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Posted by on 20 Mar, 2024 in Australian Crime Fiction, Bestseller, British Crime, British Thrillers, Crime, Domestic Suspense, Forecast Friday, Looking Forward Friday, Outback Crime, serial killer thriller, Thriller | 0 comments



With a quarter of 2024 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 Stig Abel, Stuart Turton, Helen Fields and a creepy horror/crime mix by C J Tudor. I have already highlighted forthcoming April releases by Australians Candice Fox and Garry Disher, , but fans of Australian and New Zealand crime fiction can also look forward to second novels by award winning New Zealand author Michael Bennett and Australian Alexander Thorpe. There are also a pair of good international thrillers by Douglas Preston and Christopher Reich, and two domestic/psychological suspense novels by popular American authors Lisa Unger and Tarryn Fisher, which recently hit my desk.

Here are some of the April releases that I am most looking forward to reading.

Death In A Lonely Place by Stig Abell (Hemlock Press, 3 April 2024)

Stig Abell’s debut crime novel, Death Under A Little Sky, was well received when it appeared last year, and now his retired police detective, Jake Jackson, makes a second appearance in Death In A Lonely Place (Hemlock Press, 3 April 2024).

The book is again set in a quaint English village, with more than its share of death. Detective Jake Jackson moved to the countryside for a quieter life. And he finally seems to have his wish, spending his days immersed in nature, and his evenings lazing by the fire with his new love Livia. But the return of an old case shatters the calm, and pulls him into the shadowy world of a secretive group serving the extravagant whims of the elite. As the web around Jake tightens, he must determine who he can really trust in his small community. Or else he will learn just how far the elite will go to protect their secrets.

Death Under A Little Sky was a little twee at times, particular the place names of Chandler Lake, Poirot Point, etc, but beneath the quaintness it was a good murder mystery with a nicely worked out ending. I am looking forward to reading Death In A Lonely Place. And what a great cover!

Profile K by Helen Fields (Avon, 25 April 2024)

Far darker in tone is the latest crime thriller by British author Helen Fields, Profile K (Avon, 25 April 2024).

Helen has garnered considerable popular acclaim for her series about Edinburgh detectives DI Luc Callenach and DCI Ava Turner, but with Profile K she heads off in a new direction, with a new central character.

“Midnight Jones is an analyst trained to understand the human mind. But everything changes when, in the course of her work, she discovers Profile K’s file – because K stands for killer, and she knows that someone more dangerous than even she could have ever imagined walks among them.

Midnight knows what Profile K is capable of before he even commits his first crime. But as the news rolls with the brutal murder of a local woman, no one believes what she tells them: that he is capable of so much worse.

Profile K will kill again – and, terrifyingly, Midnight realises that the moment she found his file was the moment she became his next target. Because Profile K is coming for Midnight, and the only way to escape with her life is to find him before he finds her.”

Helen really excels with these old styled serial killer thrillers about an intrepid investigator trying to track down a killer with a grudge against them, and I am sure that Profile K will be eagerly welcomed by her many fans.

The Last Murder At The End Of The World by Stuart Turton (Raven Books, 3 April 2024)

Much more odder is the latest release by Stuart Turton, The Last Murder At The End Of The World, (Raven Books, 3 April 2024).

Turton’s The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was an inventive, high concept crime novel, which drew lots of critical acclaim, but was not liked by more conservative crime readers. His latest seems to be also pushing the boundaries of the genre:

“Outside the island there is nothing: the world destroyed by a fog that swept the planet, killing anyone it touched. On the island: it is idyllic. 122 villagers and 3 scientists, living in peaceful harmony. The villagers are content to fish, farm and feast, to obey their nightly curfew, to do what they’re told by the scientists.

Until, to the horror of the islanders, one of their beloved scientists is found brutally stabbed to death. And they learn the murder has triggered a lowering of the security system around the island, the only thing that was keeping the fog at bay.

If the murder isn’t solved within 92 hours, the fog will smother the island – and everyone on it.

