Pork Pie Hat: a short Samhain story

Frank Westworth tells a suitably sinister Stoner story to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve. As always, JJ Stoner’s unusual adventures as a contract killer contain adult themes and language… The door slipped silently closed behind the last happy customer. She left singing, her departing tune humming on the condensing air, her own take on the last…

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.…

Rapid Reviews: criminal thrills and weird mysteries

This month’s selection of recommended reads includes a couple of slightly supernatural stories, a BritCrime police procedural with an intriguing central character, an atmospheric Alaskan adventure with the Aleut, snappy short stories, soulful investigations – and, as usual, one book which we rather wish we’d not bothered with. We’ll come to that a little later.…

It’s Dark In London: graphic noir

Don’t imagine for a moment that this illustrated anthology of short stories is kid’s stuff, simply because it’s in comic book format. This is a graphic novel; graphic in both style and substance. It’s absolutely 18-rated for adult audiences only; partly because the artwork and language spare absolutely no blushes but also due to the…

Rapid Reviews: the weird and the wonderful

This week’s selection of criminal encounters goes beyond the usual police procedurals to uncover murder in the desert and monsters on the movie lot; eugenics in tomorrow’s world and courtroom dramas from yesteryear, and an assassin who kills for kindness… THE LINCOLN LAWYER by Michael ConnellyIt may be a touch long in the tooth –…

The Conviction: vigilante action

This would make a great movie. In fact, The Conviction strongly reminds me of a sci-fi flick from the late 1990s, Cube, in which a group of strangers navigate their way through a sequence of lethal puzzles trying to discover why they’ve been abducted. The Conviction features a similar theme, with locked rooms containing potentially…

Free ebook: start a killer thriller series

If you’re still shielding or possibly just have some time on your hands, then now might be the perfect moment to begin a new thriller series. Let us introduce you to JJ Stoner, a complicated contract killer, via First Contract which is free until midnight on 17 July 2020. Go grab it now so you…

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap & Leonard lite

This collection compiles five short stories from the formative years of Joe R Lansdale’s unconventional scoundrels, right at the time when they’re forming the solid bond that stands them in good stead in later life. Like several other memorable pairings in crime fiction – Angel and Louis, Spenser and Hawk, Stoner and Stretch – Hap…

Rapid reviews: six of the best

What have you been reading during lockdown? We’ve gone for a classic espionage thriller, a smattering of short sharp stabs, an angry, radical thriller and a masterclass in modern American literature. All of them turned out to be four- or five-star high fliers. Take your pick… SS-GB by Len Deighton This may be in the…