The race is on

4 Mins read

On the Radar — Troubling as it may be, race is high up on the political agenda at the moment. Crime authors, being perceptive and instinctively focused on justice, are not sitting on the fence. This week our lead books present what looks like two excellent crime stories, each with racial tension, prejudice, injustice and violence as a backdrop. Attica Locke and Thomas Mullen each have an excellent pedigree writing about the American South and their stories are bound to reel you in. There is no shortage of tension of other kinds in our selection of new books this week, however. You can join a quirky manhunt of sorts in Australia, enjoy Ben Aaronovitch’s latest supernatural-powered mystery, or even go for one with a horsey theme by Felix Francis.

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Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
The American writer Attica Locke has a talent of telling poignant tales of murder and mystery, mixing racial tension into the search for justice. We are promised another hard hitting story in Bluebird, Bluebird, which centres around two bodies washed up by the East Texas bayou. A black lawyer from Chicago, and later on a white woman from a local town. Investigating is Darren Matthews, a black Texas Ranger who has returned to his home state after a period of disillusionment. As a lawman and a black man, he straddles the fissure of racial division set alight in Lark, Texas, by the murders. Out 28 September.
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Lightning Men
Like Attica Locke, Thomas Mullen brings race to the fore in a crime fiction context. Darktown was a smash bestseller last year, a buddy cop story set in 1950 Atlanta and featuring Smith and Boggs, two of the city’s first black officers, investigating the murder of a young black woman with the help of rookie Rakestraw, one of the few sympathetic white cops. The story is so compelling it’s being made into a TV series featuring Jamie Foxx, and now has a sequel. In Lightning Men, our three heroes are back and as black families move into a white neighbourhood the Klan and other racist elements start stirring resistance leading to someone’s death…
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Black Teeth by Zane Lovitt
Documentary filmmaker and Australian crime author Zane Lovitt has written what appears to be a clever little number here. Two men, both looking for the same man; one thinks the man is his long-lost father, the other wants to kill him. The lead character is Jason Ginaff, who is a professional internet snoop, finding out what job applicants are really like for their prospective employers. Remember the time you passed out stone drunk with your underwear on your head at a Newcastle bus stop? Yeah, well it’s on Instagram thanks to your ‘best’ friend. That sort of thing. Rudy Alamein, the prospective murderer, is another bundle of laughs entirely… Watch for our review. Out 28 September.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch
When commuters start having mysterious encounters on the Metropolitan Line, Sergeant Jaget Kumar quickly sees what he is up against. PC Peter Grant is soon called in. He is not just one of the Met’s finest but also an apprentice wizard. Aaronovitch’s blend of the supernatural and crime set in London has been entertaining us since 2011. Abigail and Toby the ghost hunting dog make what will be a popular reappearance in this novella. Aaronovich’s previous book, The Hanging Tree, was a five star treat. Mixing humour, police procedural and urban fantasy the Rivers of London series is a unique experience. Out 28 September.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Enemy of the State by Kyle Mills and Vince Flynn
With Vince Flynn’s story American Assassin appearing now on the big screen, on the bookshelf is a new instalment in the Mitch Rapp series. Here, Rapp thinks he’s found the true perpetrators behind 9/11 and is determined to mete out some justice. It’s all linked to a secretive deal between the Saudis and the USA to keep the oil flowing. Direct links between ISIS and the Saudis then come to light and Rapp quits the CIA to probe further. It soon goes wrong and Rapp finds himself isolated and on the wrong end of a sophisticated manhunt. Flynn died of prostate cancer in 2013 but Mitch Rapp fights on in the 16th book in a series known for its fast-paced undercover action. Released 21 September.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Pulse by Felix Francis
The son of champion jockey and bestselling author Dick Francis has himself become a firm favourite with crime fiction fans in recent years, and if you like thrillers with a touch of horse racing then it’s odds on you’ll enjoy Pulse, out 21 September. A well-dressed man is found unconscious at a racecourse. He later dies and his lack of any identification means the body lies unclaimed. It’s a puzzle that haunts Dr Chris Rankin, who becomes obsessed with learning the truth. But someone has other ideas, hampering the search at every end and turn, and Chris is soon running for his life… Watch for our review, and read our article by Felix Francis about following in his favourite Dick Francis novel here.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Girl in the Green Dress by Cath Staincliffe
Top marks for topicality. Allie Kennaway is a transgender teen who heads off to her prom but is beaten to death. Her father and little sister are left bereft. The terrible crime is soon making headline news and testing blood loyalties to the limit. One parent frets about her son’s erratic behaviour. How far should a parent go to protect their child? Staincliffe has gathered many fans for her Scott & Bailey series that transferred so well to the small screen. We know she excels at tense family-based crime drama – see our review of Half the World Away. The Girl in the Green Dress is out 27 September.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Angel by Katerina Diamond
Diamond’s debut The Teacher made waves when it was released last year, now DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles are back in a thrilling police procedural that’ll appeal to fans of a twisty tale. Teenage loner Gabriel Webb is jailed following the discovery of a burned body in a run down signal box, although Grey has some misgivings about the conviction. Then a double-murder investigation sheds new light on the earlier crime and Grey and Miles must put their personal issues aside to work together and right a wrong by catching the real killer. Out 21 September.
Pre-order no on Amazon

Read about last week’s new crime releases here.

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