The SCU series: psycops and serial killers

This long-running series of paranormal thrillers makes a great change of pace from my usual selection of bitter-bleak mysteries, gruelling spook stories and grimly hardboiled noir. The Special Crimes Unit of the FBI investigates weird things – sudden outbreaks of bad stuff far beyond the spree or stalking activities of a ‘normal’ serial killer. Each…

Rapid Reviews: crime and punishment

If you’re seeking mystery and thrills then we’ve got a cracking selection of killer crime fiction for you. British detectives, fatal females; private eyes and serial killers; psychological page-turners and a spooky crime unit, from indie authors and bestselling big names. Here are the recent reads that we loved (and one we didn’t!) ALTERED LIFE…

The Possession: supernatural stirrings

This is a 21st century ghost story, speculative fiction which muddies the waters in the semi-permeable membrane between worlds. Author Michael Rutger cleverly blends the deliciously creepy aspects of a golden-era gothic ghost story with the hard-nosed realities of modern lives lived online, the quiet personal tragedies of broken families, and the delicate balancing act…

Outsourced: action-packed and unpredictable

A genre-blending, boundary-bending combination of high concept science, mythic mystery and high-tech thriller, Outsourced explores the practical possibilities of quantum entanglement when applied to the cold-blooded actions of a contract killer. It starts with a splendid scenario – the authorities know that the hitman standing trial has committed hundreds of murders, but he’s totally Teflon.…

Three Bullets: dead shot

Kennedy. JFK. The words inevitably scream out ‘assassination’ — then ‘controversy’, ‘conspiracy’. There can be nothing new to say on the subject, surely? RJ Ellory has a lot that’s new to say, and he says it with magnificent effectiveness in Three Bullets. You’ve read the blurb (it’s below, in case you missed it), so I’ll…

Whispers Of The Dead: ESP in the FBI

There’s a serial killer at work, whose weird signature involves severed feet, delivered in iceboxes to defence lawyers. It’s a job for one of the FBI’s special units – a very special unit, one which comes with an extra-sensory twist. Steps, the lead character, is a tracker. But he doesn’t use forensics or personality profiling…

The Woman In The Woods: a darkening descent

Many readers typically discuss the darker, arcane side of John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series but – as the 16th book brilliantly demonstrates – there’s a solid private detective story at the core of this convoluted story. So while a dark cabal plots the end of everything and the rise of apocalyptic gods, social issues and…