HOT AUGUST NIGHTS: HOT CRIME TITLES TO READ IN AUGUST 2022
So far this year there have been some exceeding good crime novels and thrillers from a diverse range of authors, including Deon Meyer, Benjamin Stevenson, Emma Viskic and Michael Robotham, to name a few. The good news that there are still a stack of very promising releases scheduled for the rest of the year, with a particularly strong batch due out in August.
Fans of Australian and British crime fiction seem to be particularly well served in August with new books from a host of favourite authors, including John Connolly, Ruth Ware, Ann Cleeves, Tony Park and Dave Warner.
Here are some of the August releases that I am most looking forward to reading.
Top of the list is the latest book by John Connolly, The Furies (Hodder & Stoughton, 9 August 2022).
After last year’s thrilling The Nameless Ones, which mainly focused on Charlie Parker’s violent friends Louis and Angel, Connolly has returned to Parker and almost present day Maine. However, rather than a single novel, The Furies is actually comprised of two loosely linked novellas, The Sisters Strange and the titular The Furies.
As Connolly notes in the acknowledgments, The Sisters Strange was originally written and published online in weekly chapters during the initial COVID-19 lockdown in early 2020 to “give readers something to divert them.” That original version of the story was re-crafted and expanded to the version which appears in the book. The Furies was written to accompany The Sisters Strange and is set at the beginning of the COVID lookdown.
The Sisters Strange finds Parker hired by someone who is concerned about the sisters Strange and their connection to a degenerate ex-con whose recent tattoos suggest that he is involved in the occult. Complicating things are the theft of ancient coins, one of which has supernatural powers.
In The Furies Parker is preparing to deal with the lockdown when he is hired by two different woman. The first is the widow of a notorious gangster who is being blackmailed by a pair of violent crooks who have stolen the only items she has left of her dead daughter. The second is the mother of a domestic abuse victim, who wants Parker to extract her daughter from a dangerous situation before she is trapped at home with her abuser. Neither case works out as you would expect.
I have already read this one and is a terrific book. As usual, Connolly brings a poet eye to his story and there are some truly evocative passages, and great descriptions. The pacing is good and there plenty of wry observations and detailed character sketches. Connolly is particularly at capturing the varied responses to COVID:
“‘It feels like the end of the world’, said Pantuff. ‘Fucking Chinese. I never even liked their food.'”
I will be doing a fuller review of The Furies in the next few days, but mark it down as one to look out for in August.
The Furies will be released in the United Kingdom on 4 August 2022 and in Australia on 9 August 2022. For some reason the book will have different covers in the United Kingdom and Australia. The United Kingdom cover is below:
Megan Goldin’s Stay Awake (Michael Joseph, 16 August 2022) has a great opening hook:
“Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there. When she’s dropped off at the door of her brownstone, a stranger answers the door and claims to be living in her apartment. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing. In its place is a bloodstained knife. Her hands are covered in scribbled messages, like graffiti on her skin- STAY AWAKE.
Two years ago, Liv was thriving as a successful writer for a trendy magazine. Now, she’s lost and disoriented in a New York City that looks nothing like what she remembers. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, the same message that’s inked on her hands. What did she do last night? And why does she remember nothing from the past two years? Liv finds herself on the run for a crime she doesn’t remember committing. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget-permanently.”
I have already read Stay Awake and it is a fast moving, captivating thriller that quickly draws you in and keeps you engrossed until the final revelation. It is primarily set over the course of a day, and Megan nicely shifts the viewpoint between Liv and the policewoman investigating the murder, and also between the present and Liv’s recollection of what happened two years.
Stay Awake also has different covers depending on location. The above cover is the American one, while the Australian one is below. It also has a variety of release dates. It is released in Australia on 16 August 2022 and in the United States and the United Kingdom on 9 August 2022.
This is another one that I have already read and it is very good!
After The Flood (Fremantle, 2 August 2022) follows up Before It Breaks and Clear To The Horizon, and takes us back to the Western Australian outback town of Broome and dogged police detective Dan Clement.
“A violent death by crucifixion near a remote north-west station has Detective Inspector Dan Clement and his Broome police officers disturbed and baffled. Other local incidents – the theft of explosives from a Halls Creek mine site, social justice protests at an abattoir, a break-in at a child health care clinic – seem mundane by comparison. But as Clement starts to make troubling connections between each crime, he finds himself caught in a terrifying race. In a landmass larger than Western Europe, he must identify and protect an unknown target before it is blown to bits by an invisible enemy.”
Warner is very good at realistically capturing the mechanics of police work in an interesting manner and there is a good deal of gritty police detail here, as well as evocative descriptions of Broome and the surrounds, including a nearby island. The plotting is good and I really enjoy the strong sense of place that Dave brings to his writing and his ability to create interesting, original stories. After The Flood is one of his better books and builds to a tense climax, credible climax.
I will be doing a longer review shortly.
Rounding out the releases by Australian authors is the latest African thriller by Tony Park, The Pride (Macmillan,
1 August 2022).
Tony Park is one of my favourite thriller writers and his African based novels are always a joy to read. His latest one, The Pride (Macmillan, 1 August 2022), re-introduces the reader to ex-mercenary Sonja Kurtz, who is enjoying a beachside holiday with her daughter Emma. Things turn sour, however, when Emma is assaulted by an abalone poacher. Sonja stops the assault in her usual brutal fashion, but when the poacher is later murdered, Sonja is targeted by a violent local gangster and she has to flee country. As Sonja leaves a trail of destruction in her wake, Emma takes off after her.
This sounds like another top notch thriller by Park, who always turns in an exciting read with plenty of local African atmosphere and a strong focus on protecting endangered animals from destruction. I will be reading this one shortly.
Leading off the British releases is the latest murder mystery and suspense novel by Ruth Ware, The It Girl (Simon & Schuster, 3 August 2022).
The book opens with introvert Hannah Jones finding herself sharing an Oxford College room with the beautiful, wealthy, privileged and bright April Coutts-Clivedon. Always the centre of attention, April is the eponymous It Girl with a string of admirers. Her dazzling time at Oxford is cut short, however, when her dead body is found by Hannah in their dorm room.
Ten years later, Hannah is living in Edinburgh with April’s ex-boyfriend Will and expecting their first child, when the porter convicted of April’s murder, John Neville, dies in prison.
Feeling guilty for providing the testimony that prompted the jury to convict him, Hannah vows to determine if he was truly guilty of April’s murder. Neville always proclaimed innocence, forcing Hannah to wonder if she signed his death sentence without merit.
If John Neville didn’t kill April, then who is the real murderer?
Told in alternating chapters from before and after the murder, the story moves along at a crisp pace for a murder mystery, as Hannah tries to figure out who killed April. Ruth Ware is very good at this sort of suspenseful murder mystery and The It Girl is sure to be another first class novel by her. I am about half through and it certainly has me hooked and interested to find out who the murderer is.
Also likely to be very popular with fans of British murder mysteries is the latest book by Ann Cleeves, The Rising Tide (Macmillan, 9 August 2022).
The Rising Tide is the tenth book in Ann’s iconic series about Vera Stanhope, star of ITV’s Vera, and promises to be another atmospheric murder msytery.
Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion.
Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now. But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible.
Fans of Ann’s earlier novels will know what to expect and it is unlikely that she will disappoint.
The Rising Tide is released in Australia on 9 August 2022, but does not get released in the United Kingdom until
1 September 2022.
Peter James’ Detective Roy Grace has also recently found his way onto the television screen through the popular series Grace.
Picture You Dead (Macmillan, 26 July 2022) is the eighteenth entry in James’ series about the Brighton police detective and finds Grace caught up in the deadly side of the art world when an ordinary couple discover a rare 1770 painting hidden beneath a drab portrait. Their discovery could bring them millions, but an unscrupulous collector is determined to make the painting his, no matter what it takes.
The Grace novels are always good, enjoyable fun and I am sure that this one will live up to the high quality of its predecessors.
Picture You Dead is released in Australia in late July, but for some reason it is not released in the United Kingdom until 29 September 2022.
Catherine Ryan Howard is one of those authors that flies a little under the radar, especially here in Australia.
I have read most of her books and thought that her The Nothing Man from a couple of years back, was a really clever and well constructed crime novel with a good serial killer overtone to it.
Run Time (Corvus, 18 August 2022) also has a serial killer/slasher feel to it. A psychological horror movie, Final Draft, is being filmed at a house deep in a forest, miles from anywhere in the wintry wilds of West Cork. At the very last moment, down-at-her-heels, former soap-star Adele Rafferty has stepped in to replace the original actress. She hopes that this opportunity will be her big break. She also knows she was lucky to get it, after what happened the last time she was on a set. But something isn’t quite right about Final Draft. When the strange goings-on in the script start to happen on set too, Adele begins to fear that the real horror lies off the page.
I like stories that mix horror and crime, particularly with movie overtones, and this looks like being a good one.
Probably the most intriguing of the books on offer is Look Both Ways (HQ, 3 August 2022) by popular thriller writer Linwood Barclay.
The publishers provide the following information:
“The residents of Garrett Island are part of a visionary experiment. Their cars have been sent to the mainland and for one month, they’ve got self-driving vehicles called Arrivals. With just a voice command, an Arrival will take you where you want to go, and as the cars are all aware of each other, road accidents should be a thing of the past.
As the world’s press arrives for a glimpse of this driverless future, islander and single mom Sandra Montrose preps for the huge media event. She’s ready for this new world. Her husband died when he fell asleep at the wheel, and she’s relieved her two teens, Archie and Katie, may never need driver’s licenses.
But as the day gets underway, there are signs all is not well. A member of the press has vanished. There are rumours of industrial sabotage.
Before long, the sleek driverless cars are no longer taking orders. They’re starting to organize. They’re starting to hunt. And they’ve got the residents of Garrett Island in their sights.”
It sounds like a wild ride! I am looking forward to it.
Look Both Ways seems to be already available in the United Kingdom on Kindle, with the hardback release scheduled for November 2022. The trade paperback edition of Look Both Ways will be released in Australia on 3 August 2022.
I hope some of the above appeal to you – keep your eyes out for them and happy reading!