Acts of Violence, and more…

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On the Radar — It might seem strange that publishing should have lean times and fat times, but February is certainly when the first shoots of the literary spring burst through. Our selection this week is topped and tailed by two well-regarded British writers, but there is plenty of meat in the sandwich for you to digest…

Acts of ViolenceActs of Violence by James Craig
Met detective John Carlyle has proven convincing and enduring, and here he returns to deal with the repercussions of a business and domestic dispute that begin in China but are resolved on Carlyle’s patch. To add to that, he has a middle-aged housewife on his radar who might be a former German terrorist. Author James Craig talked to us about his work in this interview, and we have also reviewed Sins Of The Fathers and Buckingham Palace Blues. Out now.
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Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors by BA Paris 
This debut author grew up in the UK but now lives and works in France. It’s a psychological thriller that spies on one of those marriages which you just know can’t be for real. Grace has poise, classic features, and is a domestic goddess. Jack? Well, he has his suave charm, oodles of cash, matinee-idol looks and twinkling sense of humour. So, when the party guests have gone home and all that remains are empty glasses, reality is revealed. Despite his overt feminism, Jack is not what he seems. Can Grace recover enough self-belief and personal courage to prevent a tragedy in which she is the leading lady? You can find out from 11 February.
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The WolvesThe Wolves by Alex Berenson 
As the cover suggests, the wolves in question are city-dwellers. This is the tenth book to feature the international operative and agent John Wells. He has narrowly prevented a catastrophic conflict between America and Iran, but just when he thought he might be due a spot of R & R, the dead firework bursts into life again, and this time Russia and China want a piece of the action, which is intense and spans international borders. Preventing armageddon once might be considered heroic, but twice? Published on 9 February.
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Hostile WitnessHostile Witness by Leigh Adams 
Also available on 9 February is this novel featuring Kate Ford. She is one of those intriguing characters, rather like Harry Bingham’s Fiona Griffiths and Rosie Claverton’s Amy Lane, who suffers from a psychological disability. Of course, because this is fiction, the disability also gifts the character a unique insight into solving crimes. If Kate is subjected to external stimuli that would be harmless to an ‘ordinary’ person, her mental and cognitive state goes haywire. The stimulus in this case comes from something as mundane as a robotic vacuum cleaner, but it leads Kate into a maelstrom of intrigue and deception which threatens to destabilise not only her own life, but that of her country.
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The Fine Art of MurderThe Fine Art of Murder by Emily Barnes
The cover suggests cosy, but that might not be the case. Katherine Sullivan has served her years as police chief in the US, and she is now a grandmother. Her retirement has brought neither peace nor solitude. She returns to her hometown to offer her newly divorced daughter a shoulder to cry on but as often happens when ex-cops try to leave crime behind, dirty deeds have a habit of finding them. In this case Sullivan is drawn into the investigation of why a young woman’s corpse has been found on the estate of the district’s richest family. Available on 9 February.
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Find HerFind Her by Lisa Gardner
Gardner’s hard-hitting female detective DD Warren clocks on for duty in her eighth adventure, and this time she is involved with a woman as feisty and resourceful as herself. Flora Dane was a kidnap victim who survived not only to tell the tale but to take vigilante action against those who preyed on her… and then some. But then Flora goes missing again. Has she taken her one-woman campaign for retribution a step too far, or is the truth even more sinister? DD must use every ounce of her knowledge of Boston’s criminal underworld to make sure that Flora Dane is not a victim of her own search for justice and redemption. Published on 9 February.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Pacific BurnPacific Burn by Barry Lancet
In his third outing antique dealer and sometime PI Jim Brodie comes up against none other than the CIA, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security. Oh yes, and we mustn’t forget the deadly killer who operates with ease both in San Francisco and Tokyo. When Brodie and his colleague are the victims of a sniper attack, he learns that the shooter may be a legendary assassin who, in his native Japan, is thought to be part phantasm, part devil, but only part human. Brodie needs to keep out of the clutches of the alphabet guys if he is to nail the killer. For Kindle 9 February, and in print 1 March.
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Black Rabbit HallBlack Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
This is the Oxford author’s debut novel, and she tells the tale of a building that seems to have a life of its own. Pencraw – Black Rabbit Hall to the children – used to be the summer retreat of the Alton family, until a tragedy made it impossible for them ever to return. Three decades later, a young woman is searching for a wedding venue with a difference, and she sets her heart on the crumbling building, whose only occupant is an eccentric old woman. Inevitably, lost love and a forgotten mystery conspire to make Lorna wish she had chosen somewhere more mundane for her big day. Available on 9 February.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Journey To DeathJourney to Death by Leigh Russell
Leigh Russell already has two well-established police procedural series, featuring DI Geraldine Steel and her colleague DS Ian Peterson, and you can read reviews of these earlier novels by clicking the links to Killer Plan, Stop Dead and Dead End. Now, she ventures away from British police stations and their routine, and introduces us to a rather more exotic location in the Indian Ocean – the Seychelles. Central character Lucy Hall is visiting the island paradise with her parents. Her father lived there as a young man, but his return breathes life into deeds and memories which have been lying dormant for decades. Out on 9 February.

Check out last week’s new releases here.

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