APRIL ACTION: NEW CRIME AND THRILLER TITLES I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO READING IN APRIL 2023
With a quarter of 2023 almost over, the new crime and thriller releases are beginning to flow through at an overwhelming rate. It is hard to keep up with them all, but it does mean that there is a good selection from across the crime fiction spectrum for readers to choose from in April.
Fans of British crime and detection fiction seem to be particularly well served with major new releases by Robert Gold, Lucy Clarke, Tim Sullivan and the late Peter Robinson. While there is also some interesting releases by Australian authors Loraine Peck and Rae Cairns and four exciting international thrillers, including the new John Lawton novel, Moscow Exile.
Here are some of the late March and April releases that I am most looking forward to reading.
Leading out the thrillers is Anthony McCarten’s high-concept thriller Going Zero, (Macmillan, 11 April 2023).
Invoking early comparisons to Michael Crichton, Going Zero is a smoothly written and highly entertaining thriller that mixes timely concerns about privacy and surveillance with a good storyline.
The summary provided by the publisher reads:
“TWO HOURS TO VANISH
Ten people have been carefully selected to Beta test a ground-breaking piece of spyware. Pioneered by tech-wunderkind Cy Baxter, FUSION can track anyone wherever they are on earth. But does it work?
ONE CHANCE TO ESCAPE
Each participant is given two hours to ‘Go Zero’ – to go off-grid and disappear – and then thirty days to elude the highly sophisticated Capture Teams sent to find them. Any Zero that beats FUSION will receive $3million in cash. If Cy’s system prevails, he wins a $90 billion-dollar contract with the CIA to develop FUSION and revolutionize surveillance forever.
For contestant Kaitlyn Day, the stakes are far higher than money, and her reasons for entering the test more personal than Cy could have ever imagined. Kaitlyn needs to win to get what she wants, and Cy will stop at nothing to realize his ambitions. They have no choice but to finish the game and when the timer hits zero, there will only be one winner.”
I have already read Going Zero and really enjoyed it. The story flows at a good pace and just when you are beginning to wonder when the thriller elements are going to kick in, McCarten provides a good twist that takes the story to a new level. I will be doing a longer review in the next few weeks, but it is certainly one to add to your ‘watch list’.
David Baldacci’s novels may occasionally require some suspension of disbelief, but they are always addictively readable, and his latest one, Simply Lies (Macmillan, 28 March 2023), looks like being another fun read.
The publisher has provided the following detail:
“Following a disastrous divorce, former New Jersey detective Mickey Gibson is now employed by a global investigation company, ProEye, to track down some of the extremely wealthy who seem bent on not paying their debts. Mickey misses police work, but it has no place in her new role as the sole carer of two small children.
When Mickey is asked by Arlene Robinson, a colleague from ProEye, to inventory an old mansion owned by a notorious former arms dealer, Rutger Novak, she discovers a long-decomposed body in a secret room. Apparently, Novak has cheated ProEye clients out of millions in the past and now they want to nail him.
As the police investigation begins, they discover that there is no Arlene Robinson working for ProEye. Nor is there a mansion allegedly belonging to Novak. And the dead man is named as local wealthy recluse Daniel Pottinger.
Now begins an unusual and compelling cat-and-mouse contest between the two women – revealing more about Gibson, but much more about the woman with no name, no morals and no empathy, who seems to be able to convince anyone of anything.”
I think it will be a case of sitting back and enjoying the ride.
There has been a plethora of recent crime novels featuring a group of supposed friends being stranded in a remote location and being killed off one by one. When done right, they can be very good, as with Allie Reynolds’ Shiver from a couple of years back.
The Hike, (Harper Collins, 19 April 2023), by ‘the queen of destination thrillers’ Lucy Clarke, also looks like it might be a good one:
“Leaving behind their everyday lives, four friends hike out into the beautiful Norwegian wild – nothing between them and the mountain peak but forest, sea and sharp blue sky.
THE PERFECT PLACE TO DISAPPEAR
But there’s a darker side to the wilderness. A woman went missing here one year ago, scarring the mountain with suspicion and unanswered questions.
Now, the friends are hiking into the heart of the mystery. And waiting on the trail is someone who’d do anything to keep their secrets buried, and to stop the group walking away alive.”
It sounds very promising and I am looking forward to reading it.
Undoubtedly one of the spy thrillers I am most keen to read in 2023 is John Lawton’s Moscow Exile, (Grove Press, 4 May 2023), which is the fourth in his historical espionage series about British agent Joe Wilderness. Although it is not due for release in the United Kingdom and Australia until May 2023, it is being released in the United States on 18 April with the different US cover below.
I have just received a copy of Moscow Exile for review and it has moved to the top of my ‘to read pile’!
Lawton’s last Joe Wilderness novel, Hammer To Fall, left the roguish British spy in a difficult situation on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain in 1969. Now we finally get to find out how Joe has been faring in Moscow Exile. Lawton’s Wilderness novels are a notch above most spy fiction being produced and this is probably the book I am most keen on reading this year.
