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 twisty thriller set against the windswept shores of Cornwall? It’s a premise that may hint at another writer whose dark tales are synonymous with the county. Yet debut novelist, Jane Jesmond, takes an effective (and bloody) stab at taking readers on a thrill ride amongst these same rocky outposts and smugglers coves. Our protagonist is, however, very different to Daphne du Maurier’s. Jen Shaw, a free climber, is in trouble. She might be out of rehab from her high-octane addiction, but she’s not on terra firma for long. This time, though, it’s a mystery how she finds herself swinging from a lighthouse – and even perhaps, who she really is. Done well, this kind of puzzle-solving story is the holy grail for publishers of commercial fiction, captivating fans of The Girl On The Train or Before I Go To Sleep. And if you loved them, On The Edge will certainly satisfy your crime cravings.
Edward Hyde has a strange gift-or a curse-he keeps secret from all but his physician. He experiences two realities, one real, the other a dreamworld state brought on by a neurological condition. When murders in Victorian Edinburgh echo the ancient Celtic threefold death ritual, Captain Edward Hyde hunts for those responsible. In the process he becomes entangled in a web of Celticist occultism and dark scheming by powerful figures. The answers are there to be found, not just in the real world but in the sinister symbolism of Edward Hyde's otherworld. He must find the killer, or lose his mind. A dark tale. One that inspires Hyde's friend . . . Robert Louis Stevenson.
Taking in the absurdities of life, misfortune and tragedy, Kwon Yeo-sun’s Lemon is an engaging, read-in-one-sitting novella of remarkable intensity. In some regards, it’s a crime novel, but one that turns the genre on its head to create an enigmatic emotional puzzle in which a woman warped by grief engages with the person she believes killed her sister. Back in 2002, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on was murdered in what became called the High School Beauty Murder. There were only ever two suspects, one of whom had an alibi, while no evidence was found to convict the second, so the case was never solved. Seventeen years later, Kim Hae-on’s younger sister, Da-on, remains utterly eaten up by the murder. Her life is on hold, her mind trapped in twisted stasis. Fixated on finding out what happened to her sister, she discovers unexpected truths that strike her to the core. Told from multiple perspectives and times, the story sparks with descriptive perfection, such as this evocation of the victim: “She was very pretty, but not in a typical way. How could I describe it? Her beauty was urgent, precarious, like the piercing wail of a speeding ambulance. I could not look away”. It also swirls with powerful undercurrents of raw emotion - desperation, regret, longing, guilt, the brutal ripples of grief. Presented in all their ludicrous complexities, such raw states are overlaid with the mundanities of everyday life. Though short, this is an intensely gripping and profound reading experience. As Lemon ponders: “Couldn’t each moment we’re living now be the meaning of life?”
NO BODY. NO TRACE. NO CRIME? Niall and Eden Paternoster start their Sunday the same way they always do – with a long drive, a visit to a country house and a quick stop at the local supermarket on the way home. But this Sunday ends differently – because while Niall waits and waits in the car park for Eden to pick up supplies, Eden never returns. She’s not waiting for him at home, and none of their family or friends have heard from her. Gone without a trace, Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder. When DS Roy Grace is called in to investigate, it doesn’t take long to realize that nothing is quite as it seems – and this might be his most mysterious case yet . . . Sunday Times number one bestseller Peter James returns with the latest installment in his award-winning Roy Grace novels – now a major TV series.
An unputdownable story of murder, revenge and betrayal from international number one bestseller Jeffrey Archer. THE CLOCK IS TICKING IN THIS ROLLERCOASTER RIDE OF A THRILLER... In London, the Metropolitan Police set up a new Unsolved Murders Unit - a cold case squad - to catch the criminals nobody else can. In Geneva, millionaire art collector Miles Faulkner - convicted of forgery and theft - was pronounced dead two months ago. So why is his unscrupulous lawyer still representing a dead client? On a luxury liner en route to New York, the battle for power within a wealthy dynasty is about to turn to murder. And at the heart of all three investigations are Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick, rising star of the Met, and ex-undercover operative Ross Hogan, brought in from the cold. But can they catch the killers before it's too late?
STATE OF TERROR follows a novice Secretary of State who has joined the administration of her rival, a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage. A series of terrorist attacks throws the global order into disarray, and the secretary is tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most. This high-stakes thriller of international intrigue features behind-the-scenes global drama informed by details only an insider could know.
Atmospheric, gothic, spine-chilling... The new thriller from C.J Cooke will haunt you long after you turn the last page... It was like something out of a fairytale... The grieving widower. The motherless daughters. A beautiful house in the woods. Deep in a remote Norwegian forest, Lexi has found a new home with architect Tom and his two young daughters. With snow underfoot and the sound of the nearby fjord in her ears, it's as if Lexi has stepped into a fairy tale. But this family has a history - and this place has a past. Something was destroyed to build their beautiful new house. And those ancient, whispering woods have a long memory. Lexi begins to hear things, see things that don't make sense. She used to think this place heavenly, but in the dark, dark woods, a menacing presence lurks. With darkness creeping in from the outside, Lexi knows she needs to protect the children in her care. But protect them from what?
The gripping new thriller from the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller Jeffery Deaver Twist left. Unique Investigator Colter Shaw is searching for the answer to his father's final, posthumous riddle. It will lead him to evidence that will topple the secretive espionage company, BlackBridge. Twist right. He believes BlackBridge to be responsible for his father's murder and brother's disappearance. They can outmanoeuvre anyone, as the long trail of bodies behind them can confirm. But they haven't yet met Colter Shaw. Don't slip up. This time the stakes are huge - the fate of a nation is in Colter's hands. He must find the solution as to why his father died - but to do that he needs to stay alive...
