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Enter the criminal underworld and solve a complex case all from the comfort of your favourite reading nook. Have a look at our Crime/Mystery selection to get your hands on the latest and greatest case and get mystery solving! You might also be interested in our Thriller and Suspense categories.
First published in 1934, THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE caused a scandal with its explosive mix of violence and sex, and immediately became a bestseller. The torrid story of Frank Chambers, the amoral drifter, Cora, the sullen and brooding wife, and Nick Papadakis, the amiable but inconvenient husband, has become a classic of its kind, and established Cain as a major novelist with a spare and vital prose style and a bleak vision of America. THE AUTHOR James M. Cain was born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1892. Having served in the US Army in World War 1, he became a journalist in Baltimore and New York in the 1920s. He later worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Cain died in 1977.
Skeletons that appear old are found in the basement of a pizza parlour in a building that has a history which brings rivals Tempe Brennan and detective Luc Claudel to spar against each other again. This is classic forensic science/detective stuff with Tempe’s love interest, Andrew Ryan, being somewhat evasive too, all adding to a tremendous plot. She is really very good indeed. Comparisons: Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter, Tess Gerritsen.Similar this month: Val McDermid, Hilary Bonner.
Writing as Nicci French, husband and wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French have quickly established themselves as leading lights in the murky waters of psychological crime writing and have now embarked on their first series, featuring psychotherapist Frieda Klein, after a raft of stand alone thrillers. In her 4th outing, Frieda returns to the sleepy coastal town of her youth with its damaging memories to help out a close friend's daughter but it only serves to revive her own past monsters and an agonising case unfolds in which a tide of suffering soon threatens to engulf her. Gritty psychological suspense of the highest order, this is unputdownable stuff to read with the lights very much on. A memorable series.
He is big in the States, endorsed by some of the best of his peers, Tom Clancy and Stephen Coonts amongst them, but his books have only recently arrived over here. Now he has picked up one of the best of our thriller writers to endorse him too, Frederick Forsyth, and if you are a lover of the high tension, fast-paced, clever thrillers then you should â€˜discoverâ€™ him now. To catch up with the American market, four of his earlier novels were published very closely together so youâ€™ve got some great reading ahead of you. They all feature a charismatic, brave but humanly flawed, protagonist, Mark Beamon; youâ€™ll love getting to know him.Comparisons: Lee Child, Harlen Coben, Glen Meade.Similar this month: Gerald Seymour, Graham Hurley.
Val McDermid is the winner of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award 2010, which honours outstanding achievement in the field of crime writing. If you have not read Val McDermid you may have caught the ITV series of The Wire in the Blood, starring Dr Tony Hill. This features him too in another complex, baffling psychological thriller which is far better than the TV. It’s unexpected twists, its growing suspense, its intelligence and dark compulsion can never truly be captured on the small screen. You’ve got to read it.Comparisons: Karin Slaughter, Mo Hayder, Tess Gerritsen.Similar this month: Hilary Bonner, Kathy Reichs.
When she burst upon the publishing scene a few years ago, Dick Francis had just announced his retirement and Pan (who publish both authors) were dubbing Pitman as their new star to satisfy their Dick Francis fans. I totally disagreed with them for, although Jenny Pitman is steeped in the racing world and her books reflect that, she is no thriller writer. There is excitement and pace, there is detail and atmosphere, there are lots of horses and plenty of skulduggery, but they have a female touch, a depth of character and place that is closer to Joanna Trollope than Dick Francis. I think they are great.Comparisons: Susan Lewis, Clare Francis, Jenny Maxwell.Similar this month: Katie Fforde, Jojo Moyes.
If you want something a little bit different, a little bit zany, dark, comic and absurd, then this is for you. At its core is the search for Misha the penguin, sadly abandoned in Death and the Penguin and although completely different, this has a feel of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels about it, only it’s the Russian mafia that our hero must confront. Comparisons: Carl Hiaasen, Charles Higson, Christopher Brookmyre. Similar this month: Gerald Seymour, Joseph Finder.
