Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Books I'm looking forward to the first half of the year.

Between now and at least June there will be a large number of excellent crime novels being published by the various publishers. The books being published are eclectic and range from, historical, psychological suspense to thrillers and others that are too numerous to mention.  My taste being what it is there are a number of books that are being published that I am thoroughly looking forward to reading.

The most important one for me and the one that goes to the top of my list is the new Ngaio Marsh novel Money in the Morgue that has been completed by the excellent novelist Stella Duffy. In Money in the Morgue it's business as usual for Mr Glossop as he does his regular round delivering wages to government buildings scattered across New Zealand's lonely Canterbury plains. But when his car breaks down he is stranded for the night at the isolated Mount Seager Hospital, with the telephone lines down, a storm on its way and the nearby river about to burst its banks.  Trapped with him at Mount Seager are a group of quarantined soldiers with a serious case of cabin fever, three young employees embroiled in a tense love triangle, a dying elderly man, an elusive patient whose origins remain a mystery ... and a potential killer.  When the payroll disappears from a locked safe and the hospital's death toll starts to rise faster than normal, can the appearance of an English detective working in counterespionage be just a lucky coincidence - or is something more sinister afoot?  This is a novel that all fans of classic crime fiction and certainly fans of Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy will want to get their hands on.  Money in the Morgue is published by HarperCollins.

In my opinion Laura Lippman is one of the best writers around at the moment.  Her latest novel that is due to be published by Faber & Faber in 2018 is Sunburn.  What kind of woman walks out on her family? Gregg knows. The kind of woman he picked up in a bar three years ago precisely because she had that kind of wildcat energy.  And now she's vanished - at least from the life that he and the kid will live. But we'll follow her, to a new town, a new job, and a new friend, who seems to know more about her than any new acquaintance should. Who is this woman, and how many times has she disappeared before? And who are the shadowy figures so interested in her whereabouts?  If you have not read a novel Laura Lippman novel do so now.

I have been in love with Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series since the first one was published. It is the kind of novel that keeps you on your seat wanting more.  Hellbent is the third in the series and looks as if it will be as explosive as the others. To some he was Orphan X. Others knew him as the Nowhere Man. But to veteran spymaster Jack Johns he was a boy named Evan Smoak.  Taken from an orphanage, Evan was raised inside a top secret programme designed to turn him into a deadly weapon. Jack became his instructor, mentor, teacher and guardian. Because for all the dangerous skills he instilled in his young charge, he also cared for Evan like a son. And now Jack needs Evan's help. The Orphan programme hid dark secrets. Now those with blood on their hands want every trace of it gone. And they will stop at nothing to make sure that Jack and Evan go with it.  With little time remaining, Jack gives Evan his last assignment: to find and protect the programme's last recruit. And to stay alive long enough to uncover the shocking truth ...  Hellbent is published by Michael Joseph.

There has already been a lot of buzz about Stuart Turton’s The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and one is not surprised.  It has been billed as Gosford Park meets Inception, by way of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express.   `Somebody's going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won't appear to be a murder and so the murderer won't be caught. Rectify that injustice and I'll show you the way out.' It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath...  My curiosity is getting the better of me over this book especially since Murder on the Orient Express is my favourite Agatha Christie novel and it is also set in Blackheath. Will the premise actually work.  I am looking forward to finding out.   The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is published by Bloomsbury.

Alex Reeve’s The House on Half Moon Street is one of the crime novels that is being published that has certainly piqued my interest. Mainly because of the character. I am hoping that not only will this be a fascinating story but that the characters especially Leo Stanhope live up to expectation.  Everyone has a secret... Only some lead to murder.  Leo Stanhope. Assistant to a London coroner; in love with Maria; and hiding a very big secret.   For Leo was born Charlotte, but knowing he was meant to be a man – despite the evidence of his body – he fled his family home at just fifteen, and has been living as Leo ever since: his original identity known only to a few trusted people.  But then Maria is found dead and Leo is accused of her murder. Desperate to find her killer and under suspicion from all those around him, he stands to lose not just the woman he loves, but his freedom and, ultimately, his life.   The House on Half Moon Street is published by Bloomsbury.

