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Tony Parsons

#TAKEN . . . Between the covers

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OK, so Liam Neeson and Luc Besson got their anti-Albanian-gangster campaign in first, but Tony Parsons’ version has a hashtag, and only two citizens of the Adriatic republic bite the dust during DC Max Wolfe’s latest investigation. So, what do we have? Fans of the previous Max Wolfe novels The Murder Bag (2014) The Slaughterman (2015) The Hanging Club (2017) Die Last (2017) Girl On Fire (2018) can look away for a moment during a quick bio of DC Wolfe. He lives in a flat overlooking Smithfield Market. He is a single parent to daughter Scout (as in To Kill A Mockingbird), and has a dog called Stan, to whom he is devoted. Wife Anne is vaguely in the background, but is more concerned with her looks, career and latest boyfriend than she is about her daughter. The Wolfe household is run by a benevolent Irishwoman called Mrs Murphy.

Taken#Taken kicks off, appropriately enough, when a young ballet dancer, Jessica Lyle, is snatched from her borrowed car just yards from the gated luxury home she shares with another girl. From here, Wolfe and his alcoholic boss DCI Pat Whitestone face a veritable University Challenge of questions. Their starter-for-ten is to decide if Jessica was actually the intended victim. Although her father is a retired copper who may have run up an impressive list of enemies, isn’t it more likely that Jessica was mistaken for her flatmate, Snezia? After all, Snezia is not only a dancer of a different kind from Jessica (think ‘gentlemen’s’ clubs, tiny thong and shiny pole) but she is the mistress of fabled former gang boss Harry Flowers. Jessica was driving Snezia’s car when she was taken. Isn’t this just another example of the stupidity of hired thugs?

As if Wolfe doesn’t have enough on his plate, he is forced to cover for his boss when she gets herself into a whole world of trouble. He is far from being a stupid man, but makes assumptions about the Lyle abduction which lead him down a succession of dark alleys, with Whitestone’s obsession with nailing Harry Flowers adding more heat than light as he gropes for the truth.

Parsons takes us on a white knuckle ride through London’s gangland, a place where unpredictable violence à la Ronnie Kray is a marketable commodity, and luxury homes on the Essex fringes are paid for by dark deeds committed in the shadows cast by mountains of wrecked cars in scrap dealers’ yards. Lovers of London will be entranced by some of the locations, including a ghostly disused underground station and the spectacular mortuary extravagance of Highgate West cemetery.

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Amid all the thuggery, armed police raids and visits to some of London’s least-visited curiosities, Parsons (above) finds space and time to deal with Wolfe’s tortuous relationship with his estranged wife. The writing here is full of emotional intelligence, sensitivity, perception, and not without pain. Wolfe’s devotion to his daughter, Scout, could not be more of a stark contrast with Anne’s insouciance, and yet there is still a sense that, to paraphrase Bobby McGee’s un-named companion, he would trade all his tomorrows for a single yesterday. Those who are familiar with Parsons’ best-seller Man and Boy will know that he is writing from the heart.

#Taken is published by Cornerstone/Century and will be out as a Kindle on 1st March, and in April as a hardback. If you click on the image below it will take you to a video of Tony Parsons talking about the book, and reading the first chapter.

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ON MY SHELF . . . Late January 2019

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The TBR pile is beginning to look menacing, but that’s fine. It’s January. It’s bleak outside. The rain sluices against the window panes. The central heating is working a treat, so all is good. How do I find the time? It’s called being retired, and I can thoroughly recommend it. So, in alphabetical order of author, here we go.

