Crime and mystery: police procedural

The Quiet People

The Quiet People

Author: Paul Cleave Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/11/2021

If you love a page-turning police-procedural with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, then stop right now. Cleave has become one of my go-to authors for a chilling slice of cleverly crafted crime. You feel the heat intensifying chapter by chapter as you burn through the book, unable to put it down. Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are a successful crime writing duo living in Christchurch, New Zealand. The book opens with Cameron and their 7 year old Zach at a funfair where there’s an altercation when Cameron loses sight of his son for a second and it escalates. Zach is a challenging child, prone to frequent outbursts and after threatening to run away that night, he disappears and the guilt, recriminations and remonstrations set in and start eating away at their seemingly perfect marriage. They know better than anyone, that the parents are always the first to be suspected. The pace rockets as the community turns against the Murdochs and jokes on the promotional circuit are remembered and paraded for all to judge. Comments like: “I have no doubt that we could plot the perfect crime if we had to” comes to haunt them. Did they, or didn’t they? You decide for yourself in this cracking adrenalin rush of a crime thriller. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, I promise.

Books of the Month
A Memory for Murder

A Memory for Murder

Author: Anne Holt Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/11/2021

Readers of Anne Holt will know that she spent two years working for the Oslo Police Department, founded her own law firm and rose to serve as Norway’s Minister of Justice, before publishing books that have sold over 10 million copies in 30 languages. That she knows of what she writes is therefore in no doubt. What the above facts don’t tell you however, is that she is a supremely talented storyteller, who has the ability to weave page-turning tales that meld plot and procedure, suspense and revelation and, as Val McDermid put it, “… reveal how truly dark it gets in Scandinavia.” Her latest is no exception and in A Memory for Murder, Holt seems to have found another writing gear as she draws the reader into a truly troubling web of political assassination and conspiracy. Falck is an endlessly fascinating character, a former lawyer turned private investigator who is at various times as endearing as she can be unappealing, but the reformed gambling addict is never anything less than captivating as she navigates her way through a tightly woven plot that has tension and vengeance at its core. Holt’s works are translated from the original Norwegian, in this case by Anne Bruce, and are so well done, the sense of place and of the Nordic mindset so clear, that at times it’s easy to forget that you’re reading in English. If you have yet to discover Holt and love a good story of snow and blood, then this stands every chance of meeting with your approval. And along the way you’ll discover why Jo Nesbø has called Holt, “the Godmother of modern Norwegian crime fiction.”

Better Off Dead

Better Off Dead

Author: Lee Child, Andrew Child Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/10/2021

Reacher never backs down from a problem. And he's about to find a big one, on a deserted Arizona road, where a Jeep has crashed into the only tree for miles around. Under the merciless desert sun, nothing is as it seems. Minutes later Reacher is heading into the nearby border town, a backwater that has seen better days. Next to him is Michaela Fenton, an army veteran turned FBI agent, who is trying to find her twin brother. He might have got mixed up with some dangerous people. And Reacher might just need to pay them a visit. Their leader has burrowed his influence deep into the town. Just to get in and meet the mysterious Dendoncker, Reacher is going to have to achieve the impossible. To get answers will be even harder. There are people in this hostile, empty place who would rather die than reveal their secrets. But then, if Reacher is coming after you, you might be better off dead.

Left You Dead

Left You Dead

Author: Peter James Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/10/2021

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.

Audiobooks of the Month
Over My Dead Body

Over My Dead Body

Author: Jeffrey Archer Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/10/2021

In an age of publishing that is obsessed with sales figures, Archer’s writing statistics, 275 million copies published in 97 countries, are not only hugely impressive and utterly enviable but more importantly, hard earned and thoroughly deserved. They are the incontestable evidence that he is a supremely gifted storyteller, whose talent for narrative and character has been honed and applied many times over in the crafting of fully immersive stories that delight his armies of readers, and Over My Dead Body, is no exception. In this fourth outing for Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick (not including his appearance in the Clifton Chronicles series) we are take through various investigations that take us onboard a luxury liner and into the often murky world of art dealing, Archer deftly moves between scenes and worlds to deliver a master class in how to structure a story and populate it with characters that are instantly recognisable and wonderfully drawn. All the qualities that we have come to expect from Jeffery’s books are here; wonderful, fully drawn characters  (you are going to love James Buchanan!) the sense that he really does know of what he writes (his attention to detail when researching his books is legendary) and that he really cares about crafting his stories in an interview with him, he explained that he writes all his early drafts long hand and reworks them many, many times until everything is just right. But here’s the thing, he once told me, with tears in his eyes, just how much he appreciate his readers and how hard he works to make each story as good as he can make it, to create as enjoyable a read as possible. Over My Dead Body is no exception and is a fabulous addition to the extraordinary canon of a supreme storyteller.

eBooks of the Month
Daggers Drawn

Daggers Drawn

Author: Maxim Jakubowski Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/09/2021

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.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
A Necessary Death

A Necessary Death

Author: Anne Holt Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

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...

