Newest Crime Reviews

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Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

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Malcolm Kershaw was the co-owner and manager of the Old Devils Bookstore on Beacon Hill in Boston. The store specialises in crime novels, but Mal has given up reading crime. His life's been pretty chaotic of late: It's five years since his wife, Claire Mallory, died and he's never really got over it. She was driving whilst inebriated, having just been to see the man with whom Kershaw suspected she was having an affair. His interest in crime fiction comes back when he's approached by Special Agent Gwen Mulvey. She's interested in a blog post he wrote a few years ago: My Eight Perfect Murders. Full Review

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Bobby March Will Live Forever (Harry McCoy) by Alan Parks

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In February 1964 Bobby March was on his way to London with fellow band members Tom, Scott, Barry and Jamie. He'd had to get his father to sign the contract for The Beatkickers, as Bobby wasn't old enough. And his father had been reluctant - he'd have preferred Bobby to get an apprenticeship, for the regular money. By July 1973 Bobby is back in Glasgow. The Beatkickers didn't survive and March is on his own, but hardly thriving. There's an obvious drug habit. Meanwhile, the police are consumed by the search for a missing girl, Alice Kelly. Full Review

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Little Doubt (D I Kelly Porter) by Rachel Lynch

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Ella Watson was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was out running in the park when she was randomly attacked and stabbed to death. Her husband, Thomas, and children, Jordan and Millie were devastated and Detective Superintendent Neil Ormond was outraged that a decent, middle-class woman should be the victim of knife crime. Despite being a golfing partner of Thomas Jordan he declined to distance himself from the case and told DI Kelly Porter that he would be taking a great deal of interest in how the case was handled. He wasn't anywhere near as interested when a second woman was stabbed to death a few hours later. Keira Bradley lived on the Beacon estate and Ormond's view seemed to be that anyone living there should expect this sort of thing to happen. He could hardly bring himself to mention Keira's name. Full Review

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Firewatching by Russ Thomas

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Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler is in the Cold Cas Review Unit at South Yorkshire Police and there are those who think that he's lucky to be there, given that he decked a superior officer. He's there because Tyler came off worse in the exchange - there's a scar on his face to prove it - and the superior officer was forced to take early retirement. There's a suggestion too that Tyler's godmother (she's on the force too) has looked after him and that his current boss is keen to have a tame gay to put on the town hall steps come Pride. Either way, he's there, but without anything really interesting to get his teeth into. Full Review

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The Lantern Men (Dr Ruth Galloway) by Elly Griffiths

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Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway. She's no longer providing assistance to the police and isn't even working at the University of North Norfolk. She's lecturing at Cambridge and has moved from her beloved Saltmarsh cottage to live with Dr Frank Barker in Cambridge. Her daughter, Katie, has settled into school better than she could ever have hoped and life is looking good. Settled. She can't help thinking about Harry Nelson, Katie's father, because Katie sees him regularly and there's a close relationship with his family. You might almost think that Ruth's life is settling down. Full Review

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In Plain Sight (D I Clare Mackay) by Marion Todd

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It was a coincidence that Detective Sergeant Chris West and DI Clare Mackay were at the beach when the baby was stolen. They were there for the fun run and their attention was taken by the NEFEW protesters who tried to disrupt the race. They're against the planned McIntosh Water bottled water plant to be constructed on Priory Marsh and the firm is sponsoring the fun run. It was Lisa Mitchell's scream which stopped everything. Her daughter, six-month-old Abi, had been taken from her pram whilst no one was looking. It's a major incident when any child is abducted but Abi needs regular medication because of a heart problem: without it, she might have only forty-eight hours to live. Full Review

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When You See Me by Lisa Gardner

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For Janet and Chuck, it was a hiking break in the Appalachians in Georgia and pure chance that Chuck went off the beaten track to find a stick. What he found was a human bone and SSA Kimberley Quincy was called in, along with Sergeant D D Warren. Both women were experienced in this type of rather gruesome work but they also called on the services of Keith Edgar, a computer analyst, and Flora Dane who brought something unique to the table. Flora had been kidnapped and held for 472 days by the notorious killer, Jacob Ness. If Ness had anything to do with the current discoveries then what Flora had to say could be invaluable. Full Review

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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The boat trip out to Inis Amploir, off the Irish coast, might have been enough to put some guests off, but it was the wedding of the year. Will Slater (television personality, if not yet a celebrity) was to marry Jules Keegan, online magazine publisher, in the ruined chapel on the island. The bride's sister, Olivia, would be her only bridesmaid and the wedding planner and chef are Aoife and her husband, Freddy. They gave a huge discount to get the couple to the island, but surely it would be worth it for the publicity? Full Review

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Perfect Kill (D I Callanach) by Helen Fields

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When Maggie Campbell realised that her son, Bart, was missing he was already 200 miles away and just waking from a chemically-induced sleep. Maggie knew straight away that something was wrong. Bart might be twenty but he was considerate of his mother and wouldn't have stayed out all night without letting her know. Besides, he didn't have his phone with him and he wouldn't have gone far without that. It's not long before Bart realises that he's alone, trapped in a shipping container and on his way to France, where his fate has already been decided. Full Review

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The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

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The Last Smile in Sunder City is an urban fantasy noir written by Luke Arnold. It centres on a Private Detective, Fetch Philips, as he attempts to find a missing vampire in a world filled with magical creatures where all the magic has suddenly disappeared with catastrophic consequences. Full Review

