NTN: Ten to taste – debuts and indie releases

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We can’t review every book sent in to Crime Fiction Lover. There are so many new authors appearing, it’s hard to keep up. Some of their books are released via established publishers, others by the independent press, and thanks to the internet many authors can reach an audience by self-publishing online. We welcome the rush of new talent to the scene – we wouldn’t hold New Talent November if we didn’t – so we decided to catalogue some of the interesting material from new writers that we just haven’t quite managed to review. Below you’ll find ten books, each of which has an interesting twist that may grab your attention. If you’ve read any of them, do let us know what you thought in the Comments section below…

The Disappeared by Anthony Quinn
Irish journalist Anthony Quinn’s debut has been released by Mysterious Press, and he joins its roster of quality authors. The Disappeared centres on David Hughes, an ex-Special Branch agent, but he’s gone missing in contemporary Northern Ireland after looking into the cold case of Oliver Jordan, kidnapped by the IRA decades ago. Another former spy disappers after, curiously, placing his own obituary in a newspaper. Are the ancient hatreds of the region’s dark past being stirred up? Can Roman Catholic cop Celcius Daly negotiate the sectarian minefield of Protestant Ulster and solve this series of murders, digging up a past so many would sooner forget?
Buy now on Amazon

Missing Daughter, Shattered Family by Liz Strange
Missing Daughter, Shattered Family is author Liz Strange’s second book in her David Lloyd series. It won the Rainbow Award in Mystery for 2012 and was on the 2011 Independent Mystery Awards shortlist too. It’s unusual to find a gay detective in crime fiction, but that’s what we have here – David Lloyd has become a private investigator after leaving the police due to a horrific, homophobic attack. This time out he’s digging into a missing persons case and in doing so realises he has not dealt with what happened to him, and can no longer cope with his long-time partner’s fear of being honest about their relationship. This is both a mystery and a romance, and it’s not your usual crime fiction fare, to be sure.
Buy now on Amazon

Food of Ghosts by Marianne Wheelaghan
Tarawa is a remote a coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific. It’s peaceful – not the first place you’d expect to find a man stabbed to death, missing his eyeballs. Enter Detective Sergeant Louisa Townsend all the way from Edinburgh, coincidentally on the island and ready to help find the killer. She reckons the odds are in her favour – there are only 35,000 inhabitants after all. However, a rumour is circulating that the victim’s eyes were ritualistically eaten… then two more bodies are discovered. It could be cannibalism, Townsend has no forensics to rely on, and things are a lot darker than they should be on this paradise island. Author Marianne Wheelaghan actually lived on Tarawa for 5 years, fell in love with it, but used a tragic incident that happened there as the inspiration for her novel.
Buy now on Amazon

Stiff Arm Steal by AJ Stewart
Footballer’s Wives aside (a crime in its own right, surely), a sporting backdrop often provides a great setting for a mystery. Even Lawrence Block has written a golf-based crime fiction novel. But Stiff Arm Steal by AJ Stewart is for the gridiron fans out there. Here, BJ Baker’s prized Heisman Trophy (awarded to the top college football quarterback each year) has been stolen. Miami Jones, minor league baseball pitcher turned private eye, is the man to find it. Coming from two different sporting traditions there is friction between the two, and hunting the trophy down might prove to be harder than actually winning it. They’re joined on their South Florida romp by Jones’ partner and drinking buddy, and a beautiful deputy sheriff…
Buy now on Amazon

Slaughterhouse by Amaya Ellman
A year has gone by since the down to earth and friendly Kris Kartofski saw his marriage break down, and now he’s finally ready to start over again. He meets Janis, and the potential’s there. She invites him to a ranch near Fort Worth, Texas, to meet her family. However, they turn out to be very different than what he expected. Curiously, Kartofski is the only male character in the book. Although Slaughterhouse is set in Texas, author Amaya Ellman is English so it may be interesting to find out what she makes of the Lone Star State. She compares her psychological thriller to The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks, and Misery by Stephen King. You can read a sample chapter here.
Buy now on Amazon

Blue Ice by TD Gilbert
Action and a touch of humour come together in this story about PI Jackie Blue, who’s usual cases involve snapping photos of people suspected of insurance fraud. Things heat up for her though when she’s asked to investigate a diamond theft claim worth $1.9 million. What she uncovers is a multinational criminal operation. The supporting cast includes probation officer Rocky Venezuela and bounty hunter Hugh Barclay who join her on this quest to bust the ring of jewel thieves. Bullets fly, homes are ransacked, and the bodies pile up. The ending promises to surprise the savviest of readers, it says in the blurb. Blue Ice may appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, or JA Konrath’s Jack Daniels series.
Buy now on Amazon

Mad Dog House by Mark Rubinstein
Author Mark Rubinstein graduated with a business degree, served in the Army as a field medic, went to medical school and became a practicing psychiatrist. Now he’s a crime fiction author and has released Mad Dog House via Thunderlake Press. In Mad Dog House we meet Roddy Dolan, a successful suburban surgeon. But, he has a past, and one that nearly landed him in jail at 17. When he’s approached by an old friend about becoming a silent partner in a Manhattan steakhouse, he’s understandably wary. So he consults lifelong best friend Danny, who thinks it’s a vanity project. Roddy allows himself to be sucked in though, and discovers there’s a whole world behind the restaurant venture – Mafia bosses, Russian thugs, and shady dealings mean what looked a good thing soon turns into a monster.
Buy now on Amazon

Redemption by Will Jordan
Ryan Drake used to be in the British Army, but now he’s got his Green Card and is leading a CIA unit that tracks down missing agents. Admittedly this is more an action thriller than a crime fiction novel but it’s Will Jordan’s debut and he puts Drake through a high octane experience that begins with freeing a prisoner codenamed Maras, and bringing her back to the US. Tough as cracking a high security Siberian prison might seem, that’s just the beginning because soon Drake and Maras are on the run themselves, being hunted by his former CIA colleagues as the story takes off to Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Will Jordan is currently working on the second novel in the series, Sacrifice.
Buy now on Amazon

The Boss of Hampton Beach by Jed Power
Down and out due to cocaine use, Dan Marlowe is working as a bartender in the restaurant he used to own. He hopes his life is getting back to normal, but then two dead bodies are found in a boat that’s been wrecked at Hampton Beach pier. They were drug runners and Dan heads off to find the 200 kilos of powder – it’s worth a fortune and could help him get his life back on track. But he’s not the only one with that in mind. A Boston mobster, a New Hampshire dealer along with his girlfriend and muscle-man buddy, a DEA agent, and two policemen are also hunting down the loot. Interestingly, the real Dan Marlow, author of the Drake series popular in the 1960s and 70s, was the best friend of this writer’s father. Marlow named a character in one of his books Jed and now the favour has been returned.
Buy now on Amazon

Red Herring by JD Bowen
Since 2007 Georgia native JD Bowen has been self-publishing his books about ex-special forces hero Jon Archer, and Red Herring follows on from National Hate Crime and Hostile Takeover. This one seems like a timely read after the US election. In it a shady assassin is heading to the White House to take down a Democrat president whose health bill could ruin the fortunes of a powerful family. Red Herring is a fast-paced crime drama with a twist of politics and, as you might be able to guess from the title, plenty of surprising revelations.
Buy now on Amazon

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