books monthly september 2017 crime & thrillers

Chilling thriller from Jonathan Lyon is this month's crime book of the month...

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Andy McNab: Cold Blood

Published by Corgi 21st September 2017


Out on the ice, polar bears aren't the only natural born killers.Nick Stone is suffering. The two people he cared for most are gone.Thousands of miles away five ex-servicemen, badly wounded in Afghanistan, are preparing for a trek to the North Pole in an attempt to begin to rebuild their shattered bodies and minds. When Stone is summoned as close protection for the trek by an old SAS officer, he accepts unthinkingly, desperate for the chance to escape his own misery.They meet at the world’s most northerly airport, where the locals are as hard as nails and the polar bear threat makes it against the law not to carry a gun. But it doesn’t take long for Stone and his team to discover that neither the bears nor the locals are the most dangerous predators in this part of the world. It is quickly clear to Stone that the coldest war of all is just beginning . . .

Everything is in place for this latest Nick Stone blockbuster from Andy McNab - a firm favourite with modern readers looking for something beyond the ordinary thriller, and finding it... I can see a movie of this just screaming to be made! Very visual scenic writing from the master of military-style thrillers.





Crime Book of the month: Jonathan Lyon: Carnivore

Published by HQ (Harper Collins) 24th August 2017

Meet Leander: lover, fighter, liar. He learnt a long time ago that nothing is as intoxicating as blood. But whether it’s his of someone else’s doesn’t matter any more. There’s a mysterious pain in every muscle of his body – and it’s got so bad that he’ll do anything to escape it. Up to now, it’s been his secret. But it’s hard to remain invisible when you leave a trail of destruction everywhere you do go. So, when he comes to the attention of one of London’s most infamous criminals, Leander decides to put his appetite for violence to the ultimate test. Let the villain win.


Jonathan Lyon's debut has everything: brutal violence, deaths, rapes, and superb attitude. For quite a while, it doesn't really seem as if it's a crime novel at all, but that's the beauty of Lyon's lure - he draws you in, reels you in until you're happy to go in whichever direction the book takes you - some passages are not for the faint-hearted, but it's a stunning debut, and it will hook you.







James McGee: The Reckoning

Published by Harper Collins 24th August 2017

The 6th historical thriller featuring Matthew Hawkwood, Bow Street Runner and Spy, now hunting a killer on the loose in Regency London. London, 1813: Bow Street Runner Matthew Hawkwood is summoned to a burial ground and finds the corpse of a young woman, murdered and cast into an open grave. At first the death is deemed to be of little consequence. But when Chief Magistrate James Read receives a direct order from the Home Office to abandon the case, Hawkwood’s interest is piqued. His hunt for the killer will lead him from London’s backstreets into the heart of a government determined to protect its secrets at all costs. Only Hawkwood’s contacts within the criminal underworld can now help. As the truth behind the girl’s murder emerges, setting in motion a deadly chain of events, Hawkwood learns the true meaning of loyalty – and that the enemy is much closer to home than he ever imagined…


Hawkwood is, for me, the very best pre-Victorian investigator, with five cases already under his belt, and a similar heady mix of violence and intrigue as he embarks on his seventh in this monumentally good tale of the early nineteenth century. Superb.


Gary Tulley: The Reaper Calls, Time

Published by Matador 28th July 2017

Ronnie Callaghan is back and this time, death is final...In the third book of 'The Fingerless Gloves' series, readers see the return of Ronnie Callaghan, ex-professional boxer, who has found himself unwittingly in the throes of revenge crime. In The Reaper Calls, Time Ronnie knows better than to argue his case, even though death has been following him around. Mercifully, the intervention in the form of a hitman, Buffy Manilla, has pulled him back from the brink of certain death. But for Ronnie, the harrowing experience in itself has amounted to one fight too many. Seeking a form of closure from the ordeal was never going to happen. In spite of his fortuitous circumstances he now finds himself struggling to cope with life after death and in a state of permanent solitude. Even his closest friend Siddie Levy knows to keep his distance. For Ronnie, the gym and boxing might just be his one saving grace...



Jason Instrell: Mist - The Path of a Killer Vol. 1

Published by The Book Guild 28th July 2017

Mist: The Path of a Killer is the first book in a gripping crime series, following John Miste, a Leicestershire detective inspector, from early on in his youth to his most exhausting and emotional case. Following the disappearance of his brother, John strives to become a police officer. He works his way up to becoming a well-respected detective.
Mist takes readers through the case of the Wolf, a prolific killer who eludes John and his team for a long time. The book describes John and the killings in detail, also covering the processes that John and his team have to go through.
John’s own issues come to light as the book develops, introducing the reader to the mind and life he leads. This enables the reader to understand John fully, creating a personal connection that will keep readers wanting more and thus building a fanbase for the rest of the series. Jason lives in Leicester and uses his knowledge of the area to create a strong local setting for the novel.

Robert Rees: A Season In The Sun

Published by Matador 28th July 2017


Henry Fanshawe, the last family member of Fanshawes Commodities in the City of London, leads a quiet life trading spices in a large dealing room. His day consists of ignoring requests to tidy his desk, making money and spending it on his three great loves: French landscape paintings, fine wine, and cricket. But the new City does not agree with him, and he finds himself falsely accused of financial chicanery, and summarily dismissed.