This is the story of a murderer. A stolen child. Revenge. This is the story of Ted, who lives with his daughter Lauren and his cat Olivia in an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street. All these things are true. And yet some of them are lies. You think you know what's inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you've read this story before. In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, something lies buried. But it's not what you think...
This tense and twisty thriller featuring an El Salvadoran filmmaker teems with revenge, mystery and international intrigue. Packed with characterful details of people and places, Peter Harper’s Agenda Indiscriminate is a page-turning thriller that teems with tension as it entertains. The absorbing set-up of a film-maker becoming enmeshed in a world of criminal gangs, governmental schemes and global terror makes for a heady mix that will surely satisfy readers who like their mysteries meaty, and their thrillers to reel with international intrigue. Following the brutal murder of his lover, filmmaker Rafael leaves London for his native El Salvador in a state of turmoil. Having abandoned his script-in-progress, he agrees to help the government liaise with a dangerous gang to try to curtail an epidemic of violence and death. But it’s not long before Rafael decides to get out while he can, so he returns to London to pick up his incendiary script. Cue encounters with a mad gunman and uncontrollable revenge impulses that unfold through suspenseful plotting and perceptive dialogue. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading Ambassador
'A Mistake Incomplete' is Lorenzo Petruzziello's second book and is a noir novel, something I had not come across before. Although not a genre I would necessarily seek out again, of it's type it seems to be a good example, well-written, exciting and suspenseful. The main characters, Stefano and Beatrice, are enigmatic, immoral and deceitful, in fact deeply flawed in all areas of social interaction. The darkness of their minds and their inability to escape the downward spiral caused by the lifestyle and decisions they have fallen into are explored in detail by the author. It is disturbing but by no means devoid of light relief. There is much humour and wonderful descriptions of the Milanese setting, the food and cocktails consumed between killing or avoiding being killed. At the end of the day, I was none the wiser about what was going on or who I should want to come out on top but the author succeeded in his goal of 'making doom fun'!. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
From the International Number 1 Bestselling Author of the DCI Ryan Mysteries. Impostor is the first instalment in Ross' brand new Dr Alex Gregory series, narrated by actor Hugh Dancy. After an elite criminal profiling unit is shut down amid a storm of scandal and mismanagement, only one person emerges unscathed. Forensic psychiatrist Doctor Alexander Gregory has a reputation for being able to step inside the darkest minds to uncover whatever secrets lie hidden there and, soon enough, he finds himself drawn into the murky world of murder investigation. In the beautiful hills of County Mayo, Ireland, a killer is on the loose. Panic has a stranglehold on its rural community and the Garda are running out of time. Gregory has sworn to follow a quiet life but, when the call comes, can he refuse to help their desperate search for justice? Murder and mystery are peppered with dark humour in this fast-paced thriller set amidst the spectacular Irish landscape. LJ Ross is a self-published literary sensation whose books have sold over 4 million copies in paperback, ebook and audio. We are proud to bring her work to libraries for the first time.
It was the house of their dreams. Until the bodies were found . . . BODIES FOUND UNDER PATIO When pregnant Saffron Cutler moves into 9 Skelton Place with boyfriend Tom and sets about renovations, the last thing she expects is builders uncovering a body. Two bodies, in fact. POLICE INVESTIGATE Forensics indicate the bodies have been buried at least thirty years, which leads the police to question the cottage's former owner - Saffy's grandmother, Rose. OWNER QUESTIONED Rose's Alzheimer's means her memory is increasingly confused. She can't help the police - but it is clear she remembers something. A KILLER AT LARGE? As Rose's fragmented memories resurface, and the police dig ever deeper, Saffy fears she and the cottage are being watched . . . What happened thirty years ago? What part did her grandmother play? And is Saffy now in danger? . . .
Dive in and discover 19 winning short stories by some of the greats in the crime writing world. You can sink in and totally immerse yourself in the writing, or pick and choose at your leisure. The Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) was founded in 1953, and they have run their annual awards, The Daggers, since 1956. Take a look at the shortlists of each Dagger and you are set up with a beautifully meaty reading list, the Short Story Dagger is no exception. Maxim Jakubowski, the current chair, has assembled this collection and as he declares in his introduction: “Every story a winner!”. The first, Swiftwing 98 by Peter O’Donnell in 1985 was from a time when the Short Story Dagger had to submitted and include certain ingredients. He had to work in a bottle of champagne, a cryptic message on a micro computer screen, a beautiful blonde Hungarian pianist and Victoria Station, and it is fascinating to see how these feature in the story. Maxim explains that not long after, the rules changed, and the award was given to what was judged to be just the best crime short story of that year. Particular stand outs for me were the amusing intrigue of Herbert in Motion by Ian Rankin, the slicing horror of the Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing by Danuta Reah, and the heartbreak of Martha Grace by Stella Duffy. Chosen as one of my Liz Picks of the Month, Daggers Drawn is a perfect gift for any crime fiction lovers and short story aficionados out there.
