The Night Man: savvy Scandi Crime

Norwegian detective William Wisting has taken over where Wallander left off – which delights me, because I’ve always found Jorn Lier Horst’s world rather more rewarding to visit. This is a long-running series but if you’ve just come to the books – perhaps because you’ve seen the TV version – then this story is skilfully…

Fisher’s Ghost: happy Halloween!

Tis the season of spooky stories – and here comes a collection of eleven standalone supernatural short stories to send shivers down your spine. These eerie and outlandish fables resonate with the traditions of true Victorian gothic – although you won’t encounter anything truly horrific in here. These are gently unsettling stories of the type…

Black Lake Manor: sleuth. Die. Repeat

Now this is a clever concept: techno-thriller meets grisly ritual in a locked-room mystery that would make Agatha’s head spin… plus a side-order of supernatural tribal mysticism. Count me in! A short way into reading this I remembered that I’d thoroughly enjoyed the author’s earlier mind-bending mystery, Five Minds, which quite literally crammed five personalities…

Lost In Time: don’t overthink things…

No one could ever accuse AG Riddle of writing stories crammed with highly detailed, hard science. Instead he’s perfected a form of 21st century techno-thriller – following in the footsteps of Michael Crichton – where a strand of scientific speculation provides a launch pad for a fast-paced adventure into the unknown. This approach typically takes…

The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill: not half bad

Half of this book is brilliant. The other half? Not so. The Undiscovered Deaths… is one of those carefully constructed novels that’s concocted of complicated layers. A mystery disguises a secret that in turn conceals a hidden truth – usually a perfect premise for a psychological thriller. Problem is, the initially intriguing aspects are overwhelmed…

The Shattered Skies: a satisfying sequel

Don’t start here! This is the second in a superbly constructed sci-fi series, stacked with multiple meshed threads from ideologically estranged offshoots of future humanity. I waited eagerly for it to arrive after consuming the first part in short order, but you need to begin at the beginning to stand a chance of keeping up…

Axe: an old-school investigation

There’s a gritty elegance to Ed McBain’s 87th precinct detective series. The writing might be more than half a century old, but it packs all the punch of a modern murder investigation – and suffers from a lot less of the fluffy filling. I’m a big fan of series like Michael Connelly’s Bosch, John Sandford’s…

The Brass Verdict: seconds out for the Lincoln Lawyer

Courtroom drama doesn’t get much better than this series, set in LA, featuring the ‘Lincoln Lawyer’ Mickey Haller – a slightly shady defence attorney who shares the same universe as Connelly’s leading law-enforcer, Harry Bosch. While Bosch is always about doing the right things – normally in not quite the right way – the morality…

The Murderbot Diaries: a criminal future

Don’t you just love an addictive series? Especially when you discover one after all the episodes are published so you can read them flat-out, one after the other? I read the first novel in the entirely glorious Expanse saga when it first came out, so had to wait subjective centuries before the next volume appeared.…

Little Siberia: dark indeed

Fancy a totally entertaining and intriguing read? OK, try this. The central character is a pastor, dedicated to serving the spiritual needs of a small Finnish town, while the central plot revolves around a meteorite which lands from the heavens – as meteorites do – passing through a drunken rally driver’s car as it does…