RUN AWAY by Harlan Coben

harlan-cobenOne of the more reliable tropes in crime fiction, and one that never fails to hit a nerve, is the one about the father whose daughter is taken from him by fate, circumstance or – memorably in the case of Bryan Mills/Liam Neeson – by the bad guys. In this case, however, Simon Greene has lost his daughter to a more complex enemy – drugs, disenchantment and mental instability. Greene’s wife has had enough of the wayward Paige and has shut her out of her life, but Greene never stops looking. And then he finds her. Emaciated, filthy, and addicted. His determination to follow her down into her own private hell and bring her back is a terrifying journey through New York’ dark side, and a stark portrait of human obsession. Century will be publishing Run Away on 21st March, and there’s plenty to read about Harlan Coben on the Fully Booked website

TOO CLOSE by Natalie Daniels

claraNatalie Daniels is the pseudonym for screenwriter, author and actress Clara Salaman who starred as DS Claire Stanton in the long running British TV cop show The Bill. Her talent as a writer is on display here in a psychological drama about a woman who wakes up in a secure mental hospital, her hair torn out in clumps, emaciated and with no memory of how she got there. What is the connection between Connie’s present state and the friendly lady she met in the park watching their children play? Can psychiatrist Emma Robinson untangle the twisted knots that make up Connie’s memory, and come anywhere near to rationalising what Connie has done? Transworld Digital brought out Too Close in November 2018 as a Kindle, but people who like to get their hands on the printed page can get a paperback version on 7th March.

THE PASSENGERS by John Marrs

john-marrs-author-imageIf you are long in the tooth and a bit ‘old school’ like me, you may well share my bafflement at the concept of driverless cars. It will all end in tears, I say, and this entertaining mixture of crime fiction and SciFi may add weight to my argument. Eight driverless cars set off on their separate journeys. The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two who are travelling in separate vehicles – and a suicidal man. What could possibly go wrong? Someone hacking into the IT system which controls these vehicles is precisely what goes wrong, with predictably disastrous consequences. Marrs  is the author of best sellers The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, Welcome to Wherever You Are and Her Last Move. The Passengers will be out in Kindle on 1st April, and there will be a paperback version from Del Rey at the end of May.

TAKEN by Tony Parsons

tony_parsonsThere are few modern writers who know London as well as Tony Parsons, and his intrepid London copper Max Wolfe gets to explore the many nooks and crannies, foibles, eccentricities – and dark places – of England’s capital in the course of his investigations. When a gangland revenge kidnapping goes spectacularly wrong, Wolfe is drawn into the nightmare world of London’s underbelly, and he is pitted against men for whom power, money, sex and horrific violence are simply tools of their trade. I am a huge fan of Tony Parsons and his Max Wolfe novels, so while you wait for Taken to appear –  on 18th April –  check out my reviews of Die Last and Girl On Fire.

 

NO ONE YOU KNOW by Michelle Richmond

michelleEllie Enderlin’s life has been blighted by the unsolved murder of her sister. Lila’s death cast its black shadow over her parents, too, but when Ellie finds her sisters notebook what she reads opens up the possibility that Lila’s killer may, at last, be identified. Knowledge, however, rarely comes without a price, and as Ellie reconstructs her sister’s life – and death – she comes to realise that when heavy stones are lifted, there may be unpleasant things scuttling around underneath. Set in San Francisco, this first came out in 2008, and second hand copies can be picked up fairly easily, but this is a brand new paperback reissue, and is out now,

 

KARIM, KING OF ENGLAND by Baz Wade

karimThis is a futuristic political thriller which takes as its subtext the anxieties many British people share about the rise and rise of Islam in the commercial, educational and social life of the country. Readers will not need subtitles to recognise the real-life palimpsest of this story, where a dazzling English princess bears a child whose father is a wealthy middle-eastern playboy. Karim is that child, and when he returns to England after a Muslim upbringing in Dubai, he becomes involved in a political and social struggle which threatens to engulf the country, and turn his golden dreams into ashes. Karim, King Of England came out late last year and is readily available.

