K. A. Laity’s latest Chastity Flame adventure is the most hard-hitting yet. Kicking off with a gruesome murder scene we quickly see Chas on the trail of an aristocratic serial killer- the brilliant named Vivian Darkbloom. Meanwhile, the dour Dane who murdered her parents is stalking her and her boyfriend, Damian. Fast-paced, funny, smart, international action ensues. Great stuff.
Eve Dolan’s deftly written debut novel is a meaty murder mystery that uses a police investigation to cast a sharp eye below the surface of modern Britain and the barely visible world of its immigrant workers – legal and illegal. Long Way Home is gritty but never grim, realistic but paced as breathlessly as a tightly written thriller. Gripping, involving, sad and quite terrific.
Salazar – Seth Lynch
Salazar is Seth Lynch’s debut novel but it feels like the work of a much more experienced writer. Part historical detective story and part character study reminiscent of Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, Salazar is richly cinematic and completely enthralling with a great sense of time and place, as well as a great deal of wry humour. One of the best novels I’ve read all year.
One More Body- Josh Stallings
One More Body is hardboiled, intense, action-packed and with its heart on its ragged and bloodstained sleeve . Moses is back in another breathlessly brilliant, pulse-pounding novel full of great, gaudy characters.
Subtraction- Andrew Peters
Mark Paris AKA The Professor is a man with a past- and a gaudy past it is too. He’s the widow of a famous singer, an ex-pianist, ex- army, ex-boxer and ex-mathematician with murky family secrets.
Paris operates as a ‘fixer’ in 1960s Las Vegas and when he receives a panicked phone call one morning from Stan Maxwell , a drinking acquaintance who has woken up with a dead blonde in his bed, Paris is soon embroiled in a hardboiled murder mystery that involves blackmail, a high class bordello, cops, the mob and very nasty psycho killer.
Peters cleverly and deftly adds social commentary, pop culture references, smart dialogue and witty asides to an already potent cocktail.
Subtraction is one of the most enjoyable and original crime novels I’ve read all year. Fantastic stuff.
Mountains Of Smoke- Frank Duffy
Mountains Of Smoke, the debut novella from horror writer Frank Duffy, is the splendidly told story of a writer who has it all. Success, both financial and critical, a wonderful wife – herself a writer – and a young son.
The family move into to Rock Hill, an old dark house that looks like a castle and overlooks a river. And their happiness continues to blossom and bloom.But every dream home has its heartache, of course, and one day, as a bitter winter wanes, tragedy strikes and a creature surfaces from the depths of the long, black river.
Mountains Of Smoke is wonderfully written. It is strong on atmosphere and imagery and aches with the sadness and emptiness of loss. And the evil that fills that void
Hetman: Hard Kill – Alex Shaw
Alex Shaw packs a lot into this very well-written thriller short story. Strong on tension, atmosphere and characterization, and sprinkled with well-placed humour, Hard Kill is an impressive introduction to Shaw’s Aidan Snow series.
Last Stop, Dullsville – Walter Conley
Walter Conley’s terrific noir short story is strong on atmosphere and full of mystery. Dreamlike and reminiscent of David Lynch.
The Tie – Renato Bratkovic
The Tie is chilling noir short story with a Gothic horror feel. Full of atmosphere and a sense of dread.