Heart-racing high-octane and a happy place for many of us, let us help you find your next fuel-injected foray into the fields of battle, espionage, danger, heroism and even history rewritten. You’ll be over the waves, under the radar, up mountains, outside the law, beyond help, dicing with danger, battling monsters, rescuing the stricken, flying through flack, laying mines, playing political parlour-games, conning Congress, kidnapping commandos clashing with conquistadors and crossing swords with Crusaders... and all from the safety of your favourite chair.
Fans of historical military fiction should now be very familiar with the name Luke McCallin. Twice short-listed for the CWA Historical Dagger, he hails from a similar mind and skill-set as William Ryan and Philip Kerr and has acquired a reputation for producing accurate and entertaining novels featuring Gregor Reinhardt, an intelligence officer tasked with investigating serious offences involving military personnel. With three successful novel behind him, all set in WWII, McCallin has taken his character back to WWI, to the trenches and to German Society as it was at the time of the Kaiser. Read, be entertained and learn about events that influenced history. With the fire lit and a whisky on the arm of the chair, could there be a better way to spend an evening?
‘The Spy who Sank the Armada’ by David West is an exciting historical tale of espionage in a tumultuous time in European History. The start of a series that introduces us to Anthony Standen, whose interest in languages leads him to a career as a spy. After Anthony is trained he travels throughout the world to earn his fortune and prove to his parents that he can find success outside of a career in Law and return to provide for Francesca, a beautiful Italian girl he’s fallen for. An incredibly detailed and well-thought out book, the research into the historical events and characters throughout pays dividends as the reader is immersed in a fully fleshed out and authentic setting. Aside from the settings, it is clear that a great deal of research has gone into all aspects of this book including the languages that Anthony learns and the mathematics required for the ciphers. I enjoyed the plot, it has plenty of action and twists and turns as Anthony experiences both successes and hardships. A solid historical fiction, with plenty of intrigue I think that any fans of historical fiction would find this book entertaining. It’s been enjoyable getting to know all of the characters and the book sets up nicely for the instalment of the series, ‘Fire and Earth’. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘Fire and Earth’ by David West is an interesting mystery set in the 1600s, when heliocentricity (the idea that the earth orbited the sun) was considered heresy. When a number of priests are found dead on Saint’s days, burned and circled by a mound of earth, it is thought that the culprit may be one of these heretic, scientific thinkers. Employed to investigate is Sir Antony Standen, a retired spy with an open mind and a unique skill set. I enjoyed this story, I could tell that a great deal of research has been put into the story in order to ensure that the setting felt authentic, with historical events and figures interwoven into the plot. I found the lead characters, Sir Anthony Standen and his fellow detective Hugh, the exiled Early of Tyrone, were entertaining, although I did find Hugh’s Irish dialect to be from time to time, more akin to Yoda in phrasing than Irish “ With Francesca safe and sound you’ll be,” (p.19 as a small example). However, aside from bringing a bit of a smile to my face as I read, it didn’t detract from the story too much. The prologue did a very good job at drawing the reader in, being witness to one of the crimes we are about to see investigated raised lots of questions and naturally entices the reader to keep reading. In all I enjoyed the story, I can see the scope for more books connected to these characters and I would be interested in reading future books. I think fans of historical fiction, perhaps those that enjoyed ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and fans of mysteries more broadly would enjoy this book.
In Follett’s first contemporary thriller for more than a decade, he imagines the unimaginable, a cat and mouse game of brinkmanship between nuclear powers. Expertly researched and brilliantly crafted, this 800 page epic is unputdownable. It’s a cover-to-cover action-packed mammoth tale of weaving multiple interrelated story lines, with captivating characters and intriguing plots with tension, terror, heartache, love, betrayal. US President Pauline Green fights at home and abroad to prevent nuclear disaster as the book moves from Defcon 5, the lowest state of readiness, to Defcon 1, the brink of war. We follow the incredible work of Abdul Haddad, a spy working undercover with jihadis in Chad. Nearby, a beautiful young widow Kiah and her son Naji want to leave the shrinking shores of Lake Chad, escape their fate and travel illegally to Europe, no matter how terrifying the journey is with human traffickers. We fall for Tamara Levit a CIA operative attached to the American embassy in N’Djamena and her French counterpart Tab Sadoul, an attaché at the European Union Mission who are following the trail of a powerful group of drug-smuggling terrorists. In China, we support the machinations of Chinese spymaster Kai Chang, an ambitious senior government official battling against the old guard. Covert operations, terrorist activities, arms dealers, drug smugglers, human traffickers, government coups, military skirmishes – it has it all. And Ken Follett delivers it with aplomb. Hold on to your seats, it’s a bumpy rollercoaster ride!
This incredibly engaging and entertaining murder mystery set in 1938 just crackles with energy and would make a perfect Christmas read. Josephine Tey and DCI Archie Penrose spend Christmas at St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, a world famous film star and two deaths throw the festivities into disarray. This is the ninth in the Josephine Tey novels, however you can easily, and quite perfectly read it as standalone. Josephine Tey was a pseudonym used by writer Elizabeth MacKintosh, and just out of interest, her book The Daughter Of Time was named as the greatest crime novel of all time by the Crime Writers’ Association back in 1990. Using the real life crime writer Tey as one of the main characters works incredibly well, so do consider going back and starting at the beginning of the series with An Expert in Murder if you’ve not yet met her. The prologue for The Dead of Winter unsettles and creates intrigue before Nicola Upson sets snippets of information about Hitler and the war free to create a tone that settles over the novel.The characters are introduced with aplomb, St Micheal’s Mount and the weather are rather menacing, while the plot zips and darts along. A couple of maps also help proceedings (I love a good map!). Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month, if you love the Golden Age of Crime, and enjoy the thought of a Christmas mystery then I can wholeheartedly recommend The Dead of Winter to you.
