Tag Archives: Andy McNab

Crime Thriller Book Log: Horowitz, Kerr, Samson, McNab & Mosse

We haven’t done of these Book Logs for, like, yonks, so — let’s do it! 

*Crime Thriller Fella fist pumps and makes a bit of a fool of himself*

MoriartyPlenty of writers have taken liberties with the legacy of the World’s Greatest Detective but Holmes fan Anthony Horowitz, whose Sherlock novel The House Of Silk was warmly-received, has perhaps more right than most to do so.

In his new book, Moriarty, he presents his own version of what happened after Conan Doyle got tired of his creation and had him topple over the Reichenbach Falls.

The blurb is wearing glasses and a false moustache:

Sherlock Holmes is dead.

Days after Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty fall to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls, Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. The death of Moriarty has created a poisonous vacuum which has been swiftly filled by a fiendish new criminal mastermind who has risen to take his place.

Ably assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard, a devoted student of Holmes’s methods of investigation and deduction, Frederick Chase must forge a path through the darkest corners of the capital to shine light on this shadowy figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, a man determined to engulf London in a tide of murder and menace.

Horowitz takes Jones, one of Conan Doyle’s minor characters, and puts him centre-stage. He also turns the spotlight on the mysteriously devilish Napoleon Of Crime. Professor James Moriarty has increasingly emerged as something of an important so-and-so in the Holmesiverse, but he only ever appeared in two Holmes stories — and was created specifically so Conan Doyle could get rid of the detective he had grown so weary of.

I recklessly predict Moriarty will sell like hot cakes in both hardback and on The Device.

January WindowIf a slice of orange at half-time is more your thing, January Window is the first in a new series by Philip Kerr, writer of the acclaimed Bernie Gunther novels.

Now Kerr is aiming to score from the spot, heh, with his new series which features Premiership fixer and coach Scott Manson.

Authors can sometimes get a red card from readers, heh, when they substitute a high-scoring character, heh, but as the author of a series of stand-alone novels, Kerr is nothing if not tactically astute. He’s a writer who always gives 110%, Brian. God, I’m even boring myself with all this football hilarity.

The blurb is stepping up to the spot:

Everyone knows football is a matter of life and death.

But this time, it’s murder.

Scott Manson is team coach for London City football club. He’s also their all-round fixer – he gets the lads in to training, and out of trouble, keeps the wags at bay and the press in his pocket. The players love him, the bosses trust him.

But now London City manager Joao Zarco is dead, killed at his team’s beloved stadium at Silvertown Docks. Even Scott Manson can’t smooth over murder… but can he catch the killer before he strikes again?

Set in the glamorous but corrupt world of Premier League football, this is a gripping thriller from a bestselling crimewriter.

January Window is out in hardback and kindle.

LamentationLamentation is the latest Shardlake novel from CJ Samson. It’s not available on parchment, sadly, but you can get it in all the modern bindings – hardback, paperback and on The Device. Samson’s hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake is coming to the end of Henry VIII’s reign, but worry not Shardlake fans, the author has said the series will continue into the reign of the Virgin Queen.

The blurb could well be longer than the Magna Carta:

Summer, 1546.

King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councillors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government of Henry’s successor, eight-year-old Prince Edward. As heretics are hunted across London, and the radical Protestant Anne Askew is burned at the stake, the Catholic party focus their attack on Henry’s sixth wife, Matthew Shardlake’s old mentor, Queen Catherine Parr.

Shardlake, still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen.

For Catherine Parr has a secret. She has written a confessional book, Lamentation of a Sinner, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King’s attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down. But, although the book was kept secret and hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen’s private chamber, it has – inexplicably – vanished. Only one page has been found, clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer.

Shardlake’s investigations take him on a trail that begins among the backstreet printshops of London but leads him and Jack Barak into the dark and labyrinthine world of the politics of the royal court; a world he had sworn never to enter again. Loyalty to the Queen will drive him into a swirl of intrigue inside Whitehall Palace, where Catholic enemies and Protestant friends can be equally dangerous, and the political opportunists, who will follow the wind wherever it blows, more dangerous than either.

The theft of Queen Catherine’s book proves to be connected to the terrible death of Anne Askew, while his involvement with the Cotterstoke litigants threatens to bring Shardlake himself to the stake.

For ValourFor Valour. It can only be the title of the latest Andy McNab, and indeed it’s the sixteenth Nick Stone thriller. Nick is a mercenary and a former member of the SAS, and a parent to boot – he is, also, you will not be in the least surprised to know, a maverick. The kind who wanders the world getting into all sorts of scrapes, usually involving weapons of mass destruction.

The blurb is locked and loaded:

When a young trooper is shot in the head at the Regiment’s renowned Killing House, Nick Stone is perfectly qualified to investigate the mysterious circumstances more deeply. He has just returned from Moscow – still trying to come to terms with the fact that his girlfriend and baby son are safer there without him – so combines an unrivalled understanding of the Special Forces landscape with a detachment that should allow him to remain in cover.

But less than forty-eight hours later, a second death catapults him back into the firing line – into the telescopic sights of an unknown assassin bent on protecting a secret that could strike at the heart of the establishment that Stone has, in his maverick fashion, spent most of his life fighting to protect.

