Crime and mystery: women sleuths

When You Are Mine

When You Are Mine

Author: Michael Robotham Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2022

Join a fast-paced riveting read as it explodes out of the blocks and is so readable, you can just sink into the pages and allow yourself to be consumed by the story. Police Officer and daughter of a gangster Philomena finds herself in trouble when she arrests a detective after being called to potential domestic abuse. Award-winning author Michael Robotham is a former investigative journalist working with clinical and forensic psychologists, and he knows how to make things feel real, to play with your thoughts and send them spiralling. The main character Phil narrates and feels on the edge of her own life, never quite fitting in. She is plunged into a world of pain and comes out fighting. I raised an eyebrow and became frustrated at some of her decisions, which shows just how invested I was in her. Some of the heavy-hitting topics range from domestic violence and revenge, to corruption within the old boys network, and they are contained within a thrilling and stimulating story with a whammy of an ending. When You Are Mine is a feisty, stimulating, and ultimately extremely satisfying read.

Books of the Month
Murder Under Her Skin

Murder Under Her Skin

Author: Stephen Spotswood Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/07/2022

The perfect murder mystery for fans of Richard Osman and Robert Thorogood. New York, 1946: The last time Will Parker let a case get personal, she walked away with a broken face, a bruised ego, and the solemn promise never again to let her heart get in the way of her job. But she called Hart and Halloway's Travelling Circus and Sideshow home for five years, and Ruby Donner, the circus's tattooed ingenue, was her friend. To make matters worse the prime suspect is Valentin Kalishenko, the man who taught Will everything she knows about putting a knife where it needs to go. To uncover the real killer and keep Kalishenko from a date with the electric chair, Will and Ms. Pentecost join the circus in sleepy Stoppard, Virginia, where the locals like their cocktails mild, the past buried, and big-city detectives not at all. The two swiftly find themselves lost in a funhouse of lies as Will begins to realize that her former circus compatriots aren't playing it straight, and that her murdered friend might have been hiding a lot of secrets beneath all that ink. Dodging fistfights, firebombs, and flying lead, Will puts a lot more than her heart on the line in the search of the truth. Can she find it before someone stops her ticker for good?

Star Books
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 Island of Lost Girls

The Island of Lost Girls

Author: Alex Marwood Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/07/2022

Suspensefully structured, with the action slipping between two timeframes before they collide in an almighty climax, Alex Harwood’s The Island of Lost Girls is a devastatingly resonant thriller. In the words of one of its key characters, the novel lays bare how “wealth is so seductive. Its glittering beams can blind one to the ugliest realities”. It’s an absolute page-turner that exposes the kind of self-entitled, dehumanising disdain the super-wealthy can have for those who are not. That said, in this case the abuses of power and money are being watched by someone who’s had enough of being silenced. Someone who has revenge to take. In the mid-eighties, everything changes on La Kastellana when the new duke welcomes the obscenely wealthy to his traditional island, among them Matthew Meade with his super yacht and super-spoiled teenage daughter Tatiana. When 12-year-old islander Mercedes first meets Tatiana, she’s dazzled by her lifestyle, but it’s not long before she sees Tatiana for what she is. But no one says no to the Meades – the wealthy have a way of getting what they want, and this sense of entrapment is chillingly evoked. In 2016, while Mercedes works as a housekeeper for the Meades, Robin has come to the island to search for her missing daughter. When the police close ranks around the duke and the Meades, Robin knows she must be on the right track, but she’s running out of time. Chiming with contemporary revelations about the abusiveness of the super-rich, this punch-packing page-turner deftly interweaves island history and legends about sirenas, “the lost souls of impure girls, flung into the dark and transformed by the ocean”.

The Redeemer

The Redeemer

Author: Victoria Goldman Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/07/2022

With a powerful foreboding energy The Redeemer thoroughly provokes thoughts and feelings. Journalist Shanna Regan investigates a series of vigilante killings with links to the local Jewish community. Written in the first person, Shanna is determined and courageous, along with the flip side that can bring, of being obstinate and headstrong. Her prickles initially created a barrier and I found myself viewing her from a distance, as her defences lowered I began to admire and root for Shanna. Her personality fills the pages and at times encourages an unsettling edge with echoes of sadness as she determines to find answers. As the jigsaw began to form and information filled in gaps, insight and recognition arrived in lightbulb moments. The key themes of identity and revenge hammer home with vivid concentration. In the interests of integrity I want to state that I know the author Victoria Goldman personally, but I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this novel as a Liz Pick of the Month. With an almost glowering intensity The Redeemer not only creates a chilling mystery, it also takes you into the heart of a Jewish community, and for me, opened up a new world of understanding.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
A Slow Fire Burning

A Slow Fire Burning

Author: Paula Hawkins Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

'What is wrong with you?' Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She's seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous. Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn't mean she's a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace? Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill. Look what you started. 

