Anticipated Books (Winter-Spring) 2014: Crime and Historical Crime Fiction

2014Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2014. Today it’s time for crime and historical crime fiction books. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  

Crime

January
jamescarol-brokendollsJames Carol – Broken Dolls (Faber & Faber)
Jefferson Winter is no ordinary investigator.

The son of one of America’s most renowned serial killers, Winter has spent his life trying to distance himself from his father’s legacy. Once a rising star at the FBI, he is now a freelance consultant, jetting around the globe helping local law enforcement agencies with difficult cases. He’s not got Da Vinci’s IQ, but he’s pretty close.

When he accepts a particularly disturbing case in London, Winter arrives to find a city in the grip of a cold snap, with a psychopath on the loose who likes abducting and lobotomising young women. Winter must use all his preternatural brain power in order to work out who is behind the attacks, before another young woman becomes a victim. As Winter knows all too well, however, not everyone who’s broken can be fixed.

tomgrieves-acryinthenightTom Grieves – A Cry in the Night (Quercus)
When night falls, fear spreads…

The Lake District: a wild landscape, rife with stories. Detectives Zoe Barnes and Sam Taylor are called to investigate the disappearance of two children.

But they quickly realise they have been drawn into a complex and unnerving case that hides a much darker intent: as they dig deeper, whispers grow of a community hiding a deadly secret – and talk of witches, the like of which hasn’t been heard since the seventeenth century, is spreading.

Zoe and Sam will have to work fast to save lives; but in this atmosphere of fear and mistrust, can they even rely on each other?

charleslambert-theviewfromthetowerCharles Lambert – The View From the Tower (Exhibit A Books)
“Can she trust them? Can you?”

Helen is in a hotel room with her lover in Rome, when a gunman murders her husband, a high-level politician, less than a mile away.

Helen immediately finds herself both a suspect and suspicious of those around her – including her friends and her husband’s family, and her lover, Giacomo, an ex-terrorist with a new wife and a reinvented life.

As Helen struggles to understand her husband’s death and the extent to which she and the people she knows may have been responsible for it, she is forced to examine her own past and peel back the years of secrets and lies.

The View From the Tower is a gripping psychological thriller about love and betrayal, certain to appeal to fans of le Carré and William Boyd.

katerhodes-crossbonesyardKate Rhodes – Crossbones Yard (Minotaur Books)
Alice Quentin is a psychologist with some painful family secrets, but she has a good job, a good-looking boyfriend, and excellent coping skills, even when that job includes evaluating a convicted killer who’s about to be released from prison. One of the highlights of her day is going for a nice, long run around her beloved London—it’s impossible to fret or feel guilty about your mother or brother when you’re concentrating on your breathing—until she stumbles upon a dead body at a former graveyard for prostitutes, Crossbones Yard.

The dead woman’s wounds are alarmingly similar to the signature style of Ray and Marie Benson, who tortured and killed thirteen women before they were caught and sent to jail. Five of their victims were never found. That was six years ago, and the last thing Alice wants to do is to enter the sordid world of the Bensons or anyone like them. But when the police ask for her help in building a psychological profile of the new murderer, she finds that the killer—and the danger to her and the people she cares about—may already be closer than she ever imagined.

February
robertbaileyRobert Bailey – The Professor (Exhibit A Books)
“In trials, like sports, sometimes winning means everything…”

Thomas Jackson McMurtrie is a living legend scorned. Forty years ago, he gave up a promising career as a trial lawyer to become a law professor at the University of Alabama at the request of his mentor, Alabama football Coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant. Now Tom is forced into retirement, betrayed by both a powerful colleague and his own failing health.

Meanwhile the young family of one of his oldest friends is killed in a tragic road collision. Believing his career is over, Tom refers the case to a brilliant, yet beleaguered, former student, who begins to uncover the truth behind the tragedy, buried in a tangled web of arson, bribery and greed.

