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All engrossing, pure escapist, nail-biting anxiety, mind bending terror and psychological twists. We’re not sure why it’s so appealing. Good though, isn’t it! You might also like to browse our Crime and Mystery category.
I have three names: I was born Leigh-Ann. I became Cherrie. When I was a child, they called me Little Bones… My father was Mr Bones – the notorious serial killer of 25 years ago. As a child I witnessed his crimes. Everything is different now. I have a new identity. I’m a mother. I am finally free. Until that podcast. I should never have listened. They’re linking a recent disappearance to the crimes of the past. They know who I am. They’re calling me Little Bones again. They say I’m a villain but I’m not. I’m a victim. You believe me, don’t you?
Fast and furious yet complex and intricate, discover a faceless, handless corpse, and a missing child case in this twisty and fascinating investigation. It’s always good to find a new series isn’t it, but if you weren’t aware, this is actually the 19th Temperance Brennan novel. And yet, and yet… I truly do think you can start here, I was completely comfortable stepping in without the back story, and while you may choose to read it as a standalone, believe me, you will probably want to go and hunt down the first 18 after you’ve finished! Author Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist, the TV series Bones is based on her work and novels. She obviously knows her stuff, and that comes through in spades, this feels like a proper investigation, with all the leg work that involves. Temperance is fabulous, thoughts spill from her, fast, yet to the point. The plot spins from intrigue to conspiracy, it’s oh so smart and I simply revelled in the story. A Conspiracy of Bones whips into thoughts, forthright and sharp, this is an entertaining and rewarding read.
Set in Iceland, this novel introduces a new policing team in a tense and unsettling crime novel. Winner of Iceland’s Blackbird Award and translated by prizewinning Victoria Cribb The Creak on the Stairs marks the beginning of a new series. The prologue provokes a sense of unease, which lies in wait through the rest of the tale. Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir gradually introduces more characters, adding more layers of information and increasing the intrigue. We are allowed to see into the past, childhoods torn apart, still affecting the present. The policing team are an interesting bunch, with their outside lives altering their investigating ability. The setting in Iceland is fascinating, the descriptions creating a vivid picture of the reality of living in a small town. The Creak on the Stairs is a captivating tale with plenty of tension and a plot to really get your teeth into.
With short fast-moving chapters this is a piercing and riveting political thriller. Sitting within a time period of just over two weeks, former aid worker Ursula finds herself in deep water when she becomes Minister for the Interior in Iceland. Author Lilja Sigurdardottir and translator Quentin Bates team up again after the successful and fiercely intense Reykjavik Noir trilogy which I absolutely adored. The writing here is just as smart and powerful with dirty politics and corruption leading the charge and an otherwordly feel slinking around in the background. A number of characters are introduced, from Ursula who takes a high-profile role in government, to driver and bodyguard Gunnar, and cleaner Stella. A picture slows builds with a teetering edge of tension remaining in place throughout. I hovered on the edge of knowing and understanding, my focus sharp and waiting for what was to come. In summary, Betrayal is an edge-of-your-seat political thriller just brimming over with attitude.
Well! This is an absolute corker of a debut, different and intelligent, it wormed its way into my thoughts and then proceeded to hunt them down. Narrator Jane tells of her friendship with Marnie, and the seven lies that change that friendship forever. This is Jane’s chance to be honest, and if she had told the truth to start with, Marnie’s husband might still be alive. The introduction to each lie hits with hammer hard precision, there are truths waiting ready to trip you up. Elizabeth Kay has the ability to blur lines, and I found myself stopping, questioning, considering my thoughts. She quite simply made me look at things in a different way. I write notes as I read, and these were peppered with ‘Crikey!’, ‘Blimey!’, and an awful lot of exclamation marks! Provocative, thoughtful, and so very clever, Seven Lies deserves to be a huge hit. A debut of the month and a LoveReading Star Book, Seven Lies comes with a tremendous thumbs up from me.