But the security system has also wiped everyone’s memories of exactly what happened the night before, which means that someone on the island is a murderer – and they don’t even know it.”

I have started reading The Last Murder At The End Of The World and it certainly grabs your attention from the opening pages as you try to work out what is going on. I think it is going to be good fun.

The Gathering by C. J. Tudor (Michael Joseph, 16 April 2024)

Also pushing the boundaries of the crime genre is C. J. Tudor’s latest creepy thriller with its apparent vampiric overtones, The Gathering (Michael Joseph, 16 April 2024).

The publisher has provided the following brief details:

“A small Alaskan town.
A missing boy.
A brutal murder.
A detective brought in from out of state to assist the former sheriff who investigated a similar murder twenty-five years ago.
But are they hunting a twisted psychopath – or something even more terrifying?”

I have just finished Tudor’s The Drift, and loved her mix of near future horror and crime, and the vivid snow settings. I am really looking forward to The Gathering with its promise of more horror and more snow!

Death Holds The Key by Alexander Thorpe (Fremantle Press, 10 April 2024)

Alexander Thorpe’s first novel, Death Leaves The Station, was a classic murder mystery set in the Western Australian outback in the 1920s. It featured a mysterious travelling friar who played a major role in uncovering the murderer and contained a good number of well placed red herrings.

Death Holds The Key, (Fremantle Press, 10 April 2024), once more features the mendicant monk from the first book and revolves around another murder in small-town Western Australia in the late 1920s. The publisher has provided the following synopsis:

“When loathed landholder Fred O’Donnell is found dead in a locked room with a bullet in his chest, rookie Detective Hartley must seek help from a mysterious wanderer to solve the case. And it’s one where everyone, including his family, has a motive and a secret to keep.

Full of twists and turns, this seemingly impossible murder mystery is cosy crime writing at its finest.”

I missed the first book in the series, but I am intrigued by the idea of a classic, locked room, mystery in outback Australia and I have it on my tall ‘to be read’ pile.

Return To Blood by Michael Bennett (Simon & Schuster, 17 April 2024)

I was very impressed with New Zealand author Michael Bennett’s Better The Blood, which was my favourite debut crime novel of 2023.

Now Bennett is back with a second novel featuring Hana Westerman and it looks like being another richly textured and engaging novel:

“Hana Westerman has left Auckland and her career as a detective behind her. Settled in a quiet coastal town, all she wants is a fresh start.

The discovery of a skeleton in the dunes near her house changes everything. The remains are those of a young Māori woman who went missing four years before, and Hana has a connection to the case. Twenty years ago, a schoolfriend of hers was found buried in the exact same spot. Her killer died in prison, but did the police get the wrong man? And if he was innocent, then why did he plead guilty?

No longer part of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Hana turns to her ex-husband Jaye, a high-flying Detective Inspector, for help. But when he cuts her out of the investigation, she realises that she will have to find the answers she needs on her own.

But in digging deeper, she sets herself on a potentially fatal collision course with a killer.”

New Zealand crime fiction is going through a golden period at the moment, and Bennett is helping to push it onto the international stage with good overseas recognition for Better The Blood. Return To Blood seems to provide the same mix of clever plotting, complex characters, strong Māori themes and a good mystery. Put both of the Hana Westerman books on your ‘must read’ list.

Extinction by Douglas Preston (Forge, 26 April 2024)

Leading off the international thrillers is Extinction by Douglas Preston, (Forge, 26 April 2024).

With Lincoln Child, Preston is half of the popular thriller writing team responsible for the Pendergast and Nora Kelly books. He has also written some very good solo thrillers and Extinction is a very enjoyable read that combines Michael Crichton style thrills with a heavy of dose of clever science. In many ways it is Jurassic Park revisited, with more science and mammoths!

“Erebus Resort, occupying a magnificent, hundred-thousand acre valley deep in the Colorado Rockies, offers guests the experience of viewing woolly mammoths, Irish Elk, and giant ground sloths in their native habitat, brought back from extinction through the magic of genetic manipulation. When a billionaire’s son and his new wife are kidnapped, and murdered, in the Erebus back country by what is assumed to be a gang of eco-terrorists, Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Frances Cash partners with county sheriff James Colcord to track down the perpetrators.

