On My Shelf

ON MY SHELF . . . James, Turner & Pattison



ed-jamesEast London cop DI Steve Fenchurch makes a welcome return for the fourth book in this popular series by Ed James (left). It is part of urban folklore that attractive female students are sometimes tempted to use their charms to attract Sugar Daddies who will help with their fees and living costs. When one such young woman is found strangled in her bedroom, Fenchurch soon discovers that she was in the pay of a notorious city gangster. With his superiors poised to pounce on him at the first sign of a professional mistake, and his family in mortal danger, Fenchurch is faced with a no-win dilemma. If he persists in finding out who killed the young woman, he will attract incoming fire from very powerful people. If he just keeps his head down and allows the investigation to drift into the ‘unsolved’ file, his bosses will have him clearing his desk and locker before he can utter the word ‘sacked’. In For The Kill is published by Thomas & Mercer and will be available from 19 April in Kindle, paperback and MP3 CD.

ROGUE by JB Turner

TurnerThis is first in what promises to be a popular series with readers who love their novels spiced with the double-dealing and other shenanigans which are part and parcel of the work of American intelligence organisations.  Nathan Stone is a former CIA covert operative who has been critically wounded, and thought to be dead. But behind closed doors, he has been rehabilitated by a highly secretive government organization known as the Commission, given a new identity and appearance, and remoulded into a lethal assassin. His brief: to execute kill orders drawn up by the Commission, all in the name of national security. Turner (right) provides enough thrills to keep even the most jaded reader on their toes. Rogue is published by  Thomas & Mercer, and will be available in June.

SAVAGE LIBERTY by Eliot Pattison

Pattison-2I first came across Pattison (left) and his Revolutionary Wars hero Duncan McCallum when I was writing for Crime Fiction Lover. I reviewed Blood Of The Oak in March 2016, and you can read the piece by following the blue link. More recently, wearing my Fully Booked hat, I enjoyed Pattison’s Skeleton God, set in Tibet, light years away both in time and context from eighteenth century America. Savage Liberty brings us a further chapter in the eventful life of Duncan McCallum. The action begins in 1768. We are in Boston, where a ship from London has exploded, leaving the body parts of its crew and passengers scattered like flotsam in the cold waters. McCallum is a trained physician and his analytical mind soon detects the work of French secret agents. His investigations bring him onto extreme peril, however, and he finds himself in a jail cell accused of treason, with the hangman’s rope just days away. McCallum realises that his only hope is to escape and bring the true villains to justice. Savage Liberty is published by Counterpoint, and will be available in June


ON MY SHELF … Redmond, Rickman and Tully


redmondHighbridge, by Phil Redmond
To create one addictive TV soap might be considered just lucky. Creating two should evoke a few sharp intakes of breath. To be responsible for three…? Well. it ain’t gonna happen, is it? Yet it did, and with Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks under his creative belt, it was only a matter of time before write Phil Redmond (left) turned his hand to the crime fiction market. Set in the fictional town of Highbridge, Redmond spins a hypnotic yarn about two brothers who take different routes to avenge their sister’s death. Sean embeds himself in the cut-throat world of local politics where the law is ostensibly respected, but subverted in a hundred subtle ways. Joey goes Route One, and pursues his revenge within the criminal underworld where law and order are just random letters rearranged to make a word that no-one understands. Highbridge will be out in January, and you can pre-order here.

tulleyDown, But Not Out, by Gary Tulley
The first book in this series of crime novels set within the sweat and sawdust world of boxing was Seconds Out (March 2016) We were introduced to a gentleman – Paul Rossetti – who is described as “a plastic gangster”. The author (right) had a distinguished career as a coach and administrator in amateur boxing, but on retirement wrote two PI novels, Once Upon A Spook (2012) , and The Spook Who Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (2013). He now follows up Seconds Out with another saga involving Paul Rossetti and a boxer described as ‘his nemesis’ – Ronnie Callaghan. The story bobs and weaves its way through the murky and arcane world of men who try to beat the living daylights out of each other – and the criminal types who control them outside the ring. Down, But Not Out is available now, and is published by Matador.