A simply glorious reading feast awaits in this crime novel that I'd describe as warm and cosy with a healthy dose of feisty attitude and smirky humour. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron find themselves on the trail of stolen diamonds and before too long, a murderer. I roared my appreciation of the first in this series, the best-selling and LoveReading Star Book The Thursday Murder Club, so I’ll admit to approaching Richard Osman’s second novel with an intriguing mix of excitement and apprehension. I am absolutely thrilled to say that The Man Who Died Twice more than exceeded my expectations. The superb introductory chapters sucked me straight in, and this is one of those books that I wanted to read in one sitting. I cackled and read with glee as I ran to keep up with these four septuagenarions. While I adore all of the main characters, Joyce is a particular favourite, quite possibly because we continue to get an outpouring of her thoughts, I so wish I had this woman in my life! The relationships evolve beautifully, and the humour tickles and flirts as the plot just hums along. The ending is rather wonderful and I predict that Richard Osman’s second novel will be just as big a hit as his first. So, of course The Man Who Died Twice comes with the LoveReading Star Book stamp of approval, and sits as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month, what are you waiting for, go grab yourself a copy!
In the third instalment in the life of Detective William Warwick, following on from Hidden in Plain Sight, international bestseller Jeffrey Archer once again displays his mastery at the art of storytelling. Detective Inspector William Warwick is tasked with a dangerous new line of work, to go undercover and expose corruption at the heart of the Metropolitan Police Force. His team focuses on Detective Sergeant Jerry Summers, a young officer living an extravagant lifestyle. But Summers develops a personal relationship with a WPC on William's team and the investigation hangs in the balance. As his undercover officers draw the threads together, William realizes that the corruption may go far higher than his initial assessment, and that more of his colleagues than he thought possible might be willing to turn a blind eye . . .
When Orenda Books decides to back an author, whether they write in - or are translated into - English, it’s wise to pay attention as they have an uncanny knack for finding and signing up writers of great quality in publishing’s busiest and most competitive genre. Rod Reynolds is no exception. Having gained plaudits aplenty for his excellent Charlie Yates 1940’s noir series; The Dark Inside, Black Night Falling and Cold Desert Sky, Reynolds then diverted to the brutal London-based stand-alone thriller, Blood Red City, and gained a long-listing for the CWA Steel Dagger for his troubles. Pivoting ‘back to black’ with Black Reed Bay, Reynolds introduces us to his newest creation, Detective Casey “Big Case” Wray, through a superbly crafted contemporary who-why-how-dunnit. Set in the fictitious Hampstead County - which bears a striking resemblance to Nassau County N.Y - on Long Island, with windswept Atlantic beaches and the cookie cutter beachfront McMansions of a comfortable community, each scene is imbued with a sense of location so real, you can feel the salt spray and neighbourly judgment sting your skin. On the face of it it’s a standard crime/thriller narrative: something bad happens and the police investigate. For some the female victim trope will rankle, but the story and cast are introduced with such nuance and style and then, credentials established, around the 100 page mark Reynolds moves up through the gears to deliver a beautifully paced, smartly plotted read that really delivers. And Wray? Well she is the real star of the story. Somewhere between Frances McDormand’s “Marge Gunderson” in Fargo and Helen Mirren as “Jane Tennison” in Prime Suspect; too good a human and too big hearted to be hard boiled, but à point cynical and with a great store of whip-crack one-liners. Mark these words, Reynolds is going to good places fast if he can repeat the magic of Black Reed Bay in his next few books. Join in and get reading, it’s going to be quite the journey.
Mma. Ramotswe may have a tiny white van that is kept on the road by her devoted husband, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, and not a tank, but when she parks it on your lawn, you know you’re in trouble. Not that this is a key part of this particular story, but it is a rare act of challenge to an unfortunate character that comes to Mma. Ramotswe’s attention as she ponders on the happiness of men, the lateness of her much loved father and J.L.B Matekoni’s troubling new foray into business development, with a company that echoes his initials. For No 1 fans, everything we love and adore about these stories is included, the value of quiet wisdom in a world of crass celebrity, the importance of good traditional cattle and of course plenty of tea and cake, as befits the reflectively minded and traditionally built. This pearl of story has some grit to it too, touching on issues of slavery, child labour and violent abuse, and is a superb new addition to the series, a beautifully crafted and elegantly told story of much loved characters doing what they have always done; their best in the circumstances and doing it with dignity, tolerance and understanding. Unless we’re talking about Violet Sephotho, of course, the shameless hussy of the tales, who here gets into a spot of bother with chocolate biscuits. McCall Smith is one of our most gifted and indeed prolific writers, as we know, but he is also that rarest of folk, a true storyteller of the first order who can transport us in fiction, time after time, to a land few of us will be fortunate enough to travel to in reality, a place of big skies, warm welcomes, and respect for your fellow humans.
When his son is brutally murdered, gangland boss Zander Finn leaves the Scottish underworld, goes underground and tries to transform his life with a move to London. When he’s pulled back into his old world to fight the Albanian mobsters threatening his family, it’s an action-packed adventure with thrills aplenty and promises that you’ll be on the edge of your seat every step of the way. Meyrick’s inimitable dark humour threads throughout and peppers Finn’s intense fight for survival.
At once historically evocative and infused with the rapier-sharp universality of basic drives and emotions (love, lust, envy and revenge), Denise Mina’s Rizzio is an immensely engaging novella. Wise, inventive and un-put-down-able, it’s a riveting read-in-one-sitting road-trip through a shadowy episode in Scottish history. It’s 1566 and Mary, Queen of Scots, is six months pregnant, unaware that her Palace of Holyrood is surrounded by an army intent on murdering her private secretary and confidante, handsome, charismatic David Rizzio. And all this was arranged by Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley who, intoxicated, relishes “thinking about how sorry they’ll all be when he is king, they’ll all be sorry then. He’ll see they are". Recounting the events of a fateful, bloody night, Mina’s present tense narrative is delivered with verve, taut dexterity and atmosphere, with a powerfully palpable sense of mounting tension.
