It may not surprise you to know that there were some books published this week. Some crime thriller books. I’m going to tell you about four of them and then you can go.
Red Road is the latest Alex Morrow novel from Denise Mina.
The blurb is very dramatic, as blurb tends to be:
31st August 1997: Rose Wilson is fourteen, but looks sixteen. Pimped out by her ‘boyfriend’ and let down by a person she thought she loved, she has seen more of the darkness in life than someone twice her age. On the night of Princess Diana’s death – a night everyone will remember – Rose snaps and commits two terrible crimes. Her life seems effectively over. But then a defence lawyer takes pity and sets out to do what he can to save her, regardless of the consequences.
Now: DI Alex Morrow is a witness in the case of Michael Brown – a vicious, nasty arms dealer, more brutal and damaged than most of the criminals she meets. During the trial, while he is held in custody, Brown’s fingerprints are found at the scene of a murder in the Red Road flats. It was impossible that he could have been there and it’s a mystery that Morrow just can’t let go.
Meanwhile, a privileged Scottish lawyer sits in a castle on Mull, waiting for an assassin to kill him. He has sold out his own father, something that will bring the wrath of the powerful down upon him.
A playwright and graphic novelist – she’s written for the acclaimed comic Hellblazer – Mina is on a roll. Her Morrow novel Gods And Beasts is on the shortlist for the 2013 Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year. She won the award only last year with The End Of The Wasp Season. Among the other books in the shortlist are Stav Sherez’s A Dark Redemption, and Peter May’s The Lewis Man.
*Warning: segue reversing… segue reversing…*
Malcolm Mackay lives on Lewis. He’s the author of How A Gunman Says Goodbye, the second in in his Glasgow trilogy.
Lock ’n ’load the blurb:
How does a gunman retire? Frank MacLeod was the best at what he does. Thoughtful. Efficient. Ruthless. But is he still the best? A new job. A target. But something is about to go horribly wrong. Someone is going to end up dead. Most gunmen say goodbye to the world with a bang. Frank’s still here. He’s lasted longer than he should have …
The final book The Sudden Arrival Of Violence follows next year. The first book was written, he says, as a ‘secret little project on his computer.’
There’s a really interesting article right here about how an author who lives in the placid environment of the Outer Hebrides, and has no intention of leaving, projects himself into the mind of a ruthless Glaswegian hitman.
Last time I looked, Derby was a long way south of Lewis and indeed of Glasgow. It’s the setting for another of Steven Dunne’s serial killer novels featuring DI Damen Brook. This one is called The Unquiet Grave.
Dust to dust, blurb to blurb:
The Cold Case crime department of Derby Constabulary feels like a morgue
But Brook isn’t going to go down without a fight. Applying his instincts and razor sharp intelligence, he sees a pattern in a series of murders that seem to begin in 1963. How could a killer go undetected for so long? And why are his superiors so keen to drive him down blind alleys?
Brook delves deep into the past of both suspects and colleagues unsure where the hunt will lead him. What he does know for sure is that a significant date is approaching fast and the killer is certain to strike again…
Dunne’s a bit of an inspiration. His first book The Reaper was turned down all over the shop, but he had faith in himself, and he self-published it. It sold well – and as a result was picked up by Harper Collins. More proof that writers who believe in themselves can get published.
And finally, if ever there was a terrific name for an crime author, it’s Karin Slaughter. She’s sold 17 million books. One of her continuing series features her dyslexic special agent Will Trent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Will has huge hands.
Put the gun down and step away from the blurb:
Special Agent Will Trent has something to hide. Something he doesn’t want Dr Sara Linton – the woman he loves – to find out. He’s gone undercover in Macon, Georgia and put his life at risk. And he knows Sara will never forgive him if she discovers the truth.
But when a young patrolman is shot and left for dead Sara is forced to confront the past and a woman she hoped never to see again. And without even knowing it, she becomes involved in the same case Will is working on. Soon both of their lives are in danger.
Like most successful authors, Slaughter is prolific. She finishes a book a year, but is always making notes for future novels.
Right, off you toddle. No, wait —
Before you go, here’s that 2013 Theakstons Crime Novel If The Year list in full –because you haven’t seen it on, like, a thousand other blogs already, this week.
Rush Of Blood – Mark Billingham (Little Brown)
Safe House – Chris Ewan (Faber and Faber)
The Lewis Man – Peter May (Quercus)
Gods And Beasts – Denise Mina (Orion)
Stolen Souls – Stuart Neville (Vintage)
A Dark Redemption– Stav Sherez (Faber and Faber)
I know which one I’d like to see win — granted, I’ve only read four on the list. But what about you – what’s your pick?