But as the eve of trial approaches, the young attorney’s case begins to unravel. In over his head and at the end of his rope, he realises there’s only one man who can help…

jorgenbrekke-wheremonstersdwellJorgen Brekke – Where Monsters Dwell (Minotaur Books)
A murder at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, bears a close resemblance to one in Trondheim, Norway. The corpse of the museum curator in Virginia is found flayed in his office by the cleaning staff; the corpse of an archivist at the library in Norway, is found inside a locked vault used to store delicate and rare books. Richmond homicide detective Felicia Stone and Trondheim police inspector Odd Singsaker find themselves working on similar murder cases, committed the same way, but half a world away. And both murders are somehow connected to a sixteenth century palimpsest book—The Book of John—which appears to be a journal of a serial murderer back in 1529 Norway, a book bound in human skin.

A runaway bestseller in Norway, Jørgen Brekke’s Where Monsters Dwell has since sold to over fourteen countries. Where Monsters Dwell is the most awaited English language crime fiction debut in years.

margieorford-watermusicMargie Orford – Water Music (Head of Zeus)
A terrified, frozen child is found close to death on an icy Cape Town mountainside. But no-one reported her missing. Where does she come from? Who does she belong to? Profiler Dr Clare Hart is baffled – but when a young woman disappears, Clare sees a frightening pattern beginning to emerge.

Rosa is a gifted but troubled young cellist, and her grandfather is at his wits end. Why did she walk out of her music school that day? Where has she gone now?

As winter tightens its grip, Clare must find Rosa and unravel her secrets… all the while carrying a secret of her own.

danoshea-greedDan O’Shea – Greed (Exhibit A Books)
Ex-Marine, Nick Hardin, heads back from a decade in Africa to his hometown, Chicago, with $100 million in blood diamonds stolen from an Al Qaeda’s financing pipeline. His retirement plan? To cash out through a Chicago Mossad contact and head for the beach.

But soon, Hardin’s stuck in Chicago with diamonds he can’t sell and a series of hit men, mobsters, and a Washington off-the-books black ops team on his tail.

The resulting body count leaves Chicago detective John Lynch trying to find connections among the victims, while simultaneously solving the murder of a dead infectious disease expert who’d drafted a biological weapons plan that could turn Chicago into a ghost town.

marioreading-thetemplarconspiracyMario Reading – The Templar Prophecy (Corvus)
June 1190. A Knight Templar, Johannes von Hartelius, rescues the Holy Lance from his drowning King during the Third Crusade.

April 1945. A courier arrives at the Hitlerbunker with a parcel. The Führer calls for a vacuum canister to be brought, seals the documents he has received inside it, attaches the canister to a leather case containing the Holy Lance, and sends it away, guarded by a descendant of Johannes von Hartelius.

Present Day. British photojournalist John Hart finds his father crucified, with the mark of a spear in his side. Shattered and bewildered, Hart learns for the very first time of his family’s destiny – to be the Guardians of the Lance.

As Hart begins to investigate, he discovers a German occult rightwing organization called the Brotherhood of the Lance. Hart infiltrates the organization to investigate his father’s murder – but the secret of the Lance is more terrifying than he could ever have imagined…

katerhodes-akillingofangelsKate Rhodes – A Killing of Angels (Minotaur Books)
The first death looked like a suicide. But someone had tucked a picture of an angel and a handful of white feathers into the banker’s pocket before pushing him in front of a train. A killer is stalking The Square Mile—the financial district in London—an avenging angel intent on punishment. But why these victims? What were their sins?

Psychologist Alice Quentin swore she’d never get involved with police work again. Her duty is to the living, not the dead. But she owes Detective Don Burns a favor. He was the one who would sit for hours when the last case they worked on together had landed her in the hospital. That case had clearly taken its toll on him, and his career, too. So when he comes begging for help, how can she refuse?