Be prepared for a reading maelstrom to suck you in whole when you open this LoveReading Star Book. Set in 1634 a boat leaves the East Indies with a detective duo on board. Although one is locked up and facing execution, their skills are very much needed when the voyage is beset by a terrible forewarning. Stuart Turton’s debut picked up the Costa First Novel Award Winner for 2018. The Devil and the Dark Water is just as fabulous and will be going straight onto my list of favourite books this year. It is the perfect novel to read as the nights are drawing in, the story built itself into a reality, I was there, bearing witness. Surprises wait in store, strange beings stalk the decks, and several locked room/ship mysteries just beg to be solved. My thoughts were broken open, and exploded one way then the other as I sought answers. All of the characters are fascinating in their own unique way and while I initially thought I was meeting a Holmes and Watson pair, I quickly realised they were very much their own men. The Devil and the Dark Water crosses genres in the most wonderfully entertaining way and sails straight onto my list of Liz Picks of the Month. I’ll be standing and applauding this one!
A full-on “wrecking machine” from the get go, take a deep breath and just fall right on in to this action thriller. Taking place over a week, the Pike Logan series continues with Pike under threat; his team are being targeted and he will do anything to protect them. This is my first foray with The Taskforce and it won’t be my last. Even though I joined an already established series, I felt right at home. If you are also new, let me tell you a little about the author Brad Taylor, and you will know all you need to about the tone and authenticity of these novels. He served for more than 21 years in the US Army, retiring as a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel. He has conducted operations all over the world, and his final assignment was as the Assistant Professor of Military Science at The Citadel in Charleston. He holds a Master’s of Science in Defence Analysis with a concentration in Irregular Warfare. If you are looking for a new action series and haven’t yet met The Taskforce, then look no further. In 2011 Brad Taylor published his debut One Rough Man which launched the Pike Logan series and now contains over twenty books and novellas. I was sucker-punched at the outset of this novel and as a newbie may have been racing to catch up, but that only added to the tension. The notes at the end are fascinating reading as the author explains how the novel came into being. Hunter Killer allows you to enter a hidden world of fast moving action from the comfort of your armchair, it’s a whammy of a novel and thoroughly entertaining.
An organisation that doesn’t exist. A spy that can’t be caught. Years ago, a spy was born… 1989: The Cold War will soon be over, but for BOX 88, a top secret spying agency, the espionage game is heating up. Lachlan Kite, recruited from an elite boarding school, is sent to France, tasked with gathering intelligence on an enigmatic Iranian businessman implicated in the Lockerbie bombing. But what Kite uncovers is more terrifying than anyone expected… Now he faces the deadliest decision of his life… 2020: MI5 hear rumours of BOX 88’s existence and go after Kite – but Iranian intelligence have got to him first. Taken captive and brutally tortured, Kite has a choice: reveal the truth about what happened in France thirty years earlier – or watch his family die. In a battle unlike anything he has faced before, Kite must use all his skills to stay alive.
The Ancestor starts off in the middle of the action, I was immediately curious as I was led deeper into the story of Wyatt, his past and how he ended up in the circumstances at the start of the book. As I read I realised that this book has a sci-fi twist that intrigued me further. This book covers two distinct time periods and I like the way that the author uses memory and Wyatt’s diary to flip between the two. There are a lot of twists and turns in the book, and the plot never quite went where I was expecting, leaving me eager to know what was going to happen next. I found I was kept unawares right until the end of the book, which I enjoyed. The Ancestor places a lot of focus on the characters in this book, slowly developing each one while also fleshing out people from the past. It was really easy for me to picture Laner, with it’s small town feel and it’s sometimes flawed occupants. I think that the author subtly builds tension throughout the book to make this a really interesting and unique thriller, while also allowing for details of the gold rush and Alaskan history. I think that this book would appeal to a wide range of readers, both historical fiction and crime/thriller fans alike.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, who would want to read a book about a horrendous disease sweeping through the country? In the light of the mistakes and cover-ups surrounding the Coronavirus, who would want to read a medical conspiracy thriller full of lies and deceptions? I hope that the answer is a lot of people because, otherwise, a lot of people are going to miss out on one of the most exciting and gripping debut novels around...'Poison in the Pills' by August Raine. Jack Bright is a researcher for pharmaceutical company Rathbury-Holmes in Manchester, working on finding a cure for the disease affecting a large proportion of the population and commonly referred to as 'The Itch'. Some early research seems to establish a link between the disease and a street drug, known as 'Dose', so the cure hangs on producing something that will purge the system of sufferers of all traces of that drug. Jack has serious doubts about the efficacy of this type of cure but is ignored by the powers that be in his company. The final clinical trial of the cure goes disastrously wrong and seven people die. Jack, determined to get to the truth, starts poking about at work and is in his boss's office late at night when a bomb goes off. He is suspended from his job then framed as a drug dealer. Can things get any worse? Oh yes. Will Jack get to the bottom of what's really going on and who's behind it? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out. This story raises many questions about what means it's acceptable to use to uncover the truth and whose interests the pharmaceutical industry are serving best. A very thought-provoking and unpredictable read and, I hope, not the last featuring Jack Bright. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