In a stroke of extremely good fortune, a legacy from an elderly aunt allows Henry to move to the Seychelles – though there are strings attached. He must manage her Village Cricket Club, and propel it through the formative years of the Seychelles Cricket league to the position of greatness it deserves.

For his colourful and talented team of amateurs, who include a depressive ex-county opener, a drug-taking fast bowler, and the local Chief of Police, this would be difficult enough a task. But in addition there are darker forces within Seychelles cricket, forces from the murky world of gambling who wish to twist the beautiful game to their illicit ends.

Henry’s first season in the sun becomes a high stakes contest of amateur talent against organised crime, leading to a thrilling climax...

A Season in the Sun combines cricket, crime and comedy in the beautiful surroundings of a tropical island. Similar in style to PG Wodehouse and William Boyd, it will appeal to fans of suspense and sporting pursuits alike.

Norman Russell: An Oxford Scandal

Published by Matador 28th August 2017

Set in the late Victorian era, An Oxford Scandal is the third book in Norman Russell's `Oxford' series of detective novels. The book follows Anthony Jardine, a successful and popular tutor at St. Gabriel's College, as he finds his loyalties divided between his work, his wife Dora and his mistress Rachel. Unbeknown to Anthony, Dora is an advanced cocaine addict and he comes to resent her outrageous activities more and more, absorbing himself with the discovery of the remains of St Thomas a Becket in a hidden vault at the college. One rainy night Dora is found murdered in a tramcar out at Cowley and Jardine, who had been visiting Rachel in that area, becomes a suspect. The case is investigated by Inspector James Antrobus and his friend Sophia Jex-Blake, the pioneer woman doctor. A complex investigation follows and after Jardine's mistress is murdered, the clues take Antrobus to London, when the mystery starts to unravel and the killer is revealed in a grand climax... Inspired by the work of Edmund Crispin and John Dixon Carr, An Oxford Scandal takes the form of classical detective fiction with an academic angle. The book also contains a humorous subplot in which Catholics and Anglicans fight over ownership of the relics. The book will appeal to fans of historical and crime fiction, as well as readers who have enjoyed Norman's previous work.


Alan Hunt: Unauthorised Action

Published by Matador 28th August 2017

Following the success of No Immunity and A Game That Must Be Lost, Unauthorised Action is the final instalment in Alan Hunt's fast-paced thriller series. In the wake of terrorist attacks in London, the Foreign Office is shocked by the murder of the beautiful young diplomat, Kate Thomas. Immediately her colleague, Adam White, falls under suspicion. Adam's fiancee, Alison, believes in his innocence, but in the bid to clear his name Adam faces a wall of secrecy from officials engaged in a covert operation. Defying his superior's instructions, Adam pursues a lead to Madrid, where he identifies the man he believes to be Kate's murderer. Soon others fall victim to the killer, as he prepares for an audacious assassination attempt in London. But who is the target of the attack? And who is aiding the terrorists? In a violent and shocking climax, the terrorists strike, the assassin breaks cover and the traitor is finally unmasked. Alan Hunt once again keeps the reader guessing until the last page in this, the final book in the Adam White trilogy.


Simon J Stephens: Righteous Correction?

Published by Matador 28th August 2017

Zipoly is just an ordinary man, but after the tragic death of his family he has to take on a whole new role, avenging the wrongs his family have suffered. After reluctantly adapting to his new life circumstances, and with a shadowy organisation forcing him into even greater changes, Zip begins a new life living on a canal boat and travelling the waterways of England. With a new identity and now in a completely new life, Zip becomes the unlikeliest of crime fighters, working as an agent for an ancient secret order. Nobody knows who he is. To the people he meets as he cruises the canals of England, he's just another guy who's chosen to live a simple life on a narrow boat. To his handlers, he is `The Kingfisher'. He does their bidding and restores the balance of justice when official means have failed. Zip finds that he is very good at his new role and succeeds where many had failed. That is, until his handlers ask him to cross a line he can, once again, never come back from... Righteous Correction?â is a gripping work of crime fiction that also raises questions about justice and vigilantism - and their relationship to the official justice system. Can one ever justify the other?


Matthew Sullivan: Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore

Published by W Heinemann 24th August 2017

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it's his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs - the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store's overwhelmed shelves. But when Joey McGinty, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore's back room, Lydia's life comes unglued. Always Joey's favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia? As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey's suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia's life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. Bedazzling, addictive, and wildly clever, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a heart-pounding mystery that perfectly captures the intellect and eccentricity of the bookstore milieu and will keep you guessing until the very last page.


Another superb debut, this time from Matthew Sullivan, and this time it's centred in and around a bookshop and the delightfully quirky assistant Lydia, whose realisation that she is somehow involved in the creepy and mysterious murders and suicides, form the backbone of a very strange and very enjoyable mystery. Agatha Christie it isn't, but an amalgam of several different styles which together form something quite unique. Spectacular!


The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its sixteenth year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email and I'll let you know where to send it.