Newest Crime Reviews

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Believe Me by J P Delaney

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime, Thrillers

Claire Wright wanted to be an actress, but she was penniless and living in New York. She might have had a scholarship to cover her school fees, but she still had to find the money to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. There was a solution, although it didn't provide a regular income: she became a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. The job was to trap straying husbands and tape them as they propositioned her. There were rules though: she couldn't hit on them directly - they had to proposition her. There was no intention to trap the innocent. Full Review

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The Gravediggers' Bread by Frederic Dard and Melanie Florence (translator)

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime, Thrillers

Blaise is at a loose end, for having left Paris on a wild goose chase for a job, which was his friend's idea, he's stuck outside a call box waiting to report back before he gets the train. The woman in the post office using the payphone finally finishes her business, and leaves him with a strong impression – as well as a wallet dropped to the floor containing several days' good money, and, when he tracks her to the village funeral directors', signs of her infidelity. Lo and behold he is given a job as the woman's husband's assistant, although she also starts to employ him in sending messages to her amour, her childhood love before circumstances changed. Blaise is of course deeply in love with the woman by now, and hates the two obstacles preventing him from being with her. One is the lover, a brutish bloke with little prospects and a bad case of epilepsy. Surely he will not fall by the wayside, and surely the brick wall of fate keeping Blaise from his intended destiny will remain two men tall? Full Review

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The Old Religion by Martyn Waites

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

The Cornish village of St Petroc isn't on the tourist trail: there's nothing particularly pretty, or historic, or interesting about it, which might be one of the reasons why Tom Killgannon is there. He had been an undercover policeman, but something had gone badly wrong and now he's in witness protection and working in the local pub. St Petroc feels safe and it's put a good deal of distance between him and some very violent people. He's got an on-again, off-again relationship with the local policewoman, with the on-again bits coinciding with the times when her husband's away. It's not an exciting life, but right now it suits Tom just fine. Until he meets Lila, that is. Full Review

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The Killing Habit (D I Tom Thorne) by Mark Billingham

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

The police take cases of the killing of animals very seriously: it's not only devastating to the owners of the animals, but violence to animals is one of the factors associated with later violence to humans. DI Tom Thorne could understand why he's been asked to look into the killing of hundreds of cats, spread over quite a wide area and a reasonably long period of time. The cats are not only killed, but dismembered and laid out. It strikes Thorne that it might be that the cat killer has already moved on to killing humans and it's not long before DI Nicola Tanner has linked several cases which might be of interest to the homicide team. Full Review

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The Captives by Debra Jo Immergut

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime, Thrillers

Miranda Greene, a woman with the world at her feet, is behind bars. Convicted and confined she languishes in a prison of her own making. After signing up for sessions with the prison counsellor, seeking a way to end her misery, Miranda sets in motion a chain of events that will alter the lives of all involved. In a twist of fate, the prison psychologist is a former schoolmate, a schoolmate with a crush not dampened by the intervening years. Faced with the girl of his dreams, how far will Frank go to make her remember him? Full Review

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In The Blood by Ruth Mancini

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

Bringing up a child on your own is difficult: when that child is severely disabled the obstacles are almost insurmountable and criminal defence lawyer Sarah Kellerman struggles on a daily basis. Ben is nearly five but still can't walk or talk and isn't toilet trained. His main way of communicating is to have a screaming tantrum, but he will watch Teletubbies - for hours on end. She has sympathy with Ellie when she's charged with trying to murder her son, firstly by poisoning him and them by removing the dialysis line with was circulating his blood to clean it. On the face of it there doesn't seem to be a lot of chance of fighting the charge - that's certainly what Sarah's boss thinks - but Sarah isn't quite so certain. Full Review

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All the Hidden Truths (Three Rivers) by Claire Askew

