Newest Crime Reviews

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The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn and Rosie Hedger (translator)

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Come here for a thriller that interestingly doesn't even try to suggest a genre of any kind until we're a full fifth of the way through. We start with our couple, she a literature lecturer, he big in medical provision and decisions at the council, being forced to move out of their home, a building that had existed throughout her life since childhood and which they'd occupied for over thirty years. The building he's inherited, meanwhile, and which they let out to a single mother, is needed by their adult daughter, who quite blatantly says to its occupant 'take a hike, I'm moving in and you're moving out'. Now, at this stage you may well, if you know this is a genre read, think it's going to be a throwback to those 'home invasion' thrillers Hollywood gave us in the 1980s, but no. We avoid genre completely, as I say – instead learning about Greek tragedy, in case that has any bearing on what happens here, and seeing how an older-middle aged couple live their lives. Until at that twenty per cent stage we find something that raises an eyebrow as any crime book should – until the point where the evicted tenant is found to have completely vanished. Full Review

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House of Correction by Nicci French

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When we first meet Tabitha Hardy, she's in prison, on remand. She's sharing a cell with Michaela, who's more caring than she first appears. She delivers tough love and gets Tabitha eating and drinking - and encourages her to have a shower, unpleasant as the whole processes might be. And how did Tabitha get here? Well, on 21 December the body of Stuart Robert Rees was discovered in her garden shed by Andrew Kane, who was helping with the renovations to Tabitha's house. So far as the police are concerned, Tabitha is the only person who could have killed Rees - and when they arrived at her house she was covered in his blood. Full Review

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Cry Baby by Mark Billingham

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It's June 1996 and football's European Championships are about to start in London. DS Tom Thorne is having a nightmare and it's one he has regularly. It relates to a case from ten years earlier when he knew that a man was guilty, but didn't take any action until the man's wife and three children had been murdered and the man had killed himself.

Cat Coyne and Maria Ashton are with their sons Kieron and Josh. It's a happy combination in that the boys are devoted to each other and - despite differences in the where and how they live - the women are best friends. The boys are seven-year-old and they play on the swings in the park and then dash off to play hide and seek in Highgate Wood. Josh was the one doing the hiding - but he returned tearfully to the women: Kieron never came to find him and now he can't find Kieron. Full Review

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Murder on the Moorland (Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries) by Helen Cox

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DI Malcolm Halloran and Kitt Hartley's relationship is developing nicely: they're even into a spot of bandage now, although the details are (mercifully) scant. After a night of passion Halloran is called away in the early hours of the morning. There's been a murder in Irendale, where Halloran used to live and where his wife, Kamala, was strangled five years ago. There are sufficient details of the current murder to make Halloran suspect that the man who murdered his wife - and others - is in some way involved, despite being in prison. The DI heads off to speak to Jeremy Kerr. Full Review

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Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardottir and Quentin Bates (translator)

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Meet Ursula, the stand-in minister, drafted in from outside the leading party to cover the post for a year. You might get to meet her hunky husband she can't believe she deserves, and the children who are ignorant of just how she spent all her empathy for them on previous jobs in the foreign aid charity sector. You'll meet her ministry's cleaner, who bizarrely has fallen into the task of helping a famous newsreader with her Tinder profile. You'll certainly meet a homeless tramp, who has taken one look at a newspaper image of Ursula, and, knowing her of old, decided she needs saving from the devil posing beside her. You'll meet the ministerial bodyguard and driver the tramp almost immediately forces Ursula to accept. But as for the first ministerial case, of a woman demanding her daughter's rape get looked at and pronto, nobody can say, for all records of Ursula's meeting with the woman have been wiped… Full Review

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The First Lie by A J Park

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

On the second of October 37-year-old barrister, Paul Reeve, returned home at 9 pm to find his house in darkness and the front door open. His wife was in the bedroom in a state of shock and in the bathroom there was a dead man who had been stabbed repeatedly in the neck with Paul's paper-knife. In that moment Paul takes a decision that will be irrevocable: he decides that he and Alice are not going to ring the police and tell the truth. They're going to bury the body in woodland and go on as though nothing has happened. Full Review

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Grave's End (DS Alexandra Cupidi) by William Shaw

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Gram Hickman, who worked for an estate agent, took his girlfriend, Angela Booth, to a house which his firm was marketing. Guildeford Hall was an old Kentish oast house and was on the market for millions of pounds. Gram was hoping that he could get Angela into bed and he'd brought a bottle of prosecco along. It was when searching for somewhere to chill the bottle that he found the body of a man in the freezer in the garage. DS Alexandra Cupidi and DC Jill Ferriter are on the case. Full Review

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End of Summer by Anders de la Motte

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In the summer of 1983, little Billy Nilsson goes missing. He was chasing a rabbit, through the garden, and into the maize field behind. He has not been seen since. In the present day, Veronica Lindh is a grief counsellor running group therapy sessions for the bereaved – although she clearly has problems of her own: anxiety, panic attacks, a scar on her arm that she keeps obsessively hidden and she is barely hanging on to her job. It's clear that she has just returned to work after an episode that seems to have resulted in restraining orders against her, a deal of therapy, a change of location and her supervisor is watching closely. As well, he needs to. Full Review

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Shed No Tears by Caz Frear

4.5star.jpg Crime

In November 2012 Christopher Masters, the man who would become known as 'the roommate killer', strangled three women in a fortnight. When he was arrested he admitted the killings. A fourth death was attributed to him - that of Holly Kemp - and on occasions, Masters admitted to the killing, then he denied it - then admitted it, then denied it. He played with the police, but there was sufficient evidence on the first three killings to put him away for a long time and the CPS were not convinced about the Holly Kemp case. There was no body and once Masters was murdered in prison, no hope of progressing the case further. Full Review

