Taking you to the death zone

On the Radar — Just about everybody’s been to the danger zone thanks to Top Gun, but the Danish author and scriptwriter Simon Pasternak is offering us a trip to the Death Zone this week. There have been lots of historical crime releases of late, and this translation continues the trend with a mystery set behind German lines in 1943 Belorussia. There’s lots more too, including a post-US Civil War mystery, a post-WWI Sherlock Holmes pastiche, and homicidal maniac stalking a US presidential candidate… How timely.

Death ZonesDeath Zones by Simon Pasternak
It’s summer 1943 and the German Army is in Belorussia. They are being pushed back on every front, but German detective Oberleutnant Heinrich Hoffmann has an almost impossible task. As the Germans retreat the Battle of Kursk, the Red Army’s massacre of the White Russians goes on around them, but Hoffmann has to investigate the brutal and bloody deaths of a visiting general and his wife. His witness is a six-year-old girl. The book was first published in Denmark, where it has been a hit, and has been translated by Martin Aitken. It’s out on 28 April.
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Extreme PreyExtreme Prey by John Sandford
The Prey series featuring the Minnesota investigator Lucas Davenport has a distinguished pedigree, and has been entertaining readers since Rules of Prey appeared in 1992. In the 26th instalment, Davenport has a new job as part of the campaign team for a presidential candidate, and it looks like he can put his crime fighting to one side. It’s not too long, however, before the candidate – a state governor – finds out that he has a homicidal stalker whose vote is for death. Davenport pits his wits against the potential killer and battles to keep his friend alive long enough to get the party nomination. Published on 26 April.
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The CircleThe Circle by MJ Trow
You could call MJ Trow ‘The History Man’. His crime novels include those featuring Conan Doyle’s Inspector Lestrade, as well as the Elizabethan Christopher Marlowe, whose exploits we reviewed in Crimson Rose. Even his school sleuth ‘Max’ Maxwell was a history teacher. The Blue and the Grey introduced us to Captain Matthew Grand and James Batchelor. This 19th century duo return in another tale set, as the book’s cover suggests, against the aftermath of the American Civil War. The pair investigate a murder, but they must battle spies, the fledgling Ku Klux Klan and the bitter legacy of a hated detective. Out now in print, and on 1 May for Kindle.
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SilverSilver by Mark L Fowler
When a best-selling author of romances is murdered, her grief-stricken husband locks up her last unfinished manuscript. It will be her memorial, he thinks, and not one he wishes to share with her readers. Journalist and writer Nick Slater has other ideas and is disturbed by the similarities between Joy Haversham’s death and those of other writers. Joy’s unfinished novel is so different from her earlier work, that Slater suspects a criminal conspiracy, and finds that it has overtones of the paranormal. This debut novel will be available on 23 April.
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Forsaken OathForsaken Oath by VS Kemanis
Dana Hargrove works in the Manhattan DA’s office, and has been able to keep her family life separate from the cut and thrust of the courtroom. When three serious but apparently unrelated cases cross Dana’s desk, she initially treats them as all in a day’s work, but then it becomes clear that they are connected. The link is that they are all destined to harm Dana’s family. To protect those she loves, she must put the rule book in the drawer, lock it, and throw away the key. Out on 30 April.
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Edge of WildEdge of Wild by DK Stone 
Rabbits aren’t usually symbols of menace on book covers (though Donny Darko’s Frank did a good job) but then there are the strategically placed bloodstains. The book is set in Alberta, Canada, in the national park town of Waterton. Rich Evans has been posted by his New York bosses to resuscitate an ailing hotel. His discontent gives way to something worse when he discovers that his predecessor came to a sticky end, and the hostile locals make him think that he might be next. Solving murders is not what he trained to do, but when his life is on the line, it’s a case of needs must. Out on Kindle from 1 May.
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Quick and the DeadQuick and the Dead by Susan Moody
We have something of a play on words here, as the central character goes by the name of Alexandra Quick. The ‘dead’ role goes her business partner, art historian and university professor Dr Helena Drummond. Helena complains of a stalker, but her fears are dismissed as products of an over-active imagination. Now it seems that the stalker has substance and, prompted by her conscience, Alexandra Quick investigates her friend’s disappearance. Published on 1 May.
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The patchwork devilThe Patchwork Devil by Cavan Scott
The great consulting detective returns in a new pastiche, having survived the bitter years of The Great War, to investigate a death linked to the carnage of the Western Front. It’s 1919, and Homes and the doughty Dr Watson are faced with a puzzle. How can a severed hand, washed up on the banks of the Thames but relatively fresh, possibly be that of a British officer who was killed two years earlier in Flanders? With his sedentary brother Mycroft suggesting that this is one case that Holmes might profitably avoid, Holmes faces not only a murder investigation but a massive conspiracy which goes to the very heart of the establishment. Available on 22 April.
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A-NORMALGUY-V2A Normal Guy by Byron Gatt
Here’s an interesting diversion – an online multimedia crime story to follow in serial format. It’s delivered mainly via articles and audio monologues of a serial killer talking about… well… various topics. Will the folks at Pinchicus Media and/or the police be able to track him down and bring him to justice? Or will that next bump in the night be him closing in? There are two episodes in the narrative so far, but if you click here you can keep abreast of what has been happening.

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