Pelecanos takes us back to DC

On the Radar — The some of the biggest names in crime fiction are back this week with Pelecanos, Rankin, Rose, Patterson, Cruz Smith and Cussler. Each has a legion of admirers so, as the saying goes, you pays your money and you takes your choice. The action ranges from Baltimore, to Washington DC, and from Edinburgh and the jungles of Mexico, via the icy streets of Moscow.

The DoubleThe Double by George Pelecanos
Pelecanos is one of the undisputed greats of crime fiction from the last 20 years. This is the second outing for Spero Lucas, a young  ex-USMC Iraq veteran working in Washington DC as a legal investigator. Sometime, though, in between lamenting the changing face of DC, he moonlights on cases in which he has a personal interest. When a woman has a valuable painting stolen by a team of scammers, Lucas is hired to get it back, and he comes up against some very rough and ruthless opponents. As the search for the painting becomes more violent, he’s faced with the revelation that his main target – Billy King – is so like himself that it raises all kinds of moral ambiguities. Pelecanos publishes sparingly compared with some contemporaries, and a new novel from him is always a major event. It’s out in print and on Kindle from 7 November.
Pre-order now on Amazon

SaintsSaints Of The Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
After a long run of seriously successful Rebus novels, Rankin took a rest from the chaotic and brooding detective and introduced us to the more measured personality of Malcolm Fox, an officer with ‘The Complaints’ – the police department charged with investigating wrongdoing by fellow policemen. After playing the main role in The Complaints and The Impossible Dead, Fox met up with Rebus in Standing In Another Man’s Grave. Now, their paths cross again. This story is bang up to date, with the Scottish independence referendum the hot debating point in every bar and coffee shop. Rebus finds that his old crime team from three decades ago are under the spotlight for malpractice, and of course it is Malcolm Fox who must get to the truth, whatever the cost to established reputations and his own popularity. Published on 7 November.
Pre-order now on Amazon

WatchYourBackWatch Your Back by Karen Rose
Baltimore cop Stevie Mazzetti has suffered inconceivable heartbreak. Her husband and son have been brutally murdered, but with their killer caught, convicted and sentenced, she is to trying to rebuild her life, and that of her daughter. But being a Baltimore detective is neither a safe nor easy way back to normality. An average day at the office could mean confronting a psychopath whose only pleasure comes from inflicting maximum pain with minimum effort. As a cold-case is warmed up, Mazzetti is confronted with the possibility that a former police partner may have overstepped the moral boundaries. As with all Karen Rose novels, romance is never far away, and Clay Maynard is smitten with Stevie, and will do what it takes to protect her. “Will they stay alive long enough to find happiness?” asks the blurb? Available from 7 November.
Pre-order now on Amazon

CrossMyHeartCross My Heart by James Patterson
It is amazing to think that this is the 21st Alex Cross novel. The first was Along Came A Spider which was published 20 years ago, in an age largely devoid of the internet and mobile technology. Many of us happily settle for Morgan Freeman as our image of Cross, after the 2001 movie of the same name. In the meantime, Cross has been through different wives and different loves, but two fellow characters are constant companions – his police buddy John Sampson, and his impossibly ancient grandmother, Mam Nana. Cross is tough and resilient, but his extended family has always been a tempting target for those who seek to lay him low. Now, those closest to him are at threat as never before, and the Washington DC profiler must summon up a lifetime of cunning and resolve to protect those he loves. Published on 7 November.
Buy now on Amazon

TatianaTatiana by Martin Cruz Smith
Through the window of television news, it seems that modern Russia has hardly advanced morally from the feudal cruelty of the Tsars and the genocide of the Stalin years. Yet modern authors such as Boris Starling and William Ryan have sought to  mine through the brutal surface and explain how ordinary people lead their daily lives in a society where individual liberty and freedom of thought have never flourished. Ordinary people? Yes, and some of them are policemen. Cruz Smith’s 1980 novel Gorky Park (check our reappraisal here) was groundbreaking. It forced readers to re-evaluate their preconceptions of what Russian life was all about. Through the eyes of policeman Arkady Renko, we realised that few Russians matched the stereotypical fur-hatted communist clone beloved of the popular press. Now, Arkady is back. He tries to link the deaths of a fearless young reporter, a mob boss, and a government translator. Available from 12 November – watch for our review.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Mayan SecretsThe Mayan Secrets by Clive Cussler
If you have a taste for high adventure in exotic places, with steadfast heroes and implacable criminal types, then Clive Cussler is your man. His own website states, “Sam and Remi Fargo are a husband and wife treasure-hunting team who travel to exotic locations around the globe: unraveling ancient mysteries, unearthing long-lost treasures and finding themselves in sticky situations at every turn.” Now, in Mexico, San and Remi find a skeleton of a man clutching an ancient sealed pot, and within the pot is a Mayan book, larger than anyone has ever seen. It contains astonishing information about the Mayans, about their cities, and about mankind itself. Cussler books do what it says on the tin, to paraphrase the UK TV advert. Available now.
Buy now on Amazon

lastofthesmokingbartenders100Last of the Smoking Bartenders by CJ Howell
Wow, the blurb on this makes it sound perfect for those who love their crime fiction marinated in modern day paranoid pulp stylings. Here we meet drifter Tom who thinks he’s an off-the-grid secret agent on a mission to take down terrorists plotting to blow up the Hoover Dam in Arizona. But is it all a delusion? While he hunts down the terrorists, he himself is pursued by a female FBI agent and a crossbow-wielding psychopath. The book is out now from New Pulp Press.
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