The curtain drops

On the Radar — How do you like the sound of Brad Parks’ latest, in which an actor is drafted in to go undercover in a prison to eke information out of an inmate? It sounds like a pretty good set-up, but it’s not the only new concept on offer this week. We’ve also got two interesting spins on Scandinavian crime fiction, some historical crime and a twisted example of domestic noir. Read on and discover your next crime novel…

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The Last Act by Brad Parks

When the acting roles dry up, what does an out-of-favour actor do to pass the time? A bit of voice-over work? Dress up as Santa Claus? In Tommy Jump’s case, the solution is pretty… well… dramatic. The FBI asks Tommy to take on a challenging role – to go undercover at a federal prison, impersonate a convicted felon and make friends with a fellow inmate, a disgraced banker named Mitchell Dupree. Mitchell knows the location of documents that can be used to bring down a ruthless drug cartel, but he’s not prepared to share. Can Tommy get him to talk, or could playing snitch prove to be his final curtain? Out 12 March.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith

The author behind the popular Botswana-set No 1 Ladies Detective Agency books moves to cooler climes for the start of a new series, out 7 March, which sounds more hygge than Nordic noir. In Malmö, a dedicated team of detectives investigate cases which are considered especially strange and difficult. They form an elite squad known as the Sensitive Crimes Division, led by Ulf ‘the Wolf’ Varg, and have their work cut out as they try to get to the bottom of cases like the disappearance of a woman’s imaginary boyfriend and the mystery of a man stabbed in the back of the knee. A quirky, cosy spoof that seems to play on Department Q and the Varg Veum series a bit, perhaps?
Pre-order now on Amazon

Equator by Antonin Varenne

Award-winning French author Antonin Varenne has seen several of his works translated into English. Equator is the latest, with Sam Taylor as translator, and it’s set in 1871. Pete Ferguson is an army deserter, wanted for murder in Oregon, plus theft and arson in Nebraska. Under the new identity of Billy Webb, he is hired by bison hunters, until a bloody dispute sees him on the road once more. But a woman is about to change his destiny and together they will travel to the Equator. But what will they find on that adventure? Out 7 March.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Kin by Snorri Kristjansson

Go further back in time with the Viking mystery we’ve come across – another new spin on Nordic noir. Kin is the first of a series and it seems dysfunctional families are not such a modern phenomenon. It’s the summer of 970 and adopted daughter Helga is preparing for the arrival of Unnthor Reginsson’s children. Unnthor was once a Viking warlord, now a prosperous farmer and as the siblings gather it’s clear they care more about their inheritance than their kinship. Then Karl, Unnthor’s eldest son is murdered but Helga isn’t convinced that they have the right culprit. The race is on for her to uncover the truth before the killer strikes again… Out 7 March.
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper

Inheritance also takes centre stage in this spooky slice of domestic noir which comes out 7 March. Aaron, Bridge and Franny had no idea how wealthy their father was, but when he dies they have some hoops to jump through before they can get their hands on his money. They must spend a month in a cabin, deep in the mountains, with no contact with the outside world. Sounds simple enough, but it’s a lonely, eerie place and before long the trio is singing to a different tune. Why do they have memories of the cabin, although they’ve never been there before? And what is calling to them from the depths of the woods?
Pre-order now on Amazon

Trafficked! by Thomas A Burns, Jr

From the author of Revenge! reviewed on this site last autumn, comes the latest in the series featuring former stripper-turned-private detective Natalie McMasters. And this time the action moves from the Deep South to the big city – New York, to be precise – where Nattie is on the trail of the most important person in her life. But this person doesn’t want to be found, and as Nattie tests her powers of detection to the limit, she is dragged into the seedy netherworld of the Big Apple’s sex industry… Perfect for pulp lovers, this book is out this week.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Read about last week’s new releases here.

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