London Rules: more horseplay

As with his previous ‘Slough House’ spook stories, Mick Herron launches London Rules with a simply gob-smacking opening chapter. You think you understand exactly what’s happening – just another terrorist atrocity among the daily diet of disaster – and then he pulls the rug right out from under with a single didn’t-see-that-coming sentence. It’s absurdly…

Six Strings: a new quick thriller

‘You want me to kill someone.’ Stoner plainly had a grasp of both the gravity and the subtlety of the situation. ‘There’s no need to rattle on so much. Killing people is what I do.’ He paused. ‘But only if he orders me to…’ Life is usually fairly straightforward for former Sergeant Stoner. He plays…

The Stoner Stories: gritty British noir

There’s a new JJ Stoner short story out this week. If you haven’t yet met this complicated contract killer then there’s just time to enjoy the first five quick thrillers in this anthology. Guest reviewer MD Ironz sidesteps any spoilers to describe his first encounter with ‘a man without apparent qualms of conscience’… I have…

The Sherlock Effect: semi-contemporary sleuthing

Originally published some 20 years ago, this collection features five intertwined investigations, written in the spirit of the greatest detective of all time. The modern-day protagonist originally hated his middle name – ‘Sherlock’ of course – with which his Holmes-obsessed father had burdened him. But ‘Sherl’ gradually develops a similar fixation with scientific deduction, and…

El Cajon: hard and fast Americana

A double-barrelled blast of hardboiled noir in the grand tradition of Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane, El Cajon takes all the clichés of 1930s American pulp and delivers them in savage 21st century style. The femme fatale, the corrupt cops, the wounded psyche of the underdog, the acerbic social commentary and genuine moral outrage –…

Femme Fatale: a rollicking romp

It doesn’t matter if you’ve not read the two earlier encounters with Daniel Beckett, the Soho-based private investigator, raconteur, womaniser, fashionista, badass mofo and international man of mystery – you pretty much get the measure of the man in the opening three chapters of Femme Fatale. He flirts, fights, flirts some more, struts his peacock…