Tom Thorne heads to Wales

On the Radar — Yes, this week we see the return of Tom Thorne, Mark Billingham’s popular detective character. Thorne’s latest chilling case takes him to a Welsh island where he’ll enter a deadly game of cat and mouse with a serial killer. We’ve also got new books by Simon Kernick, Edward Wilson, Lawrence Block and Paul Finch. From old school pulp to contemporary thrillers, there’s bound to be something worthy of your reading pile…

Bones-BeneathThe Bones Beneath by Mark Billingham
The previous Tom Thorne novel, The Dying Hours, left us with a teaser. Thankfully, Mark Billingham has picked up the thread. In this, the 12th Thorne novel, our hero has to play away from his home ground – the mean streets of London. Instead, he travels to a remote Welsh island to pit his wits – and risk his life – against Stuart Nicklin, a serial killer who is promising to reveal the hidden grave site of one of his victims. Thorne is out of his comfort zone, and although he is forced to play along with Nicklin, he realises that the killer is playing a cunning but deadly game, and must use all his experience to prevent a further death – his own. Out on 22 May.
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Dead Mans GiftDead Man’s Gift: Part One – Yesterday by Simon Kernick
Simon Kernick has engineered an intriguing concept. Three novels, told in real time, focus on three days of action, and the novels are to be published successively over a very short time span. Also, the stories are going direct-to-digital. The son of a British politician has been kidnapped. Unable to involve the police, Tim Horton turns to a ruthless ex-soldier for help. The story promises to be a classic race-against-time thriller, with one resourceful man pitted against a ruthless criminal gang. The first instalment is available on 22 May at only 49p.
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the-whitehall-mandarinThe Whitehall Mandarin by Edward Wilson
This promises to be an English espionage/diplomacy/politics novel with an authentic late 1950s and early 60s feel. Edward Wilson introduced the patriotic but embittered agent Catesby in The Darkling Spy in 2011, and here he’s called in by MI6 to mine deep into an alleged KGB cell in London. Sharing his name with Robert Catesby, one of the Gunpowder Plotters of 1605, he has to travel much further afield than the streets of London to complete his mission. One newspaper has described the author as, “The thinking man’s John le Carré.” We’re not quite sure if using it in the book’s marketing is meant to attract or alienate le Carré readers. The Whitehall Mandarin will be available from 15 May.
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The Kill SwitchThe Kill Switch by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood
If you like your forces Special, your heroes lantern-jawed and your conspiracies potentially world-shattering, then this may be for you. A Russian scientist who is head of a pharmaceutical corporation has to be discreetly smuggled out his home country, as he holds the secret to a potential deadly bio-weapon. Newly recruited to Sigma Force is Captain Tucker Wayne, along with his faithful canine sidekick Kane. The action spans continents, and you can expect the four-legged focus to be particularly empathetic because James Rollins is also a vet by training. Out on 15 May.
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BorderlineBorderline by Lawrence Block
This would be worth the money if only for the wonderfully evocative cover art by Michael Koelsch. It is, in fact, a reissue of what has been called a ‘lost’ Lawrence Block novel. It first came out in 1962 as the luridly titled Border Lust, but Hard Case Crime has renamed it for today’s sensibilities. Just in case the cover is too subtle, we can reveal that five misfits are about to bump into each other in the hot, dusty border badlands of New Mexico. They include a lunatic with a cut-throat razor in his pocket, a jaded gambler who lives his life by the roll of the dice, a bored housewife looking for adventure, a passionate redhead with a past, and a beautiful teenaged hitch-hiker with an exhibitionist streak. What can possibly go wrong? Available from 23 May.
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Farewell-to-DreamsFarewell To Dreams CJ Lyons
If you can’t resist a medical thriller, then this latest offering from real-life paediatrician CJ Lyons may be in your operating theatre. ER doctor Angie Rossi takes lack of sleep as an inevitable downside of her job, but when her insomnia is accompanied by other symptoms, she realises that she is seriously ill. Prompted by a bizarre and possibly hallucinatory exchange with a dying nun, Angie must seek out the whereabouts of a lost girl. Is the girl real? If so, where is she, and who is threatening her life? As her illness begins to take its toll Angie enlists the help of a disgraced police officer, and together they uncover a horrifying plot involving mobsters and a serial killer. Back in 2012 we reviewed the author’s novel Blind Faith, and you can read our verdict here. Farewell To Dreams is out now in print, and will available on Kindle from 18 May.
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Love SongsLove Songs of the Revolution by Bronwyn Mauldin
This novel is set in the heady days of 1989 when the grip of The Soviet Union over the Baltic states was weakening. Martynas Kudirka is an employee of the Communist Party in his native Lithuania, but his world turns upside down one day when he comes home from work to find his lively wife prostrate on the kitchen floor with a knife sticking out of her back. When he finds that the Vilnius police are reluctant to investigate, he suspects that his wife’s murder may have political implications, and he sets out to discover who killed her, and why. Love Songs of the Revolution will be published on 17 May.

The Killing ClubThe Killing Club by Paul Finch
This is the third book in a series featuring Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg. The previous two volumes were Stalkers and Sacrifice, both published in 2013. In Stalkers, Heck encountered a distinctly unpleasant criminal gang called, with bitter irony, The Nice Guys. They have identified a niche market, which they are happy to supply – for a price. They kidnap women to order for certain clients, and part of the all inclusive service is that they will clean up any mess the client has left behind. Heck disrupted the work of the Nice Guys, but it appears the business is far from over. Now, the Nice Guys are back from their temporary exile, and Heck must meet the challenge all over again. We are told to expect an all-action novel with a very high body count. Available 22 May.
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Act Of FearAct of Fear by Michael Collins
This is an interesting re-issue of a book which first came out in 1967, and introduced the one-armed private detective Dan Fortune. Collins wrote a further 18 stories featuring the character, the last of which appeared in 1995. Fortune used to be a crook, operating in and around his home district of Chelsea, Manhattan. His career as a burglar ended when he fell from the side of a ship he was trying to steal from. So badly was his arm shattered, that the surgeons were left with no option but amputation. So, Fortune the poacher has become Fortune the gamekeeper. His to do list usually includes things like trapping errant husbands and delivering court papers but changes dramatically when he tries to track down young Jo-Jo Olsen, a lad who is the only witness to a cop being badly mugged. Out on 25 May.
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