King of horror, prince of crime

On the Radar — Writing detective fiction is becoming a regular for Stephen King, who is following up Mr Mercedes with a new case for retired detective Bill Hodges. Beyond our lead book, this week’s new releases present an eclectic collection once again. We have a protagonist with Asperger’s syndrome, crime in the Black Country, two historical crime fiction novels and a new novel set in Ireland. Plenty more for you to dip into… do enjoy.

Finders KeepersFinders Keepers by Stephen King
We first met retired detective Bill Hodges in Mr Mercedes. In Finders Keepers he gets involved in the case of Morris Bellamy, an obsessive fan of the intensely private author John Rothstein. Bellamy, enraged by what he sees as a sell-out, kills Rothstein and steals a series of notebooks which contain the makings of an unpublished novel. Bellamy hides the notebooks in what he thinks is a safe place, but before he can make use of the material, he is jailed for an unrelated crime. When Bellamy is eventually released, he is horrified to find that his treasure has been discovered by a boy, and he sets out to retrieve what he sees as rightfully his, by fair means or foul. Standing in his way is Hodges, assisted by young Holly Gibney and IT genius Jerome Robinson from the earlier book. Published on 2 June.
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SpiderThe Spider in the Corner of the Room by Nikki Owen
Nikki Owen did part of her degree at Spain’s University of Salamanca, and that historic city is home to the central character in her debut novel. Now, however, Dr Maria Martinez is far from home. She is in a British prison serving a sentence for the brutal murder of a priest. The first person narrative is one with a difference – Martinez has Asperger’s syndrome. As she tries to make sense of her surroundings, she slowly unravels a conspiracy. Has she been framed? How are British intelligence agencies involved, and what is the relationship between her mother and the prison governor? Despite her amazing powers of memory and deduction, Martinez struggles to separate reality from perception, and friend from deadly enemy. Out on 4 June.
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Evil GamesEvil Games by Angela Marsons
Black Country detective DI Kim Stone first came to our notice in Silent Scream earlier this year, and here she investigates the apparently random stabbing of a convicted rapist. When more crimes follow, Stone realises that she and her team are up against an extremely clever and wickedly gifted sociopath, who seems to playing perverse tricks on the forces of law and order. Stone’s far-from-ordinary upbringing and personal life are also used by the killer to spice up a lethal chess game where the pieces are real human lives. Available on 29 May.
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Martyr's CurseThe Martyr’s Curse by Scott Mariani
Benedict ‘Ben’ Hope has an interesting CV. After failing to complete a theology degree at Oxford he joined the army, and finished his career as a major in the SAS. In search of solitude after a life of violence, Hope finds peace in a monastery, hidden far away in the French Alps. His meditations are rudely interrupted when a gang of killers, looking for a fabled hoard of gold, attack the monastery and leave most of its residents dead. Hope survives and pursues them across Europe, partly for revenge, but also because this particular gang might destabilise the entire world. In 2012, our guest columnist Miles took a brief but enthusiastic look at an earlier Ben Hope novel, The Sacred Sword. Published on 4 June.
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SpiraledSpiraled by Kendra Elliot
The Pacific Northwest state of Oregon is in turmoil. A spate of shootings, apparently by homicidal teenagers, has struck terror into the hearts of shopping mall patrons across the state. FBI agent Ava McLane teams up again with tough cop Mason Callahan in their third adventure. McLane is meant to be on vacation, but she finds herself in the thick of the action. Her job is made no easier by the pressure of trying to cope with her mentally ill twin sister, and despite the best efforts of her romantic interest, Callahan, she soon becomes the killers’ prey, rather than their hunter. Out on 2 June.
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RuthlessRuthless by John Rector
Anyone who likes noir, conspiracy, and the tale of a hitman relentlessly pursuing his target should enjoy this thriller. The first big reveal, however, is that the hitman isn’t actually a hitman. Nick White is mistakenly given a contract to kill Abigail Pierce. This means he is also the only person who can save her before the contractors realise their mistake and put someone else on the job. White has to unravel a complex knot of hatred and deception, and his task is made no easier when he learns that Abigail Pierce is far from the innocent victim he thought. Available on 1 June.
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Thomas HawkinsThe Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson
This is the eagerly awaited sequel to the 2014 best-seller The Devil in the Marshalsea. Tom Hawkins is young, handsome and a rather feckless young man-about-town in Georgian England. He choses his friends widely rather than wisely, and has come to grief by involving himself with affairs of state. Literally, it must be said, as two of the people he has become involved with are none other than George II’s mistress and the errant monarch’s wife, Queen Caroline. Hawkins is heading for a date with the hangman at Tyburn gallows unless he can prove himself innocent. Published on 4 June.
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Crow HollowCrow Hollow by Michael Wallace
More historical crime, but this time set in New England and 50 years earlier. The colony is in the grip of a war between a Native American tribe and European settlers. Recently widowed Prudence Cotton is searching for her daughter, believed captured by Nipmuc tribesmen. She is assisted by an English spy whose motives are ambiguous. James Bailey has been sent by Charles II to investigate the death of Prudence’s husband, but also to stir up trouble in the fledgling community so that more draconian governance can be imposed. The unlikely pair embark on a dangerous journey through a hostile and wintry land which is now – in more peaceful times – known as Massachusetts. On the shelves and downloadable from 1 June.
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Blood SistersBlood Sisters by Graham Masterton
This is the fifth episode in the career of Garda Síochána officer Kate Maguire. A serial killer seems to be targeting Roman Catholic nuns. When a child’s skull is disinterred in the grounds of the Cork convent which housed the victims, Maguire realises that beneath the cloistered order and humility of the Holy Sisters, a decades-old secret might emerge to shatter her preconceptions about good and evil. The author, a former master of the horror genre, lived in Cork for many years until returning to England. Out in hardback and for Kindle on 1 June.
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