Crime and mystery: hard-boiled crime, noir fiction

The Daves Next Door

The Daves Next Door

Author: Will Carver Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/07/2022

The lives of five strangers collide on a London train carriage, as they become involved in an incident that will change them all forever. A shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original new thriller from Will Carver... A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care. An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white. A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory. Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows. Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode. Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train? Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver's The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human ... or not. 

Cold, Cold Bones

Cold, Cold Bones

Author: Kathy Reichs Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/07/2022

In a profession like this, you're bound to make enemies... An eye... It all starts when Dr Temperance Brennan finds a box on her porch. Inside is a fresh human eyeball with GPS coordinates etched into it. They lead her to a macabre discovery in a Benedictine Monastery, and soon after she discovers a mummified corpse in a state park. ...for an eye There seems to be no pattern to these killings, except that each mimics a killing connected to something a younger Tempe experienced, or barely escaped. Someone is targeting her, and she needs to figure out why before they strike again. And then her daughter Katy disappears. Someone is playing a dangerous game with Tempe. And they won’t stop until they have taken everything from her... Electrifying, heart-stopping and compulsive, this is Tempe’s most personal and dangerous case yet...

The Botanist

The Botanist

Author: M. W. Craven Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/06/2022

As far as booky thrills, entertainment, and satisfaction goes, I declare this is pure reading gold and a LoveReading Star Book. Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are back, their skills are needed for two investigations. They unofficially involve themselves in the first after their friend Estelle Doyle is arrested for murder, and in the second a formidable poisoner is courting social media. The Washington Poe series sits towards the very top of my favourites of all time. It started with the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award Winning The Puppet Show and here we are at book five, each and every one has been fabulous and The Botanist joins the team in swaggering style. I’m actually not quite sure how M.W. Craven does it, he maintains the most exquisite balance of blurt-worthy humour, eyebrow-raising plots, and as for the characters! Each and every person to step on the page becomes fully formed in my minds-eye, even if on the page for a moment. I rubbed my hands with glee when I realised that we had a locked room mystery on our hands and my second, third, and fourth thoughts were feverishly working away in the background as I settled in and sank into the pages. Poe and Tilly, or the reactions of others to Poe and Tilly had me snorting with laughter. They are almost polar opposites, and their friendship is heart-warming in its genuine simplicity. The plot more than happily allowed me to feel chuffed as I started to work certain aspects out before it slammed the door shut again. Oh, and I loved, loved, loved that ending! Sharply focused with on-point humour, and somehow joyfully warming while hunting the most chilling of foes, The Botanist is my current favourite of the series (each one always is). Yet again I will be haunting the book aisles until the next appears.

Star Books
Over My Dead Body

Over My Dead Body

Author: Jeffrey Archer Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/05/2022

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? 

Audiobooks of the Month
Keep Her Sweet

Keep Her Sweet

Author: Helen FitzGerald Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/05/2022

Expect to wince, flinch, and occasionally grimace in this highly charged and darkly amusing novel. Two grown up daughters return home to their parents and so begins the breakdown of a family. As expected this is an entirely different offering to her previous novels and yet the voice of Helen Fitzgerald is unmistakable. She does this every time, and I love it! Each of her books slips, sometimes swaggers into thoughts sending them spinning. She looks at ‘normal', picks it to pieces, and shows you something you hadn’t even considered. Here we see a family, with parents too intimately involved in their own issues to even begin to notice that sibling rivalry has turned to the dark side. The family therapist adds an extra dimension, keeps the story twisting, the unexpected ready to stick an oar in. The ending is intensely dramatic and yet oh-so convincing, no spoilers but for me it was pitch-perfect. Keep her Sweet is fabulously entertaining, and yet as confrontational and powerful as heck.

eBooks of the Month
Little Drummer

Little Drummer

Author: Kjell Ola Dahl Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/05/2022

With two spectacularly contrasting settings and two oh-so different officers you’ll find yourself with an eloquently compelling novel on your hands. A murder investigation enters the heavyweight corporate world of international deals and exploitation. Award-winning Kjell Ola Dahl began writing in 1993, this book in his successful Oslo Detective series was first published in Norway in 2003 and is just as bitingly relevant today. Little Drummer is book four to be translated into English, and as ever, Don Bartlett does a cracking job, fully immersing you in the story. Gunnarstranda and Frolich make a fabulous pairing, even though they are only together on the page on a handful of occasions. With Frolich jetting off to Kenya, and journalist Lise on the scene, Gunnarstranda still holds his own in Oslo. The fiercely political and social aspects of this novel are highlighted when you consider that this was written twenty years ago, human greed, power, and corruption are our constant companions. Little Drummer is as chillingly Nordic Noir in the dry heat of Africa as it is in Oslo, ensuring an absolutely thrilling and rewarding read.

eBooks of the Month
Razorblade Tears

Razorblade Tears

Author: S. A. Cosby Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

Hitting with hammer hard precision, thrilling storytelling is balanced with pointed social commentary in this fabulous novel set in the USA. Two fathers, both ex-cons, seek revenge for the murder of their sons. One of my favourite books from last year was S. A. Cosby’s debut Blacktop Wasteland which I read for the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award judging, it spoke to us all and was a highly commended shortlisted title. So I came to this, his second book, with a huge sense of anticipation. The writing style is passionately and fiercely bold yet holds moments of quiet gentleness and real compassion. The characters rumble with authenticity and charged with emotion, I could see, hear, touch them. Delivering an all-consuming blast of violence, raw grief, and blistering regret, I was taken to an unknown place which made me feel the social issues on offer. The plot screams, really screams at the top of its voice as it races along and as with his first book I was left feeling stunned and emotionally drained after I had finished. This is a writer who is able to touch hearts and minds, all while offering an immensely entertaining read. Razorblade Tears is a provocative, powerful, beautiful novel that is both a LoveReading Star Book, and a Liz Pick of the Month.

