Best International Crime Books of 2018

Our year has been stacked with mystery and intrigue, betrayal and revenge, bitterness and redemption – and some simply stunning plot twists. We’ve reviewed and read almost 200 crime / thrillers, from literary fiction by established authors to debut books by indie authors. Only a very select few, less than 10%, achieve a full-on five-star…

The Town Built On Sorrow: brilliantly chilling

Like Goldilocks’ porridge, this is neither too brief nor too verbose; not needlessly complicated but intrinsically clever in its composition. It pulls together two dark tales, one from the pioneer days when wagon trains headed west to start new settlements, and the other in the 21st century. The town of Hawthorn has, as the title…

Mission Khyber: a killer woman with a psy side

Psychic spy Tana Standish has a habit of appearing slap-bang in the middle of the most significant historical upheavals of the 20th century. This time she’s in Afghanistan in 1979, providing intel for the British secret intelligence service, running interference for freedom fighters, side-stepping a Soviet plot to kidnap her, liberating victims of oppression, avenging…

Crime Time: new books and recommended reads

Our latest list of cracking crime fiction includes Nordic noir, international espionage and adventure, English investigators, wartime military mysteries, Scandi crime, literary fiction and historical intrigue: the weird, the witty and the gritty; thrillers, killers and all-action assassins from world-class writers and indie authors. Get ready to load your Kindle… ROAD TO ITHACA by Ben…

Alphabet House: worthy but wordy

Let’s start by directly contradicting the marketing blurb. This is not a ‘gripping psychological war thriller’, nor is it ‘a great introduction’ to Jussi Adler-Olsen, better known for his Department Q Scandi crime / Nordic noir series. Alphabet House is a much earlier work, originally published in 1997 and it was Olsen’s first foray into…

Snow Flurries: cold war consequences

Historical fiction doesn’t pay much attention to the German Democratic Republic. East Germany, we called it, the subjugated ruin of half a country which didn’t benefit from a Marshall Plan but which instead spent 41 years in the chilling isolation of the cold war, on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. In four short…

A Hero In France: stilted spy story

Author Alan Furst is a literary giant, a writer I admire enormously. His spy stories of wartime resistance evoke an insidious atmosphere of paranoid oppression, offset in near-equal measure by extreme human endeavour and endurance. Determination and despair permeate his pages in equal measure. His characters are flawed examples of humanity, compelled by circumstance into…