On the Radar: Orphan X returns

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How about we get February underway with an action thriller that not only blows the cobwebs away but has the firepower to take out a medium-sized Wagner unit? The eighth Orphan X novel by Gregg Hurwitz should do the trick and if Smoak’s lightning-fast combos aren’t your thing then we’ve got four other books riding shotgun that will blow you away with… a killer cleaner, a snowbound Scottish killfest, a creepy cabin in the woods and evil dwelling in midtown Helsinki.

No excuses, surely you’ll pull the trigger on one of these feisty new crime novels…

The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz

The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz front cover

Evan Smoak makes a thrilling return in The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz, out on 14 February. Having eliminated most of the Orphans in the programme, the American government will stop at nothing to remove the threat they see in Evan. But Orphan X has always been several steps ahead of his pursuers – until he makes a mistake that could cost him dearly. The president offers Evan a way out – eliminate a rich, powerful man she says is too dangerous to live and, in turn, she’ll let Evan survive. But when Evan left the Orphan Programme he swore to only use his assassination skills against those who really deserve it. Now he must decide what’s more important – his principles or his life.
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Make Me Clean by Tina Baker

Make Me Clean by Tina Baker front cover

Tina Baker takes the domestic noir genre literally in Make Me Clean, out on 16 February – because the central character is Maria, a cleaner who is not averse to dirty deeds… like murder. Maria is a good woman and a good cleaner. She cleans for Elsie, the funny old bird who’s losing her marbles, with the terrible husband. She cleans for Brian, the sweet man with the terrible boss and for the mysterious Mr Balogan, with the terrible neighbours. But any good domestic help knows how to remove unwanted stains and Maria scrubs out the terrible husband, boss and neighbours… job done! The trouble is, murder can’t be washed away. You can only sweep it under the carpet and pray no one looks too closely…
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The Dead of Winter by Stuart McBride

The Dead of Winter by Stuart MacBride front cover

A new standalone novel from Stuart MacBride arrives on 16 February, and it is set in the chilly Scottish Cairngorms. A stunning location – but all is not as it seems in the quaint, sleepy, snow-dusted village of Glenfarach, a place where old lags come to die. The place is thick with security cameras and there’s a strict 9pm curfew, because Glenfarach is the final sanctuary for people who’ve served their sentences but can’t be safely released into the general population. And it’s where we find DC Edward Reekie, delivering a dying prisoner from HMP Grampian. A simple enough job – until a blizzard shuts everything down and an ex-cop-turned-gangster is discovered tortured to death in his bungalow…
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Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger front cover

The title sounds like an Airbnb ad, but there’s nothing restful about Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six, out on 16 February. Psychological thriller fans will lap up Lisa Unger’s 20th novel, set in a luxurious log cabin in the woods of North Georgia. There is no expense spared as six people arrive for a weekend of R&R, but the sumptuous setting has its pitfalls. There’s no wifi for one, and what’s with the skull shaped chandelier? Then the personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated pasts, with secrets that run blood deep. What price a weekend to die for?
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The Last Grudge by Max Seeck

The Last Grudge by Max Seeck front cover

Book three in Max Seeck’s Ghosts of the Past series finds investigator Jessica Niemi battling demons from her past. High-powered executive Eliel Zetterborg is found murdered in his upscale Helsinki home, but a straightforward case becomes complicated when evidence comes to light that shows the murderer has other targets in his sights. Jessica is taking time off, so the investigation falls to her partner, Yusuf – but he’s soon out of his depth as he delves into the case and turns to her for help. As the pair dig deeper, it soon becomes clear that the evil they’ve been hunting all along has returned and is lying in wait for the right moment to strike. The Last Grudge is out on 16 February.
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Click here to read about last week’s new books.

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