It’s Dark In London: graphic noir

Don’t imagine for a moment that this illustrated anthology of short stories is kid’s stuff, simply because it’s in comic book format. This is a graphic novel; graphic in both style and substance. It’s absolutely 18-rated for adult audiences only; partly because the artwork and language spare absolutely no blushes but also due to the…

Journey Under the Midnight Sun: tangled and ambitious

When a man is found murdered in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973, unflappable detective Sasagaki is assigned to the case. He begins to piece together the connection of two young people who are inextricably linked to the crime; the dark, taciturn son of the victim and the unexpectedly captivating daughter of the main…

The Last Thing To Burn: a blaze of gory glory

This novel pulls zero punches. It makes no concessions to sensitive or squeamish readers. With precise delicacy, author Will Dean exposes a festering wound of western society and challenges the reader to hate the crime – but love the storytelling. Where a lesser writing talent might’ve stumbled into the sleazy territory of titillation through graphic…

Best Crime Books 2020

As a new year begins we love looking back on the highlights of the past twelve months, the very best crime-thrillers and murder-mysteries which we read in 2020. These books include hardboiled American noir, skin-crawling Scandi crime, a superb Cold War spy story, culture shock in the Arabian desert, hard-hitting Brit grit and utterly immersive…

Rapid Reviews: six thrillers

Predators and prey: evil itself; spree and serial killers, two-time losers, FBI profilers and legally-sanctioned assassins. You’ll meet all of these and more in this selection of six crime-thrillers. Among the hardboiled noir and courtroom dramas you’ll find two of the best books we’ve read recently – and one you might want to avoid… NEVADA…

Lazarus: doubly deadly and back from the dead…

It’s the old battle of wits between a discredited investigator and his ultimate enemy: an intelligent, ruthless and unpredictable sociopath who doesn’t stop at mere murder. Instead he destroys his victim’s lives: literally buries their loved ones and watches with clinical fascination as his opponents attempt to out-manoeuvre him. It’s hard to imagine that anyone…

The Inner Darkness: a manhunt mystery

The Wisting series of Scandi crime stories have become as comfortable as a snuggly sofa next to a roaring fire on a chilly winter afternoon. Although the cover blurb does its best to sell this carefully constructed mystery as a ‘pulse-pounding thriller’ it has far more in common with Wallander or Varg Veum than Harry…

The Puritan: echoes of Agent Starling

An old-school serial killer manhunt, The Puritan undoubtedly owes a lot to the books of Thomas Harris – notably The Silence of The Lambs and Red Dragon – and to TV series like Criminal Minds and Mindhunter. In particular there’s a big tip of the hat to Agent Clarice Starling: not only is the protagonist…

The Kingdom: blood (soaked) brothers

A standalone Scandi thriller from accomplished author Jo Nesbø is normally something to be savoured. His earlier Headhunters is one of my all-time favourite crime novels, so I had high hopes for this new tale of Norwegian intrigue. And in many ways it’s every bit as carefully crafted as you’d expect – yet I struggled…

Vapour Trails: deep in the international underbelly

International crime fiction really can take you places, places you might never have considered visiting in person. In these times, when we’re physically anchored to a single geographic location, this can be utterly exhilarating. And Vapour Trails is an especially wild ride, an extraordinary rendition (pun entirely intended) of hardboiled noir superimposed on an unfamiliar…