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Posted by on 1 Dec, 2023 in Australian Crime Fiction, British Crime, Canberra Weekly, Domestic Suspense, Forecast Friday, Looking Forward Friday, serial killer thriller, Spy Fiction, Thriller | 1 comment



There is still a month to go until the end of 2023, but already the books are beginning to pile up for 2024! Here are eight of the more promising 2024 releases that I have received already.

Dark Arena by Jack Beaumont (Allen & Unwin, 3 January 2024)

One of the first books out of the blocks for 2024 is Dark Arena, (Allen & Unwin, 3 January 2024), by Jack Beaumont.

Beaumont, purportedly the pseudonym of a former operative of the clandestine operations branch of the French foreign secret service (DGSE) who now lives in Australia, made a good entry into the international thriller genre with his first novel The Frenchman.

The Frenchman was a gritty espionage tale with plenty of seemingly authentic spy detail, which was seen through an interesting French perspective. Dark Arena promises more of the same with the DGSE agent Alec de Payns tasked with tracking down an agent of influence who is sending highly classified material against the Kremlin to embassies all over Europe. A deadly conspiracy is aligning the West against Russia. But who is behind it? And to what end?

The clues lead to a secret meeting of businessmen, terrorists and mercenaries on a luxury yacht in the Mediterranean, which de Payns must infiltrate. What he discovers sets off a Europe-wide manhunt in a desperate scramble to prevent an international catastrophe.

I described The Frenchman as being “a confidently plotted and well written novel … that kept me well entertained.”

I am looking forward to seeing if Beaumont maintains the quality of the first book in Dark Arena.

The Search Party by Hannah Richell (Simon & Schuster, 3 January 2024)

Also coming out in very early January is The Search Party by Hannah Richell (Simon & Schuster, 3 January 2024).

Hannah is a dual citizen of Australia and Great Britain and her latest book is set in the wilds of Cornwall!

The publisher provides the following details:

“Max and Annie Kingsley have left the London rat race with their twelve-year-old son to set up a glamping site in the wilds of Cornwall. Eager for a dry run ahead of their opening, they invite three old university friends and their families for a long-needed reunion and a relaxing weekend.

But the festivities soon go awry as tensions arise between the children (and subsequently their parents), explosive secrets come to light, and a sudden storm moves in, cutting them off from help as one in the group disappears.”

The Search Party is the latest addition to burgeoning sub-genre of ‘destination thrillers’, where a group of friends or strangers get trapped in an isolated location with a killer. The story moves between the subsequent police investigation, a hospital room and scenes from the catastrophic weekend. Sounds like an interesting read.

By the way, fans of this sort of thriller should try Jack Heath’s recent Kill Your Husbands, which covered similar ground in an inventive and clever way:

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

One of the major releases of the first half of the year is likely to be Stuart Turton’s 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, and I am looking forward to reading it:

“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.”

Sounds very intriguing!

The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill (Ultimo Press, 6 March 2024)

Australian author Sulari Gentill has also been playing with the conventions of the crime novel in her recent books, particularly the very enjoyable The Woman In The Library. Her latest, The Mystery Writer (Ultimo Press, 6 March 2024), also seems to offer more behind the door insights into writing and crime fiction, while beguiling the reader with a good mystery:

“Theo has one dream—to become a bestselling author. Determined to make her mark in the literary world, she heads to the US on a whim to stay with her brother Gus and focus on her writing. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she befriends a famous author, Dan Murdoch, at a local bar—and then he turns up dead. Suddenly, Theo finds herself as the prime suspect.

As Theo grapples with the shocking turn of events, she realizes that Dan may not have been the person he seemed to be, and there is something sinister going on in the world of publishing. Desperate to clear her name and uncover the truth, Theo sets out on a quest to find out who killed Dan and why.

As she digs deeper, Theo uncovers a web of deceit, conspiracy, and hidden motives, with clues leading her to a shadowy organization with far-reaching power. With her own life in danger, Theo must unravel the mystery before she becomes the next victim.”

Note: The Mystery Writer will be published overseas in late March 2024 with a different cover and different publisher: Poisoned Pen Press.

The Eleventh Floor by Kylie Orr (Harper Collins, 31 January 2024)

Another Australian crime novel to look out for is The Eleventh Floor, (Harper Collins, 31 January 2024), by Kylie Orr.

This twisty looking psychological drama seems perfect for those who enjoy dark tales of domestic suspense:

“Sleep deprived, struggling and at breaking point, first-time mum Gracie Michaels books one night – alone – at The Maxwell Hotel. A king-size bed all to herself. No demands. With time to recharge she’ll be able to return to her family more like the unflappable mother she pretends to be.