When a volunteer doctor stumbles across inconsistencies in HIV treatment, his life and those of his friends is put in danger. But will he be able to get to the bottom of what’s happening? Pharmacrime is a tense medical thriller that follows the story of Lenny as he discovers that the efficacy of HIV treatment is dependent on where the patients register to receive it. There are some gritty and graphic parts throughout although I was intrigued to find out whether Lenny would be able to stay safe long enough to bring the truth to light. Kenya’s political situation becomes more unstable, making the investigation in to the drugs more fraught. I liked the little pill images at the start of each chapter and the book flowed well and was easy to read. I found that the characters were well developed and all had their own distinct voices and motives. Although a few of the more graphic scenes made me wince, I think that they added to tense atmosphere. Pharmacrime comes to a dramatic conclusion that almost left me cheering out loud. This is a gritty book dealing with a worrying scenario: what would happen if the lifesaving drugs you were receiving were fake? An interesting read that I would recommend.
A classically fabulous action-packed story from a master storyteller. When a teenager goes missing a famous criminal attorney and a former solider and security expert find themselves involved in the hunt to find her. This is a standalone novel (or fingers crossed could even be the start to a new series), though you may note it does contain a character from elsewhere. I adore Harlan Coben’s novels, you can throw yourself in and allow the world he creates to consume you. Here a seemingly simple premise spins into one heck of a mind-twisting knock-out selection of sub plots. The storyline builds, opening up pathways you had no idea were in front of you. There are a range of interesting characters on offer, from the wonderful Hester Crimstein (yes she’s back and I seriously want her in my life) to the straightforward yet enigmatic Wilde. Even with all the characters and multiple threads, I can hand on heart say that I didn’t lose my way, or wonder who was who. I just sat and soaked up the atmosphere and believed in the story. The Boy in the Woods is pure entertainment.
'He's gone...' When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it's not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days. Rebus fears the worst - and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect. He wasn't the best father - the job always came first - but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective? As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast - and a small town with big secrets - he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn't want to find...
London is angry, divided and obsessed with foreigners. A dead Asian and some racist graffiti in Chinatown might trigger the race war that the white supremacists of the Make England Great Again movement have been hoping for. They just need a tipping point. And he arrives in the shape of Detective Inspector Stanley Low. He's brilliant. He's bipolar. He hates everyone almost as much as he hates himself. Singapore doesn't want him and he doesn't want to be in London for a criminology lecture. There are too many bad memories, like Detective Sergeant Ramila Mistry, who asks for Low's help. The dead Asian was Singaporean. Against everyone's better judgement, Low is plunged into a polarised city, where xenophobia and intolerance feed screaming echo chambers. His desperate race to find a far-right serial killer will lead him to charismatic Neo-Nazi leaders, incendiary radio hosts and Metropolitan Police officers who don't appreciate the foreigner's interference. No one wants him there, but too many victims with Asian faces keep him there. He craves vengeance, particularly when the murderer makes it personal and promises to kill the only woman that Low ever loved. The Chinese detective is the wrong face in the wrong place. But he's the right copper for the job. London is about to meet the bloody foreigner who won't walk away.
Everything she touches breaks . . . Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong. So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands. But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees that he is hiding secrets of his own. But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easy they can be to break . . . A dark, contemporary psychological thriller with a modern Gothic twist from an award-winning and critically acclaimed writer who has been compared to Ruth Rendell, P. D. James and Val McDermid. Rebecca meets The Handmaid’s Tale in Sarah Hilary’s standalone breakout novel.
THE STUNNING FINAL INSTALMENT OF THE MILLION-COPY BESTSELLING DARK ICELAND SERIES When the body of a nineteen-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjoerdur, Police Inspector Ari Thor battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer ... The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjoerdur, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes. Ari Thor Arason is now a police inspector, but he's separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air. Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes 'She was murdered' again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death... As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjoerdur, Ari Thor must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth ... one that will leave no one unscathed. Chilling, claustrophobic and disturbing, Winterkill marks the startling conclusion to the million-copy bestselling Dark Iceland series and cements Ragnar Jonasson as one of the most exciting authors in crime fiction.
