FORECAST FRIDAY: THE BEST NEW CRIME RELEASES OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2022
With just over three months to Christmas, the annual flood of new thriller and crime books is picking up momentum, with some great titles scheduled for release in the next few months. I have looked over the forthcoming releases, picked out twelve of the most promising ones across the spectrum of crime fiction.
Leading the releases by big name authors is Michael Connelly’s Desert Star, (Allen & Unwin, 8 November 2022).
Michael Connelly is easily in the top half dozen of the world’s best crime writers and a new release from him is always a highlight of the reading year.
His latest, Desert Star, sees the iconic Harry Bosch once more teaming up with LAPD Detective Renee Ballard, as they try to track down a pair of cold case killers. Ballard is back on the LAPD and heading up the newly reformed cold case unit at the elite Robbery-Homicide Division. In her new role she offers Bosch a job as a volunteer investigator. Bosch wants to pursue a case that has always haunted him, the murder of an entire family by a psychopath, but first he has to help Ballard clear the unsolved rape and murder of a sixteen-year-old girl. The decades-old case is essential to the councilman who supported re-forming the unit, and who could shut it again, as the victim was his sister. When Ballard gets a “cold hit” connecting the killing to a similar crime, proving that a serial predator has been at work in the city for years, the political pressure has never been higher.
Everything by Connelly is worth reading and this one is high on my reading list.
In my view the only author who can match Connelly for excellence and consistency over a long period is Ian Rankin.
A Heart Full Of Headstones, (Orion, 11 October 2022), is the twenty-fourth book in his series about the now former Edinburgh police detective John Rebus, and opens with the recalcitrant detective on trial for a crime that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life. It all harks back to dirty police deeds in the past and the disappearance of a corrupt cop who harbours secrets that could sink the city’s police force. Has Rebus finally crossed the line or is he being set up.
I have already read this one and it is a terrific read, and probably one of Rankin’s finest novels for awhile. I will be posting a full ‘no spoilers’ review shortly.
Leading out the Australian releases is Chris Hammer’s The Tilt, (Allen & Unwin, 5 October 2022).
Detective Constable Nell Buchanan, who we last saw in Hammer’s Treasure & Dirt, is now a newly minted homicide detective and is assigned to a cold case in her old home town on the border between New South Wales and Victoria. When she and Inspector Ivan Lucic arrive in the town new developments escalate the importance of the case, and force Nell into a dangerous situation that implicates her own family.
Chris Hammer has established himself as a leading chronicler of rural noir tales and this one looks really good. The combination of Nell and Lucic worked really well in his last book and I look forward to seeing how their relationship develops. I think that Chris’ plotting has improved over the course of his books and The Tilt should be another excellent read.
Coming a little later in the year is the new novel by Garry Disher featuring struggling South Australian rural policeman Constable Paul Hirschhausen (Hirsch), Day’s End (Text, 1 November 2022).
Disher’s Bitter Wash Road from 2013 is one of my all time favourite Australian crime novels and the following two books in his Hirsch series have been just as good.
Day’s End finds Hirsch pounding his beat of endless dirt roads and dust, and dealing with every problem that besets small towns and isolated properties, from unlicensed driving to arson. In the time of the virus, Hirsch is seeing stresses heightened and social divisions cracking wide open. The arrival of an international visitor who is trying to find out what happened to her missing son raises new complications, especially when it emerges that Janne Van Sant is no stranger to police investigations.
Mark this one down as a ‘must read’!
Rounding out the Australian releases is Sarah Barrie’s Retribution, (Harper Collins, 30 November 2022).
I really enjoyed Sarah Barrie’s Tasmanian wilderness thriller from 2020, Deadman’s Tracks, and quite liked the first book in her Lexi Winter series from last year, Unforgiven.
Retribution finds ace hacker, ex-prostitute, Jack Daniels drinker and part-time vigilante Lexi Winter working with the police as a probationary constable. Uncomfortable with the confines of a formal policing role, Lexi is still quietly using her hacking skills to investigate a notorious drug-dealing Sydney crime family with links to her old prey, the paedophile Damon Vaughn. Meanwhile her colleagues investigate a death on a Sydney building site that lead them into territory very familiar to Lexi.
Unforgiven was a tougher change in style and tone for Sarah and it will be interesting to see if she can maintain the momentum and grit of it in Retribution. Regardless, her books always offer plenty of action and tension and suspenseful conclusions.
The pick of the debut novels would seem to be Lauren Nossett’s The Resemblance, (Macmillan, 25 October 2022).
Detective Marlitt Kaplan is the first on the scene when a college fraternity brother at the University of Georgia is killed in a bizarre hit and run. The daughter of a professor from the University, Marlitt becomes caught up in old secrets and the sordid, unseen world of US college fraternities as she tries to bring the perpetrator to justice. Battling pressure from the influential parents of the wealthy students and threats from her past, Marlitt comes to understand how powerful fraternity brotherhoods are.
