More Faces: short, sharp stabs

Murderers, thieves, political killers and private investigators – these are the people who populate Simon Maltman’s new collection of 12 short stories. I say ‘new’, but if you’ve read his novel, ‘A Chaser On The Rocks’ then you’ll recognise Billy Chapman, a private investigator who plies his trade in the 1940s while Belfast suffered its…

Prussian Blue: murder at the Berghof

It’s 1939 at the Berghof. A Nazi apparatchik just got shot – on the terrace where Hitler takes his tea! When I picked up the 12th book in the Bernie Gunther series I was fully prepared to report that the modern thrillers aren’t a patch on the original Berlin Noir trilogy. Duh. Wrong again. Overall, Prussian…

March Violets: a philosophical investigation

The very first of Philip Kerr’s WW2 Bernie Gunther investigations arrives as a republished stand-alone ebook (previously it was packaged up with The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem to form the ‘Berlin Noir’ trilogy) with perfect timing, just as the 12th book in the series is launched. It’s a clever move. March Violets is…

The Hunt For A King: Scotland the Brave

  Scotland is poised on the brink of independence. A fatal car crash might not be accidental. The dead man’s son then disappears. Intelligence agencies and secret societies engage in a deadly treasure hunt to solve a series of intellectual puzzles… which might reveal the true heir to the Scottish crown. Given recent political events,…

First Contract: great stortytelling

A discharged military sergeant is sent on a mission to assassinate a target in order to acquire a clean record that was tarnished by executing Iraqi prisoners. A lot of people will read the above description and think they’ve already read this story many times over with nothing new or original to offer. They may…

Souls Disturbed: supernatural stirrings in the suburbs

Although the cover art for this collection of three novellas appears quite creepy, the stand-alone stories themselves are far from horrific. Instead they’re set in the ‘soft edges’ of ordinary, everyday English life, where the boundaries between ‘unremarkable’ and ‘unexplained’ can become blurred. Author Kath Middleton uses familiar situations from normal life to explore some…

Classic Crime: Inspector Zhang

Hang on, wait. This isn’t ‘classic’ or ‘vintage’ crime. It wasn’t written a hundred years ago. Inspector Zhang is a thoroughly modern man, investigating 21st century crime in the ultra-up-to-date, high-tech, lion city of Singapore. So why classify this short story as ‘classic crime’? Easy. In ‘Inspector Zhang Gets His Wish’ author Stephen Leather has…