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…

Rapid Reviews: good, bad, ugly and otherwise

This month’s selection of crime-thrillers reveals two superb offerings from established favourites; two which we rather wish had stayed on the shelf, and an outstanding debut from a talented new author… WELCOME TO COOPER by Tariq AshkananiWhat a gloriously nasty piece of work this is; a twisted tangle of corrupt cops, the mobsters who manipulate…

Lemon: a modern Korean mystery

What an impossible novel to attempt to categorise. Lemon is a literary mystery in every sense; beautifully composed but oddly obscure. In a disorienting story told from three perspectives, we observe the effects of a violent murder on the victim’s family and the two plausible suspects in the years that follow the crime. It’s a…

Bad Apples: Swedish evil

If you think Halloween can be creepy, wait until you see how this small town in the Swedish hinterland celebrates the coming of winter. The roads are closed. A stack of apples are left to rot in the town square, filling the air with a sickly-sweet stench of decay. What follows is a wild night…