Newest Thrillers Reviews

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Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson and Maxim Jakubowski (Translator)

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

Jewellery designer Linnéa Blix fails to appear at a Cartier event presenting some of her new creations. Her friend Alexis Castells knows something must be wrong; nothing would have kept the talented young artist from attending this prestigious function. When a young woman's mutilated body is discovered in a Swedish marina near Linnéa's holiday home, Alexis' worst fears are confirmed. But Linnéa's death is not unique; in fact, she is only the latest in a string of similar gruesome murders that have occurred in both London and Falkenberg. Up until now, the bodies have all belonged to young boys, so what has caused the killer to change his or her MO? How can Alexis help to find justice for her friend, and stop a serial killer before he strikes again? Full review...

No Middle Name by Lee Child

4star.jpg Crime

There is a theory, to which those who regularly read my reviews will know I sometimes subscribe, which says that the short story's heyday has passed and it has now put itself out to grass. This is particularly true, some say, and I have been known to concur, of the crime and thriller genres. Tosh! I can only apologise to all authors involved and own up: I simply haven't been paying attention. Not even to shorter offerings my by favourite authors. So: big thanks to Lee Child and publishers Bantam Press for putting me straight with No Middle Name : a collection of short stories about my favourite latter-day, American-style, Robin Hood by the name of Jack Reacher. Full review...

A Burning in the Darkness by A P McGrath

4star.jpg Crime

At a busy airport, Michael Kieh is a full time faith representative serving the needs of some of the 80 million passengers, but circumstance and evidence point to his guilt in a terrible crime. His struggle to prove his innocence leads him on a charged journey that pitches love against revenge. When a mysterious woman confides a dark secret, he is motivated to redress a heart-breaking injustice. Together they must battle against powerful forces as they edge dangerously close to unmasking a past crime. But Michael faces defeat when he chooses to protect a young witness, sparking memories of Michael's past in Liberia. As he fights to prove his innocence, Michael has to risk anything for the sake of love and truth. Full review...

The Choice by Samantha King

4star.jpg Thrillers

It's perfectly possible to be drawn towards one of your children more than the others at a particular point in time. Maybe for a moment, just a moment, you prefer the sleeping 4 year old over his up all night baby sister, and then later when off to do the Big Shop you favour the littlest one for sheer portability and lower likelihood of running off in the carpark, but if you ask most parents they will say they love their children equally. End of. In different ways and for different things, but equally. You might jokingly pick a favourite, but deep down there's no such thing. So imagine the worst thing that could come. Imagine a stranger arriving at your door with a gun and making you choose between your children. One can live, but one must die. Welcome to Madeline's world and her living nightmare. Full review...

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

4star.jpg Thrillers

All artist Scott Burroughs did was to accept the offer from the wife of a media mogul for a short plane ride, not realising it will shape the rest of his life. The private jet falls out of the sky, making him a hero in the way he saved the only other survivor, the mogul's small son and heir JJ. The search for answers makes Scott uncomfortable in many ways, especially when he realises that for some he's not so much the hero as the murderer. Are they right? Full review...

The Last Train (Detective Hiroshi) by Michael Pronko

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

Detective Hiroshi Shimizu usually investigates white collar crime in Tokyo. It suits him: he gets to have his own office, which is rare. He's got space at home too: his girlfriend has not only left him, but she's moved back to the States as well. He's yet to ship all her boxes out of his apartment but when he's done that he'll be able to sleep in the bed again. White collar crime's usually non-violent, but Hiroshi speaks English (many years spent in Boston when he was studying) and when an American businessman ends up dead under the last train, he's called in to help. He could have done without having to see the body - or the people removing it from the tracks with chopsticks - but detective Takamatsu insisted. Full review...

