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Posted by on 18 Apr, 2024 in Australian Crime Fiction, Bestseller, British Crime, British Thrillers, Classic PI, