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.
February 2016 Book of the Month. A wonderfully tense and arresting Cold War relationship tale, stuffed full to the brim with suspense. Set in 1960, couple Lily and Simon become caught in an unbelievably powerful web of lies. Normal everyday life intermingles with the hidden, and secrets are set to be exposed as the story slips with subtlety along the edge of an uncertain path. Some of the characters are not necessarily likeable, others are positively loathsome, but they all feel so very real. Helen Dunmore handles the intrigue with a masterly hand, hints and suggestions slither and slide through the story, creating uneasiness and suspicion. It is the small but not insignificant things that really bring this tale to life, the descriptions and the feelings create a vibrant ring of truth. ‘Exposure’ is an evocative, thrilling tale that I recommend setting aside some quality time for, once I started reading, I simply didn't want to stop. ~ Liz Robinson
One of our Books of the Year 2016. The prologue paints a vivid picture of a house fire, of the naked female narrator escaping, of falling over a dead body and just getting out. It is very dramatic. She, Helen, runs, she rents a dilapidated house in Yorkshire, she hides. The nosey villagers contain a recently retired journalist. He becomes intrigues and then obsessed by Helen. He needs to unearth her story. This is strong stuff. A psychological thriller of some note, compulsive, dramatic and hypnotic. Helen was a war photographer and the strength of this tale is in illustrating the damage that such a job can do to the human soul. It is very frightening, very well told. Highly recommended. ~ Sarah Broadhurst February 2016 Book of the Month.
Sarie, a young 19-years old Philadelphia bright college student is busted for possession of illegal pills kept in the jacket of a handsome friend she's in thrall of and forced to become an informer by narcotics cop Wildey. Unwilling to give up the object of her crush, she instead plans to snitch on the drug dealers further up the line and protect her would be paramour. Think Nancy Drew meets Breaking Bad! Both gritty and affectionate, the fast unfolding story soon sees her juggling the dangers of corrupt cops and hardened criminals, as evidenced through the perspective of the young girl's private diaries and a third person narrative that roars down those mean streets in fifth gear thriller mode. An acute sense of place, striking characters and family ties, all said an almost perfect read that will keep your breath on hold and a smile on your face. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
An enthralling murder investigation set in stunning Alpine scenery where the scheming, shrewd, mercenary of a man in command appears to have materialised from the Dark Ages. Don’t be too hasty to make up your mind though, this is a novel that steadily reels you in, the author is quite happy to set you on a crooked path with dead ends and trip hazards along the way. Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone makes you wonder if a particularly devious criminal mind is required in order to catch one, but is there more to him than initially meets the eye? Translated from Italian, its fascinating to see the differences in police procedures, local politics and village life and as you read, you really are transported to another place. This is a fabulously different slice of crime fiction, that just begs to be consumed in one sitting. ~ Liz Robinson
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Although written by an ex-CIA agent with all the right background and knowledge at his fingertips, this sequel to the electric Red Sparrow reads like pure pulp or James Bond on adrenaline, ever courting the bounds of reality in a clever, devious way. The affair between CIA maverick Nate Nash, and trained seductress and now double agent Russian beauty Dominika Egorova continues as they attempt to protect their sources and networks and her own treachery against the ruthless henchmen of the KGB, always barely a step ahead of their cruel adversaries and risking their lives at every turn, even if it means betraying each other. This is a world where love has no place and scruples always have be set aside in the interest of the Great Game of spying. Frantically-paced with chase and action sequences in fifth gear, it’s never less than unputdownable. Some readers might find the recipes at the end of every chapter, as in the initial volume, a pleasant bonus. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Following the death of Duke Cadogan, talented young rider Duncan Claymore inherits his large estate. Duncan is finally riding high. He's put his demons behind him and is well on his way to achieving his dream of becoming Champion Jockey. However, Cadogan's wealth proves to be illusory, with a manor house and grounds mortgaged to the hilt and a list of creditors who include the formidable George Pleasance. And Duncan's rival on the field, Sandy Sanderson, looks set to shatter his ambitions. Events take a dark turn when it appears someone has been sabotaging the horses on Duncan's trainer's yard. Down on his luck, out of favour and broke, Duncan has to try to engineer a return to good fortune, restore his reputation and bring down his father's enemy of old, William Osborne.
Shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016. Another mighty impressive debut by a British author despite its sprawling American background and themes. Baker has the audacity to revisit the web of conspiracies surrounding the JFK assassination and despite the sterling previous contributions to the fictional subject by James Ellroy, Don De Lillo and even Stephen King, comes up trumps. This is noir at its darkest, with a palette of doomed characters, femmes fatales who are deadlier than the male, losers and no winners, sprinkled with unsettling appearances by real-life characters like Howard Hughes, Marilyn Monroe, J. Edgar Hoover and a whole cast list of names dragged into the cesspool of that fatal day in Houston. Add a merciless killer with a conscience, a writer obsessed by the killing but unaware of his true identity and connection to it and a fallen FBI agent now seeking redemption as private eye, and you have a cauldron of intrigue like no other. Considering the subject matter, I was not expecting to even like the book, but was blown away. ~ Maxim Jakubowski Maxim Jakubowski January 2016 Highly Recommended.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. The late (and much missed) Ed McBain is best remembered for his classic 87th Precinct police procedural novels, but this timely reissue by the innovative Hard Case Crime imprint reminds us of his protean talents. Hardboiled at its hardest, this novel was originally published 60 years ago (as 'The Proposition' by Hunt Collins) and follows the corpse-littered travails of a literary agent whose unpopular partner with a surfeit of female lovers has been murdered, with a Hollywood deal worth millions at stake. A trail of femmes fatales and shady individuals of all ilk, fast-paced pulp dialogue, evocative descriptions of places, people and feelings and a gripping first person narrative voice make this a true page turner and a testimony to McBain's storytelling talent as well as an exemplary thriller that hasn't aged one bit. Also features a bonus short story starring private eye Matt Cordell from the also recently resurrected 'The Gutter and the Grave'. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
'This case was different from anything Vera had ever worked before. Two bodies, connected but not lying together. And nothing made her feel as alive as murder.' The Moth Catcher is the seventh book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series - now the major ITV detective drama Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn.
Siglufjordur: an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thor Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him. The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman - shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thor to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all. Dark, chilling and complex, Nightblind is an extraordinary thriller from an undeniable new talent.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A chilling tale of kidnap and implacable revenge, this is a striking debut by a young American lawyer which goes in the absolute opposite direction you thought it would and even qualifies for rightful comparisons with Gone Girl, Girl on the Train and, more unexpectedly, The Silence of the Lambs. When a pregnant 16-years old is brutally kidnapped and forced into a van, the aggressors are soon on the defensive as the victim rapidly turns out to be anything but vulnerable, and surprisingly cold, manipulative, cruel and infinitely talented in the art of strike back. The methodic way by which she plots to save her unborn child and take absolute revenge on her attackers is distinctly scary and even though the reader is rooting for her all along, she is not the sort of heroine you would like to take tea with! Powerful and full of twists all the way to an explosive finale, a gripping read.
Another intriguing and fascinating mystery from the author of ‘The Sea Detective Series’. Oceanographer Cal McGill finds himself in a small Scottish costal town attempting to solve a 26 year old mystery. Violet was abandoned as a baby, the day before her mother walked into the sea and disappeared. This story has a menacing depth to it, it has a more intimate feel than the first in the series, and we get to know more about Cal. Cal is 29 years old, yet it feels as though he has an old soul, I felt his love for the ocean, his kindness, yet he is somehow set apart. Mark Douglas-Home’s writing dances on the darker of life, though whether covering world wide issues, or more family orientated problems, an empathy shines through. ‘The Woman Who Walked Into The Sea’ is a gripping tale, full of family drama, with the twist of a mystery, and an enigmatic investigator, what more you could want! The Sea Detective series:1. The Sea Detective2. The Woman Who Walked into the Sea3. The Malice of Waves
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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