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THE POSTMAN DELIVERS . . . Leigh & Lowery

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A HOLIDAY TO DIE FOR by Marion Leigh

Marion LeighBorn and educated in the United Kingdom, Marion Leigh (left) has lived in France, Germany, Indonesia, Canada, the USA and, latterly, Spain. She has also spent time in Australia and the Far East, India, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Her debut novel, The Politician’s Daughter, was the first in a series of adventure thrillers featuring feisty globetrotting Petra Minx of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Dead Man’s Legacy followed, but now Petra is in South Africa, accompanying her buddy, Carlo, to his cousin’s wedding. She becomes involved in the hunt for the attacker of two teenage girls in Cape Town and finds among her foes, in no particular order, a wicked step-brother, a phony priest, and a reluctant bride. This is out now, from Troubador Publishing. To find out more about Marion, you can visit her website.

THE MOSUL LEGACY by Christopher Lowery

The author is best known for his trilogy of best-selling thrillers set against the turbulent background of the African diamond industry.

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Christopher_Lowery-745x1024Here, though, Lowery (right) turns his attention to an equally violent centre of rage and recrimination – post-Sadam Iraq. This hard hitting and meticulously researched thriller focuses on two contrasting pairs of Iraqis. The first pair are bitter and vengeful jihadists who travel west determined to wreak havoc with bomb and bullet on a world they blame for the destruction of their homeland and an assault on their religion. The other two. a married couple – Hema and Faqir Al-Douri – flee the Mosul death trap with only one intention –  to find peace and safety in Western Europe. The Mosul Legacy is published by Urbane Publications and will be out on 27th September.

THE POSTMAN DELIVERS . . . Brabazon, Curtis & Heary

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THE BREAK LINE by James Brabazon

The Break LineIn his debut thriller, James Brabazon enlists that familiar but effective trope, the elusive and anonymous killer who does unpleasant things for his country’s government, despite the knowledge that he ever gets caught, his paymasters will, like the biblical Peter, deny him thrice. Max McLean is one such ‘invisible man’ but when his bravest and most reliable colleague falls foul of the official machine, Max tears up his contract and goes to the violent wastelands of Sierra Leone in search of the men who have destroyed his best friend. The Break Line is published by Michael Joseph/Penguin and will be available on 26th July.

 

WHEN I FIND YOU by Emma Curtis

WIFYThere is a bona fide medical condition called face blindness, and sufferers lack the vital mental ability to retain data about another person’s appearance in order to recognise them at a future meeting. Laura is one such, but she can relate people to clothing. When she wakes up, hungover after a woks Christmas bash, she remembers that she slept with a man in a pink shirt. Or did she? When she realises that the shirt on her bedroom floor is blue, her troubles are only just beginning. Transworld Digital publish the Kindle version of When I Find You, and the paperback, from Black Swan/Penguin will be available on 9th August.

THE CONCORDAT by Sean Heary

ConcordatCentral to the story is an all-powerful Russian President who sits like a spider at the centre of a web which is designed to snare unwary political and military flies across the world. Sounds familiar? Well, maybe, but this guy is called Alexander Volkov, and he plans to boost his power by revealing a potentially damaging historical pact between the Vatican and Hitler’s Germany. Lorenzo Rossi is the Head of the modern day Vatican police and his quest to limit Volkov’s malign intentions leads him into clear and present danger. If you are minded to grab this thriller, it is available now in paperback and as a Kindle, courtesy of Troubador Publishing.

 

 

ON MY SHELF . . . Levine, McCauley & Perks

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BUM DEAL by Paul Levine

Bum Deal017Paul Levine is an American author of crime fiction, particularly legal thrillers. He has written two series, known generally by the names of the protagonists: Jake Lassiter and Solomon vs. Lord. In Bum Deal, published by Thomas & Mercer and out now  old football injuries, ostensibly healed, may have left Jake Lassister a terrifying legacy. He has begun to suffer crushing headaches and episodes of memory loss. Does Lassiter have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the fatal brain disease?

