Billy Dead Mates

On the Radar — Welcome to our weekly new releases round-up where we’re going to start off with Sophie Hannah’s latest. The English author has come up with a serial killer called Billy Dead Mates, whose unique MO is to kill pairs of best friends. There’s more playful innovation throughout this week’s novels with bodies discovered on a ferry and in Central Park, plus another serial killer whose speciality is actors who’ve played Dr Watson. Watch out, Martin Freeman!

The Narrow BedThe Narrow Bed by Sophie Hannah 
A stand-up comedian and a serial killer who presents his victims with little books of poetry? All in a day’s work for literary Detective Constable Simon Waterhouse, who is trying to find the murderer who targets best friends. The press has nicknamed the killer ‘Billy Dead Mates’, and as he runs rings round Waterhouse’s more staid colleagues, Hannah revels in the opportunity to weave an outlandish but addictive storyline. Click the link to read our review of Hannah’s earlier novel, A Game for All the Family. The Narrow Bed is out now.
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Final DepartureFinal Departure by Steve Pickens 
The author is a native of Seattle, and the Emerald City provides the backdrop to this mystery. Jake Finnigan works on a car ferry, but when he discovers that one of his payload vehicles has an unauthorised passenger – a dead tabloid journalist – he is sucked into investigating her death, which is initially brushed off as a suicide. Susan Crane was not averse to a spot of blackmail to produce her scoops, and there is no shortage of suspects. Published on 15 February.
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Manhattan RouletteManhattan Roulette by Walt Cody
The setting is given away by the title, and in Walt Cody’s latest we meet Detective Burt Brymmer. Manhattan Roulette is a gritty police procedural, which is shot through with dark and manic humour. A serial killer is emptying the all night bars and clearing the neon-lit streets, so Brymmer and his partner Steve Ross have to set their cynicism to one side and track down a monster in human form. Available on 15 February.
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JiihadiJihadi by Yusuf Toropov
Hardly a day goes by without the word jihadi being mentioned in print, online and on TV. But what if jihad is a more complex issue than we realise? Is former agent Thelonius Liddell a traitor to his country, or are the real terrorists much closer to those who govern us? Yusuf Toropov has written many non-fiction books, but this is his debut novel. Jihadi came out for Kindle in December, but will be available in paperback on 15 February.
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route 12Route 12 by Marietta Miles 
This pair of novellas, published by All Due Respect, track the lives of two teenagers struggling to come to terms with growing up in 1970s Virginia and Tennessee. These are far from elegaic rite-of-passage stories, however, and there is enough crime and dark deeds to satisfy most discerning noir fans. Marietta Miles is a true daughter of The South, as she was born in Alabama, raised in Louisiana, and now lives in Virginia. Published on 15 February.

The Blood StrandThe Blood Strand by Chris Ould
The Faroe Islands remain an unusual location for crime fiction. With such a small population, murder only occurs there a few times every century. But we have reviewed one novel set on the Faroes – The Last Refuge by Craig Robertson. Now, Chris Ould takes us back to the North Atlantic archipelago, and narrates a tale in which Jan Reyna has left his bleak homeland and is working in the UK as a policeman. He is forced to return when his father is found dead, alongside a shotgun. Suicide? That’s what the local police think, but Reyna has other ideas. Available on 16 February.
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Killing Dr WatsonKilling Dr Watson by Matt Ferraz
The principal tenant of 221B Baker Street is the gift that keeps on giving. This, however is not the latest pastiche featuring the great man and his long-suffering companion. Killing Dr Watson is set in modern times, and in the wake of the latest successful TV adaptation Holmes buff Jerry Bellamy joins forces with the actor who took the role of the detective. A killer is eliminating actors who have played Watson and they use Sherlock Holmes’ methods to try and track down the culprit. On the shelves from 21 February.
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The Girls In The High Heeled ShoesThe Girls in the High-Heeled Shoes by Michael Kurland 
It’s 1935 and a chorus girl from the Broadway show Fine and Dandy has been found dead in Central Park, arranged with two costumes beside her. When Two-Headed Mary and Billie Trask go missing as well, the police are clueless. That’s the cue for journalist Alexander Brass and his sidekick Morgan DeWitt to find and bring the killer of these young women to justice. Published on 23 February.
Pre-order now on Amazon

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