Strange Magic: An Essex Witch Museum Mystery (Essex Witches Mystery 1) by Syd Moore

5star.jpg Paranormal

Rosie Strange doesn't believe in ghosts or witches or magic. No, not at all. It's no surprise therefore when she inherits the ramshackle Essex Witch Museum, her first thought is to take the money and run. Still, the museum exerts a curious pull over Rosie. There's the eccentric academic who bustles in to demand she help in a hunt for old bones, those of the notorious Ursula Cadence, a witch long since put to death. And there's curator Sam Stone, a man about whom Rosie can't decide if he's tiresomely annoying or extremely captivating. It all adds up to looking like her plans to sell the museum might need to be delayed, just for a while. Finding herself and Sam embroiled in a most peculiar centuries-old mystery, Rosie is quickly expelled from her comfort zone, where to her horror, the secrets of the past come with their own real, and all too present, danger as a strange magic threatens to envelop them all. Full review...

Prussian Blue: Bernie Gunther Thriller 12 by Philip Kerr

3.5star.jpg Crime (Historical)

Bernie Gunther is not your typical hero. In 1939, he was stationed in Berlin as a police officer handling murder cases and occasionally doing work for some high-ranking Nazis. Although never a Nazi party member himself (he was a known member of the Social Democratic Party), he understood that the best thing he could do for himself at that time was to make himself indispensable to men like Reinhard Heydrich and Martin Bormann. So when he is assigned to solve a murder that has occurred at Hitler's Berghof in the Bavarian mountains, he knows that he needs to do it quickly and discreetly – not just for justice's sake, but for his own. He is given exactly one week to apprehend the suspect, and he hopes that with the help of his friend Friedrich Korsch, an investigator with the Krimialpolizei (or Kripo, for short) he just might get lucky. Full review...

The Age of Olympus (Duncan Forrester Mystery 2) by Gavin Scott

4star.jpg Crime (Historical)

Whilst part of an SOE mission to kidnap a German commander in Greece during the war, Duncan Forrester came across an ancient Cretan stone, which he hoped could lead to the deciphering of Linear B. The war is now officially over (although a lot of people are still fighting it, mentally if not physically) and Forrester has returned to Athens with his lover, Sophie Amfeldt-Laurvig, intent on getting the necessary permissions to go to Crete and retrieve the stone. It was whilst they were in Athens that Forrester was the unwitting witness to the poisoning of a Greek poet and where he found himself pursued by a man wearing a mask. Strange as all this might seem, Forrester is convinced that the poet was not the intended victim: it should have been a general who has been approached to lead ELAS, the military arm of the Greek communists. He's the sort of charismatic man who could sway a lot of people to follow him adn that would mean certain war. Full review...

Hekla's Children by James Brogden

4star.jpg Horror

Nathan has a steady job as an outdoor pursuits instructor but that's not his first career. Ten years earlier he'd been a teacher when it all went dreadfully wrong during an orienteering event for his secondary school students. Four young people disappeared suddenly but only one was found. Malnourished and in shock, Olivia was never able to tell anyone what happened. A decade later a body is found, Nathan starts having hallucinations and Olivia crosses his path again. Whatever began that day isn't finished. Evil will find a way through. Full review...

Amnesia by Michael Ridpath

4star.jpg Crime

Alastair is in trouble. He's had a nasty knock on the head and now he can't remember anything about his life. In an attempt to recover his memories, he is sent to convalesce in a remote cottage in the Scottish Highlands in the company of his old friend's niece, Clemence. During their stay, Clemence uncovers a strange book which seems to tell the story of her grandmother's murder years before. Now Alastair and Clemence must uncover the truth about who murdered Sophie as outside the snow grows ever nearer, as does a creeping malevolent ghost from Alastair's past who wants to make sure the past stays buried, even if that means burying Alastair along with it. Full review...

The Magician's Lie by Grace Macallister

4star.jpg Thrillers

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. But one night she swaps her trademark saw for an axe. When Arden's husband is found dead later that night, the answer seems clear, most of all to young policeman Virgil Holt. Captured and taken into custody, all seems set for Arden's swift confession. But she has a different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless, and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Full review...