 

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GIRL ON FIRE . . . Between the covers

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The story begins in a kind of deathly silence. A silence not brought about by the absence of noise, but by the inability of anyone to hear the screams of the dying, the crash of falling masonry, and the desperate and distant howl of emergency sirens. The people can’t hear, either because their ears have been rendered temporarily useless by a massive explosion or, more simply, because they are already dead. London copper DC Max Wolfe has been on a shopping trip to buy a new backpack for his daughter, and his bad luck has placed him smack dab in the middle of a shopping London mall as an emergency services helicopter is brought down by a drone, presumably operated by terrorists.

AGOFWolfe survives, and shoulders his way into the hit team which raids a nondescript terraced house in Borodino Street in East London. Their target? To capture two Pakistani brothers who have adapted simple commercially available drones into weapons of terror. Needless to say, the raid does not go according to plan. The lead police officer is shot dead at the outset, by one of the brothers disguised in a niqab. He is eventually shot dead, as is the remaining brother. But there are questions raised about the death of the latter. Was he shot as he was trying to surrender, or was he simply assassinated by a vengeful police marksman? And where are the two ex-Croatian hand grenades which informers say had been sold to the Khan brothers?

The Borodino Street incident becomes something of a cause célèbre. Characters all-too-familiar to us from contemporary real life step into the limelight. We have a charismatic English orator, whose message is that ‘enough is enough’, and now action rather than words is the only way forward. We have a high profile human rights barrister who clearly senses that the Borodino Street killings will be yet another notch on his adversarial gun.

Playing along in the background, like a melancholy country soundtrack, is the heartache of Max Wolfe’s personal life. He is long separated from his wife, but brings up his daughter Scout, and tries to be the best dad he can. When his former wife and her new husband decide that Scout will be better off with them, Wolfe is faced with the most terrible of dilemmas. Does he simply let Scout go into the affluence and normality of a new family, or does he fight the request, in the full knowledge that whatever the court decides, Scout will have to go through a nightmare?

Parsons011The novel frequently holds you by the hand – no, make that puts you in an arm lock – and takes you to places you would rather not go. Parsons (right) is not someone with a well stocked cupboard full of tea lights, bunches of flowers and anodyne pleas for togetherness. He is not going to link arms with anyone and place these tributes at scenes of murder and carnage. Least of all will he, via Max Wolfe, be tweeting Je Suis Borodino Street any time soon. Some might say that for a humble DC, Max Wolfe certainly seems to get about a bit, but this is an irrelevant criticism, because what he thinks and sees are essential to the story. Wolfe is a a man of deep compassion and perception. Not only is his narrative reliable – it is painfully accurate and candid. Readers have, of course, the option of averting their gaze or thinking about gentle deaths in Cotswold villages, solved by avuncular local bobbies. Those who choose not to turn away from this brutal autopsy of Britain – and specifically London – in 2018 will not, I suggest, feel rejuvenated, life-enhanced or particularly optimistic by the end of this novel. Rather, they will follow the emotional journey of the celebrated wedding guest:

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone; and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom’s door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn.

If there were any doubts before, then this powerful novel will confirm that Tony Parsons sits in his rightful position among the top echelon of contemporary British writers. Girl On Fire is published by Century and will be available on 8th March.

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THE POSTMAN DELIVERS … Hall & Parsons

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OUR KIND OF CRUELTY by Araminta Hall

AramintaI had the pleasure of meeting Araminta Hall (left) recently at a publisher’s ‘do’ and so I was doubly delighted when a copy of Our Kind of Cruelty arrived at Fully Booked Towers. It is due to be published later this year, and it concerns a couple, Mike and Verity, whose relationship features a deadly game called the Crave. Mike describes the rules:

“The rules of the Crave were very simple. V and I went to a nightclub in a pre-determined place a good way from where we lived, but entered separately. We made our way to the bar and stood far enough apart to seem that we weren’t together, but close enough that I could always keep her in vision.”

