Beast: evil in the east

If you enjoy the way that the recent Dracula TV series seamlessly merged gothic horror with modern sensibilities, then Beast is just the book for you. Like the recent reinterpretations of Sherlock and Dracula, this episode of Six Stories sucks the marrow out of the original literary classic – and concocts a potent brew mixed…

Killer’s Bible: inside a psychotic mind

This complex indie thriller highlights the dilemma which faces so many debut authors. Write something stylish, provocative, imaginative and challenging and you may never connect with an audience who would appreciate it. Write a Jack Reacher clone or a domestic drama gussied up as a ‘psychological thriller’ and you stand a better chance of selling…

Dregs: another Scandi detective

William Wisting is the latest Norwegian detective to appear on our TV screens, and if you enjoy this style of calculated and complicated investigation then there’s a series of six books to look forward to. The first, Dregs, is very much cut from the same cloth as Wallander or Beck: this is Scandi crime and…

A Deadly Divide: Canada’s cultural schism

I’m a fan of ‘international crime’ in general and of Canadian thrillers in particular, and of novels which use this genre to get to grips with difficult issues. So although this was my first encounter with Detective Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty, the situation – a small Quebecois community – grabbed me straight away. So…

The Ice Maiden: a small-town serial killer

This murder-mystery is all about its setting, the full force of the turning seasons and the stalwart townsfolk of a small community. The plot is driven by a gruesome series of weird killings that mimic historic religious rituals, from the auto da fé to pagan sacrifice, but the winter chill of rural Maine dominates proceedings.…

Psychopaths: inside warped minds

Although I mainly read fictional thrillers and mysteries, I’m also intrigued by the science behind the criminal mind and the psychology of the psychopath. So two non-fiction titles recently grabbed my attention. One turned out to be an excellent social/political study (if only loosely related to actual psychopathy) while the other was utter trash. I…