As killings mount and the valley is evacuated, Cash and Colcord must confront an ancient, intelligent, and malevolent presence at Erebus, bent not on resurrection–but extinction.”

I have already read Extinction and thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters and the science are interesting, and the plot is full of action and surprises. Some suspension of disbelief is required, but it is very good fun. I will be doing a longer review in the next few weeks.

Matterhorn by Christopher Reich (Thomas & Mercer, 1 April 2024)

Christopher Reich’s Matterhorn (Thomas & Mercer, 1 April 2024) is also very enjoyable.

I have read most of Reich’s books over the years and this is probably his best for some time. The story is a good combination of spies and action, and it is easy to see Liam Neeson in the central role.

“Robbie Steinhardt lives a peaceful life. A fixture of his small alpine village, he tends cattle, minds his own business, and doesn’t dwell on his former life and the family and lover he left behind, back when he was Mac Dekker, CIA.

But when he learns his son Will died following in his footsteps, he needs answers. What mission took Will up into the alpine heights, and why is old friend, and rival, Ilya Ivashka, on the same trail? Ilya, who framed Mac for treason and sent him into hiding.

Wiping away the years, Mac returns to the field to find the secrets Will hid and finds himself facing the Herculean task of stopping a terrorist plot that threatens thousands. But in a field of double agents, who can he trust?”

I will be reviewing Matterhorn shortly, but it is certainly a must read for those who like international thrillers with a bit of heart and lots of action.

Finally, two novels of the domestic/psychological suspense variety turned up today, which look quite promising:

The New Couple In 5B by Lisa Unger (HQ, 3 April 2024)
Good Half Gone by Tarryn Fisher (HQ, 20 March 2024)

I reviewed Lisa Unger’s first novel, Beautiful Lies, when it came out in 2006 and I have dipped into her books over the years, and generally found them to be engaging first person thrillers with plenty of twists. I was very taken with her Confessions On The 7.45 from a couple of years ago and thought that Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six was also good.

Her new book, The New Couple In 5B (HQ, 3 April 2024), has a Riley Sager Lock Every Door vibe to it and sounds very entertaining:

“Rosie and Chad Lowan are barely making ends meet in New York City when they receive life-changing news: Chad’s late uncle has left them his luxury apartment at the historic Windermere in glamorous Murray Hill. With its prewar elegance and impeccably uniformed doorman, the building is the epitome of old New York charm. One would almost never suspect the dark history lurking behind its perfectly maintained façade.

At first, the building and its eclectic tenants couldn’t feel more welcoming. But as the Lowans settle into their new home, Rosie starts to suspect that there’s more to the Windermere than meets the eye.

Why is the doorman ever-present?
Why are there cameras everywhere?
And why have so many gruesome crimes occurred there throughout the years?

When one of the neighbours turns up dead, Rosie must get to the truth about the Windermere before she, too, falls under its dangerous spell.”

I have not read any of Tarryn Fisher’s earlier books, but Good Half Gone, (HQ, 20 March 2024), certainly has a good creepy feel to it:

“Iris Walsh saw her twin sister, Piper, get kidnapped – so why does no one believe her?

Iris narrowly escaped her pretty, popular twin sister’s fate as a teen – vanished long before the cops agreed to investigate. With no evidence to go on but a few fractured memories, the case quickly went cold.

Now an adult, Iris wants one thing – proof. And if the police still won’t help, she’ll just have to find it her own way; by interning at the isolated Shoal Island Hospital for the criminally insane, where secrets lurk in the shadows and are kept under lock and key.

But Iris soon realizes that something even more sinister is simmering beneath the surface of the Shoal, and that the patients aren’t the only ones being observed.”

Sounds intriguing and is sure to appeal to fans of Colleen Hoover and Freida McFadden.

So, a real mix of books, with something for everyone. Let me know which ones appeal the most to you.

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