Verity basically makes herself very visible, catching the eyes of any lone male who might be interested, and then drawing him into her web with her stunning looks and overt sexuality. Then, the game kicks in:

“We have a signal: as soon as she raises her hand and pulls on the silver eagle she always wears around her neck I must act. In those dark throbbing rooms I would push through the mass of people, pulling at the useless man drooling over her, and ask him what he was doing talking to my girlfriend.”

When the relationship eventually sours, and Verity needs to move, she finds to her cost that the perverse twist in her relationship with Mike cannot be simply cast off like an unwanted piece of clothing.

Sounds a cracker, doesn’t it? The bad news is that you will have to wait until May to get your hands on a copy, but I can guarantee it will be worth the wait.

GIRL ON FIRE by Tony Parsons

Tony PI may as well continue the shameless name dropping and say that I was lucky enough to meet Tony Parsons (right) too, at the same Cornerstone  event where I met Araminta Hall. He was full of fascinating background information about the mysterious and hidden world beneath The Old Bailey in London – the setting for an earlier DC Max Wolfe novel, The Hanging Club. Now, Max Wolfe returns with another London based case, but this time the stakes have ratcheted even higher. There is a very heated argument playing out on social media just now about what kind of city London has become, with acid attacks, knifings and terror threats becoming – some would say – commonplace. As topical as you like, Girl On Fire has terrorists using a drone to bring down an aircraft on a crowded London shopping centre, and in the ensuing chaos, Max Wolfe finds himself in clear and present danger. The book is due out in March, but I am going to pull rank and read my copy in the next few days. Why? Four words sum up Mr Parsons – top books, top bloke.

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COMPETITION . . . Win DIE LAST by Tony Parsons

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“This is compelling stuff from one of our best crime writers, and his anger at the utter disgrace of modern slavery drives the narrative forward. Die Last is a novel that will hook you in and keep you turning the pages right to the end.”

That was the Fully Booked verdict when we reviewed the hardback edition of this novel by London author Tony Parsons. You can read the full review here, but when you’ve done that, how about entering our prize draw to win a mint copy of the forthcoming paperback edition of Die Last?

You have two ways to get your name on the list. Send an email to Fully Booked and put the words DIE LAST as the subject, or go to the Fully Booked Facebook page and simply “like” the post. COMPETITION CLOSES 10.00pm GMT, Sunday 14th January. The links are below.

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if the email link plays up, we’re at fullybooked2016@yahoo.com

 

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CORNERSTONE CELEBRITIES (and a cracker of a competition!)

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I was lucky enough to receive an invite to Crimenight, an event hosted by Cornerstone, which is part of the Penguin group and one of the most successful commercial imprints in the UK. It was a chance to rub shoulders and swap yarns with some of the biggest names in crime fiction – and a couple of people who have a foot on the first rungs of the ladder.

Back L-R: John Harvey, Phil Redmond, Anthony Horowitz, Tony Parsons, Simon Kernick
Front L-R: Araminta Hall, Selina Walker (Publisher, Century and Arrow), Amy Lloyd, Lisa Jewell

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Getting the celebrity name-drop out of the way first, it was brilliant to be able to shake hands and chat with Tony Parsons, one of my favourite current UK crime writers – check out the review of his most recent Max Wolfe novel Die Last, and you can see why. He is a genuinely nice guy and right up at the top of my list. Was I starstruck? Well, yes, just a little, because in addition to Tony, John Harvey, the creator of Charlie Resnick and Frank Elder, was in attendance, as was thriller specialist Simon Kernick, award-winning producer and screenwriter Phil Redmond (Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks look pretty good on his CV),and Lisa Jewell, who has a string of best-selling domestic thrillers like The Third Wife and  I Found You under her belt. You can win a copy of her latest, Then She Was Gone, at the end of this feature.