It’s a deadly race against time… Tech billionaire Miles has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of – except time. Now facing a terminal illness, Miles knows he must seize every minute to put his life in order. And that means taking a long hard look at his past. Somewhere out there, Miles has children. And they might be about to inherit both the good and bad from him – possibly his fortune, or possibly something more sinister. So Miles decides to track down his missing children. But a vicious killer is one step ahead of him. One by one, people are vanishing. Not just disappearing, every trace of them is wiped.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a moving new novel about an injured army doctor and the two women whose secrets will change the course of his life. Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, North Carolina. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked as an orthopedic surgeon sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, he comes to regroup in the dilapidated cabin inherited from his grandfather. Trevor isn't prepared to fall in love, yet from their very first encounter, Trevor feels a deep connection with deputy sheriff Natalie Masterson. Though she seems to reciprocate his feelings, Natalie remains frustratingly distant. Further complicating his stay is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie. Claiming to be 17, she works at the local store and keeps to herself. Discovering that she was once befriended by his grandfather, Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather's death, but she offers few clues - until a crisis triggers a race that will uncover the true nature of Callie's past. In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie's secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that often, to move forward we must return to the place where it all began.
The latest instalment from the beloved THE NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY series Catch up on the latest from Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi and other favourites in this new instalment of Alexander McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. As the temperature rises in Gaborone, Precious Ramotswe, founder of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, wonders whether the heat could be the reason that business is particularly slow. Luckily, a slower pace in life is her natural preference, unlike her colleague Mma Makutsi, who is alert to every passing observation and inclined to making snap decisions. With fewer cases to handle, Precious has time to contemplate her new neighbours, a couple who, by the sounds of it, have a rather volatile relationship . . . But then a distant cousin of Mma Ramotswe's comes to the agency with a plea for help, and the ladies decide to pursue the issue together. Armed with Mma Ramotswe's circumspection and Mma Makutsi's sharp eye, they proceed with confidence and open hearts. What, after all, could be more straightforward than a family matter? Meanwhile, their colleague Charlie is behaving oddly, borrowing Mma Ramotswe's van and returning it in an unusual condition. Digging a little deeper, the explanation is both strange and extraordinary, and takes Charlie, along with Mma Ramotswe's husband, Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, on a hair-raising night-time expedition. In the end, Precious is reminded of the need to view a picture from every angle, to accept the imperfections in people and situations, and then find a solution - preferably over a delicious slice of her friend Mma Potokwani's fruit cake.
Shortlisted for The Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2021 Longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2021 and the HWA Debut Crown 2021 Glasgow, 1932. When the son-in-law of one of the city's wealthiest shipbuilders is found floating in the River Clyde with his throat cut, it falls to Inspector Jimmy Dreghorn to lead the murder case - despite sharing a troubled history with the victim's widow, Isla Lockhart. From the flying fists and flashing blades of Glasgow's gangland underworld, to the backstabbing upper echelons of government and big business, Dreghorn and his partner 'Bonnie' Archie McDaid will have to dig deep into Glasgow society to find out who wanted the man dead and why. All the while, a sadistic murderer stalks the post-war city leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake. As the case deepens, will Dreghorn find the killer - or lose his own life in the process? Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison is a dark historical crime novel set in Glasgow, 1932. A city still recovering from the Great War; split by religious division and swarming with razor gangs. For fans of William McIlvanney's Laidlaw, Denise Mina and Philip Kerr.
The snow is falling Selma Falck is living a nightmare. Trapped in a burning cabin on a freezing snow-covered mountain, she has no idea where she is or how she got there. Bruised, bleeding and naked, she barely makes it out in time as the flames engulf the cabin. With no signs of human habitation nearby, the temperature rapidly dropping, and a blizzard approaching, how will she survive? She's lost in the wilderness As Selma fights the cold, the hunger and her own wounds, she eventually forms a frightening picture of the past six months. Not only does she have to find a way to stay alive, she needs to make it back to civilization, quickly. Murder has been committed, and a great injustice must be stopped. The very future of the nation itself is at stake... If the cold doesn't kill her, they will...
A secluded hut in the middle of the woods. A double life that could be his downfall. The Secret Life of Mr Roos is the third Inspector Barbarotti novel from the 'Godfather of Swedish crime' (Metro), Hakan Nesser. At fifty-nine years old, Valdemar Roos is tired of life. Working a job he hates, with a wife he barely talks to and two step-daughters he doesn't get on with, he doesn't have a lot to look forward to. Then, one day, a winning lottery ticket gives him an opportunity to start afresh. Without telling a soul, he quits his job and buys a hut in the remote Swedish countryside. Every day he travels down to this man-made oasis, returning each evening to his unsuspecting wife. Life couldn't be better, until a young woman arrives in paradise . . . Anna Gambowska is a twenty-one-year-old recovering drug addict. On the run from the rehab centre she hated and an abusive relationship she can't go back to, all Anna's prayers are answered when she comes across a seemingly vacant hut in the Swedish woodland. But it's not long before Anna's ex discovers her location, and an incident occurs that will mar the lives of both Anna and Valdemar forever. Inspector Barbarotti doesn't take much interest when a woman reports her husband as missing. That is, until a dead body is found near the missing man's newly bought hut, and Mr Roos becomes the number one murder suspect . . . The Secret Life of Mr Roos is the third novel in Hakan Nesser's Inspector Barbarotti quintet.
