Newest Crime Reviews

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Review of

Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

Maeve is a high functioning alcoholic, drinking continuously and also, curiously, addicted to attending numerous AA groups. She is also a self-acknowledged psychopath. Whilst analysing and critiquing the AA steps she is mainly using the groups to find targets...targets for sexual encounters, targets to feed her desire to hear of people's misery, and targets for her violent behaviour. Yet she also seems to be searching for others who think as she does, and when she's unable to find like-minded people in any of the groups she decides to set up her own, hoping to encounter others who share similar obsessions, and thus Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Full Review

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Review of

Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

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Martin Curran's wife, Eliza knew that she had to be home to make his lunch for one o'clock on the dot, despite the fact that she was actually painting one of their properties prior to it being let. If she didn't get home, there would be trouble. There was some excuse: Martin was a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair, but don't be too quick to be understanding. He was also a very unpleasant person: he once told Eliza you're good at being a disappointment. All this was in Eliza's mind when she first met Dan Jones who arrived, unannounced, at the flat just as Eliza was about to leave: he wanted the lease of flat 2, 42 Linden Road and he was desperate to get in before it was advertised as being available. Full Review

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Review of

A Change of Circumstance (Simon Serrailler) by Susan Hill

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Drugs hadn't really been that much of a problem in Lafferton and Detective Superintendent Simon Serrailler had thought of drugs ops as a bit of a waste of time. They still were, to a great extent, but Serrailler knew that something had to be done. Children as young as nine were being recruited to transport the drugs and the operation running the county lines was tight. A mule might know the name (although it probably wouldn't be the correct one) of the person who was running him but he certainly wouldn't know anything about those higher up in the organisation. The police might catch a few of the runners but they'd never get anywhere near those higher up. Full Review

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Review of

Endless Obsession by Dai Henley

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It's some years since we last caught up with Andy Flood, formerly a DCI in the Met but now a well-respected private investigator. He's married to Laura, formerly his DS in the Murder Squad but now working in a forensics laboratory. Flood's daughters, Gemma and Pippa, have flown the nest, Pippa to Australia, from where she has very little contact with the family, and Gemma to married life. She's had mental problems since she was abducted many years ago but Andy and Laura hope that married life will provide the support she needs. Flood's business is going well and that was why he felt able to turn down the case of Lisa Black. Full Review

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Review of

The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Gamache) by Louise Penny

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In the Canadian village of Three Pines, we're post-pandemic: the scars are still there but life is starting to get back to normal. The villagers are beginning to return to the Bistro and the Auberge. They're visiting each other's homes and having friends and relatives to stay. A young Sudanese woman who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is one such visitor and she soon proves that not all saints are necessarily pleasant people to be around - a bit like Vincent Gilbert, known in the village as the Asshole Saint. Full Review

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Review of

The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin

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Bobby Carter was a lawyer and consigliere to one of the major crime families in nineteen seventies Glasgow. DC Jack Laidlaw is on the CID team charged with the investigation. I say on the team but Laidlaw never really seems to be a part of it. He does his own thing, goes his own way and The Dark Remains uncovers the truth of why Bobby Carter's body was found behind one of Glasgow's seedier pubs. Full Review

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Review of

Tokyo Zangyo (Detective Hiroshi) by Michael Pronko

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Zangyo: overtime work, often unpaid

It's the culture, isn't it? The hours for which you're paid are really just a statement of the minimum you'll be required to do: you'll work more hours to get the job done and done to the satisfaction of bullies like Shigeru Onizuka. When he was found dead in front of Senden Central's headquarters in Tokyo there was nothing in the way of regret or grief, even from his family, but there was a mild curiosity as to whether he'd jumped from the roof of the building or been assisted in his descent. Gossip revolves around the fact that he left the roof at the exact same spot that an employee, Mayu Yamase, had committed suicide some three years earlier. She'd accused Onizuka of bullying her and forcing her to work an unreasonable amount of overtime. Full Review

