The Crow Girl: Scandi s-l-o-w

A great lumbering beast of a book, this one failed to grab me and – unusually – I bailed out after the first instalment (it’s effectively a trilogy in one publication). I found it long-winded, fragmented and unrewarding, veering between explicitly described violence (which I don’t mind so much if it serves a purpose) and…

Give a killer thriller this Christmas

Is your best friend a bookworm? Is your partner addicted to crime fiction? Does someone in your family adore Nordic noir? If so, here’s the perfect Christmas present: a gripping crime-thriller, signed by the author with a personalised message, gift-wrapped and delivered to the recipient’s door. That’s Christmas sorted – leaves more time for you…

The Stoner Stories: a killer cast of characters

Meet JJ Stoner: musician, motorcyclist… and murderer. For years, Stoner has used sharp blades, blunt instruments and his innate persuasiveness to discreetly resolve tricky situations for the British government. During Stoner’s military days his kills were government-sanctioned. As a mercenary they were privately contracted. Some times, they were entirely off the books… ‘When the fighting…

Dept Q: inside the cold cases

Fans of superior Scandi crime are in for a total treat this week when the new Department Q book by Jussi Adler-Olsen is released. We’ve been lucky enough to read it already – and it is flat-out fabulous. Come back on Friday to find out all about The Scarred Woman. But what if you haven’t…

The Redemption Of Charm: an explosive ending

If this book were a piece of ordinance it would have a carefully calibrated, slow burn fuse snaking around its characters. It would gather pace, lighting the way to its explosive finale. It is brilliantly crafted, full of the sharp dialogue, wit and action that makes the author’s writing so compelling. This, third, Killing Sisters…

The Corruption Of Chastity

To begin at the end: when you approach the final chapters of this intricate, entangled and absorbing philosophical investigation, it’s best to batten down the hatches and settle in for the long haul. You’ll reach a point where JJ Stoner, the semi-retired ex-soldier and almost-ex-assassin (but not quite: killing people is a habit which dies…