APRIL ACTION: NEW CRIME BOOKS TO READ IN APRIL 2022
With a quarter of 2022 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 thriller writing seem to be particularly well served with major new releases by Stella Rimington, Neil Lancaster, Lynda La Plante and Fiona Cummins, and there are also some interesting new books by Australian authors.
Here are some of the late March and April releases that I am most looking forward to reading.
I have seen different release dates for this one. It is currently out in Australia, but not due for release in the United Kingdom until the end of March. Regardless, The Foot Soldiers (Hodder & Stoughton) is a very good read and one of the few times that Gerald Seymour has re-used a character from a previous book.
Nondescript MI5 operative Jonas Merrick, last seen in Seymour’s The Crocodile Hunter, is called back from retirement, and his beloved caravan, to root out a possible Russian mole in MI6. Merrick is called the Eternal Flame by the younger, flashier members of the agency, because ‘he never goes out’, but he is a determined hunter. With professional detachment Merrick goes about his business, while the Russians seek revenge against the defector who started the mole hunt.
Like most of Seymour’s novels, it is a slow burn, but the tension steadily increases as Merrick works his way through the possible suspects and plots his revenge on the Russians. I have almost finished reading this one and will be posting a full review shortly.
The Devil’s Bargain (Bloomsbury) by former head of MI5 and veteran thriller writer Stella Rimington, is another British spy drama with differing release dates. Due out sometime in March, it promises Stella’s usual mixture of steady plotting, convincing spycraft and sudden bursts of action, as a Russian sleeper agent tries to stay one step ahead of a corrupt former policeman and a CIA analyst based in London.
It has been awhile since the last spy novel by Stella Rimington and I am really looking forward to this one.
Scottish crime writer Neil Lancaster has been steadily building up a strong fan base over the past few years and with his latest novel, The Blood Tide (HQ, 31 March 2022), he appears set to expand it further.
The Blood Tide is the second in his series about DS Max Craigie from the Scottish Policing Standards Reassurance Team, and finds the detective and his team trying to work out the truth behind a disappearance of a fisherman from a remote sea loch on the west coast of Scotland and a possible suicide off a Glasgow bridge. Brimming with action and twists, The Blood Tide seems set to establish Lancaster as a leading member of the Scottish crime writing fraternity.
Note: The Blood Tide is already available as a Kindle read, but the hard copies of the book are due out at the end of March 2022. There were formatting problems with the original Kindle release, but these have apparently now been fixed.
Lynda La Plante is a popular veteran of the British crime writing scene and is probably best known for her creation of Jane Tennison and the successful Widows television series, movies and books.
Vanished (Zaffre, 29 March 2022) is the third book in her series about Detective Jack Warr, and is another
well-put-to-together tale that combines engaging and interesting characters with a captivating plot. I enjoyed the last Warr book, Judas Horse, and I am looking forward to reading this one.
Fiona Cummins established her crime writing credentials with two very good serial killer thrillers, Rattle and The Collector, and has since moved into the psychological suspense thriller arena. With her latest novel, Into The Dark (Macmillan, 14 April 2022), she seems to be providing a mixture of the two.
One morning, a lady arrives at her friend’s upmarket home in coastal Essex for their usual morning jog, only to find the place deserted. The whole Holden family, Piper, Gray and the children Riva and Artie are nowhere to be seen, but their belongings are all still here. The only worrying signs are a fine mist of blood coating an antique chandelier and a message on a bedroom mirror saying ‘Make Them Stop’. Detectives are called in, and new to the area DS Saul Anguish, who featured in Rattle and The Collector, is one of the detectives on the case.
With a great opening premise and a twisty, multi-layered plot, Into The Dark promises plenty of creepy thrills and chills. Fiona is noted for her disturbed characters and graphic violence, so it is unlikely to be one for the faint hearted.
There are also plenty of twisted characters in Benjamin Stevenson’s Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone (Penguin, 29 March 2022), although it is far lighter in tone.
Stevenson’s first two crime novels, Greenlight and The Other Side Of Midnight, were very good, and probably underappreciated, straight crime novels on the darker side of the genre. They are nothing like Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone, which is a witty, clever and down right funny novel, that plays tribute to the classic British murder mystery, while also upending all of your expectations. I will not attempt to describe the plot, other than to say that it revolves around a strange family reunion in a snowed-in resort in the Australian alps and involves several killings, in the past and the present. It is also the most original and enjoyable crime novel I have read in quite awhile.
A cross between the classic ‘Golden Age’ murder mystery, Daniel Craig’s Knives Out and Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club, but with more bite and less twee, Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone is certainly one to add to your ‘must read’ list!
I will be doing a full review closer to the release date.
Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone is released in Australia on 29 March 2022 and in the United Kingdom on 18 August 2022.
More traditional in its approach is Nina D. Campbells’ debut novel, Daughters Of Eve (Allen & Unwin, April 2022).
Introducing a new Sydney detective in the form of Emilia Hart, Daughters Of Eve, deals with a series of killings by a vigilante group that target men responsible for terrible, unpunished acts of domestic violence. Emilia has some sympathy for their actions, but is committed to upholding the law and finds herself in a desperate attempt to track down the killer before more deaths occur.
It is nice to see a new debut Australian crime novel, which is not set in the outback!
Close on the heels of the recently released trailer for the Brad Pitt movie based on Kotaro Isaka’s Bullet Train, comes Isaka’s latest novel, Three Assassins (Harvill Secker, 14 April 2022).
Featuring another wild action-filled plot, Three Assassins follows a former everyday sort of guy, Suzuki, who is now on a trail of vengeance following the murder of his wife. When he discovers the criminal gang responsible for his wife’s death, he leaves behind his life as a teacher and joins them, looking for a chance to take his revenge. What he doesn’t realise is that he’s about to get drawn into a web of unusual professional assassins, each with their own agenda:
“The Whale convinces his victims to take their own lives using just his words.
The Cicada is a talkative and deadly knife expert.
The elusive Pusher dispatches his targets in deadly traffic accidents.
Suzuki must take each of them on, in order to try to find justice and keep his innocence in a world of killers.”
Fans of Bullet Train will be keen to dive into this latest high octane thriller by Isaka.
So some really interesting and varied crime novels and thrillers for your April reading!