On the Radar: Meet Quinn Quicksilver

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The American mystery writer Dean Koontz returns, and he’s created an enigmatic new protagonist – but that’s not all we’ve got for you in our new books report this week. Another returnee is British writer Louise Welsh along with her Glaswegian auctioneer Rilke, and there are some new names on our radar too including Danya Kukafka, Ken Harris and John Darnielle. The latter is from the band Mountain Goats – things could get pretty interesting…

Quicksilver by Dean Koontz

Quicksilver by Dean Koontz front cover

Only the king of quirky suspense could come up with a protagonist name like Quinn Quicksilver – and we will get to meet Dean Koontz’s new creation on 25 January. Quinn was just three days old when he was abandoned by a desolate desert highway in Arizona. He grew up in an orphanage, a happy but unremarkable child. Then came the day of ‘strange magnetism’, which compelled him to drive out to the middle of nowhere and find a coin worth a lot of money. Now two government agents are on his tail and Quinn is on the run, alone. Until he meets Bridget Rainking and her grandfather Sparky and the three join forces…
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Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka front cover

If literary crime is your genre, then sit up and pay attention, because Notes on an Execution arrives on 25 January. Danya Kukafka’s novel explores the world of a serial killer through the eyes of the women in his life. Ansel Packer is about to be executed for his crimes, but what brought him to this? The answers are found in the stories of his mother, Lavender, pushed to desperation at 17; Hazel, twin sister to Ansel’s wife, who can only look on as her sister’s relationship threatens to devour them all; and finally, Saffy, the detective who will stop at nothing to bring hm to justice. What do those disparate tales tell us? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
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The Second Cut by Louise Welsh

The Second Cut by Louise Welsh front cover

It is 20 years since Louise Welsh’s stunning novel The Cutting Room, and Glasgow auctioneer Rilke is still walking a moral tightrope between good and bad, saint and sinner. Business is in the doldrums, so when Rilke’s friend Jojo tips him off about a house clearance, Rilke is happy to oblige. Then Jojo washes up dead, and his dubious lifestyle of Grindr hook-ups and recreational drugs means the police aren’t interested. If Rilke wants to get to the truth, then it looks like he is going to have to search for it himself. The Second Cut by Louise Welsh is out on 27 January.  
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The Pine Barrens Stratagem by Ken Harris

The Pine Barrens Stratagem by Ken Harris front cover

Former FBI cybersecurity executive Ken Harris has set his new book right in the centre of the pandemic, where lockdowns mean scant pickings for private investigator Steve Rockfish. Cheating spouses are no longer ‘working late’ and there’s a lack of new clients, so Rockfish is all ears when a Hollywood producer reaches out with a job involving digging up information on a child trafficking ring from the 1940s. In South Jersey he teams up with Jawnie McGee, the great granddaughter of a local policeman who disappeared while investigating the original crimes. Can teamwork make the dream work? Unlikely. The Pine Barrens Stratagem is published on 27 January.
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Devil House by John Darnielle

Devil House by John Darnielle front cover

There’s a great old school feel to the cover of this tale of crime, writing, memory and artistic obsession. Gage Chandler is a true crime writer whose one big success was turned into a movie adaptation. Then… crickets. Now Gage has been offered the chance to move to a small Californian town and live in the house where a pair of briefly notorious murders occurred, and he jumps at the chance. But Gage’s enthusiasm for the task wanes when he begins to unlock the pieces of a puzzle that leads back into his own work – and to the very core of what he does. John Darnielle’s Devil House is out on 25 January in the US, later in the UK.
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Read about last week’s new crime novels here.

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