FEBRUARY FELONIES: NEW CRIME BOOKS TO READ IN FEBRUARY 2023
For crime and thriller readers 2023 has already gotten off to an enjoyable start with the release of some very good books in January. Fans of Australian crime fiction have been particularly well served with a new Zoe Mayer detective novel by Simon Rowell, Wild Card, and a very gritty and gripping debut by John Byrnes, Headland. (https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/new-aussie-crime-january-2023/)
Also the release of Dinuka McKenzie’s new novel, Taken, is only a week away, and it is exceeding good. Similarly, there have been some good British crime and thriller releases by Peter May, A Winter Grave, and Jo Callaghan, In The Blink Of An Eye.
February also promises some good new books, especially towards the end of the month, and I have picked out five that I am particularly looking forward to.
The pick of the Australian crime releases looks like being Mali Waugh’s Judgement Day (Macmillan, 28 February 2023), which comes out at the end of the month.
Mali works as a lawyer in Melbourne and her first novel takes a sharp look at the local legal system, as well as providing a good mystery plot:
“Family law judge Kaye Bailey is found murdered in her chambers. Is this the work of a disgruntled complainant? Or an inside job by a jealous colleague? Or is there something even more insidious at the heart of this brutal act?
Detective Jillian Basset is just back from maternity leave, trying to juggle new motherhood as she tackles the biggest case of her career. As her work and home lives get messier and messier, though, something’s going to give.”
I enjoy legal thrillers and I am looking forward to reading this promising looking debut.
Judgement Day will be released in the United States on Kindle and Audible in February, but there does not seem to be release dates for the United Kingdom yet.
Another Australian crime debut with a legal background is Joanna Jenkins’ How To Kill A Client (Allen & Unwin,
1 February 2023).
“Everyone is going to say what a great guy and a great lawyer he was. He wasn’t. He was a prick … And a shithouse lawyer.’
Gavin Jones is dead at thirty-nine. As an in-house lawyer who controlled millions of dollars in fees per year, he was legal firm Howard Greene’s biggest client and wielded that power with manipulative contempt. But he saved his worst behaviour for women, at work and at home.
The partners of Howard Greene relied on his favour to fund their lavish lifestyles. If sycophantic admiration of the man was all it took to secure work from Gavin, that’s what they delivered.
But no one liked Gavin. The list of those who suffered from his cruelty was long enough to include pretty much everyone who had contact with him. So who actually killed him?
A fast-paced and wickedly funny thriller about power and revenge set in the pristine towers of capitalism, How to Kill a Client is a scorching debut straight out of tomorrow’s headlines.”
It sounds like being a fun read and it is good to see an Australian crime novel dealing with big business and corruption in an urban setting for a change, rather than another outback mystery!
How To Kill A Client will be released in the United States on Kindle and Audible in February, but there does not seem to be release dates for the United Kingdom yet.
I remember reviewing Stuart MacBride’s first novel, Cold Granite, when it came out in 2005 and quite liking it, and I have read a number of his books since.
His latest, The Dead Of Winter (Bantam, 14 February 2023), has a very intriguing plot description and a great cover!
“It was supposed to be a simple delivery job for DI Victoria Montgomery-Porter and her sidekick, Edward Reekie – pick up a prisoner from HMP Grampian and take them to their new state-funded home – but life’s never that straightforward.
From the outside, Glenfarach looks like a quaint, sleepy, snow-dusted village, nestled in the heart of Cairngorms National Park. But things aren’t quite what they seem. The place is thick with security cameras, it doesn’t appear on any modern map, and there’s a strict nine-o’clock curfew, because Glenfarach is the last resort for criminals who’ve served their sentences but can’t be safely released into the general population.
Victoria’s just supposed to drop her ‘guest’ off and head back to Aberdeen, before the approaching blizzards shut everything down, but when an ex-cop-turned-gangster is discovered skinned alive in his bungalow, someone needs to take charge.
The weather is closing in, tensions are mounting, and time’s running out – something nasty has come to Glenfarach, and Victoria is standing right in its way.”
MacBride’s novels are always on the gritty side and this one sounds as if it is going to be a dark and chilling read.
Simon Scarrow is best known for his historical adventure novels set during the Roman Empire, but he has also ventured into more modern times, most notably with his World War II detective novel Blackout (2021). Dead Of Night (Headline,
2 February 2023) is the sequel to Blackout and once more features German Criminal Inspector Horst Schenke.
“BERLIN. JANUARY 1940.
After Germany’s invasion of Poland, the world is holding its breath and hoping for peace. At home, the Nazi Party’s hold on power is absolute.
One freezing night, an SS doctor and his wife return from an evening mingling with their fellow Nazis at the concert hall. By the time the sun rises, the doctor will be lying lifeless in a pool of blood.
Was it murder or suicide? Criminal Inspector Horst Schenke is told that under no circumstances should he investigate. The doctor’s widow, however, is convinced her husband was the target of a hit. But why would anyone murder an apparently obscure doctor? Compelled to dig deeper, Schenke learns of the mysterious death of a child. The cases seem unconnected, but soon chilling links begin to emerge that point to a terrifying secret.
Even in times of war, under a ruthless regime, there are places in hell no man should ever enter. And Schenke fears he may not return alive.”
Germany in the 1940s has considerable potential as a setting for a detective novel, and fans of Phillip Kerr and Marshall Browne’s criminally overlooked Franz Schmidt series, will be keen to get their hands on this one.
Dead Of Night will be released in the United Kingdom on 2 February 2023. The general release date for Australia is
14 February 2023.
Andrew Mayne is an underrated thriller writer, but his books about police diver and detective Sloan McPherson are always a good read, especially if you are holidaying near the coast.
His latest about Sloan and the Underwater Investigation Unit opens in typically evocative manner with Sloan recovering evidence at night from a murder scene on a Fort Lauderdale beach. From there it powers off in unexpected directions:
“When a young woman washes ashore on a Fort Lauderdale beach, Sloan McPherson of the Underwater Investigation Unit is called in to consult. Sloan’s instinct says murder, but even then, there are too many questions.
For answers she reaches out to Gwen Wylder. The Miami homicide detective is notorious for being manipulative, bitter, a tyrant to her peers, and wicked smart. And she demands something in return from Sloan: fresh insight into seemingly unrelated cold-case murders and disappearances―and a possible serial killer trolling the Florida coast.
As loose ends of the old files begin to come together, another woman disappears. Sloan and Gwen are certain she’s the newest link in a deadly chain. They are determined to track her down before she dies, but they soon find themselves in uncharted waters. And the deeper Sloan and Gwen go, the stranger the case gets.”
I have enjoyed the earlier books in the series, especially Black Coral, and have already started reading this one and I am enjoying it. His books are not released widely in Australia, but are easily tracked down through Amazon and other companies.
So a few books to check out before the big flood of releases in March, including Harlan Coben’s I Will Find You and Alex North’s The Half Burnt House. Happy reading!