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

As a news item, school shootings always terrify me: the deaths are bad enough, but even the young people who survive are always going to be scarred by the fact that this was done to them by one of their number. It doesn't end on the day, either. School shootings cast a very long shadow. May the 14th had the makings of being a normal day until Ryan Summers used three modified starting pistols to shoot thirteen fellow students - and one last bullet to kill himself. We follow the story through the lives of three women: Moira Summers, the mother of the murderer, Helen Birch, the newly-promoted detective inspector who will investigate the killings and Ishbel Hodgekiss, the mother of one of the victims. Full Review

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Running Amok (DCI Spearing and DI Devlin Series Book 2) by Paul Hughes

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

Caution: Mild spoilers for Beginning to End

DS Kevin Devlin has settled into his new job at Scotland Yard very quickly, although he didn't have much choice but to hit the ground running. When we last saw him quite a few of the rogue element at MI5 and others who were causing Spearing and Devlin difficulties were conveniently dead and as Spearing has gone missing, Devlin can't help but wonder if Spearting was involved in some way in bringing this convenient solution about. Whilst he might have wanted to search for Spearing, there's upheaval at the Yard: the new commissioner is offering deals to corrupt officers. They can leave with a year's pay in lieu of notice or they can be prosecuted. Unsurprisingly there are suddenly a lot of empty desks - and a promotion opportunity for Devlin. Full Review

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Beginning to End by Paul Hughes

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

Sir Mark Wright, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, based at New Scotland Yard was aware that the Met was riddled with corruption, but in 1967 times were changing and Wright was determined that he was going to upgrade the service by ridding it of corrupt officers and bringing in new technology. Unsurprisingly, there were a lot of people against him: some were making very good money on the side and quite a few of the old-timers weren't too keen on all this technology nonsense. They didn't think walkie-talkies would really work and computers would never really catch on. One of Wright's first actions was to bring in some new blood: what came to be known as 'the trained brains' - people with qualifications in specific areas who could introduce new ideas, whilst being mentored by the older, more experienced officers. Full Review

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A Taste for Vengeance (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel) by Martin Walker

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

Bruno Courreges is now the police chief for the whole of the Vezere valley, but the promotion is not without its drawbacks, as the chain of command is not quite as clear as it was when he knew that he worked for the mayor. Still, on a cool, damp Sunday afternoon in spring he had other things on his mind: he was watching the St Denis women's rugby team playing in the regional final. One player stood out: Paulette was the daughter of the local florists and she was the best player that Bruno had ever trained, male or female. He had hopes of her making the national squad, but there might be a cloud on the horizon - Paulette had been sick and had fainted in the showers. Full Review

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When The Curtain Falls by Carrie Hope Fletcher

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Paranormal, Crime, Women's Fiction

A thoroughly, magical and riveting story that hooks you in from the first page and takes you on a roller coaster ride towards the last. Fletcher weaves together a dash of Whodunit the thrill of romance, (the course of which never runs smoothly,) and an unpredictable ghost. The ghost appears once a year, the principal star of her very own show, to meet with the love of her life and re-enact her death. A tragic accident with the roots buried deep within the whole array of human nature. Love, joy, care, friendship, jealousy, possessiveness, selfishness, cold ambition, all laid bare on centre stage.

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The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime, Humour

Comic-Cons are a place of wonder and sanctuary for many people, and when Comic book artist Mike Mason arrives at San Diego Comic-Con, he's looking for both that and sanctuary with other fans and creators, plus the chance of maybe, just maybe reuniting with his ex. However, when his rival is found dead, Mike is forced to navigate every dark corner of the con in order to clear his name – from cosplay flash mobs and intrusive fans to zombie obstacle courses – Mike must prove his innocence and, in doing so, may just unravel a dark secret behind a legendary industry creator. Full Review

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Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

A well-dressed man bled to death just yards from a Cambridgeshire police headquarters. DI Manon Bradshaw would normally be involved but she's side-lined on cold cases - and then she finds that there's a solid reason why she can't be involved: Jon-Oliver Ross was the father of her sister's son and he was probably in town to see young Solly. And if that wasn't close enough, her adopted son, Fly, was caught on CCTV passing the man just as he was about to collapse. Detective Superintendent Stanton is certain that Fly's good for the murder and won't tolerate any other avenues of investigation. Full Review