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Review of

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

4.5star.jpg Crime

Elizabeth Best was a little surprised when she received the letter. It came from a man whose body she had helped to pull from the Thames and who had never existed but then this is the sort of conundrum which retired spies have to deal with on a regular basis. When she visits the sender of the letter (he's moved into the Cooper's Chase Retirement Village) it comes as no surprise that it's someone with whom she has a long professional history - and who used to be her husband. He's made a bad mistake - something to do with a mask being removed within the range of a CCTV camera on a raid, a missing twenty-million pounds in diamonds and a few death threats. He's now in hiding with a young woman called Polly, who's his MI5 handler as well as being an incompetent waitress. Full Review

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Review of

The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen and David Hackston (translator)

3.5star.jpg Crime

Meet Henri. With a mind so much more focused on maths and calculations than it is other human beings, he's perfect for his job in the insurance company – until they decide he's not a team-member, that they'd prefer everyone to be all open-plan, holistic and keen on stupid-as workshopping. This is when he finds his brother has died, having a heart attack while busy changing his Volvo's radio channel, and has left Henri everything. Unfortunately (or otherwise) that 'everything' is just an adventure park, and nothing else. YouMeFun is so not what Henri wants to occupy his mind, but he perks up a little when he sees huge holes in the finances – it runs at a steady money-moving pace, despite some desultory staff ideas, but loans have been made out and the amount vanished. Fortunately (or otherwise) some people are quickly on the scene to explain that missing money – it's been turned into a gambling debt that has also now been inherited by Henri, and the activities of these guys are not conducive to getting a cheap life insurance plan... Full Review

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Review of

Dead Man's Grave (DS Max Craigie) by Neil Lancaster

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Tam Hardie had been determined to find the grave - and it took some finding, in an overgrown old cemetery. It was a strange thing for Scotland's premier criminal to do, but Tam was getting old and there were things he wanted to do. Only, his family didn't hear from him again after he'd said that he'd found the grave - the one which said that it shouldn't be opened - and his three sons began to worry. Tam Junior, Frankie and Dave wouldn't normally go to the police but they weren't certain where their father had been and they were worried. Full Review

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Review of

The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone

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For those who, like me, haven't come across the Skelfs before, I'll risk a quick synopsis of who's who – although Johnstone does a good job of bringing the backstory in without being heavy handed about it. Skelf isn't some fantastic creature, though it sounds as though it ought to be, it is merely the surname of a family of undertakers. Undertakers and private investigators. Dorothy is the matriarch – Californian by birth and instinct, she married a scot and ended up helping to run the Edinburgh undertaking firm that had been in the family for generations. Recently widowed and now involved with a black Swedish police officer. Swedish by nationality. Scottish police. Daughter Jenny, 46, is haunted by her still-living husband – a violent escaped prisoner. And grand-daughter is about to graduate with a first-class physics degree and join the academic staff next term. Full Review

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Review of

Risk of Harm by Lucie Whitehouse

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DCI Robin Lyons is back in her native Birmingham after her less-than-comfortable departure from the Met. She might have been reinstated but the whole episode left a nasty taste in her mouth. She was now working for Detective Chief Superintendent Samir Jaffrey - then the man who had broken her heart nearly twenty years before. She and her fifteen-year-old daughter have moved out of her parent's home into a rented house but there's still a difficult situation with her brother Luke who has gone out of his way to make life difficult for Robin since she was a young child. He's married to Natalie, now and has a young child but he's still got it in for Robin. Full Review

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Review of

For Any Other Truth (DCI Jim Daley) by Denzil Meyrick

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We learn that MI5 is having its problems with environmental terrorists supergluing themselves to awkward places. But that's London, isn't it? What's happening in Kinloch?

When a light aircraft crash lands at Machrie airport, DCI Jim Daley and his colleague, Acting DI Brian Scott, head off for the airport straight away. It soon becomes evident though that both occupants of the plane were dead before take off. How could that be? The sort of tech which would make that possible isn't available to the paying public. And why have the man no identification on them - or even labels in their clothes? Full Review

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Review of

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

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Mariana was convinced that Professor Edward Fosca had committed two murders and looked likely to get away with them both. She needed to think carefully about what she knew and decide how she should proceed.

