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.
Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2017. A simply sensational and thrilling debut! Met police detectives William Oliver Layton-Fawkes and Emily Baxter find themselves smack bang in the middle of the hunt for a serial killer. A hammer hard prologue slapped my awareness, and from that moment on, I didn't want to put this book down, even for a single second. Daniel Cole handles the case and the characters with aplomb, this feels different, fresh, exciting. In the midst of the mayhem I found myself snorting with laughter, a moment later I wrinkled my face in horror and disbelief. An overflowing fistful of danger, gripping urgency, and the intricate twisting storyline certainly kept me on my toes. ‘Ragdoll’ is a humdinger of a tale that smashes into your senses, wreaks havoc in your mind, and leaves you wanting more. I really can’t wait to see what Daniel Cole comes up with next! ~ Liz Robinson March 2017 Debut of the Month. A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. There are a lot of serial killer novels out there, for which Hannibal Lecter must take much of the blame, but Daniel Cole's powerful debut deserves a (bloody) place in the sun or, at any rate, in the autopsy lab! A puppet-like body is discovered made up of the dismembered parts of six different victims, hence the 'ragdoll' appellation given to it by the media. Once disgraced Met cop William Fawkes is assigned the case together with his former partner Detective Emily Baxter and they appear powerless when the killer taunts them by announcing the names of his future victims. As Fawkes seeks a form of redemption with the support of his team, the pace of the story accelerates exponentially and will leave you breathless all the way to a most intense finale. Gory and ultra-realistic, dark, populated by flawed characters and just not the villain, this is a splendid addition to the genre and well worth the nail-biting detour if you have a strong constitution! ~ Maxim Jakubowski A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... I have been on the hunt for a gripping police procedural for over a year, a detective to follow in the footsteps of Rebus and Grace. When RAGDOLL landed on my desk I knew this was the one to go for. It has all the hallmarks of a great crime novel (crooked lead, twisty plot, high body count) with the rocket-pace of the best thriller writing. And what made it stand out was the terrific dark humour, the razor sharp interactions between our lead detectives Fawkes and his colleagues. Daniel’s inspiration is Robert Galbraith, and that shows in the writing. This is the next big thing in crime fiction, and I can’t wait for readers to fall head over heels for it like I did. ~ Sam Eades, Editorial Director, Orion Books
‘A Banquet of Consequences’ is a truly enjoyable, wickedly twisty family drama combined with a crime novel. This is the 19th book in the ‘Inspector Lynley series’, and my first outing, oh how I relished getting to grips with the investigation team and suspects. The team of Lynley, Havers and Nkata although important, are not the be all and end all, in fact they almost become the background to this particular story. Elizabeth George sets characters and images in motion, quietly yet vibrantly descriptive in her detailing. The story builds layer upon layer of suspense as the officers attempt to discover the missing pieces of a rather large crime jigsaw. Nothing is as obvious as it first seems, questions appear as new information breaks loose and makes a bid for freedom. So, for the armchair detectives out there, ensure you are sitting comfortably and let your mind examine and ponder the clues, while attempting to solve this intense crime drama. ~ Liz Robinson
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Best known for his grittily realistic South African set cop procedurals, Mike Nicol relaunches himself as an outstanding purveyor of the international thriller field, making an immediate impact in a crowded genre. Vicki Kahn of the State Security Agency is despatched on her first foreign mission with instructions to take down a child trafficker. However, the trail soon becomes deadly in Amsterdam and then Berlin as her target and then her contact are found dead. Meanwhile, her boyfriend PI Fish Pescado is investigating the killing of an African rebel colonel and the two cases perilous links to the powers that be are unveiled and both protagonists become targets themselves. Conspiracies and cover ups, a sympathetic sleuthing duo and dark subterranean rumblings of corruption at the very top make this a quick, involving read and confirm Nicol as a master storyteller. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
