Rapid Reviews: good, bad, ugly and otherwise

This month’s selection of crime-thrillers reveals two superb offerings from established favourites; two which we rather wish had stayed on the shelf, and an outstanding debut from a talented new author… WELCOME TO COOPER by Tariq AshkananiWhat a gloriously nasty piece of work this is; a twisted tangle of corrupt cops, the mobsters who manipulate…

Lemon: a modern Korean mystery

What an impossible novel to attempt to categorise. Lemon is a literary mystery in every sense; beautifully composed but oddly obscure. In a disorienting story told from three perspectives, we observe the effects of a violent murder on the victim’s family and the two plausible suspects in the years that follow the crime. It’s a…

Bad Apples: Swedish evil

If you think Halloween can be creepy, wait until you see how this small town in the Swedish hinterland celebrates the coming of winter. The roads are closed. A stack of apples are left to rot in the town square, filling the air with a sickly-sweet stench of decay. What follows is a wild night…

The Jealousy Man: a complicated compilation

A collection of short stories and novellas from one of the best Scandi writers around? Count me in. I think I actually drooled at the idea of an anthology of self-contained tales from the dark side by the author who gave us the Harry Hole series and superb standalone novels like the ridiculously brilliant Headhunters.…

Deity: throne of blood?

The ‘six stories’ series is near the top of my must-read list, and the opportunity to read a new one is set aside to be savoured at leisure. Wesolowski has refined his inventive format with each episode, gradually revealing his secrets from six intersecting perspectives. Every single one of these witness statements comes from an…

Butcher Pen Road: running wild in the backwoods

A dead body found in a sleepy creek in rural Oklahoma – at first glance, this is a city-slicker fisherman, sneaking some fly-time out of season, who’s slipped on the rocks. But tribal policeman Bill Maytubby and country deputy Hannah Bond aren’t so easily fooled. The fish in dead man’s keep-net are all wrong for…

The Colours Of Death: EuroCrime with a telepathic twist

The idea of extra-sensory detectives has been successfully explored by several authors – check out Kay Hooper’s SCU series, Spencer Kope’s Special Tracking Unit, or Nik Morton’s psychic spy Tana Standish. The uber-abilities of the investigator are usually employed within a special psy-cop unit, but with The Colours Of Death author Patricia Marques takes a…

Giveaway! Win compelling crime drama NAIL’S CROSSING

Next week sees the publication of the latest Bond and Maytubby investigation, Butcher Pen Road by Kris Lackey. We can’t wait to read the latest addition to this superb series, set in rural Oklahoma, and featuring First Nations investigator Bill Maytubby and county deputy Hannah Bond. But in case you’ve not been introduced to these…

River Sing Out: bleak but beautiful

This bittersweet story of southern noir swims through familiar waters, with obvious echoes of modern classics like Winter’s Bone. In East Texas, a young lad reaches beyond the loveless boundaries of his white-trash background. But his initial exploration of the bigger world beyond the backwoods might turn out to be his last – he risks…