Everything - or so she thought - had begun with the death of Tara Hampton on the Paradise nature reserve in Cambridge. She'd been brutally stabbed and Mariana's niece, Zoe, had telephoned her in distress. Tara had been her best friend and she was struggling to cope. Mariana wasn't entirely happy about having to go to Cambridge, but she caught the first fast train from King's Cross. Mariana and Zoe were close and had been made all the more so by the death of Mariana's husband, Sebastian, in a swimming accident on Naxos some fourteen months earlier. Zoe had been their surrogate daughter after the death of Zoe's mother and Mariana's sister, Eliza. Full Review

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Review of

The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jonasson and Victoria Cribb

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Una was not thriving in Reykjavik: it was some years since her beloved father had committed suicide without leaving any explanation and since then she'd given up her medical studies and retrained as a teacher. She was thirty years old and money was tight. Her friend, Sara, showed her an advert for a job in Skalar on the Langanes Peninsula. There were only ten people in the village but a teacher was required for two children: a salary would be paid and accommodation provided. Una was the only applicant and the job meant that she could let her flat in Reykjavik and, hopefully, save some money over the winter which her contract covered. Full Review

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Review of

The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain

4.5star.jpg Crime

It was July 2019 and Erin was happy. She and Danny Ryan were planning a few days away: that's always a dangerous thing to do when you're married to a cop but she was hopeful. They'd been married for six months and life was good with a decent apartment by the sea in Newport, Long Island. The knock on the door was insistent and when it was opened, Danny's partner, Ben Mitchell was there with a couple of other officers. Danny took one look, turned, walked to the open window and jumped to his death from the fourth floor.

Eighteen months later, Erin would be on trial for her husband's murder. Full Review

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Review of

The Distant Dead by Lesley Thomson

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It was December 1940 and twenty-four-year-old Maple Greenhill had gone out for the evening 'with her friend Ida' leaving her three-year-old son, William, at home with her parents. The boy thought that Maple was his sister - it was better for the family than the shame of illegitimacy, but Maple had high hopes of putting her life (and William's) on a better footing. She was going to meet her well-to-do fiancé, hoping to persuade him to come and meet her family the following week. Later, her body would be found in the bombed-out home where he had taken her. Full Review

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Review of

The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

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Difficult clients were nothing new to barrister Ingrid Lewis but John Webster came as something of a surprise. After all, it was her cross-examination of the 'victim' which saved him from a lengthy prison sentence. He'd been accused of stalking the woman but it didn't take long to establish that - if anything - it was the other way around. Soon Ingrid never seemed to be free of John Webster and then she came to see him as a threat and was forced to remember that the police officer at his trial had told her that this was the best chance they'd had to put Webster away for a long time: he was a very dangerous man. Full Review

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Review of

The Coldest Case (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel) by Martin Walker

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It was when he saw Elisabeth Daynes' work in the prehistory museum at Les Eyzies that chief of police Bruno Courreges had the idea which he thought might help his boss, chief of detectives Jalipeau, known as J-J, to solve a case which had haunted him for thirty years. The body of a young male was found in the woods but he was never identified and his killer never brought to justice. What if an artist could recreate the face from the skull and the resulting publicity be used to identify the young man? J-J calls the skull 'Oscar' and has a picture on his door: he sees it every time he leaves his office: he doesn't want to forget Oscar until his killer has been brought to justice. Full Review

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Review of

Nighthawking by Russ Thomas

4.5star.jpg Crime

Sheffield's Botanical Gardens (on Clarkehouse Road, if you'd like to visit) are an oasis of calm in what's otherwise thought of as an industrial city but this was disrupted when the body of a young woman was discovered. It had obviously been buried in one of the beds but who would have started to dig her up? It had been in the earth for months and could have been undiscovered for years. The police need to establish who stabbed her - and who left the two, very rare, gold aurei on her eyes. DCI Diane Jordan is the Investigating Officer and her foot soldiers are DS Adam Tyler and DC Mina Rabbani. They're joined by DS Guy Daley who's just returned from extended sick leave. Mina thinks he's as obnoxious as ever but suspects that he's not fully recovered from his injuries. Full Review

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