Rapid Reviews of criminal activities

Half a dozen criminal capers to entertain and intrigue: art mystery, serial-killer thriller; political conspiracy; world crime, corporate corruption, gritty Brits and a police procedural… Priceless by Zygmunt Miloszewski An art mystery of type made famous by the Da Vinci Code, this stand-alone globe-trotting romp feels more like Mission Impossible than the author’s series of…

The Stoner Stories: gritty British noir

There’s a new JJ Stoner short story out this week. If you haven’t yet met this complicated contract killer then there’s just time to enjoy the first five quick thrillers in this anthology. Guest reviewer MD Ironz sidesteps any spoilers to describe his first encounter with ‘a man without apparent qualms of conscience’… I have…

No Mercy: four satisfying shorts

This concise compilation of four short stories showcases the talents of British author Wendy Cartmell who has more than a dozen crime-thrillers to her credit. Most of Cartmell’s books feature her military police investigator, Sgt Major Crane, and he takes centre stage in this collection. Crane is a middle aged, experienced army veteran who’s served…

Ordeal: substantial Scandi crime

Both the English title and the suggestion that this book is noir (Nordic or otherwise) are pretty misleading. This is character-driven police procedural set in small-town Norway, along the lines of Wallander or Beck. It places realistic human characters at the core of a criminal investigation; the discovery of a dead body juxtaposed alongside everyday…

Micah Seven Five: traditional Brit

A creditably competent police procedural, this Britcrime investigation brings little new to the party but it racks up all the regular features. These include a dissolute detective inspector, wallowing in a midlife crisis, estranged from his wife and child, bouncing between booze and fags and anti-depressants. Dedicated to the job, he’s propped up by an earnest,…

Frozen Out: a mild winter

This Icelandic police procedural is set prior to the credit crunch, before the dominos started tumbling and an economic house of cards on the fringe of northern Europe collapsed completely. So Frozen Out operates on two separate but interlinked levels. It’s a humdrum local investigation, with a shrewd but going-nowhere rural female police officer dragged…

Second Grave: sassy paranormal investigations

This is the second in the ‘grave’ series, featuring PI and not-so-grim reaper Charley and her sizeable sidekick, Cookie. It’s a far-from-serious, occasionally spicy (but nothing X-rated) gumshoe story with a side dish of supernatural sprinkles. Set in the USA roundabout now, the story revolves around an ongoing plot with Charley’s lifetime protector and would-be…