Halloween Read: The Liberator

It’s the spookiest day of the year, so settle down for a slice of supernatural noir, night stalkers and silver bullets from the maestro of menace, Paul D Brazill… Weather the storm, they say. Let the dust settle. Bide your time. Wait. But what if that storm never stops raging? What then? Even if you…

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…

The Wolf And The Watchman: a Scandi stunner

Historical crime fiction novels typically lean towards the gentler end of the murder / mystery / suspense spectrum. Not this one. It is every bit as grim and grisly as a contemporary noir novel, and reveals characters as morally corrupt and callously cruel as any modern serial-killer thriller. But there’s much more to this gory…

Dead Reckoning: ugly things, beautifully written

Steel yourself for sixteen stories from the dark side; sinister slivers of broken and bloodied lives which blur genre boundaries to form a distinctly unsettling compendium. Several are bite-size rapid reads, others explore human frailty at greater length. They’re all united by the author’s distinctive voice which is unconventional and often complex. Dino Parenti crafts…

Her Name Is Mercie: grit, bitterness and redemption

Meet Mercie: an ordinary young woman in midtown America. Her existence is ripped apart, collateral damage when her parents are murdered, their home repossessed, and she’s left with nothing. Her bewildered rage soon lands her in the worst kind of trouble, exposed to the harsh realities of serving hard time in the 21st century American…

The Woman In The Woods: a darkening descent

Many readers typically discuss the darker, arcane side of John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series but – as the 16th book brilliantly demonstrates – there’s a solid private detective story at the core of this convoluted story. So while a dark cabal plots the end of everything and the rise of apocalyptic gods, social issues and…

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…