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Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

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Too hot to sleep. Too hot to think straight. Too hot to go back

During a British heatwave 15-year-old, Lily Dixon, has left home and is reported missing. Rachel is a teacher at Lily's school and the mother of Mia, Lily's best friend. As Lily's family and the police struggle to find any evidence that may lead to Lily, Rachel takes it upon herself to start looking for clues. However, as the case goes on Rachel becomes fixated on finding Lily and finds herself crossing boundaries, breaking trust and facing some impossible choices. Will they find Lily? Does Lily want to be found? And will life for Rachel ever be the same again? Full Review

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Dark Waters by G R Halliday

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Twenty-two-year-old Annabelle Whittaker made her second mistake when she opted to drive down the private road in Glen Turrit. It was a long road through some breath-taking scenery and she could push the car to its limits without fear of being caught speeding. When the blond child stepped out in front of her she instinctively jerked the steering wheel and hit a tree. When she came round after the accident she couldn't work out where she was, but it obviously wasn't a conventional hospital. She'd made her first mistake some time ago, although the realisation wouldn't be obvious to her for a long time. She'd made it when she chose to have her father buy her a pale blue BMW M4. Full Review

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Cut to the Bone (DI Meg Dalton) by Roz Watkins

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DI Meg Dalton and Ds Jai Sanghera are dealing with the case of a missing teenager. Violet Armstrong is well-known as a vlogger - championing the cause of meat-eating. She barbeques meat wearing only a bikini and has attracted the attention of animal rights activists. The meat-eaters (they wear meat suits) are determined that Meg Dalton is corrupt and not running a decent investigation (obviously she only got the job because she's a woman) because she's a vegetarian. As if the case wasn't enough, Meg's father is coming to stay with her despite having had little to do with her for fifteen years and Jai's convinced that his girlfriend, Suki, doesn't like his children and that she wants more, but he doesn't. Full Review

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To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

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When Lucy Bewley was nine-years-old she crept out of the house on the night of the summer solstice to watch the pagan celebrations in Stoke Woods. Her four-year-old brother, Teddy, would have woken the house if she hadn't taken him with her. But in the early hours of the morning, Lucy returned home without Teddy, hoping that he would have got home before her. He hadn't and no one has seen him since. Lucy's story was crucial to the police investigation, but it keeps subtly changing. Lucy is being advised by her imaginary friend, Eliza Grey and Eliza says that there are certain things which Lucy must not tell the police. Full Review

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Lies to Tell (DI Clare Mackay) by Marion Todd

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When we meet up with DI Clare Mackay again she's at Daisy Cottage on the outskirts of St Andrews with her English Bull Terrier, Benjy. She's just had a postcard from Geoffrey Dark and he's in Provincetown, Cape Cod. He wishes that she was there, but Clare's struggling to think of what he actually is to her now. Is he her boyfriend? Her ex-boyfriend? She can't work it out and thinks that Geoffrey probably can't either. Work's about to get very busy and she can't work out why DCI Alastair Gibson has cancelled a meeting she'd arranged without discussing it with her first. They're off somewhere top secret. Full Review

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A Shooting at Chateau Rock (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel) by Martin Walker

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It was a couple of days after old Driant's funeral that Bruno Courrèges got an angry phone call from his son. Gaston's father had sold the family farm in order to buy an insurance policy which he had used to secure a life of luxury at an expensive retirement home near Sarlat, owned by a Russian oligarch. Before he even got to go there he died, apparently of a heart attack, and the retirement home collected the proceeds of the policy and Gaston and Claudette Driant were left with just the contents of the farmhouse. The family hadn't exactly fallen out, but Gaston lived some way away and Claudette had fallen out of favour when she announced that she was gay, but they weren't expecting to be almost completely disinherited. Full Review

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The Red, Red Snow by Caro Ramsay

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In Glasgow, Eric Callaghan of Inkermann Tattoo Parlour had been to the ice show with his wife, Geraldine and daughter, Lisa when he was stabbed in Planet Burger. He died within minutes, but his murder seemed motiveless and there were no clues. He was a genuine man and a talented artist: those investigating his death had hit a dead end. There were two deaths to investigate in the north of Scotland: it wasn't thought wise to involve the local murder team as someone on the Glen Riske police force was indirectly involved in the case. Christmas - and a lot of snow were rapidly approaching. Full Review

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Little Girls Tell Tales by Rachel Bennett

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In 2004 Rosalie, Beth and Dallin were walking in the boggy wetlands by Rosalie and Dallin's cottage. Beth and Dallin, both twelve-years-old, got ahead of ten-year-old Rosalie and it wasn't long before she realised that she was lost. Trying to find her way back to the main path she found a skeleton, but when she finally got to the road she could never find her way back to the bog when she'd seen the body. Most people didn't believe her, putting the story down to her vivid imagination. Full Review

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Remain Silent by Susie Steiner

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When we first meet Matis and Dimitri, Matis is in a bad way, vomiting and obviously traumatised. When he's able to speak he tells Dimitri that Lukas is dead. Lukas was in his late teens and he and Matis had come to Cambridgeshire from Klaipeda in Lithuania. They'd answered an advert offering good money and accommodation in return for their labour: they could have a decent life and send money home to their families. Sadly, it doesn't work out like that. When they arrive in the UK - on an old, uncomfortable bus, - they're dropped at a filthy house where several men have to share rooms and sleep on dirty mattresses on the floor. It's modern slavery, which isn't uncommon amongst agricultural workers. Full Review