Previewed: The 15 big crime books to read this summer

The summer is a huge time for the publishers. There are so many working people around the world who can’t find the time year-round to satisfy their passion for crime fiction, but when they head off on their summer holidays they pack a pile of books – or a fully loaded Kindle – and kick back by the pool. Whether you’re a hardcore mystery fan who reads them all year round, or someone who reads as and when you have time, we thought it would be helpful to point you towards what we believe are the big releases of summer 2015. Will any of these make it into your suitcase? Let us know…

Girlinthespidersweb540The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
Etch the date 27 August into your psyche if you’re a fan of Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. Though the author died some time ago, his literary legacy continues with a fourth novel that’s being added to the series by David Lagercrantz, who is a bit like Sweden’s own version of David Peace. The content of the story is a closely guarded secret but the girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth Salander, does indeed appear alongside journalist Mikael Blomkvist. It’s bound to be controversial, and it’s bound to sell in bucket loads as well. We took a first look at it here. Watch for our review…
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The Third womanThe Third Woman by Jonathan Freedland
One of Britain’s top political journalists, Jonathan Freedland used to write crime under the name Sam Bourne. We reviewed his 2013 novel Pantheon here – it was a book that asked, ‘What if the Allies were secretly as into eugenics as much as the Nazis were during World War II?’ And he wove a crime novel not too dissimilar to The Thirty-nine Steps around that theme. Now he’s taking another political concept from his day job – the rise of China’s economic might – and saying, ‘What if America were run by the Chinese?’ With corruption rife, Maddison Webb must track down the killer of her sister Abigail. This is HarperCollins’ big summer release and the publisher is hoping it’s a book that’ll reach inside you and take hold of your viscera while you reach for the sun cream. Out 2 July.
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inbitterchill100In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward
If you’re going to be baking on the beach you might as well cool off with a mystery set in the Peak District in January. In 1978, two girls went missing in the town of Bampton. One somehow escaped the clutches of the kidnapper but the other was never seen again. Rachel Jones was the survivor and her life goes off kilter years later when the mother of the girl who never came back is found dead in a hotel room around the anniversary of the incident. Then, one of their former teachers is killed. Faber & Faber isn’t just saying this is its big debut release this summer – it’s the company’s big release full stop! Out 2 July. Watch this space for our review.
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dexterisdead100Dexter is Dead by Jeff Lindsay
Oh the irony, because in the ninth Dexter novel when the police finally catch up with the Miami serial killer it’s for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s going to cost him his wife, his children, his career and even the love and trust of his sister. Dexter Morgan is the only serial killer we’ve come across whose special taste is for killing other serial killers, but do you know why we think this book is going to be a smash hit this summer? It’s because Jeff Lindsay has declared it to be the very last Dexter novel. If you can’t hold your breath until 7 July, have a look at the Dexter series as well as a gaggle of other serial murderer series here.
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bloodsaltwater100Blood Salt Water by Denise Mina
A new Denise Mina novel is always a big event and not just in Scotland. The author won back to back Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Awards in 2012 and 2013 and she’s even rewritten the Millennium series (see above) for the graphic novel format. Her latest, Blood Salt Water, drops on 30 July and it’s about the murder of a Glaswegian woman whose body is discovered in Loch Lomond. The lake is a mile deep, apparently, but she surfaces after being dumped there by Iain Fraser. While the guilt eats away at Fraser, DI Alex Morrow‘s job is to crack through his wall of lies. Looks like things will be getting noisy in the quiet and wealthy Victorian town of Helensburgh where the body is discovered.
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speakinginbones100Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs
Taken at face value, some of the plot lines in Kathy Reichs‘ Tempe Brennan series have been pretty far fetched – like finding the archaeological remains of the Holy Family. But her writing is usually so gripping that she pulls it off. Lady Temperence is back, and for a 17th outing (gosh…) and this time she’s drawn into a case after being approached by an amateur investigator called Hazel ‘Lucky’ Strike. Lucky thinks she has identified the victim in a previously unsolved case and as Tempe listens to the audio recording of a young woman that was found near the bones, she finds herself unable to let go of a very complex and very deadly investigation. We’ll have a review of this one too, and we are predicting summer success in the field of forensics.
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A Man of Some ReputeA Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondson
This book is already sitting high in several of Amazon’s crime charts here in the UK and it only comes out on 2 July. The book is set in 1953 and the blurb says it’s Downton Abbey mixed with a little Agatha Christie and a nod to John LeCarre. And, it has a former spy, living in a castle, the owner of which went missing under mysterious circumstances. Plus… a skeleton is found under one of its floors. The police attempt to zip up the case, but our hero Hugo Hawksworth won’t have it so simple and soon he and the missing Earl’s niece Freya Wryton are in the middle of a Cold War espionage thriller.
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brokenpromise100Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay
With the internets and worldwide webs and all things digital, times have been tough for print journalists. That might be why David Harwood has had to move back in with his parents in Promise Falls. A visit to his cousin to see if she’s OK after losing her baby turns into an utter nightmare when he finds a smudge of blood on Maria’s door and his cousin nursing a baby she says was delivered by an angel. Across town, a mother has been stabbed to death and her baby is missing… It looks open and shut but as bonkers as she seems, David won’t accept that Maria killed Rosemary Gaynor. Wait, though, does that mean Linwood Barclay‘s new book is about Rosemary’s baby? Hmmm. We’ll see on 10 September.
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deathninthetuscanhills100Death in the Tuscan Hills by Marco Vichi
Inspector Franco Bordelli is a detective you’ll soon find yourself rooting for. He’s a former anti-fascist partisan with an appetite for the finest Italian cuisine and an admirably lenient approach to some of his more dodgy associates. Set in 1967, the fifth outing for Bordelli sees the detective quitting the force in Florence and retreating to a life of solitude in the mountains. He’s brooding over a former case involving the murder of a young boy, but then he gets a chance at retribution. Don’t be fooled by the old-fashioned, cosy-style cover. Previous books in the series have been full of grisly crime and corruption. For Italian crime fans, it’s a series that’s as essential as the Montalbano novels by Andrea Camilleri. It’s out on
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triggermortis100Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz
It’s true. The title of this book has had many readers rolling their eyes. You might roll them again when you hear that it also features the return of Pussy Galore. The book is set in 1957, two weeks after Goldfinger winds up. That’s regarded as one of the best Bond novels, so can Anthony Horowitz live up to Ian Fleming’s spy-tastic penmanship? He’s tried his hand with Conan Doyle’s characters, and here follows Jeffery Deaver and William Boyd with a 007 novel. Anthony Horowitz is an avowed follower of James Bond with a collection of Fleming first editions to refer to as he writes. You can find out how he fares on 8 September.
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This Thing of DarknessThis Thing of Darkness by Harry Bingham
Fiona Griffiths, Bingham’s heroine, is certainly a policewoman with a difference. She has Cotard’s Syndrome, a rare mental condition where the sufferer believes that they are dead. The debilitating delusion is not without its benefits, however, and it enables Fi to think and operate in ways that are impossible for her ‘normal’ colleagues. Here, she turns her attention to three apparently unrelated deaths and begins to find links between them. These links lead her to the heart of a potential devastating conspiracy. This is the fourth book in the series and you can read our review of The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths here. Her latest adventure is out on 2 July.
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cartel100The Cartel by Don Winslow
The Power of the Dog was one of the first books we recommended when we started Crime Fiction Lover back in 2011. Finally, Don Winslow has written its sequel and it lands on 25 June. Back when The Power of the Dog came out, Tex-Mex drug-related crime novels were in vogue but we’ve not seen so many of them lately. This sequel takes us back to 2004 and once again features DEA man Art Keller and his war against cartel kingpin Adan Barrera. After all it cost Keller to put Barrera away in TPotD, the crime lord gets out of jail and wants to rebuild his empire. Keller’s new vendetta stretches from Mexico to Washington and even as far as Barcelona and Berlin. It’s going to be epic so watch for our review.
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comingofageattheendofdays100Coming of Age at the End of Days by Alice LaPlante
The author’s Turn of Mind was a tour de force, taking readers inside the mind of a woman with Alzheimer’s while the police try to solve the murder of her best friend. Alice LaPlante’s forthcoming psychological thriller, Coming of Age at the End of Days, centers on 16-year-old Anna, who is hit by sudden, overwhelming melancholia and finds herself drawn to new neighbours – members of a chilling doomsday cult. LaPlante is known for her masterful writing and may well play with memories of your own uncertain teenage years, while dialling up the theme of extremist and unusual religions in modern Western culture. What are you doing 20 August?
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oblivion100Oblivion by Arnaldur Indridason
There’s something special about Arnaldur Indridason‘s quiet, determined and sometimes frustrated police detective, Erlendur. Though the main series seems to have wound up, the author has been writing about Erlendur’s early days as a rookie on the Icelandic force. Oblivion is the third he’s written, but only the second to be translated into English following on from Reykjavik Nights. Here, he’s investigating a death at a warehouse in Keflavik as well as the discovery of a woman’s body in a hot spring. With a CIA operative gone rogue in Iceland, could his case have some link to Cold War intrigue. Find out on 9 July with Harvill Secker’s big summer release.

Dark BranchesDark Branches by Nik Frobenius
OK, so this one is the outsider in the race but something tells me it’s going to be good. That something is the fact that it’s written by Nik Frobenius who also did the screenplay for an excellent Norwegian cult movie called Insomnia. It’s the same Insomnia that was re-set in Alaska and remade by Christopher Nolan, with Al Pacino and Robin Williams. Somewhere in translation a little of the atmosphere was lost but even the Pacino version wasn’t bad. Here we have the story of an author who, after publishing a semi-autobiographical novel about his dark past, begins to receive sinister and threatening ‘gifts’ – like dead animals and a decapitated Barbie. A friend he thought long dead suddenly turns up alive, and then a friend who was very much alive is found dead… in a painted coffin… in a bog. It’s released on 16 July.
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And what next…
Well, in the autumn you’ll be able to get your hands on the new Robert Galbraith novel Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike) from 22 October. In the meantime, check out the most popular books of summer 2014 here, based on web traffic to our reviews.

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