It seems that I can’t enough of intrigue, mystery and murder – on the page, of course! I know I’m not alone in this because crime novels are more popular than ever with readers. This Thursday is a special day though, a bumper publishing day, there are so many hot new thriller titles being released we decided to rename it ‘Crime Day’ on NB Magazine. We have reviews of no less than eight novels for you, something to suit every taste. So that’s novels from every sub-genre and some that defy easy classification. From historical murder mystery to modern Euro-noir, from psychological drama to police procedural, and espionage thriller to cyber-stalking nightmare.

If crime, mystery and thriller are your bag, there is something here to delight you. You won’t be on your own – don’t be surprised if you see these novels being read on the tube, the bus, or the beach this summer. The eight novels we have chosen are all page turners, all get the NB Magazine thumbs up. A couple are destined to be prize winners and at least a couple will be massive bestsellers.

The List:

The Heart Keeper by Alex Dahl (Head of Zeus) – A heart-stopping psychological drama that will cement Dahl’s reputation as a leading Scandi-noir author. A fantastic follow up to last year’s The Boy at the Door.

The Most Difficult Thing by Charlotte Philby (Borough Press) – A dazzling debut, a very modern spy thriller that will appeal to a wide audience, from the granddaughter of master spy, Kim Philby.

The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox (Doubleday) – A police procedural that really ups the tempo, a sharp contemporary story from up north.

The Dance of Death by Oliver Bottini (MacLehose) – A blackly comic, slightly surreal Euro-noir; early chuckles give way to a dark foreboding as the past comes back to haunt the present.

The Bear Pit by S.G. MacLean (Quercus) – A superb historical murder mystery; a journey back to 1658, the time of Oliver Cromwell, the Commonwealth and royalist conspirators.

The Last Stage by Louise Voss (Orenda) – For lovers of the psychological novel and those who have an affection for classic British crime and like to see it updated to a contemporary setting. A clever subversion of the country house mystery.

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston (Orenda) – A dark psychological thriller for the social media age; it’s zeitgeisty, relevant and chilling because it could be real. A story of stalking with a twist.

Sanctuary by Luca D’ Andrea (MacLehose Press) – An immensely enjoyable chiller/thriller and a brilliant piece of storytelling.

If you can’t find something for the summer in the above list, here are a few more crime masterpieces we have recently reviewed:

Fortuna’s Deadly Shadow by Leslie Scase, The Chain by Adrian McKinty, A Grave for Two by Anne Holt, The Fragility of Bodies by Sergio Olguin, Murder at the Mill-Race by ECR Lorac, The Whisper Man by Alex North, One Way Out by A.A. Dhand, Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen, A Grave for Two by Anne Holt, The Body in the Castle Well by Martin Walker, The July Girls by Phoebe Locke, and The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear.

Happy reading!

One serious note to finish. RIP Anthony Price, one of the legends of Cold War spy writing, who died at the end of May. I grew up on spy stories, and every new Price novel was a joy. His first thriller in 1970, The Labyrinth Makers, was followed by eighteen novels featuring Colonel Butler and Jack Audley. To the consternation of readers and fellow writers, Price decided to retire from his newspaper job and quit writing novels at the same time, roughly coincidental with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. A decision he stuck to. The last major reprint of his work was 2011-13, but the majority of his books are still available in various formats.

Paul Burke
July 2019