A seriously chilling, mind-burrowing read from a German author whose books have been translated into more than 24 languages. Emma reports being raped, she believes the offender was ‘the barber’ who killed his other victims, however she can’t convince the police or her husband. Sebastian Fitzek sent my emotions into overdrive in the prologue which was set 28 years previously, and they continued to race right through to the end. Hats off to translator Jamie Bulloch who ensured a seamless translation, the sense of place was strong, but I didn’t feel like an uneducated visitor in Berlin. Short, fierce chapters hit and ramped up the tension and certain thoughts were encouraged to conspire against me. The plot jerked at my scrutiny as it moved between now and three weeks earlier, with various characters being introduced and adding to the fabulous complexity of who, what, when, where, why, how! You may be successful in working it out, but will the journey be the one you were expecting? The Package is an intense psychological thriller full of plot-twisty action.
Provocative and unsettling this crime novel focuses on the predatory and merciless side of life. Private investigator Varg Veum reunites with former classmates at a funeral but a murder throws rekindled friendships up in the air. Fallen Angels forms part of the gripping and gritty Varg Veum series, the first of which was published in 1977. Gunnar Staalesen has since been published in 26 countries, and a statue of his protagonist Varg even sits in the centre of Bergen! This particular novel was first published in Norway in 1989 and is set in the 80’s, if you’ve already read his translated novels be aware that you are taking a step back in time. Taking place before other translated books in this series, it encourages an understanding of what makes Varg the man he is. There are parts which make for uncomfortable reading and I cringed as the seedier aspects of society were described. The painstaking aspects of investigations are clearly felt. Gunnar Staalesen and translator Don Bartlett, excel in creating deliberately jarring sections, which sent a chilling shiver coursing through me. Fallen Angles is a book that is meant to make you feel perturbed, it is also an entirely fascinating read.
There is a decidedly unique and expressive tone to this beautifully written crime novel. Set on the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, The Coral Bride is the sequel to fabulous We Were the Salt of the Sea and forms part of the Detective Morales Series. What at first is treated as a missing person enquiry turns bleakly sinister after an abandoned lobster trawler is found adrift. A chilling first chapter set my thoughts whirling and it took me a little while to settle. I most definitely felt as though I was in a different country, sometimes almost, another world entirely. Roxanne Bouchard conveys the mystical loneliness of the ocean with the charm of the small coastal towns, and it blends into a mysterious, perfumed and heady tale. She and translator David Warriner have created the silences, trips, and hesitations that appear in real conversations. These are words that sank into my thoughts and as I read, I felt as though I was caught up the depths of the tale. Snippets of viewpoints from others slip-slapped into my awareness, while occasional moments of smirky lightness added texture. This is an author to remember and a truly worthwhile series that I can recommend introducing yourself to. The Coral Bride transports you to an ocean community, sets thoughts adrift, and creates exquisite tension. A wonderful read, and so it slips straight into my monthly Liz Picks.
A suspense-filled, compulsively readable, energy-rush of a ride, and a book that I read in one sitting. Events take a decidedly dark turn when Kate Marshall is asked to investigate a death, and she and research assistant Tristan end up in a race to save the intended victim of a killer. This is the second in the Kate Marshall novels and if you are already a signed up fan, then Shadow Sands continues the series in wonderfully dramatic style. I do actually feel as though you could read this as a standalone novel (always the sign of a good writer), but to fully enjoy the storyline I recommend that you begin with the stonkingly good Nine Elms. Set two years after the last book, Robert Bryndza invites us further into the lives of Kate and Tristan and sets up one heck of a scary scenario, along with multiple suspects. He excels in creating a biting tension, and I found myself in that exquisite position of wanting to race ahead yet savour the story. Penetrating and chilling, Shadow Sands is thoroughly recommended if you like to be kept right on the very edge of your seat.
