Newest Thrillers Reviews

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The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne

5star.jpg Thrillers

Helena Pelletier was having a normal afternoon: making deliveries of jams and jellies to her sales outlets and taking her younger daughter Marigold to play at the side of the lake. It was on the journey back to meet her older daughter from the school bus that she heard the news: the notorious child abductor and rapist Jacob Holbrook, known as the Marsh King, had escaped from prison, killing two guards in the process. Helena knew that she was in danger: Jacob Holbrook was her father and she was the daughter of the woman he had abducted when she was fifteen years old. She'd been brought up until the age of twelve as a captive. There was another problem too: she'd never actually got around to telling her husband about her background. Full review...

A Climate of Fear by Fred Vargas and Sian Reynolds (translator)

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

It takes just one policeman's iota of doubt, that an elderly woman found dead in her bath with her wrists slit was not actual suicide but murder instead, for Commissaire Adamsberg to become involved. The woman, known to be dying, had struggled to get a letter posted in the days before her death – and when the recipient is found out it immediately leads to another murder disguised as suicide, and more deaths are to come. All indications (or at least those that can be understood) point to a hushed-up murder and rape on a remote and isolated Icelandic island ten years previously, but Adamsberg and his team will soon be working on the thinking that the whole truth is much more peculiar, and harder to solve, than that… Full review...

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach

4star.jpg Thrillers

Ava and Zelda are twins, their naming triggering a family joke about being opposite ends of the alphabet. That's all past tense now though as Zelda is dead. Ava is told the news via her mother's terse, dispassionate email before Ava can come home to the US from Paris. Zelda burnt to death in the family's barn where she sometimes slept… at least that's the story and human remains were indeed found in the barn. But then why is Ava still receiving emails from Zelda? Emails that taunt, emails that remind and emails that suggest Zelda is very much alive. To discover the truth all Ava needs to do is follow the clues and relive some painful memories. Full review...

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

It's Christmas, what could go wrong? More than that, it's Christmas on holiday, on a cruise down the Pacific coast of Latin America from near LA. Perfect, then, for two cousins – ladies both with their own husband and two kids each – to get away from what life's currently giving them, namely high-pressure work, and grief. But labours and worries and grief will only be exacerbated, when a trip ashore goes horrendously wrong, and practically the only six children on board go missing… Full review...

Friends and Liars by Kaela Coble

5star.jpg Thrillers

Kaela Coble's debut novel Friends and Liars is a gripping read that tells the tale of 'the crew', a group of friends who once made a pact to always be honest with eachother. So what happens when none of them keep this pact? After not being together for over ten years the crew are reunited at the wake of one of their own, Danny Deuso, who has left a haunting suicide note along with an envelope for each crew member containing their darkest secret. They are now faced with two options: reveal their secrets or face the risk that Danny will reveal them from beyond the grave. Full review...

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

4star.jpg Thrillers

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight's retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy.It should be paradise. But it's turned into a nightmare. Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they've been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all - where has her husband gone? Full review...

Errant Blood (Duncul Mysteries) by C F Peterson

4star.jpg Crime

When Eamon Ansgar's father passes away, he makes the decision to return to his home in the Scottish Highlands to take over control of his family's estate. He has been gone for many years, during which time he has pursued a career in the army and survived a posting in Afghanistan. Having failed to succeed at his subsequent attempt at city life, it seems village life back in Glencul is his only option. For most people in his position, returning home to the peaceful life of lordship over a castle and village would sound like a dream come true. But Duncul Castle and the village it overlooks are both keeping secrets – a mystery lurks in the cellars of Duncul, and some of Glencul's residents would kill for it. Full review...

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...