Subtle and smart yet intense and thrilling, this story builds with each turn revealing another set of steps in front of you. Within a corner of London a murder sets questions hunting through secrets and the past. I was caught sleeping at the start and was given a huge shove, from that moment on my attention didn’t waver. This is all about the characters, yet the beautifully intricate plot more than holds its own. What Paula Hawkins does so successfully, is to allow you to see the inner being of people, the shadows that dwell within, without ever losing connection with their humanity. Every person in this story feels authentic, relatable, and that dreaded word, normal. It made me question what I would do in the same circumstances, could this in fact, be me. Oh, and just as an aside, great map! A Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, A Slow Fire Burning wanders through the everyday, before reaching under the surface and pulling out darkness.
Well, a debut doesn't come more well-honed than Inga Vesper’s absolutely cracking slice of dark Americana, The Long, Long Afternoon, which is set in the summer of 1959 and encompasses a gripping mystery with an excoriating vision of the ways in which women everywhere are under-estimated, silenced and diminished. Beautifully written with scenes and characters that take you right back to a time of mail-order catalogues, mother’s ‘little helper’ and the appalling casualness of race and gender inequality, Inga has created a breath-taking, chromium-shiny, tale of how dark the sunniest places can be and how very desperate things can get. The LoveReading LitFest invited Inga to the festival to talk about The Long, Long Afternoon. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Inga in conversation with Paul Blezard and find out why everyone is talking about this book. Check out a preview of the event here.
I couldn't see the sea from my bedroom but I could hear the waves breaking in the distance. They reminded me that I was on a tiny island. And I was trapped.**** There has never been a murder on Alderney. It's a tiny island, just three miles long and a mile and a half wide. The perfect location for a brand-new literary festival. Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne has been invited to talk about his new book. The writer, Anthony Horowitz, travels with him. Very soon they discover that all is not as it should be. Alderney is in turmoil over a planned power line that will cut through it, desecrating a war cemetery and turning neighbour against neighbour. The visiting authors - including a blind medium, a French performance poet and a celebrity chef - seem to be harbouring any number of unpleasant secrets. When the festival's wealthy sponsor is found brutally killed, Alderney goes into lockdown and Hawthorne knows that he doesn't have to look too far for suspects. There's no escape. The killer is still on the island. And there's about to be a second death...
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last House Guest, a Reese's Book Club pick. We had no warning that she would come back... Welcome to Hollow's Edge - a picture-perfect neighbourhood where everyone has each other's backs. At least, that's how it used to be, until the night Brandon and Fiona Truett were found dead... Two years ago, branded a grifter, thief and sociopath by her friends and neighbours, Ruby Fletcher was convicted of murdering the Truetts. Now, freed by mistrial, Ruby has returned to Hollow's Edge. But why would she come back? No one wants her there, least of all her old housemate, Harper Nash. As Ruby's return sends shockwaves through the community, terrified residents turn on each other, and it soon becomes clear that not everyone was honest about the night the Truetts died. When Harper begins to receive threatening, anonymous notes, she realizes she has to uncover the truth before someone else gets hurt... Someone like her.
The unmissable first thriller in an electrifying, brand-new series from the Queen of Crime. The shadows hide a deadly story . . . 1979. It is the winter of discontent, and reporter Allie Burns is chasing her first big scoop. There are few women in the newsroom and she needs something explosive for the boys' club to take her seriously. Soon Allie and fellow journalist Danny Sullivan are exposing the criminal underbelly of respectable Scotland. They risk making powerful enemies - and Allie won't stop there. When she discovers a home-grown terrorist threat, Allie comes up with a plan to infiltrate the group and make her name. But she's a woman in a man's world . . . and putting a foot wrong could be fatal.
Copenhagen-born Heidi Amsinck, acclaimed for her BBC Radio 4-performed short stories, sure knows how to craft Scandi-noir with style. My Name is Jensen, her debut novel, is a gripping, twisty treat for fans of chic, gusty thrillers; an un-put-down-able rollercoaster through Copenhagen’s underbelly. Journalist Jensen has returned to her native Copenhagen following the closure of the London branch of her newspaper. She goes to work one morning to find a dead young man in a doorway, the word “Guilty” emblazoned on a cardboard sign. This is the second such victim in a few weeks, and Jensen needs to know who did it, and why. When her ex-lover, DI Henrik Jungersen, turns up on the scene, they play a kind-of cat and mouse game as a third body is found. At the same time, Jensen’s having work trouble. She hasn’t filed a big story since returning from London, and she lets a colleague take lead of reporting on these murders, all the while doing her own investigation and discovering more before anyone else, including her ex. The case (and story) unfolds at carefully controlled, intriguing pace - always unpredictable, it will keep readers on their snow-chilled toes. As steeped in atmosphere as it’s driven by Jensen’s dogged commitment to discovering the truth, one hopes this setting and intriguing character feature in future novels.
