Northtown Eclipse: hardboiled and harrowing

Original and inventive, Northtown Eclipse takes the typical crime cliché of a seedy private eye and subverts the standard hardboiled detective story into something significantly more substantial. Author Robb White twists the tropes of the genre to tell a much more meaningful story, one which explores the human condition at its most personal – a…

The Mind’s Eye: a great start but slow progress

Van Veeteren is among the most famous of Swedish fictional detectives, but this was my first written encounter with the character. This book started off brilliantly with a mystifying mystery of the locked room tradition: a drowned wife in a locked bathroom, the husband so inebriated he could only remember their wild festivity of the…

Femme Fatale: a rollicking romp

It doesn’t matter if you’ve not read the two earlier encounters with Daniel Beckett, the Soho-based private investigator, raconteur, womaniser, fashionista, badass mofo and international man of mystery – you pretty much get the measure of the man in the opening three chapters of Femme Fatale. He flirts, fights, flirts some more, struts his peacock…

The Man Upstairs: second time around…

We first mentioned Mark L Fowler’s quirky and distinctive homage to the golden age detective almost a year ago, and are delighted to hear that The Man Upstairs is getting greater exposure now to introduce it to a wider audience. Mark has written several standalone novels which explore the darker side of life, as well as…

Vicious Dogs: more bark than bite

In the best tradition of the two-time-loser gumshoe detective, private eye Derek Lasker is one step away from sleeping on the streets. He’s run out of cash. He hasn’t had a client in months. He’s no clue where his next low-fat latte might be coming from and he’s reached a crisis of personal hygiene due…

More Faces: short, sharp stabs

Murderers, thieves, political killers and private investigators – these are the people who populate Simon Maltman’s new collection of 12 short stories. I say ‘new’, but if you’ve read his novel, ‘A Chaser On The Rocks’ then you’ll recognise Billy Chapman, a private investigator who plies his trade in the 1940s while Belfast suffered its…

The Pale Criminal: back to Berlin Noir

Philip Kerr wrote his original Berlin Noir trilogy nearly three decades ago, and it’s been about that long since I last read them. The Pale Criminal is the second in the series and only its brevity suggests that it’s a much older book than the current, long-running series centred around Bernie Gunther. The popularity of…