Red Snow: a complex chiller

Like the very best Nordic noir, Red Snow conveys an eerie sense of place, of the suffocating claustrophobia endured by the inhabitants of a small Swedish town in frozen February. And like the very best crime fiction, the story in Red Snow centres on a remarkable protagonist, a touchstone for her time. Tuva Moodyson is…

Seven Hells: menace, murder and manipulation

The latest novella from Frank Westworth sees his occasional assassin, JJ Stoner, on the periphery of – apparently – an extensive terrorist plot. While British security forces – the good guys in uniform and the deniable assets in black – set up their surveillance, Stoner is drawn into the danger zone by an old adversary…

Blood In The Snow: alpine excellence

Life is tough for readers of high-class international crime fiction. These books aren’t like the typical potboiler thriller. Their authors don’t just churn out a by-the-numbers page-turner every six months. A literary crime novel demands dedication and extensive effort to hone to something close to perfection. And then we English speaking types have to endure…

Down In The Devil Hole: dark and nasty

Sixteen separate stories in this edgy collection drag us off the beaten track and into the nasty reality of poverty-line life in rural Kentucky. A major storm batters the backwoods, providing a menacing backdrop to these interconnected episodes. The storm itself is a pivotal character; a catalyst to unleash a torrent of pent-up fear and…

The Drop: an intriguing interlude

If you’ve read the author’s Slough House / Jackson Lamb series of intellectual espionage adventures then you’ll find yourself on familiar territory with this tightly-plotted short story. It’s set in the same universe, with a couple of overlapping characters from the main spy series – and The Drop shares the same themes of backbiting, in-fighting…

Seven Hells: a new Stoner story

‘The black man stumbled, fell, parts of his head were somehow separated from the rest of him, a curiously unpleasant blend of grey and pink, with darker tones mingling, tangled on the pavement where randomly firing nerves twitched his soul-free body, although not for long…’ Seven Hells by Frank Westworth is out now — and…

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…