The Secret Life of Mr Roos

The Secret Life of Mr Roos

Author: Hakan Nesser Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

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.

The Dying Squad

The Dying Squad

Author: Adam Simcox Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/07/2021

Vividly bold and full of attitude, in fact it's gutsy as heck, this provocative supernatural crime novel takes a fabulous premise and nails its colours to the mast. While on a drugs operation Detective Joe Lazarus is suddenly faced with his own dead body and a new partner from the other side. I have to confess that while reading I completely forgot to make any notes for my review as I just sank in and was consumed. The live side smacked me in the face with its gritty reality, while the dead side just blew me away. I could see, feel, taste and smell purgatory, it menaced into existence as a fully formed entity in my minds eye. Adam Simcox writes with the most imaginative, smirky, thought-provoking pen. I really had no idea where this reading journey was going to take me, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to learn that this is the first in a series, I will be camping outside my local bookshop when the next book is due. Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month, The Dying Squad is a fabulously unique novel that feels as real and yet outrageously inventive as can be. A standing ovation from me to Adam Simcox, absolutely blimmin loved it!

Star Books
Girls Who Lie

Girls Who Lie

Author: Eva Björg Ægisdottir Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/07/2021

A chilling tone and unsettling plot is wrapped up inside this cracking police procedural and psychological thriller. West Iceland CID investigate the death of a woman who went missing seven months previously. While suicide was the initial assumption, it's only when Marianna’s body is found that they can establish murder. This is the second in the Forbidden Iceland series, I recommend starting with The Creak on the Stairs which was a bestseller in Iceland, winning the Blackbird Award. While a police procedural, the other characters share the stage which ensures there are some fascinating trails of information to follow. In this book Eva Björg Ægisdottir cements the characters of the policing team. The vivid descriptions and haunting quality of the writing, which is so well translated by Victoria Cribb, ensured I could see and feel Iceland. Two stories sit side by side, each twisting around the other and allowing tension and intrigue access while themes of child neglect and social issues are thoughtfully handled. Girls Who Lie slithers and suggests and coils towards its thought-provoking conclusion, and I will be following this series with interest.  

Books of the Month
Judas Horse

Judas Horse

Author: Lynda La Plante Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/07/2021

SOME KILLERS CAN'T BE TAMED . . . 'Do you know what a Judas Horse is? When the wild mustangs are running free, you corral one and train it. When he's ready, you release him and he'll bring his team back into the corral - like Judas betraying them...' Violent burglars have been terrorising residents across the English countryside. But when a mutilated body is discovered in a Cotswolds house, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary group of opportunist thieves. As Detective Jack Warr investigates, he discovers locals with dark secrets, unearths hidden crimes - and hits countless dead ends. With few leads and the violent attacks escalating, he will have to act as audaciously as the criminals if he hopes to stop them. When Warr meets Charlotte Miles, a terrified woman with links to the group, he must use her to lure the unsuspecting killers into one last job, and into his trap. But with the law already stretched to breaking point, any failure will be on Warr's head - and any more blood spilled, on his hands...

For Any Other Truth

For Any Other Truth

Author: Denzil Meyrick Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

A twisty, intricate, and action-packed crime novel based in Scotland full of schemes, intrigue, and shenanigans. This is the ninth book in the DCI Daley series, which started with the truly fabulous Whisky from Small Glasses. Denzil Meyrick has also penned a collection of linking short stories in One Last Dram Before Midnight, and has stepped back into the past of one of my favourite characters in a tale from Kinloch, in A Large Measure of Snow. In other words, there is a fascinating world awaiting you if you’ve not yet visited Kinloch. Kick-starting straight into action, a crash-landing plane heralds chaos and change. Climate protestors, politics, blackmail, and greed all feature and sub-plots run amok, gleefully getting under the feet of Daley and Scott. This pairing is the glue that holds the series together, yet the other characters are wonderful creations in their own right. Hamish and Annie are much loved, and you may find yourself reading between your fingers at certain parts! For Any Other Truth demands that you keep on your toes as it splinters thoughts and catches emotions unawares.  

eBooks of the Month