Whole lotta history

On the Radar — Yes, we’ve got a whole lotta history for you today because, in addition to exciting new releases from Linwood Barclay, David Baldacci and Ace Atkins, there are four historical novels new on the shelves. Ancient Rome, Georgian London, post-war London and 1796 Kent – take your history mystery pick.

Far From TrueFar From True by Linwood Barclay
This Canadian author is no stranger to these pages and you can read our past reviews of Trust Your Eyes (2012) and Never Saw It Coming (2013). His new novel is the second to be set in the small town of Promise Falls. Small town it may be, but it is big on incident and long on secrets. PI Cal Weaver and Detective Barry Duckworth are separately investigating a tragic accident in a town basement which has been the scene of all sorts of base behaviour, and a string of murders. Drawn together by circumstance, Weaver and Duckworth learn of the darkness which lurks behind the facade of tidy clapboard houses and their pretty gardens. Available on 21 April.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Last MileThe Last Mile by David Baldacci
David Baldacci has a huge readership in the US and around the globe. The Last Mile is his second novel featuring FBI man Amos Decker. A last-minute death row pardon is always a reliable trope for drumming up a bit of tension, and one of the NFL’s top players is reprieved with just a few seconds to go after being sentenced for the murder of his parents. While the medics are busy putting away the lethal injection trolley back in its store, Decker begins to investigate the confession that saved the life of Adam Mars. What he discovers brings no comfort to anyone, least of all himself and the reprieved man. We recently reviewed Baldacci’s The Guilty (2015), and he was the editor of Face Off (2014), a short story collaboration between writers like Michael Connolly, Peter James, Lee Child and Ian Rankin. On the shelves from 21 April.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The RedeemersThe Redeemers by Ace Atkins
Ace Atkins has secured the official rights to continue the Spenser novels since the death of Robert B Parker, but he also has his own original creation by the name of Quinn Colson – a hard-bitten but compassionate former Army Ranger. We reviewed The Ranger (2013) and also The Forsaken (2015). Now, Colson thought he had a job for life when he was elected sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi but, in his usual forthright way, he has upset a corrupt local mover-and-shaker who then pulls the strings to get Colson voted out of office. As he prepares to turn mother’s picture to the wall and ride on, Colson is persuaded to stay and investigate a $1 million robbery and a double murder. Hoping that his nemesis, Johnny Stagg, may prove to be involved, Colson tackles the case in the hope of bringing him to book. The paperback is out 21 April; available now for Kindle and as a hardback.
Buy now on Amazon

Graveyard HesperidesThe Graveyard of The Hesperides by Lindsey Davis
Investigators of crime come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities and historical eras. Lindsey Davies brought us a whole series of novels featuring the Roman sleuth Marcus Didius Falco. Now, his adopted daughter Flavia Albia takes up the family calling. The title suggests something mysterious, and of savage beauty, but it is really just the name of a pub. (Did they have pubs in Ancient Rome?) Flavia Alba gets involved when her husband-to-be, a builder, finds several sets of bones under the pub’s flagstone floor. Powerful people seem determined that the inquisitive young woman will not live to enjoy her wedding, as her investigation touches several raw nerves. Out now.
Buy now on Amazon

Abigale HallAbigale Hall by Lauren A Forry
Black & White Publishing snapped up Lauren Forry after she won the Faber & Faber Creative Writing MA Prize, and they have pushed this novel in a big way. Last year, reviewers received an intriguingly dark package, and you can read our unwrap piece here. Now the hype is over, and you can judge for yourself. There is more than a nod in the direction of Daphne du Maurier’s Manderley as two sisters are sent to the crumbling Welsh mansion of the title. We have the forbidding housekeeper, the secrets kept in locked rooms, and even a Rebecca (the younger sister). Can the girls solve the mystery of Abigale Hall and escape to the relative sanity of a 1947 London? Out now for Kindle, and next week as a paperback.
Buy now on Amazon

Devil and DetectiveThe Detective and the Devil by Lloyd Shepherd
Here’s another historical crime novel, also set in London, but this time it’s during the Georgian era, around 1815. The Detective and the Devil is a sort of early police procedural with Constable Charles Horton of the River Police investigating the brutal murder of a clerk in the East End. His probings take him from the secretive ways of the East India Company to a windswept Island in the South Atlantic. Shepherd was described as one of the young guns of historical crime fiction in our On the Radar feature in February 2013 with his novel The Poisoned Island. You can read his latest novel from 21 April.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Body On The DoorstepThe Body on the Doorstep by AJ MacKenzie
With a remarkably similar cover to the previous novel, we stay in historical territory, but step back a few years to 1796. We are in the bleak but beautiful landscape of Romney Marsh, all sky and glittering water between the southern counties of Kent and Sussex. Our detective here is an accidental one. The Reverend Hardcastle has more than a passing acquaintance with the bottle, but he stays sober enough to investigate a murder which, at first glance, was caused by rivalry between local smuggler gangs. He is helped by Mrs Amelia Chaytor, a widow of his parish. AJ Mackenzie is the pseudonym for writing duo Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel. Published on 21 April.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Impure BloodImpure Blood by Peter Morfoot
It’s a warm summer in the French Riviera city of Nice, and Captain Paul Darac gets hot and bothered as he and his colleagues from the Brigade Criminelle investigate the murder of a man. Nothing too unusual about that, you might think, given the oppressive heat, the nightclubs and the late night temptations. But the dead man met his maker while communing with fellow worshipers in a prayer group. Against the feverish atmosphere of a Tour de France stage, Darac must keep his blood nice and cool in order to bring an ingenious killer to justice. Out on 19 April.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Click here to read about last week’s new releases.

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