Dire Covenants: a conspiracy in the suburbs

Meet Detective Katie Callahan and her partner, Donald Dombrowski. She’s got something of a short fuse but makes all the right intellectual connections: he’s a solidly dependable investigator. Neither has much of a rewarding private life but they’re both dedicated to the job – which is just as well, because this mystery will test their…

Crime Time: new books and recommended reads

The first crop of crime-thrillers of the year is a stunning selection… which bodes well for the rest of 2018. So here are the recent arrivals on our reading shelf. Check out the plot-twisting psychological thrillers, slightly sinister Nordic noir, authentic police procedurals, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, hardboiled and hard-edged black humour, Inspector Montalbano, and…

Linda, As In The Linda Murder: sophisticated Scandi satire

A meticulous Scandi crime police procedural, one told with wit and intelligence and no small measure of on-the-job experience. When a young woman is murdered during an unusual heatwave in a Swedish summer, all the competent cops are sensibly on holiday. The flaky chief of police, who goes delightfully further round the bend as the…

Mystery Tour: sun, sea, and a stab in the back

There should be something to please everyone in this collection of 28, contemporary short stories, written by members of the Crime Writers’ Association. It’s billed as an international anthology, although the majority of writers are British or American. There’s just one Scandi story, one from Mumbai, and one written by a South African team, but…

Wolves In The Dark: a hunted man

This Norwegian investigation started off brilliantly. Private eye Varg Veum is ensnared in a savage trap, one sprung by his own degeneracy. During a period of emotional turmoil, Veum descended into the broke and barely-functioning chaos of an alcoholic binge which lasted several years. Now in recovery, with the promise of a stable relationship on…

Missing: pulp fiction on the spooky side

A short novel or a long short story, this well-written gumshoe yarn takes a staple of the old-school PI genre and mixes it with something rather more… sinister. The ex-cop protagonist is, inevitably, something of a loner, and author William Markham pays homage to all the genre requirements – a regular old-style diner for breakfast…