Friday 3 September 2021


Six cracking additions to the library in August and something special to look forward to in the next few months.....

Olivier Norek - Turf Wars (2021) - Net Galley review copy

I suppose I ought to read the first in the trilogy - The Lost and the Damned before diving into this one. I have a copy sitting on the pile.

A second blistering crime novel set in France's most notorious suburb, by a police officer turned million-copy bestseller and key writer on Spiral

"Hits the ground running and never lets up . . . This impressive debut is slick, sick and not for the faint-hearted . . . It will make you cry out (for more)" - Mark Sanderson, The Times on The Lost and the Damned

The summary execution of three dealers - one murdered in full view of a police surveillance team - is the signal for hell to be unleashed in France's most notorious suburb.

Now there's a new kingpin in charge, using his ruthless teenage enforcer to assert an iron grip on his territory. And the local mayor, no stranger to the criminal underworld, is willing to make a pact with the devil if it will secure her a third term.

Enter Capitaine Coste and his team, ready to break the rules to prevent the drugs squad from throwing an elderly stash-minder to the lions as bait. But when the blue touchpaper is lit on the estates, it will be all they can do to save their own skins from the inferno.

Once again, Norek draws on all his experience as a police officer in France's capital of crime - the same experience he drew on as a writer for the hit TV series Spiral - making Turf Wars the most authentic crime novel you'll read all year.

Julian Barrett - Bush Sick Land (2020) - purchased copy

A bit of a punt but I like books set Down Under and I like books set back in the 60s and 70s.

Bush Sick Land is a mystery. The setting is a small New Zealand town at the tail end of the 1960s. After the violent death of his best friend, Constable Colin Coates is drawn into a case involving an old flame and her missing teenage son, a taxidermist timber magnate, a gang of bikers with a penchant for swastikas and French kisses and a CIB detective with a back seat and front brain full of forensic psychology journals. But what does all this have to do with The Bird Woman? And why is the constable’s son so frightened?
Forget the rose-tinted glasses, this book is a pair of thorn-rimmed spectacles. Gloomy, outrageous and blackly funny, step into the world of Bush Sick Land.

bush sickness, n. (NZ) A mysterious degenerative condition affecting livestock of the South Waikato-King Country region. In 1935, the cause was discovered to be the very earth itself; a deficiency of cobalt in the pumice-rich soil of the central volcanic plateau.

Matt Phillips - To Bring My Shadow (2021) - purchased copy

Another release from All Due Respect, a favourite publisher who never let me down, and a new book from Matt Phillips, an author I've read and enjoyed before - WIN/WIN then.

CountdownRedbone and Bad Luck City have been previously enjoyed.

This haunting, hardboiled tale follows detective Frank “Slim Fat” Pinson and his partner as they try to unravel the vexing mystery surrounding a who-done-it drug murder in San Diego.

Frank “Slim Fat” Pinson is your regular hardboiled murder cop—hell, Frank’s a cliché. His wife is dead after jumping from a bridge and he’s a mal-practicing Catholic. He’s tough as nails. Hard as sin. Except not.

When Frank and his partner, “Skinny” Slade Ryerson, catch a cartel murder case, they’re sucked into a black hell of political corruption with ties to Santa Muerte. And Frank—a man who knows himself so well—spins into an epic crisis of faith.

The first detective novel from acclaimed pulp writer Matt Phillips introduces readers to a fascinating character of indefensible fault, immense morality, and incalculable demise.

William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin - The Dark Remains (2021) - review copy from publisher Canongate Books

One I'm really looking forward to. I love 70s set crime fiction and having enjoyed McIlvanney's Laidlaw  previously (albeit back in 2012), I'm keen to see what Ian Rankin has crafted from an unfinished manuscript.

If the truth's in the shadows, get out of the light . . .

Lawyer Bobby Carter did a lot of work for the wrong type of people. Now he’s dead and it was no accident. Besides a distraught family and a heap of powerful friends, Carter’s left behind his share of enemies. So, who dealt the fatal blow?

DC Jack Laidlaw’s reputation precedes him. He’s not a team player, but he’s got a sixth sense for what’s happening on the streets. His boss chalks the violence up to the usual rivalries, but is it that simple? As two Glasgow gangs go to war, Laidlaw needs to find out who got Carter before the whole city explodes.

William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw books changed the face of crime fiction. When he died in 2015, he left half a handwritten manuscript of Laidlaw’s first case. Now, Ian Rankin is back to finish what McIlvanney started. In The Dark Remains, these two iconic authors bring to life the criminal world of 1970s Glasgow, and Laidlaw’s relentless quest for truth.

Sean O'Leary - Wonderland (2021) - review copy courtesy of author and publisher - Close 2 the Bone

Another reading trip Down Under - Australia this time and a gritty collection of short stories

This is Wonderland.
A collection of tales featuring gritty, urban crime fiction blending a mix of murder, hope and betrayal. O’Leary takes you on a journey to the dark underbelly of life in the Australian Wonderland.
A place where race crimes and heists go wrong. Corrupt cops betray the ones they love, lives are turned on a sixpence.
Drug dealers turn Saints, honest people turn to crime.
A Private Investigator discovers pure evil while trying to save the life of a fifteen-year-old boy and a three-time loser gets the upper hand on the cops and his criminal boss.
A released convict’s past catches up with him and a desperate ex-spy becomes a hired killer.
Are you on board?
Are you ready to take the trip to Wonderland?

E. C. Scullion - Evaders (2021) - Net Galley review copy

Having enjoyed the first in this series - Intruders - a month or two ago. I'm keen to find out what happens next.


A crime has been uncovered. Clare Buchanan has been missing for almost twelve years.

Former security manager Tom Holt knows that the man responsible for her disappearance goes by the name of Capricorn.

On the run in South America, Holt's life is in danger.

In London, journalist Nash Akinyemi discovers the story that could make her career; a chance to finally step out of her mother's shadow.

Talented thief Becca Wylde has worked for Capricorn her whole life; now it's time to break free.

Together, Holt, Nash and Becca must risk everything to expose Capricorn's secrets to the world. Yet Capricorn has his own weapon. Anton Merrick has a dark past, and he will stop at nothing to keep them all silent...

From the streets of London, to the shores of Chile, to the tropical islands of Panama, the race is on to expose the truth, before the truth gets buried. The second novel from the author of the bestselling Intruders.


  1. You've got some good 'uns here, Col. I really want to read the McIlvanney/Rankin novel, too. And I'd be interested in the Phillips, if nothing more than to see what he does with the San Diego setting. Hope you'll enjoy them all.

    1. Margot, I think you'll like the McIlvanney/Rankin book. It's excellent. I'm hoping to get to the Matt Phillips book before the year is out as well.