Jockeying for a bestseller

On the Radar — If books were racehorses, who would you bet on? Today we bring you champion jockey AP McCoy’s crime writing debut, but it’s up against a whole stable of thoroughbreds. Patricia Cornwell, Michael Connolly, Graham Hurley and more. In fact, I don’t even think we have an also-ran this week…

Taking The FallTaking the Fall by AP McCoy
The late Dick Francis pioneered the jockey-turned-novelist genre, and he was followed by John Francombe. Now it is the turn of Anthony Peter McCoy, better known to his legion of followers as AP McCoy. The Irishman has been the best National Hunt jockey in Britain for a decade, and is famed for his courage and resilience in the face of countless falls and injuries. He comes across in the media as intelligent, articulate and honest, so perhaps a writing debut is not unexpected. Duncan Claymore is a talented rider whose ex-trainer father has been disgraced by jealous rivals. Career or vengeance? This is the stark choice facing Claymore. Published on 7 November – watch for our review soon.
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King and MaxwellKing and Maxwell by David Baldacci
Well, the TNT cable series about his characters didn’t get a second series, but in book form David Baldacci has proven very popular. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are former Secret Service agents who have at least one thing in common – during their careers, they’ve both lost VIPs they were meant to be protecting. The pair are drawn together by these failures. With romantic involvement never totally off the agenda, they try to solve the mystery of how a boy, grieving his soldier father’s death in Afghanistan, has received a chilling email from said father. The two PIs soon realise they’re involved in a conspiracy which threatens to embarrass some very powerful people. As a consequence they become the pursued rather than the pursuers. Released on 21 November.
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DustDust by Patricia Cornwell
Kay Scarpetta is one of the most celebrated female leads in crime fiction. In the 20 previous books, dating back to 1990, she has hooked two generations of readers. In this latest episode she is still in Massachusetts and has to pick the bones out of yet another appalling mass killing – the latest in a series which threatens to disgrace America. She takes time out to recover from this latest horror, but her R&R is short lived. The shrouded body of a missing computer programmer is found within the hallowed walls of one of the state’s most prestigious academic institutions, and as Scarpetta’s mixture of intuition and thoroughness uncovers a disturbing sexual crime, all manner of unpleasant beasties scuttle for cover as the stones are lifted. Published on 19 November.
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Gods of GuiltGods of Guilt by Michael Connelly
Connelly has two established LA heroes: Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch, and Micky Haller. While Bosch is a cop, Haller is that rarest of species, a lawyer with a conscience. Often operating from the rear seat of his car – hence ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ – he tries to do the right thing, while being street-wise enough to match the dirty deeds of his courtroom opponents. Connolly has the happy knack of allowing his two protagonists to interact occasionally and in The Gods of Guilt Bosch plays a significant part in Haller’s attempt to discover who murdered one of his former clients. The victim was a street girl, but he puts his reputation on the line to get to the truth. Available from 21 November.
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Cristmas HopeA Christmas Hope by Anne Perry
There are few successful novelists who have served a prison term for murder, and the emerged into a new life as a best-selling novelist. Anne Perry is one such person, and she has created a glittering literary career writing historical fiction, usually involving crime. After a stunning quintet of novels set during WW1, she returns to her comfort zone – Victorian London. The brutalised world of the fallen woman in the late 1860s is remorselessly explored, as a charismatic poet is implicated in the death of a young prostitute. Perry has written a series of successful Christmas novels, and this, the latest, promises to be another best seller. Available now.
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Touching DistanceTouching Distance by Graham Hurley
This is the second story from Hurley featuring DS Jimmy Suttle, who was a subsidiary character in the long running series featuring Portsmouth copper, Joe Faraday. Faraday has been dead for two years, and Suttle has moved away from Pompey to live in rural Devon with his wife Lizzie and their little daughter. But the country idyll drove Lizzie mad, and she has gone back to the big city to resume her journalistic career. Suttle is trying to solve first one, then two more horrific shootings, but in between trying to track down a sniper with apparent military connections, and attempting to revive his marriage, he has to face a devastating personal tragedy literally on his doorstep. Out on 21 November.
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A StranglingA Strangling on the Stage by Simon Brett
Brett is the prolific author of several separate crime fiction series. The Fethering series is set in the eponymous English village, on the south coast, and this book is the 15th to appear. The background is the unbelievably competitive and rancorous world of amateur dramatics. Jealousy, hubris and spite come as standard, but it is rare for these petty feuds to lead to death, as an on-stage hanging scene goes horribly wrong. Carole Seddon and Jude Nichols are the amateur detectives who are drawn into this well written rural whodunnit. Out today.
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morningfrostMorning Frost by James Henry
The original Jack Frost books were written by RD Wingfield, and were also successfully turned into a TV series starring David Jason. Wingfield passed away in 2007, however James Henry has lately taken up the Frost character and this is the third prequel to Wingfield’s books that Henry has penned. Here we find DS Frost at his lowest – he’s just buried his wife Mary, and is quickly entangled in a case that begins with the discovery of a severed hand. Then a local entrepreneur is shot in his nightclub which appears to have been laundering counterfeit £5 notes. There’s plenty more, but you’ll find that out when you read the book. Released 7 November.
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