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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.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Best known for his New York detective Frank Janek series, Bayer is a writer's writer whose books have always shown an uncomfortable edge that has prevented him from attaining the fame he deserves. He has also written a couple of strange thrillers as David Hunt about a semi-blind photographer which accentuated his ease with awkward and disturbing themes and characters. His first novel in ages actually feels more like a David Hunt book as we follow, entranced, the parallel stories of a famous photograph showing the philosopher Nietzsche and muse Lou-Andreas Salome becomes a crux for the contemporary tale involving the murder of a West Coast BDSM domina and the involvement of a female performance artist who has inherited over the dead woman's apartment and some of her bizarre paraphernalia. Always on the edge, uncomfortable and never less than a seat of the pants read, this is modern art noir at its best.
Maxim Jakubowski's September 2015 Book of the Month. A gleeful exercise in over the top noir from one of the field's foremost award-winning authors and creator of, amongst others, classic characters like Matt Scudder and burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr, this no-holds-barred tale of seduction, treachery, sex and violence, is a homage to the femme fatale-drenched sultry novels of James M. Cain and other masters of the pulp years. Aggressively politically incorrect but seriously addictive, it unfolds the tale of Doak Miller, a retired NYPD cop, now ensconced in Florida as a sometimes private investigator. Asked to entrap a wealthy local beauty who wishes to dispose of her inconvenient husband, he quickly switches camps after being captivated by her blue eyes and significant curves and they become lovers, a fiendish plan being set in motion to dispose of the husband and get away with it. Torrid encounters, treachery, twists piled upon each other and a particularly cynical view of the world and its denizens make this a guilty pleasure if you leave any moral judgment at home. Sin and crime have never been so attractive. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Prolific Scottish writer Black has made a strong impact with his gritty Gus Dury series but his second novel featuring Ayr cop DI Bob Valentine proves his versatility in all matters noir following the introduction of the mentally fragile character in ARTEFACTS OF THE DEAD last year in which Valentine narrowly escaped death. Now back on duty, he is called to investigate a horrific murder of a woman found on a kitchen table and the disappearance of her partner and daughter. Valentine delves nervously into the family's past because of its similarities to his own life and has to negotiate the narrow path between sanity and madness as secrets from the past rise to the surface and the bodies multiply. An unrelenting and disturbing slice of realistic crime fiction that unfolds with solemn inevitability and a character to embrace. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Maxim Jakubowski's October 2015 Book of the Month. DCI Jane Tennison is of course endurably associated with Helen Mirren who embodied the tough as nails and endearing character in the successful TV series. La Plante's talent in showing a brand new side to her in this prequel about her early life and halting professional police debut is in making us look at the character anew. Despite, or maybe because of her prolific screen and book CV, I've always found La Plante to be unfairly underrated and have long been a fan of her no nonsense plots and powerful female characters, in particular the splendid Lorraine Page COLD BLOOD series. Here, we get an insight into Tennison's first steps in policing, straight out of Hendon Police College and placed on probationary exercise in Hackney at 22 years old, in the teeming criminal streets of the immediate post-Krays East End. Still naive but determined to prove herself, she is drawn into her first murder investigation of a badly beaten up young girl. The obstacles, both human and professional, are a challenge to her grit and the perfectly engineered storyline sows the seeds of the older, tougher, more bitter Tennison that we know is to come. Both a fascinating retro exercise and a tightly wound, gripping read in its own right. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
A riveting novel about the aftermath of a brutal murder of three teenage girls, written in incantatory prose 'that's as fine as any being written by an American author today' (Ben Fountain) One late autumn evening in a Texas town, two strangers walk into an ice cream shop shortly before closing time. They bind up the three teenage girls who are working the counter, set fire to the shop, and disappear. 'See How Small' tells the stories of the survivors - family, witnesses, and suspects - who must endure in the wake of atrocity. Justice remains elusive in their world, human connection tenuous. Hovering above the aftermath of their deaths are the three girls. They watch over the town and make occasional visitations, trying to connect with and prod to life those they left behind. See how small a thing it is that keeps us apart, they say. A master of compression and lyrical precision, Scott Blackwood has surpassed himself with this haunting, beautiful, and enormously powerful new novel.
Matthew Shardlake is back in Lamentation, from the number one bestselling author C. J. Sansom. Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councillors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government of Henry's successor, eight-year-old Prince Edward. As heretics are hunted across London, and the radical Protestant Anne Askew is burned at the stake, the Catholic party focus their attack on Henry's sixth wife, Matthew Shardlake's old mentor, Queen Catherine Parr. Shardlake, still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen. For Catherine Parr has a secret. She has written a confessional book, Lamentation of a Sinner, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King's attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down. But, although the book was kept secret and hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen's private chamber, it has - inexplicably - vanished. Only one page has been found, clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer. Shardlake's investigations take him on a trail that begins among the backstreet printshops of London but leads him and Jack Barak into the dark and labyrinthine world of the politics of the royal court; a world he had sworn never to enter again. Loyalty to the Queen will drive him into a swirl of intrigue inside Whitehall Palace, where Catholic enemies and Protestant friends can be equally dangerous, and the political opportunists, who will follow the wind wherever it blows, more dangerous than either. The theft of Queen Catherine's book proves to be connected to the terrible death of Anne Askew, while his involvement with the Cotterstoke litigants threatens to bring Shardlake himself to the stake. The previous books in the bestselling Shardlake series are Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign, Revelation and Heartstone.
