Mr Rankin the playwright

On the Radar — This week we have two curiosities among the exciting new releases. Firstly – and this is certainly a first for CFL – we have the script of a stage play. Publishers wouldn’t normally expect scripts to sell particularly well, but seeing as the main author is none other than Ian Rankin, who knows? We also have another idea which isn’t quite an innovation, as the Victorians and Edwardians were rather good at it, but a crime thriller from Aaron K Smith is being published in installments, hopefully mimicking the suspense of a television serial, complete with cliff-hanger endings.

Dark RoadDark Road by Ian Rankin and Mark Thomson
This is Rankin’s debut as a playwright, and it was written in partnership with Mark Thomson, artistic director of The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. Among the dramatis personae we have the most senior and soon to retire female police officer in Scotland, Isobel McArthur. It also features her demanding teenage daughter, a cynical retired copper, and a convicted quadruple killer. The killer was sent to jail a quarter of a century earlier, and the leading police officer in the case was none other than the aforementioned Isobel McArthur. Now, with retirement and old age at her heels, McArthur decides to re-investigate the case which made her name – and career. Last year, Ian Rankin spoke to us about his novels. The script of Dark Road is out on 17 July.
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Cop TownCop Town by Karin Slaughter
Karin Slaughter is a native and resident of Atlanta, Georgia. She is renowned for her Will Trent series, which is set in that area, and you can read our review of one of those novels here. Cop Town is her first departure from the Will Trent books and takes us back 40 years. Atlanta is rocked by a serial killer whose sole target is police officers. Kate Murphy sure picked a bad day to join the Atlanta police. Not only does she have to fight the residual resentment of her male colleagues, she has to face the sneers and put-downs of other female officers. Can she ride this storm and back her own judgment to bring an end to a ruthless vendetta against the blue uniform? To be published on 17 July.
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The-Vanished-OnesThe Vanished Ones by Donato Carrisi
Carrisi works as a TV screenwriter in Rome, and his debut novel The Whisperer (2009) was very well received. We reviewed his second novel The Lost Girls Of Rome, and he doesn’t stray too far from that theme in his latest novel. A message board with dozens of faces. Young people who have vanished into the alleys and winding streets of The Eternal City. Most people just take a casual glance, shrug their shoulders, and walk on. Not so Mila Vasquez, a young police officer with a damaged past and an uncertain future. When some of the disappeared seem to be involved in a spate of horrifying crimes, Vasquez must first determine whether she is battling criminals or phantoms. Available from 17 July.
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The Last TownThe Last Town by Blake Crouch
UK readers – where were you every Tuesday night in 1990? Do you remember being anywhere other than in front of the television when Twin Peaks came on? David Lynch’s cult drama gripped us then, but Blake Crouch may be treading in the same footsteps. This is the third novel in Crouch’s Wayward Pines series. Imagine a town surrounded by an electric fence. Imagine a town where the residents marry, work and reside under strict instructions from a mysterious but human creator. You have all that in Wayward Pines. In the first book of the series, Pines, Agent Ethan Burke came to town looking for two missing colleagues. Now, many mysterious and shocking events later, Burke realises that his quest is nearing a terrifying conclusion. Published on 15 July.
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Believe No OneBelieve No One by AD Garrett
AD Garrett is the pseudonym of successful writing partners Margaret Murphy and Professor Dave Barclay. They introduced us to Detective Chief Inspector Kate Simms in their first collaboration, Everyone Lies. Now, Simms is on a working visit to the USA, where she is exchanging ideas with the St Louis Police Department. This isn’t simply a professional visit. Simms is hoping that her absence from the UK will clear the air after the damaging effects of an earlier case, where she sought the help of the brilliant but wayward forensic expert, Professor Nick Fennimore. Fennimore’s personal life is haunted by tragedy and when he also lands in St Louis on a lecture tour, he hears of a local abduction and killing which have echoes of events in his own life. For Simms, the last thing she wants is another entanglement – personal or professional – with Fennimore, but they are fated once more to join forces in the hunt for a killer. Believe No One is out now.
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ARTEFACTS_OF_THE_DEADArtefacts Of The Dead by Tony Black
The Australian born Black grew up in Ireland and Scotland, and is the author of seven previous novels, each of which can be described as Scottish noir. He spoke to us about his books in this 2012 interview. The setting of this latest book is the Scottish coastal town of Ayr – where Black currently lives. Robert Burns was born just outside Ayr, and readers of Black’s previous novels will be expecting a grimmer kind of poetry in this book. Detective Inspector Bob Valentine is struggling. Still on leave recovering from a near fatal stabbing, beset by hideous nightmares, with a resentful family and an incompetent boss, he reluctantly drags himself back to work to find the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of a grotesque murder. It’s not everyday in Ayr that a prominent banker is found in the local tip… with a wooden stake through his heart. Valentine must conquer his own personal and professional demons to solve the case. To be published on 14 July.
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NineYearsGoneNine Years Gone by Chris Culver
Culver is best known for his crime thrillers involving the Indianapolis cop Ash Rashid, and we interviewed him in 2012 when The Abbey came out. Here Culver steps away from Rashid with a new thriller. Almost a decade after difficult, dangerous and highly illegal events threatened to derail his life, Steve Hale has settled down with a wife and family. He’s now Mr Middle America personified. When the woman he risked everything for nine years earlier re-emerges, it is not to give him a big ‘thank you’ kiss, or to repay the debt. Old flame Tess has risen from the fictitious grave they created together and is determined to wreck Steve’s bland suburban existence. Published on 15 July.
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no_family_for_cannibalsNo Family For Cannibals by Aaron K Smith
As mentioned in our introduction, this is a bold attempt to return to a very successful ploy by publishers of times past. It was normal for Dickens, Hardy and Conan Dolye to write their books as serials, though not on Kindle. If the title’s not enough for you, Smith promises sex and nudity, bad language, and gruesome death scenes accompanied by explicit illustrations, so this enterprise is unlikely to appeal to those who enjoy their murders depicted tastefully, and within the warm stone walls of a Cotswold village. We are promised three episodes set in rural Arkansas and starting with a grisly double slaying. When we tell you that the autopsy of the female victim discovers a severed toe in her digestive system, you may well get a clue as to the relevance of the title, and what lies ahead. The first episode is out now.
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