phil-rickmanAll Of A Winter’s Night, by Phil Rickman
I make no apologies about naming this as my biggest up-and-coming release. I have been hooked by the Merrily Watkins novels since public library days, when I first discovered The Wine Of Angels in 1998. I believe Rickman to be one of our finest writers, with his unrivalled sense of landscape and history, and his ability to scare the pants of me without resorting to cheap shocks. Rickman is a modest man and may demur at my comparing him to Hardy in his awareness of the power of landscape, but he must put his hand up and acknowledge that he is very much the equal of the great M R James in the way he conjures up dread and menace using everyday objects and happenings. The Reverend Watkins, Rector of Ledwardine and Diocesan Deliverance Consultant returns in a wintry tale, where she must cope with the unwelcome convergence of a bleak funeral and a gangland shooting. Expect shivers up your spine, more peril for Merrily’s vulnerable daughter Jane, and a story that combines ancient menace, modern crime, and a totally believable cast of characters. All Of A Winter’s Night will be out on 5th January.


ON MY SHELF is a regular feature looking at recent and upcoming books which  will be of interest to crime fans.

JULY 2016


The History of Blood by Paul Mendelson
Sadly, the euphoria over Nelson Mandela’s Rainbow Nation has long since faded, and political and social reality has taken its place. The Republic is one of the most dangerous and crime blighted places in the world, and we take a grim journey through that reality, led by the beleaguered Colonel Vaughn de Vries and Don February of the Special Crimes Unit. Corruption is never far from the surface, and the scars of historic misdeeds are still raw and – in some cases – still bleeding. Buy The History Of Blood here.

When The Music’s Over by Peter Robinson
Twenty three books in, and one of CriFi’s most enduring – if not endearing – glum and introspective coppers, Alan Banks, now promoted to the dizzy heights of Detective Superintendent, shows no signs of retiring. His foil and sometime-soulmate Annie Cabbot is also still going strong, and the pair investigate apparently unconnected crimes. Cabbot’s is the brutal death of a teenage girl, apparently tossed from a moving vehicle like a discarded chocolate bar wrapper, while Banks wades into the murky waters of a historic allegation of sexual abuse involving a celebrity. Buy Peter Robinson’s latest novel here.

The Dead House by Harry Bingham
How can feisty, crazy, fearless and utterly adorable Fiona Griffiths still only be a humble Detective Constable? Only her creator, Harry Bingham, knows, but our girl is back for her fifth battle with the forces of evil. Fi suffers from Cotard’s Syndrome, a bizarre condition which is occasionally incapacitating, but also gifts the sufferer with startling insights. The ‘dead house’ of the title is a place where, in medieval times, corpses were laid prior to burial. A very modern murder challenges Fi, however, and her empathy with the dead takes her into places where modern malice and ancient evil combine to terrifying effect. Check out Harry Bingham’s Amazon page for more information about the startling DC Fiona Griffiths.

The Monster’s Daughter by Michelle Pretorius
Back now to South Africa. The root of the story lies not in the modern Republic, with all its contradictions and uncertainties, but in the even darker days at the turn of the twentieth century, when the Boer rebellion against British rule was put down with all the ferocity that a colonial power could muster. One of the least honourable contributions to world history by Britain was the invention of the concentration camp. In one such place, a British doctor conducts horrific experiments on prisoners. A century later it becomes horribly obvious that his work did not die with him. A young constable with the South African police becomes drawn into a case which will take her into a world where the reality is even worse than her nightmares. The Monster’s Daughter is out later this month.

A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnick
Despite the name of the main character, Coleridge Taylor, and the evocative cover, this is not a historical novel. OK. it’s set in the 1970s, but maybe that doesn’t count. Coleridge Taylor is a journalist. He is also an ex-cop, dismissed for an over-inventive approach to evidence. It’s the eve of the 1976 bicentennial, and the citizens of The Big Apple are drawn to the waterfront, where a whole fleet of replica tall ships are assembled to add to the spectacle. In this, the third of the series, Coleridge Taylor gets sucked in to a very modern murder mystery involving bricks of heroin, Chinese gangs and the traditional Mafia goons of New York City. A Black Sail will be out in USA later in the year.

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