One Last Prayer For The Rays: gritty BritCrime

This is no humdrum parochial British police procedural – in fact, with all the pigs, blood, gore, kidnapping and brutality it’s more like Hannibal than Morse. Which of course snagged my attention at the get-go… The gruesome abduction of a loner schoolboy is just the start of a deftly executed campaign of revenge against an…

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…

Rapid Reviews: six slices of murder and mystery

Hardboiled Brit crime, an American classic, a medical thriller, a swift slice of satisfying savagery, an old-fashioned private-eye investigation and an FBI serial killer profiler – settle down for this month’s selection of half a dozen different approaches to the crime-thriller genre… THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy Yes, this is the famous post-apocalyptic Great American…

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…