The Puritan: echoes of Agent Starling

An old-school serial killer manhunt, The Puritan undoubtedly owes a lot to the books of Thomas Harris – notably The Silence of The Lambs and Red Dragon – and to TV series like Criminal Minds and Mindhunter. In particular there’s a big tip of the hat to Agent Clarice Starling: not only is the protagonist…

The Kingdom: blood (soaked) brothers

A standalone Scandi thriller from accomplished author Jo Nesbø is normally something to be savoured. His earlier Headhunters is one of my all-time favourite crime novels, so I had high hopes for this new tale of Norwegian intrigue. And in many ways it’s every bit as carefully crafted as you’d expect – yet I struggled…

Vapour Trails: deep in the international underbelly

International crime fiction really can take you places, places you might never have considered visiting in person. In these times, when we’re physically anchored to a single geographic location, this can be utterly exhilarating. And Vapour Trails is an especially wild ride, an extraordinary rendition (pun entirely intended) of hardboiled noir superimposed on an unfamiliar…

Rakehell: sneak preview of the post-Covid secret agent

Meet MI6 agent, cynical spy and all-round anti-hero John Caul. He’s the post-Covid equivalent of James Bond or Jason Bourne – and appears here in an exclusive sneak preview from this brand-new thriller. Caul operates under a ‘Blanket7’ licence to commit any crime in the service of the British state. He’ll take any risk to…

A Last Act of Charity: meet JJ Stoner and the Killing Sisters

The opening episode of the Killing Sisters trilogy introduces a cast of unique characters – three women who’ve made murder their business, and a world-weary warrior who’s had his fill of killing. Their paths cross in brutal, sometimes sensual encounters as we meet the underworld manipulators who support them, their victims who may not be…

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…

She’s As Good As Dead: a new Agent Starling?

Lara Jones isn’t your typical, hard-bitten FBI investigator. In fact, she’s unusually vulnerable for a veteran of the specialist behavioural science unit, who used to spend her time profiling the worst of America’s criminals. We meet her at a troubling time in her life: starting a new job in a local field office, trying to…

Rapid Reviews: the weird and the wonderful

This week’s selection of criminal encounters goes beyond the usual police procedurals to uncover murder in the desert and monsters on the movie lot; eugenics in tomorrow’s world and courtroom dramas from yesteryear, and an assassin who kills for kindness… THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael ConnellyIt may be a touch long in the tooth –…

The Bridge: goes back to the beginning

Before Bron /Broen, there was The Killing. After The Bridge there have been too many Scandi crime dramas to even mention the most memorable ones. But there’s something special about this Nordic noir; it set the standard for what follows. The combination of achingly beautiful visuals; compellingly complicated characters, brutally uncompromising violence and off-kilter, laugh-out-loud…

Masters of Murder: short, sharp stabs

This is a clever confection of 15 tales of the unexpected, in which someone deserving dies an appropriate death – and the killer gets away scot-free thanks to meticulous planning and fancy footwork. For such a dark subject, these stories offer an implausible helping of fun as you attempt to second-guess the plot twists: who…