Who isn’t a fan of James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series. I would guess very few people. The Latest novel in the series aptly named Robicheaux is set against the backdrop of New Orleans where Detective Dave Robicheaux is fighting his demons to overcome his toughest case yet.  Powerful mob boss Tony Nemo has a Civil War sword he'd like to give to Levon Broussard, a popular local author whose books have been adapted into major Hollywood films. The sword's history can be traced back to Broussard's ancestors, and Tony figures it belongs to Levon. But Tony's intentions aren't so pure; he believes the gift will lead to a slice of Broussard's lucrative film adaptations.  Then there's Jimmy Nightengale, the young poster boy of New Orleans wealth and glamour. Jimmy's fond of Levon's work, and even fonder of his beautiful, enigmatic wife, Rowena. Tony thinks Jimmy can be a US Senator someday, and has the resources and clout to make it happen. There's something off about the relationship between these three men, and after a vicious assault, it's up to Robicheaux to uncover the truth.  Complicating matters is the sudden death of T.J. Dartez, the New Iberian local responsible for Robicheaux's wife's death, and all are looking to the detective as the murderer. Can Robicheaux clear his name before it's too late?  Robicheaux is published by Orion Publishing.

Brian Panowich’s first novel Bull Mountain was one of those novels that kept me guessing until the very end. The writing is dark, vicious and pulls you in.  The latest novel is Like Lions and like Bull Mountain shows no sign of letting up in the intensity of the writing.   Clayton Burroughs is sheriff of Bull Mountain and one-time black sheep of the brutal and blood-steeped Burroughs clan. It's been a year since a rogue government agent systematically crippled the family's criminal empire that left two of the brothers dead, and Clayton, the youngest and only surviving member of the clan, broken and haunted by wounds that may never heal.  Now Bull Mountain is vulnerable, ripe for predators wanting to re-establish the flow of dope and money through the town. And the death of a boy belonging to a rival clan brings the wolves straight to Clayton's door. The only good son born of a crooked tree, Clayton wants to bury his bloody family legacy for good. But he'll need to call on it if he wants to save his family, and his mountain, from the destruction that awaits.  Like Lions is published by Head of Zeus.

It is not often that you manage to find a series that is as brutal as it is fascinating that you want to read more.  In this case, if you have read Silver Bullets then the term narcoliterature will be familiar.  It's Christmas in Culiacan and Detective Edgar "Lefty" Mendieta can't believe his luck. An old flame has returned with a teenage son he knew nothing about. Happiness seems to finally beckon for our careworn hero. The only snag is that Jason Mendieta wants to follow in his father's footsteps-even as Mexico's drug war descends a slippery slope toward chaos.  While Lefty pursues a lunatic who has taken to bumping off dentists with a heavy-calibre pistol, a secret agent infiltrates a meeting of the drug lords and hears Pacific Cartel boss Samantha Valdes implore her underlings to stay out of the war. But an audacious murder provokes Samantha to change her mind and launch a wave of grisly killings across the country.  Samantha then persuades Lefty to help her find the killer that pushed her over the edge. The truth he discovers will underline an old adage: revenge is a dish best served cold. No quiet family Christmas for our detective.  If you enjoyed Silver Bullets then the Name of the Dog is bound to be as good. The Name of the Dog is published by Quercus/Maclehose Press.

Time after time Sarah Hilary never fails to amaze readers with her brilliant storylines and taut prose.  Come and Find Me is the next book of hers to be released in the DI Marnie Rome series.  The series gets better and better and if you have not read any then you should.    On the surface, Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull have nothing in common, other than their infatuation with Michael Vokey. Each is writing to a sadistic inmate, sharing her secrets, whispering her worst fears, craving his attention.  DI Marnie Rome understands obsession. She's finding it hard to give up her own addiction to a dangerous man: her foster brother, Stephen Keele. She wasn't able to save her parents from Stephen. She lives with that guilt every day.  As the hunt for Vokey gathers pace, Marnie fears one of the women may have found him - and is about to pay the ultimate price.  Come and Find Me is published by Headline.

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