The Jealousy Man: a complicated compilation

A collection of short stories and novellas from one of the best Scandi writers around? Count me in. I think I actually drooled at the idea of an anthology of self-contained tales from the dark side by the author who gave us the Harry Hole series and superb standalone novels like the ridiculously brilliant Headhunters.…

Rapid Reviews: criminal thrills and weird mysteries

This month’s selection of recommended reads includes a couple of slightly supernatural stories, a BritCrime police procedural with an intriguing central character, an atmospheric Alaskan adventure with the Aleut, snappy short stories, soulful investigations – and, as usual, one book which we rather wish we’d not bothered with. We’ll come to that a little later.…

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…

Rapid Reviews: the weird and the wonderful

This week’s selection of criminal encounters goes beyond the usual police procedurals to uncover murder in the desert and monsters on the movie lot; eugenics in tomorrow’s world and courtroom dramas from yesteryear, and an assassin who kills for kindness… THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael ConnellyIt may be a touch long in the tooth –…

Masters of Murder: short, sharp stabs

This is a clever confection of 15 tales of the unexpected, in which someone deserving dies an appropriate death – and the killer gets away scot-free thanks to meticulous planning and fancy footwork. For such a dark subject, these stories offer an implausible helping of fun as you attempt to second-guess the plot twists: who…

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap & Leonard lite

This collection compiles five short stories from the formative years of Joe R Lansdale’s unconventional scoundrels, right at the time when they’re forming the solid bond that stands them in good stead in later life. Like several other memorable pairings in crime fiction – Angel and Louis, Spenser and Hawk, Stoner and Stretch – Hap…

Rapid reviews: six of the best

What have you been reading during lockdown? We’ve gone for a classic espionage thriller, a smattering of short sharp stabs, an angry, radical thriller and a masterclass in modern American literature. All of them turned out to be four- or five-star high fliers. Take your pick… SS-GB by Len Deighton This may be in the…

Two Lives: challenging criminal literature

The seven short stories in this anthology almost defy classification. Their plots might hinge on a sudden moment of criminal madness – theft, murder, rape – but each of these self-contained stories is about something far more subtle, the brutalisation of the soul, perhaps; the subjugation of the self. The author was a police officer…

The Minotaur’s Son: modern mythology

A delightful collection of whimsical, sometimes wistful short stories. Written with a light touch and a wry smile, this collection is the perfect antidote to all the aggravation and aggression of modern life. The settings switch from present day to historical high points and futuristic satire, while the stories inhabit territory in between skulduggery and…

Crime Time: new books and recommended reads

Ready to hit the beach? Don’t forget to take a stack of crime thrillers, espionage adventures and murder mysteries with you. Here’s the latest new publications from indie authors and bestselling big names, from hardboiled pulp fiction to Nordic noir, spy stories to high-tech thrillers, police procedurals and political conspiracies. Expect the unexpected! THE RUSSIAN…