Don’t take it lying down

On the Radar — Fans of psychological thrillers will be pleased to see Clare Mackintosh’s latest book hitting the shelves soon. This author hit gold with her debut four years ago and Let Me Lie will be her third novel. For dark police procedurals we’ve got  three chiller thrillers on offer including the latest from Joseph Knox, Luca Veste and Cathi Unsworth. And, there are two books by different authors with the surname Dahl in our crime fiction soup this week as well…

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Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
Ever since her debut, I Let You Go, Clare Mackintosh has garnered quite a reputation for twisty, unpredictable psychological thrillers. The ambiguous title is enough to get you thinking as is the publisher’s curious cover line: “The police say it was suicide, Anna says it was murder. They’re both wrong.” It’s a year since Anna’s mother took her own life, the death echoing that of her husband’s suicide several months earlier.  Now Anna is alone and a new mother, and she wants some answers. But is she prepared for what she is about to discover? Out 8 March.
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The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox
The dead man is smiling. That’s what Detective Aidan Watts finds when he arrives at The Palace, an empty hotel in the centre of Manchester. And so a new case begins for the detective and his assistant Sutty, who were introduced in Joseph Knox’s debut Sirens last year. The trouble is, they can’t identify the victim, whose teeth have been filed down and whose fingertips are missing. There aren’t even any labels in his clothes. Out 8 March. Read our interview with Joseph Knox here.
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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
We don’t cover a lot of true crime – the clue is in the name Crime Fiction Lover – but now and again something special does catch our eye. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is the story of the Golden State Killer who left carnage in his wake in Northern California before heading south to commit 10 Satanic murders. He was never caught but 30 years later author Michelle McNamara began researching this gruesome story. She died suddenly while working on it and the book has been completed by her head researcher. It includes a foreword by Gillian Flynn. Out 1 March.
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The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste
Liverpudlian author and former CFL contributor Luca Veste is going for full-on scary with his latest novel, and this promises to be nightmare stuff. The story takes place 20 years after four friends went into the woods looking for the lair of The Bone Keeper. Only three of them returned. When a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool claiming to have escaped The Bone Keeper, DCI Louise Henderson must work out what is urban myth and what flesh and blood crime needs to be investigated here. Out 8 March.
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That Old Black Magic by Cathi Unsworth
Seems apt that an award winning music journalist should choose a song title for her latest book, which is set in England at the height of World War II and has some demonic deeds at its heart. The year is 1943, and as the Luftwaffe batters Britain with bombs, four boys playing in some woods in Worcestershire discover the body of a woman. Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? As Ross Spooner investigates he finds there could be links to a spy ring… Based on real events, this dark and creepy standalone is a nifty mix of spy thriller and ancient ritual – out 8 March.
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The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl
A dead man is fished out of Oslo’s icy harbour in the days just before Christmas. Detective Lena Stigersand picks up the case but with a cancer scare and a chaotic personal life she’s paddling furiously to keep afloat. The involvement of politicians and the security services muddies the freezing waters further and hints at establishment complicity. Fellow Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are there again in this popular police procedural series. We lauded Kjell Ola Dahl for his tense but traditional storytelling when we reviewed Faithless last year. Translated by Don Bartlett and available 28 Feb.
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Splinter in the Blood by Ashley Dyer
DS Ruth Lake and her DCI Greg Carver are in the midst of investigating a serial killer in Liverpool. The Thorn Killer has been etching the bodies of his victims with primitive tattoos. Then Lake finds herself with Carver at home and he’s dead drunk with a bullet wound in his chest. Bad news considering she is standing over him with a gun in her hand and no recollection of what actually happened. She’s an ex-CSI and removes critical evidence to cover her tracks but the killer is always one step ahead in this police procedural thriller. Out 1 March.
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Conviction by Julia Dahl
Rebekah Roberts is a journalist with a low brow New York tabloid who yearns for more. She starts investigating a cold case from 22 years ago when teenager DeShawn Perkins was convicted for the murder of his adoptive family. It all happened in the days following the Crown Height riots in Brooklyn when the black and Jewish communities came to blows. No-one wants to talk about those dark times. Author Julia Dahl is an experienced NY journalist exploring themes of violence and social injustice. This is her third novel featuring Rebekah Roberts and we reviewed her debut Invisible City. Out 1 March.
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Everything is Lies by Helen Callaghan
What at first glance looks like an attempted murder-suicide turns out to be far more complex in this domestic noir tale from the author of Dear Amy. Sophia has led an unremarkable life, until she arrives at her childhood home to find her mother hanging from a tree and her father lying in a pool of his own blood, close to death. She can’t believe her mother is a killer but Sophia’s quest for the truth is about to reveal some pretty shocking secrets.
Buy now on Amazon

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