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…

Dire Covenants: a conspiracy in the suburbs

Meet Detective Katie Callahan and her partner, Donald Dombrowski. She’s got something of a short fuse but makes all the right intellectual connections: he’s a solidly dependable investigator. Neither has much of a rewarding private life but they’re both dedicated to the job – which is just as well, because this mystery will test their…

Crime Time: new books and recommended reads

The first crop of crime-thrillers of the year is a stunning selection… which bodes well for the rest of 2018. So here are the recent arrivals on our reading shelf. Check out the plot-twisting psychological thrillers, slightly sinister Nordic noir, authentic police procedurals, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, hardboiled and hard-edged black humour, Inspector Montalbano, and…

Linda, As In The Linda Murder: sophisticated Scandi satire

A meticulous Scandi crime police procedural, one told with wit and intelligence and no small measure of on-the-job experience. When a young woman is murdered during an unusual heatwave in a Swedish summer, all the competent cops are sensibly on holiday. The flaky chief of police, who goes delightfully further round the bend as the…