DCI Banks in Abattoir Blues, and more…

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On the Radar — Yes, fans of Peter Robinson can rejoice as the 22nd Banks novel hits the presses, but that’s not all. We’ve got nine other new titles for you to contemplate this week including something set in 16th century Italy as well as a set of gritty Wyoming-based short stories. Whatever your poison, Crime Fiction Lover delivers quicker than Pizza Hut, with more toppings and less cholesterol…

AbbattoirAbattoir Blues by Peter Robinson
Since the passing of the great Reginald Hill and his irascible hero Dalziel, Inspector Banks can lay claim to be Yorkshire’s Finest, even though author Peter Robinson now resides in Canada. Whatever his provenance, Banks returns for his 22nd adventure. Yorkshire’s incumbent Police and Crime Commissioner is as combative as she is political. When she decrees that Banks and his team focus on stolen tractors, their frustration is almost palpable, but the case leads to something much more suited to the talents of the Murder and Major Crimes Team. Two missing young men, a torched caravan home, a community in fear, and then a horrific discovery subsequent to a road traffic accident – all add up to a challenging case for the music-loving Banks. Abattoir Blues is out on 31 July.
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Secret DeadThe Secret Dead by SJ Parris
Here’s a new investigation for Giordano Bruno, who was a real life Dominican friar, philosopher and cosmologist. As befitted someone who asked too many questions in late-16th century Italy the actual Bruno came to a rather hot end in 1600, but his fictional counterpart is still alive and well – and asking questions – in this Kindle novella. While helping out in the infirmary of his monastery, Bruno inadvertently sees an autopsy on a young woman. Something is seriously wrong, and Bruno’s inquisitive nature leads him to demand answers from some seriously influential people. We reviewed Treachery, one of the full length Giordano Bruno stories here. SJ Parris is the pseudonym of Stephanie Merritt, and The Secret Dead is out today.
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Shots FiredShots Fired by CJ Box
There are more than a dozen previous novels featuring the lantern-jawed Wyoming game warden, Joe Pickett. Newcomers will get a fair idea from some of the titles – Trophy Hunt, Savage Run, In Plain Sight – as to what they will be in for in this collection of 10 short stories. Three of the tales have never been published before, and there are four stories which feature Joe Pickett. The beautiful but brutal topography of Wyoming features heavily. If there is a recurring theme it’s that big city bad boys – no matter how tough or mean they are – always underestimate the power and persuasive nature of the High Planes, and the resolute people who live there. Published today.
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Lock Down BLuesLock Down Blues by Ray Wilcox
I was drawn to this book by the lovely graphic on the author’s website, which appears to be the Tune O’Matic bridge of a Gibson electric guitar. Wilcox grew up in Peckham, South London, but always yearned for the bright lights of the West End and the vibrant music of the 1960s. His working life was spent mainly in the Prison Service as both officer and governor. His first novel is set in Her Majesty’s Prison, Raymar. Hundreds of men, and a hundred different stories, but Wilcox takes just a handful of the residents – prisoners and warders – and weaves together a series of stories bound together by strands of prison-issue denim and music. Available on 31 July. Watch for our full review.
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vagabondVagabond by Gerald Seymour
Seymour set the bar almost impossibly high with Harry’s Game back in 1975. He has seldom disappointed since, and his latest thriller features intelligence agent Danny Curnow – codenamed Vagabond. What goes around comes around, and after a decade of relative peace and harmony in Northern Ireland old enmities resurface, forgotten grudges are remembered. Once again the dark skills that kept Curnow alive years earlier – when so many of his agents were outed and killed – are required. Now a tour guide on the Normandy battlefields he struggles to fight according to a new set of allegiances and ground rules. The past is never far away. Out today.
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Finished BusinessFinished Business by David Wishart
We took a brief look at an earlier Wishart novel here. Now investigator Marcus Corvinus is back in the thick of it in Imperial Rome. The Emperor in this case is the deranged and unpredictable Caligula. Wine-loving Corvinus, helped by the razor-sharp mind and clear head of his wife Perilla, must try to avoid Caligula’s rages as they investigate the apparently accidental death of a wealthy citizen. Lucius Surdinus clearly came off second-best when he encountered a large block of falling masonry, but Corvinus suspects foul play. He must ask – and answer – the simple question posed by generations of murder investigators down the years: “Cui Bono?” Available on 31 July.
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The HeistThe Heist by Daniel Silva
The picture restorer and art expert Gabriel Allon certainly knows his Caravaggio from his Canaletto, but he has another skillset made use of by his sometime employers, the Israeli secret service. In this latest book, the action is actually centred around a stolen painting by Caravaggio. When one of Gabriel’s friends is being held by Italian police on suspicion of murder, he must put his knowledge of the art world together with his skills as an intelligence agent. In order to save his friend, Gabriel must locate the stolen masterpiece. The action takes him across Europe, from the glittering salons of London to the slums of Marseilles, with a few destinations in between. The Heist is published today.
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Remember Me This WayRemember Me This Way by Sabine Durrant
Former journalist Sabine Durrant attracted plenty of attention with her psychological thriller Under Your Skin which was mentioned in On the Radar last year here. Her new novel tells the tale of a woman who is locked into a life of grief following the tragic death of her husband in a road traffic accident. The site of his death is sacred to his memory, as are the flowers she places there. Despite her friends telling her to move on with her life, that place beside a busy motorway belongs to her and Zach. When she makes her ritual visit and finds a bunch of lilies addressed to her late husband all her preconceptions of their brief life together are turned upside down. Who left the flowers? Is Zach really dead? Out today.
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Madras MiasmaA Madras Miasma by Brian Stoddart
Britain and its Empire have triumphed over the Germans in World War I, but now in the parts of the map which used to be coloured red old certainties are turning into doubts. The cement which held disparate nations together is crumbling, nowhere more acutely than in Madras. Superintendent Le Fanu, completely aware of the rising tide of distrust and resentment washing against the Imperial shore, has to investigate the the death of a young English woman, well aware that his findings may well be the flame that sets alight the powder keg of Anglo-Indian relations. The author is a New Zealander by birth, is a distinguished academic in Australia, and has written books on sport and the changing relationships between former colonial countries. A Madras Miasma is out now.
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The Mad and the BadThe Mad and the Bad by Jean-Patrick Manchette
Manchette featured in our recent feature celebrating French crime fiction, which we published on Bastille Day. This novel, newly translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith, was first published in 1972 as O dingos, O chateaux! Run like Crazy Run like Hell. The novel went on to win the French Grand Prix for crime fiction in 1973, and is the story of a rich businessman who hires an assassin with a serious stomach ailment to kill his nephew along with the mad woman he has hired to look after the boy. Manchette made no secret of his left wing sensibilities, and this violent and anarchic tale reflects his deep cynicism about French society in the 1970s, and his loathing of those in power. The book features an introduction by James Sallis.
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