A galloping good yarn, stuffed full to the brim with double-crossing intrigue, yet intelligently braced against historical fact and figures. The mostly cool, calm and collected spy John Shakespeare is surrounded by a writhing vibrant cast of often unscrupulous or just plain villainous miscreants. The most vivid character of them all is the turbulence that is London in 1586, artfully written so that the reek, the uproar, the menace feels completely authentic. The threads of two investigations weave together, one based on historical fact, the other fictional and characters slip from one story to the next with ease. Clements has developed a wonderfully entertaining series, and ‘Holy Spy’ keeps with tradition as a compelling and immensely satisfying read. ~ Liz Robinson
October 2015 Debut of the Month. This riveting and perturbing thriller thoroughly turns preconceptions and thought process inside out. Lying in hospital with amnesia, Estelle realises that her baby daughter is missing, the circumstances surrounding the case are suspicious, uncertainty and apprehension rule. Estelle tells, or attempts to tell her own story as she sets out to discover the truth. I occasionally found myself teetering on the edge of frustration as I yearned to gallop through the pages to discover the ending, however Alexandra Burt expertly holds the balance of the story line, knowing exactly when to withdraw, when to release information and when to push the intrigue into freefall. Sporadic newspaper cuttings about the case force a step back from the intense intimacy of Estelle’s story, in order to review and consider. ‘Little Girl Gone’ can go one of two ways, yet the author doesn't condemn, doesn't act as judge and jury, instead her writing allows compassion and understanding to accompany the anguish and heartbreak in this sharply poignant and provocative read. ~ Liz Robinson
An entertaining historical mystery supplying oodles of 1920’s fizz and fun, alongside a firm foundation from the suffragette movement and scars of the First World War. It’s the summer of 1920 and as Poppy arrives in London she discovers the enticing world of journalism and a mystery that has been desperately waiting to be solved since 1913. In the historical notes Fiona Veitch Smith reveals that she has played (just a little) with the timeline of the 20’s, however the vivacious story just zips along due to the excitement of the theatre and jazz clubs and menace of a dastardly foe. This is the first in the ‘Poppy Denby Investigates’ series and introduces the fast paced world of journalism with flair, making for an engaging read. ~ Liz Robinson A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher... The Jazz Files is a gloriously fun read – it's fast-paced, clever, and extremely likeable. The first book in The Poppy Denby Investigates series, The Jazz Files introduces a host of brilliantly drawn characters who bring the roaring 20s to life. A book that will embroil you in the lives of the Suffragettes and draw you into an investigation full of intriguing twists and turns! ~ Jess Tinker, Editor, Lion Hudson
Mma Ramotswe, the proprietress of the No 1. Ladies' Detective Agency, is not one to sit about. Her busy life gives her little time for relaxation (apart from the drinking of tea, of course). Nonetheless, she is convinced by co-director Mma Makutsi to take a holiday. But Mma Ramotswe finds it impossible to resist the temptation to follow the cases taken on by Mma Makutsi, and to interfere in them - secretly, she intends ...This leads her to delve into the past of a famous man whose reputation has been called into question, and to join forces with a new assistant detective (and part-time science teacher), Mr. Polopetsi. While 'on holiday' Mma Ramotswe also manages to help a young boy named Samuel in the search for his missing mother; and then of course there is the agency's arch-enemy Violet Sephotho, scheming to set up a rival secretarial college. Lessons must be learned, whether we are willing or not, and in the end Mma Ramotswe finds that a little trust goes a long way, especially when it comes to having confidence in our dearest friends and colleagues.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Carver conceals the identity of gritty crime writer Martyn Waites writing with his wife and their series featuring DI Phil Brennan and his psychologist wife Marina Esposito is a long term favourite, combining dark insights into the ugliness of the criminal world and a measured, realistic approach to interpersonal relationships bearing witness to experience. Following the death of a victim of abuse, Marina now separated from Phil is seconded to the case to quiz the victim's young daughter and is reunited with him when it is discovered this is not a lone murder investigation when a connection is made to other sinister disappearances. Unflinching in its description of some of the horrors of modern life, the novel, like its predecessors, is also a thrilling knuckle-gripping ride that will keep the reader holding his breath all along. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
A tenacious crime thriller with a difference; where the focus is a self contained, single minded and absolutely fanatical DCI who is prepared to ignore or even trample over any police policies and procedures that are in her way. You don’t need to have read the first in the series Time To Die, to enjoy this slice of crime fiction. If you are a comfy armchair detective, you may find yourself settling into a different seat for this read… there is a pivotal moment in this novel, just one word makes all the difference between suspecting and knowing who the killer is long before the investigating team. The author feeds the reader far more information about the killer than Hanlon has at her fingertips and this doesn't detract from observing her as she battles her way (sometimes quite literally) through the investigation. Whether you like or dislike Hanlon isn't important, it’s actually whether you want right to kick and stomp all over wrong. ~ Liz Robinson
Murderous, Mysterious, Machination
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.
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