Val’s back – and so is Poirot

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On the Radar — It’s a case of, ‘Please be upstanding and raise your glasses to the ladies,’ this week, as we look at a new Val McDermid, Sophie Hannah’s recreation of Poirot, and another nail-biting psychological drama from Ann Cleeves. And in addition to books by some of Britain’s top female authors, we’ve also got something for horse racing buffs, those who like sticky splats of gore, Ripper-ologists, and fans of Canadian noir. However, there’s no better place to start than with The First Lady of Fife – Val McDermid!

Skeleton RoadThe Skeleton Road by Val McDermid
Not every crime writer, having created a successful series featuring established characters, is brave enough or good enough to tackle standalone stories. McDermid has no such qualms. Skeleton Road takes us back to her native Scotland where DCI Karen Pirie investigates a skeleton found in a derelict Edinburgh building. She is drawn into a much wider world involving the Balkan Wars of the 1990s and a poisonous mix of ethnic hatred, revenge and family feuds. The author’s talent of conjuring menace out of thin air and everyday situations is on full display here as Pirie learns that evil does not need a passport to travel. We reviewed Cross and Burn, a Hill and Jordan novel earlier this year, and McDermid’s latest is available on 11 September.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Lazarus ProphecyThe Lazarus Prophecy by FG Cottam
Jack the Ripper was never caught, but his grisly exploits still resonate more than 125 years later. As a killer appears to be mimicking the deeds of the infamous cannibal, the police are faced with several parallels: the victims are street women, there is an enigmatic message scrawled on a wall, and the gutter press are in a feeding frenzy. When a beautiful and popular actress is struck down, the Ripper comparisons end, to be replaced by the uncomfortable thought that the killer may not be a person of flesh and blood. Devotees of the Dan Brown school of mystery fiction could do worse than to give this novel the once-over. Available on 9 September.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Last Of The IndependentsThe Last of the Independents by Sam Wiebe
Vancouver noir might just be the latest addition to the long list of crime fiction sub-genres, and it will surely not be the last. The Canadian city has been rated by The Economist as one of the most liveable cities on Earth, but here we are talking about the dead rather than the living. Michael Drayton runs an agency specialising in finding missing persons. Sadly, sometimes missing persons turn out to be simply dead persons, and Drayton must pick his way through a minefield of distinctly unsavoury people including a psychic, a necrophiliac and a crooked PI. Out now.
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Because She Loved MeBecause She Loves Me by Mark Edwards
Edwards has written several novels with his co-author Louise Voss, but here he’s on his own with a tale of instant attraction and passion – which leads to suspicion. Andrew and Charlie are made for each other. It’s all good, whether in the bedroom, in the kitchen, or in the restaurant. With a character from a previous book – Lucy Newton – making a ‘guest’ appearance, an intense no-holds-barred affair turns into the stuff of nightmares. We interviewed Mark Edwards in 2013, and you can read what he had to say here. Because She Loves Me is out now.
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Hard-Boiled-Detective-Novels-No-1-smallThe Hard-Boiled Detective 1 by Ben Solomon
What better home for a hardboiled detective than Chicago, former domain of Al Capone and various other gangsters for several generations. Even The Windy City has its own version of high society, though, and the nameless PI has to step up a few classes to investigate a case involving marital infidelity and deception on a grand scale. This story was initially available as a subscription-only edition on the author’s own website, but it is now on Amazon.
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UK_Monogram_Murders_jacketThe Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
How many fictional characters survive the death of their authors? Bond, Holmes and Spenser are some of the most significant ones. Now, Agatha Christie’s world famous Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot rises from the dead. Poirot is daintily sipping coffee in an exclusive London eaterie when his peace is disturbed by a young woman who insists that she is about to be the victim of a savage killer. She is right. And, her death is linked to those of three more victims, so Poirot is forced into exercising his formidable mind to trace the culprit. We interviewed the author here when the novel was announced last year. The Monogram Murders is out on 9 September and will be reviewed as part of this year’s Classics in September.
Pre-order now on Amazon

DamageDamage by Felix Francis
Once again, a sadly passed author’s work is being continued by another writer with Damage. Felix Francis has as good a claim – his father Dick had a distinguished career in the RAF during WWII, and then went on to be a top National Hunt Jockey. Later Francis Sr found fame as a crime novelist. Felix Francis reprises that same special world of stables, owners, bookmakers and criminal chancers. This novel is bang up to date, as investigator Jeff Hinckley has to go undercover beneath the pomp and circumstance of the Cheltenham Festival in pursuit of horse-dopers… and a vicious killer. Damage is out on 11 September.
Pre-order now on Amazon

PopGoesWeasePop Goes The Weasel by MJ Arlidge
We took a look at Eeny Meeny, the first installment of this series earlier in the summer, and Arlidge set the bar fairly high in terms of blood and guts. In this second outing for DI Helen Grace, he does his best to match his previous effort. We start with a corpse, as expected in a murder mystery. This one has had his heart cut out and delivered to his family. He was found in the red light district of Southampton, and when another man is found in similar circumstances, literally gutted, the media start to home in the standby headline of The Ripper. However, this is a ripper with a twist. Instead of prostituted the victims are clients. Available on 11 September.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Button ManThe Button Man by Mark Pryor
This is a prequel to the 2012 novel The Bookseller, which saw ex-Bureau man Hugo Marston as Head of Security at the US Embassy in Paris, where he tackled the disappearance of an elderly Holocaust survivor. Here he is doing the same job in London, but this time acting as a minder to a pair of Hollywood glitterati on location in rural England. When the precious pair seem to be involved in a fatal road accident, worse follows. The female star is found hanged, while her partner disappears off the face of the earth. Throw in an English politician, a possible serial killer and a mysterious young woman who may hold the key to unlocking the case, and you have one American agent struggling to get to grips with the Brits and their strange ways. Out now.
Buy now on Amazon

thin-airThin Air by Ann Cleeves
In January this year we gave Harbour Street, a non-Shetland novel, the maximum five stars in our review. Can Ann Cleeves keep delivering the goods? Set in the Shetland Islands, with the next stop being Norway, her new novel is the sixth in a series featuring a detective with the distinctly un-Nordic name of Jimmy Perez. His latest case involves the classic juxtaposition of folk from the bright city lights set down in a distinctly more elemental landscape. A group of Londoners, former friends from university, visit Shetland to celebrate the marriage of one of their number to an islander. One of them vanishes into the midsummer mist, and when Perez and his fellow detective Willow Reeve investigate, they run headlong into a powerful local legend – that of the ghost of Peerie Lizzie, a child who was tragically drowned more than 90 years earlier. Out 11 September.
Pre-order now on Amazon

You can count on us every Thursday for new crime fiction releases… so see you next week.

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