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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.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016. Shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016. A young woman relentlessly drives through the darkness of the American roads. Is she fleeing from a misdemeanour? Is she on a mission? Slowly, the pieces of her past come together for the reader to assemble a troubled story where apportioning the blame for some tragic events becomes a most murky business. Allusive, elegant, highly poetic in its evocation of the sounds and spells of night and offering disturbing insights into the confused minds of lost women, this is a striking debut from a young US writer whose reputation has been carved in small literary magazines. The criminal element is muted and the single, unassuming parts knit together to form an unexpected whole and define a character that will stay in your mind for a long time afterwards. Demonstrates crime writing is not always necessarily about bodies and killers and imperfect investigators. ~ Maxim Jakubowski Chair of the Man Booker 2016 judges Amanda Foreman commented: "This is a very exciting year. The range of books is broad and the quality extremely high. Each novel provoked intense discussion and, at times, passionate debate, challenging our expectations of what a novel is and can be. It is a longlist to be relished.” Played out against the snowy landscape of coastal New England, blending true noir and the eerie, unforgettable books of Shirley Jackson and Flannery O'Connor, this mesmeric, terrifying, sublimely funny debut novel enthralls and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.
WATER IS POWER The American Southwest has been decimated by drought, Nevada and Arizona skirmish over dwindling shares of the Colorado River, while California watches. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in Phoenix, Las Vegas water knife Angel Velasquez is sent to investigate. With a wallet full of identities and a tricked-out Tesla, Angel arrows south, hunting for answers that seem to evaporate as the heat index soars and the landscape becomes more and more oppressive. There, Angel encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist who knows far more about Phoenix's water secrets than she admits, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas migrant who dreams of escaping north to those places where water still falls from the sky. As bodies begin to pile up and bullets start flying, the three find themselves pawns in a game far bigger, more corrupt, and dirtier than any of them could have imagined.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. You don't actually have to be from Scandinavia to write a Nordic thriller these days. French author Johana Gustawsson (albeit married to a Swede) with her courageous BLOCK 46 (still not available in English, sadly), Michael Ridpath and Iceland-based Brit Quentin Bates are as capable of evoking the icey wastes of the far north and attendant crimes of a somewhat cold nature. The 5th Officer Gunnhildur Gisladottir mystery sees our doughty female cop juggling with parallel cases when two junior league drug thieves from Reykvavik are snowed in inside a mothballed hotel in the wilderness holding two female hostages, alongside the disappearance of a mother and daughter on a shopping trip and a suspicious house fire. Patiently, she pieces the elements together as a race against time develops. A likeable heroine with just the right touch of fierceness and probity tempered with self-doubt and humanity, in a landscape with no compare make for a thrill a minute.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A massive doorstopper of a thriller at well over 600 pages and a million plus copies bestseller in its native Japan. Beginning with the kidnapping and murder in 1989 of a seven-year old Tokyo schoolgirl which has never been solved and has brought shame on the police department then dealing with the case, the story moves fourteen years later to policeman Mikami who has been moved from CID to a lesser administrative PR position and takes it upon himself to revisit the crime, spurred on by his own sense of failure with his own teenage daughter and slowly begins to assemble the intricate pieces together until a shocking conclusion is reached with a twist you don't see coming. Slow building, meticulous in its insistence on unfolding all the procedural elements of a Japanese crime investigation and its political ramifications, this is a novel that insidiously grows on you until you are fully captive of its narrative flow and can't put it down.
