Watch out, it’s the Peculiar Crimes Unit!

On the Radar — This week’s book report takes us to the US, Japan, and Iceland before heading to London where Bryant & May’s Peculiar Crimes Unit are looking into a case involving secret codes and witchcraft.

thedoll100The Doll by Taylor Stevens
US thriller writer Taylor Stevens arrived on the scene back in 2011 with The Informationist, a book that attracted the attention of Hollywood director James Cameron and is set to be turned into a film. It began a series that has been likened to Robert Ludlam’s Bourne novels, with a protagonist similar to Steig Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander from his Millenium trilogy. Vanessa Munroe is a woman with a troubled past and a strong survival instinct, and in this third novel, she’s going to need it. Kidnapped by an unknown adversary from a busy Dallas street, Munroe finds herself in an underground world that’s controlled by an unknown figure known as The Doll Maker. Women and girls are viewed as merchandise, but Muroe’s past has given her the skills she needs to survive. While looking for a way to escape, Munroe must also find out who her kidnapper is and why she was taken, but ultimately, she must also accept that she cannot save everyone. The Doll is out on 4 June.
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evilandthemaskEvil and the Mask by Fuminori Nakamura
Back in March last year, we reviewed Nakamura’s English language debut, The Thief, a novel in which our protagonist lives by his wits in the shadows. His latest book is Evil and the Mask and it sees a strange family tradition change a young boy’s life forever. When he was 11 years old, Fumihiro Kuki’s elderly father tells him that his purpose in life is cause pain and misery to a world that is beyond saving. From that moment the boy is trained to achieve this aim and to do so believing there will be no repercussions for his actions, that he is beyond the law, and he can live out any fantasy he chooses, no matter how many people he hurts along the way. However, as  his education progresses, Fumihiro begins to question his father’s wishes and starts to resist. Evil and the Mask is available to download on Kindle from 11 June and will be out in hardback on 27 June.
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blackskiesBlack Skies by Arnaldur Indridason
In 1997, Arnaldur Indridason introduced readers in his native Iceland to Detective Inspector Erlandur Sveinsson in Sons of Dust, a book that is yet to be translated into English. However, English speakers have come to know characters like Detectives Sigardur Oli and Elinborg via books that have been translated such as Jar City and Silence of the Grave. In Black Skies, it’s Sigurdur Oli who comes to the fore. He’s a man dissatisfied with his lot – he’s unhappy in his job and his relationship has hit the skids, but a school reunion increases his problems. Agreeing to go and talk to a couple of blackmailers who have targeted a friend puts him in the wrong place at the wrong time when he walks in and finds a woman beaten unconscious. When she dies in hospital, Oli is assigned the investigation, but he must do so without revealing the real reason that he was at the murder scene. Black Skies is already available in hardback and on Kindle, but is due for release in paperback on 6 June. Watch for our review.
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invisiblecodeThe Invisible Code by Christopher Fowler
When the wife of their greatest enemy begins to act strangely, Bryant and May of the Peculiar Crimes Unite determine that they must investigate. They believe someone may be trying to drive her insane, but she’s convinced that witchcraft is the cause. However, in doing so their attention is diverted away from a more pressing matter, the death of an old woman who’s body is found inside St Bride’s church. Prior to her death, two small children had been playing a seemingly innocent game of witch-hunter, in which they cursed the woman to die. Is her death a coincidence, or are darker forces at work? A brutal stabbing in a London park reveals a connection between the two investigations, which leads the pair to both Bedlam and Bletchley Park. This 10th Bryant & May mystery is out on 6 June.
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