Thursday 20 January 2022


Plenty of new books to get excited about this year ...... Alan J. Parks, Mick Herron, Peter Farris, Dietrich Kalteis, Scott Blackburn and Gary Phillips for starters.

Mick Herron - Bad Actors (2022)

Bad Actors will be the 7th or 8th Slough House novel. I've fallen behind with the series and really ought to catch-up. I've been putting off reading them in a kind of tantric sex-delayed gratification thing. Which actually makes no sense. Good books are written to be read, no?

Slow Horses, Dead Lions and the related novellas, The Catch, The Marylebone Drop and The List have been read and loved thus far.

Mick Herron, “the le Carré of the future” (BBC), expands his world of bad spies with an even shadier cast of characters: the politicians, lobbyists, and misinformation agents pulling the levers of government policy.

 “Confirms Mick Herron as the best spy novelist now working.”

—NPR's Fresh Air

Soon to be an Apple TV+ series starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.

In London's MI5 headquarters a scandal is brewing that could disgrace the entire intelligence community. The Downing Street superforecaster—a specialist who advises the Prime Minister's office on how policy is likely to be received by the electorate—has disappeared without a trace. Claude Whelan, who was once head of MI5, has been tasked with tracking her down. 

But the trail leads him straight back to Regent's Park itself, with First Desk Diana Taverner as chief suspect. Has Taverner overplayed her hand at last? Meanwhile, her Russian counterpart, Moscow intelligence's First Desk, has cheekily showed up in London and shaken off his escort. Are the two unfortunate events connected?

Over at Slough House, where Jackson Lamb presides over some of MI5's most embittered demoted agents, the slow horses are doing what they do best, and adding a little bit of chaos to an already unstable situation . . . 

There are bad actors everywhere, and they usually get their comeuppance before the credits roll. But politics is a dirty business, and in a world where lying, cheating and backstabbing are the norm, sometimes the good guys can find themselves outgunned.

Mick Herron - Bad Actors (2022) - US cover I think

Dietrich Kalteis - Nobody From Somewhere (2022)

One of my absolute favourite authors working today. This one will be his 10th novel. I've enjoyed seven of his previous nine so far and hope to get caught up on the two others I haven't yet read. He's highly recommended. Pick any or pick all - thank me later!

In this action-packed caper novel, a long-retired cop gets wrapped up with a girl on the run

Long-retired cop Fitch Henry Haut is terminally ill and living out his final years alone. As he sits in his favorite diner enjoying the meatloaf special, he watches as a young girl steps in and spots two rough-looking men at the counter. When they see her, she runs off and they give chase.

His cop instincts kick in and Fitch follows, catching up with them in the parking lot. As the two men try to force her into their vehicle, Fitch manages to get the upper hand, and he and the girl take off in his broken-down Winnebago.

The girl is Wren Jones, a runaway from an abusive foster home. Earlier that day she overheard the two men going on about a casino robbery they just committed, and this was the second time she got away from them that day. Fitch realizes the men will come hunting for them again, and that the ailing rig he’s driving won’t be hard to spot. A bond forms as Fitch and Wren struggle to escape out of town, both aware that time is not on their side.

Gary Phillips - One-Shot Harry (2022)

LA, 60s setting, Gary Phillips - 3 ticks in the box! 

Race and civil rights in 1963 Los Angeles provide a powerful backdrop in Gary Phillips’s riveting historical crime novel about an African American forensic photographer seeking justice for a friend—perfect for fans of Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, and George Pelecanos.

LOS ANGELES, 1963: African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer and occasional process server: chasing police radio calls and dodging baseball bats. With racial tensions running high on the eve of Martin Luther King’s Freedom Rally, Ingram risks becoming a victim at every crime scene he photographs.

When Ingram hears about a deadly automobile accident on his police scanner, he recognizes the vehicle described as belonging to his good friend and old army buddy, a white jazz trumpeter. The LAPD declares the car crash an accident, but when Ingram develops his photos, he sees signs of foul play. Ingram feels compelled to play detective, even if it means putting his own life on the line. Armed with his wits, his camera, and occasionally his Colt .45, “One-Shot” Harry plunges headfirst into the seamy underbelly of LA society, tangling with racists, leftists, gangsters, zealots, and lovers, all in the hope of finding something resembling justice for a friend.

Master storyteller and crime fiction legend Gary Phillips has filled the pages of One-Shot Harry with fascinating historical cameos, wise-cracks, tenderness, and an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride of a plot with consequences far beyond one dead body.