That’s the backdrop of Bum Deal in which Lassiter, after two decades as a criminal defence lawyer, switches teams and becomes a prosecutor. Why the move? Is he burned out?  Or is the reason he’s switching teams more alarming? Have all those concussions come back to haunt him? Dr. Melissa Gold, a neuropathologist, thinks so. She prescribes experimental treatments intended to stop, or at least slow, the progress of his traumatic brain injury.

Despite the health scare,  Lassiter is appointed to prosecute a prominent Miami surgeon for killing his wife. Only problem, there are no witnesses, no fingerprints, no DNA, no weapon, not even a body. How will Lassiter even prove that the missing woman is dead, much less that her husband killed her? Looming over Lassiter is a greater risk than merely losing a case. As the trial approaches, his symptoms become more severe and the jury’s verdict becomes the least of his worries.

THE FAIRFAX INCIDENT by Terrence McCauley

 

The Fairfax Incident016Terrence McCauley is an enthusiastic contributor to Thuglit, which describes itself thus:

..”the short fiction magazine that’s been kicking crime fiction’s ass since 2005. Offering eight punches to the gut, six times a year.”

Readers will not be surprised, then, to hear that McCauley’s latest novel is a violent thriller set in the maelstrom of prohibition era New York City. Charlie Doherty is a disgraced cop who has used his influence and street-smarts to set up a PI business. When a rich widow walks into his Manhattan office and asks him to prove that her husband’s suicide was actually murder, Doherty lifts his eyes to the heavens, thanks all the Irish saints he can remember, and dreams of the many ways he his going to enjoy the widow Fairfax’s fat cheque. Investigating the apparent suicide of Walter Fairfax, however, wipes the grin form Doherty’s face as he is forced to confront some of the most implacably evil men not just in New York, but much further afield.

The Fairfax Incident is published in paperback and as a Kindle by Polis Books

NIGHT DRIVER by Marcelle Perks

Night Driver015Marcelle Perks is no novice writer, but with earlier titles such as Incredible Orgasms: Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and Secrets of Porn Star Sex: Brilliant Ideas for No-holds Barred Pleasure, this thriller signals a temporary change of direction. Perks lives and works in Germany, and it is there that we meet Frannie, an English expat, heavily pregnant and with her marriage on the rocks. Having learnt to drive in a bid to boost her self esteem, she takes to deserted early-hours roads to build her confidence at the wheel. Fate takes a hand, however, and when her path crosses that of Lars Stigelegger, a homicidal truck driver, Frannie is drawn into a world of trafficking, prostitution and violence. Pre-publication comments suggest that Night Driver is:

♦ Tom’s Midnight Garden as a road movie with a serial killer thrown in.
♦ Duel for the post-Brexit age.
♦ A gripping Euro drama with a shocking twist.

The novel is based on the true crime case of Fritz Haarman, Germany’s most notorious serial killer. Night Driver is out on 2nd August from Urbane Publications.

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THE POSTMAN DELIVERS . . . Allen, Brown & Jewell

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IT’S A DEPRESSING THOUGHT, but another week will see Midsummer – and thereafter the steady drip, drip, drip of the days getting incrementally shorter. Still, there’s Wimbledon, the World Cup and Test Cricket still to come – and some pretty impressive looking books on offer. Let’s start with:

THE POLISH DETECTIVE by Hania Allen

Hania-Allen_CarolineTrotter-Photography_2017Detectives come in all nationalities these days. Anya Lipska in her Kiszka and Kershaw series has explored the Polish angle, while one of the most formidable female operators in fiction, Victoria Iphigenia Warshawski is, of course Polish on her father’s side. Now, Hania  Allen (left) introduces us to DS Dania Gorska, described as “a stranger in a foreign land.” Crime however is multi-lingual and knows no national boundaries, and Gorska is assigned to the Police Scotland Specialist Crime Division in Dundee, on the banks of the River Tay. The Polish-born police officer becomes involved in the investigation of a bizarre series of killings which seem connected to a druidic cult.The Polish Detective is published by Constable and will be out in paperback on 9th August.

