Good-bye 2014, hello Tess Gerritsen

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On the Radar — This will be the last On the Radar article of 2014, as next week our Thursday publication day coincides with Christmas Day. However, we will be back on 1 January 2105 briskly for a new year of crime fiction. During 2014 we have pointed you in the direction of well over 100 new crime books by established writers, but also those debut authors who may well be the Galácticos of crime fiction in the future.

This week’s bulletin is no different as we include established writers like Tess Gerritsen and Nick Oldham, as well as some who may be less familiar. From the OTR team – thanks for your support throughout 2014 – we’ll catch up again on New Year’s Day!

Die AgainDie Again by Tess Gerritsen
Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles have made mainstream TV in America, with the obligatory glamour and big hair, but we mustn’t forget that the partnership between the Boston cop (Rizzoli) and the medical examiner (Iles) is well established in modern crime fiction, and certainly the best-known female pairing. Their latest case concerns a series of deaths linked by big cats. As Rizzoli tries to make sense of a crime scene which includes a dead hunter and the body of a snow leopard, Iles investigates a number of corpses which are found hanging upside down, suggestive of the way a leopard will hang its prey in a tree for save keeping. Die Again is available from 1 January.
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Playing Mrs KingstonPlaying Mrs Kingston by Tony Lee Moral
Having already written appraisals of two classic Hitchcock movies The Birds and Marnie, Tony Lee Moral has written a story about the late great director. This novel echoes stories about the director’s relationships with his leading ladies when struggling actress Catriona Benedict is offered a real-life acting role. She must play the wife of a notorious man-about-New York, Miles Kingston. As you might imagine, Mr K has an ulterior motive. Provided he is married by his 40th birthday, he will inherit a fortune. Caroline plays a key role in this deception, but it turns out to be a role she can’t just cast off the minute the curtain falls. Out now.
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Be Careful What You HearBe Careful What You Hear by Paul Pilkington
On the back of his well-received Emma Holden trilogy, Pilkington returns with a standalone novella. Mothers of young children only expect to hear good sounds over their baby monitor, but when Georgina Adams hears her husband apparently threatening their six month-old daughter her world spins off its axis. Is she going mad? Is her mind playing cruel tricks? Suspicion and doubts about her own sanity – and that of her husband – combine to make a toxic cocktail of destructive emotions. Available on 22 December.
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VanishedVanished by Elizabeth Heiter 
We first encountered criminal profiler Evelyn Baine in Hunted (2013) where she dealt with the delightfully named Bakersville Burier. She returns with a mystery in which she nearly played a starring – but fatal – role. Years earlier Baine’s best friend, Cassie Byers, was abducted, never to be seen again. At the time Baine felt that she was the next in line to disappear, and when a new series of tragedies echoes the events of the past, Baine must decide if The Nursery Rhyme Killer is a copycat criminal, or the person responsible for Cassie’s disappearance 18 years ago. Released 30 December.
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The Lost and the BlindThe Lost and the Blind by Declan Burke
We reviewed Burke’s earlier novel Crime Always Pays in March this year, which has comic overtones. It seems Burke has put aside the comedy in this new novel set in Delphi. If that leads you to expect blue skies, heat, white marble and ouzo, think again. This Delphi is a bleak and windswept island off the coast of Donegal, and we have a cast which includes an old German who might have been a Nazi, an Irish American billionaire with a nose for gold, a reclusive espionage writer, and a jobbing journalist who becomes entangled in the web, putting at risk his own life and that of his daughter. Out on 31 December.
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Cry WolfCry Wolf by Michael Gregorio
Michael G Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio have a string of books behind them featuring the young Königsberg magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis, but are now writing about their homeland Italy with this story set in the Sybilline Mountains. Sebastiano Cangio is a nature lover who is fascinated by wolves, but his dream job as a National Park ranger turns into a nightmare when an earthquake devastates the area. During the evacuation, the mafia move in with a sinister agenda which will prove ruinous to both men and wolves. Cangio is not cut out to combat the world’s most feared criminal organisation, but needs must when the devil drives. Available on 31 December.
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EdgeEdge by Nick Oldham
Lancashire’s finest copper – Henry Christie – returns in another adventure which proves that serious villainy is not the sole preserve of big cities like London and LA. Battling his way through the cold and rain-soaked Northwest countryside, Christie takes on a hard-nosed killer called Charlie Wilder who has just completed a jail term, but has unfinished business now he’s a free man. Be glad that you are snug in a warm house when you read this as Christie faces both a wintry landscape and a villain who will leave a slew of bodies behind him before he is brought to justice. If you are new to Henry Christie, then you can find out a little more by reading our review of Bad Tidings. Edge will be out on 31 December.
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The Blue and the GreyThe Blue and the Grey by MJ Trow
This opens with the dramatic events of 14 April 1865, when an audience went to Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC expecting to watch a farce but instead witnessed the murder of Abraham Lincoln. As the conspirators scatter, one is believed to have traveled to London, and cavalryman Captain Matthew Grand is sent by the US secret police to track him down. When Grand arrives in London, his path converges with that of journalist James Batchelor who is pursuing another killer – The Haymarket Strangler. The pair couldn’t be more different, but together they forge an interesting partnership. Published on 31 December.
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the-german-agent-by-j-sydney-jonesThe German Agent by J Sydney Jones
This book is centred around one of the most intriguing diplomatic incidents of World War I – the Zimmermann Telegram. In 1917 Germany sent a telegram to Mexico promising to support their invasion of Texas if Mexico sided with Germany should the US enter the war. British intelligence agents intercepted the telegram, but they had a problem. Should they reveal its contents to the Americans, thus exposing the fact that they’d cracked the German communication code, but ensuring an early American involvement? The fiction comes as a decorated German infantryman turned spy, Max Volkman, charged with preventing diplomatic disaster, becomes a murderer and is forced to confront the dilemma as to whether the end can ever justify the means. Out on 1 January.
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