The best recent crime and thrillers – review roundup


This post is by Laura Wilson from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Kill [redacted] by Anthony Good; The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath; The Mobster’s Lament by Ray Celestin; Casanova and the Faceless Woman by Olivier Borde-Cabuçon; Cruel Acts by Jane Casey; and A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself by William Boyle

Anthony Good’s debut novel, Kill [redacted] (Atlantic, £12.99), is a delicate but merciless portrait of a man in the grip of a mental breakdown. When retired headteacher Michael’s wife is killed in a terrorist attack on the London underground, he decides to kill the politician whose policies he considers to be ultimately responsible for her death. Although the name is redacted throughout, as are some background details, and no dates are given, the fuzzy outlines of Tony Blair and 7/7 are discernible; the story is told through Michael’s self-justifying diary, the “self reflections” he writes for his therapist, and a few letters. His voice is a triumph: ...

Five Genre-Bending Young Adult Books


This post is by Astrid Scholte from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




“Pick a genre,” they said. “Horror. Fantasy. Science Fiction. Romance. Crime. Thriller. What interests you most?”

I was fifteen, and I could no longer hang out in the children’s section of the bookstore—the price of being tall. This was back in the days before Young Adult fiction became the juggernaut of the publishing industry that it is now, and most of the protagonists in the children’s section were around 12 or 13 years old. It was time to graduate to “Adult” fiction… but I couldn’t choose a genre to explore first. I wanted everything. And I wanted it all in one book.

This was where my love for genre-bending books began. While many stories incorporate elements of different genres—for example, a strong thread of romance running through a YA novel—there are fewer that can confidently straddle the lines of two or more genres at the same time. Those that ...

The Wych Elm by Tana French review – a portrait of privilege


This post is by Justine Jordan from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A twisty pageturner that considers the bruised relationship between the world and the self

Over the last 12 years Tana French has become known for blisteringly good crime thrillers narrated by various cops in the fictional Dublin Murder Squad. As so often in crime novels, they tended to be outsiders in some way, or struggling with their own past trauma. For her seventh book, she has created something rather different: a pin-sharp portrait of privilege, recounted not by a world-weary, wisecracking detective but by a crime victim who is also a suspect.

Twentysomething Toby has led a charmed life: popular at school; rich, supportive parents; sweet, adoring girlfriend. He bagged his first job doing PR for an art gallery – fortunately, the boss “had taken a chance on grass-green me when the other woman at the final interview had had years of experience”. Worrying has always seemed “like a laughable ...

Tana French: ‘Nobody with imagination should commit a crime. You wouldn’t handle the stress’


This post is by Alex Clark from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The author has branched out with the twisty, psychological thriller The Wych Elm. She shares her conversations with a retired detective and why she’s not interested in true crime

Tana French ducks out of the rain and into an Italian restaurant in the villagey Dublin suburb of Sandymount, looking a little like a mischievous sprite: cap on her head, a crush of vintage and contemporary badges pinned to her bag, a big, open smile. Of Russian, Italian, American and Irish heritage, she orders a cappuccino in the relevant language, though declares herself far fonder of the Leinster damp than the sweltering heat of Rome, where she lived before this latest, decades-long stint in Ireland.

We’re here to talk about the former actor’s seventh novel, The Wych Elm, a twisty psychological thriller that has been likened to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History – and her first to stand apart ...

Muscle by Alan Trotter review – a new take on noir


This post is by Toby Litt from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




As with the best pulp fiction, there’s serious existential heft to this dazzling debut about a pair of toughs marauding around 50s America

All my friends loved Paul Auster’s New York trilogy when it came out in the mid-1980s. They recommended it to me, repeatedly. It was like American pulp fiction, they said, but also like French literary theory. I bought it. I tried reading it, repeatedly. I would get 40 pages into Auster’s parboiled prose about doppelgangsters looking for private dicks called Auster and then I would stop, and stopping would feel good.

I had been reading a completely different novel from my friends: this was probably my failure rather than theirs. And Auster wrote much better later on. (Or so the same friends tell me.)

Continue reading...

The best recent crime and thrillers – review roundup


This post is by Laura Wilson from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The Last by Hanna Jameson; To Kill the Truth by Sam Bourne; The Lost Man by Jane Harper; Flowers Over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti; The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides; and Fade to Grey by John Lincoln

A closed-world murder mystery wrapped inside a post-apocalyptic thriller, The Last by Hanna Jameson (Viking, £12.99) is set in a remote Swiss hotel. American historian Jon Keller, there for a conference, reads about the end of the world on the internet. Nuclear attacks take out major cities and destroy communications until the 20 people remaining at L’Hôtel Sixiėme believe they may be the only survivors. They face food shortages, possible radiation sickness and despair, plus the body of a girl, apparently killed before the catastrophe, which has been found in a water tank. Jon, who takes it upon himself to provide a record of events, is determined to find the killer. ...

