Six Strings: dark, raw and captivating

A few days ago I picked up another Jack Reacher novel… then put it down. Kinda lost interest in it. I wanted a thriller, but something fresh. I got Six Strings by Frank Westworth. It’s another character-driven crime thriller series, though there’s nothing typical and certainly nothing copycat about it – no one will say…

The Shadow Killer: Iceland at war

It seems that there’s an insatiable appetite for crime novels which are also war stories – historical fiction which uses the international upheaval of WW2 as its dramatic backdrop. I blame Bernie Gunther… but find these philosophical investigations as compelling as any contemporary thrillers. It’s as if we still can’t come to terms with what…

Her Name Is Mercie: grit, bitterness and redemption

Meet Mercie: an ordinary young woman in midtown America. Her existence is ripped apart, collateral damage when her parents are murdered, their home repossessed, and she’s left with nothing. Her bewildered rage soon lands her in the worst kind of trouble, exposed to the harsh realities of serving hard time in the 21st century American…

The Ways Of Wolfe: bandits on the border

Pull together the pulp perfection of John D Macdonald and the grassroots grit of James Lee Burke; mix with one of Stephen Hunter’s alpha male Swagger clan; add the cross-border corruption of Don Winslow – and then you come close to the tales of the Wolfe family. This standalone focuses on Axel, serving hard time…

Portrait of an Assassin: killer fiction

The title tells you exactly what to expect of this rapid-fire, rattling read: the back story to a calculating contract killer. It’s cleverly presented in a series of episodes which almost form standalone short stories, as Jack the discharged Royal Marine becomes Jack the rudderless, Jack the flat broke, then Jack the opportunist… and gradually…