In order to find the murderer, Alice and Detective Burns must dig deep into the toxic heart of one of the major financial centers in the world. A place where money means more than life, and no one can be counted innocent.

peterswanson-thegirlwithaclockworkheartPeter Swanson – The Girl with a Clock for a Heart (Faber & Faber)
George Foss never thought he’d see her again, but on a late-August night in Boston, there she is, in his local bar, Jack’s Tavern. When George first met her, she was an eighteen-year-old college freshman from Sweetgum, Florida. She and George became inseparable in their first fall semester, so George was devastated when he got the news that she had committed suicide over Christmas break. But, as he stood in the living room of the girl’s grieving parents, he realized the girl in the photo on their mantelpiece – the one who had committed suicide – was not his girlfriend. Later, he discovered the true identity of the girl he had loved – and of the things she may have done to escape her past. Now, twenty years later, she’s back, and she’s telling George that he’s the only one who can help her… In his electrifying debut, Peter Swanson evokes the spirit of Body Heat and Double Indemnity, in a thriller about love, loss and those memories we hold closest to our hearts.’…it was like I had a secretdisease, or there was this clock inside of me, ticking like a heart,and at any moment an alarm would go off …’

March
judithflanders-writersblockJudith Flanders – Writer’s Block (Allison & Busby)
You know when you can have one those days at the office? You spill coffee on your keyboard, the finance director goes on an expenses rampage and then, before you know it, your favourite author is murdered. Don’t you just hate when that happens?

When Samantha Clair decides to publish journalist Kit Lovell’s tell-all book on the death of fashion-designer Rodrigo Alemán, she can scarcely imagine the dangers ahead. Cue a rollercoaster ride into the dark realms of fashion, money-laundering and murder, armed with nothing but her e-reader and her trusty stock of sarcasm…A pitch-perfect crime caper offers a witty, intelligent and entertaining glimpse into the publishing world.

nathaliehaynes-theamberfuryNatalie Haynes – The Amber Fury (Corvus)
When you open up, who will you let in?

When Alex Morris loses her fiancé in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she’s taken on.

There is one class – a group of five teenagers – who intimidate Alex and every other teacher on The Unit. But with the help of the Greek tragedies she teaches, Alex gradually develops a rapport with them. Finding them enthralled by tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge, she even begins to worry that they are taking her lessons to heart, and that a whole new tragedy is being performed, right in front of her…

lauralippmanLaura Lippman – After I’m Gone (Faber & Faber)
When Felix Brewer meets nineteen-year-old Bernadette “Bambi” Gottschalk at a Valentine’s Dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative-if not all legal-businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July, 1976, Bambi’s comfortable world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes.

Though Bambi has no idea where her husband-or all of his money-might be, she suspects one woman does: his devoted young mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day that Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she’s left to join her old lover-until her remains are eventually found in a secluded wooded park.

Now, twenty-six years after Julie went missing, Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder. What he discovers is a tangled web of bitterness, jealously, resentment, greed, and longing stretching over three decades that connects five intriguing women: a faithful wife, a dead mistress, and three very different daughters. And at the center is the man who, though long gone, has never been forgotten by the five women who loved him: the enigmatic Felix Brewer.

Somewhere between the secrets and lies connecting past and present, Sandy will find the truth. And when he does, no one will ever be the same.

richardparkerRichard Parker – Stalk Me (Exhibit A Books)
Your worst nightmare just went viral…

After being involved in a severe car accident and a vicious roadside assault, Beth Jordan wakes briefly to discover a coach party of students recording the aftermath with their phones.

Beth furiously attacks the crowd before being restrained and lapsing into a coma.

When she wakes in hospital, Beth is horrified when she’s told the video clips have been shared online and that millions of people around the world have now seen the incident.

The driver of the car she collided with has vanished without trace and Beth needs the recordings to help piece together exactly what happened.

