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On the Radar: Toot! Toot! Jim Stringer is back!

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There are certain writers and series that you can count on to raise the spirits of crime fiction lovers at this dark time, as the world battles coronavirus. Andrew Martin and his railway detective character Jim Stringer are among that number. When Martin’s new book, Powder Smoke, landed on the doormat here at CFL HQ, we took one look and knew we had to let the world know about it. From one of the most entertaining series in British crime fiction, it looks the business and made us laugh because it even has a cover channeling the outfits worn by some of those lunatics who stormed the Capitol recently.

And Powder Smoke is just the beginning. We’ve got four more brand new crime books for you to mull over – a missing persons mystery in Boston, an Irish crime story about Catholic abuse, a big pharma mystery and an indie crime novel from Thailand. Read on!

Powder Smoke by Andrew Martin

Powder Smoke by Andrew Martin front cover

Andrew Martin’s Jim Stringer series makes a welcome return on 21 January with Powder Smoke. It’s over seven years since the railway detective last appeared in Night Train to Jamalpur, and Powder Smoke picks up again with Stringer’s adventures in Yorkshire where, hoping for an enjoyable night out with his wife, Stringer instead finds himself staring down the barrel of a revolver. This is a mystery with a Wild West theme set in 1925, with sharp shooters and rough riders who have come from Arizona, via Sheffield, by steam train of course. Our last review of an Andrew Martin novel was The Martian Girl in 2018.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner front cover

It’s a long time since Lisa Gardner came up with a standalone novel – more than a decade, in fact – but the wait is over on 26 January, with the release of Before She Disappeared. We’re in Boston, and newly arrived Frankie Elkin is a woman on a mission. She wants to find teenager Angelique Badeau, who has been missing for almost a year. The police have drawn a blank, so why does Frankie think she can do any better? After all, she isn’t a private detective, just a bartender who spends her life flitting from place to place searching for people who have disappeared. But Frankie is persistent, and soon she’s uncovering things the cops overlooked…
Pre-order now on Amazon

The Rosary Garden by Nicola White

The Rosary Garden by Nicola White front cover

Inspired by the real-life Kerry Babies case, which made worldwide headlines in the 1980s, The Rosary Garden is the follow-up to Nicola White’s critically acclaimed A Famished Heart. Irish teenager Ali finds the body of a murdered new born baby hidden in the garden of her convent school and suddenly finds herself in the spotlight. The case becomes a media sensation, even as the Church tries to suppress it. As Irish garda detectives Vincent Swan and Gina Considine try to identify the dead child, the community closes ranks – but what little evidence there is seems to point to Ali herself… This new and revised version of a book published in 2013 under the title In the Rosary Garden is out on 21 January.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Trick or Treat by James I Morrow

Trick or Treat by James I Morrow front cover

A brand-new drug is being marketed as a rival to Viagra, and Raymond McNally has been promoted to head up the team launching Erexat, much to his delight. But that joy is short lived as reports start coming in of problems with the wonder drug – including serious side effects and even death. Someone out there is flooding the market with counterfeit pills and it’s up to Raymond to mount an investigation. He teams up with a 20-something computer nerd called Harry who hacks into retail sites as a hobby and the pair set out to unmask the culprits – but they’ve got very little time before the press and public get wind of what’s going on. Out 28 January.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Thai Died… Murder in Paradise by Gerald Hogg

Thai Died by Gerald Hogg front cover

Quite a few crime fiction lovers decide to write a crime novel when they retire, and Gerald Hogg is one of them. Thai Died is one of the first COVID-era crime novels we’ve come across and is set during lockdown in Koh Samui, a popular Thai beach resort. A young woman’s body has been found, and police lieutenant Chai Son Sinuan is on the case. In a police force that is often corrupt, Sinuan is an honest man swimming against the current. Carrying out an investigation with COVID restrictions is one challenge. Another is the strange link he discovers between the murder and organised crime in London during the 50s and 60s, including the Kray twins. See what you think, Thai Died is out now.
Buy now on Amazon

Read about last week’s new crime releases here.

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