The most wanted crime books of 2018

How was your year of crime fiction in 2017? For us here on Crime Fiction Lover it was a varied experience. It was a great to see authors like Michael Connelly (Two Kinds of Truth), Denise Mina (The Long Drop) and Arnaldur Indridason (The Shadow District) strike out in new directions, and the genre continued to push the boundaries in terms of diversity – for instance with new British Asian authors continuing to emerge onto the scene. But there didn’t seem to be that many novels, or TV shows for that matter, that really knocked us sideways. Consequently, we are really looking forward to 2018 and here are 11 picks which the CFL team reckon are well worth ordering in advance.

Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner

The Unsub series of novels are a terrific mixture of serial killer fiction and true crime. Series protagonist Caitlin Hendrix is a rookie profiler with the FBI’s elite Behavioural Analysis Unit and catching killers is a personal as well as professional obsession. Award-winning author Meg Gardiner piled on the darkness and drama with series debut Unsub last year, producing one of the best thrillers since The Silence of the Lambs. Hollywood certainly agrees, and the series of novels has been optioned for a TV series. Into the Black Nowhere is published on 30 January.
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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The title of this book might remind you of The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, that wonderful Tommy Lee Jones movie, but the setting is far from the gritty Tex-Mex border country. Yet still a madcap high concept mystery is offered here as a man called Aiden Bishop is caught in a time warp a-la Groundhog Day. Until he can solve the murder of young woman Evelyn Hardcastle, who is shot at a party held by her parents, he will repeat the day over and over again. Early commentators have called this debut a work of genius, others have been left confused. We like to see authors try new things and this mind-meld of Agatha Christie and Inception might be a banger. In America the book will be entitled The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle so presumably Brexit’s weakening of sterling means that Americans get an extra half a murder. Watch for it on 8 February.
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Sunburn by Laura Lippman

On 20 February those looking for a little winter sun can grab a copy of Sunburn, by Baltimore author Laura Lippman. With echoes of James M Cain and Patricia Highsmith in her style, Lippman brings plenty of contemporary edge to her noir storytelling and we’re pretty sure Sunburn is going to please both fans and new readers. Adam meets Polly in a tavern in Delaware and the two begin a steamy affair, but both travellers are holding secrets from one another and a cat-and-mouse game ensues between them that leads to… murder.
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Green Sun by Kent Anderson

In a writing career that began more than 30 years ago, Kent Anderson has only produced two previous novels. Before Amazon came along, tracking down copies of Sympathy for the Devil and Night Dogs was almost a right of passage for aficionados of hardboiled crime fiction. His protagonist Hanson is a Vietnam veteran turned Oakland police officer – just like the author himself – who holds up a mirror to the worst (and sometimes the best) of American society. There is no word on the plot as yet, but the relationship between the police force and the black citizens it is sworn to protect is to feature heavily. Green Sun is sure to be an explosive read from an author whose work is like gold dust. It is published on 22 February.
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While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt

SJ Parris, the creator of the Giordano Bruno series of historical crime novels, is taking a new direction and has written a psychological thriller set on a remote Scottish island under the pen name Stephanie Merritt. So impressed was HarperCollins that the publisher dished a six-figure advance for two books, the first of which sees the American protagonist Zoe Adams move into the old McBride house, a place of sorrow and tragedy. Hoping for a peaceful escape from her failing marriage, instead she is tormented by night-time intrusions… and worse. Are the incidents echoes from the past, or are more human forces at work? Find out when it lands on 8 March.
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High White Sun by J Scott Todd

Rural noir, or grit lit, is one of the driving forces of American crime fiction at the moment. The best of the upcoming bunch might just be High White Sun by J Scott Todd, which follows his stunning debut The Far Empty. The setting is West Texas and although the corrupt local sheriff is dead, his legacy lives on and as deputy Chris Cherry takes over the star new threats are coming from several directions as white supremacists tighten their grip on the area. There are some interesting characters and plenty of dangers in this author’s dusty milieu for sure. It’s out 20 March.
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Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan

Olivia Kiernan’s first book, Dawn Solstice, played with neolithic legend and Irish folklore and sounds quite fascinating, but here in her first crime novel she is in thriller mode and the setting is modern Dublin. Dr Eleanor Costello has been found hanged in her immaculate home, and it looks like a suicide. But the all-round perfectness of the crime scene leaves a niggling feeling with DCS Frankie Sheehan and she’s sure Castello’s death was a murder. Using her training, she starts to build up a profile of the killer and a bigger picture starts to emerge. Due for release 5 April.
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Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham

“I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.”

Hmm. What could this cryptic line of text mean? It is found with the strangled body of a headmistress in an East London School. DI Maya Rahman determines that it is a Buddhist saying, and the ritualistic nature of the murder hints that there’s more to come. There’s buzz building around Vicky Newham’s debut and as she is a longtime reader of Crime Fiction Lover we are looking forward to seeing what this new author has come up with. Out 5 April.
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Macbeth by Jo Nesbo

Norwegian author Jo Nesbo has never been shy of doubling the toil and trouble for his detective character Harry Hole – like when he was shot in the head, for instance. Here Nesbo retells Shakespeare’s Scottish play in his very own Nordic noir style and setting, similar to the way AJ Harvey and David Hewson tackled Hamlet. Duncan has taken over as police commissioner from the corrupt Kenneth, and in the constantly misty city of glass and stone the local warriors wear leather emblazoned with the words ‘Norse Riders’ in gothic type. Macbeth, meanwhile, is a police detective looking into a drugs bust gone wrong. This. Is. Looking. Great. On sale from 5 April.
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Cult X by Fuminori Nakamura

In 1995, a cult carried out a sarin gas attack on a Tokyo subway station. It left its mark on the country and was part of the inspiration for what is being called Fuminori Nakamura’s opus – Cult X. Toru Narazaki has hired a private detective to find his missing girlfriend, but when the man wants Naraziki of the dangers involved he can’t resist digging deeper. He tracks down one of her previous addresses where he discovers a group with a charismatic leader and some strange views on Buddhism, society and life and death. To try and find out what happened to Ryoko, he enters their cultish world of brainwashing and, ultimately, violence. There’s been a big online buzz about this mystery in Japan and we can’t wait to see what the author of The Thief has cooked up this time. Out in translation on 22 May.
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Blood Standard by Laird Barron

Alaskan expatriate Laird Barron has a biography as hardboiled as any of his characters. He lost an eye to cancer as a child and grew up racing huskies in the Iditarod. He is predominantly known as a horror writer, but many of his short stories bleed over into noir and hardboiled. That sweet spot in dark fiction where horror and crime collide can make for great reading. In Blood Standard, Isaiah Coleridge thinks he left his violent life as a mob enforcer behind him when he fled from Alaska to New York, but trouble has a way of finding him, and his investigation into the disappearance of a teenage girl threatens to bring his past back to life. The first in an series, it will be published on 29 May and we will be featuring an interview with the author around that time.
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Check out our favourite crime shows of 2017 here.

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