A major bestseller in its native Japan, Higashino's massive novel is a worthy follow up to the translations of the already impressive MALICE and THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X. When a man is found murdered in Osaka in 1973 in an abandoned building, it's just another case for phlegmatic detective Sasagaki. Little does he realise that the case will take over the next twenty years of his life as a complex web of psychological dark undertones bind the victim's son and the fascinating daughter of the main suspect in curious fashion. Epic in tone and execution and with powerful Dostoyevskian obsessive powers at times evocative of James Ellroy's sagas of tainted good and seductive evil set in L.A., this a stark insight into human depths and a stylish tale of morality and failure with a daring lack of resolution. Definitely one for posterity. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
We loved the first in this post WW2 series, Brighton Belle, and the second adventure is even better with a satisfyingly complex plot bubbling over with period detail. Mirabelle and Vesta go up the line to London to solve the case of a missing debutante after a childhood friend of Vesta’s is held by the police. Nostalgic, atmospheric, well written, crime fiction with a fantastic central character - ex Secret Service office girl Mirabelle Bevan. Highly recommended. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'I read the script for London Calling in one sitting at my kitchen table over the course of a single evening. Sara just pulled me into the world of wintry post-war London, seedy jazz clubs and a missing heiress. During editing Sara and I had many conversations about everything from car models and radio shows to rail travel, pies and shoes. No detail is too small for Sara, she really is obsessed with getting things absolutely right for the period of London Calling. As a result her writing evokes the early 1950s impeccably, creating wonderful atmosphere and the perfect background to Mirabelle Bevan, a deeply engaging woman with a past.' ~Alison Rae, Managing Editor, Polygon
Mendelson's debut thriller The First Rule of Survival, shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger, was a robust tale initially set in the turmoil of South Africa's post-Mandela release era, which introduced Colonel Vaughn de Vries, a local cop with old-fashioned, unorthodox methods, still smarting from earlier failures. His tale continues in another strongly atmospheric and unsparing investigation of extremist groups, race and hate crimes and the torrid melting pot of contemporary Cape Town and, later, down South on a trail of dead bodies, which brings de Vries closer to the resolution of a traumatic case 25 years-old which still scars him. The politics past and present of a renascent South Africa form a perfect background for gritty crime and compelling, breathless action, if you don't mind the dust, the dour relentness sun and the heavy cloak of guilt that still shadows this troubled nation. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
A classically arresting mystery, overflowing with good old fashioned pluck, courage and perseverance. The third in the Mirabelle Bevan mysteries, this can also be read as a vintage standalone novel. In a bygone era, Mirabelle and her feisty cohort Vesta often outpace their male companions and are far ahead of their time. This is such an authentic read, Brighton in the early 50’s is as much a character in the book as the investigators themselves. The author acknowledges how frustrating research and inquiries can be with the last piece of the jigsaw often remaining just out of sight. With some formidable detective work as well as some particularly perilous moments, this is a first rate read. ~ Liz Robinson
The ‘Mirabelle Bevan Mystery’ series continues to maintain the same convincing atmosphere and assured quality, yet with each book the author skilfully delivers a refreshingly different read. ‘British Bulldog’ is set in the early 50’s, a year after ‘England Expects’ and the Second World War still holds a formidable grip on Mirabelle’s life. As Mirabelle walks through the streets, you feel as though you are pacing alongside her, the 50’s comes to life and allows you to experience a Brighton, London and Paris from the past. The war years cast a daunting shadow, particularly over the women in this novel, haunting and tormenting thoughts and feelings. The background investigation hooks your interest, and when the action kicks in, it does so with a ferocious intensity. This is wonderful escapism and an extremely readable, intriguing blend of history, action and mystery. ~ Liz Robinson
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE. A charismatic cult leader is dead. One by one his followers are being assassinated. Enter Gallio. Gallio does counter-insurgency. But the theft of a body he's supposed to be guarding ruins his career. Years later, the file is reopened when a second body appears. Gallio is called back by headquarters and ordered to track down everyone involved the first time round. The only problem is they keep dying, in ever more grotesque and violent ways. How can Gallio stay ahead of the game when the game keeps changing?
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A quirky thriller and semi-humorous shaggy dog tale from an author best known for his comic TV scripts, this proves wonderful entertainment. Jacky, a somewhat failure of a person and a pedantic translator, meets a beautiful girl in a bar, but messes things up badly once she comes to his flat. No surprise, then. When he later becomes a suspect in her murder, although no body is actually discovered, he draws a tenuous connection with a mysterious book she owned and some of the more eccentric writers he has interfaced with on in his day job and is launched on a madcap adventure to Paris to both prove his innocence and elucidate the book in an enigmatic language unknown to man, wikth a bow to Jorge Luis Borges, and the woman's notebook of rock and roll clippings (yes, it does make sense eventually!). Add to the crazy mix an old school type publisher, relentless cops on his trail, a strange museum, guns, perilous roof-top escapes and all sorts of mishaps and you have a wild trip, where the jokes linger and hapless narrator is a bewildered figure of fun and fascination.
Rich in intrigue, intensity and atmosphere, Friday on my Mind is classic Nicci French - a dark, gripping and sophisticated masterclass in psychological suspense in which nothing is quite what it seems... Nicci French's sophisticated, compassionate and gripping crime novels stand head and shoulders above the competition. (Sophie Hannah). When a bloated corpse is found floating in the River Thames the police can at least sure that identifying the victim will be straightforward. Around the dead man's wrist is a hospital band. On it are the words Dr F Klein...But psychotherapist Frieda Klein is very much alive. And, after evidence linking her to the murder is discovered, she becomes the prime suspect. Unable to convince the police of her innocence, Frieda is forced to make a bold decision in order to piece together the terrible truth before it's too late either for her or for those she loves. Friday on my Mind is the fifth addictive and intriguing novel in the Frieda Klein series by the bestselling author Nicci French. Praise for Nicci French: French leads the field. (Sunday Express). Brilliantly crafted...masterly control of suspense. (Daily Mirror). Tense, frightening, gripping. (Easy Living). Dark, nerve-tingling and addictive. (Daily Express).
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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