Audiobooks of the Month
Where Demons Hide

Where Demons Hide

Author: Douglas Skelton Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Where Demons Hide is a beautifully written crime novel that weaves together several compelling strands. I was pulled into the story straightaway by the atmospheric first chapter, with its vivid descriptions and supernatural undertones. I'm new to Douglas Skelton's books, and Where Demons Hide is the fourth book in the Rebecca Connolly series. Fortunately, the author has included plenty of backstory, so it didn't long for me to feel as though I knew the main characters very well. I loved how the book focuses not just on the crime investigations, but on the characters' personal lives, creating multiple layers. I was rooting for Rebecca as I found myself immersed in the emotional rollercoaster of her day-to-day life. The dark humour, intelligent plot and fast pace kept me intrigued all the way through. A gritty pageturner that can easily be read as a standalone - though by the end, I felt compelled to buy the whole series.  

The Bone Road

The Bone Road

Author: N.E. Solomons Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

I love it when a book that is written to entertain provides an insight into a world I am not familiar with or to places I have never been. This cleverly written thriller does both. As we learn about the world of competitive cycling, Solomons takes us on a descriptive journey through Serbia and the Balkans where we meet people who are still recovering from, and suffering the effects of, a war that only ended in 1995. Serbia, we discover, is a country of great beauty but with dark secrets born of a violent past. Combine a Wallender-style detective with a former Olympic cyclist and you have a recipe for fireworks. As the body count climbs, The Bone Road doesn’t disappoint.

Debut Books of the Month
Girl, Forgotten

Girl, Forgotten

Author: Karin Slaughter Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/06/2022

Fiercely relevant storytelling spearheaded by integrity carves out a slice of the past as it highlights the victim of murder. US Marshal Andrea Oliver’s first mission to protect a judge receiving death threats, is a cover to solve a 40 year old crime and prevent the release of a domestic terrorist. Best-selling Karin Slaughter is one of my go-to authors, she writes furiously readable books that not only thrill, they delve into the heart of what it is to be human. Girl Forgotten continues on from the fabulous Pieces Of Her and you really do need to read them in order to fully appreciate the story. Karin Slaughter so knows how to hook and spin your attention. She takes you back and forth in time, it’s almost painful to read, knowing that Emily has died, yet still experiencing her life. Reading witness statements from the first crime, years ahead in the future, cleverly merges the two time frames and brings the past even more vividly to life. Both storylines are incredibly strong, each demanding your full attention, each independently moving forward yet linked. The present day juggles the murder and death threats, while sitting in the background is the reason for Andrea’s assignment. Andrea’s new partner Leonard Bible is just fabulous, and brings some light-hearted moments into play. I really would like to see more of Andrea and Bible, and the ending suggests there may be more to come. A riveting and rewarding read, Girl Forgotten ensures you remain on full alert throughout. 

Star Books
The Dark Hours

The Dark Hours

Author: Michael Connelly Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

A CRIME BURIED FOR YEARS. AND ONE THAT'S JUST BEGUN... 'An authentic, topical and terrifying thriller: one of Michael Connelly's very best' THE TIMES 'Yet another superb thriller from a writer at the top of his game' SUNDAY EXPRESS 'Consistently excellent' MAIL ON SUNDAY * * * * * A MURDER YEARS IN THE MAKING A murder in the middle of a street party seems a senseless tragedy. But the victim had a dark past which came back to haunt him. THE DEEPER YOU LOOK Detective Renee Ballard connects the killing to an unsolved case last worked by ex-LAPD legend Harry Bosch. But then a new crime shatters the night shift... THE DARKER IT GETS The Midnight Men are a deadly pair of predators who stalk the city during the dark hours and disappear without a trace. Ballard once believed her job was to bring the truth to light. In a police department shaken to the core by protests and pandemic, both cases have the power to save her - or end her... * * * * * CRIME DOESN'T COME BETTER THAN CONNELLY: 'One of the very best writers working today' Sunday Telegraph 'The pre-eminent detective novelist of his generation' Ian Rankin 'The best mystery writer in the world' GQ 'A superb natural storyteller' Lee Child 'A master' Stephen King 'Crime thriller writing of the highest order' Guardian 'America's greatest living crime writer' Daily Express 'A crime writing genius' Independent on Sunday

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.

Not a Happy Family

Not a Happy Family

Author: Shari Lapena Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2022

The chilling Sunday Times bestseller perfect for fans of Knives Out. The new unputdownable thriller from the multi-million-copy bestselling author of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR. In this family, everyone is keeping secrets - even the dead. In the quiet, wealthy enclave of Brecken Hill, an older couple is brutally murdered hours after a tense Easter dinner with their three adult children. Who, of course, are devastated. Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you'd know. Wouldn't you?