Jo Nesbo, Voltaire and… Dust Bin Bob?

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On the Radar — You never know what you’re going to get from one week to the next on the crime fiction bookshelf. Our new books report this week brings you the latest from Norwegian best seller Jo Nesbo, a historical crime book featuring the French philosopher Voltaire as a key character, and even a record seller called Dust Bin Bob. In between there’s a ‘The Girl Who…’ release, some steampunk and Pauline Rowson introduces a new character for her latest south coast mystery. Read on and let us know which will make your TBR pile…

bloodonsnow200Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo
Norway’s Jo Nesbo might just be the biggest name in Scandinavian crime fiction at the moment, but he’s not an author to play it safe. It’s a while since his last Harry Hole novel, Police, and Blood on Snow is a standalone that takes us back to 1970s Oslo. Olav is a fixer who eliminates enemies of his drug lord boss, but when he’s asked to fix the boss’ wife things get complicated. While observing her before moving in for the kill, he falls in love with her. Is it possible for a hitman to turn on his boss, steal his wife, and survive? Find out on 9 April.
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Murder at CireyMurder at Cirey by Cheryl Sawyer
We have seen Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle all brought back to life and used as characters in fictional stories. Now it’s the turn of François-Marie Arouet – better known as Voltaire. Set in 1735 at the Château de Cirey, on the borders of Champagne and Lorraine, the mystery begins when Voltaire finds a body on the estate. It’s not Voltaire who investigates the death, though. That falls to military policeman Victor Constant, who is faced with what appears to be indifference from the authorities. Or, is more a conspiracy of silence? Out on 30 March.
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silent-runningSilent Running by Pauline Rowson
Rowson is giving her Portsmouth copper DI Andy Horton a rest, but her latest mystery is still set on the south coast. Chichester, Weymouth, Littlehampton, Brighton and Bognor Regis all provide the scenery, but the story is far from picturesque or cosy. Art Marvik is a former Royal Marine but is not content in civilian life. When a former girlfriend shows up on Marvik’s doorstep with a tale of murder and wrongful conviction, he is drawn out of his solitude and sucked into the investigation. When the girl herself vanishes, he becomes both a police suspect, and the only person who can solve a 15-ear-old mystery. Available on 31 March.
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The Girl Who Wouldn't DieThe Girl Who Wouldn’t Die by Marnie Riches
Marnie Riches has written a successful series of children’s books, but now she has turned her hand to adult crime fiction. Georgina McKenzie is a criminology student, and she is only too happy to help Amsterdam detective van den Bergen as he tries to discover who planted a bomb at the city’s university. When Georgina herself becomes the killer’s target she gets more than she bargained for. Marnie Riches has studied modern and medieval Dutch and German and uses this background to build up the atmosphere. Out in Kindle on 2 April.
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Steam Smoke and MirrorsSteam, Smoke and Mirrors by Colin Edmonds
From the innovative publisher Caffeine Nights, we are introduced to professional magician Michael Magister, who takes the lead in this steampunk mystery. No great stage conjuror works without a glamorous assistant, so enter, stage left, Phoebe Le Breton. Helped – and sometimes hindered – by the worthy but bemused Superintendent William Melville, the pair attempt to track down a murderer who makes Jack the Ripper look like a philanthropist. Lovers of dark humour and fin de siècle London can get this in print or for Kindle right now.
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Painted BlackPainted Black by Greg Kihn
In 2013’s Rubber Soul, Greg Kihn introduced us to Dust Bin Bob, who runs a 1960s record shop selling imported USA R&B singles. Dust Bin is back and having helped out the Beatles in the last book this time his co-star is doomed Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones. The musician has bought an antique mirror and is disturbed by what he sees in it, because it’s not just his own image. Dust Bin Bob becomes tangled up in events which lead to Jones leaving the Stones, and his death in the swimming pool of his Sussex home. Published on 7 April.
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No DovesNo Doves by Andy Boot
Another new thriller from Caffeine Nights, No Doves is an example of London Noir. It is the early 1990s. Mrs Thatcher is no longer prime minister but the turbulent economic years of her rule have left Docklands in limbo and decay. Against a ghostly landscape of abandon wharves and warehouses, a deadly game is played out between rival gangs, with two East End coppers – Errol Ross and Jack Goldman – doing their best to prevent a devastating urban war from breaking out. Available on 2 April.
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An Act of MercyAn Act of Mercy by JJ Durham

An Act of Mercy takes us back to London in the 1850s. With the police force in its infancy, Detective Sergeant Harry Pilgrim does not come to his new job without baggage. He is haunted by the death of his son and the disappearance of his wife. As mentioned earlier, the shade of Charles Dickens has already been pressed into service in The Murder of Patience Brook, but now he returns to help – and hinder – Harry Pilgrim in his search for the killer of a woman murdered in her horse-drawn cab, and a potential witness done to death in his prison cell. Out on 2 April.
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The Fat of Fed BeastsThe Fat of Fed Beasts by Guy Ware 

The cover of this book suggests lurid 1960s angst, with a touch of pulp. Advance publicity says it might be more complex than that – a mix of black humour, existentialism, literary murder, and cynical cops. On a more conventional level we have bank jobs, dead people, and a lawyer who commits suicide with a bread-knife. Despite the operatic cover, readers can expect a tangled web of deceit and violence, but told with the author’s tongue fixed firmly in his cheek. Out now.
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