On the Radar: The first crime novels of 2021

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Let’s herald in the new year with a report on the first crime novels publishers have lined up for us in January. And it all begins with a look back on the extraordinary career of one of the boldest voices in 20th century crime writing – that of Patricia Highsmith. If you’ve read Ripley and Strangers on a Train, now get ready for a collection of her short stories. There are also big new releases from names like Chris Hammer and Patricia Cornwell, plus historical crime fiction, a debut, a first taste of Uruguayan crime fiction and something a little bit different as well.

From the Crime Fiction Lover team: Happy New Year.

Under a Dark Angel’s Eye by Patricia Highsmith

Under a Dark Angel's Eye by Patricia Highsmith

The centenary of Patricia Highsmith‘s birth is on 19 January 2021, and on 14 January publisher Virago is celebrating with the release of Under a Dark Angel’s Eye, a collection of 43 short stories. The author of Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr Ripley, Highsmith was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, irrespective of genre. But as crime fiction lovers we can claim her as one of our own. These short stories give insights into her thinking, inspiration and creative development, covering as she does the dark side of domestic, suburban life, family relationships and the loneliness of childhood. This compilation includes two newly discovered stories and has an introduction by Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Trust by Chris Hammer

Trust by Chris Hammer

The third in this compelling Australia-based series featuring the now ex-journalist Martin Scarsden is out now for Kindle and on 7 January in print. As it begins Martin is enjoying a romp on the beach with his little step-son Liam. But the idyll is shattered when he checks his voicemail after missing a call from Liam’s mum, his girlfriend Mandy. All he hears is her terrified scream before the call is abruptly ended – and a check back at the house reveals no sign of her, although the discovery of an unconscious man on the floor adds to Martin’s confusion. It’s a trademark Chris Hammer opener to a book that’s packed with intrigue and danger, dark secrets and past transgressions.
Buy now on Amazon

Spin by Patricia Cornwell

Spin by Patricia Cornwell

Since 1990, Patricia Cornwell‘s Kay Scarpetta series has been a mainstay of forensic crime fiction. However, in 2019 the author veered in a dramatically new direction with Quantum, featuring quantum physicist, cyber crime investigator and astronaut-to-be Captain Calli Chase. Spin is the second novel in the new series and arrives on 12 January. Inside, Chase meets her twin sister, discovers startling secrets about her family and uncovers a conspiracy that has sabotaged a rocket launch and now threatens the fate of humanity. Get ready to blast off into a high pace, high tech thriller. The animated cover on Amazon works well too!
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Girl Who… by Andreina Cordani

The Girl Who... by Andriena Cordani

Magazine journalist Andreina Cordani unveils her debut crime novel on 14 January, and that ellipsis in the title tells you that The Girl Who… is a book full of possibilities. Main character Leah is the girl who survived the attack which killed her mother and sister. She’s the girl who is brave and resilient. She’s also the girl who wants revenge. A decade has passed, she’s 17, and her father has married someone new. Step-sister Ellie has moved in and is slowly discovering that Leah has a plan, just as the gang member convicted of the murders is about to be released from prison.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Shanghai Secrets by Sulari Gentill

Shanghai Secrets by Sulari Gentill front cover

Historical crime fiction author Sulari Gentill delivers the ninth book in her Rowland Sinclair series on 12 January with Shanghai Secrets. Set in 1935, it sees our Australian gentleman hero arriving in Shanghai to represent his family’s interests at a commercial negotiation. His endeavour to stay out of trouble is blown when he meets a beautiful young Russian woman. Unfortunately, said woman is found murdered the next day. To clear his name, Rowland tries to investigate the case of Alexandra Romanova himself. He is soon drawn into the Shanghai underworld…
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

The Appeal by Janice Hallett front cover

It’s rare that the reader takes centre stage in a novel, so prepare yourself for a new approach to crime writing with The Appeal, by debut author Janice Hallett, which comes out on 14 January. The staging of All My Sons by the Fairway Players has a drama all of its own when one of the actors dies. Another member is in prison for the murder – but could they be innocent? And what’s the connection to a charity appeal which is supposedly raising money for a little girl with terminal cancer? Using documents, emails, texts and notes, it’s up to YOU to solve the crime and predict the victim. Are you ready for this sleuthing challenge?
Pre-order now on Amazon

Crocodile Tears by Mercedes Rosende

Crocodile Tears by Mercedes Rosende front cover

Travel to the mean streets of Montevideo in Uruguay for this award-winning tale of a heist gone awry, out on 14 January. Diego, in jail on kidnapping charges, jumps at the chance of an early release. But freedom has strings attached – he must join forces with a brutal psychopath, the Hobo, and hold up an armoured truck. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, as it happens, and the pair are soon in dire straits. Time for the female characters to step up to the plate, and in would-be criminal Ursula Lopez and cop Captain Leonilda Lima we have a duo that’s definitely up to the task.
Pre-order now on Amazon

House with No Doors by Jeff Noon

House with No Doors by Jeff Noon front cover

On the face of it, it’s a pretty straightforward suicide… vodka, pills, note. But what Detective Henry Hobbes finds in the basement of Leonard Graves’ house is about to change all that. There’s a grave, and further searches of the property uncover women’s dresses – lots of them. All made of the same material. All made in the same colours, and all featuring a rip across the stomach, smeared in blood. As the body count rises, Hobbes struggles to put the pieces together and discover exactly what happened in the Graves’ house. Add a missing son and a family break-up into the mix and this is an officer on the edge. House with No Doors by Jeff Noon is out on 14 January.
Pre-order now on Amazon

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