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THE FEAR INDEX by Robert Harris

Harris is best-known for his best-selling historical novels such as  Pompeii, Enigma, Fatherland and Munich, but here he is bang up to date with a thriller set in the cut-throat world of modern financial markets, where fortunes can be made and destroyed with a keystroke. Alex Hoffmann has developed an algorithm for playing the financial markets that generates billions of pounds – and feeds on one essential aspect of human nature – the tendency to panic. When his system is threatened by an intruder who breaches the elaborate security of his lakeside home, his life becomes a living nightmare of violence and paranoia. This is a new Penguin edition of the novel that originally came out in 2011, and is a tie-in with a forthcoming Sky mini-series.



Domestic Noir seems to be the go-to genre these days, and this looks as though it ticks all those particular boxes. Beth’s husband Oscar has disappeared after leaving a scribbled note – which appears to be an apology for something. As she tries to unravel the mystery of his disappearance – and the mysterious apology – she becomes immersed in a nightmare of recrimination, revenge and betrayal. Jo Jakeman was born in Cyprus and  worked for many years in the City of London before moving to Cornwall with her husband and twin boys. What His Wife Knew is published by Vintage, and will be available from 17th February



The story centres on Lucy, one of those women crime writers love to put at the heart of their stories. She has the lot: a beautiful home high on the clifftops, a devoted husband and two beloved children. Then one morning, tit all goes pear-shaped. Their family yacht is recovered, abandoned far out at sea. Lucy’s husband is nowhere to be found and as the seconds tick by, she begins to wonder – what if he was the one who took the boat? And if so, where is he now? As a violent storm frustrates the rescue operation, Lucy pieces together what happened onboard. Then she makes a fresh discovery and it is one which makes a nightmare into a reality.

Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, but now  lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. His debut thriller, The Memory Wood, was published in 2020. Out on 17th February, The Rising Tide is published by Penguin.



Set in the dying days of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership, this black – and bleakly funny – novel tells the tale of a Dennis Nilsen-like character who enjoys dismembering young men, and DCI Dave Hicks, a larger than life policeman determined to catch him. The killer – Clifton Gentle, DCI Hicks – and the next intended victim are on a collision course that Mason turns into a strange mixture of noir and slapstick.
This is from Vanguard Press and is available now


ALL THAT LIVES by James Oswald

I am a huge fan of the Inspector Tony McLean novels by James Oswald. I love the way that there is a often a  subtle hint of the supernatural about these stories, and there is usually some connection with historical events, which draws me in like a magnet. In this case, an archaeological dig at the old South Leith parish kirkyard has turned up a mysterious body dating from around seven hundred years ago. Some suspect that this gruesome discovery is a sacrifice, placed there for a specific purpose. Then a second body is unearthed. This victim went missing only thirty years ago – but the similarities between her death and the ancient woman’s suggest something even more disturbing.

Drawn into the investigation, Inspector McLean finds himself torn between a worrying trend of violent drug-related deaths and uncovering what truly connects these bodies. When a third body is discovered, and too close for comfort, he begins to suspect dark purpose at play – and that whoever put them there is far from finished. Published by Wildfire, this will be out on 17th February



I read, reviewed –  and thoroughly enjoyed – the first book in this series, The Custard Corpses, and so I was delighted to see that Chief Inspector Mason of Birmingham’s Erdington Police is once more prevailed upon to solve a seemingly impossible case. Called to the local mortuary where a man’s body lies, shockingly bent double and lacking any form of identification, Mason and his assistant O’Rourke find themselves at Castle Bromwich aerodrome seeking answers that seem out of reach to them. The men and women of the royal air force stationed there are their prime suspects. Or are they? Was the man a spy, killed on the orders of some higher authority, or is the place his body was found irrelevant? And why do none of the men and women at the aerodrome recognise the dead man? From MJ Publishing, this is available now.