But somebody is viciously murdering the owners of the clips and deleting them. What is concealed within those moments and can she find the survivors before the digital fragments of the event disappear forever?

matteostrukulMatteo Strukul – The Ballad of Mila (Exhibit A Books)
Two perfectly matched gangs are fighting for control of the North-East Italian region of Venetia. But a formidable young woman with vengeance on her mind has plans to upset the balance. Abandoned by her mother and violated by a gang of criminals just after they slaughtered her father, Mila Zago is a cold-blooded killer, a deadly assassin. Brought up by her grandfather on the Sette Comuni plateau under a rigid martial code, she returns home to seek her revenge, conspiring to create a spectacular showdown reminiscent A Fistful of Dollars.

The Ballad of Mila is the first novel in an on-going series focused on the formidable female Italian Bounty Hunter Mila Zago, a.k.a. Red Dread.

As well as being shortlisted for the Premio Scerbanenco / La Stampa, it won the Premio Speciale Valpolicella 2011, and in its graphic novel format was awarded the the Premio Leone di Narnia as “Best Italian comic book series of the year”.

“You’d better pray the cops find you first…”

April
tomvaterTom Vater – The Man With The Golden Mind (Exhibit A Books)
“In trouble again… and a long way from home…”

Julia Rendel asks Maier to investigate the twenty-five year old murder of her father, an East German cultural attaché who was killed near a fabled CIA airbase in central Laos in 1976. But before the detective can set off, his client is kidnapped right out of his arms.

Maier follows Julia’s trail to the Laotian capital Vientiane, where he learns different parties, including his missing client are searching for a legendary CIA file crammed with Cold War secrets. But the real prize is the file’s author, a man codenamed Weltmeister, a former US and Vietnamese spy and assassin no one has seen for a quarter century.

May
Greg Howard – Time to Die (Head of Zeus)
Intensely private, tough as teak, DI Hanlon is not a woman to cross. Assistant Commissioner Corrigan knows she’s dangerous and unorthodox. Her ruthless disregard for rules could cost him the top job he craves. But he also knows there is no one as fearless on a mission. And he likes her.

So when two seemingly unrelated murders point to a mole in the Met, Corrigan turns to Hanlon – though not without asking Enver Demirel, Turkish boxer turned London policeman, to stick to her like glue. Then a diabetic twelve-year-old boy is abducted and what began as an investigation becomes an ugly, frightening race against time, in which Hanlon will take no prisoners.’

terryirving-courierTerry Irving – Courier (Exhibit A Books)
Get ready for the ride of your life…

It’s 1972. The Watergate scandal has Washington on edge. Rick Putnam, a Vietnam veteran and motorcycle courier for one of the capital’s leading television stations, is trying to get his life back together after his nightmarish ordeal in the war. But when Rick picks up film from a news crew interviewing a government worker with a hot story, his life begins to unravel as everyone involved in the story dies within hours of the interview and Rick realizes he is the next target.

Before Twitter and Facebook, the fastest way get a story on the news was on a BMW R50/2 motorbike. It was also the fastest way to get killed…

Courier is a political conspiracy thriller as exciting as Three Days of the Condor, with a lead as cool as Easy Rider, all set in Nixon-era Washington.

Written by a four-time Emmy award-winning writer and producer, this is a killer blend of action and surprise twists, certain to appeal to fans of James Ellroy and Dennis Lehane.

seanlynchSean Lynch – The Fourth Motive (Exhibit A Books)
Whatever it takes…

Deputy District Attorney Paige Callen is being stalked, and the man stalking her is motivated, methodical, and relentless.

The police aren’t merely one step behind Paige’s stalker; they’re stumped. So Paige’s father, retired Judge ‘Iron Gene’ Callen, instead hires retired San Francisco P.D. Inspector turned private investigator Bob Farrell, to the dismay of the local police.

The cops know all-too-well Farrell’s reputation as a reckless wild card. Judge Callen, however, knows Farrell as a man who never lets the rules get in the way of getting the job done.

