MAY MAYHEM: CRIME NOVELS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO READING IN LATE MAY/EARLY JUNE 2023
There are some real treats coming out for crime and thriller aficionados in late May and early June, including new books by leading figures in the genre such as Jo Nesbo, Mark Billingham, Martin Cruz Smith and Riley Sager, and a couple of thrilling reads by some lesser known authors.
Without further ado, here is my pick of the books that I am most keen on reading.
Leading the pack is the latest novel by Mark Billingham, The Last Dance (Sphere, 25 May 2023), which is the start of a new series by him.
With The Last Dance Billingham leaves his popular detective Tom Thorne behind, and introduces a new detective in the form of Declan Miller.
Blackpool police detective Declan Miller has more than his share of problems and quirks, but he is also a good detective. When he returns early from extended personal leave, he finds himself caught up in the investigation of a double murder in a seaside hotel. At first glance the two murdered men seem to be completely unconnected, and the police suspect that one of them was a case of mistaken identity. But as Miller and his new partner dig into the killing, they come to realise that things are not that simple.
I have almost finished reading this one and I am really enjoying it. Miller is a quirky, interesting character who I think will appeal to Billingham’s fan base. I will be doing a review shortly, but it is certainly one to put on your to read list!
The Last Dance is released in the United Kingdom on 25 May 2023 and in Australia on 30 May 2023.
Another big name release is Killing Moon, (Harvil Secker, 23 May 2023), by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.
Nesbo has gained international acclaim for series about brilliant, but troubled, detective Harry Hole and his latest novel once more finds Harry in trouble and on the trail of a diabolical killer.
Struck off the Norwegian police force and down and out in Los Angeles, Harry has no interest in returning to Oslo to help track down a killer, until a friend of his is threatened.
Two girls are missing. Strangers to each other, but last seen at the same party. When the body of one of them is found with fresh stitches along her hairline the hunt is on to find a murderer with some very particular tastes. Back in Oslo, Harry quickly forms a team to find the killer and the other missing girl, but there is more to the case than meets the eye.
The Harry Hole crime novels are traditionally very dark and gruesome and I am suspecting that Killing Moon will be very much the same!
Killing Moon is released in Australia on 23 May 2023, the United Kingdom on 25 May, and the United States on 30 May!
Another new release by a veteran of the genre is Independence Square (Simon & Schuster) by Martin Cruz Smith. It is due out in Australia on 7 June 2023, but is released in the United Kingdom and the United States in the next few days.
Independence Square sees Smith sending his iconic detective, Arkady Renko of Gorky Park fame, to Ukraine on the eve of the Russian invasion looking for a missing girl and trying to solve a murder or two. It looks like being a reflective novel for Smith, with Renko battling against the physical and psychological effects of Parkinson’s disease, while also dealing with the usual web of corruption and politics.
A relatively slim novel for Smith, Independence Square looks like being another enjoyable and timely book by one of the greats of crime writing.
At the other end of the experience scale, is Brooke Robinson whose debut novel is being released in early June 2023.
The Interpreter (Harvil Secker, 6 June 2023) has an intriguing premise:
“Revelle Lee is a London court interpreter and knows the power of words. She spends her days translating for other people; murderers, fraudsters and their victims. She speaks their words. Only she knows exactly what they’re saying.
When she spots an injustice is about to take place, and a guilty man about to be labelled innocent, she has the power to twist an alibi to get the verdict she wants. The verdict she believes is correct. She’s willing to risk it all.
But someone knows what she’s done.”
The Interpreter has been generating some positive views and I am keen to read it myself and see if it lives up to the hype.
T. J. Newman’s Falling was one of the stand out debut thrillers of 2021 and it seems that her latest novel, Drowning
(1 June 2023), is going to be just as successful.
The story opens quickly and suspensefully with Flight 1421 plunging into the ocean off Hawaii six minutes after taking off. From then it is a wild ride of a read as the authorities try and save the passengers as the plane sinks towards the ocean floor.
Newman has already proven herself as a gifted writer of aviation thrillers and Drowning seems likely to further enhance her appeal and reputation. I am about halfway through Drowning and it is a terrific, fast paced piece of entertainment.