The amazingly versatile Anthony Horowitz was another of the guests who has featured on Fully Booked before. Horowitz, as well as having millions of us glued to the small screen on Sunday nights with his brilliant Foyle’s War series, and writing the best selling Alex Rider novels aimed at young adults, has also written Sherlock Holmes adventures and stand-alone CriFi. Take at a look at our review of The Word Is Murder, his most recent novel.

OKOC007It was a privilege to talk to two authors who represent the next generation of fine crime writers. Amy Lloyd is from Cardiff, but her debut novel is set far, far away in the badlands of Florida. The Innocent Wife tells the story of a convicted killer whose claims to innocence attract the attentions of the worldwide media – and those of Samantha, a young woman from England. She is obsessed with his case and, after an intense relationship based on letters, she leaves home and marries him. It is only when the campaign for his release is successful that Samantha’s problems begin in a deadly fashion. Amy, by the way, has already won the Daily Mail and Penguin Random House First Novel Competition with The Innocent Wife.

OKOC006Araminta Hall is no novice author, as she has written successful psychological thrillers such as Everything and Nothing. Her latest novel Our Kind Of Cruelty is due to be published in 2018, and it concerns a couple, Mike and Verity, whose relationship features a deadly game called the Crave. Mike describes the rules:

“The rules of the Crave were very simple. V and I went to a nightclub in a pre-determined place a good way from where we lived, but entered separately. We made our way to the bar and stood far enough apart to seem that we weren’t together, but close enough that I could always keep her in vision.”

Verity basically makes herself very visible, catching the eyes of any lone male who might be interested, and then drawing him into her web with her stunning looks and overt sexuality. Then, the game kicks in:

“We have a signal: as soon as she raises her hand and pulls on the silver eagle she always wears around her neck I must act. In those dark throbbing rooms I would push through the mass of people, pulling at the useless man drooling over her, and ask him what he was doing talking to my girlfriend.”

When the relationship eventually sours, and Verity needs to move, she finds to her cost that the perverse twist in her relationship with Mike cannot be simply cast off like an unwanted piece of clothing.

TSWGLisa Jewell knows a thing or three about locating the strings that pull on a reader’s senses, particularly those of anxiety, sympathy and tension. In Then She Was Gone she tweaks these strings to maximum effect with the story of a woman whose life is shattered when her fifteen year-old daughter disappears without trace or reason. Ten years pass and, while Laurel will never come to terms with Ellie’s disappearance, she has learned to live with the numbness. Her life seems to be taking a turn for the better when she is begins a relationship with an intriguing man called Floyd. The intrigue, however, turns to shock when she meets his young daughter – who is the spitting image of the her missing Ellie.

To win a hardback copy of Then She Was Gone, simply email us at the address below, putting Lisa Jewell in the subject box, or go to the Fully Booked Facebook page and ‘like’ the post. The winner will be drawn from all entries received. The competition closes at 10.00pm GMT on Sunday 8th October. On this occasion, we will be unable to send the prize to the USA due to postal costs.

https://www.facebook.com/Fully-Booked-1636117530014098/

fullybooked2016@yahoo.com

 

 

DIE LAST … Between the covers …

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Tony Parsons has passionately held political views, and he takes no prisoners in this searing account of how human life has become a mere commodity in the biggest criminal racket ever to infect British society. Worse than drugs, more damaging than financial fraud and with a casualty list that makes the Kray twins and the Richardson brothers look like philanthropists, the trafficking of people into Britain is a growth industry which attracts the investment of evil men and women, and pays guaranteed dividends – in blood money.

DLHis London copper, DC Max Wolfe, becomes involved when a refrigerated lorry is abandoned on a street in London’s Chinatown. The emergency services breathe a huge sigh of relief when they discover that the truck is not carrying a bomb, but their relaxed mood is short-lived when they break open the doors to discover that the vehicle contains the frozen bodies of twelve young women. The bundle of passports – mostly fake – found in the lorry’s cab poses an instant conundrum. There are thirteen passports, but only twelve girls. Who – and where – is the missing person?