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The Lady Killer by Masako Togawa and Simon Grove (translator)

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

Japan, the early 1960s. The prologue of this book sets us up in a lovely way with a world of both innocence and seedy nightclubs. When a young girl enters one alone for a drink she ends up singing along with the musical duet doing the rounds of the venues for tips – as does a man with a distinctive bass voice. They leave together. Six months later, she clings to a balcony at work, thinks about it – and drops to her death in suicide. She was pregnant. But the man involved, a rampant womaniser with an intricate diary of all his comings and goings, is not having a perfect time, either. He returns to an old flame, to find her murdered – and then the lady who would be his alibi for that death also gets killed, and so on. From our point of view, he cannot be a killer of ladies, as the title might imply – but what else could it mean? Full Review

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Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

DI Maya Rahman is just back from Bangladesh and she should be on compassionate leave as she went there to bury her brother after he committed suicide. Instead of grieving at home and getting over her jet lag she's pitched straight into a murder investigation as a new member of staff discovers the body of popular headteacher Linda Gibson in her study at Mile End High School. Her hands are bound and beside her strangled body is a card with a Buddhist precept: I shall abstain from taking the ungiven. It's the second of five precepts and Maya is worried that there's been a murder that hasn't been spotted - and that there will be more deaths. Full Review

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A Shimmer of Hummingbirds by Steve Burrows

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

Detective Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune is on a birding trip to Colombia: well it's ostensibly a birding trip, but the reality is that he's trying to establish what really happened in the manslaughter case which has left his brother a fugitive. It's a difficult situation as the police force don't want him to do this and the Colombian authorities are understandably reluctant, but Jejeune has always been a law unto himself. Meanwhile in Saltmarsh on the North Norfolk coast there's been a brutal murder of a woman, and DI Marvin Laraby, Jejeune's nemesis, has been drafted in to replace Jejeune during his absence. How's that going to work out? Full Review

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A Brush With Death: A Susie Mahl Mystery by Ali Carter

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

I'm not normally a fan of books featuring amateur detectives, but something drew me inexorably to A Brush With Death: there's a dog on the cover, a big dog and I couldn't resist. Time to put away my prejudices and see what debut novelist Ali Carter had come up with. Full Review

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Reckless Obsession by Dai Henley

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

It was several years since DCI Andy Flood's wife had been murdered, but he'd not come to terms with it. His daughters were coping reasonably well, not least because his mother had moved in after Georgina's death and she ran the home and looked after the girls. Flood's real problem was that the Met had moved the murder to cold case status. He couldn't believe that they'd do this when the murder of the wife of one of their own was unsolved, but he's determined not to give up on the case. Each evening when he's finished work he goes into his study and works on the statements from the case, looking for any inconsistencies. Full Review

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Silver-Tongued by David Barrie

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

Bruno Kahn is a bit like Marmite: people either love him or hate him. He's a psychiatrist, who has managed to insert himself into one of the richest families in France. There are those who suspect that he's exerting undue influence over the head of the family, Guy Larroque, who is either 'not as sharp as he used to be' or 'suffering from vascular dementia', depending on where you stand within the family. At the vascular dementia end of the continuum is Guy's daughter, Sabine Larroque, who's paid Samuel Bencherif, a freelance photographer, to dog the footsteps of Kahn and Guy Larroque's (very) young wife in the hope of finding something which she can use to free her father from their clutches. So far, so very much as the very rich live, until Bencherif is found bludgeoned to death in a passageway by the Theatre de l'Odeon in the centre of Paris. Full Review

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The Vanishing Season by Johanna Schaffhausen

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

Schaffhausen has been garnering a lot of attention for her first crime novel having already been crowned a First Crime Novel Award Winner by the Mystery Writers of America. My interest therefore was definitely piqued and I was excited to read this book. So, does it live up to all the hype? In a word: yes. I was gripped from the outset (forgive the terrible pun, we are after all dealing with a serial killer who chops off the hands of his victims to keep as trophies!) Full Review