PRICE OF DUTY by Dale Brown

Dale BrownThis international military thriller also has a Polish connection. A despotic Russian president has built a devastating new weapon, and its first strike is against Warsaw, via malware which destroys the country’s banking system. As the rest of Europe’s financial world goes into a fatal tailspin, the President of The United States has to meet fire with fire, and she calls in flying ace Brad McLanahan and his deadly Scion team to thwart the ambitions of the megalomaniac Gennady Gryzslov. Price of Duty, by Dale Brown (right) was previously published in hardback and Kindle, but will be available as a Corsair paperback from 5th July.


WATCHING YOU by Lisa Jewell

 

Lisa JewellWhen Josephine ‘Joey’ Mullen – plus her new husband –  return from four years working abroad with nowhere to stay, they are grateful for the opportunity to crash in Joey’s brother’s house in Bristol, just until they get themselves settled. Joey’s older brother Jack is a respected consultant heart surgeon, with a staid and rather disapproving wife. As Joey looks for work, she becomes interested – too interested – in Jack’s next-door neighbour. Tom Fitzwilliam is a successful Head Teacher, brought in to re-invigorate a failing school. He is twice Joey’s age, but in spite of husband Alfie’s charm and good looks, she becomes obsessed with the fifty-five year old. What follows is a gripping and tense study in recklessness, obsession- and murder. This psychological thriller from Lisa Jewell (above left) will be published in all formats on 12th July.

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THE POSTMAN DELIVERS . . . Heaton and Whitelaw

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KNOXLEY HALL by Eddie Heaton

This gritty police procedural is acted out against the backdrop of the ruinous London riots of 2011, and also focuses on what remains an unresolved scandal – the historic allegations of paedophilia among the great and the good of British political life. Terry DeHaviland has made his mark as a journalist by digging for dirt in the fertile ground of the celebrity secrets, but when he is murdered, Detective Sergeant Todd has to risk his career to find the killer, who is at the beck and call of some of the most powerful – and ruthless – people in the land. Knoxley Hall, by Eddie Heaton (below left) is published by Matador and is on sale now.

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HELLCORP by Jonathan Whitelaw

There has to be something satisfying about a book whose first page describes how the Pope, tired after a long day’s infallibility, trudges back to his private apartment and lets rip a luxuriously long and relieving fart. That being done, however, his life becomes a whole lot more complicated. One hell of a lot, one might say, as he is visited by none other than his adversary, The Devil. Back on earth to solve an ancient crime, he of the scaly tail leaves The Vatican reeling in his wake before blundering his way through twenty-first century Scotland in this highly original – and occasionally scabrous – black comedy from Jonathan Whitelaw (above right). Hellcorp is published by Urbane Publications and will be available in early July.

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ON MY SHELF . . . May 2018 (2)

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LONDON, TOKYO, ROME, RURAL ENGLAND, WASHINGTON DC – and TRANSYLVANIA! Anyone fancy a round the world trip via the pages of crime and mystery thrillers? If so, stay tuned. We are hardly ten days into May, and the intriguing books keep thudding onto my front door-mat.

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Kill Angel

rocambolesqueTHEY SAY THAT YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN – and reading the Amazon description of Dazieri’s novels I came across the amazing word Rocambolesque. As ever, Google had an answer of sorts, and I am now waiting for the opportunity to drop the word into casual conversation with my friends and family. That aside, Dazieri returns with another case for detectives Torre and Caselli. An express train from Milan arrives in Rome, but several of its passengers and train crew won’t be disembarking, at least without the help of medical teams, stretchers and body bags. This is Italian Noir at its finest, and not for the faint of heart. Published by Simon & Schuster, Kill The Angel is translated by Anthony Shugaar, and is out now.