Star Books
Six Wounds

Six Wounds

Author: Morgan Cry Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2022

Six Wounds is an action-packed, entertaining mixture of pacy thriller and gritty whodunnit. Set in the sunny Costa Blanca, it provides the perfect balance of darkness and humour, with vivid descriptions that made me feel like I was there in the Spanish sunshine too, watching events unfold through a camera lens. Author Morgan Cry has created a solid cast of unforgettable characters, all larger than life with their individual quirks, flaws and eccentricities. Daniella Coulstoun is a feisty protagonist with plenty of attitude and a strong stubborn streak, bubbling with a rollercoaster of emotions as she learns more about her mother's shady past against a backdrop of murderous gangsters and British ex-pats. Six Wounds is highly engaging, taking its readers on a twisty path from beginning to end. Its witty dialogue made me laugh out loud, and the book was hard to put down. An ideal summer choice, providing hours of easy-to-read escapism.

The Shot

The Shot

Author: Sarah Sultoon Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

For readers with an interest in what happens behind the scenes in the newsrooms – of which there are many – The Shot is sure to satisfy their thirst for the next big scoop. Given her first chance in the spotlight, young TV journalist Samira is out to prove her worth. Alongside seasoned photographer Kris, they take a photograph – a shot that has thrown their whole mission and lives in peril. As a former CNN news executive, author Sarah Sultoon packs her novel with the kind of details that only someone who’s been on the frontline of war reporting can – from what life is like in conflict zones, to the petty squabbles in the newsroom. What many readers may be left with is the full effect and exposure of the realities of war reporting. Sultoon’s style never veers into gratuitous violence, but her book is made only more visceral by the current conflict in Ukraine.  

eBooks of the Month
Quicksand of memory

Quicksand of memory

Author: Michael J. Malone Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Darkly compelling, and provocative, yet with bright pockets highlighting the power of self-awareness and love, Quicksand of Memory walks into thoughts and shakes up feelings. Revenge means everything and when Jenna and Luke fall head over heels for each other, not everyone is happy for them. Author Michael J Malone is a trained therapist, this book explores the affects of traumatic events, how the past can alter the future with devastating results, and the emotions raised feel authentic, feel real. From the outset whiplike tendrils of disquiet creep their way into the story. The connections between the characters simmer just below boiling point, and as the flames built, I sat in fear for what was to come. While the plot succeeds in maintaining tension and suspense, it is the characters who really come to the fore. Luke and Nathan’s relationship in particular nurtures and protects a necessary balance that ensures the focal point remains sharply in focus through to the end. Thoroughly rattling and provoking emotions, Quicksand of Memory is an intense and absorbing novel.

eBooks of the Month
River Clyde

River Clyde

Author: Simone Buchholz Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

A thoughtfully lyrical yet full-on blast of, well, just how do I describe a novel that doesn’t neatly slot into any traditional genre. Bestselling and award winning Simone Buchholz is well known for her beautifully provocative Chastity Riley series, I’ve adored them from the beginning with Blue Night. Here she tunes her unique voice to a slightly different dial. Noir - oh yes, fantasy - perhaps, relationship story - potentially, family drama - yup, modern and contemporary - bang on, in other words, don’t even attempt to pigeon-hole, just read. Chastity leaves her grieving friends and her job as a State Prosecutor in Hamburg behind to explore her roots in Glasgow. Chastity is one of my favourite characters in fiction, at 48 she’s lived through hell, and is broken yet strong. As I read goosebumps skittered down my arms. The River Clyde character lends an almost otherworldly feel, it travels to the parts of the mind that lurk in dark and hidden places. Even so this smacks of authenticity, it feels so blimmin real! This is a novel that pushes you to think, it grabs thoughts, chews them up, and spits them back out again. Is it an end or a new beginning, only time will tell. Big shout out to translator Rachel Ward, it feels as though she and Simon Buchholz are as one. River Clyde is 230 pages of fabulous, joining an exciting and oh so satisfying series. 

Books of the Month
Faceless

Faceless

Author: Vanda Symon Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2022

If you’ve read the Sam Shephard series, you’ll know all about Vanda Symon, New Zealand’s Queen of Crime. If you’ve not read them, please do, they are cracking. Faceless is jam-packed with suspense, utterly gripping and I promise you’ll clench all the way through. Certain bits I felt I stopped breathing altogether! And don’t get me started on the final few chapters… Billy is a vulnerable, homeless artist who turns tricks to fund her art. When Bradley, a stressed, middle-aged man picks up Billy, his frustration leads him down a path, and pushes him into acting to prove he’s not weak, he lashes out and kidnaps Billy. Pals from the streets, Max is forced to come out of the shadows to find his only friend, confront his demons and boy, he’s committed. Your heart breaks as you follow Billy’s ordeal and as her plight becomes more and more desperate. Symon’s powerful storytelling delivers an emotional rollercoaster of a thriller, and doesn’t let you go. You follow the jaw-dropping journey as the faceless street dwellers become real people and we understand what led them to the streets; a thought-provoking thriller that will have your heart racing.