The Legacy: Children's House Book 1 by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Victoria Cribb (translator)

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

What do you wish for in your murder mysteries? An inventive death? Well you couldn't go much further than the unusual murder by household device that Elisa suffers here. She's a mother to a young family, whose husband was abroad at a conference. Do you seek awkward, unusual and/or conflicted investigators? Well, here we have a detective from the lower ranks, but the only one clean enough after post-financial crash investigations tainted all his superiors; and a woman who runs a home that investigates and recuperates child victims of sex abuse. She's here because the only witness to the murder was Elisa's very young daughter. And lo and behold, the two adults have history. Do you require taunting clues as to why this crime will be repeated? You can't do much better than the messages in numerals received by other characters and their untold threat. So it's tick, tick, tick – but what of the question marks left by the prologue, where another young family of children was separated as a best case scenario by the adoption agencies after a different nasty event in the past? Full review...

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

5star.jpg Thrillers

Christmas is barely over but Amber doesn't have much to celebrate. She's in a coma, trapped with an active mind but an inactive body, able to hear and understand but not respond to what is going on around her. And her mind's a little fuzzy on a few things too, like how she ended up there, who else was involved, and what it all means. Full review...

Follow Me Down by Sherri Smith

4star.jpg Thrillers

Mia is done with the small town she grew up in, but it only takes one phone call to bring her back. Her twin brother Lucas is missing and, worse still, has been implicated in the death of one of his students. Without him there to speak for himself it becomes her job to defend his reputation while trying to get to the bottom of everything that has gone on. Full review...

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

Herr Neuroff's circus has a secret: as well as a much needed wartime source of entertainment, it's also refuge to Jews escaping uncertain concentration camp fates. One such person, Astrid, a trapeze and high wire artist, lives a precarious life in which her possible discovery would be more dangerous than her nightly act. She's an expert who has perfected her art over time and therefore resents Neuroff demanding she teach Noa, a non-circus family new comer, quickly. There's a reason behind the circus owner's demand though. Noa arrives at the circus endangered by an act of kindness: a Jewish baby she stole from a Nazi train before leaving the Netherlands. It was a spur of the moment decision that will bind her to Astrid and their future, no matter how long… or short… a time that may be. Full review...

The Blade Artist by Irvine Welsh

5star.jpg Crime

So. In the interest of honest disclosure I should tell you that I love Irvine Welsh's work and I must confess to a particularly gruesome fancy for Begbie, the notoriously violent, terrifying protector/tormentor of the Trainspotting gang. Whilst this means you are unlikely to receive an unbiased review, it does mean you will get a passionate one. It is fair to say that I loved The Blade Artist and my only critique would be that it was over too quickly. For those of you who may not be familiar with Welsh's earlier manifestations have no fear, you can pick up The Blade Artist and be transfixed by Jim Francis, artist, father, husband and elegant thug. For those of you with previous knowledge of Francis Begbie you'll be instantly drawn back into the world of a man previously defined by petty vengeance, violence and blood. Full review...

The Pictures by Guy Bolton

4.5star.jpg Crime

It's the spring of 1939: in Hollywood The Wizard of Oz is in production at MGM and it's important that nothing interrupts shooting or causes bad publicity for the actors or the studio. The police department recognises that it's good for Hollywood that all goes smoothly and it's Detective Jonathan Crane's job to see that the crimes and misdemeanours of the stars are swept under the proverbial carpet. The studio rewards him handsomely for this and there's perhaps a little bit of antagonism within LAPD that Craine's got it easy and wouldn't know how to investigate a case if it came up and slapped him, but in Craine's mind all that's going to change. Full review...

The Acid Test by Elmer Mendoza

3.5star.jpg Crime

Mayra Cabral de Melo is dead. Murdered in cold blood in a desolate, dusty field by the side of the road. Once the most adored, celebrated dancer at the local strip club, she had a collection of rich and powerful admirers but who amongst them was deluded and dangerous enough to kill her? And what connects her to the deaths of various associates, arms dealers and Narco kingpins? Lefty Mendieta returns in The Acid Test, following on from Mendoza's first novel Silver Bullets. I haven't read the first instalment of this series and don't believe that had any impact on this story. Lefty has a personal connection to the case, forever haunted by the memories of his brief but life changing night with Mayra and uses his connections to the powerful criminal underworld, his tense relationship with American agents and his consuming desire to avenge her death to track down this violent and deranged killer. Along the way we learn about the growing tensions between Narcos which erupt in explosive levels of violence, meet a host of damaged, humorous and violent residents of Culiacán and follow Lefty on a trail of destruction, death and disorder. Full review...