This fourth fiercely gripping novel featuring crime reporter Henning Juul sees Henning’s ex-wife Nora (also a journalist) investigating the disappearance of her college friend, Hedda. Following the death of her wealthy father, Hedda announced to her husband that she was heading to an Italian retreat for three weeks. That was over a month ago, and she’s still not home. In fact, she never even went to the retreat, or boarded the plane to Italy.As Nora’s research connects Hedda to an elderly man who was shot dead in his own forest, it also reconnects Nora and Henning as their joint investigation entwines them in a web of increasingly intense discoveries: family secrets, dark days of history, and truths about the tragic death of their son. And, at the same time, someone wants Henning dead. From the gritty tension of the plot, to its underpinning emotional depths, this is a powerfully compulsive page-turner. ~ Joanne Owen A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'I had been a fan of Thomas Enger’s Henning Juul series for many years, and when his agent mentioned that he had parted company with his English publisher, I made a two-book offer on the spot and insisted that she ring him from the Frankfurt Book Fair to get an instant response. Within three minutes, we had a deal, and I am truly honoured to be published Cursed and (next year) Killed. It was almost painful waiting for brilliant translator Kari Dickson to deliver the manuscript, which I read in one breathless sitting. Thomas is not only one of the best crime writers in the world (his books have been published in 24 countries), but one of the best writers I have ever come across. Cursed is Nordic Noir at its very finest, with a gripping, taut storyline, some unforgettable characters, and a plot that continually throws up twists and teasing clues, before the final stunning final reviews turns everything on its head again. Perhaps more importantly, this is a moving, emotive book – a father’s quest to find out who started the fire that killed his young son – and the characterisation is simply sublime. Every book in this series stands alone, but I can guarantee that once you’ve had a taste of Henning Juul, you are unlikely to stop here.' ~ Karen Sullivan, Orenda Books Click here to read a Q&A with Thomas Enger.
Longlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2017. Serial killer novels come and go, mostly exploitative as well as repetitive, but this American debut rings the differences with a vengeance, with a strong, visceral impact and a handful of finely-etched leading characters who will stay in your mind for a long time. Seven years ago, 33 bodies were dug up from the basement of a house, marking the relative triumph of the two detectives aggressively on the case and the ambitious female reporter who shadowed them and didn't hesitate to use her charms to get the necessary information. A local businessman was sentenced, but was his wife in the know? Now, a new series of murders point to an eerie link to the murders and the protagonists whose lives never quite recovered from the case, are plunged into the darkness again, with different consequences. Atmospheric, gripping and ever surprising in the way the story is narrated without being over literary, this is first class storytelling with a marked talent for delving deep into the psyches of its damaged protagonists. I never saw the ending coming! ~ Maxim Jakubowski Maxim Jakubowski April 2017 Highly Recommended.
In a Nutshell: Trans-European espionage thriller | Cinematic page-turner following a teenager’s ruthlessly fearless journey into a criminal underworld to find her diplomat dad. Seventeen-year-old Gwendolyn Bloom has spent much of her life on the move due to her dad’s job as a US diplomat. They now live in New York, where she’s an outcast at the elite school paid for by his employers. But it turns out that the constant moving and snobby school are the lesser evils of her dad’s career. When he vanishes, and it emerges that he’s actually a CIA agent and suspected of working for “another side”, Gwendolyn is forced to search for him herself. Having assumed a new identity, the path of Gwendolyn’s high-stakes quest leads her to the dirty edges of Paris, Berlin, and Prague, where she infiltrates the brutal underworld of “the biggest crime family in Mitteleuropa”. This is an edgy, twisty, plot-driven thriller with an open-ended conclusion that will leave fans desperate to discover what Gwendolyn does next: she’s already shown that she’s prepared do what it takes - to do anything - to find her father, even if it means committing a few crimes of her own… ~ Joanne Owen
An old-fashioned and high concept novel, the first in a new series, this is destined for the bestseller lists and the screen in sheer overdrive. Like a throwback to 1950s atomic menace horror movies, this is both lurid and captivating as Boone unleashes a plague of man-eating spiders on the world. Reminiscent of Michael Crichton at his best, particularly Jurassic Park, albeit with a different abominable menace, this is a wild ride with thrills and menace oozing between the lines and a globe-spanning plot with a gallery of characters both personal and political madly attempting to stem the death march of the invincible insects. Not one for arachnophobes, but will do for spiders what the aforementioned Crichton blockbuster did for dinosaurs. Either you'll want to rush out and buy it, or you'll deliberately avoid it like the plague, depending on how you feel about the little creatures in question!
