At What Cost by James L’Etoile
No-one can accuse the author of a lack of experience of the darker paths taken by men and women when they cross the line which separates citizenship from criminality. L’Etoile has worked as prison warden, parole director, hostage negotiator and probation officer. Whatever is foul and dreadful in this world, he has probably seen it at first hand.
Now he has turned to fiction, and his debut novel tells the grim tale of a Sacramento detective – John Penley – who is working on the impossible balancing act between a demanding police career, and being father to a very sick young boy who urgently needs a new kidney. When his latest case involves a killer who eviscerates his victims, that is bad enough. But when the psychopath offers to provide Penley’s son with a new kidney – at a price – the cop is faced with a terrible dilemma. Crooked Lane Books – 13th December
Dead End by Daniel Pascoe
Pascoe is a retired oncologist, and he attracted good reviews of his first novel, The London Sniper, which came out in 2015. He is back in print with the saga of Matthew Crawford, and his traumatic attempt to find a daughter he never knew. Crawford fathered the child when he was still a teenager, but has gone on to lead a relatively normal family life. We pick up his story when he is about to make the traditional father’s speech at the wedding of his other daughter, Annabel. He speaks of his loves and loss, the personal tragedy of the death of his wife, Rachel, and some other family stories of joy, interspersed with the usual jokes
The long-absent Sophie is never far from his mind, however, and as he runs through the expected clichés, he decides to search for his missing child. That decision brings not only danger and disruption to him, but drags his long-lost child into a deadly war between drug dealers and corrupt politicians.
Book Guild Publishing – out now
Purged by Peter Laws
Laws is a member of a very exclusive club – that of Baptist ministers writing crime fiction with a touch of the supernatural. If he has fellow members who are reading this, please get in touch! We meet Matt Hunter, a cleric who has abandoned the certainties of religious doctrine for the far fluffier world of sociology.
Hardened CriFi buffs will know that there are few places on God’s Earth (other deities are available) more sinister and receptive to the powers of evil than an apparently tranquil English village. So it is that Hunter and his family take what turns to be an ill-advised holiday in the Oxfordshire village of Hobbs Hill. Hidden within the warm Cotswold stone, the thatch and the dreamy, drowsy torpor of rural England, there are several distinctly malevolent entities at work. A local girl disappears without trace, followed by another. Hunter is certain that something much darker than common criminality is at work and, despite police scepticism, he becomes involved in an investigation that will come to threaten his own sanity and the safety of his family. If you are a fan of John Connolly’s Charlie Parker, or Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins, this may well be your first ‘must-have’ of 2017. Allison & Busby – 16th February 2017
Rendezvous With Death by Gil Hogg
Gil Hogg, although living in the West London district of Fulham, is a New Zealander. His novel Rendezvous With Death is far from a debut, as Hogg’s first novel A Smell of Fraud was published as long ago as 1976. He returns with a story which begins in the explosive atmosphere of present day Pakistan.
Nick Dyson has abandoned his career as a barrister in London to act as personal assistant to a British diplomat – Robert Laidlow – in Islamabad. What seemed like a smart career move goes dramatically wrong when the diplomat is kidnapped. While the authorities are busy blaming the usual suspects – Islamic extremists – it dawns on Dyson that the criminals may in fact be working for a powerful European businessman with an implacable grudge against Laidlow and his family, and that his own head may be the next to roll.
Rendezvous With Death came out at in Kindle at the end of September and you can take a closer look plus a glimpse of Gil Hogg’s earlier books by visiting his author page. If you fancy a print version, then you can order one from the Troubador home page. Matador/Troubador – out now
Tokyo Nights by Jim Douglas
We are in present day Tokyo, and submerged in the frenetic noise, neon and night-time Nirvana of a city that rarely sleeps. The contrast between the brash and gaudy streets of the Japanese capital and the other-worldly, two-dimensional serenity of the country’s traditional image is probably lost on maverick ex-pat Charlie Davis. He takes a long term view of life – he lives for tomorrow rather than the next two hours, but when he becomes involved with Colin McCann, a reluctant PI hired to look into the death of a wealthy businessman’s daughter, his live-and-let-live philosophy comes under extreme pressure.
Jim Douglas is the pen name of a writing partnership between Jim Hickey and Douglas Forrester. Jim and Doug wrote together in their adopted city of Tokyo where Jim still lives. Doug returned home to Glasgow early in 2016 for medical treatment and to be with his family. He died in September 2016 shortly before the publication of this, his first novel, Hence the poignant dedication at the beginning of the book. Fledgling Press – just out now.