1919 and all that

5 Mins read

On the Radar — Given it’s the centenary of the beginning of The Great War this year, what better place to start than a book based on that monumental conflict. However, even if you don’t like WWI spy thrillers, there’s plenty more to grab you including the latest from Dan Smith, a new installment in The Killing franchise, and an interesting pair of antiques-dealing lesbian sleuths. Read on for crime, crime and more crime…

Screen shot 2014-06-22 at 19.32.50 The Corners Of The Globe by Robert Goddard
We met James ‘Max’ Maxted in The Ways Of The World, reviewed here. Maxted is a former RAF pilot, but World War I is over and the peace is proving just as difficult to win as the war itself. The great powers of 1919 are still playing a deadly game of chess with shattered nations as their pawns. The German fleet has surrendered and its grey hulks are lying at anchor in the icy Orkney waters of Scapa Flow. Maxted’s nemesis – German spy Fritz Lemmer – has hidden a vital document aboard one of the battleships. Our hero has to join Lemmer’s network of agents to retrieve the document before German naval commanders can play the only card left in their hand. Spying and intrigue are not the exclusive property of the Cold War of the 1960s, and Maxted must play the game where the only rule is that there are no rules. The Corners Of The Globe is available on 3 July.
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The Darkest HeartThe Darkest Heart by Dan Smith
Welcome to Brazil, but not the Brazil of the Samba, The Beautiful Game, and The Girl From Ipanema. With more than a nod to Joseph Conrad, and a quick transposition from the Congo River to the Araguaia, Smith’s latest novel focuses on Zico, a drugs cartel hitman. When he’s told to assassinate a local community worker, he pauses for thought. Will this be the latest in a long series of hits, or is it a step too far? Pulling the trigger one more time could mean security and comfort for himself and his partner Daniella. Not pulling the trigger will mean the warmth of a clear conscience, chilled by the icy terror of a life on the run from ruthless and violent men. Read our review of his previous novel, Red Winter, here. The Darkest Heart is on the shelves from 3 July.
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The-KillingThe Killing – Uncommon Denominator by Karen Dionne
Detroit author Karen Dionne has written many short stories and two eco-thrillers: Freezing Point (2008) and Boiling Point (2011). Now she’s created a crime novel as a tie-in with the popular Fox TV series – The Killing – based on the popular Danish programme. Seattle homicide detective Sarah Linden is the central character, faced with a mysterious explosion at a trailer park. In the course of the clear-up, a man is discovered suffering from major head trauma seemingly unrelated to the explosion. When the victim of what appears to be an execution-style slaying is found on the Seattle waterfront Lindin links the cases. Now she must unpick a monkey’s fist of deceit, murder, lies and retribution. Published in the UK on 11 July.
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Dead Men's BonesDead Men’s Bones by James Oswald
Those who know their scriptures will recognise the quote. It comes from Matthew, chapter 23, verse 27. “For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” The quote may well be fitting, as Tony McLean investigates the tragic but apparently straightforward slaughter of a wife and children by the deranged father. However, the more stones he turns over, the more sordid the inside of the whitewashed tomb becomes. Fans of the detective will be familiar with the quirky Scot, and will be prepared the aura of the unusual which hovers above him in his fourth outing. James Oswald spoke to us two years ago, and you can read the interview here. We also reviewed his previous book, The Hangman’s Song. Dead Men’s Bones is published by Penguin on 3 July.
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Done To DeathDone to Death by Charles Atkins
Lil Campbell and Ada Strauss are antiques dealers in a fictional Connecticut town. Not far off antiques themselves, the two ladies first appeared in Vultures at Twilight (2012). Now, their cosy world is brought face to face with the cutthroat milieu of reality television. They have been persuaded to appear on Final Reckoning, a show documenting how antique collectors descend on the possessions of the deceased. When the producer of the show is done to death the lesbian couple are drawn like magnets into the pursuit of the killer. The print edition of this was published in the spring, but you can get hold of the Kindle version on 1 July.
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Into A Raging BlazeInto a Raging Blaze by Andreas Norman
Just occasionally, we hear of a crime novel or thriller where the author has direct experience of the setting they are describing. Andreas Norman is currently deputy chief of mission at the Swedish Embassy in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. His experience as a career diplomat and security expert lends great credibility to this novel. A Swedish junior diplomat becomes entangled in an international conspiracy which involves serious big hitters on the international stage. When Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Britain’s MI6 become involved, Carina Dymek is way out of her depth. When even her own country’s intelligence service, Säpo, believe she is being manipulated by trouble-makers, she must fight to save her career – and her life. Out on 3 July.
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CrosswordCrossword Ends In Violence (5) by James Cary
Modern day crossword setter John Fellowes is feeling the pinch. His firm, set up by his grandfather, is not making ends meet in the digital age. When he discovers that his forbear – Carl Bookman – may have been sending secrets about the impending D-Day invasion to the Germans in the form of crossword clues and answers he is horrified. The plot shuttles back and forth between Fellowes’ attempts to clear his grandfather’s name, and an investigation back in 1944 where two frighteningly clever people, Thomason and Carter, are also trying to get to the bottom of things at UK code cracking centre Bletchley Park. Cary is a successful comedy writer for television, and his novel is available now.
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GrayRetributionGray Retribution by Alan McDermott
This is the fourth adventure for Tom Gray, the embittered ex-special forces operative. The previous three books have been released in a very short time frame, and have clearly found an audience of international action thriller lovers. Gray has lost one family, but after assuming a new identity in The Philippines, he has reinvented himself, remarried and is the proud father of a new daughter. His skills are widely sought after, and when he learns that some old friends from his service days are in peril in a chaotic African republic, he is faced with a hard choice. Does he turn his back on his mates, and focus on his new family, or does he heed the call of old loyalties? Available on 8 July.
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A footnote for Kindle users…
The following titles were also released as hardbacks in the spring, but are all out on 1 July in Kindle format. Verdict of the Court by Cora Harrison, A Matter of Breeding by J Sydney Jones, Crime Always Pays by  Declan Burke, and Candle Flame by Paul Doherty.

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