From the Mona Lisa to Maori detectives

2 Mins read

On the Radar — Our book report this week includes the crime fiction debut of an Emmy nominee, Bitter Lemon Press introduces us to the godfather of New Zealand’s crime fiction scene, we have Scandi crime fiction written by a German, and Philadelphia detectives Byrne and Balzano are back to catch a very demented killer…

angelThe Mona Lisa Speaks by Christopher Angel
Christopher Angel might be a name more familiar to our US readers as the writer/director of This Is Not A Test a satire about domestic terrorism. Now he’s turned crime novelist and in his debut book, Mona Lisa Speaks, we meet Robertson Ross, a Canadian IT expert who’s been hired by the Louvre to update their security system. Arriving in Paris, he meets and falls in love with Mathilde, an art dealer who happens to be up to her neck in debt to one of France’s most dangerous crime lords – Jacques Renard. In order to save her – and their unborn child – Robertson must steal the Mona Lisa and swap her for a perfect copy. For Robertson the robbery isn’t his biggest problem, it’s knowing who he can trust afterwards and he needs to channel all his skills if he is to keep them all alive. The Mona Lisa Speaks is out 6 May.
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Death on Demand by Paul Thomasthomas
Our New Zealand-based readers will already be familiar with the work of Paul Thomas, where he’s known as the godfather of crime writing. Bitter Lemon Press is now keen to introduce him to a new European readership. Meet Tito Ihaki, a Maori cop who may not be able to play police politics well enough to secure himself a promotion, but he certainly has a way with the ladies, an uncanny instinct for the truth, and a stubborness not to let things go when he’s investigating a case. Ihaki’s been called back to go over a cold case that got him into deep trouble the first time it was assigned to him. A strange twist finds him hunting a hitman. The body count is mounting and the calls for him to be taken off the case are getting louder. Could an enigmatic female suspect hold the key? Death on Demand is out now.
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wagnerLight in a Dark House by Jan Costin Wagner
Jan Costin Wagner is a German author whose previous books The Winter Lions, Ice Moon and Silence have all been translated into English. Although he’s German, his wife is Finnish and so fans of Scandinavian crime fiction might well be interested in his latest, which is set in Finland and focuses on detective Kimmo Joentaa. It’s a strange case for our hero – a Jane Doe who was lying in a coma has been murdered, and it seems her assailant wept on the sheets that lie around her. The tears are one of the only clues Joentaa has to work with. Perhaps identifying the woman will lead to her killer? Light in a Dark House is out on 18 July.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Stolen Ones by Richard MontanariMontanari
We first met them in The Killing Room – Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are back, and they’ve been called to a very bizarre murder scene. A man’s body on a park bench with a railroad spike in his head. Five years ago, the infamous Philadelphia State Hospital was destroyed by fire. It had been known as a warehouse for the criminally insane, but on the night of the fire one man never left – Luther. By night he goes hunting his prey in the backstreets of the city. By day, he’s in its catacombs beneath the city streets killing them. Could Byrne and Balzano be on the hunt for a killer linked to the warehouse? The Stolen Ones is out on 18 July.
Pre-order now on Amazon

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