Farrell enlists the aid of former Iowa Deputy Kevin Kearns to help him protect Paige, and to stop a madman before she becomes a statistic. But to find her stalker, Farrell and Kearns must first learn why he’s launched his crusade; a journey none of them might survive.

June
yumeakihirayamaYumeaki Hirayama – Diner (Exhibit A Books)
“Here you either cook the food right… or you become it…”

Bored with her clerical job, Edie Otgurl, a thirty-year-old divorcée, responds to an online ad: “Driver. Pay 300,000 yen. Entails some risk.”

Hired to be the driver of the getaway car in a cash heist, she gets nabbed by a gang of men and is about to be buried alive when an unidentified benefactor pays for her deliverance.

She is taken to a diner named Canteen, a members-only eatery for hit men. Bombero, the proprietor, is a former hit man turned master chef; Edie is to work as his waitress under the condition that if she disobeys him she will be killed on the spot.

Can Edie survive the deadly clientele and escape this nightmare world?

It’s Tarantino meets Stephen King in this made-for-the-big-screen crime suspense by Japan’s premier horror crime writer.

katerhodesKate Rhodes – The Winter Foundlings (Hodder & Stoughton)
The girl’s body lay on the steps of the Foundling Museum. She was dressed all in white, and tagged with the number 12.

Britain’s most prolific child killer, Louis Kinsella, murdered nine children before he was caught and locked away for life in Northwood high-security hospital. Now someone is carrying on his work. Four girls have disappeared in North London. Three are already dead…

Psychologist Alice Quentin is working at Northwood, hoping for space and time away from her hectic London life. But she’ll do anything to save a child’s life – even if it means sitting down with a charismatic, ruthless killer and putting herself in greater danger than ever before.

jbturnerJ. B. Turner – Hard Kill (Exhibit A Books)
An American diplomat goes missing and ex-Special Forces operative Jon Reznick joins a top secret team, led by FBI Assistant Director Martha Meyerstein, to help track him down.

The team believes that there may be a terrorist group – perhaps Islamists – who have kidnapped him, as the diplomat’s area of expertise is the Persian Gulf. But Reznick is training his sights on an unlikely candidate – a leading Washington DC surgeon.

But as the team itself comes under attack, and the 9/11 commemoration approaches, it becomes clear that the kidnapping is part of a much bigger plot, one that threatens not only New York, but the whole country too.

A pulse-pounding, high-octane thriller, for fans of Harlan Coben, Simon Kernick, Gregg Hurwitz and C. J. Box.

Historical Crime Fiction

January
alexconnor-thecravaggioconspiracyAlex Connor – The Caravaggio Conspiracy (Quercus)
608. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the greatest Italian painter of his day, is expelled from the Order of the Knights of Malta. Subject to a clandestine hearing, his crime remains a closely guarded secret.

2014. Two bodies are found in a London art gallery – stripped naked, necks bound with wire and legs obscenely contorted. They are twin brothers – successful art dealers – their brutal murder linked to the mysterious disappearance of two paintings by the master Caravaggio.

Investigators are confounded, and it falls to art expert Gil Eckhart to identify the killer before he slays again. But as the search for clues takes him from the glamorous skyline of New York to the fetid catacombs of Palermo, Eckhart finds that in the high-stakes world of art, good and evil are often tarred with the same, blood-soaked, brush.

paullawrence-heartsofdarknessPaul Lawrence – Hearts of Darkness (Allison & Busby)
1666. London is recovering from the Great Plague and mourning its dead. The city is free at last, like a great old bear, beaten to its knees, bloody but unbowed. But the disease slithered out of London to wreak its evil upon other towns and cities. The worst was over, the Pestilence gone, in search of new feeding grounds, bounteous and plentiful in the villages outside of the London.