‘The Tests’ by Robert W. Kirby is a tense psychological thriller. When Alex Clayton loses his mother he is adrift and looking to find himself some new friends and escape a school life of bullying. But the interesting group he chooses has an initiation in order to be a part of the gang. Years later, the initiation and his time with this group come back to haunt him and Alex’s only solution to end his insomnia and nightmares is to gather the gang and work out what happened. Flipping between each group member, the present and the past the reader is taken on a twisting and turning ride that doesn’t give you much time to find your feet, let alone work out what secrets are going to be revealed. Each flash to the past entices you to read on, to work out which event exactly is at the source of Alex’s search for the truth. Each change of character allows you to know more about the whole group of friends, allowing them to have their own developed story and dimension. Gripping and brutal this is a story that I couldn't put down, a rollercoaster ride for anyone looking for a thrill. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
The cold war and espionage in the 60s is the backdrop of ‘What About the Girl? Clemency White Takes Over’ by K.T. Cavan. The first in a spy series following Clemency White as she jumps at an opportunity to get involved in an undercover operation with agent Peter Aspinall. A different side of life from her work at the British Embassy in Bern, Clemency has to use strength, skills and courage she didn’t know she had as the KGB move in. I like Clemency, she seems a little amateur and makes rash decisions in the beginning and I enjoyed watching her character slowly develop as the book unfolds and I’m sure there’s more development to come as the series progresses. This is a fast paced book, full of interest and excitement and it is one that I found myself “one more chapter-ing” waiting to see what would happen next. Even though most of the focus is on Clemency and Peter, their relationship and the job in hand, the author still manages to add some dimension into the outside world, the setting and the cities the characters visit. I liked the tension building throughout the plot, the “will they won’t they” of Clemency and Peter as well as the constant risk of agents and eyes everywhere in the plot. The narrative flips perspectives during one especially dire situation and I found this further increased the tension, drawing the narrative out and left me eagerly wanting to read more. I’d recommend this book to those who love readers who love 60s espionage tales (think Man from U.N.C.L.E, or early Bond films) but want to try something with an interesting twist in perspective.
As soon as I opened the book and the title ‘Volta’ and its definition was revealed I knew this was going to be a book full of twists and turns and I looked forward to finding out exactly how this was going to be related to the plot. ‘Volta’ by Nikki Dudley throws the reader in at the deep end, when someone we later find out to be Briony wakes up covered in blood, apparently with no recollection of how she came to be in such a situation. We then pan out, taking the opportunity to meet Mari (Briony’s therapist) Aris (Mari’s detective brother) and SJ (Briony’s new lawyer with a history with Mari and a friendship with Aris). This interconnected foursome carry the plotline, each having their own turn with the narrative which I found added more dimension to the characters and the storyline. In this twisting and tense thriller there are multiple conundrums to figure out: what happened between Briony and Ed and is it connected to Briony’s past? What happened in SJ’s Past? And the ‘will they, won’t they’ of SJ and Mari which I found to be a more light-hearted aspect of the narrative that provided some much needed respite from the grittier topics although brought a different tension to the book. Having already won the Virginia Prize for Fiction, I know I will be adding my voice to a sea of others when I say that I really enjoyed this well-crafted and gripping thriller. The characters all have so much dimension and there’s a great deal of detail to the plot, this is a book I was mulling over when I wasn’t reading and will linger with me for a while now I’ve finished. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
How to Kill Your Best Friend is a taut psychological thriller. Featuring a small group of friends in a luxury hotel at its core, it's also an engaging lockdown mystery. Each main character has plenty of secrets to hide, resulting in a tangled web of lies that's desperate to be unravelled. And the two main narrators view key events very differently, adding to the intrigue. The book is beautifully written, with a slowburning narrative that reveals the dynamics of the group, amid vibrant descriptions of the beautiful island setting. The tension ramps up as the plot gains pace, with a sense of danger lurking in every corner and unease hovering below the surface. The book's twisty journey kept me guessing until its dramatic action-packed ending. As an aside, if you ARE thinking of killing your best friend, this book has plenty of suggestions, though read the pros and cons very carefully first.
If you’re hoping for another nail-biter in Doug Johnstone’s popular Skelfs novels, you won’t be disappointed – and if you’re new here, well there’s much to enjoy. The third instalment in the series doesn’t waste time with back stories or explaining who’s who; we hop right to the action. What we do get, though, an introduction to the Skelfs, three generations of women who run a funeral business in Edinburgh – who also happen to be private investigators. Dorothy, the matriarch, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah are quickly embroiled in a mystery after a human foot is discovered in a park. From there, the plot expands far and wide into quite dark, even absurdist territories. But the strength of the novel is in the characters, with each chapter following one of the Skelf women. This trio, flawed but fair, elevates the book above your average crime novel. You’ll have to suspend disbelief at times but if you’re looking for a thrilling ride, this won’t leave you short-changed.
56 Days is entertaining and fast paced - a tale of two strangers who make a hasty decision at a time of extreme stress, fear and anxiety. Multi-layered, brimming with suspense and with well-portrayed characters, this book certainly kept me on my toes. Set in present times, it felt very familiar, occasionally too familiar - a reflection of the early days of the pandemic, when no one could have predicted what was to come. The book has a dual timeline, focusing on a murder investigation in the present day and an exciting new relationship in the past. Occasionally, the two main characters give their persepctive on the same scenes, leading to some repetition, but I found myself trying to read between the lines - what they weren't telling each other, the secrets they were hiding ... 56 Days was a brave book to write (who could have known we would still be living in a Covid-19-filled world on publication day), but it doesn't come across as gimmicky at all. An engaging, unsettling and surprising domestic noir thriller - Brief Encounter with a rampant virus and decomposing body.
