It’s a matter of honour

4 Mins read

On the Radar — Social relevance is one of the number one topics discussed by authors at crime fiction festivals these days, particularly with all the populist politics, extremism and injustice going on in the world today. And as subjects go, they don’t come much hotter than the issue of honour killings. In his 16th Tom Thorne novel, Mark Billingham has based a mystery around the murders of two young Muslims and it looks very much like their families arranged the crimes, but someone else carried them out. Yes, folks, contract honour killers. A tough topic, given the religious sensitivities involved, but read on to find out more. Plus, we’ve got news on crime books set in Amsterdam, Angola, the Indian kingdom of Samblapore, and, umm… Orkney too.

Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham
One of the UK’s leading crime authors, Mark Billingham here grapples with the tricky issue of honour killings in Britain’s Asian communities. After her girlfriend is murdered, police detective Nicola Tanner is put on compassionate leave. But she doesn’t want compassion, she wants justice. What’s more, she’s convinced the attack was carried out because of her investigations into honour killings and that she, not Susan, was the target. So she asks Tom Thorne to help her by investigating on her behalf. Read Mark Billingham’s impassioned letter to us about this book here. It’s out 1 June, and watch for our review.
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Sleep Baby Sleep by David Hewson
Detective Pieter Vos is called in when Annie Schrijver goes missing from Amsterdam’s Albert Cuyp flower market in this latest book from the man who novelised The Killing. Luckily, she is found alive, but in sinister and ritualistic circumstances. She has been drugged and it soon emerges that it is the same substance used in the recent Sleeping Beauty killings. The next victim isn’t so fortunate and Vos faces a tense summer in Amsterdam to track down this serial killer. This is now the fourth in the Vos series and we reviewed the last one, Little Sister, here. Out 1 June.
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Exile by James Swallow
BAFTA-nominated screenwriter and best-selling author James Swallow last year introduced MI6 Field Agent Marc Dane to the reading public in the well-received Nomad. Now Dane is back, and this time he comes up against a ruthless Serbian gang who make their money by selling fake nuclear weapons. The action spans continents in a book that’s being touted as the action thriller of the year, with comparisons made to the Matthew Bourne series. Out 1 June.
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Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul E Hardisty
Claymore Straker is at the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission where he recounts events from the dark days of 1980. As a young soldier fighting in Angola he is ensnared in a conspiracy and when he witnesses a barbaric act he jumps sides. It results in him being exiled and puts them on the path of vigilantism. Hardisty has a well-deserved reputation for writing breakneck thrillers that are tightly plotted. The second in the trilogy got a five-star review from us and his debut The Abrupt Physics of Dying was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger. This one is released 30 May in print, and the Kindle is already out.
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A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
Following his impressive debut, A Rising Man, Abir Mukherjee is back with a new case for Sam Wyndham, an investigator with the colonial police force in Bengal. The year is 1920, and the son of the Maharaja of Sambalpore has been found dead. Wyndham and his Sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee brave the jungles, tigers and elephants of the ancient kingdom and discover a place rife with conflict – that between reformers and traditionalists. Out 1 June.
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The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis
Modern weddings take so much planning, don’t they? And most important of all is the honeymoon of your dreams. Or should that be nightmares? Jemma has spent years planning the perfect romantic trip of a lifetime to a five-star resort on the Maldives with her new husband, but when he vanishes without trace, she finds herself alone and in no end of trouble. Not the sort of thing covered by Wedding and Home, we imagine. Out 1 June.
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Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson
Two bodies have been found. A young woman, Linnea Blix, is in Falkenberg, Sweden and the other is a boy found on Hampstead Heath, London. Inexplicably, they have the same wounds and these also link them to the horror of Buchenwald concentration camp. Emily Roy is a profiler working at Scotland Yard who teams up with a French true crime writer Alexis Castells. Together, they bounce around between Sweden, London and Germany hunting a serial killer. A debut novel that blends French noir and promises a contemporary exploration of evil, Block 46 has already been winning awards. Out 31 May.
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The Last Train by Michael Pronko
Arriving 31 May, The Last Train is set in Tokyo and starts with a crunch as an American businessman is killed by a train. Is it a suicide, or is it murder? The question is troubling Detective Hiroshi Shimizu, who is more at home investigating white collar crime. So, he teams up with sumo wrestler Sakaguchi and together they hunt for the murderer in the bars, clubs and sacred temples of the city. The author’s also a jazz fanatic and has taught in Japan for over 20 years.
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The Dark Isle by Clare Carson
The concluding part of the Sam Coyle trilogy, out 1 June, finds her returning to Orkney, where she spent family holidays as a child. She wants to find out the truth about her father. He worked as an undercover agent living a double life and was killed in action, but Sam is convinced there is more to his death. Trouble is, the inhabitants aren’t too keen to share what they know, so can Sam break through the wall of silence and finally uncover the facts?
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Catch up with last week’s new crime books here.

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