Keys, please…

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On the Radar — You won’t look at estate agents the same again after reading this week’s new books report because today we introduce a realtor who knows where the bodies are buried… because he buried them! There’s also a creepy kidnapper, a Las Vegas detective and some good old East End gangsterism. So, let us turn the key and we’ll show you around this week’s crime fiction bookshelf…

A Pleasure And A CallingA Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan
Is there an unreliable narrator sub-genre in crime fiction? If so, then add this book to it. Estate agents are many things in popular image. Mendacious, slippery, prone to breathtaking exaggeration and euphemism maybe, but figures of menace and homicidal threat? Surely not! Perhaps William Heming is a little different, for he has in his possession the keys to every house he has ever sold. He is not a very nice man, and he knows where the bodies are buried. Literally. Yorkshire-born Hogan is a columnist with The Observer and this, his latest book, is to be published on 27 February for Kindle.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Toy TakerThe Toy Taker by Luke Delaney
The eponymous Toy Taker was originally an evil being in a 2001 children’s animation, but here the author borrows the name to describe a monster who doesn’t take toys – just the young children who cuddle them. Ex-Met policeman Luke Delaney introduced us to DI Sean Corrigan in 2013 with Cold Killing, and followed it very quickly with The Keeper. Corrigan isn’t just your standard harassed copper, working with inadequate support, battling meaningless bureaucratic targets and surrounded by incompetent colleagues. He is capable of dark, almost supernatural insights into the criminal mind. Although these insights sometimes take him to places he would rather not be, in the past they have given him a definite edge. Now, as he searches for the missing children, his precious gift seems to have disappeared. To be published on 13 February.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Secret HistoryThe Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani
The Nigerian author Chris Abani’s own biography certainly belongs in the you-couldn’t-make-it-up category. He was first published in 1983 at the age of 16, but his writing was so uncannily prophetic of a subsequent political coup that he was suspected of organising it. So he fled for his life to the United States. His adopted home town of Las Vegas features in this latest novel, but don’t expect a police procedural. Yes, Salazar is a cop who must try to solve the serial murders of homeless men, but this is a dystopian Vegas, a city of nightmares, peopled with monstrous figures that seem to dance out of the flames of one of the hellish visions of Hieronymus Bosch. Out now.
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CellCell by Robin Cook
There was another author called Robin Cook, who became a cult crime-writer. He changed his name to avoid being confused with Robin Cook, the author of Cell. His name? The great Derek Raymond. Today’s Robin Cook has been writing medical thrillers since the 1980s. Cell concerns the day, surely not too far off, when the technological suffix ‘i’ permeates the world of medicine. As the iDoc threatens to revolutionise medical diagnosis and treatment, terrible things start to happen. Radiologist George Wilson must find out what is corrupting the app, and halt the mounting death toll. To be published on 13 February.
Pre-order now on Amazon

PaybackPayback by Kimberley Chambers
In last year’s The Trap, Chambers introduced us to the archetypal East End crime family, the Butlers, who had a fierce matriarch at the head of the clan, semi-psychotic brothers and an old fashioned code of honour. Sounds familiar? Perhaps, but now, they’re back back and family loyalties are tested when a child is abducted. Expect a cast of larger-than-life criminal types, and a complex plot. Chambers is uniquely qualified to create the less than idyllic atmosphere of the East End – when she achieved her publishing breakthrough she was working as a minicab driver in Romford. Payback is out on 30 January.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Shadow SpyThe Shadow Spy by Robert Lance
Author Robert Lance graduated in Soviet Studies and flew several Vietnam missions with the US Air Force Reserve before becoming a civil pilot. The Shadow Spy is set in pre-Glasnost Russia, and features CIA man Doug Finley. His mission is provide a conduit for American dollars to reach the fledgling groups who are starting to push for changes to Soviet communism. What should be a relatively simple job goes rapidly pear-shaped, and as well as trying to stay one step ahead of the KGB, Finley finds he has not only upset some very nasty Russian mobsters, but has become a target for those he thought were his colleagues. Out now.
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InnocenceInnocence by Dean Koontz
Koontz has made a successful writing career mixing mystery, psychological threat, crime and good old horror. Innocence veers towards the supernatural thriller part of the spectrum. Addison Goodheart is a hermit who lives beneath the city streets, unseen and unknown to the rest of the world, but surrounded by his books, which allow him to keep a tenuous grip on sanity. When he navigates the sewers and service tunnels to find his way up into the City Central Library, he meets a woman who seems a kindred spirit and lost soul. Goth girl Gwyneth faces a real and physical threat from a stalker, and the bond between Addison and Gwyneth takes the reader on a scary and mystical journey. On the shelves now.
Buy now on Amazon

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