Policemen, pawns and poison

On the Radar — This week sees JD Robb’s In Death and Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series receive updates, but there’s plenty of new blood spilled as well. Up-and-coming Canadian author Peggy Blair is set to release her second book, and we also meet Ryan Blacketter with a touching look at depression and crime in the Pacific Northwest. We have nine books in total, for your consideration…

Poisoned PawnThe Poisoned Pawn by Peggy Blair
Following Midnight in Havana, Peggy Blair became one of the names to watch in Canadian crime fiction. The Poisoned Pawn is set in Castro’s Cuba and is the second in the series featuring Inspector Ramirez. Ramirez will delight readers who love a touch of the supernatural thrown in with their crime and punishment. He has the rare gift of being able to see the ghosts of the victims in the murders he’s investigating. In The Poisoned Pawn, the case of a murdered cigar lady is complicated by Ramirez taking an eye-opening trip to Canada to investigate a child abuse scandal. Blair is an Ottawa-based human rights lawyer, and her new book is out on 25 February. Watch for our review.
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Concealed In DeathConcealed in Death by JD Robb
Most crime fiction fans will be aware that JD Robb is the pseudonym of author Nora Roberts, who has a string of bestsellers to her name. The In Death series has been going for 15 years with two books hitting the shelves each year like clockwork. Her long running heroine is cop Eve Dallas, who is lucky enough to be married to a billionaire businessman. Eve has an intriguing past, being an abandoned orphan who has taken her surname from the city where she was discovered. If you can cope with futuristic crime fiction, then you will enjoy the mayhem that ensues when Eve’s husband publicly launches a new building project, only to find a concealed body. Published on 18 February.
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habit-cover-by-tj-breartonHabit by TJ Brearton
Timothy James Brearton was born and brought up in Bronxville, New York. His previous books include Rehabilitation (2008), Until These Voices Quiet (2009), Highwater (2010), The Portal (2011) and Vaccine (2012). In Habit, novice detective Brendan Healy finds himself trying to find out why a young woman was stabbed to death in her isolated homestead. Healy has a past, which influences every move he makes, and every decision he takes. As the murdered woman’s complex personal life unfolds, Healy is pushed to the limit to solve the crime and retain his own sanity. Available now.
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Further encountersFurther Encounters of Sherlock Holmes edited by George Mann
Holmes is flameproof, invincible and coated in Teflon. He has survived countless reincarnations, rebrandings and rediscoveries. His basic CV is so solid that however he is reinvented, his core character remains unscathed. Here, Justin Richards, Andrew Lane, Lou Anders, Guy Adams and Scott Hancock project their vision of Holmes onto a blank screen. Many of the stories fall into the steampunk category, welding together a 19th century background with fantasy and mechanical imaginings, inspired by the likes of Jules Verne and HG Wells. Of course, Conan Doyle’s archetypal detective character is thrown into the middle and these short stories are the result. We reviewed The Encounters of Sherlock Holmes here. Available from 28 February.
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Saturday Night JackSaturday Night Jack by Dylan Dronfield
This novel focuses on the very different motives and methods used by police and the press when faced with a horrific murder case. The paths of local copper Simon Sharpe and crime reporter Mick Rogers collide after a succession of young women are abducted and murdered in Newcastle. Both are anxious to talk to the grieving friends and relatives of the victims, but for different reasons. The author is a journalist, and he makes good use of his experience of having to make what he calls ‘the death knock’. Dronfield is a news editor at Sky News and this, his debut novel, is just out.
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KillerKiller by Jonathan Kellerman
Kellerman has created one of the more enduring – and endearing – amateur detectives of recent years. Dr Alex Delaware is a forensic psychologist in LA, and this is the 29th instalment of a series which began in 1985 with When The Bough Breaks. The author has also created the perfect partner for Delaware in Detective Milo Sturgis. Described as ‘a shambling bear of a man’, he carries his homosexuality like a cross, but has a clear-up rate which makes him virtually flame-proof. In Killer, Delaware and Sturgis are embroiled in a child custody battle which turns into a deadly trail of murder and corruption. To be published on 11 February.
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The CatchThe Catch by Tom Bale
Robbie and Daniel are old school friends. When they are involved in an accidental death, and foolishly flee the scene, they are oblivious to the fact that the victim has powerful friends. When those friends turn predators, motivated as much by greed as by honour, Daniel is forced to evaluate the true cost of loyalty and friendship. Tom Bale is the pseudonym of Sussex-based writer David Harrison and The Catch is his fifth book. The Kindle version is out now, and the paperback is available from 13 February.
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GuiltGuilt by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Jussi Adler-Olsen, having begun his literary career in the unlikely fashion of publishing two books about Groucho Marx, has topped the bestseller charts with his previous tales of Copenhagen’s Police Department Q, and its chief investigator Detective Carl Mørck. As Mørck tries to solve the murder of a brothel madam, he is drawn into a cold case dating back to 1987. Expect a brilliant police procedural with dry humour and a good helping of Danish darkness. Out on 27 February in the UK, but already on sale in the US as The Purity of Vengeance. Watch for our review.
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Down-in-the-RiverDown in the River by Ryan Blacketter
Set in the cold and wet Pacific Northwest this book tells the story of Lyle Rettew, a rebellious teenager who suffers with bipolar disorder. Lyle is shattered by the death of his twin sister, and takes the dramatic decision to throw his medication in the bin and take his grief on the road. This is not a conventional crime novel, but one which, even in its darker moments, deals sensitively with a young man raging against authority. Blacketter is a teacher of creative writing, and his book is the third release by Slant Publications, based in Eugene, Oregon. It’s out now.
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