New Crime . . .

In the middle of the second lockdown in England, I’m reading more than ever. It’s such a shame that bookshops have had to close their doors but good news we can still order online. I’ve read some great new crime books recently and my reading pile is tottering with novels for the coming weeks.

As soon as No Exit Press sent an email saying they had review copies of Angel‘s Inferno by William Hjortsberg, I couldn’t wait to read the book. It’s the follow up to Falling Angel which was made into the successful film, Angel Heart. I reread the original book for a workshop I was giving on novels which successfully mix crime and the supernatural and Hjortsberg is a master of this. Angel’s Inferno follows the investigation of Harry Angel who now knows of his role in the disappearance of Johnny Favourite. He’s determined to track down Louis Cyphre and his journey takes him to the Paris underworld in the hunt for the magician who goes by numerous devilish names. It’s written in Hjortsberg’s trademark noir style and the darkness at its heart holds the reader’s attention until the end. A very accomplished follow-up that will delight Hjortsberg’s readers.

I’m a huge fan of Ann Cleeve’s writing and her latest Vera book, The Darkest Evening, is a delight. It has many of the Golden Age tropes that I love: a country house, a family with thrilling secrets and the possibility of a disputed inheritance. It is also packed full of atmosphere.

The body of Lorna Falstone is found on a snowy evening after she abandoned her child in a neighbours car. Vera, finding the child, takes it to the nearest house belonging to her estranged relatives. Lorna’s story enfolds, a child of loving but overprotective parents, she’s spent time in a clinic for her anorexia and has refused to name the father of her child. Vera must put old family hurts aside to discover Lorna’s murderer. In this book, we see more of Vera’s frailty but she’s as redoubtable as ever.

Margot Kinberg is an old friend to Crimepieces. Way back in 2011 when I first started blogging, she was a supportive commenter and promoter of this blog which has continued to this day. Margot is a talented crime writer and I reviewed her novel, Publish or Perish back in 2012. A Matter of Motive is her latest novel. Newbie detective Patricia Stanley has her first murder case. Ron Clemons is found dead in his car. At first, it appears he’s a victim of a heart attack but suspicions are raised by medics and, as Patricia digs beneath his apparent faultless life, professional and personal tensions become apparent. A Matter of Motive is written in Kinberg’s witty prose and there’s a lovely classic crime feel to the plot. I loved it.

 

Latest Crime Reads

Hello everyone. Apologies for the lack of reviews over the last two months. I’ve been incredibly busy, both editing my new book The Quickening and working on another project which I hope to tell you about soon. I have been doing lots of reading – some of it crime – and I’m finally getting around to writing my reviews. I’ve also been reading lots of ghost stories which I’ll be reviewing on separate posts but, first up, here are my recent crime reads.

Ann Cleeves has a new book out, The Long Call, the beginning of a new series set in north Devon. Her protagonist, detective Matthew Venn, is a native of the county who, as the book opens, attends the funeral of his father. He comes from a Brethren family, a closed religious society, who disapprove of his homosexuality. When a man’s body is washed up on a beach, Venn has to investigate the community he tried to escape from. I loved the moving plot and, as ever, Cleeves excels in her descriptions of the landscape. A wonderful start to what promises to be an excellent series.

Camilla Bruce’s debut novel, You Let Me In, is a strange and magical thriller set in Norway. Locals think that bestselling novelist, Cassandra Tripp, has murdered members of her family but, as her tale unfolds, we discover the influence of the Pepper-Man, either Cassanda’s imaginary friend or something much more dark. A mix of thriller and folk horror, it was great to read a narrative which kept me enthralled throughout.

 

Finally C M Ewan’s new book, A Window Breaks, is a fast-paced page-turning thriller which I couldn’t put down. A family recovering from the death of their teenage son take a holiday in a remote Scottish lodge when they hear a window break in the middle of the night. The book examines how far you’d go to defend your family and the secrets people keep in order to protect others. I loved it!