On the Radar: There will be killing

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James R Benn is a master of mystery and historical crime writing so it’s fantastic to begin our column this week with a collection of his short stories that skip through time and crime all at once. We’ve also got Katherine Bradley’s much publicised Orwellian thriller, The Sisterhood, a trip to Egypt with Christopher Bollen and the strange story of a death watch that people actually end up buying from punk author Stona Fitch. But for those who love good, old fashioned LA detective work, there’s a new novel from Jonathan Kellerman to settle into.

See what you think…

The Refusal Camp by James R Benn

Refusal Camp by James R Benn front cover

James R Benn, the award-winning author of the Billy Boyle World War II mysteries has put together an eclectic mix of new and previously published stories packed with with historical detail and riveting wartime storytelling. The Refusal Camp is out on 14 March and even includes a treat for Boyle fans – Irish Tommy, a police procedural set in 1944 Boston and featuring Billy’s father and uncle. Other tales include The Horse Chestnut Tree, exploring betrayal and murder during the American Revolution, and Vengeance Weapon, a thriller about an enslaved Jewish labourer working at the Dora concentration camp, which looks at how far someone will go to exact revenge.
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The Lost Americans by Christopher Bollen

The Lost Americans by Christopher Bollen front cover crime novel

We head to Cairo for The Lost Americans, Christopher Bollen’s latest thriller, out on 14 March. Cate Castle doesn’t believe the authorities when they dismiss the death of her brother Eric, a weapons technician for a major American defence contractor, as suicide. She heads to Egypt to search for the truth and begins to piece together her brother’s life in Cairo with the help of a handsome, young, gay Egyptian man named Omar, who yearns to escape the brutality of his nation’s harsh, restrictive government. But with the arms company’s top brass, the Egyptian military, secret police and a slew of American expats all working to their own ends, Cate soon has some very powerful enemies…
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The Sisterhood by Katherine Bradley

The Sisterhood by Katherine Bradley, a dystopian thriller

Thriller writer Katherine Bradley offers a surprising twist to George Orwell’s 1984 in The Sisterhood, published on 16 March. The story unfolds from the viewpoint of Julia, who is a seemingly perfect example of what women in Oceania should be – dutiful, useful, subservient and meek. But Julia has a secret which would lead to her death if it was ever uncovered. She is a member of The Sisterhood, an underground movement whose goal is to find members of The Brotherhood, the anti-party vigilante group, and help them overcome Big Brother. But as she tries to recruit Winston Smith, Julia’s past starts to catch up with her – how far is she prepared to go to further the cause?
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Unnatural History by Jonathan Kellerman

Unnatural History by Jonathan Kellerman front cover

Out now, Jonathan Kellerman’s Unnatural History brings a new case for psychologist Alex Delaware and the police detective Milo Sturgis. The setting is Los Angeles, and in one of the city’s warehouses a photographer has been found shot dead. The victim’s work was controversial – was he highlighting the plight of the homeless by photographing them, or exploiting their poverty for personal fame? So, he could have been killed by a detractor, but soon new motives are discovered within the victim’s own family. Delaware and Sturgis start to dig and soon find themselves in the firing line.
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Death Watch by Stona Fitch

Death Watch by Stona Fitch front cover

The Cassius Seven watch is the latest in edge lord apparel, or so it seems. Even its maker, the notorious avant garde artist Watanabe warns that it’s a product that will kill its wearer. However, Coe Vessel is the son of a legend in advertising and desperate to show what he can do by promoting Cassius Seven to the public. A harbinger of nihilism, the must-have end of capitalism accessory… call it what you will but the Death Watch garners a surprising level of interest. The trouble is, it turns out that its key feature is not a hoax and now Coe needs to try and save purchasers from the product he sold them. Perhaps the real mystery is how consumer culture could ever go this far. It’s out 7 March.
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Click here to read about last week’s new books.

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