I have been a fan of Riley Sager ever since buying and reading his earlier book, The Last Time Lied, while I was in Cambodia some years ago. His Final Girls and Lock Every Door were also great.
His new book due out in July 2023, The Only One Left (Hodder & Stoughton, 11 July 2023), also sounds like a clever twisty read full of tension and surprises:
“Everyone believes that Lenora Hope is a mass murderer.
“The Hope family murders shocked the Maine coast one bloody night in 1929. While most people assume seventeen-year-old Lenora was responsible, the police were never able to prove it. Other than her denial after the killings, she has never spoken publicly about that night, nor has she set foot outside Hope’s End, the cliffside mansion where the massacre occurred.
It’s now 1983, and home-health aide Kit McDeere arrives at a decaying Hope’s End to care for Lenora after her previous nurse fled in the middle of the night. In her seventies and confined to a wheelchair, Lenora was rendered mute by a series of strokes and can only communicate with Kit by tapping out sentences on an old typewriter. One night, Lenora uses it to make a tantalizing offer—I want to tell you everything.
As Kit helps Lenora write about the events leading to the Hope family massacre, it becomes clear there’s more to the tale than people know. But when new details about her predecessor’s departure come to light, Kit starts to suspect Lenora might not be telling the complete truth, and that the seemingly harmless woman in her care could be far more dangerous than she first thought.”
Sager’s novels, particularly last year’s The House Across The Lake, often skirt the border between crime and horror, and
I am keen to see where his latest book sits on the suspense spectrum.
The Only One Left is due out in Australia on 11 July 2023. It will be released in the United States on 20 June 2023 and in the United Kingdom on 4 July 2023.
Here is the link to my review of The House Across The Lake, which was a surprising thriller, which delivered a shocker of an ending. It is also in the process of being turned into a Netflix show: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/suspense-and-suspicion-new-books-by-lesley-kara-fiona-barton-and-riley-sager/
Angela Marsons has built up a very strong group of fans on the basis of her highly engaging Kim Stone police mysteries.
Her latest, Deadly Fate (Bookouture, 25 May 2023), is the eighteenth book in the series and seems set to follow the similar popular path as its predecessors.
Late one evening, as the final church bell rings out, Sandra Deakin’s cold and lifeless body is found in the overgrown graveyard with multiple stab wounds. When Detective Kim Stone rushes to the scene, the violence of the attack convinces her that this murder was deeply personal. What could have caused such hate?
As the team dig into Sandra’s life, they discover that she believed she could communicate with the dead. Was that why she was targeted? The last people to see her alive were a group of women who had a session with her the night before she was killed, and as Kim and her team pay them a visit, they soon learn each of the women is lying about why they wanted Sandra’s help. When another murder occurs, Kim realises that the killer has not finished their act of revenge.
Angela Marson is to be admired for the way she has built up such a enthusiastic following, mainly on the back of her eBook releases. Her recent books have been published in paperback form too, but it seems that Deadly Fate will only be available on Kindle at this stage. I am sure it will appeal to her many keen readers.
I have only just become aware of Michael Trant’s No Trace, (Bantam, 16 May 2023), which is due out in the next two weeks.
The follow-up to Trant’s Wild Dogs, it promises to be another gritty read with plenty of action and some great descriptions of the Australian outback:
“Gabe Ahern ended a major criminal operation in a spectacularly bloody manner that earned him a lot of enemies. A skilled dog-trapper, Gabe has one rule: leave no sign, leave no trace. And for the last year he’s been successfully hiding out on a friend’s remote cattle property in the Pilbara.
But when Goldmont Station opens its gates to a bunch of city folk eager for an authentic outback experience, Gabe can feel eyes on his back. Are all these visitors really tourists?
In the space of 24 hours, the station’s helicopter falls from the sky, the phones and internet go down, and one of the guests turns up dead.
With major flooding suddenly cutting off all exit roads, Gabe fears he’s as trapped as the dogs he hunts. And that his bloody past has finally caught up with him.”
I have already tore my way through the first few chapters and I think that it is going to be another tough, exciting read by Trant.
So a real mixture of books coming out over the next few weeks. I am lucky enough to have copies of them and I am planning on reviewing them closer to their publication dates.