'SET IN DIVINE NORTH NORFOLK. INTENSELY ATMOSPHERIC AND GREAT' India Knight Dr Ruth Galloway returns to the moody and beautiful landscape of North Norfolk to confront another killer. A devastating new case for our favourite forensic archaeologist in this acclaimed and bestselling crime series. The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor's death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder. Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner's suicide note includes the line, 'He's buried in the garden.' Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog. All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn't scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm ...
1970s Mexico City: while student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite seeks escape from her humdrum life in the stories of passion and danger filling the latest issue of Secret Romance. She is deeply envious of her neighbour, a beautiful art student apparently living the life of excitement and intrigue Maite craves - so when Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman, journeying deep into Leonora's secret life of student radicals and dissidents. But someone else is also looking for Leonora, at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: he loathes violence and loves old movies and rock 'n' roll. Watching Maite from a distance, he comes to see her as a kindred spirit who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart. As Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora's disappearance, they can no longer escape the dangers threatening to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents and Russian spies all aiming to find or protect Leonora's secrets - at gunpoint. Velvet Was the Night: an edgy, passionate, simmering noir thriller from a writer at the very top of her game.
A tremendously provocative yet entertaining historical crime thriller set in 1728, it’s worth noting that while this takes a journey through some very dark places, a light touch is on hand when needed. Thomas and Kitty find themselves in the happiest of times, until they discover that someone wants Thomas dead. I’ve always loved this series, which began with Crime Writers' Association Historical Dagger award winning The Devil in the Marshalsea, and it has progressed with such vivid intensity. While I recommend starting at the beginning, you can actually read these as standalone novels. Thomas and Kitty definitely deserve double billing, each ensures a balance is maintained and allows the plot to really sing (and occasionally glower and smirk). Antonia Hodgson not only encourages us to see and feel the times, she also shows the difficulties that humankind still fall foul of to this day. We really don’t learn do we! Exploring love, friendship, revenge, and the very nature of evil itself, the ending sliced through my thoughts and stayed with me for some time. You can feel the research behind the story, and I delved into her historical notes at the end. The Silver Collar is a cracking and thought-provoking read, and comes as highly recommended in my Liz Robinson Picks of the Month. If you enjoyed Andrew Taylor’s James Marwood and Cat Lovett series which started with The Ashes of London set in 1666 and The Jackdaw Mysteries Series by S. W. Perry which began with The Angel's Mark set in 1570 then you should most definitely check out The Thomas Hawkins Series.
From the #1 bestselling author and creator of the hit Netflix series The Stranger comes a riveting new thriller, starring the new hero Windsor Horne Lockwood III - or Win, as he is known to his (few) friends ... Over twenty years ago, heiress Patricia Lockwood was abducted during a robbery of her family's estate, then locked inside an isolated cabin for months. Patricia escaped, but so did her captors, and the items stolen from her family were never recovered. Until now. On New York's Upper West Side, a recluse is found murdered in his penthouse apartment, alongside two objects of note: a stolen Vermeer painting and a leather suitcase bearing the initials WHL3. For the first time in years, the authorities have a lead not only on Patricia's kidnapping but also on another FBI cold case - with the suitcase and painting both pointing them towards one man. Windsor Horne Lockwood III - or Win as his few friends call him - doesn't know how his suitcase and his family's stolen painting ended up in this dead man's apartment. But he's interested - especially when the FBI tell him that the man who kidnapped his cousin was also behind an act of domestic terrorism, and that he may still be at large. The two cases have baffled the FBI for decades. But Win has three things the FBI does not:: a personal connection to the case, a large fortune, and his own unique brand of justice ...
In a sleepy French village, the body of a man shot through the head is disinterred by the roots of a fallen tree. A week later a famous art critic is viciously murdered in a nearby house. The deaths occurred more than seventy years apart. Asked by a colleague to inspect the site of the former, forensics expert Enzo Macleod quickly finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the latter. Two extraordinary narratives are set in train - one historical, unfolding in the treacherous wartime years of Occupied France; the other contemporary, set in the autumn of 2020 as France re-enters Covid lockdown. And Enzo's investigations reveal an unexpected link between the murders - the Mona Lisa. Tasked by the exiled General Charles de Gaulle to keep the world's most famous painting out of Nazi hands after the fall of France in 1940, 28-year-old Georgette Pignal finds herself swept along by the tide of history. Following in the wake of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa as it is moved from chateau to chateau by the Louvre, she finds herself just one step ahead of two German art experts sent to steal it for rival patrons - Hitler and Göring. What none of them know is that the Louvre itself has taken exceptional measures to keep the painting safe, unwittingly setting in train a fatal sequence of events extending over seven decades. Events that have led to both killings. The Night Gate spans three generations, taking us from war-torn London, the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Berlin and Vichy France, to the deadly enemy facing the world in 2020. In his latest novel, Peter May shows why he is one of the great contemporary writers of crime fiction.
Don't miss the gripping new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author! A perfect marriage... Golden couple Annie and David Crayce have it all. A loving marriage, three beautiful children and a thriving family business. Life couldn't be better. Until the unthinkable happens... A perfect crime? A piece of damning DNA evidence has arisen, placing David as the prime suspect of a murder committed twenty-years ago. Annie is sure her David is innocent. But if he isn't guilty, then either his father or brother must be. As the police investigate the cold case, so does Annie. Trawling through her old diaries, she begins desperately looking for answers. But it all comes down to a few lost hours she can't solve. And Annie begins to doubt the one person she thought she knew best... Her husband.