Instead, she wakes in a room she doesn’t recognise after an encounter with a man who is not her husband. Then she sees something she wishes she hadn’t.

Being drawn into a crime was not something Gracie had planned for her hotel stay but when a distraught family appeals for information and a police investigation heats up she is trapped in a maze of lies.

To speak out jeopardises her marriage, but her silence threatens her son, her sanity and her safety. Will Gracie destroy her own family by telling the truth or devastate someone else’s by keeping her secrets?”

Lethal Vengeance by Robert Bryndza (Kindle, 8 February 2024)

Robert Bryndza has built up a strong following with his two series about London police detective Erika Foster and former police detective turned private detective Kate Marshall. His early 2024 release, Lethal Vengeance, returns to Erika Foster and finds the detective on the trail of another serial killer:

“When Detective Erika Foster finds politician Neville Lomas naked, hog-tied, and dead in his own bed, skittish higher-ups at the Met quickly rule the death from natural causes. Case closed, until two months later when a well-known casting director and a star footballer are found murdered and tied with the same knots. The Met can no longer ignore what’s staring them in the face: there’s a serial killer loose in London, and they’re out to settle a score.

As Erika and her team investigate, things take a strange turn as CCTV footage turns up five female suspects, and they’re all identical.

In the hunt to identify the women, Erika is outpaced at every turn by an elusive sex worker with dirt on enough powerful men to make the Met’s top brass nervous, and desperate.

As time ticks away until the killer strikes again, it’s up to Erika to untangle the web of evidence and answer the critical questions: What ties the victims together, who else is caught up in this scandal, and how far are the higher-ups willing to go to protect their own?”

Bryndza’s crime novels are always quite enjoyable. I have heard good things from early readers of Lethal Vengeance and I am looking forward to starting it soon.

Note: seems like it is only going to be available on Kindle at this stage.

The Girl In The Smoke by Matt Hilton (Severn House, 6 February 2024)

I am halfway through Matt Hilton’s The Girl In The Smoke, (Severn House, 6 February 2024), and so far it is a highly entertaining romp with some good twists and lots of suspense.

The story revolves around a young girl, Danni, who some very nasty people after her:

Danni has seen more in her eight years on this planet than most people see in a lifetime. The sole survivor of a motorway pile-up which took her mother’s life, she is now safe and thriving with her adoptive family. Until the day the bad people come knocking. Forcing Danni to face the memories she has done such a good job forgetting.

Josie‘s quiet life is dismantled with a knock at the door. When she and her daughter are violently kidnapped, Josie must act fast to survive. Danni has very little memory of the day her mother died, but these people are hell-bent on extracting what memories she has.

Grace arrives at her big sister’s house to find signs of violence and her sister and niece taken. Josie has been her protector her entire life – but now she needs to be the strong one. Enlisting the help of a friend with the combat experience and skills she needs, Grace will stop at nothing to get her family back home.”

I am really enjoying the shifting change in perspective between Danni, Josie and Grace, and the book certainly grips your attention. Look out for this one.

Hunted by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker, 9 May 2024)

Finally, the pick of the thrillers piling up in my study looks like being Abir Mukherjee’s Hunted, (Harvill Secker, 9 May 2024).

I have enjoyed those of Mukherjee’s Wyndham and Banerjee books that I have read, and Hunted seems to be bringing the brisk pace and social consciousness of those stories to a modern setting:

“It’s a week before the presidential elections when a bomb goes off in an LA shopping mall.

In London, armed police storm Heathrow Airport and arrest Sajid Khan. His daughter Aliyah entered the USA with the suicide bomber, and now she’s missing, potentially plotting another attack.

But then a woman called Carrie turns up at Sajid’s door after travelling halfway across the world. She claims Aliyah is with her son Greg, and she knows where they could be.

Back in the US, Agent Shreya Mistry is closing in on the two fugitives. But the more she investigates, the more she realises there is more to this case than meets the eye and suspects a wider conspiracy.

Hunted by the authorities, the two parents are thrown together in a race against time to find their kids before the FBI does, and stop a catastrophe that will bring the country to its knees.”

In addition to the above, I also have new books by David Downing, Simon Rowell and Douglas Preston to read! So at this early stage, 2024 is already shaping up to be another good ‘reading’ year.

Which of the above titles appeal the most to you?

1 Comment

  1. Three particularly appeal to me: ‘Lethal Vengeance’, ‘The Mystery Writer’, and ‘The Last Murder at the End of The World’.

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