Condition: Book Two - The Curing Begins... by Alec Birri

4star.jpg Science Fiction

Discovering an infamous Nazi doctor conducted abortions in Argentina after the Second World War may not come as a surprise, but why was the twisted eugenicist not only allowed to continue his evil experiments but encouraged to do so? And what has that got to do with a respected neurologist in 2027? Surely the invention of a cure for nearly all the world's ailments can't possibly have its roots buried in the horrors of Auschwitz? The unacceptable is about to become the disturbingly bizarre. What has the treatment's 'correction' of paedophiles got to do with the President of the United States, the Pope and even the UK's Green Party? Full review...

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G Thompson

4star.jpg Teens

Six years ago, cousins Amy and Dee were abducted. They were never recovered and no trace of them was ever found - that is until Amy suddenly returns home, alone and unable to tell anyone where Dee is or what happened to her. Amy's unexpected homecoming gives hope to her family, but she's a different person after spending most of her teen years in captivity, and she's not sure if she can ever fully go back to her old life. Amy is someone she left behind when she was 10 years old and in the years of her absence, she became Chelsea and Dee became Stacie. But why has she come back now? Who took them in the first place? And where is Dee Full review...

The Breakdown by B A Paris

5star.jpg Thrillers

Sometimes the way we think we will behave when something happens is not the way we do behave when that same thing happens. Cass never thought she would be the sort of person to leave someone stranded – not least a lone female in a dark wood, late at night – but when she passes a stranded car on her way home she doesn't stop, get out, and go to offer help. She hurries on home, forgets about it, and crawls into bed. Full review...

The Milan Briefcase by Graham Fulbright

4star.jpg Thrillers

It began with a briefcase, a rather elegant briefcase to be sure, but it had been left in the back of a taxi. When you're the next customer in the cab, what do you do in that situation? The driver isn't part of a group, so there's not going to be a lost-property office and you have a suspicion that if you pass the briefcase over it's not going to be passed on anywhere else. So the red briefcase was taken on a flight to Luritania where it was looked at by various members of the Lenfindi Club. And who were they? Well, they started as as a quartet - three men and a women - who gathered each Sunday morning at Lenfindi Airport to discuss matters of great (or lesser) import. Originally they were called The Sunday Club, but changed the name when they gathered a fifth member (it was easier to make decisions when there were five rather than four) and then a sixth... Full review...

Condition: Book One - A Medical Miracle? by Alec Birri

5star.jpg Thrillers

It's 1966, but RAF Pilot Dan Stewart isn't celebrating England's win in the World Cup – instead he's awakening from a coma following an aircraft accident. Waking in a world where nothing makes sense, he's unable to recall the crash – but struggles to remember the rest of his life…And what's stopping him from taking his medication? Is it brain damage causing paranoia about the red pill, or is he right to think there's something more sinister going on…And, having suffered almost 100% burns, how is he alive? Are his hallucinations trying to tell him something? Full review...

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

5star.jpg Thrillers

After a brutal attack, you might be forgiven for thinking losing her memory is the best outcome for Jenny. Without being able to recall the facts from the night in question, she can't dwell too much on her attack and her attacker. But what if she wants to? What if she needs to work through her emotions so she can move past things? What if she is still obsessing, day in and day out, about what did or didn't happen to her, imagining all sorts of scenarios and hating herself for not knowing the truth? Full review...

Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard

4star.jpg Thrillers

Lisa Fulbrook's best friend is dead – the victim of a brutal attack who fell to her death from her own apartment window. Lisa was there, she too was a victim of the attack that killed her best friend, and she is left with the physical and emotional scars to prove it. Traumatised by the events, Lisa flees to a country village to help settle her frightened mind. But what happened that night still torments her; she is plagued by vicious flashbacks and questions surrounding why she and her best friend Ali were targeted, because the one thing Lisa does know is that she can't remember what really happened that fateful night. How did their assailant know them? Was it planned? More importantly, why were they attacked? Full review...