I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction at the moment alongside ghost stories so apologies for the lack of recent posts. However, I have read some great crime novels and here’s a selection of books I loved.
All the Rage by Cara Hunter is the lastest book in her series featuring DI Adam Fawley. An attack on a girl on April Fool’s Day is dismissed by the victim as a joke but Fawley believes there’s more to it than the girl suggests. When Sasha Blake is abducted in a van, he believes it has echoes of a previous case. Written in Hunter’s trademark style which mixes points of views and juxtaposes prose alongside texts and court papers, this is an engrossing thriller and a great addition to the series.
The Keeper is Diane Saxon’s first crime novel and she’s clearly a natural thriller writer. DS Jenna Morgan turns up to a Shropshire crime scene where a dead woman is found along with a dalmation belonging to Jenna’s sister. Jenna and her team have to discover both the identity of the murdered woman and who has taken her sister. The Keeper has a beautiful setting and a dark plot, and is a stunning start of a series.
The Measure of Malice is a collection of detective short stories from British Library Publishing around the theme of science. It begins with an 1891 Sherlock Holmes story The Boscombe Valley Mystery and concludes with a Freeman Wills Croft tale. It’s fascinating the extent to which scientific rigour is applied to the discovery of bodies and crimes from early on in the genre. There’s a lovely story with the hint of the supernatural, The Horror of Studley Grange by Lt Meade and Clifford Halifax which, despite an unrealistic premise, really does have undertones of terror. There’s also an excellent Wimsey story from Dorothy Sayers not to be read if you’ve a visit to the dentist anytime soon. As usual, Martin Edwards has picked an excellent selection to highlight the theme with not a dud amongst them.
Blood Orange is the debut novel by Harriet Tyce. It garnered widespread acclaim on publication and I’d been dying to read it. The protagonist is Alison, a married barrister with a drink problem who’s indulging with occasional flings with a colleague putting her marriage and career at risk. She takes on a case of a woman who killed her husband but she’s being taunted via text message from someone who knows her secrets. Dark with an array of suspect characters I loved this book from the off.
Finally, this isn’t a crime novel but it does have a theft in it. One Christmas Night is the new book by Hayley Webster set on a single street in Norfolk. Nine households’ lives are entwined and their secrets are shown one Christmas Eve. The novel opens with the burglary of one house by a thief who clearly knows the street and its occupants well. As the narrative opens out, we discover how relationship break ups, deaths and old secrets unite the residents. Webster is great at creating believable characters without a hint of saccharine and has a clear eyed view of people’s foibles. This is the book you want to read this Christmas.