One of the young women shows a flicker of life, and she is rushed off to hospital, but hypothermia has shut down her vital organs beyond resuscitation, and she dies with Max Wolfe at her bedside. He discovers her true identity and vows to bring to justice the people responsible for her death, the people who brought her from poverty in Serbia, the people who promised her that she would find work as a nurse.

The search for the slavers – and the missing girl – takes Wolfe and his colleague Edie Wren to the hell on earth that is the makeshift migrant camp near Dunkerque. They discover a brutal racket run by a group of anarchists posing as voluntary workers, but police attempts to infiltrate the network – whimsically called Imagine – end in tragedy.

Wolfe feels that he has blood on his hands, but this makes him all the more determined, and the deeper he digs, the more convinced he is that someone more powerful and with a much bigger bank balance than the hippies of Imagine is at the heart of the operation. From the mud, despair and violent opportunism of the Dunkerque camp Wolfe follows the trail to millionaire properties in central London and the influential men and women whose lifestyles reek of privilege and wealth.

tony_400x400Max Wolfe certainly gets around for a humble Detective Constable, but he is an engaging character and his home background of the Smithfield flat, young daughter, motherly Irish childminder and adorable pooch make a welcome change from the usual domestic arrangements of fictional London coppers with their neglected wives, alcohol dependency and general misanthropy. Parsons (right)  is clearly angry about many aspects of modern life in Britain, but he is too good to allow his writing to descend into mere polemic. Instead, he uses his passion to drive the narrative and lend credibility to the way his characters behave.

The plot twists cleverly this way and that, and Parsons lays one or two false trails to entice the reader, but in the end, a kind of justice is done. This is compelling stuff from one of our best crime writers, and his anger at the utter disgrace of modern slavery drives the narrative forward. Die Last is a novel that will hook you in and keep you turning the pages right to the end. Your natural disappointment at finishing a terrific book will be tempered by the excellent news that Max Wolfe returns in 2018 with Tell Him He’s Dead. You can grab a copy of Die Last from all good booksellers, or by following this Amazon link.

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PAPERBACK PICK … The Hanging Club

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Tony Parsons has created an intriguing character in the shape of DC Max Wolfe, and Thursday sees the paperback release of his London based thriller, The Hanging Club.

When the video of an apparent execution is posted online, DC Max Wolfe and officers of the Major Incident Team, along with thousands of online viewers, watch in horror as the kitchen stool is kicked out from under the feet of a Pakistani taxi driver, and he chokes to death, swinging by an improvised noose.

thcThe random murder of an innocent man? Not exactly. Mahmud Irani was part of a gang of men who groomed, raped and abused a number of white teenage girls. He served a jail term which many believe was too short, considering his crimes.

Another video surfaces. A handful of masked executioners use the same location, apparently deep underground somewhere. The hanged man? A young city trader who killed a boy cyclist, served a few months in jail, and then returned to his job, which had thoughtfully been kept open for him.

Wolfe and the MIT realise that they have a vigilante group on their hands, and their search for the culprit takes them to some of London’s hidden places, including the eventual location of the hangings. A little research on Google reveals that the surprise underground setting still actually exists, and is in remarkable good state.

The Hanging Club is out on Thursday 23rd February, published by Arrow. Watch out for our forthcoming review of Die Last, the new Max Wolfe story, coming soon.

THE POSTMAN DELIVERS …Ewens, Kavanagh & Parsons

Dear God, I hate the winter and all its dismal,dripping, dank, defeated dreariness. (enough alliteration already! – Editor) In my youth, distant though it now is, I was a great fan of the stories of Billy Bunter, written by the wonderful Frank Richards, aka Charles bb_among_the_cannibalsHamilton. The tales were strewn with classical and biblical references which, in those days, most of us understood. One of my favourites was used whenever Bunter was at low point in life, but then, miraculously, found a forgotten toffee in his pocket, or perhaps an unguarded slice of chocolate cake in the common room. Richards would say, “but for Bunter, there was Balm in Gilead.” This meant, of course, that the woes of the world inhabited by The Fat Owl of The Remove were, temporarily, eased. Gilead is a hilly region in modern day Jordan, and the balm was a herbal medicine known to the inhabitants in biblical times.