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.”
It has been 15 years since award-winning Finnish copywriter Tuomainen launched his career as an author and in that time he has delighted readers and critics with 6 books that have seen him hailed by The Times as “the funniest writer in Europe,” and “the King of Helsinki Noir” by the Finnish press. It’s hard to really capture and express just how brilliant this man’s writing is, but imagine, if you will, Ian Rankin’s gift for crime thrillers channelled through the skew-wiff comic genius of Christopher Brookmyre, or to put it another way, think of Carl Hiaasen in thermals, Mukluks and a big, down parka for, yes, he is that good. To even think that there might be a tale to be told of a staid insurance actuary inheriting a problematic adventure park takes courage. To then be able to grip readers' imaginations for three hundred pages, to make them laugh so hard they soak the pages of the book by squirting tea from their nose and then make them weep so fiercely that the tears trickle down their thighs, takes huge talent. But there is also nigh-on writing genius here as, woven into what is essentially a crime thriller, albeit a raucous, rip-roaring comic one, is a genuine sense of pathos, a real understanding and expression of human frailties, the random doubts and failures, that make The Rabbit Factor such a wonderfully engaging and enduringly humane read. Be in no doubt, this is quality, top drawer, writing and storytelling of the sort that makes you feel good to be alive and oh-so-grateful to be literate.
In this her third dystopian thriller, Dalcher gives another chilling look into an alternative future where a woman and her daughter seek refuge in a women-only colony after the country sinks into total economic collapse. Darker than her other reads, but still female-centric and speculative, this tells the tale of widowed Miranda Reynolds and her sixteen-year-old Emma whose only hope for survival is Femlandia, a male-free colony set up decades earlier by Miranda's estranged mother. It's another twisty turny rollercoaster ride of emotion and thought-provoking themes. It's raw, it's disturbing in places, the characters are incredibly flawed and I flew through it at pace. Pulled in from the very first few pages and hooked until the end, for me Dalcher is firmly becoming the queen of speculative fiction.
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.
A thoroughly entertaining and epic slice of heroic fantasy fiction with battles and heroes aplenty, yet there is more to focus on here than initially meets the eye. With reluctance legend Kell Kressia, who for ten years has been tending his farm, sets out on a quest to save the land from an icy terror. Author Stephen Aryan’s debut was a finalist in the David Gemmell Morningstar Award, and The Coward definitely put me in mind of the late and great author. There is a solid backbone of decency, with the traditional action, adventure and swordplay on offer, this book also looks at cowardice, heroism, friendship, and love. Set in a world that I felt on the edge of already knowing, the landscape is almost recognisable, yet different enough to create interest. The characters have some depth while still being larger than life. This is a lively yet simple tale, one that you can wholeheartedly throw yourself into, and there are some unexpected moments to help you along the way. The plot sings along and makes this a read you can roar through. It’s a thundering introduction to a new series, and you can sign me up for book two already! A heady hit of escapism, The Coward is rollicking-good read.
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.
Winner of the Munhakdongne Novel Award, South Korea's most prestigious literary prize Cabinet 13 looks exactly like any normal filing cabinet. Except this cabinet is filled with files on the 'symptomers', people whose weird abilities and bizarre experiences might just mark the emergence of a new species. But to Mr Kong, the harried office worker who spends his days looking after the cabinet, the symptomers are just a headache; from the woman whose doppelganger broke up with her boyfriend, to the man with a ginkgo tree growing from his fingertip. And then there's that guy who won't stop calling, asking to be turned into a cat... A richly funny and fantastical novel about the strangeness at the heart of even the most ordinary lives, from one of South Korea's most acclaimed novelists. Translated by Sean Lin Halbert
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...
‘Iliba Uravels’ by Ed Crutchley has a futuristic storyline, where constant surveillance via wristwatches monitor everyone’s interactions, crime is at its lowest levels, and yet we have Detective Inspector Hubert Plon on hand to handle any murders that do arise. As he begins a budding yet secretive relationship, he is called to investigate the murder of a man that had been developing artificial intelligences connected to the country-wide surveillance, Iliba, of his own. This is an interesting dystopian mystery, futuristic in plot but still containing plenty of mystery, action and twists to suit crime fiction fans. The plotline is well written and I found the characters to be well-developed, with each new piece of information taking me down a path I wouldn’t have guessed. With the technology held within the smart watches a lot of us wear today, it’s not difficult to believe that the creation of something like Iliba could be possible and I feel the author did a brilliant job of setting the scene in a way that is uncanny yet highly believable. An interesting mystery with a dystopian twist that I feel would appeal to fans of either genre.
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
Let Bernard Cornwell sweep you back to Arthurian times, or into the heat of battle with Richard Sharpe. Sail the high seas with Patrick O'Brian. Raise your pulse-rate with Michael Crichton. Experience the adrenaline of combat with Andy McNab. Feel the clear and present danger of Tom Clancy's thrilling Jack Ryan stories... Live on the edge with Lee Child's itinerant hero Jack Reacher? Navigating your way through all the twists and turns of this roller-coaster genre can be an adventure in itself.
So, let us help you find your next fuel-injected foray into the fields of battle, espionage, danger,heroism and even history rewritten. From Dan Brown, Tom Clancy and Ken Follett to Wilbur Smith, David Gibbins and Stieg Larsson, you’ll be over the waves, under the radar, up mountains, outside the law, beyond help, dicing with danger, battling monsters, rescuing the stricken, flying through flack, laying mines, playing political parlour-games, conning Congress, kidnapping commandos clashing with conquistadors and crossing swords with Crusaders … and all from the safety of your favourite chair.