where the ghosts of the Cold War are rising. Picking up threads from The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Tinker Tailor, this novel promises to weave two time zones into one compelling narrative – and finally conclude George Smiley’s story. Can Le Carre possibly match the stark brilliance of his early espionage thrillers – the books which inspired an entire genre? We’re intrigued to find out.
DEATH IN DULWICH by Alice Castle
The nicest places can hide the nastiest secrets. Thirty-something single mum, Beth Haldane, has her hands full – with a bouncy young son, a haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own, and bills to pay. She loves her little home in plush London suburb Dulwich, but life here doesn’t come cheap. A dream job soon takes on nightmare proportions when Beth discovers a hideous crime and finds herself prime suspect. Can she clear her name with the help of some new friends?
The first in a new cosy crime series; the London Murder Mysteries
DISCONNECTED by Nick M Lloyd
What if you found a way to compel someone to support your own ambitions? What if that person still believed their own free will was entirely intact? Political advisor Asha has mastered the mysterious science of directly manipulating the subconscious. He can rewire us. And for the good of mankind, he’s going to. Whether we like it or not.
A smart sci-fi thriller which explores the intriguing idea of ‘emotional telepathy’ and how it might be put to the worst possible use…
Y IS FOR YESTERDAY by Sue Grafton
We’re nearing the end of the alphabet series, after 35 years in the company of feisty Californian private investigator, Kinsey Millhone. This penultimate episode harks back to 1979 with a disturbing case of sexual assault in an elite private school. In Kinsey’s era (she’s stuck in the late 1980s), one of the perpetrators is released from prison into the custody of his parents. A video tape of the assault arrives together with a ransom demand – and that’s when Kinsey is drawn into this family drama. But he’s not the only one being haunted by the past. A vicious sociopath with a grudge against Millhone may be leaving traces of himself for her to find…
Full review coming soon
FAITHLESS by Kjell Ola Dahl
Award-winning Nordic noir; atmospheric and ominous in its intensity. When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Oslo detective Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her… and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda discovers a disturbingly similar cold case and an unsettling number of coincidences emerge. Frølich must examine his own history to find the answers – and the killer, before he strikes again.
A skilfully plotted Scandi crime novel which blends psychological tension with procedural authenticity. Full review coming soon
BENEATH THE INK by Kath Middleton
A mix of social commentary and ripping yarn, this ‘what if?’ novella pushes at the boundaries of belief in a way which is scary, entertaining and satisfying. Lisa and Jed follow the modern trend for body art and each get a cool tattoo. Days later, they haven’t even begun to heal. They are itchy, inflamed and distorted. There is something in there, beneath the ink, shifting by itself. Lisa and Jed are not alone. Thousands more people find their new tattoos are moving as if alive. And soon, whatever’s inside will break free…
Full review coming soon
HEATWAVE by Zack Matheson
Things reach boiling point in Park City, Utah, home to movie stars, world-class resorts, the Sundance Film Festival… and murder. Detective Lincoln Coulter catches a case where an environmental activist has been murdered in her yoga studio. Link uncovers a conspiracy involving a development corporation, a crooked councilman, a pair of Mormon hitmen and high ranking members of the church. His own life is in danger but he’s still responsible for keeping the peace in a town where the locals and tourists alike are acting crazy from the record-setting heat.
SORRY TIME by Anthony Maguire
Imagine driving along a lonely outback road when suddenly a kangaroo leaps out in front of you. Your car is wrecked and then things rapidly go downhill when a pack of wild dogs launch an attack. Survive that, and you cross bloody paths with a pair of violent criminals who’ve murdered two people on a remote Aboriginal community. Then things go REALLY pear-shaped as you find yourself caught up on a rollercoaster of bloody revenge that takes you to the other side of the globe and to the edge of madness.
A complex concoction of violent interactions, cultural commentary, social observation and a compelling cast of characters – a ripper read, indeed.
PURPLE KITTY by Chariss K Walker
Private investigator Serena McKaygets down and dirty solving the worst kind of crimes in this dark-fiction thriller. ‘I stalk the stalker,’ says Serena. ‘I shadow spouse and child abusers. I scrutinise tarnished reputations and ill-begotten gains. I find out who’s doing who and the nitty-gritty on the secretive of this city. My A-List specialty – abduction, abuse, adultery, and any asshole that gets in my way.’
Hardboiled crime fiction: dark, witty and deliciously twisted with a surprisingly philosophical side-order of spiritual self-examination. Full review coming soon
YOU ONLY GET ONE SHOT by JC Michael and Kevin J Kennedy
Five short stories are entertainingly interwoven into one narrative in this horror / mystery novella which mixes deliberately provocative dark fiction with the intrigue of a locked room enigma. It’s one of those stories about storytelling with each episode opening like a Russian doll to reveal… yet more nastiness within.
Four well-known authors receive an email telling them they are responsible for a suicide. Their antagonist makes it clear she is out for revenge and they have no option but to comply. Their task is to post the best story they can imagine online and await judgement. Whose story will win? Will anyone survive?
A NEST OF VIPERS by Andrea Camilleri
All the anticipated aspects of the Montalbano mysteries make an appearance in the 21st book in the series: the quirky characters and their entertaining interplay; Montalbano’s appetite for fine food and his troublesome relationship with Livia; his blind spot when it comes to younger women; a strong social conscience, and a whodunit to unravel. Yet this episode also explores taboo territory which might be a bit too much for those readers who prefer the cosy side of crime. It turns out that the murdered man led a deeply dishonourable life, and half of Vigàta could be forgiven for killing him. Which is just as well, because Montalbano is looking for two separate murderers…
EMBOOZLEMENT by Rich Leder
Most people might call three dead divorce lawyers a good start… but the man who pulled the trigger also killed PI Kate McCall’s father. So she’s on that case, for sure. Meanwhile, someone’s embezzling big time from the local sports bar and Kate’s in danger of falling for the guy who hired her to investigate – and he’s one of the suspects! Will Kate catch her father’s killer before all the lawyers are dead, corner the creep who’s embezzling, and find real love with her client? Or does she lock him up for ripping off his own money?
We’re promised an unpredictable, dangerous and hilarious ride.
THE SCARRED WOMAN by Jussi Adler-Olsen
We return to Scandi crime and the cold case team in Copenhagen in the seventh Department Q thriller. Random acts of brutal violence could be connected to an old, unsolved homicide – but the culprit who’s stalking pretty young things is the last person you might suspect of criminal intent. Detective Carl Mørck, Assad and the gang already have their hands full, when one of their own team is assaulted by the demons from her troubled history.
A compelling, clever and convoluted brew of social commentary and genuine tension. The best Department Q story since the first one. Full review coming soon
Find the JJ Stoner 5-star quick 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)