Second AJ Finn novel on way despite Dan Mallory scandal, says publisher


This post is by Alison Flood from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Revelations that the author of The Woman in the Window lied repeatedly about having cancer have not dissuaded HarperCollins from publishing a followup

Dan Mallory’s publisher HarperCollins has said that it intends publish a second novel by him, despite revelations that he had lied about having cancer.

Mallory, who wrote the bestselling thriller The Woman in the Window under the pseudonym AJ Finn, admitted in a statement this week in response to an extensive New Yorker investigation that “on numerous occasions in the past, I have stated, implied, or allowed others to believe that I was afflicted with a physical malady instead of a psychological one: cancer, specifically”.

Continue reading...

Smart goons and a character called _____: the subversive hardboiled crime of Alan Trotter


This post is by James Reith from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The novelist explains his experimental approach to the noir detective, focusing on characters traditionally forgotten, even in their down time between jobs

Alan Trotter has a charmingly evasive attitude to biography: “Was born, grew taller and is yet to die,” he once wrote of himself. His website simply reads: “Hello. My name is Alan. I write fiction.” In conversation, everything leads back to writing. Wanting to be a writer, he says, predates his memory of anything else. When reading The BFG as a young child, he realised someone must have written it. And that was it.

Trotter has worked in publishing, as a copywriter and completed a PhD. But he sums all this up as having “done everything else” but write a book. An early draft of his debut novel, Muscle, was even part of his doctoral dissertation. He’s been working on Muscle for more than 10 years. ...

Slow Motion Ghosts by Jeff Noon review – murder and glam rock


This post is by Tony White from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Noon’s foray into crime fiction is a journey into the underworlds of police violence and occult obsession

In the aftermath of the 1981 Brixton riots, inner city policeman Detective Inspector Henry Hobbes has been ostracised by fellow officers after breaking ranks to stop a colleague carrying out a racist attack. Shipped out to “sleepy, leafy Richmond”, he is called to investigate the murder and mutilation of an up-and-coming singer named Brendan Clarke. It’s a journey that will take him to a memorial vigil in a field outside Hastings, a seedy Soho members’ club and a town called Edenville.

Murder victim Clarke turns out to have been an avid fan of charismatic glam rock star Lucas Bell, who killed himself a decade earlier but continues to inspire fierce devotion. Clarke was a moneyed collector of Bell memorabilia, some of which has gone missing from the scene. At the last gig before ...

The best recent crime and thrillers – review roundup


This post is by Laura Wilson from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley; The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts; Red Snow by Will Dean; Fog Island by Mariette Lindstein; A Long Night in Paris by Dov Alfon

Historical novelist Lucy Foley’s crime fiction debut, The Hunting Party (HarperCollins, £12.99), is a modern take on the “closed world” country house mystery. Nine well-heeled friends travel to an exclusive hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands to celebrate the new year, but it’s clear from the start that things haven’t gone as planned – the book opens on 2 January, in the middle of a blizzard, with the discovery of a body. Foley tells her tale in flashback from the perspectives of several characters, each of whom has something to hide. The novel excels in the delicate, merciless filleting of interpersonal rivalries and jealousies, ratcheting up the tension as the convivial mood of the group slips into something altogether ...

Unlocking the Mystery of Procedurals (And Why We Love Them)


This post is by Malka Older from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I love procedurals. I love all sorts of stories, but if I’m going to curl up after a long day to be entertained I probably want it to be with Miss Fisher or Kinsey Milhone, Spenser or Lord Peter or Sherlock (in one of his, her, or their many incarnations), Bones or Cormoran Strike or William Monk or Rebus and Siobhan…

“Procedural” is sort of a weird word for mystery stories, but if part of what I love about these stories are the mysteries themselves—the tickle of suspense, the itch of a puzzle—the other part of it is exactly the procedure: the repetitive, methodical steps to a resolution. It is that duality that makes procedurals so perfect: the tension of the unknown and dangerous paired with the restful confidence that each episode will follow, if not a set pattern, at least the simple rule of resolution. We know that the ...

The Krull House by Georges Simenon review – a dark masterpiece


This post is by John Banville from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




First published in 1939, this eerily prophetic study of race hatred and mass hysteria in a small French town is vintage Simenon

We all think we know Georges Simenon, even those of us who haven’t read his books. However, the more of those books we do read, the stranger a writer he becomes. There is Maigret, of course, like a kind-hearted but slightly grumpy uncle, with his pipe and his hat – originally a bowler – his mid-morning petit blanc and his evening marc, and his inexhaustible fund of sympathy for wrongdoers, who he knows are probably people to whom worse wrong was done in the first place. But even Maigret has his uncanny side, which no doubt Madame Maigret could explain to us, if she cared to. The feeling that pervades Simenon’s work is Freud’s unheimlich, simply the commonplace made strange by being brought to our ...

