Up the creek without a pistol

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On the Radar — The new year is in full swing and 12 January is a big day for crime fiction releases. Our first news report of 2017 brings you nine books to consider, starting with white water rafting in Maine and concluding with nine graves in Stockholm. Here’s hoping you received an Amazon voucher, or similar, for Christmas because every single one looks pretty tantalising.

The River at Night by Erika Ferencik
White water rafting up in Maine is not what Winifred Allen wants to do to shake off the blues of her divorce, her brother’s death and her soul destroying job. Her friend Pia has other plans. Far from a relaxing time with three friends, the trip turns into a nightmare for Wini when an accident on the river leaves them stranded in the wilderness. Then they see a fire on the mountainside. Are the keepers of the fire offering salvation, or will a hike over to the fire open the door to terror? We’re betting the latter… Out 12 January.
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Athenian Blues by Pol Koutsakis
He’s an assassin. He loves film noir. He hates being called a ‘hitman’. That’s probably enough for most crime fiction lovers, but there’s more. With Greece in economic and political turmoil, Stratos takes on the trickiest assignment he’s ever faced. One player is a lawyer who is a champion of the Greek poor. The other is the man’s beautiful wife, an actress and the most desirable woman in the country. They both want him to killl somebody and the book boasts a cast of other interesting characters including a homicide cop, and the transexual prostitute that Stratos is in love with. Out 12 January.
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Good Me Bad Me, Ali LandGood Me, Bad Me by Ali Land
It is a beguilingly simple premise – what if your mother was a serial killer? Debut author, Ali Land, has a degree in mental health nursing and a background of working with children and adolescents. She draws heavily on these experiences to explore the world from the viewpoint of her main protagonist, 15-year-old Milly Barnes, who has been given a new identity and homed with a foster family. Obviously, this is not a typical case and we join the story as she waits for her mother’s trial. There is clearly no shortage of disturbed minds in this psychological thriller that is already raising pulse rates and comes out 12 January.
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Sirens by Joseph KnoxSirens, Joesph Knox
DC Aidan Watts is a troubled junior detective who sets out to find a teenage runaway but soon finds himself at odds with politicians, police and drug lords. Sirens offers a gritty portrayal of Manchester but one that spies the beauty beneath the grimy and tough exterior. Joseph Knox worked as a Waterstones crime buyer while writing Sirens and he clearly has caught the eye of the industry with this eagerly anticipated debut novel. It is dark, it is atmospheric and it is most definitely noir. Sirens is out 12 January and our full review is coming very soon.
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A Life to Kill, MR HallA Life to Kill by Matthew Hall
The seventh book in the Coroner Jenny Cooper series is set in the fictional garrison town of Highcliff where families eagerly await the soldiers’ homecoming from Helmand. Just before the end of the tour, a young soldier is abducted from a heavily fortified command post and the rescue patrol is engaged in a bloody firefight. As Cooper investigates she battles the military and a town who are all harbouring secrets. BAFTA-nominated screenwriter and former criminal barrister, MR Hall, knows his way around the criminal justice system and can tell a compelling story. An earlier Jenny Cooper novel The Chosen Dead was reviewed here and A Life to Kill is released 12 January.
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Big Law by Ron Liebman
Ron Liebman used to be a top litigator in New York. He knows about big law and has made it central to his novel. Protagonist Carney Blake is the rising star of the American legal scene, even though it means protecting the drillers, spillers and killers of corporate America from justice. What makes him start to wonder is that his boss has asked him to represent the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit rather than a corporation. What he’s being asked to do might just link in with what’s wrong in the company he works for, and Blake might just discover a ladder of corruption in his own firm. It’s a pacey legal thriller that comes out 10 January.
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A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourne
No, this book isn’t about taking the Northern Line all the way to High Barnet. Instead, A Perilous Undertaking is the second book in the Veronica Speedwell series, set in London in 1887, and our heroine is an adventuress and butterfly hunter. When Miles Ramsforth is accused of murdering his mistress, Artemisia, Veronica and her colleague Stoker set out to net the real murderer. Can they save Ramsforth from the drop? Find out from 10 January.
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The Dry by Jane Harper
It seems like an open and shut case. Luke Hadler – perhaps driven mad by the drought ravaging the town of Kiewarra, Australia – shot his wife, his six-year-old son and then  himself. But is that really how it went down? Federal cop Aaron Falk was Luke’s best friend and has returned to his home town for the funeral. As he’s unwillingly drawn into investigating Luke Hadler’s death, the secrets he and the man have shared for a lifetime threaten to bubble to the surface. It’s a debut novel from a journalist who’s worked both in the UK and Australia, and it’s out 12 January.
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The Ninth Grave by Stefan Ahnhem
At 550 pages, The Ninth Grave takes the ‘brick of the week’ award and is our only Nordic noir offering. The author’s previous book was winner of ‘title of the week’ some time back when he released Victim Without a Face. Here, a terrible winter has hit Stockholm so no eyebrows are raised when the attorney general fails to arrive for a parliamentary debate. He was stuck in a blizzard, right? Then the wife of a Danish TV star is found murdered and a feud begins between the Danish and Swedish police that looks set to derail any investigation into either case. Available in English from 12 January.
Pre-order now on Amazon

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