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I’LL RISK A SMALL WAGER WITH YOU. I say a word, and you respond instantly with another word. Yes, I know, it’s that old word association game associated with bogus psychiatrists and psychotherapists. Anyway, I have written two words on a slip of paper, and I win if either is the word you come up with. Ready? OK, here goes…

“TRANSYLVANIA”

VVIf you said either “Dracula” or “Vampire”, I win. But maybe you’ve been reading the novel by Irish-Hungarian actress and poet, Vivienne Vermes? If so, you’ll know that her novel The Barefoot Road definitely doesn’t involve teeth, cloaks, garlic or unconventional blood transfusions. It dos however, involve blood which is shed by violence. A young woman is found near a Romanian village. She is unconscious, half -starved, and barely alive. She is from an ethnic group which were brutally expelled by the ancestors of the present villagers. Humanity temporarily triumphs over tribal bigotry and she is nursed back to health, but when she begins a relationship with one of the villagers, and a child disappears, the embers of old hatreds burst into flames. The Barefoot Road is published by Matador, and is available as a Kindle or a paperback.

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ON MY SHELF, MAY 2018 . . . Kent, Michael, Weaver & Wignall

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AFTER A BLISSFUL – AND VERY HOT WEEKEND IN FRANCE – where sun cream and hay fever tablets were de rigeur, it’s back to a very cold earth with a bump. Maybe a squelch would be more accurate. Today is the fabled first day of May, and last night the central heating was on full blast, and my over-confidence that the electric blanket could be laundered and stowed away for the season was severely punished. Still, there are always books to keep me warm, even if they look destined to be read curled up on the sofa in a warm room rather than under the verandah with an ice-tinkling glass of something cold and juniper tinged close to hand.

WHAT WE DID by Christobel Kent

WWDTeachers taking advantage of their unique position of trust is nothing if not topical, and few teachers can become so connected to their pupils’ progress and personality as music teachers. In Christobel Kent’s latest domestic thriller we meet Anthony Carmichael, one such person. The student he abused has now grown up and married. Bridget has a loving husband, a delightful son, and a business that demands her full attention. When Carmichael reappears, the fences protecting her comfortable life are torn down, and events take a sinister turn. Published by Sphere, What We Did is out on 17th May.

CORRUPTED by Simon Michael

CorruptedCharles Holborne is a brilliant and successful barrister specialising in criminal cases, and his work brings him into contact with the most corrupt and manipulative people in 1960s London. It will be no surprise to learn that these characters are not all associates of the notorious Kray twins, but men and women who are normally seen on the other side of the justice system. The deeply psychotic Ronnie Kray has already had a terrifying influence on Holborne’s life, and if the barrister thought that the episode was over, he is very much mistaken as he becomes involved in a sex scandal that threatens the very government of the country itself. Corrupted is published by Urbane Publications and will be available on 21st June. I was very impressed with an earlier novel in the Charles Holborne series, The Lighterman, and the review can be read here.

YOU WERE GONE by Tim Weaver

YWGTim Weaver’s investigator David Raker is now a well established member of fictional PI royalty in British fiction, and he is just that little bit different. His speciality is finding people – whether they wish to be found or not. This is the ninth in the series and, with existing fans well aware that Weaver is a master of plot surprises, readers new to the series are presented with another audacious premise. Raker’s late wife – repeat late wife – reappears and accuses him of faking her disappearance and death. With the police suspecting him of the crime, Raker is faced with a baffling conundrum which will ruin him if he fails to find the answers? Is this woman a clever and convincing opportunist, or does the solution lie in a breakdown of his own sanity? I have been a fan of the Tim Weaver/David Raker partnership for a good while – read why  by checking out my review of I Am Missing. The latest case for David Raker is out on 17th May and is  published by Michael Joseph.

