Darkness, death and wine. Yes?

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On the Radar — This Thursday our book report features the crime fiction debut of Sunday Times historical fiction reviewer Nick Rennison, as well as the welcome return of Crime Writers Association outgoing chairman Peter James with another novel in his series set in Brighton. Read on, and update your reading pile…

carversquestCarver’s Quest by Nick Rennison
Writer, editor, bookseller and Sunday Times reviewer Nick Rennison is probably better known within historical fiction circles. However, he’s about to make his mark in the crime fiction genre with a new amateur sleuth joining the ranks. It’s 1870 London, and amateur archaeologist Adam Carver and his assistant, Quint, have just received a young female visitor at their Doughty Street lodgings. The pair soon find themselves heading off to Greece in search of a lost ancient text that may reveal the whereabouts of a treasure hoard belonging to Phillip II of Macedonia. However, this is a hunt that’s fraught with danger. Two people have already been killed and there’s political unrest gripping the country. Carver decides to join forces with his former Cambridge tutor, but this is a mystery where nothing is as it seems, culminating in a shocking conclusion at a hilltop monastery. Carver’s Quest is out 1 June.
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deathinthevines100Death in the Vines by ML Longworth
Judge Antoine Verlaque and Commissionaire Paulik receive an urgent call which sees them heading down to Provence for their third case. Olivier Bonnard, owner of the Beauclaire winery, is devastated by the discovery of a theft at his vineyard, and the loss of a cache of priceless, rare vintages. Not long after, Gilles d’Arras reports the disappearance of his wife Pauline, with her body subsequently being found by Bonnard at the vineyard. An intriguing little case for our duo, which is out on 28 May.
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darkcompanion100Dark Companion by Jim Nisbet
Reprinted and released in the UK as a paperback, Nisbet’s 2006 novel Dark Companion was quite a success on the indie scene for its San Francisco-based author. At 144 pages, it’s short, but perhaps not so sweet. Bannerjhee Rolf is a scientist working for a pharmaceuticals company, but when it’s downsized his world is suddenly thrown out of control. Getting involved with his neighbour Toby Pride, along with his junkie girlfriend, is a mistake waiting to happen, especially as he’s now a fugitive from justice. This is a cautionary tale with a sting in its tail.
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deadmanstime100Dead Man’s Time by Peter James
Few authors are as enthusiastic about the genre, nor have done more for it in recent years, than Peter James. His Brighton police detective DS Roy Grace is back for a ninth outing in Dead Man’s Time. A robbery at a secluded mansion leaves its elderly occupant dying and Grace on the hunt for the killer, who also also taken a stash of valuable. However, it’s one priceless items that has the woman’s family ready to exact their own brand of justice. Within days of being assigned the case, Grace finds himself on a bloody trail into the world of antiques, all the way back to 1920s gangland New York. Peter James’ Not Dead Yet was our contributor Lucy Conlon’s top book of 2012. Dead Man’s Time is out on 6 June, and if you buy it from Tesco you’ll get access to an exclusive video of the author.
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