The SCU series: psycops and serial killers

This long-running series of paranormal thrillers makes a great change of pace from my usual selection of bitter-bleak mysteries, gruelling spook stories and grimly hardboiled noir. The Special Crimes Unit of the FBI investigates weird things – sudden outbreaks of bad stuff far beyond the spree or stalking activities of a ‘normal’ serial killer. Each…

Rapid Reviews: crime and punishment

If you’re seeking mystery and thrills then we’ve got a cracking selection of killer crime fiction for you. British detectives, fatal females; private eyes and serial killers; psychological page-turners and a spooky crime unit, from indie authors and bestselling big names. Here are the recent reads that we loved (and one we didn’t!) ALTERED LIFE…

An American Spy: the Chinese connection

Although this was originally published back in 2012, it’s been given a new lease of life by the current political tensions between China and America. The story couldn’t be more timely – it’s a complex chess game between rival black ops agencies, a deadly competition which has gone far beyond data gathering and counter espionage.…

Kult: tracts and tropes

This earnest exposé tries hard to be an exciting multi-layered Scandi thriller, one which reveals the manipulative machinations of a global religious organisation as it gets its claws into the naïve young people of the Swedish suburbs. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a lumbering lorry. Kult suffers from too many plotlines, too many improbable homicides,…

The Seven Experiments: manifest destiny

What if… you could have it all? Wealth. Health. Youth. Power. A fancy house. A garage full of fast cars. The objects of your desire, immediately available. And what if it could start with something as simple as want? Wanting, and then getting. That’s the lure of this thoroughly entertaining morality tale – one which…

CzechM8: vivid and violent

The clocks have just gone back so you have an extra hour in your day. What to do with that bonus free time? Try the new quick thriller from Frank Westworth, a pithy mix of hardboiled humour and blunt force trauma. CzechM8 comes recommended for readers who enjoy Elmore Leonard, James Crumley, Lawrence Block and…