Fear, darkness and sin

On the Radar — This week we have the welcome return of Inspector John Carlyle in another London-based police procedural, while there is also a hint of love in the air well ahead of 14 February with three novels by American ladies – Erica Spindler, Kendra Elliot and TR Ragan. Who can resist sweetening murder and mayhem with a strong dash of romance.

SinsOfTheFathersSmallSins of the Fathers by James Craig
Craig’s doggedly decent and long-suffering London cop John Carlyle returns in an episode that sees a father shot dead as he watches his daughter play in London’s most child-friendly park. Did his soon-to-be ex-wife pay the finger that pulled the trigger? Has a missing Japanese good-time girl run away with one of her sugar daddies, or is her disappearance more sinister? Along with the rugby star who has just decapitated the four young men who raped his daughter, there is more than enough on Carlyle’s plate. Published on 5 February.
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Fear of the DarkFear the Dark by Chris Mooney
Forensic investigator Darby McCormick first appeared in Mooney’s fourth novel, The Missing (2007). Now the Boston cop is far away from the sophisticated East Coast. A small town in Colorado, already riven by family jealousies and old feuds, is threatened by a mysterious killer who has no compunction in slaughtering a complete family who wrongly thought they were safe in their home. Darby quickly understands that the dark motivation which drivers the killer is more than matched by the fear and anger eating up the town itself. Out today.
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ConcealmentThe Concealment of Truth by Shawn Cullen
As a recovering alcoholic, DI Mason Woodward has first hand experience of the demons that can beset honest men, but he struggles to cope with a series of killings in London, apparently carried out by a well-educated and otherwise model member of society. He cannot look to lean too hard on his sergeant, who is battling personal problems, so he has to balance doing his best by his own family with seeking justice for the victims’ relatives. This, Cullen’s debut novel, is out now.
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long-way-downLong Way Down by Michael Sears
Wall Street financier Jason Stafford has done his time for insider dealing, but he has other things to cope with apart from the revolving dollar signs on his computer monitor. Jason’s son is autistic and needs constant care and his wife is dead – victim of a hit intended to kill Stafford himself. Using street smarts learned in prison alongside his knowledge of financial markets, Stafford starts a new career as a financial investigator, but he’s rapidly dragged back into the world he wanted to leave behind. Published in the UK on 5 February.
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Whispering CityThe Whispering City by Sara Moliner
Sarah Moliner is the pseudonym of Rosa Ribas and Sabine Hofmann, and this book is set in Barcelona in 1952. Franco’s fascist regime is stronger and more pervasive than ever, and all public services – including the police and judiciary – are riven with corruption and nepotism. A wealthy woman is found dead in her apartment and as the authorities seek to stifle the investigation, a young journalist and her cousin uncover secrets which may cut to the hearts of the rich and powerful. This was first published in Spain in 2014, and this new translation by Mara Faye Letham is available on 5 February.
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Cookies caseCookie’s Case by Andy Siegel
Andy Siegel is a personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer in New York, and puts his experience to good use here in his second novel. Tug Wyler, who may well be Siegel’s alter ego, springs to the defence of a plucky stripper, the eponymous Cookie, who literally slipped on a banana skin during her routine at the delightfully named Jingles Dance Bonanza. Mixing broad humour with seriously dodgy dealings in the medical and legal professions, this account of Wyler’s attempts to kid the kidders looks like a rewarding read. Published on 10 February.
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The First WifeThe First Wife by Erica Spindler
Erica Spindler loves to mix crime and romance. In her latest novel, Bailey Browne has a childhood dream where she is whisked off her feet by a handsome young man who will marry her. She is delighted when her fantasy comes true, but when Logan Abbott’s armour proves to be a long way short of shining, her dream becomes a nightmare. Echoing Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, there is a previous Mrs Abbott and with every secret Bailey uncovers comes a fresh threat to her well-being – and her life. Out on 10 February in Kindle, and in print later in 2015.
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BridgedBridged by Kendra Elliot
With a badly shot-up FBI agent struggling to get back to work, the tortured corpse of a politician hanging from a bridge, a passionate romance between law enforcement officers, and the FBI agent’s addict twin sister, it’s all happening in Portland, Oregon. The search for a serial killer puts great strain on the budding love affair between Ava McLane and Detective Mason Callaghan and, as is often the case, when the hunters get too close to their prey, they themselves become the killer’s targets. Available on 10 February.
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AlmostDeadAlmost Dead by TR Ragan
Investigator Lizzy Gardner returns in her fifth outing by TR Ragan, who writes not only romantic crime thrillers but medieval time travel sagas too. With her boyfriend lying in a coma after being shot on their wedding day, Lizzy must drag herself back to the day job to investigate a series of deaths which seem to be linked to an exclusive and vindictive high school club. A decade earlier its members took great pleasure in humiliating fellow students, so perhaps it’s all about revenge. Published on 3 February.
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