It’s been a while since I blogged as I’ve been doing my structural edits on The Quickening coming in August next year. It’s hard to immerse yourself in your own novel while reading critically others’ books. I do keep reading but it’s been mainly non-fiction which I’ve been updating readers about over on my Facebook page. If you’re ever wondering what I’m up to when all is quiet on Crimepieces, do head over to Facebook.
However, I have recently read some great crime novels which are due to be published later in 2019 and in early 2020. It’s always great to read strong debuts alongside more established authors and these three books show how diverse and entertaining crime fiction can be.
Magpie by Sophie Draper is the hotly anticipated follow-up to her debut, Cuckoo. Claire is making plans to escape a loveless marriage to serial adulterer Duncan. She’s convinced he’s having yet another affair possibly with a colleague in his veterinary practice. However, Claire and Duncan’s teenage son Joe has gone missing which may be connected to his discovery of an old coin which comes to the notice of fellow metal detectorists. The narrative moves between passages describing the time before and after a key event, the nature of which is only revealed at the end of the book. It makes for a page-turning structure and an unsettling read. There are gorgeous descriptions of the Derbyshire countryside alongside the realities of a disfunctional marriage. I loved it. Magpie is out at the end of November.
Another book partly set in Derbyshire is Firewatching by former Waterstones bookseller, Russ Thomas. In Sheffield, an arsonist is creating havoc while gaining a group of followers who name him ‘The Firewatcher.’ While the police try to identify the culprit, DS Adam Tyler is investigating the discovery of a body in a house at the edge of the Peak District. Gerald Cartwright disappeared six years earlier but the main suspect has a personal connection to Tyler which could jeapordise his position on the case. This is an intelligent police procedural delivered at great pace and I’m sure the start of a brilliant career for Russ Thomas. You’ll have to wait until February next year, I’m afraid to get your hands on a copy but it’ll be worth the wait.
I’m a big fan of Syd Moore’s writing and the short story format, so it was great to see that she has a collection of stories out soon. The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas are a group of interweaving stories featuring Rosie and Sam from her Essex Witch Museum series. Those not familiar with these books will find this an excellent introduction to Moore’s writing and the characters which inhabit her world. It’s always a nightmare to review short story collections because I really don’t want to give away any spoilers. The writer shares my love of cats and there’s an excellent story, Snowy, about an elderly woman who sees her cats as reincarnations of the people around her, and a brilliant follow up tale full of grim humour. The book is out on the 26th September.