Motive X: a mid-season Scandi thriller

Motive X is most definitely a story which starts in the middle. Amid the multiple plotlines there lurks a self-contained mystery of grisly killings, but that plot is almost overwhelmed by the series’ ongoing themes: the catastrophic domestic situation of police detective Fabian Risk and his dysfunctional family; the catastrophic personal life of his boss…

Eighteen Below: a twist at every turn

Although it’s set in Sweden, this ripping thriller has more in common with mainstream American crime-fiction than the typical thoughtful, slow-burn Scandi crime. It’s all about the action and less about atmosphere – a fast-paced ensemble investigation, not a moody, windswept sonnet to the isolated solitude of the Nordic spirit. It’s certainly a lot more…

A Book Of Bones: 21st century gothic

This gargantuan beast of a book concludes a story arc which began some six volumes ago in The Wolf In Winter. Far from being bare bones, A Book Of Bones is an extended, immersive and intense reading experience which delightfully disrupts commercial publishing conventions. For one thing, this is a 700 page epic – a…

Lucifer Falls: a killer concept (but not much more)

This book had me at the title. Lucifer Falls. The suggestion of a biblical / supernatural scenario lured me to the line. Then the blurb set the hook: a serial killer in London, twisting Catholicism to his own psychopathy, making grisly martyrs from genuinely good people. Sign me up! And Lucifer Falls delivers all that…

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…