British Crime Fiction – Four new novels

I’ve started reading in earnest for this year’s Petrona Award so a lot of my reading has been from the Nordic countries. I’m not neglecting home-grown authors, though. Below are reviews of four crime novels by British writers that I’ve read recently.

the-cellarMinette Walters is a favourite writer of mine. Her debut novel, The Ice House, would probably make it into my top ten crime books. Unlike other writers, her books have got shorter over time but retain the focus on the darkness that’s often hidden behind closed doors. The Cellar is the story of Muna who is kept as a slave by the Songoli. Unable to remember her early childhood, Muna beneath her calm exterior plots her revenge. It’s more a horror tale than crime novel but an excellent and compelling read.

a-suitable-lieI’m a fan of Michael J Malone’s novels and poetry and his new book, A Suitable Lie, marks a change in direction from him. He tackles the difficult and emotive subject of domestic violence in a realistic way and the book was a very moving read. It’s difficult to say more without giving away spoilers but its my favourite of Malone’s works so far as he grapples with a subject shrouded by innuendo and shame.

51fsbbswvxlRebecca Bradley is a former CID detective and her wealth of experience comes across in her books. Made to be Broken is set in Nottingham where a poisoner is wreaking havoc on the city. It’s good to see a police team where the reverberations of a previous case are still being felt and you know you’re in safe hands with Bradley’s writing. The city of Nottingham is well depicted and I loved the clever murder plot.

51yzlijmaqlI read For Reasons Unknown  by Michael Wood as the author was appearing at a festival I was having at my local village. It’s a top-notch police procedural that draws on the authors experiences as a journalist in Sheffield. The writing is superb and the book certainly didn’t read like a debut. Wood is a writer to watch.