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Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain

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It was early summer 2018 and Adam Latimer returned home to Spanish Cove after an absence of ten years. The family had thought him dead - in fact, that's what the private detective his mother had insisted upon had told them. He was cagey about exactly where he'd been but he seemed content, if not happy, to be hope. What brought him? Well, nine years ago his mother died and he'd seen the in memoriam in the paper: this was the first he'd heard about what had happened. His three sisters and two brothers had mixed feelings about his return, but his father is delighted. In fact, he's determined to have a party. Only, with Frazer Latimer, what happens has to be about him. He has an announcement to make - it's nine years since Kathleen died and he's been lonely. He's met Ana, a Polish immigrant, and they're getting married. Full Review

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When the Dead Come Calling (Burrowhead Mysteries 1) by Helen Sedgwick

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It began with the discovery of a body under the swings in the children's playground. It was Dr Alexis Crosse and he was found by PC Simon Hunter, who loved him deeply, but who had reason to mistrust him. Crosse was a psychotherapist who grew up in Greece, but such professions are misunderstood in Burrowhead (along with foreigners), a community which regards anyone not born and brought up there as an outsider. DI Georgie Strachan is an outsider - you've only got to look at her skin to realise that, and her husband, Fergus, well, he's a little strange too, not entirely here. Full Review

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The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo and Louise Heal Kawai (translator)

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To many readers, the phrase 'locked room murder mystery' is enough to make the book one to read; preferably quantified by the words 'clever' or 'good'. For those who need more, here is the extra background – we're in rural Japan in the 1930s. The oldest son of an esteemed family is belatedly getting married, although the whole affair is really not as ostentatious as it might be – hardly anybody has turned up, what with it being arranged at great haste. She only has an uncle representing her family, for one thing. Either way, the celebrations have gone ahead as planned, only for the wedded couple to be slashed to death in their private annexe before the sun rises on their marriage. What with a man missing parts of his fingers being in the neighbourhood, and some mysterious use of a traditional musical instrument at the time of the crime, this case has a lot of the peculiar about it. Full Review

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Black River by Will Dean

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Tuva Moodyson returns - and this third book in the Tuva Moodyson mystery series delves deep into her personal life, returning her to the isolated town of Gavrik and into a desperate search for her missing best friend. With the Midsommar sun blocked out by the dark pines of the forest, Tuva fights to save her friend. But who’ll be there to save Tuva? Full Review

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Man at the Window (Detective Cardilini) by Robert Jeffreys

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It's when we read that a young boy is creeping reluctantly to a teacher's bedroom one October night that we realise something is badly wrong. Nowadays you might hope that something would be done about it fairly quickly but this was 1965 and child abuse was generally regarded as malicious mischief on the part of the child. The boy would be safe that night though - albeit in the most horrific fashion. When he reached Captain Edmund's bedroom he found the man dead on the floor, the top of his skull missing. The school's initial reaction was that this was a dreadful accident: there had been a cull of kangaroos in some nearby fields and it was obviously a stray bullet which had killed the Captain. Full Review

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The Bad Fire (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine

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Nine years ago local councillor Marcia Brown took her own life after being accused of shoplifting from a local supermarket. It's always been assumed that she couldn't live with the shame. People were surprised that she committed suicide just before the court case when she had been adamant that she would fight to clear her name. She said that she'd been set up because she was hot on the trail of corruption in the council. Her ex-husband has contacted Alex Skinner, Solicitor Advocate as well as retired Police Constable Bob Skinner's daughter, and asked that she look into clearing Brown's name: it's something which he feels that he has to do in memory of his son who was murdered recently. Full Review

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A Body in the Bookshop (Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries) by Helen Cox

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Evie Bowes is very conscious of the scars on her face. They were acquired when she was rescued from a car in the River Ouse by Inspector Halloran. She’d been suspected of the murder of her boyfriend, Owen, and in the process of clearing her name she and her best friend, Kitt Hartley developed a taste for detection. Kitt developed a taste for Inspector Halloran Too, but they’re taking it slowly. Well, sort of slowly. Full Review

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All the Rage (DI Fawley) by Cara Hunter

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A very beautiful, but the extremely distressed teenage girl was picked up by a minicab driver on the outskirts of Oxford. She didn't want to go to the police station or the hospital: she just wanted to be taken home. The driver wasn't so certain though - and after dropping the girl at home he went to the police, which is why DI Adam Fawley found himself talking to Faith Appleford and her mother. Both were adamant that this was nothing more than an April Fool's joke which had gone wrong. No crime had been committed and Faith didn't want to take the matter any further. Fawley and his team weren't prepared to leave it at that and they began investigating. What they found strange was that Faith Appleford didn't seem to have much of a history. Full Review

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The Royal Baths Murder by J R Ellis

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When Damian Penrose was murdered there was no shortage of suspects: he was a deeply unpleasant man. In fact, the only surprising thing was that there wasn't more of a queue waiting to do the dirty deed. What was a bit of a headline maker was that Penrose was a crime writer and that he was strangled in the midst of Harrogate's crime writing festival. He went for a swim at the Royal Baths and never returned, his body being found by the receptionist. DCI Jim Oldroyd was the man tasked with investigating the crime. It would not be the only death, and it was only because of the quick actions of his sergeant, Andy Carter, that Oldroyd's was not one of them. Full Review