Harry Lytle, who works for Lord Arlington’s intelligence service, is sent to Essex where the plague is breeding to track down a traitor and bring him back alive. But things get tricky when Lord Arlington’s latest recruit for the mission is a man Lytle left dead. Having learnt first hand of Lord Arlington’s barbaric cruelty, Lytle knows he can’t refuse the job. Travelling into a disease-ridden village with a murderer seems like a better option.

March
louisbayard-thebeastinthejungleLouis Bayard – the Beast in the Jungle (John Murray)
April 1914. Former US President Theodore Roosevelt and his son Kermit have embarked on a dangerous expedition down an uncharted river in the Brazilian Amazon. Threatened as they are by disease, drowning and starvation, an even greater peril awaits them when they are captured by a local Indian tribe, the mysterious Cinta Larga, and forced to hunt for a savage creature laying waste to the jungle’s inhabitants.

In their search for the elusive beast, they find unexpected allies in a young mother and her half-caste child. But with hopes, dreams and lives at stake, father and son must confront the fissures in their own relationship and the dark secrets from their shared past.

This exciting psychological thriller, inspired by actual historical events and figures, charts an audacious journey through the Amazonian heart of darkness and explores the demons that live within and without.

antoniahodgsonAntonia Hodgson – The Devil in the Marshalsea (Hodder & Stoughton)
London, 1727 – and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtor’s prison. The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease.

But Tom has never been good at following rules. The recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the goal. And Tom is sharing a cell with the prime suspect, Samuel Fleet. Soon Tom’s choice becomes clear: get to the truth of the murder – or be the next to die.

andrewhughes-theconvictionsofjohndelacourtAndrew Hughes – The Convictions of John Delahunt (Transworld)
Dublin, 1841. On a cold December morning, a small boy is enticed away from his mother and his throat savagely cut. This could be just one more small, sad death in a city riven by poverty, inequality and political unrest, but this killing causes a public outcry. For it appears the culprit – a feckless student named John Delahunt – is also an informant and in the pay of the authorities at Dublin Castle. And strangely, this young man seems neither to regret what he did nor fear his punishment. Indeed, as he awaits the hangman in his cell in Kilmainham Gaol, John Delahunt decides to tell his story in this, his final, deeply unsettling statement . . .

Based on true events that convulsed Victorian Ireland, The Convictions of John Delahunt is the tragic tale of a man who betrays his family, his friends, his society and, ultimately, himself. Set amidst Dublin’s taverns, tenements, courtrooms and alleyways and with a rich, Dickensian cast of characters, this compelling, at times darkly humorous, novel brilliantly evokes a time and a place, and introduces a remarkable new literary voice.

April
bartholomewdaniels-rottenattheheartBartholomew Daniels – Rotten at the Heart (Exhibit A Books)
Who better to solve a crime than the keenest observer of human nature in history?

Rotten at the Heart is the first in a series of Shakespearean mysteries featuring and narrated by the Bard himself.

London, 1596. With his patron’s mysterious death leaving Will on the brink of ruin and eviction, he’s forced to fall back on his own inimitable powers of observation in order to ferret out the killer and in so doing unravel a conspiracy that goes straight to the beating heart of the court of Queen Elizabeth I.

Rooted in historical fact and written in Will’s own accessibly Elizabethan voice, Rotten At the Heart explores the intersection of religion, politics, and corruption, and underscores the sacrifices that honour demands when a troubled man finally discovers his own.

Introducing Wm. Shakespeare: Detective.

For fans of David Liss and, of course, Shakespeare himself…

lindseydavisLindsey Davis – Enemies at Home (Hodder & Stoughton)
Every slave is an enemy, said Seneca

When a newly-married couple are violently robbed and murdered in their apartment, the vigiles take the easy way out and accuse their household slaves. The slaves seek refuge in the Temple of Ceres, a more reluctant haven of liberty than tradition claims. Albia’s new friend Manlius Faustus is tasked with persuading the runaways to leave. He hires Albia to help him work out what really happened…

emmadonoghue-frogmusicEmma Donoghue – Frog Music (Little Brown US)
Emma Donoghue’s explosive new novel, based on an unsolved murder in 1876 San Francisco.

Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heatwave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.

The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice–if he doesn’t track her down first.

The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.

In thrilling, cinematic style, FROG MUSIC digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue’s lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boomtown like no other.

sharonpenman-princeofdarknessSharon Penman – Prince of Darkness (Head of Zeus)
AD 1193. England lies uneasy, a land without a king. Richard the Lionheart languishes in an Austrian dungeon, his brother John conspires to usurp the crown. On the throne sits Eleanor of Aquitaine, determined to prevent the outbreak of civil war, but there are few she can trust. Justin de Quincy is one of the few.

But now the king’s brother has asked for de Quincy’s aid. John tells of a document implicating him in a plot to kill his brother. Despite his hunger for the crown, John swears he is innocent.

It takes more than John’s sly charms to persuade Justin, but the welfare of Queen and Country is also at stake. Justin must unearth the forger and prove the document false before the Lionheart hears of it. His quest will ultimately lead to the unravelling of a powerful conspiracy that could have changed the course of history.

jayneannephillips-quietdellJayne Anne Phillips – Quiet Dell (Jonathan Cape)
In Chicago in 1931, Asta Eicher, a widow with three children, is lonely and pressed for money after the sudden death of her husband. She begins to receive seductive letters from a chivalrous, elegant man named Harry Powers, who ultimately promises to marry her and to care for her and her children. Asta agrees to go with him to West Virginia to see his house there, and then to bring her children. Weeks later, all are dead.

Emily Thornhill, a bold, independent journalist, one of the few women in the Chicago press, covers the case and becomes deeply invested in understanding what happens to this beautiful family – especially the highly imaginative youngest girl, Annabel – and determined to make sure that Powers is convicted. She also falls in love with the Chicago banker who funds the investigation, wracked by guilt himself for not saving Asta from her tragic end.

Quiet Dell is mesmerising, the retelling of a grisly crime at a moment in American history when women were powerless and vulnerable and newspapers were just beginning to make national stories of local crimes. It is a tour de force of obsession and imagination.

andrewswanston-thekingsreturnAndrew Swanston – The King’s Return (Transworld)
The king’s coronation brings hope.
Until a murderer strikes.

Spring 1661

After years of civil war followed by Oliver Cromwell’s joyless rule as Lord Protector, England awaits the coronation of King Charles II. The mood in London is one of relief and hope for a better future.

But when two respectable gentlemen are found in a foul lane with their throats cut, it becomes apparent that England’s enemies are using the newly re-established post office for their own ends. There are traitors at work and plans to overthrow the king. Another war is possible.

Thomas Hill, in London visiting friends, is approached by the king’s security advisor and asked to take charge of deciphering coded letters intercepted by the post office. As the body count rises and the killer starts preying on women, the action draws closer to Thomas – and his loved ones. He finds himself dragged into the hunt for the traitors and the murderer, but will he find them before it’s too late?

May
alexgrecian-thedevilsworkshopAlex Grecian – The Devil’s Workshop (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad faces the most shocking case of its existence, in the extraordinary new historical thriller from the author of the acclaimed national bestseller The Yard.

London, 1890. Four vicious murderers have escaped from prison, part of a plan gone terribly wrong, and now it is up to Walter Day, Nevil Hammersmith, and the rest of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad to hunt down the convicts before the men can resume their bloody spree. But they might already be too late. The killers have retribution in mind, and one of them is heading straight toward a member of the Murder Squad, and his family.

And that isn’t even the worst of it. During the escape, the killers have stumbled upon the location of another notorious murderer, one thought gone for good but now prepared to join forces with them.

Jack the Ripper is loose in London once more.

Share