Rapid Reviews: six slices of murder and mystery

Hardboiled Brit crime, an American classic, a medical thriller, a swift slice of satisfying savagery, an old-fashioned private-eye investigation and an FBI serial killer profiler – settle down for this month’s selection of half a dozen different approaches to the crime-thriller genre… THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy Yes, this is the famous post-apocalyptic Great American…

A Time For Violence: hard, fast and occasionally nasty

The short stories in this anthology provide a sometimes spiky slice of stylish writing from 28 assorted authors; some of them well-known names in the crime genre but many unfamiliar to me. They each take a different tack to interpret the central theme. Many inevitably showcase criminals doing the wrong thing for all kinds of…

Fade To Grey: BritCrime that keeps it real

It ain’t easy for an author writing British crime fiction to find that pivot-point between a realistic, believable situation and a genuinely gripping storyline. While the UK crime-rate is far from ideal, blazing gun battles, weird serial killings and helicopter chases aren’t exactly part of everyday life. So BritCrime thrillers tend to veer from one…

Northtown Eclipse: hardboiled and harrowing

Original and inventive, Northtown Eclipse takes the typical crime cliché of a seedy private eye and subverts the standard hardboiled detective story into something significantly more substantial. Author Robb White twists the tropes of the genre to tell a much more meaningful story, one which explores the human condition at its most personal – a…

The Fairfax Incident: a PI in the Prohibition era

The title sounds like an X-Files episode, doesn’t it? Instead this is a ‘golden age’ gumshoe story. It kicks off as a private investigation into the apparent suicide of a wealthy businessman – but soon it’s obvious that there’s a lot more going on than a bit of slap and tickle on the side… New…

Missing: pulp fiction on the spooky side

A short novel or a long short story, this well-written gumshoe yarn takes a staple of the old-school PI genre and mixes it with something rather more… sinister. The ex-cop protagonist is, inevitably, something of a loner, and author William Markham pays homage to all the genre requirements – a regular old-style diner for breakfast…

Vicious Dogs: more bark than bite

In the best tradition of the two-time-loser gumshoe detective, private eye Derek Lasker is one step away from sleeping on the streets. He’s run out of cash. He hasn’t had a client in months. He’s no clue where his next low-fat latte might be coming from and he’s reached a crisis of personal hygiene due…