On the Radar: Crows, kings and crazy presidents

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It’s a very exciting week if you’re a crime fiction lover. New books are coming from established authors and debutantes alike and they involve crows, crime kings and even a crazy president.

The latter comes to us care of the prolific American author James Patterson, who has teamed up with Brendan DuBois for Blowback. Meanwhile, America’s rising star of contemporary noir, Jordan Harper, is here with the much awaited The Last King of California which involves a down and dirty crime syndicate. Plus we have a fine-looking debut by DM Austin – A Christmas Murder of Crows involves classic detection and pagan sacrifice! Cruz by Argentinian author Nicolás Ferraro looks hardcore and Green Shoots by Ben Westwood is an interesting debut with an eco theme.

A Christmas Murder of Crows by DM Austin

A Christmas Murder of Crows by DM Austin front cover

It’s late September, plenty of time to add this debut featuring Golden Age-inspired detective Inspector Gilbert Dunderdale to your Christmas list. It is December 1923, and in the pretty Westmorland village of Crowthwaite, the barmaid at The Black Feather entertains a traveller with a local story of pagan sacrifice — the Murder of Crows. Unbeknownst to the guests already arriving for Christmas at Crowthwaite Castle, the storytelling foreshadows things to come. Can Dunderdale get to the bottom if it? A Christmas Murder of Crows by DM Austin is out on 6 October.
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The Last King of California by Jordan Harper

The Last King of California by Jordan Harper front cover

Family is everything in The Last King of California, the latest dark and gritty thriller from Jordan Harper, out on 29 September, but sometimes those family ties need to be broken. Luke moved away to start a new life, but when his dreams come to nothing he is forced to return home — to The Combine, a gang that his uncle now leads but which his father still runs from prison. Luke tags along on jobs with childhood friend Callie and her boyfriend Pretty Baby and begins to relax a little. Everything changes when another gang tries to encroach on their turf. Now The Combine and Luke must go to war to save all that they know. 
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Cruz by Nicolás Ferraro

Cruz by Nicolas Ferraro front cover

Don Winslow fans may want to add the name of Nicolás Ferraro to their list of authors to look out for. Cruz (out on 4 October) is Ferraro’s first novel to be translated into English and it is set in Argentina, where brothers Seba and Tomas are forced by circumstance to follow in their criminal father’s footsteps. He was a cruel and abusive man, a cocaine addict and a notorious gangster who ended up in jail. But Samuel Cruz’s legacy lives on, forcing his sons into a bloody battle as they try to rescue their family from the clutches of some ruthless drug lords.
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Green Shoots by Ben Westwood

Green Shoots by Ben Westwood front cover

Perhaps ecological noir could be the next big thing in crime fiction? It is certainly a genre that could apply to Ben Westwood’s debut crime novel Green Shoots, out on 27 September. Grieving journalist John Adamson is contemplating suicide when a phone call makes him change his mind. His wife Christina died in South America and the man on the phone gives John clues as to what really happened. The tipoff leads him to a spate of deaths of businessmen, all found with the same cryptic message: “Out of their ashes, green shoots will grow.” 
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Blowback by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois

Blowback by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois front cover

Following his collaboration with Dolly Parton, James Patterson is back in another writing double act. This time his partner in crime is American author Brendan DuBois and the pair have created the scenario of a brilliant American president who is also a psychopath. Six months into his first term, President Keegan Barnett devises a clandestine power grab with deadly consequences. He personally orders CIA agents Liam Grey and Noa Himel to execute his plan, but how can they obey? With divided loyalties, it is a life and death decision. Blowback is out now.
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Read about last week’s new books here.

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