NTN: Ten to taste 2014

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NTN 2014 logo courier 300If you check our reviews backlist, you will see that we cover the giants of crime fiction, past and present. The names of Georges Simenon, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle rub shoulders with those of Lee Child, PD James, Val McDermid and James Lee Burke. But there are only so many hours in the day, and so many words available on the page. We are also aware that there are dozens of new crime releases releases each week, and not all of them carry big promotion budgets or the backing of established publishers. New talent November enables us to turn the spotlight on authors who have chosen the self-publishing route. Presently, they may be just at the base camp of the Everest of literary success, but they might have the skill and stamina to get to the summit. So, here are 10 writers who are definitely worth keeping an eye on.

ProdigalProdigal Sons by Mike Miner
When Matthew Flanagan wakes up in a Beverley Hills PD cell, all he can remember is that he’s been on the bender of a lifetime, so he tries to piece together the fragments of his memory. Sexy wife – check. Great job in an ad agency – check. An amazing Socal home – check. The more awake he becomes, the more it dawns on him that he may just have blown all three. When Flanagan takes off to Vegas with a girlfriend, pursued by his family, a truly dark account of the dystopian side of the American dream unfolds. Mike Miner is a frequent contributor to the All Due Respect pulp/noir anthologies.
Buy now on Amazon

Harbour MasterThe Harbour Master II: The Maze by Daniel Pembrey
These snappy 99-page reads are published as Kindle singles, and tell the tale of a cynical Amsterdam Cop, Henk van der Pol. We reviewed the first of them here, but now van der Pol is back. In 1983 he worked on the sensational kidnapping of brewery boss Freddie Heineken, but this time it’s a well-known Dutch politician who has been snatched. With the MO being strikingly similar, van der Pol is drawn into the case risking not just himself, but his family too. First there are the crooks, then there are his bent colleagues and corruption at the highest level of government.
Buy now on Amazon

Windigo FireWindigo Fire by MH Callway
Danny Bluestone is a young Native Canadian who is drifting through life in and around his Ontario hometown, but when he gets sucked into guiding for a seemingly legal hunting party it all goes wrong. The hunters are hell-bent on slaughtering protected bear, but by the time Danny and an American called Ricky realise the truth, the hunters themselves have been slaughtered, and a terrible fire is sweeping through the woods destroying everything in its path. Danny believes the fire to be the embodiment of The Windigo, a formidable spirit entity in his ancestral folklore, and must use all his skills and craft to avoid becoming its latest victim.
Buy now on Amazon

BloodlettingBloodletting by William D Prystauk
Denny Bowie, a Chicago punk rocker who is an enthusiastic member of the S&M scene, is the main character here. He yearns, however, to be a good old fashioned PI and his chance comes when, along with his goth girlfriend Penny, he becomes involved in the search for the killer of six men, one of whom was his childhood friend, an innovative photographer. Helped and hindered by androgynous dancers, various doms and subs, and with frequent, highly charged sexual encounters every step of the way, Denny’s search for the murderer is exciting, suspenseful and… different. It’s released on 6 December.

Grangemouth ConspiracyThe Grangemouth Conspiracy by Fergus Currie
This is the first in a series of novels centred on Inspector Steven Berg. Grangemouth, a Scottish town on the Firth of Forth, is one of the biggest petrochemical complexes in Europe. The novel weaves together three events – a 2006 explosion in a disused oil refinery laboratory, a 1963 break-in by disarmament activists who find secret papers in a nuclear bunker, and a meeting in 1893 between a Russian businessman and a mysterious stranger. Berg must complete a jigsaw whose pieces include madness, anarchy, conspiracy, illegal scientific experiments and a very contemporary terrorist campaign.
Buy now on Lulu

TannionTannion by Wayne Elsner
Jim Tannion is certainly something new in the world of crime investigators. He was struck by lightning. Not metaphorically, but literally. He survived not only intact, but with certain of his faculties enhanced. He can heal injuries and boost his own capabilities in myriad ways. In short, he has become a kind of superhero. As he moves across America, from Kansas to New York, and then on to LA, he begins a vigilante campaign, bringing down those who thought they had cheated the law. But as he chalks up his kills, he is faced with moral complexities, and his lines of certainty become blurred.
Buy now on Amazon

Boston ShadowBoston Shadow by Tijani Fulani
Boston, 1938. While Europe is on the eve of war, female PI Ira Blake has things to worry about closer to home. An old West Coast pal called Nunez has turned up out east. Problem is, he is dead. Very dead. Not only is he unmistakably dead, he has suffered from some kind of mystery virus called The Blue Spore. Undaunted, Ira Blake sets out to identify the source of the virus, while grappling with more mundane matters like securing her next paycheck, and exposing the truth behind her boss’s frequent absences.
Buy now on Amazon

Rook To BishopRook to Bishop by Paul Garvey
We stay on the chilly streets of Boston for this account of the Maguires, an Irish-American family who become embroiled in a conflict with a local drug boss, the eponymous John Bishop. Trusting their ethnic heritage, they employ a detective called Nick McNulty. The aging and distinctly past-his-sell-by-date McNulty can’t spell subtle, let alone do it, and he habitually gets results with his fists, gut instincts and street smarts, rather than by using more sophisticated modern techniques. Despite his Neanderthal methods, McNulty has a basic core of decency which rubs off on both his employers, and their opponents. This is Garvey’s fourth novel.
Buy now on Amazon

Death Takes A LoverDeath Takes a Lover by Olivier Bosman
Victorian England – superficially gripped by a tight moral and social code, but behind the façade, seething with repressed desires and deeds best left unspoken. Detective Sergeant John Billings travels to a remote Yorkshire farmhouse to investigate the mysterious death of Roger Thornton, a young man who appears to have had the world at his feet. Billings finds a tight-lipped and obstructive community hiding several dark secrets, and he witnesses an uneasy but sometimes disturbing relationship between ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’. Originally a stage play, this novel is a mixture of gothic horror and fin-de-siecle decadence.
Buy now on Amazon

IT Cane Be DangerousIT Can Be Dangerous by Ita Ryan
Cynthia is a computer techie in a London office, and her imminent performance management review takes a major hit when she discovers her boss dead at his desk. She becomes the prime suspect and has to use her analytical skills to convince the police to look elsewhere. Problem is, as she gets closer to the real killer, she makes herself into a very attractive – and necessary – target. Ita Ryan is a Dubliner, and has a masters degree in computing.
Buy now on Amazon

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