Turbulence by David Szalay review – stark tales of life in flux


This post is by Justine Jordan from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A series of stories arranged around plane journeys creates a close-up portrait of our common humanity

David Szalay’s characters travel relentlessly, but are never at home. They felt this lack particularly keenly in his 2016 Man Booker-shortlisted novel-in-short-stories, All That Man Is, which moved through the stages of nine different men’s lives, the gulf between their alpha-male aspirations and daily reality experienced variously as outrage, sorrow and cosmic alienation. As European men, they were told the world belonged to them: instead they found themselves knocked off course by shyness, by loss of status, by the humiliating grind of hard graft or old age. From a teenage InterRailer to his fading grandfather, across Europe via hotels and motorways, budget airlines and cruise ships, Szalay patiently built up a brilliantly unsparing portrait of masculinity and its dark shadow, misogyny.

This new 12-story cycle, Turbulence, stretches its horizons to encompass the ...

The best recent crime novels – review roundup


This post is by Laura Wilson from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Scrublands by Chris Hammer; Slugger by Martin Holmén; Good Samaritans by Will Carver; My Name Is Anna by Lizzy Barber; and Night of Camp David by Fletcher Knebel

Miles Franklin award winner Peter Temple, who died in March this year, was an Australian crime writing pioneer. He paved the way for the talents of Jane Harper and Emma Viskic – and now Chris Hammer, whose debut novel Scrublands (Wildfire, £16.99) is already a bestseller there. This sharply observed slice of outback noir makes good use of its closed-world setting: a sun-baked, drought-ravaged town whose remaining inhabitants live with the ever-present threat of an all-consuming bushfire. A mass shooting by a young priest, who is himself shot dead by the local police officer, gets the media’s attention, and one year later journalist Martin Scarsden is dispatched to write a human interest piece on how the town is coping. He discovers ...

The best recent science fiction, fantasy and horror – reviews roundup


This post is by Eric Brown from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri, Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils by James Lovegrove, The Subjugate by Amanda Bridgeman and The Dark Vault by VE Schwab

In a genre replete with stock Arthurian templates, it’s refreshing to see myths and legends taken from a different culture, in this instance Malay. In Natasha Ngan’s third YA novel, Girls of Paper and Fire (Hodder, £14.99), the citizens of the lavishly portrayed world of Ikhara are divided into three castes: Moon, the ruling demons; Steel, demon-human amalgams; and Paper, subjugated humans. Narrator Lei is a Paper girl, taken from her family to become a concubine, with eight other girls, of the Demon King. What follows her initial submission is the slow-burning story of the iniquity perpetrated by the ruling elite and Lei’s affecting love affair with her fellow Paper girl Wren, a liaison ...

Reading group: Agatha Christie’s Endless Night is our book for November


This post is by Sam Jordison from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Written in just six weeks when she was 76, Christie’s favourite of her own novels is our pick this month – alongside The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Agatha Christie’s 1967 novel Endless Night has topped our poll and will be the subject of this month’s Reading group.

That evocative title comes from William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence, which, alongside its main theme, also hints at guilt:

Continue reading...

The Vogue by Eoin McNamee – review


This post is by Alex Clark from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A bleak Northern Irish town is the setting for Eoin McNamee’s shifting novel of dark secrets

Anna Burns might recently have become the first Northern Irish writer in history to win the Booker prize, but the six counties have long boasted a roster of superb and subtle novelists, among them David Park and Eoin McNamee, the latter best known for Resurrection Man and the Blue trilogy. With The Vogue, a desolate tale of secrecy and repression set in a depopulated coastal town, McNamee both conjures the braided ghost stories of the past and gestures towards many of their legacies, including the fate of unmarried mothers, institutional cruelty and the suppression of personal history.

As we move from an army camp in Shepton Mallet in 1944, where the black American serviceman Gabriel Hooper awaits a court martial and possible hanging, to the town of Morne – in both the ...

We need to read about trauma – the perpetrators as well as the victims


This post is by Sarah Moss from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




As the new Staunch prize sets out to reward thrillers that shun brutality against women, the Ghost Wall author explains how she writes about violence

The Staunch prize, for a thriller “in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered”, is about to announce its first shortlist. The new prize has attracted the anger invariably raised by public mention of violence against women. Writers object to the implication that someone is telling us what to write about; some men object to the implication that violence against men is less problematic. We all know that abused female bodies sell books.

I wanted to write about violence in my new book. I’ve often written about family dysfunction and damage, but avoided describing physical harm. I thought about it carefully in Bodies of Light, where a girl is hurt between paragraphs. I didn’t want a poetics of pain, ...

Tombland by CJ Sansom review – royals and revolting peasants


This post is by Stephanie Merritt from Books | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In Shardlake’s seventh case, the whodunnit is a pretext for an amiable historical tale of unrest in 16th-century Norfolk

One of the pleasures of historical fiction is the way it allows us to re-examine the events of our own time from a longer perspective, though writers and readers must always be aware of regarding the past through the lens of our own values. Historical crime has to walk an especially fine line in this regard, since crime fiction is concerned with matters of justice, law and social order, concepts that have changed significantly over the centuries. CJ Sansom’s terrific Shardlake series, which has so far spanned more than a decade of turbulent Tudor history, has always achieved this balance with great skill, principally through the character of Matthew Shardlake, the hunchbacked lawyer detective who finds himself reluctantly embroiled in political intrigue and murder.

Shardlake is a superb creation, who ...