TO DIE IN VIENNA by Kevin Wignall

TDIVIt seems there is nowhere quite like Vienna for mystery, intrigue and international back stabbing – both literal and figurative. For so long the major crossroads between East and West, the Austrian city once again is the backdrop to a dangerous game of bluff and counter bluff and deception. Freddie Makin is a surveillance expert who is paid to watch ‘people of interest’ and report back to his paymasters. His problem is that this a risky profession; powerful people are likely to feel threatened, and when their discomposure reaches a certain level, they will lash out. After following a suspected Chinese intelligence agent, Makin is now the hunted man. Who is trying to kill him? What has he learned that has pushed his name to the top of the kill list? Thomas and Mercer are publishing To Die In Vienna on 14th June.

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THE POSTMAN DELIVERS . . . Bartram, Connolly & Hall

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THE TANGO SCHOOL MYSTERY by Peter Bartram

PBWelcome to Brighton, England – where they do like to murder beside the seaside…Want to know what it’s like when a quiet romantic dinner ends in murder? Ace reporter Colin Crampton and his feisty girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith are tucking into their meal when Shirley discovers more blood on her rare steak than she’d expected.

And once again Colin is on the trail of a big story that can only end in more murder. Colin reckons he’s cracked the story when he uncovers a plot involving a sinister figure from the past. A Tango Academy seems to lie at the heart of the conspiracy.

But nothing is quite what it seems as Colin peels away the layers of the mystery. He tangles with a cast of memorable characters including a professor of witchcraft, the former commander of an army mobile latrine unit, and a tango instructor with two left feet. Join Colin and Shirley for another madcap mystery in Swinging Sixties’ Brighton, where the laughs are never far from the action. The Tango School Mystery is out now, and a full review will be posted on https://fullybooked2017.com very soon.

THE WOMAN in the WOODS by John Connolly

JCCharlie Parker – crime fiction’s most haunted private investigator – is back. As fans of the Portland, Maine detective know, death isn’t just part of the his natural human life cycle – it often assumes corporal form and walks alongside the living. The remains of a young woman are uncovered when a tree is uprooted, and when the body is examined, it is discovered that she had given birth shortly before her death. A Star of David has been carved in the bark of a tree, and Parker is hired by a Jewish lawyer to learn if the death has any anti-semitic overtones.

A mysterious – and  deadly – man named Quayle is also keen to learn more about the dead woman, but even more anxious to discover what became of the new-born child. Along with his companion – a creature named Mors who is truly from hell – Quayle’s path is destined to cross that of Parker. Charlie’s deadly pals Louis and Angel are in attendance, but Angel is there in spirit only, as he is recovering from an operation to remove a deadly tumour. Louis cannot comprehend why his partner has been chosen by the Cancer God, and his incomprehension turns to anger, which he vents on a young man who is unwise enough to have Confederate flags flying from his truck. The Woman In The Woods is published by Hodder & Stoughton and is out now.

OUR KIND OF CRUELTY by Araminta Hall

AHObsession, deception, emotional perversion, sexual mania, psychological sadism…? Yes, indeed. Araminta Hall ticks all of those toxic boxes in her eagerly awaited new thriller, which tells the tale of Mike and Verity. At the very heart of their unusual relationship is a game of seduction and danger, but with Verity’s impending marriage, the game has to end. At least it would in any normal relationship, but of all the adjectives that could be applied to what Mike and Verity get up to, the word ‘normal’ comes way, way, way down the list. So, what happens? Death is what has to happen, but the Grim Reaper seldom walks alone.

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Our Kind of Cruelty is published by Century; it will be available as a Kindle on 19th April, in hardback on 3rd may, and in January 2019 as a paperback.

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PHILIP KERR . . . 1956 – 2018

philip-kerrDUE TO THE AWFUL NEWS that Philip Kerr has died, the current prize draw for a copy of Greeks Bearing Gifts will be suspended for the time being. I will be writing a tribute to Philip, one of our finest writers, in due course. The competition will be re-run later in the year. People who have already entered will have their names carried forward.

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