Crime Time: recent releases and the best new books

The days are getting shorter and autumn’s storms have started to arrive. Time to settle down with a gripping thriller and ignore what’s going on in the world outside. This time we have two top-notch Scandi crime novels from best-selling Nordic noir authors; an historic spy story set in WW2; the Lincoln Lawyer’s most important case; espionage adventure with an all-new anti-hero; and two scary sociopaths – seen from both perspectives, the pursuing detectives and the killer himself…

THE KINGDOM by Jo Nesbø
A standalone Scandi thriller set in rural Norway, this might just be Nesbø’s best book so far. He sets a powerful story of personal relationships in a tight-knit rural community, with a pair of chalk/cheese brothers as its protagonists. At first, it all seems quite straightforward; the parents die, the boys grow up together. One leaves to travel the world and the other stays behind. Years later, the traveller returns with an attractive wife, and big plans that could totally transform this peaceful rural retreat.

What should have been a happy reunion rapidly spirals into rivalry and violence as gossip and old grudges expose a shocking family legacy. The Kingdom digs deeper than your average thriller, combining thought-provoking philosophical questions with compulsive page-turning tension. It reveals how long-held secrets, even those that bind brothers together, ultimately corrode the human spirit.
Out now

TWO MURDERS TOO MANY by Bluette Matthey
This standalone thriller draws on actual events in small-town America; a real-life mystery which affected the author’s father. Knowing that Two Murders… has its roots in reality gives the chilling events all the more impact. It starts with burning barns – bad enough in a farming community – but then someone starts killing citizens of this sleepy Midwest town.

While a blackmailer manipulates the local leading citizens, Charlie Simmons takes up his new post as Shannon’s policeman. He must find a murderer amid the tangled truths of private lives and well-concealed secrets…
Pre-order now: out 21 October 2020

THE LAW OF INNOCENCE by Michael Connelly
The creator of LA detective Bosch has more than one string to his bow; a series of interconnected characters whose lives and investigations often overlap and occasionally come into bitter conflict. This thriller features the ‘Lincoln lawyer’, Mickey Haller, a defence attorney who typically takes on lowlife and no-hope cases where his clients may not be exactly innocent. This case is a little different…

…because this time Haller himself is the client. He’s been royally set up, perfectly framed when a dead body is discovered in his car. So Haller has to take on his own defence – and to give him any possible professional future he must secure a ‘not guilty’ verdict AND reveal the true killer.
Pre-order now: out 10 Nov 2020

WINSTON CHURCHILL’s RENEGADE SPY by Steve Haberman
A WW2 conspiracy thriller with the highest possible stakes. It’s 1940, the Nazi forces are poised across the English Channel, ready to invade Great Britain, and there’s a German spy hidden inside Churchill’s government. Can a disgraced American bodyguard neutralise this threat before the Nazis invade?

Jonas Shaw has been a boxing champion, a celebrated New York detective and – before a scandal forced him out – was one of Churchill’s close protectors. The British establishment are too insular to find the traitor, but a street-smart blue-collar American might be just the man to expose the conspirator and stop the deadly flow of secrets…
Out now

RAKEHELL by David Harold
Introducing anti-hero John Caul – the post-Covid equivalent of James Bond or Jason Bourne – this all-action thriller promises edge-of-your-seat suspense, explosive action and razor-sharp plotting. Caul operates under a ‘Blanket7’ licence to commit any crime in the service of the British state. He’ll take any risk to complete the mission. But after too much action, he’s burning out — and his bosses are about to cut him loose.

A thoroughly modern, cynical spy, Caul might be too far gone to care about the collapsing world, but defending his country is all he knows and he’ll be damned if he lets the ‘other side’ win. Three powerful women join his cause, giving Caul one last chance to save the world from a final hammer blow.
Pre-order now: out 12 Nov 2020

FALLEN ANGELS by Gunnar Staalesen
It’s amazing quite how flexible the Nordic noir genre can be: the thoughtful, understated and patient Varg Veum investigations are radically different to Jo Nesbø’s gut-punching thrillers, yet both inhabit the same bookshelf and take place in the same country.

Fallen Angels is a classic private eye detective tale for ‘the Norwegian Chandler’. Varg Veum is reunited with an old school friend and his first love, but their rekindled friendship is shockingly disrupted by an horrific murder. Veum must dig deep into his own adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.
Out now

INCEL MANTIS by Anonymous
We’ve talked before about Calvin Loch’s initial outing, Killer’s Bible, a daring debut which explores the interior mindscape of a wrathful sociopath. Incel Mantis isn’t so much a follow-up as an expanded version of that novella, elaborating on the chilling themes and twisted plot of the anti-hero’s first outing.

After killing a man with good reason, a New York lawyer goes off-grid and begins life over on the Island. Under a new identity, Calvin Loch ‘fixes broken things’ for Chad and Stacy and nobody realizing the extent to which he goes. Ostensibly a respectable man, he travels the world as the authorities play catch-up.

A serial killer’s diary, Incel Mantis catalogues the events that push an attorney to the edge. From office politics to shady dealings, from being love-struck to killing ‘justly’, this first-hand account is a chilling exposé of how an intelligent person gets away with it. The verdict: crimes don’t warrant punishment if done by a balanced ‘bad man’ who believes that he’s doing good.
Out now

THE PURITAN by Birgitte Märgen
Billed as a gripping thriller in the tradition of Thomas Harris and Michael Connelly, this serial killer thriller sets Boston’s finest against a twisted psychopath. A dead body is found hanging, his eyes missing and skin mutilated beyond recognition, transforming him into a winged demon. Weeks later, a young girl’s body is discovered under a layer of ice, her skin carved into angel wings.

Homicide detectives Zucco and Cavanaugh follow the complex clues left by The Puritan into a trap which will test their faith and lure them into an underground world of sexual perversion.
Out now

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