When threatening letters come to light, events take an even more sinister turn. But as Ruth's friends become involved, where will her loyalties lie? As her convictions are tested, she and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling and the mystery of The Dreaming may hold the answer to these deaths, and their own survival.
Who do you tell when you wake up to find a severed head on your resort-front beach in the morning? For frustrated ex-crime reporter Jimm Juree it means action. With her former cop grandfather as back up, she sets out to discover how the poor fellow ended up where he did - and why. On their journey, with the rest of their disjointed family in tow, they uncover gruesome tales of piracy and slavery, violence and murder in the Gulf of Thailand. Are the authorities uninterested because they're involved, or because the victims aren't Thai? Whatever the reason, Jimm and her team are going it alone and their lives are under threat.
And who exactly are those two elegant women in cabin three and why has the engine number of their car been filed away? Airport hostages and hand grenades, monkeys and naked policemen - once more the sublime and the ridiculous clash at the Gulf Bay Lovely Resort and Restaurant. Granddad There’s a Head on the Beach is by Colin Cotterill and will be published in March 2012.
The Dark Winter is a debut novel by David Mark and is due to be published in March 2012. Hull, northern England. Two weeks before Christmas, an elderly man - the only survivor of a fishing trawler tragedy 40 years before - is found murdered at sea. In a church, a young girl - the last surviving member of a family slaughtered during the conflict in Sierra Leone - is hacked to death with a machete. A junkie, who fled the burning house where he had set his family alight, is found incinerated on a rundown council estate.
Someone is killing sole survivors in the manner they had escaped death. And it falls to Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy of Humberside CID to find out whom. McAvoy, despite being a six-foot-five, man mountain of a police officer, is not your typical bullish detective. A shy, gentle giant, he is family man obsessed with being a good and decent cop; more dab hand with a database than gung-ho with a gun - traits that have seen him become increasingly isolated from his colleagues in the force. Desperate to prove his worth, McAvoy knows he must establish the motive behind the killings if he is to have any chance of pinning the perpetrator. And he must do so quickly, as this twisted yet ingenious killer appears to have an appetite for murder.
The Lewis Man is by Peter May and is due to be published in January 2012. A perfectly preserved body is recovered from a peat bog on the Isle of Lewis. The male Caucasian corpse - marked by several horrific stab wounds - is initially believed by its finders to be over two-thousand years old. Until they spot the Elvis tattoo on his right arm. The body, it transpires, is not evidence of an ancient ritual killing, but of a murder committed during the latter half of the twentieth century. Meanwhile, Fin Macleod has returned to the island of his birth. Having left his wife, his life in Edinburgh and his career in the police force, the former Detective Inspector is intent on repairing past relationships and restoring his parents' derelict croft.
But when DNA tests flag a familial match between the bog body and the father of Fin's childhood sweetheart, Marsaili Macdonald, Fin finds his homecoming more turbulent than expected. Tormod Macdonald, now an elderly man in the grip of dementia, had always claimed to be an only child without close family. A lie, Fin will soon discover, Tormod has had very good reason to hide behind.
A three-year-old British girl is taken from a Spanish beach while on holiday with her parents. Nobody heard a sound. Nobody saw a thing. Or so they claim. Meanwhile, on the nearby Costa del Sol, Rosie Gilmour is enjoying a well-deserved vacation: one that is cut short when the abduction story breaks and she's sent to cover it.
Rosie's instincts tell her something's wrong. Such a crime, committed in broad daylight, must surely have its witnesses. Moreover, the girl's mother's story just doesn't add up. When Rosie is approached by an illegal sex worker with information about the abduction, she knows these instincts are correct. Key information about the crime is being withheld from the authorities. The reason: corrupt politicians and vicious human trafficking gangs - enemies one would think twice about making. But thinking twice is not in Rosie Gilmour's DNA, especially when a young child's life is at stake. And, as Rosie closes in on the truth, she realises the penalty for missing this particular deadline is just that, death. To Tell The Truth is by Anna Smith and will be published in March 2012.
Holy City is by Guillermo Orsi and is due to be published in March 2012 Buenos Aires, Argentina. A passenger liner runs aground on the muddy banks of the nearby Rio de la Plata. The passengers are reduced to sleeping in the corridors of hotels and fall easy prey to the city's criminal class, who are always willing to take a wealthy tourist hostage. The first to go missing are a Colombian drug baron and his girlfriend, apprehended by Federal Police who may or may not be all they claim to be. But criminal celebrities of this calibre are a valuable commodity, and their abductor soon finds that the couple has been lifted from under his nose. Into the confusion steps Walter Carroza, a weary but honest cop. With his sidekick and confidante, Veronica Berutti, a policeman's widow and crusading lawyer, he embarks on an investigation that will lead him from the shanty markets of Buenos Aires' Bolivian quarter through layer upon layer of corruption towards the 'Holy Land', a theme park based on ancient Palestine, where a killer with a grisly taste for memorabilia lurks.
It is autumn in Parma. Commissario Soneri decides to escape the city to return to his home village in the Appenines for a much-needed holiday. He plans to spend the time hunting for mushrooms on the wooded slopes of Montelupo. The small and isolated village revolves around the fortunes of the Rodolfi family, salami manufacturers for generations. Its patriarch, the gifted Palmiro, runs a tight ship, but behind the scenes, all is not well: his son, Paride, has other plans for his future. And then all of a sudden the family finds itself in the throes of a financial scandal, with worrying implications for the entire community. Soon afterwards a hiker discovers a decomposing body in the woods. After initial protestations, Soneri soon gives up all hope of a peaceful break. The complicated relationship he uncovers between Rodolfi and his son becomes all the more pertinent when he learns that his own father and Palmiro Ridolfi were once friends. The Dark Valley is by Valerio Varesi and is due to be published in February 2012.
The Voice of Spirits is by Xavier-Marie Bonnot and is due to be published in March 2012. When Commandant Michel de Palma follows an anonymous tip-off to a gated mansion by the coast, he finds a body whose face is obscured by a fearsome tribal mask, beneath it a mysterious wound that could not have been caused by a bullet. Surrounded by scores of masks and painted skulls, de Palma hears the haunting strains of a primal flute from the floors above.
With few leads to go on, de Palma delves into an account of the murdered doctor's voyage to Papua New Guinea seventy years earlier, accompanied by a fellow amasser of Oceanic art, Robert Ballancourt. As the doctor's attractive but distant granddaughter offers de Palma further insights into her grandfather's second life as an intrepid collector, he and his team stumble upon an art-smuggling ring working out of Marseilles' dilapidated docks. But when his chief suspect is found dead, killed by the same method as Dr Delorme, even de Palma begins to wonder whether the bodies on his hands are the victims of spirits intent on revenge. The rituals of Papuan warriors and headhunters - whose traditional way of life endured until deep into the twentieth century - form the intriguing backdrop to The Voice of the Spirits, another subtle yet satisfying novel from one of France's most original and thought-provoking crime writers.