It is the interweaving circumstances of these clever whodunits that really appeals to me. Add the joy of meeting an old friend, Commissario Brunetti, and you have one of those comfortable books where you know all will be revealed but you try desperately to find the culprit before the protagonist does. I love them, the red herrings, the uncertainty and with these, the wonderful setting of Venice. If you are new to her you’ve got a good 12 in her back catalogue to enjoy. If familiar, then Brunetti is as charming as ever. Comparisons: Michael Dibdin, Magdalen Nabb, Ian Rankin.Similar this month: Graham Hurley, Alexander McCall Smith.
Poignant and chilly story based on the tragic event at Deepcut Army Barracks. Bonner interviewed the victims’ families, adding authenticity to the dramatic events. She also brings back the reporter John Kelly and Detective Karen Meadows of A Moment of Madness and When the Dead Cry Out, to add further tension to the plot. The end result is a very fine, sophisticated novel.Comparisons: Nicci French, Minette Walters, Elizabeth George.Similar this month: Graham Hurley, Val McDermid.
If you are already a fan of Donna Leonâ€™s fictional creation, Commissario Brunetti, then this is definitely one of his best. If however, you are looking for a new crime author then do read Blood from a Stone, which is particularly timely. Two mysterious white men carry out a professional hit on one of the Somali traders who illegally hawk counterfeit luggage in a local square, and for some reason, Brunetti's superiors are remarkably keen that the case be left unsolved. But, Brunetti, has no particular gift for obedience to unreasonable orders and his conscience tells him he must solve the crime. As ever, Leon has her finger on the criminal pulse of life in Venice. Comparisons: Barbara Nadel, Magdalen Nabb
C was for cars which he'd nicked and crashed, R was for robbery, armed and fast, A was for arson, fire and theft, Z was for the cuts his switchblade left, E was for drugs, the Whizz and Horse, which just left murder, the hardest, of course. She was found on the tracks: burned up, tongue cut out, a finger removed. Who was she? 24 hours earlier Shazia Ahmed was leaving Manchester, but a chance meeting and a phone call and she finds herself in the underworld where life is cheap and usually very short. Jamie Farrell already knows this truth: that the drugs and crime will tip over into murder. His father's in Strangeways and he'll be joining him. But he can't give up the deadly game that is The Craze. Dru Round thought his big day had come: no more cheap drag acts and furtive sex in the backs of cars. A new dawn of TV fame beckoned. But he just needed that extra score to make things work for him-Three lives - one crime - the Craze.
Despite threatening to wind-up this Botswana crime series as he develops an equally intriguing Scottish heroine, Isabel Dalhousie, Precious Ramotswe is still his most endearing character and I personally love the African lore and setting that surrounds her and her astute wisdom. This is the sixth in the series and the only one in 2005, but fans rejoice, I understand he has been persuaded to write another for next year. If you don’t know the series, then do start at the beginning with The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, but as each tale is self-contained, you don’t have to. I would recommend him to everyone. He is different, utterly engaging, gentle and life affirming. Comparisons: none, but if you like Agatha Christie, Laurie Lee, Simon Brett.Similar this month: Gervase Phinn, Kate Long.
From the suave to the sleazy, the saint to the sinner; from the sensitive to the sanguine, the sexy to the squalid, we just can’t resist a good sleuth. Here you’ll find immersive crime stories to feed your fascination for conspiracy, your love for psychological sorcery, to make your hairs stand up on the back of your neck, to make your blood run cold and adrenaline fill your nervous system. Whether you’re after a classic like; Poirot (Agatha Christie), Rebus (Rankin) or Morse (Colin Dexter); or a more contemporary crime confrontation from the likes of, Michael Connelly, Gillian Flynn or J.A Lance, there’s something here to float the most demanding of boats. Have a look at our Books of the Month from this and previous months for a head start to a great next read.