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…

Cold Fear: Lisbeth lite

This is a tricky book to love. On the surface, it has all the elements of a compelling Scandi crime thriller. We’re saturated in an unfamiliar culture, given revealing glimpses of the Greenlandic people and the harsh life they endure. Clinging to existence in small communities which hug the coastline, the Greenlanders apparently thrive in…

Wolves At The Door: it begins where others end

This Scandi detective story can be seen as the companion piece to the earlier Wolves In The Dark, and you should read that episode in the Varg Veum series before starting this one. Otherwise, it’s tricky to pick up the threads of the earlier story – which is convoluted enough – before you become embroiled…

Rapid Reviews: the good, the bad and the brilliant

MMM’s tireless team of criminal masterminds have been sifting the wow! from the wtf? in this month’s selection of international thrillers and gritty BritCrime. Read on for hardboiled Aussie noir, death in Bethlehem and a southern-gothic serial killer story which crosses one too many lines… BAD DEBTS by Peter Temple The first of the Jack…

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…

Criminal Activity: new books and recent releases

Serial killers, cosy crime and Nordic noir: it’s all in our selection of murder and mystery featuring top-flight writers, exciting indie authors and a few new names you should definitely get to know. The action tracks between gritty BritCrime, the Russian mafia, Los Angeles in wartime, a typically English mystery, Weimar Berlin and small-town Sweden.…

Death In Shangri-La: international action

A wayward son, a special agent seeking redemption, the terrorist threat, an arms deal gone wrong – these are the average elements of any old crime-thriller. In ‘Death In Shangri-La’ they’re given energetic impetus against an exquisite international backdrop of exotic locations. Simultaneously, the author incorporates some serious metaphysical heft, introducing themes and personalities from…

Crime Time: recent releases and the best new books

Our regular round-up of intriguing new releases features indie authors and big-name bestsellers. This time we’ve got gritty Britcrime, bittersweet sunshine in Sicily, Sherlock Holmes, hardcore hitmen, exotic action in Kashmir, an historic mystery, political thrillers, medical mayhem, apocalyptic intrigue, searing social commentary, sassy female protagonists – and an American president running amok… The Overnight…

The New Iberia Blues: one last hurrah?

This book has ‘swansong’ stamped all the way through it. The latest in a long line of literary crime novels in the Dave Robicheaux series, The New Iberia Blues reads like the author’s valedictory address. It’s an extended farewell to old Louisiana, as the landmass slowly disintegrates into the ocean and the subtle shades of…

Rapid Reviews of criminal activities

Half a dozen criminal capers to entertain and intrigue: art mystery, serial-killer thriller; political conspiracy; world crime, corporate corruption, gritty Brits and a police procedural… Priceless by Zygmunt Miloszewski An art mystery of type made famous by the Da Vinci Code, this stand-alone globe-trotting romp feels more like Mission Impossible than the author’s series of…