I was quite taken with Robert Gold’s Twelve Secrets from last year, which his first solo novel after three co-authored titles with James Patterson.
Eleven Liars, (Sphere, 28 March 2023), is a follow-up to Twelve Secrets and once more features crime journalist Ben Harper. This time Harper is on his way home when he sees flames in a local churchyard in the small near-London town of Haddley. The derelict community centre is on fire, and Harper quickly realises that a boy is trapped inside. With Ben’s help the boy escapes, only to flee the scene before he can identified. Haddley is soon abuzz with rumours, which only intensify when a skeleton is found in the burnt-out foundations. When the identity of the victim is revealed, Ben is confronted with a crime that is terrifyingly close to home. As he uncovers a web of deceit and destruction that goes back decades, Ben quickly learns that in this small town, everybody is guilty of something.
I enjoyed Twelve Secrets as a clever stand alone novel and it will be interesting to see if Gold can massage the Harper books into an ongoing series.
Here is a link to my review of Twelve Secrets from last year: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/march-reading-2022-new-books-by-harlan-coben-and-robert-gold/
I am relatively new to Tim Sullivan’s novels, but I am currently reading The Monk, (Head of Zeus, 27 April 2023), and quite enjoying it.
The Monk is the fifth book in Sullivan’s series about detective DS Cross who suffers from autism spectrum disorder. The book opens with the discovery of the body of a monk, who has beaten to death in a woodland near Bristol. Brother Dominic seems a humble and harmless man, but as Cross and his colleagues investigate it becomes clear that nothing is really known about the monk’s past. It emerges that Brother Dominic was once a very wealthy man, who gave it all up for his faith. For a man who has nothing, it seems strange that greed could be the motive for his murder. But greed is a sin after all.
The Monk is a very engaging novel, so far, and I will be doing a full review when I finish it.
In one of those quirks of publishing, The Monk is released on Kindle on 27 April 2023, in both the United Kingdom and Australia, but is not released in paper form until September 2023.
There is great anticipation, but also sadness, around Peter Robinson’s Standing In The Shadows (Hodder & Stoughton, 4 April 2023). Robinson passed away in late 2022, and Standing In The Shadows is the twenty-eighth and presumably final book in his much loved series about Yorkshire detective Inspector Alan Banks.
The novel features a dual storyline set across forty years:
In 1980, against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper investigation, university student Nick Hartley returns home after a lecture to find the building swarming with police. He is quickly questioned by police about the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Alice, and the disappearance of her new boyfriend. Alice’s body was discovered in a local park and the police soon identify Nick, who has no alibi, as their chief suspect. Disappointed with the police investigation, Nick pursues his own leads down through the years.
In 2019, at an archeological dig outside of Eastvale, the diggers unearth a skeleton that turns out to be far more recent than the Roman remains they are looking for. Detective Superintendent Alan Banks and his team are called in and, as the investigation into the find begins, the past and the present meet with devastating consequences.
I have enjoyed the Alan Banks stories over the years and it will be sad to read this final entry.
Standing In The Shadows, with its terrific moody cover, will be released in Australia in early April 2023, it is less clear when it will be released in the United Kingdom.
Loraine Peck’s debut novel The Second Son, won the 2021 Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Fiction from the Australian Crime Writers Association. It was a tough searing story about gang warfare and deadly family bonds.
In Double Bind, (Text, 4 April 2023), Loraine continues the story about Amy and Johnny Novak who have fled to a northern New South Wales seaside town to escape Johnny’s criminal family. It is hard, however, to shake the Novaks and their criminal connections, and Amy finds herself once caught up in violence.
Double Bind promises to be another epic crime saga by one of the rising stars of Australian crime fiction.
Another promising second novel is Dying To Know, (Harper Collins, 5 April 2023), by Rae Cairns.
Rae’s debut, last year’s The Good Mother, was an engaging thriller that partly drew on her experiences in Northern Ireland during the final years of ‘The Troubles’. Dying To Know returns the action to Australia and is a stand alone Sydney based thriller:
Twelve years ago budding journalist Geneva Leighton received a phone call that stopped her life in its tracks. Her terrified sister, Amber, was locked in the boot of a moving car and begging Geneva for help. Amber was never heard from again.
Since that night, Geneva’s days have revolved around caring for her traumatised niece and nephew, despite the unpredictable behaviour of their father, and keeping the search for her sister alive. But, the knowledge it should have been her in the boot of the car haunts her waking hours.
When Sergeant Jesse Johns turns up with shocking new evidence about Amber, Geneva’s world is thrown into chaos again. With the police investigation going no where, Geneva sets out on her own search for justice, but as she edges closer and closer to the truth, she uncovers dangerous secrets that have the power to destroy everyone she loves.
The Good Mother showed lots of promise and I am keen to see whether Rae has matured as an author with Dying To Know. It should be a highly entertaining read.
So some really interesting and varied crime novels and thrillers for your April reading! Which ones are you most keen to read?