"Mum, there's some people here from college, they asked me back to theirs. Just for an hour or so. Is that OK?" Midsummer 2017: teenage mum Tallulah heads out on a date, leaving her baby son at home with her mother, Kim. At 11pm she sends her mum a text message. At 4.30am Kim awakens to discover that Tallulah has not come home. Friends tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a pool party at a house in the woods nearby called Dark Place. Tallulah never returns. 2018: walking in the woods behind the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started as a head-teacher, Sophie sees a sign nailed to a fence. A sign that says: DIG HERE . . .
I never expected to ever be given the opportunity to read a book by consulting detective Sherlock Holmes(!). Until very recently, I didn't even know that he wrote any books! Yet here one is - A Case of Royal Blackmail. Written in 1881 when he was in his late 20s, the book features Sherlock Holmes's personal musings on several entertaining cases of his, including blackmail of the Prince of Wales in 1879. His narrative is filled with his trademark astute observations, unconventional humour and remarkable reasoning skills. None of the characters evade his intense scrutiny or suspicion, and his sharp attention to detail eventually solves several mysteries and discovers the culprits. The historical and forensic content within the book is enlightening, along with the insight into his personal life and eccentric behaviour. I loved the 'Finder's Notes' at the end too (revealing how his book came to exist). A fascinating – and slightly off-the-wall – read for Holmes fans and for anyone who loves authentic historical crime fiction.
A ferociously entertaining, sharply amusing, hard-hitting wow of a read. DS Washington Poe and programmer Tilly Bradshaw are faced with an apparently clear cut case that becomes more convoluted the deeper they delve. Excuse me while I rave about this book and series, it’s worth hearing me out! M.W. Craven is winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award for his first in this series, The Puppet Show, and the other two books have been long-listed for the Gold Dagger which in itself should tell you just how good this series really is. The combination of superbly readable characters, thrilling plots, and authentic voice ensure these novels are always on my must-read list. M.W. Craven’s mind just blows me away, he is able to hook, twist, and throw my thoughts as well as make me cackle like a demented thing. Poe and Tilly are among my favourite characters in the crime fiction world, they are both treasures (of the reading variety) waiting to be found if you’ve not yet met them. A stunner of a stimulating ride, Dead Ground comes with a whopping thumbs up from me, and of course it’s one of my Liz Robinson Picks of the Month.
A snaking twisting ride into the middle of a young family torn apart by allegations of murder. When the police knock on the door of Beth and Tom Hardcastle the resulting investigation means that life will never be the same again. The author previously worked for the NHS and on completing a psychology degree then worked in a men’s prison facilitating rehabilitation programmes, she has also written thrillers under another name. While the title screams a high body count, the story weaves through the reactions of community and friendship as the allegation hits. The four narrators each have their own unique voice, with Beth and Tom speaking in the present, Katie in the past, while a further un-named narrator adds a decidedly chilling tone. These are characters who delight in provoking the reader, both in terms of decisions they make, and who they are. As I read my thoughts paused before moving down new paths as each voice and short chapter altered the plot in turn. The Serial Killer’s Wife is a read you can throw yourself into and race through, while the plot corkscrews itself through to a highly entertaining end.
Beautifully-written, smoothly-readable, and waltzing with elegance and the intrigue of espionage, Tessa Morris-Suzuki’s The Lantern Boats is an accomplished work of historical fiction. Melding criss-crossing personal stories with the bigger-picture political climate of occupied Japan, it’s rich in details of time and place, with swathes of charisma that make single-sitting readings all but impossible to resist. Adding to the intrigue, the book’s characters are based on real people. The novel opens with an evocative scene describing the swell of the Sumida River illuminated by paper lanterns in a ritual for the dead, of which there are many as a result of the US firebombing raids that ended six years ago. Then we meet Kamiya Jun, a young war orphan with nothing - “no home, no family, no documents, no identity.” Being invisible makes him ideal spy material, and so he’s tasked by the Americans to spy on Vida Vidanto, a beautiful Japanese poet they suspect of being a communist spy. Meanwhile, part-Japanese, part-Scottish Elly Ruskin feels compelled to spy on Vida herself - she suspects her journalist husband, Fergus, of having an affair with the poet, and all while they’re in the process of adopting a child. The worlds of spy and spied-on intermesh powerfully when Fergus finds Vida’s strangled body, and then follows a gripping quick-fire succession of secrets unveiled, a tragic casualty, and hopeful beginnings.
Helen Stancey’s Relative Secrets is a highly readable story for readers who like to get lost in the drama and intrigue of other people’s relatable lives. Told in a straightforward style, with domestic detail and emotional ups and downs to heighten engagement, three generations of women are at the heart of this saga of family secrets. It’s set in 1999 and follows the family from the 1920s through to the millennium. The eldest of the women, Mary, is in a care home, her mind deteriorating. During a visit from grand-daughter Lucy, Mary makes strange statements that arouse Lucy’s curiosity. She tries to put them out of mind - until she finds a locket while clearing out Mary’s former room. Not wanting to upset her mother (not with her father gone, her elder brother away, and her little brother misbehaving), Lucy takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of the mystery - risking discovering truths that might unsettle the very foundations of their family. The drama builds slowly at first - there’s a considered, unhurried build-up, with lots of family backstory delivered before the revelations come. Then tension builds as Lucy delves deeper, and the questions keep coming - not merely what the secret is, but why it was covered-up. And, a question with universal resonance - is it sometimes better to simply let things be?
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.