A thrilling, riveting, and whip-smart novel that feels as though you are being served a slice of Cold War military history. When a CIA asset in East Germany is compromised, a team of unconventional warfare specialists are charged with extracting him. This is the first in the Snake Eater Chronicles by James Stejskal who spent 35 years in the US Army Special Forces and CIA. He is now an author (previously writing non-fiction), military historian, and conflict archaeologist. These stories are based in reality using his real-world experience and the author himself calls it “faction”. This is an absolutely fascinating read, all the cogs within the CIA and Special Forces machine spin into action. The Cold War history of Berlin, different characters, methods and processes are included and explained without upsetting the flow of what is a gripping story. I didn’t question, I quite simply read and believed. A Question of Time is a fabulous start to a series that promises to deliver in spades and it comes with a whopping thumbs up from me.
A stimulating and interesting read awaits in this thriller with a spiritual theme. Pastor David Hidalgo helps his neighbours after their sons go missing and it appears as though they’re planning a terror act in Spain. This is the fourth novel in the David Hildago series, though I feel you could easily read it as a standalone. I am not in the slightest bit religious and you don’t have to be in order to enjoy this novel. Les Cowan has taken on a topical and what could be controversial subject. I admit that before I started to read, I wondered if I would be in for a challenging read and how the Christian and Muslim theme would be explored. The further I read, the more I settled in, and feel that the author both encourages tolerance and is balanced in his writing, while also delivering a race-against-time thriller. Blood Brothers is a thought-provoking read highlighting consideration, kindness, and love.
Christmas is coming, but crime never stops for the Women's Murder Club. Sergeant Lindsay Boxer is looking forward to spending time with her family over the holidays. But when she receives a tip-off that the biggest heist ever to hit San Francisco is being planned for Christmas Day, everything changes. The architect of the ambitious attack unleashes chaos across the city, laying traps and false alarms to distract Lindsay and the SFPD from his ultimate goal. As time runs out, will Lindsay be able to save the people of San Francisco from a Christmas they'd never forget?
The past haunts the present and future in this dramatic, compelling and memorable crime novel. It’s the early 1990’s in South Brooklyn and a number of characters, from crooked cops to heartbroken widows, stand staring into the valley between life and death. The prologue focuses on three men, within a few words I knew them, their structure and substance. Each chapter highlights a different character, with individual stories spiralling together, the twists and turns a consequence of actions taken. This is a ballsy read, a dark path to take, and yet there is a purity to the writing. The lightest of touches direct moments that slide together in an inevitable collision course. I love the way William Boyle writes, and can also highly recommend another of his novels, Gravesend. He has the wonderful ability to allow you to see people from the inside out, their essence paints a vivid image even in the darkest of moments. There are times when it feels as though you are watching a film, descriptions build the most comprehensive of pictures. City of Margins is a first-rate read and a LoveReading Star Book, highly recommended.
A well-crafted and dramatic murder mystery set in Scotland and South Carolina. Bestselling novelist Julianna has to be reminded when she wakes every morning that her husband was murdered, even as her memories fade she is desperate to find out what happened to him. As the story began Deb Richardson-Moore cleverly placed me in Julianna’s thoughts and I felt her confusion as she realises that she has lost chunks of her memory. I negotiated my way through the story as the characters increased and plot expanded. The author is skilled at building a picture of family and small town life, and this tale is as much about the relationships between parents and children as it is a mystery. I can also recommend the Deb Richardson-Moore’s Branigan Powers Mystery Series (which begins with The Cantaloupe Thief), particularly if you like the idea of strolling across to the USA, sipping iced tea, celebrating the 4th of July, and attempting to solve a murder of course. Murder, Forgotten with its sneaky twists and turns is more than capable of delivering a surprise or two which most definitely ensures a captivating read.
Picture it. You’re going on holiday. The bags are packed and the family is ready, you’re at the gate, the plane is boarding, you’ve decided to start your brand new, especially purchased thriller right away. Suddenly, you’re immersed into the corridors of intrigue, conspiracy, murder, espionage and you don’t know who to trust. The plane has left without you. So has the family. You haven’t even noticed. At least you have a good book … and the whole house to yourself for a week!
This section is crammed with dangerously compelling adventures that will have your nails bitten and nervous system tested to the full. From Dan Brown, Stieg Larsson and James Patterson to Fred Vargas, Bernard Minier and C.J Sansom, there’s enough here to keep you ‘head-down and out-of-it’ for years. There’s certainly time to read one more before the family gets back from Torremolinos … and that’s where we come in!