MURDER, TWISTS AND FRANTIC ACTION: NEW BRITISH CRIME I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO READING IN JULY 2023
There has been no shortage of good British crime fiction so far in 2023, with enjoyable new books from Sam Holland, Mark Billingham and Louise Candlish, to name a few. However, that is nothing compared to the promising batch of new books scheduled for July 2023, including thrillers from some of the bigger names in British crime fiction.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular releases of July will be M. W. Craven’s Fearless (Constable, 27 June 2023).
Craven, winner of the 2022 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Dead Ground, has an enthusiastic reader base and his new novel will undoubtedly be very well received.
Fearless finds Craven stepping away from his popular Poe and Tilly series and heading in a new direction with a different hero and a new continent!
“Ben Koenig is nobody’s hero . . . because he doesn’t exist.
Six years back Ben Koenig headed up the US Marshal’s Special Operations Group. They were the unit who hunted the bad guys. The really bad guys. They did this so no one else had to.
And then one day Ben sold his house, liquidated his assets and disappeared off the face of the earth. He told no one why and left no forwarding address. For six years he became a grey man. Someone you didn’t remember. He drifted from town to town, from state to state, never visiting the same place twice. He was untraceable. Officially, he no longer existed.
But now his face is plastered across every television screen in the country. Someone from Ben’s past is going to extraordinary lengths to find him and they don’t care how they do it. They have a job for him, a revenge mission, one Ben won’t be able to refuse.
Because in the hellish heat of the Chihuahuan desert lies a town called Gauntlet. Some people in Gauntlet have a secret and they’ll do anything protect it. And they know Ben is coming.
They’ve killed before and they’ll kill again.
It’s easy to dismiss Ben Koenig as just another drifter, someone you don’t need to concern yourself about. But that would be a mistake. Because Ben has a condition, a unique disorder that means he is incapable of experiencing fear.
And that makes Ben Koenig a different kind of animal.”
There is a strong ‘Reacher’ feel to Fearless and it will be interesting to see if Craven can replicate Lee Child’s success in America. The plot summary certainly sounds interesting, and I am already a few chapters in and enjoying it.
Fearless is released in Australia on 27 June 2023, the United Kingdom on 29 June and the United States on 11 July.
Also offering, somewhat surprisingly, a brisk pace is Ruth Ware’s Zero Days, (Simon & Schuster, 5 July 2023).
Ruth’s earlier novels have tended towards the classical mystery end of the crime fiction spectrum, but Zero Days is much more of a thriller with a quickly moving storyline, frantic deadlines and plenty of action.
“Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband Gabe are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead.
It soon becomes clear that the police have only one suspect in mind – her.
Jack must go on the run to try and clear her name and to find her husband’s real killer. But who can she trust when everyone she knows could be a suspect? And with the police and the killer after her, can Jack get to the truth before her time runs out?”
Zero Days has received some really good early praise from overseas, and it is next on my ‘To Read Pile’.
Zero Days is released in Australia and the United Kingdom on 5 July 2023 and in the United States on 20 June2023.
Here is a link to my review of Ruth’s last book, The It Girl, which was good, but very different to Zero Days: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/british-crime-releases-new-books-by-steve-cavanagh-ruth-ware-and-mark-mills/
There are also twists galore in Steve Cavanagh’s new thriller Kill For Me Kill For You, (Headline, 25 July 2023).
Cavanagh is one of those authors that has the ability to quickly draw you in from the opening pages and keep you enthralled until the final word. Some of his books strain credibility, but they are all great reads.
I picked up Kill For Me Kill For You intending to read a few pages and found myself almost half way through before I could put it down. It is a great read, and I will be doing a longer review in the coming weeks. In the meantime here is the publisher’s description of the plot:
“One dark evening in New York City, two strangers meet by chance.
Over drinks, Amanda and Wendy realise they have so much in common. They both feel alone. They both drink alone.
And they both desperately want revenge against the two men who destroyed their families. Together, they have the perfect plan.
If you kill for me, I’ll kill for you.”
It is difficult to pull off yet another variation on Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on A Train, but Cavanagh does it with aplomb, and Kill For Me Kill For You will keep you keenly turning the pages all the way to the end.
Kill For Me Kill For You will be released in Australia on 25 July 2023 and in the United Kingdom on 20 July. Release in the United States is not until March 2024.
Adele Parks is one of Britain’s leading writers of domestic suspense and she has built up a strong following around the world. Her latest novel, Just Between Us (HQ, 5 July 2023), is another twisty tale about complex relationships and old secrets.
“Kylie Gillingham’s disappearance has gripped the nation: the woman with a shocking secret – married to two men at the same time – is missing, presumed dead. And both her husbands are suspects.
DCI Clements knows the dark side of human nature and that you can’t presume anything when it comes to crimes of the heart. Until a body is found, this scandalous and sad case remains wide open.
Stacie Jones lives a quiet life in a small village, shielded by her father from any upsetting news as she recovers from illness.
But when these two very different worlds collide, can anyone ever rebuild their lives in the wake of tragedy?”
With an intriguing plot and the reappearance of her engaging detective, DCI Clements, it is sure to be another hit for Parks.
Just Between Us is released in Australia on 5 July 2023, but for some reason is not released in the United Kingdom until August 2023.
Lisa Jewell’s books also move between straight crime and domestic suspense, and her latest novel None Of This Is True (Century, 18 July 2023), seems to offer another good mix of mystery and family tension.
“Celebrating her 45th birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her 45th birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.
A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.
Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast.
Slowly Alix starts to realise that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life – and into her home.
But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, and her life and her family’s lives under mortal threat.
Who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?”
I really liked how Lisa merges element of a Netflix documentary into her story, and uses it to increase the suspense and quickly add background detail to the plot. The book’s central conceit is clever, and the opening sections of the book move along well.
None Of This Is True is released in Australia on 18 July 2023 and in the United Kingdom on 20 July 2023. It is not released in the United States until 8 August 2023.
I must admit that I was a put off Greg Buchanan’s first novel, Sixteen Horses, by the opening, which involved the discovery of sixteen horses’ heads on a farm.
His second novel, Consumed, (Orion, 25 July 2023), is more focused on human death, and opens, after a Prologue, with an old woman on a lonely farm being consumed by her pigs. Forensic veterinarian Cooper Allen, from Sixteen Horses, is drafted in for the autopsy and becomes obsessed with the victim.
The old lady is a well-known photographer, Sophie Bertilak, and inside her house, someone has removed all her photos from their frames, seemingly erasing her past, and making the authorities suspect that it was murder rather than a tragic accident. Sophie is best known for the first photo that she ever took, that of a missing girl who was never seen again. Cooper gradually becomes caught up with Sophie’s life, and the crimes she brought to light decades ago, and finds herself untangling a dark thread of deception and murder.
I am very keen to try Buchanan’s novel and suspect that it will be a dark and interesting tale.
It is also has the best cover of the six books on offer, with the other books largely sticking to the old favourite of a silhouette woman running or walking away.
Consumed is released in Australia on 25 July 2023 and in the United Kingdom on 20 July 2023.
So some very good reading for the month. Which ones appeal to you the most?