My ‘Balm In Gilead’, particularly at this time of year, could be described as deliverance by delivery. ( Fret ye not, I have exhausted the ‘d’ page of my Bloggers Dictionary) Three lovely books arrived this week. One has been out for a while, but by the time the other two are available, Spring will hopefully have sprung. So, after the lengthy preamble, to the books.

davidrewensDavid R Ewens (right) lives and works in Kent, and Fifth Column is the fourth book featuring PI Frank Sterling. We are in the world of international skullduggery, but it isn’t all first class lounges and dangerous blondes. Sterling says:

“People wonder what a PI gets up to. Most of the time, the work is really tedious. It means a lot of hanging around and getting involved in some of the more sordid aspects of human behaviour. It can be really dangerous too – like the time I got banged up in a cellar in a Flanders farmhouse and tortured with a cigarette. But sometimes it’s interesting and exciting. And fifth-columnone of the best things about it is that I can pretty much do as I damn well please, and that wasn’t the case when I was on the job and had a sergeant or inspector breathing down my neck. One thing is certain. I was never a team player so how I currently earn my living suits me just fine…”

Now, the former police officer is entrusted with foiling an impending terrorist atrocity, and so we can assume that his days of hanging around and doing nothing particular are – temporarily – over. The books is already available, and you can check out buying options here. It is worth saying that the paperback edition is beautifully printed and bound and has a very classy feel to it. Fifth Column is published by Grosvenor House Publishing.

killer-on-the-wall“April, come she will,
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain.”

So sang Paul Simon in 1966, and most of you will have to wait until then to read the latest book from Emma Kavanagh. We reviewed – and loved – her previous book, and you can read why it was so good by clicking the link to The Missing Hours Now, we travel north from Herefordshire to the rugged grandeur of Northumberland, and Hadrians Wall. Emma Kavanagh (below) is a professional forensic psychologist, and she has put this experience to good use by relating the story of Isla Bell, a specialist who is trained to get into the minds of serial killers. She has a very special expertise, though. As a teenager, she found three bodies propped up against the crumbling remains of the great Roman defensive rampart. The killer was eventually found and convicted, but for Isla, years on from that trauma. there are more deaths, and she has to face the prospect that the killer has returned. The Killer On The Wall is published by Arrow, and will be out on 20th April.

Author Emma Kavanagh

tony-parsons-autho_2905921bDC Max Wolfe has become established in the crime fiction firmament, thanks to his creator, Tony Parsons (left). Of the previous book in the series, The Hanging Club, I wrote:

“I am a sucker for a good London setting, and Parsons doesn’t disappoint. Wolfe’s little rooftop flat within sight and sound of St Paul’s Cathedral is a delight, and the eventual location of the hangings is a complete surprise. I finished The Hanging Club in just a couple of long sessions, such was its grip.”

One of the reasons I admire Tony Parsons as a writer is that he is not afraid to get to grips with the undoubted problems in many of our big cities caused by foreign gangs, imported criminal networks, and the resuscitation of an die-lastabomination that we thought we had seen the back of in the nineteenth century – slavery. Parsons doesn’t flinch from portraying evil for what it is, but neither does he preach. Wolfe’s latest case starts when a refrigerated lorry is found abandoned in London’s Chinatown. Inside are twelve women. Twelve corpses – frozen to death. But in the cab of the lorry are thirteen passports. Where is the missing woman? Max Wolfe’s determination to solve this conundrum takes him to darker places than even his world-weary soul could ever have imagined. Die Last is published by Century, and will be available on 6th April.

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