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Milo’s crime picks for July

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Back once again, our guest columnist Miles of the wonderful book blog Milo’s Rambles. Every month he joins us with the top reads he’s discovered over the last 30 days. July was rainy. The Olympics got underway. And here are the crime books Miles is recommending…

Another month has gone by since my last round up and despite the inclement weather this summer is going by faster than a speeding bullet. Before we know it we’ll be rushing out and buying last minute Christmas presents, wondering what books to give to loved ones and friends. Talking of books here’s a very quick rundown of some of the titles that stood out for yours truly in July.

David Hosp tops the bill for me this month with the well-crafted thriller The Guardian. When a CIA informant from Kandahar is gunned down in a suburban area of Virginia outside DC, Special Agent Jack Saunders is tasked with uncovering a plot that could alter the fate of Afghanistan and unsettle a tepid peace in the Middle East. The storyline grips you from the very first page and although I wasn’t expecting it I absolutely loved the Afghan angle to this adventure, which is helped largely by a superb character in Akhtar Hazara.

The Guardian felt real, believable, both in story and content. Hosp isn’t afraid to push things to the edge and you never quite know how far the bad guys will go to glean a nugget of information. Leaving no stone unturned The Guardian is a brilliant thriller and with solid characterisation David Hosp has quickly become a favourite of mine.

Another favourite of mine is Amanda Kyle Williams, who yet again brings Atlanta to life with her second title, Stranger in the Room. Protagonist Keye Street, ex-FBI profiler and private detective, always looks out for those closest to her. But sometimes looking after herself is quite enough to handle. She’s teetering on the brink, not quite sure if she’s winning or losing in her battle with herself. But when her cousin, Miki Ashton, sees a stranger inside her house, it’s time for Keye to lend a hand.

Keye Street isn’t chasing cows this time around but she does pay a visit to a crematorium and who knows what she gets up to there. I’ll let you discover that. Skulking around in the dead of night with Neil, her trusty sidekick and marijuana-loving office assistant, the pair come across one of the characters of the book for me – Mary Kate Stargell – a cantankerous racist who just happens to enjoy cooking and just about eclipses Keye for a few pages! Stargell is a gem of a character and her interactions with Keye had me in stitches.

Stranger in the Room stands its ground confidently as a standalone but for a greater understanding of Keye’s past, her struggles with alcoholism, and her relationships then I urge you to take time out and read The Stranger You Seek too.

Other notable mentions for July include Tim Weaver’s Vanished and Ryan David Jahn’s The Dispatcher. Vanished is one of those books that has a little of everything for the most critical reader. It has pace, is relentless, it reads incredibly quickly with an all-consuming narrative, and it’s brutally intense. The book had me hooked from the very first page and allowed my imagination to run riot throughout, if there’s one book you should read this year it’s this one.

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