The Resemblance arrives on the back of some positive early reviews from America and seems to be very timely in its themes, as well as a thrilling crime read.
Fans of domestic suspense can look forward to The Prisoner, (Hodder & Stoughton, 8 November 2022), by B. A. Paris.
Paris’ debut novel Behind Closed Doors was a bestseller that rocketed her towards the top of the psychological suspense market. She has since followed it up with other popular books, including the wickedly twisty Bring Me Back and last year’s The Therapist.
The Prisoner promises a similar dose of popular suspense, drama and romance:
Amelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London. As she builds a career for herself in the magazine industry, she meets, and agrees to marry, Ned Hawthorne.
Amelie wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is. Why has she been taken? Who are her mysterious captors? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband Ned?”
Fans of her earlier books will not be disappointed with this latest offering.
I have been a keen fan of Lisa Unger’s books since the first, Beautiful Lies, back in 2006. Her Confessions On The 7.45 was one of my favourite books of 2020, and her novels always have a slightly quirky edge to them that I like.
Her newest novel, Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six, (HQ, 4 January 2023), seems to be the latest in string of recent books about a group of friends/work colleagues with secrets and troubled pasts who get trapped in remote locations with disastrous results.
In Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six:
“What could be more restful, more restorative, than a weekend getaway with family and friends? Hannah’s loving and generous tech-mogul brother found the listing for the secluded dream house online. It’s his birthday gift to Hannah and includes their spouses and another couple. The six friends need this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R, far from the chatter and pressures of modern life.
But the idyllic weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep. How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? And who is the new boyfriend, crashing their party? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?”
I am very keen to see what dark twists Lisa brings to this popular thriller trope.
Note: Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six is released in the United States on 8 November 2022, but is not released in Australia and the United Kingdom until early January 2023. Also the above cover is the American one and the Australian edition is likely to have a different cover.
The Family Game (Simon & Schuster) is due for release in the United Kingdom on 29 September 2022, but unfortunately won’t be released in Australia until 1 January 2023.
Catherine Steadman has a very natural first person narrative style and her last novel, The Disappearing Act, was a clever, witty tale that kept you engrossed from beginning to end. Her latest novel, The Family Game, promises more of the same and if it is up to the standard of The Disappearing Act it should be a top notch read.
The publisher’s have provided the following information:
1. Listen carefully
2. Do your research
3. Trust no one
4. Run for your life
Harriet Reed is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir to an extremely powerful American family.
When Edward’s father hands her a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen.
But as she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t a novel. It’s a confession to murder.
Feeling isolated and confused, Harriet must work out if this is all part of a plan to test her loyalty. Or something far darker.
Because this might be a game to the Holbeck family – but games can still be deadly.
READY OR NOT, HERE THEY COME . . .
C. J. Tudor made spectacular entry into Britain’s crime writing fraternity with her first darkly macabre novel, The Chalk Man, and has subsequently followed it up with two more novels that successfully skirted that dark area between crime novel and horror.
Ms Tudor has a new novel coming out in January 2023, The Drift, but in the meantime we have a creepy collection of stories in A Silver Of Darkness (Michael Joseph, 5 October 2022), to haunt our dreams.
I have not read A Silver Of Darkness yet, but the stories seem to be firmly planted at the horror end of the spectrum:
“Join a group of survivors who wash up on a deserted island only to make a horrifying discovery.
Meet a cold-hearted killer who befriends a strange young girl at a motorway service station.
Travel along eerie country lanes in a world gone dark, enter a block of flats with the most monstrous of occupants and accompany a ruthless estate agent on a house sale that goes apocalyptically wrong.”
The eleven stories in total should make for good reading in the lead-up to Halloween.
Also falling into the short story category is Mick Herron’s Standing By The Wall, (Baskerville, 8 November 2022).
Herron is arguably Britain’s leading spy writer with his bestselling Slough House series now being nicely complemented by a stylish television series. Standing By The Wall is a brief 64 page novella that focusses on one of Herron’s most amusing characters, the deluded computer expert Roddy Ho. When Ho is asked by the leader of the Slow Horses, Jackson Lamb, to doctor a photograph, only chaos can ensue. An excellent stocking filler for the spy aficionado in your family.
Finally it would not be the pre-Christmas season without a new Jack Reacher novel.
No Plan B, (Bantam, 25 October 2022), is the third of the Reacher books since Lee Child handed over the primary writing role to his brother Andrew (Grant), but the formula seems very much the same. No Plan B finds Reacher in Gerrardsville, Colorado on his way to a Civil War exhibition when he witnesses a woman being pushed under a bus. The other witnesses say that it was suicide, but Reacher knows better. He sets off after the killer and suddenly finds himself caught up in something very sinister.
From the opening pages this is a typical Reacher tale with plenty of action, a neat mystery about what is going on and plenty of a wry wisdom and snippets of arcane information Reacher. Looks like being great fun.
So, in all, plenty of good releases to keep you reading all the way to Christmas and beyond.