The two biggest challenges with writing historical fiction need to be overcome from the get-go. It is necessary to engage the reader from that first chapter so that they are not constantly running off to fact check. So the first challenge is adhering (or appearing) to the constraints of historical accuracy
The Whistler is John Grisham’s twenty-ninth legal thriller and once again shows that the formula which he practically invented in his early books – a combination of social commentary, legal shenanigans and fairly low key action that occasionally generates real thrills – is still working.
Sometimes a book just simply drops out of nowhere straight into the best of the year list with minimal fanfare. TELL THE TRUTH, SHAME THE DEVIL is undoubtedly going to remain one of the best things I've read this year for a whole lot of reasons.
For a series that initially was only going to run for a couple of books, the Leone Scarmacio series seems to have developed legs. The Hit is the third in the series and leaves plenty of balls in the air for future instalments. Which is welcome as this is a series that has improved with each outing.
THE FIREMAN for sure has that post apocalyptic wonder (who will survive, how will they survive?) and does a good job of conveying the fear and confusion in one pocket of the world as it all goes to hell.
People who love the golden age of detective fiction, who, as Susan puts it, like to curl up with a cosy mystery when it is raining outside knowing that everything will be explained at the end, or who spend their Friday nights in Midsomer (a place which gets named checked far too many times in this novel) will love Magpie Murders.
Styled as a thriller from the legal world, CYANIDE GAMES introduces Peter Tanner - criminal defence barrister, widower, father. Very much one of the good guys, one of those that takes on a hell of a lot and seems to pull results together despite the odds.
Sometimes you just can't shake the idea that an author really doesn't like their characters much. Flaws and troubles aplenty are one thing - but weighing everybody down in a story with just about every possible problem known is another kettle of fish altogether.
NOTHING SHORT OF DYING is the debut release from author Erik Storey, which arrived with considerable fanfare. It's flagged as something that will have Lee Child's Reacher watching over his shoulder which clearly flags this is action packed, with a lone hero up against it from all sides central character.
... as the pieces fall into place it is clear that Maitland has had tight control on his overarching plot from the beginning of this series so that Slaughter Park is both a compulsive and satisfying conclusion.
'Watch out Jo Nesbo!' is printed in a bright red circle on the front of I'M TRAVELLING ALONE. It seemed like a rather brave claim to be making before starting this book, and bordering on rash having now finished it.
The follow up to a fascinating book Australia's Most Murderous Prison, AUSTRALIA'S TOUGHEST PRISONS: INMATES tells the story of a number of people in prison - for a change not all of the usual role-call of participants that show up in these sorts of books.
While Underground Airlines shares much of its messaging with recent books and films about slavery it also joins a list of provocative alternate histories such as Fatherland and The Yiddish Policeman’s Union which use crime fiction tropes to explore and expose their worlds.
Caleb Carr is probably best known for his historical crime fiction debut The Alienist. That book, and its sequel, Angel of Darkness, set around turn of the century New York City and, later upstate New York, explored the early days of criminal psychology.
Look for the sly sense of humour in these books (which frequently tipped over into outright laughter for this reader), and past the bombastic outer shell of William Power, because THE SERPENT'S STING is a worthy addition to a series of novels that must come highly recommended.
Pufferfish is one of my all time favourite Australian Crime Fiction identities. He's taciturn, reticent and often recalcitrant. He's frequently obtuse, often slightly grumpy, addicted to strong espresso and liquorice all-sorts and finally, he's back.