Peter Farris - The Devil Himself (2022)

Last Call For the Living, Farris's previous book still sits on the TBR pile. Hopefully I'll read it before this one drops. This one seems to give off a slightly similar vibe to Scott Blackburn's book below, with comparisons to Brian Panowich

For Fans of Brian Panowich and Ron Rash.

Southern Noir at its finest, The Devil Himself, sizzles with page-burning suspense and bewitching characters. Deep in the forest of South Georgia, barely eighteen-year-old Maya narrowly escapes a savage end. The victim of a vast human trafficking operation managed out of Mexico, Maya had the misfortune to discover the dark plans of a high-ranking client. Her fate seemed sealed, until Leonard Moye, a lonely eccentric who tolerates no one on his land, takes the young woman under his protection. Both having lived lives that have left deep scars, each consumed by anger, they soon develop a bond that makes them, as a pair, a formidable foe, even for hardened criminals and professional scumbags. Maya knows too much and the old man lives on land in the crosshairs of narco machinations. As the heavies seek to finish the job, they find they may be no match for the resourcefulness of a disturbed old man and a cunning young woman.

Written with a skilled combination of breakneck pace and mind-searing detail, Farris has created a wicked and compassionate novel of redemption.

First published in France with enormous critical acclaim and winning multiple literary awards, The Devil Himself will mark Peter Farris as a major crime writer in America as well. 

Scott Blackburn - It Dies With You (2022)

A debut novel that dropped on my radar via Twitter. Looks like my cup of tea. Roll on June!

Scott Blackburn’s searing literary debut explores the dangerous world of secrets threatening to upend a rural Southern town, perfect for fans of David Joy and Brian Panowich.

For nearly a decade, twenty-nine-year-old Hudson Miller has made his living in the boxing ring, but a post-fight brawl threatens to derail his career. Desperate for money, Hudson takes a gig as a bouncer at a dive bar. That’s when life delivers him another hook to the jaw: his estranged father, Leland, has been murdered in what appears to be a robbery-gone-bad at his salvage yard, Miller’s Pull-a-Part.

Soon after his father’s funeral, Hudson learns he’s inherited the salvage yard, and he returns to his Bible-belt hometown of Flint Creek, North Carolina, to run the business. But the business is far more than junk cars and scrap metal. It was the site of an illegal gun-running ring. And the secrets don’t end there; a grisly discovery is made at the yard that thrusts Hudson into the fight of his life.

Reeling for answers, Hudson joins forces with his father’s former employee, 71-year-old, beer-guzzling Vietnam vet Charlie Shoaf, and a feisty teenage girl, Lucy Reyes, who’s fiercely seeking justice for her own family tragedy. With a murderer on the loose and no answers from the local cops, the trio of outcasts launch an investigation. The shocking truth they uncover will shake Flint Creek to its very core.

Alan Parks - May God Forgive (2022)

One of the best series currently running. Glasgow, 70s, cops and crims ... what's not to like?
Roll on May, June, July etc
The previous entries... 
The April Dead

Glasgow is a city in mourning. An arson attack on a hairdresser's has left five dead. Tempers are frayed and sentiments running high.

When three youths are charged the city goes wild. A crowd gathers outside the courthouse but as the police drive the young men to prison, the van is rammed by a truck, and the men are grabbed and bundled into a car. The next day, the body of one of them is dumped in the city centre. A note has been sent to the newspaper: one down, two to go.

Detective Harry McCoy has twenty-four hours to find the kidnapped boys before they all turn up dead, and it is going to mean taking down some of Glasgow's most powerful people to do it . . .


  1. You've got some good 'uns coming up, Col. I'm interested in the Herron, myself, although I will confess, I'm behind on his writing, too. It's impossible to keep up with it all, isn't it? The Alan Parks looks good, too - I like the setting and context for that one. At any rate, I hope you'll enjoy them all.

    1. I'm looking forward to them all, Margot. Even if I have some catching up to do first!

  2. Now that a new Mick Herron book is coming out in 2022, that means I need to get the previous book, Slough House. At least it is out now in paperback in the US. Before that book I had read them all, except for two of the novellas, which I think I have on my kindle.

    1. It's a great series. I really need to make the effort to get cuaght up with it.

  3. ONE SHOT HARRY – LA in the early 60s, an African-American Weegee (Arthur Fellig, the great crime photographer), and comparisons to Mosley, Elroy and Pelecanos – this one’s got my attention, Col.

    1. The same features grabbed me as well, Elgin. I've been remiss in not reading Phillips for more than a few years.