Your top 10 crime releases of 2014 (so far)

Every now and again it’s interesting to see what visitors to Crime Fiction Lover are enjoying, according to our site statistic. So as the third month of 2014 comes to a close, we thought we’d take a look at which book reviews are getting the most attention. It’s a great gauge as to what’s popular in crime fiction at the moment. Below you’ll find the top 10 books according to you and your fellow readers…

A Pleasure And A Calling10 – A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan
William Heming is a simple estate agent, well-liked in the Home Counties communities which he serves. However, Heming likes to know what goes on after the houses he’s sold have gone off the market. He keeps the keys and he looks in on people’s lives. When he becomes obsessed with Abigail, and grows jealous of the librarian she’s involved with, things turn deadly. Heming manipulates things in every way he can in order to extricate himself in what becomes a brilliantly Ripley-esque novel. Estate agent as crime fiction baddie? Who would have thought… Read the full review here.
Buy now on Amazon

Song For The Dying9 – A Song for the Dying by Stuart MacBride
Stuart MacBride reunites us with the corrosive and embittered cop Ash Henderson, who we first met in Birthdays For The Dead back in 2012. Now Henderson is in prison, an ex-cop, dismissed and disgraced. His prison time is enlivened by constant attacks by fellow prisoners, acting on behalf of Henderson’s deadliest enemy – gang boss Maeve Kerrigan. When Henderson is surprisingly released from jail, it is to help baffled former colleagues track down a serial killer with a terrifying MO. Nicknamed The Inside Man, the killer disembowels his victims but leaves a plastic doll stitched into the abdominal cavity. This is a brilliant, terrifying and blood soaked read, but not for the faint of heart. More details here.
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cross_and_burn_final_uk8 – Cross and Burn by Val McDermid
Maybe it’s a little unfair to the other books that Cross and Burn is on this list as it wasn’t released in the first quarter of 2014, however that’s when we reviewed it. Here Val McDermid’s excellent duo Tony Hill and Carol Jordan are back – although they’re not talking to each other. It looks like they’ll have to start getting along again quickly though, because someone’s killing Carol Jordan lookalikes in McDermid’s fictional city of Bradfield and the police can’t quite cope without the indomitable duo. Finely crafted and hugely believable. Read the review here.
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In the Morning I'll Be Gone7 – In the Morning I’ll be Gone by Adrian McKinty
The Royal Ulster Constabulary was no place for a Catholic cop in 1980s Belfast, which is what makes Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy series so darned intriguing. Duffy is not just a Catholic but he’s an impulsive maverick with a sharp mind and a little nihilism running through his bloodstream along with the alcohol. These traits get him thrown out of the Constabulary, but picked up by MI5 to hunt down a notorious IRA bomb-maker whose cell were trained in Libya. McKinty weaves real historical events into Duffy’s storyline brilliantly. Let’s hope this series doesn’t stop at being a trilogy because we want a fourth book. Read the review here.
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Sudden Arrival1006 – The Sudden Arrival of Violence by Malcolm Mackay
We interviewed Malcolm Mackay before his first novel The Necessary Death Of Lewis Winter was published in 2013. How A Gunman Says Goodbye came out in the same year, and now his acclaimed Glasgow Trilogy is complete with The Sudden Arrival Of Violence. Calum MacLean, the enigmatic young hitman central to all three novels, has reached a watershed. Tired of being manipulated by gang bosses Jamieson and Young, MacLean is determined to break away from the life, not through conscience, but because the cloak of violence, deception and death has begun to weigh heavy on his shoulders. When his brave but gullible brother becomes caught in the web, our anti-hero knows that decisive action is the only answer. Here is our review of the third book in the trilogy.
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stonebruises2005 – Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett
Stone Bruises represents quite a shift for author Simon Beckett, better known for his forensic anthropologist Dr David Hunter. Here we have a man-on-the-run thriller, with a touch of moody modern noir to it. Sean is in the middle of the French countryside and has abandoned his smashed-up and blood-stained car. He’s taking the back tracks and avoiding the police, but we’re never quite sure why. Then he runs into two women – daughters of a local farmer. Whatever violence is in his past might just be superseded by what he’ll face here in the grim, shadowy and claustrophobic atmosphere on the French farm where he ends up. Read our review here.
Buy now on Amazon

girlwithaclockforaheart2004 – The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson
George Foss can barely put up with the ennui of his quiet, secure, middle-class life in Boston, when old flame Audrey appears with a special request. She’s got a pile of stolen money and she wants George to deliver it to her former employer. Even as makes the delivery he begins to discover that Audrey may not be all she seems, and soon after he’s made the drop the businessman who received the money is discovered dead. How can he explain this away to the local police? As he tries to prove his innocence and get to the bottom of things, he rues the day he hoped for a more exciting life. Read the review here.
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Harbour Street3 – Harbour Street by Ann Cleeves
Ann Cleeves has tapped into a rich vein of literary gold with her creation Vera Stanhope. This is the sixth novel in the series, and was hugely popular with the benign shadow of the TV adaptation starring Brenda Blethyn bringing an extra dimension to the party. Though Vera now and again looks a bit like a bag lady, she has formidable detective skills. We are in England’s North East, Christmas is just days away, and there’s been a murder on a suburban train. Margaret Krukowski has been stabbed with a thin blade. It will take Vera’s analytical mind, and a little help from her team of slightly bewildered assistants, to solve the crime.
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Entry Island2 – Entry Island by Peter May
The first volume of the author’s best selling Lewis trilogy was turned down by a legion of British publishers but eventually made the shelves courtesy of publishers in France, where it went on to win many awards. In Entry Island, reviewed here, May has exchanged the Hebrides setting for the islands off the coast of Canada, which are equally cold and atmospheric. Montreal cop Sime Mackenzie is sent to the remote Magdalen Islands to wrap up a cut-and-dried case, he soon realises that two and two don’t actually make four. The murder mystery in the here and now is mixed in with a much older tale dating back to the Highland Clearances which Mackenzie experiences through dreams and memories.
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longwayhome2001 – Long Way Home by Eva Dolan
This spellbinding novel is set in the cathedral city of Peterborough, but little attention is paid to medieval glories. Instead, we have a gripping – and at times shocking – insight into the world of migrant workers from Eastern Europe and the tactics of the illegal gangmasters who contract them out to farmers and construction firms. We are also introduced to Zigic and Ferreira, two police officers who themselves come from immigrant families. They have to deal with an incinerated body found in a garden shed, slum landlords, right-wing activists and migrant workers who view the police with suspicion. This is writing of the highest quality – read the Crime Fiction Lover review here.
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Have you read any of these books? If so please let us know what you thought in the comments below.

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1 Comment

  1. nigel bird Reply

    I’ve been a little slower in my reading this year, possibly because of writing with more focus. I’ve also been reading slightly older stuff.
    There is an exception (isn’t there always) and that’s because I’ve been lucky enough to get a pre-publishing copy of Doug Johnstone’s new book The Dead Beat. Half way through, and I’m on the roller-coaster with white knuckles. It’s an excellent read and I’d highly recommend a pre-order.
    Thanks for the list – a reminder that I need to have at least 1 foot in the decade.

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