Is that money I hear jangling in your pocket, a spare bit of cash burning a hole in the lining? I can tell you’re itching to spend all those pennies on some new crime thriller books. Let’s take a look-see at some of the week’s new releases.
Goodness, Frederick Forsyth that has been writing for a long time. His seminal assassination thriller The Day Of The Jackal came out in 1971, back when I was only, erm — well, never mind. He’s been tapping away ever since, writing his novels on a typewriter. For the curious younger readers among you , this is what a typewriter looks like:
Forsyth writes twelves pages, or 3,000 words, a day, all week round, surrounded by a horseshoe of tables with all his research laid out on them. His research, he says, is meticulous, and he’s even posed as a arms-dealer.
His new book came out this week. It’s called The Kill List, and the blurb goes like this:
The Kill List: a top secret catalogue of names held at the highest level of the US government. On it, those men and women who would threaten the world’s security. And at the top of it, The Preacher, a radical Islamic cleric whose sermons inspire his followers to kill high profile Western targets in the name of God. As the bodies begin to pile up in America, Great Britain and across Europe, the message goes out: discover this man’s identity, locate him and take him out.
Tasked with what seems like an impossible job is an ex-US marine who has risen through the ranks to become one of America’s most effective intelligence chiefs. Now known only as The Tracker, he must gather what scant evidence there is, collate it and unmask The Preacher if he is to prevent the next spate of violent deaths. Aided only by a brilliant teenaged hacker, he must throw out the bait and see whether his deadly target can be drawn from his lair.
The Kill List is out now, in hardcover and on the kindle.
And what else came out?
Well, we’ve spoken about William Boyd’s James Bond novel before, so we’ll keep it brief. In Solo, Bond embarks on an unauthorized mission in Africa. Interestingly, Boyd has mentioned Daniel Day Lewis as the person he saw in his mind’s eye as Bond, and Day Lewis doesn’t look so different from Ian Fleming’s physical template for his hero, the singer Hoagy Carmichael.
Solo also features a recipe for salad dressing should you get peckish while reading it. Don’t roll your eyes. There’s a precedent for that kind of thing in Bond. Fleming was asked to contribute to a book of travelogues calling Thrilling Cities by writing about New York. Fleming hated the city, but contributed anyway, with a short story called 007 In New York. Perhaps to take his mind off the task, he included Bond’s precise recipe for scrambled eggs.
There you go. So, anyway. Solo, in hardback and e-reader formats.
Before he returned with a vengeance to his acclaimed Bernie Gunther novels, Philip Kerr wrote some interesting stand-alones, including A Philosophical Investigation, Gridiron and Dead Meat.
Now, several years later, he’s written another one, called Prayer. Get on your knees for the blurb:
Special Agent Gil Martins investigates domestic terrorism for the Houston FBI. He is a religious man who is close to losing his faith; the very nature of his job has led him to question the existence of a God who could allow the things that Gil sees every day.
But Gil’s wife Ruth doesn’t see things the same way and his crisis of faith provokes a fracture in their marriage. Gil’s world is breaking apart.
At the same time, Gil starts to investigate a series of unexplained deaths that bring this crisis of faith into uncomfortable focus.
When Esther, a disturbed woman, informs Gil that these men have been killed by prayer, Gil questions her sanity. But as the evidence mounts up that there might be something in what she says, his new-found atheism is severely challenged, more so as he finds his own life is next on the line.
Prayer is out on kindle and in hardcover. And put your hands together, Kerr is hard at work on another Gunther novel.
And finally, look to your right and you’ll see Simon Beaufort‘s The Murder House. Simon is the pseudonym of historical novelist Susanna Gregory and her academic husband Beau Riffenburgh. Together they’ve written eight sir Geoffrey Mappestone novels about a Crusader in the Eleventh Century who solves murders and stuff. However, a perusal of the blurb may suggest a teensy change of direction:
When PC Helen Anderson takes the files for a forthcoming court case to study over the weekend, she commits a cardinal error. For those files are not supposed to leave the police station – and the moment they fall into the wrong hands, Helen’s ordinary, uneventful life begins to spiral out of control.
For one small lie will lead to another, then another – culminating in a rendezvous in an ordinary suburban house in an ordinary Bristol street …the scene of a gruesome and extraordinary murder.
Yes, Simon’s gone all contemporary. There’s not a single helmet, citadel or pointy stick to be seen. The Murder House is available in hardcover.