The Chestnut Man: The Killing continues…

If a single book sums up the typical Nordic noir serial-killer-thriller then it’s this one. It sticks rigidly to the formula which has made Scandi crime so successful; grisly murders, political intrigue, multiple cliff-hangers, and investigative threads which appear entirely convincing in one chapter, only to be discarded in the next as another red herring…

The Blinds: redemption in the desert

You’re in safe hands with this author – he can definitely drag you on a tense and unpredictable adventure, hanging off the edge of an outlandish concept. As with his earlier book, Shovel Ready, this novel hinges on a nifty notion but here the story feels like it came second to the scenario. The Blinds…

Down In The Devil Hole: dark and nasty

Sixteen separate stories in this edgy collection drag us off the beaten track and into the nasty reality of poverty-line life in rural Kentucky. A major storm batters the backwoods, providing a menacing backdrop to these interconnected episodes. The storm itself is a pivotal character; a catalyst to unleash a torrent of pent-up fear and…

The Drop: an intriguing interlude

If you’ve read the author’s Slough House / Jackson Lamb series of intellectual espionage adventures then you’ll find yourself on familiar territory with this tightly-plotted short story. It’s set in the same universe, with a couple of overlapping characters from the main spy series – and The Drop shares the same themes of backbiting, in-fighting…

Seven Hells: a new Stoner story

‘The black man stumbled, fell, parts of his head were somehow separated from the rest of him, a curiously unpleasant blend of grey and pink, with darker tones mingling, tangled on the pavement where randomly firing nerves twitched his soul-free body, although not for long…’ Seven Hells by Frank Westworth is out now — and…

Blood Sons: a mafia family

Three striking stories intertwine in this American fable of family and fidelity. The author uses a vicious minor mobster in New York to explore the influence of nurture over nature – and it’s a set-up that works surprisingly well. The Family is all about family… isn’t it? That’s just one of the crime-thriller clichés which…

Dark As Angels: romping, stomping near-future noir

This dystopian thriller gets going with a high-tech FUBAR shoot-out that rattles your synapses, and hurtles through the subsequent story with frantic action that barely lets up. Blink not, or you’ll miss something special. Imagine something like Ken MacLeod’s political future-thrillers, mixed with the ultra-tech of Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon universe. In this reality, England…