The Ice Maiden: a small-town serial killer

This murder-mystery is all about its setting, the full force of the turning seasons and the stalwart townsfolk of a small community. The plot is driven by a gruesome series of weird killings that mimic historic religious rituals, from the auto da fé to pagan sacrifice, but the winter chill of rural Maine dominates proceedings.…

Best Crime Books 2019

The books we’ve read in the past 12 months have been packed with murder and mayhem, crime and punishment, despair and redemption – the very essence of the human condition, boiled down to brilliant crime-thriller fiction. We read more than 200 mystery and thriller books in 2019, from literary fiction by big-name bestsellers to dazzling…

A Killer’s Mind: less interesting than you might imagine…

Run of the mill FBI / serial killer hunt which lacks originality, style or substance. The murderer was scarcely more interesting than the mismatched investigators – the FBI bloke was so boring he almost faded into the wallpaper while the grumpy female profiler came over as needlessly shrill. Hey, authors, how about some professional professionals…

Rapid reviews: criminal activity

Some thrilling suggestions for your bookshelf: an espionage adventure; top-notch Nordic noir; the introduction of an ice-cold assassion; stalking a serial killer with second sight; a schizophrenic investigator — we’ve been reading all these and more cracking crime fiction this month. Oh, and a Jack Reacher rip-off you might want to steer clear of… RED…

Nocturne For Madness: hardboiled brilliance

In this, the first Thomas Haftmann book, we encounter the controlled madness of two men, one a former cop, the other a misfit and killer of women. Ex-homicide cop Thomas Haftmann is recently divorced and working as a PI. Barely surviving financially, and haunted by his own twin demons of gambling and alcohol, Haftmann gets…

Unknown Male: Japanese secrets

Japanese noir can be an acquired taste. It’s often stranger than the Scandi stuff: written in stylish prose that contrasts shattering acts of violence and fleeting images of bewildering beauty. It can be subtle to the point of obscurity yet explicit to extremes. This is not a genre for those who flinch easily, and unfamiliar…