Recent Reads

As I’m busy writing, my crime reading has been pushed to late night chapters before I go to sleep. It’s a shame as, many times, I’ve wanted to keep going with the book. Such is the lure of good crime writing. However, we read when we can, and I’ve enjoyed some excellent thrillers recently.

Death in Summer is a strong first novel by Lina Areklew for fans of Nordic noir. Fredrik Froding is a former police officer convinced that his brother, who supposedly drowned in the MS Estonia disaster, is in fact still alive. He pursues the owner of a hotel he thinks he saw his brother enter to the island of Ulvön. There, his prey ends up dead and Fredrik a prime suspect for the killing. His ex-lover detective Sofia Hjortén is convinced there’s more to the case but puts her career in jeopardy keeping their affair secret. A compelling read with a wonderful location. The translation is by Tara F Chace.

Rachel Ward has a written a new crime novel under the name RM Ward. In Safe With You Kath, a resident of a London estate has befriended a shy girl in the flat next door and arranged, via a series of knocks, a system where she knows that all is well. When one day the knock doesn’t come, Kath begins a journey to discover what has happened to Mina. This pacy novel has an excellent premise which is well executed in a genuinely compelling read.

Another excellent psychological thriller, When the Lights Go Out, is coming in December by Chris Curran. Struggling actress Ava joins the Chimera theatre group, desperate to get away from her actor boyfriend and attentive parents. A car accident on her way to meet the group appears to be an unfortunate incident but Ava soon realises someone wants them out of town. Prank or genuine threat? As the attacks escalate, Ava starts to look more closely at her fellow thespians. A wonderful, character driven thriller. I loved the theatre group setting.

Trouble by Katja Ivar is a memorable read from an interesting crime writer. Private investigator Hella is asked by her former boss at the Helsinki murder squad to look into the background of it potential new head of the service. She agrees to the job but asks permission to view the files on her father’s death in 1942. Discovering little of value about her family’s tragedy’s she is nevertheless perturbed of reports that a man is watching her house and leaving her notes. As she digs deeper, her investigations into the past and present begin to converge. Hella is a wonderful protagonist with an interesting private life. Ivar has set up an intriguing premise of her next book in the series which I can’t wait to read. Trouble is out in January 2023.

Red Dirt Road is the third Australian based novel by S R White and, in my opinion, the best. Detective Dana Russo heads to Unamurra, an outback town suffering from the dry. Two men have been murdered, their bodies fashioned into angel figures which mirror the art installations in the town. Russo has two days to solve the case – after that her hostile boss wants her back. As she unpicks the town’s secrets, she finds help in an unexpected source. Tense and wonderfully detailed, I liked the slow unravelling of the denouement. Crime writing at its best.

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