Give a killer thriller this Christmas

Is your best friend a bookworm? Is your partner addicted to crime fiction? Does someone in your family adore Nordic noir? If so, here’s the perfect Christmas present: a gripping crime-thriller, signed by the author with a personalised message, gift-wrapped and delivered to the recipient’s door. That’s Christmas sorted – leaves more time for you…

White Out: a winter chiller

Bump this book to the top of your Christmas reading list. White Out isn’t just set in the snowbound, windswept, wildlands of mid-winter Iceland, but the investigation actually takes place during the festive season. A young woman is found dead on the sea shore, beneath the cliffs where stand an isolated lighthouse and a tiny…

Splinter: brilliantly bewildering

Written almost a decade ago, this fiendishly tangled thriller presents its unreliable narrator front and centre. From the very first page, we don’t know if Marc Lucas has lost his mind or merely his memory. Bleeding and broken in mind and body, he engages in a desperate chase across Berlin, trying to discover the truth…

Rellik: criminally brilliant

This is the crime drama of the year for me, and the BBC deserve considerable kudos for bringing a concept this challenging to our screens. It proves that intelligent and gripping thrillers aren’t the sole preserve of ScandiLand, and Rellik is every bit as good as the best Nordic noir. The six-part drama isn’t just…

Chance: existential peril

Plenty of people aren’t going to like Chance. It’s ambitious and provocative, complex in construction and in its prose. Superficially it treads the same neurotic waters as Jonathan Kellerman’s trick-cyclist investigations, where the reader is given psychological insights into the mechanisms of the unravelling mind. But author Kem Nunn takes many more risks than Kellerman…

Nail’s Crossing: native American noir

This rural American police investigation is a sheer delight, conjouring characters as credible and a situation as intriguing as you’ll find in James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series. Here the hook is somewhat different: we follow Detective Maytubby of the ‘first people’ Chickasaw Nation as he plunges barefoot into a rough and tumble murder manhunt…

Purple Kitty: far from cute n cuddly

Purple Kitty’s title sorta suggests cuddly, fluffy, giggle a minute, girl’s night in, pink pyjamas, comedy crime*. That couldn’t be further from the reality of this dystopian private eye investigation, set in an oppressive future a few decades down the line. Gumshoe Serena McKay isn’t your typical ‘strong female protagonist’, either. Normally, the average crime-solving…