Past Tense: present perfect

Jack Reacher has been a part of my life for 20 years, give or take. A thoroughly reliable part of my life. He strides into town every year, beats the blue blazes out of deserving bad guys; writes wrongs, refrains from singing songs and never over-stays his welcome. JR is the high plains drifter of…

One Last Prayer For The Rays: gritty BritCrime

This is no humdrum parochial British police procedural – in fact, with all the pigs, blood, gore, kidnapping and brutality it’s more like Hannibal than Morse. Which of course snagged my attention at the get-go… The gruesome abduction of a loner schoolboy is just the start of a deftly executed campaign of revenge against an…

The Girl Without Skin: ‘Greenland grim’

This book could be the start of a whole new crime genre – something like Nordic noir, with all of its gritty realism and cultural quirks: let’s call it Greenland Grim. In this new thriller you can almost feel the bitter Arctic chill streaming from its pages. The mystery begins in Greenland’s urban centre, Nuuk,…

Ungentlemanly Warfare: a WW2 spy story

Despite what the title suggests, this is an entirely gentlemanly novel of behind-the-lines, undercover activity in occupied France during WW2. It’s an old-school espionage adventure which cleverly captures the classic vibe of films like The Great Escape. I almost expected Dickie Attenborough and Kenneth Moore to appear as character cameos… …and in fact Howard Linskey,…

Motive X: a mid-season Scandi thriller

Motive X is most definitely a story which starts in the middle. Amid the multiple plotlines there lurks a self-contained mystery of grisly killings, but that plot is almost overwhelmed by the series’ ongoing themes: the catastrophic domestic situation of police detective Fabian Risk and his dysfunctional family; the catastrophic personal life of his boss…

Rapid Reviews: six slices of murder and mystery

Hardboiled Brit crime, an American classic, a medical thriller, a swift slice of satisfying savagery, an old-fashioned private-eye investigation and an FBI serial killer profiler – settle down for this month’s selection of half a dozen different approaches to the crime-thriller genre… THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy Yes, this is the famous post-apocalyptic Great American…