Jack Reacher gets Personal

On the Radar — Yes, this week we have the return of Reacher, but also some historical crime fiction, a crime-laden adventure in Mexico, the SAS and a monkey that’ll sever a jugular before you can say Crime Fiction Lover. Read on, and let us know which titles will be added to your pile…

PersonalPersonal by Lee Child
A new Reacher is always an event. The big man is used to being on his own and he is one of life’s outsiders. This time, instead of drifting into some isolated town in America’s Midwest and taking the law into his own hands, the former military policeman is on official business. He is sent to Europe, to find out who has tried to kill the French President. There’s an echo of Day of the Jackal here. The sniper has missed his target, but he is someone known to Reacher, who tracked him down once before. The hunt for the would-be assassin takes Reacher to France, the land of his ancestors. His earlier pursuit of the gunman was very controlled, with jail the ultimate destination. This time, if Reacher finds his man, the judicial process is off the table. There are two options – kill or be killed. Read our review of the previous Reacher book Never Go Back here. Personal is published on 28 August.
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DisclosuresDisclosures by Bill James
Bill James is the nom de plume of Welsh novelist James Tucker who has been a prolific crime writer under a series of identities. His longest running series features the detective partnership team of Harpur and Iles. By my reckoning, this is their 31st outing. You might have caught the 1997 made for TV movie starring Hywel Bennett as Iles and Anna Coulbeck as Harpur. In their latest adventure, a local villain seems a likely target, but when it’s revealed that he has links to a London police officer all bets are off. Harpur and Iles have to trade local peace and quiet for the greater good. Published on 28 August.
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Don't Look BackDon’t Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz
When Eve Hardaway’s husband passes her over for a newer model she decides on a holiday, but rejects the beach, bar and poolside for one of the wildest and most isolated parts of southern Mexico. While hiking in the dense Oaxaca jungle, she catches a distant glimpse of a sinister looking man who seems to be throwing them against a man-shaped target. She is horrified, but sneaks away without being noticed. As she makes her way back to the base, she finds a digital camera which she later learns belongs to a missing woman. As she becomes involved in solving the woman’s disappearance, Eve’s dream holiday turns into a nightmare. She must battle voracious ants, destructive storms, and a vicious fugitive terrorist as she attempts to get out of the jungle alive, and return to her young son in one piece. We reviewed an earlier Hurwitz book – The Survivor – here, but this, his latest, is available now as a hardback.
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Bells and SmellsBells and Smells by Andrea Frazer
The title merits a brief word of explanation for those who are not familiar with the Church of England. Bells and Smells refers to a form of worship involving the use of incense and the ringing of small bells at certain points in the service. This murder mystery, with its ecclesiastical setting, is another outing for the author’s well established police duo of Detective Inspector Harry Falconer and Detective Sergeant Davey Carmichael. Falconer and Carmichael have to investigate the death of a choir member in a parish where the arrival of a new female minister has awakened old rivalries and petty jealousies. Out today.
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I'll Be Watching YouI’ll Be Watching You by Beverly Barton
When checking this book out I got a bad case of earworm, with the insistent riff of Police’s 1983 hit refusing to go away. The book title is very appropriate because, like the song, this is a story of a stalker. Ella Porter is not the kind of girl to flirt with danger, nor is her lifestyle one that encourages random admirers. But she has a secret. Except that it isn’t as secret as she thinks. When she begins to receive a series of letters which contain a heart stopping mix of threats, promises and temptations, Ella has to seek help from an unlikely source if she is to protect herself and her family. Available on 28 August.
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Gods of GoldGods of Gold by Chris Nickson
This is a police procedural set in the Yorkshire city of Leeds. It is 1890, and Inspector Tom Harper is investigating the apparent suicide, by hanging, of a petty crook. What disturbs him more is the disappearance of the man’s young daughter. Before his death, Col Parkinson had put the word about that Martha had gone to stay with his sister in Bradford. When Harper discovers that this sister doesn’t exist, he realises that he’s investigating something very sinister. Harper’s search for Martha is set against a violent industrial dispute which brings bloodshed and death to the streets of Leeds. We reviewed The Constant Lovers, a 18th century tale by the same author and also set in Leeds, here. Gods of Gold is published on 28 August.
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Hunter KillerHunter Killer by Chris Ryan
Days from the publication of his new book the author and former SAS soldier has issued a public warning to the UK government predicting carnage when British jihadists return from the fighting in Iraq and Syria. In his book, art certainly mirrors reality. A suicide bomber has brought death and destruction to central London. The government is frustrated in its attempts to deport an infamous hate preacher who has been stirring up violence from his base in a London mosque. Danny Black is an ex-Special Forces man, and when an influential but secret committee of ministers and intelligence chiefs decide to deal with terrorists by foul means rather than fair, he is the man they turn to. Black’s mission takes him to the terrorist hotbed of Yemen but – not for the first time – he feels he is being set up by his paymasters. Out on 28 August.
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Bite HarderBite Harder by Anonymous-9
Probably the worst kept secret in the crime fiction world is that Anonymous-9 is none other than Elaine Ash, a Canadian writer now living and working in USA. According to her website, “She writes in Los Angeles, parties in Texas, and traces her DNA back to Vikings in Scotland.” Her earlier book Hard Bite (reviewed here) had as its hero a paraplegic who wrought vengeance on dangerous drivers with the aid of a homicidal monkey, so we will not expect Ms Ash’s latest to be a cosy mystery. Dean Drayheart, the anti-hero of Hard Bite returns but his earlier crimes seem to have caught up with him. Death row awaits unless Mexican gangsters get to him first. Those who constitute the judicial process, however, have reckoned without Drayheart’s devoted girlfriend Cinda and, of course, Sid the killer monkey. Available from 1 September.
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Tune in next Thursday for more new crime releases in On the Radar.

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