Lansdale's Hap and Leonard are a classic pairing: Hap, an ebullient white trash rebel and former leftie, and Leonard a tough as nails and pugnacious, black and gay Vietnam veteran. I, for one, am very much looking forward to seeing them soon on TV where a series has just been filmed, starring, respectively, James Purefoy and Michael Kenneth Williams ('The Wire'). After a series of picaresque adventures in previous volumes, the pair have now set themselves up as official private eyes only to attract trouble like human magnets when a client blackmails them into investigating her missing granddaughter by threatening to release a film of Leonard beating up a dog abuser. Mishaps continue and mayhem ensues what with stolen cars, hot women and prostitution rings and, as a free extra, rather ugly skinheads. Texas hillbilly noir tuned up to the max, frenetic action, sharp and rude dialogue. A guilty pleasure. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
With insolvency and academic failure looming, a new broom has arrived at the venerable school, bringing Powerpoint, sharp suits and even sixth form girls to the dusty corridors. But while Straitley does his sardonic best to resist this march to the future, a shadow from his past is stirring. A boy who even twenty years on haunts his teacher's dreams. A boy capable of bad things.
Karin Muller is a first lieutenant with the state police. The first woman to have achieved such an elevated position. She starred in David Young’s first novel, Stasi Child. Stasi is the East German secret police, the Ministry of State Security, a body who would have preferred to deal with the disappearance of twin babies in Halle-Neustadt in 1975 themselves but have Karin and her two deputies foisted upon them. There is both chauvinist and natural professional resentment. We have learned a lot about Karin in Young’s first book, facts he cleverly weaves in here so you can get a full understanding of her chequered background without having read the first. A lot more personal history develops here too so Young may have a hard time incorporating it all into book three! By then, hopefully, he will be popular enough for fans to read the earlier books. They are straight police procedural stuff with plenty of twists and human drama but what makes these stand out is their place in history. This is a fascinating period and a fascinating place, both beautifully realised. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Herron's Slough House series just keeps on getting better and better, both on the sly humorous front and with the Machiavellian variations it offers on the levels of deception that operate within the British secret service. This is John le Carre territory with added dollops of sheer mischief as well as pathos as familiar, larger than life characters navigate another tortuous case, with the monstrous but endearing boss of the disgraced spy unit Jackson Lamb as ever pulling invisible strings and his ill-assorted team barely keeping their head above the water level. River Cartwright's grandfather who was once one of the stars of the great game is now old and senile and presents a danger to the new powers-that-be, while on the other side of town a terrorist attack on a shopping center triggers a whole series of new threats. Is there a connection between the two events and how will our motley group of losers come out of it all alive? Or will they? Great stuff. More, please! ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... Whoo hoo! The Slough House misfits return, with the fourth of the series, and the horrendously brilliant Jackson Lamb at the warped helm. Former spook David Cartwright may be retired, his grandson and Slough House resident River may be worried about his health, however you wouldn't want to underestimate this old man’s capabilities, oh no… If you've not yet discovered the seriously wicked pen of Mick Herron, do start at the beginning with ‘Slow Horses’, as although this could be read as a standalone, you wont get the best result if you step into the middle of this fabulous series. Mick Herron has created a deviously twisted world, it sticks two fingers up at, well, everyone really, as the team manage to create as many issues as they solve. The intricate layers build slowly in what is actually a fast moving story, so don't get left behind, as you may feel a bit daft when you catch up. There are plenty of smirky laughter blurting moments, as well as wince and whimper inducing ones, along the way. ‘Spook Street’ is a wonderfully crooked, scalding hot, absolute crackerjack of read, and it’s part of a series that just shouldn't be missed. ~ Liz Robinson
A tensely dramatic tale, highlighting secrets, lies, and trust. A year after her husband was murdered in an unprovoked attack, Fran is told her family may actually know something about his death. We are introduced to Fran’s family members in the first chapter, and then the sledgehammer hits, can Fran trust her family? Fran can on occasion cause frustration as she makes a number of ill advised decisions, however this is balanced by her determination and integrity. Sophie McKenzie allows three characters direct access to the page, diverting thoughts and creating additional tension. ‘The Black Sheep’ allows suspicion to rise and fall, as the suspense increases, the ending has some surprises in store, creating a captivating and thrilling tale.
White Knuckle Rides
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!
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A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: