We’ve missed you, Val McDermid

On the Radar — In contrast to last week’s magnificent seven books by crime fiction heavyweights, this week sees a mixture of debuts from younger writers and new offerings from veterans of the scene. Susan Hill, Val McDermid and Wilbur Smith, for example, have published a staggering 93 books between them, and are still going strong.

The Edge of NormalThe Edge Of Normal by Carla Norton
Carla Norton is a former journalist with a masters degree in creative writing. After early years as an editor, she took an interest in true crime, and wrote Perfect Victim, a searing account of a woman who claimed she’d been held as a sex slave – most of the time in a box – for seven years. The book was put on the reading list for the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit and became a New York Times bestseller. The Edge Of Normal is her fiction debut, but is firmly rooted in the horrific events described in Perfect Victim. The tale resonates very strongly, particularly in the light of recent real life sexual kidnappings by Josef Fritzl and Ariel Castro. Published on 10 October.
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Spiderwoman's DaughterSpiderwoman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman
When Navajo Nation Police Officer Bernadette Manualito witnesses the cold-blooded shooting of someone very close to her, the entire squad and the local FBI office are hell-bent on catching the gunman, including Bernie.  Regulations forbid eyewitness involvement, but with her husband Sergeant Jim Chee leading the investigation, Bernie was never going to sit back in this chase. Husband and wife soon discover a cold case involving his former boss and partner; retired Inspector Joe Leaphorn may hold the key, bringing them closer to the killer… and danger. Anne Hillerman is the daughter of legendary crime writer Tony Hillerman, who died in 2008. The publishers say, “Anne’s debut novel perfectly captures the tone and tension of Tony’s own works whilst still standing alone as a great first novel.” Available from 1 October.
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CorrosionCorrosion by Jon Bassoff
A mysterious Iraq War veteran with a horribly scarred face. A disturbed young man in a strange mountain town. A masked preacher with a terrible secret. Amidst a wave of violence, betrayal and horror, their three worlds will eventually collide in an old mining shack hidden away deep in the mountains. Author Jon Bassoff was born in 1974 in New York City and currently lives in a ghost town somewhere in Colorado. Corrosion might best be called ‘mountain gothic’ and – apparently – is drawn from the darkest corners of the human experience. It’s out now.
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ViciousCircleVicious Circle by Wilbur Smith
The 80-year-old veteran of many thrillers and adventures set in and around Africa, Smith has had a string of publishing successes dating back to When The Lion Feeds, first published in 1964. His tales have featured the Zulu Wars, the Boer War, World War I, the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, and the Sharpeville Massacre. However, Vicious Circle is set in the present. The actions centres around Hector Cross, a former security agent. When his family is threatened by some particularly nasty terrorists, he calls in favours from old colleagues, and pursues his enemies, first to the remotest parts of the Middle East, and then back again to Africa. Expect lashings of derring-do, bodice ripping and stomach-swooping danger. Vicious Circle is out on 10 October.
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Manhattan PuzzleThe Manhattan Puzzle by Laurence O’Bryan
O’Bryan writes conspiracy theory novels, and this is the third in the series, the previous two being set in Istanbul and Jerusalem, respectively. The Irish writer says, “I went to school in Dublin, drank way too much, studied English and history, then business, then IT at Oxford University. While a student, I worked as a kitchen porter in a club near the Bank of England. After that I spent 10 years working in the City of London, the creaking hub of world finance.” In his latest story, he creates an intriguing mix of genres. Imagine the entertaining nonsense of Dan Brown’s Holy Grail pursuits, stirred into a pot of all-too-realistic dirty deeds by corrupt London financiers. Available on 10 October, at just 99p on Kindle.
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cross_and_burn_final_ukCross and Burn by Val McDermid
After her last standalone novel The Vanishing Point, with Cross and Burn Val McDermid returns to two characters who have become fan favourites – psychologist Tony Hill, and DCI Carol Jordan. This is the eighth in the series, but many casual crime fiction readers will have met the pair in the TV series Wire In The Blood. The plot is reassuringly familiar, but with one savage difference. Yes, there is the usual psychotic murderer out there, but this time the killer’s victims all bear a striking resemblance to the beautiful and enigmatic DCI Jordan herself. Expect severe and grotesque violence, a complex story line, and the continuing ‘will they? won’t they?’ relationship between Tony and Carol. Available from 10 October.
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DeadlineDeadline by Sandra Brown
Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over 70 novels, and has sold roughly 80 million books worldwide. Her work has been translated into 34 languages. In Deadline, Dawson Scott, a journalist, has returned from Afghanistan, physically and mentally shattered. Despite his fatigue, he is drawn into a 40-year-old mystery. Old acquaintances in the FBI both help and hinder his progress as he tries to get to the bottom of the disappearance of former marine Jeremy Wesson, the biological son of the pair of terrorists who remain on the FBI’s most wanted list. In the course of his attempts to find the truth, he suffers great personal danger – both physical and emotional. Deadline is out now.
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A Question Of IdentityA Question Of Identity by Susan Hill
Strange Meeting was one of the finest novels of the 1970s, while the supernatural thriller The Woman In Black continues to scare the pants off people around the world in print, on stage and on screen. However, Susan Hill’s crime novels are less well known, and here we see the return of Inspector Serrailleur. In Duchess of Cornwall Close, a mixture of sheltered housing, bungalows and nice flats, elderly residents are moving in. They don’t notice the figure in the shadows. Someone who doesn’t mind the cold. Then, one snowy night, an old lady is murdered – dragged from her bed and strangled with a length of flex. DCS Simon Serrailler and his team are aware of bizarre circumstances surrounding her death, but they keep some of these details secret while they desperately search for a match. All they know is that the killer will strike again, and will once more leave the same tell-tale signature. The book is out today.
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