Are you ready for Hop-tu-naa?

4 Mins read

On the Radar — If our headline has you confused, Hop-ti-naa another word for Halloween – it’s the Manx version of that night of mischief and sweets. However, on the Isle of Man it’s linked all the way back to pagan lore. And more than that, British author Chris Ewan has made it the central motif in his mystery Dark Tides, set on the island. That’s our first book this week but we’ve also got Romans, brassy ladies from Essex, a 1930s London Noir and more… Which will make it to your TBR pile?

Dark TidesDark Tides by Chris Ewan
Isle of Man resident Chris Ewan already has one thriller under his belt which is set on the island – Safe House was reviewed here. Now he returns there with a sinister tale centred around Hop-tu-naa, the Manx Halloween. When police officer Claire Cooper was eight her mother disappeared during the pagan festival. Added to that mystery is the accidental death of Claire’s friend while doing a Hop-tu-naa dare some years later. As the festival approaches again she is convinced that the killer still has unfinished business… and that unfinished business might just be her. We interviewed Chris Ewan in 2012. Dark Tides will be out for Kindle on 14 October, and in print on 16 October.
Pre-order now on Amazon

SpectrumSpectrum by Alan Jacobson
Since the first Karen Vail adventure – The 7th Victim – took the reading world by storm in 2008, Jacobson has provided regular updates on the career of his damaged and dangerous FBI profiler. This book starts with a leap back in time to her days as a rookie cop with the NYPD in 1995. A killer known as Hades tormented the law agencies then, and nearly 20 years later he’s still out there – a clear and present danger. Vail tries to juggle her complex family life and her near obsession with the Hades killer. Her greatest challenge is to bring to justice the serial murderer without losing either her sanity or any of her loved ones. Published on 7 October.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Good LifeThe Good Life by Martina Cole
Martina Cole grew up on an Essex council estate, and her books about the hard-as-nails men and women of the much maligned English county have sold by the million. When you open a Martina Cole book you know what you are going to get – inventive murders, diamond geezers, and their brassy but brave women. The strap line for her latest book is ‘Live the Good Life. Pay the price.’ East End hard man Cain Moran is used to getting his way. It might just take a look, or a few words, or maybe sudden and devastating violence. Moran’s physical charisma is of no use to him when he falls madly in love with Jenny Riley. His main problem? His wife Caroline. She takes one of their wedding vows – til death us do part – extremely seriously. And literally. Available on 9 October.
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Brothers In BloodBrothers in Blood by Simon Scarrow
Simon Scarrow’s latest historical thriller set in the days of the Roman Empire is out soon. Quintus Lucinius Cato and Lucius Cornelius Macro have been with us since 2000, and here they are in Britain. The legions of Rome have come up against a formidable foe – the first century British chieftain, Caractacus. As Caractacus fights a guerilla war, Rome’s effort is undermined by a spy within the ranks. Expect a tale of treachery set against a wonderfully authentic historical background. This will be available on 9 October.
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Hush Little BabyHush Little Baby by James Carol
This is a novella features the rather unique profiler Jefferson Winter. It goes something like this: “Ah, Jefferson – what does your dad do?” “My dad? Well, he’s a serial killer, sir…” This time out, a possible love interest is provided in the form of Japanese profiler Yoko Tanaka, who is helping Florida cops run down a particularly devious killer whose targets of choice are mothers and daughters. The killer, nicknamed The Sandman, is inventive and astute, but can Tanaka and Winter trap the perpetrator. Out on Kindle 16 October.
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The Mask Of The VerdoyMask of the Verdoy by Phil Lecomber
This is first in a series of books featuring George Harley, and set in the murky streets of 1930s London. The author says it is something of an homage to Brighton Rock, and there are no stately homes or comfortable Cotswold villages here. Harley operates in the spielers, clip joints and all night cafés that pimple the seedy underbelly of a city struggling through the recession of the 30s. Harley’s efforts to bring a criminal to justice will delight those who used to enjoy gritty stories of London Noir by such writers as Gerald Kersh, James Curtis, Patrick Hamilton and Norman Collins. Expected publication date is 30 October.
More info on Amazon

Good Girls Don't DieGood Girls Don’t Die by Isabelle Grey
Essex again and in Good Girls Don’t Die we have a female cop, Grace Fisher, whose honesty and determination to blow the whistle on corrupt colleagues has almost forced her out of a job. Author Isabelle Grey cut her creative teeth writing scripts for UK TV staples like The Bill, Casualty, Wycliffe, Rosemary & Thyme and The Midsomer Murders. This thriller, released on 9 October, tells a dark tale set in Colchester. Students are being murdered, and Grace Fisher holds the key that will unlock the mystery – provided that a mix of her reputation and the tabloids doesn’t deal all the high cards to the killer.
Pre-order now on Amazon

I'll Be Watching YouI’ll Be Watching You by Beverly Barton
Beverly Barton’s latest is riding on the crest of a huge wave of media promotion, but what is it all about? Here we meet Ella, the daughter of a judge and a senator, so she is from the right side of the tracks. Her privileged upbringing is worth nothing when an old boyfriend, who has served a long jail term, seems to be the only one who can get to the bottom of who is threatening the young woman’s life. Expect a potent mixture of romance, hardboiled crime and suspense. Out now for Kindle.
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WindchillWindchill by Ed James
This is the sixth adventure for James’ hero Scott Cullen, a struggling Detective Constable in Edinburgh. James lives in the area that he writes about, so expect authenticity in both language and geography. The Christmas season always poses a challenge for the Lothian cops, but the hard-drinking Cullen is stretched to his limits when he has to investigate the murder of a young barman. This storyline runs parallel with another plot strand which sees him trying to discover the identity of a corpse found in a burnt out house, and catch whoever killed the unfortunate soul. Back in 2012 we reviewed an earlier case for Scott Cullen – Ghost in the Machine. Windchill is available on 3 October.
Pre-order now on Amazon

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