And now the clock is ticking, Stone hurtles from the solitude of a remote Welsh confessional to Glencoe – whose shadows still whisper of murder and betrayal – and on to Southern Spain, in an increasingly desperate quest to uncover the truth about a chain of events that began in the darkness of an Afghan hillside, and left a young man haunted by the never-ending screams of a friend the Taliban skinned alive.

The Mistletoe Bride And Other Haunting TalesAnd, finally, for you supernatural fiends – The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales is a collection of stories by Kate Mosse, which has just come out in every format imaginable.

It’s a series of ghost stories – just in time for Halloween, of course – in which readers of Mosse’s enormous and dense novels, such as Labyrinth, can get a sense of how the author developed her style – many of Mosse’s preoccupations, of timeslips and historical hauntings, are here.

Indeed, some of these stories have been published before. It’s perfect for those autumn evenings, of course. However, a real log fire doesn’t come included, and you may have to buy your own candles and nightdress.


Crime Book Log: Bones, Fortress, Darkness, Club

I’m in no mood to repeat myself today, so pay attention. There’ll be no opportunity to ask questions afterwards because I’ve got to shoot off.  All you need to know – and I suggest you write this down – is that there’s been a quality crop of crime novels released this week. To wit:

The Bones BeneathTom Thorne is back in Mark Billingham’s latest blockbuster, The Bones Beneath. The blurb does a nifty line in alliteration:

The Deal

Tom Thorne is back in charge – but there’s a terrifying price to pay. Stuart Nicklin, the most dangerous psychopath he has ever put behind bars, promises to reveal the whereabouts of a body he buried twenty-five years before. But only if Thorne agrees to escort him.

The Danger

Unable to refuse, Thorne gathers a team and travels to a remote Welsh island, at the mercy of the weather and cut off from the mainland. Thorne is determined to get the job done and return home before Nicklin can outwit them.

The Deaths

But Nicklin knows this island well and has had time to plan ahead. Soon, new bodies are added to the old, and Thorne finds himself facing the toughest decision he has ever had to make…

By my count, this is the twelfth novel to feature Thorne. Remote Welsh island, bodies, a dangerous psychopath – I’m going to hazard a guess that shit is going to go down.

The Bones Beneath is out in hardback, paperback and on kindle.

FortressSo Andy McNab has got a new one out. Oh, I see, you say, tapping your nose, another Nick Stone adventure.

Well, no actually. McNab has been powering forward with his highly successful Nick Stone novels about a former special forces operative – about to become a rip-roaring cinema action franchise, if reports are to be believed – but he’s also embarked on another series about, um, former special forces operative Tom Buckingham. Fortress is the second in the Buckingham series.

The blurb can kill you with a teaspoon:

Camp Bastion: SAS trooper Tom Buckingham finds himself in deep trouble for taking down a renegade Afghan soldier. Instead of being proclaimed a hero, he’s made a scapegoat for the incident and drummed out of the regiment.

On his return to Britain, disillusioned and embittered, Tom’s unique services are quickly snapped up by charismatic entrepreneur, Vernon Rolt, a powerful billionaire with political ambitions, very few scruples and a questionable agenda.

With riot on the country’s streets, a government in disarray and a visit from the American president imminent, there has never been a better time to make a play for power.

But, as Tom will soon discover, in the affairs of state, hidden forces are always at work and he is quickly drawn back into the covert world of intelligence and special forces which he knows so well. He will have to decide where his loyalties lie and who his real friends are, if he is to intervene in a spiralling sequence of events which involve terrorism, insurgency and, ultimately, assassination…

Darkness, DarknessFans of John Harvey’s jazz loving, world weary protag Charlie Resnick – very much a trailblazing figure for the modern British fictional copper – will be in a bittersweet frame of mind about the release of Darkness, Darkness. It’s the latest Resnick novel – the twelfth – but it’s also, apparently, the last. The mean streets of Nottingham will be a bit meaner from now on.

The blurb knows how to whip up a sandwich:

Thirty years ago, the Miners’ Strike threatened to tear the country apart, turning neighbour against neighbour, husband against wife, father against son – enmities which smoulder still. 

Resnick, recently made up to inspector, and ambivalent at best about some of the police tactics, had run an information gathering unit at the heart of the dispute.

Now, the discovery of the body of a young woman who disappeared during the Strike brings Resnick out of virtual retirement and back into the front line to assist in the investigation into her murder – forcing him to confront his past in what will assuredly be his last case.

The first Resnick novel, Lonely Hearts, was published way back in 1989.

The Killing ClubPaul Finch’s protag has the best best name in crime-fiction, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, but that may all change when I finally unleash my own fictional copper on the world, DI Carl ‘Cor’ Blimey.

Finch’s new novel The Killing Club, the follow-up to his successful Heck novels Sacrifice and Stalkers, resides at the gutsy end of the crime spectrum. Finch himself is a prolific novelist and screenwriter whose output restlessly roams genres, from crime to horror, science-fiction and fantasy.

The blurb really shouldn’t be let near the cutlery drawer:

DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is used to bloodbaths. But nothing can prepare him for this.

Heck’s most dangerous case to date is open again. Two years ago, countless victims were found dead – massacred at the hands of Britain’s most terrifying gang.

When brutal murders start happening across the country, it’s clear the gang is at work again. Their victims are killed in cold blood, in broad daylight, and by any means necessary. And Heck knows it won’t be long before they come for him.

Brace yourself as you turn the pages of a living nightmare. Welcome to The Killing Club.

The Killing Club is available as an ebook and in paperback.

Bring the car round, I’m out of here.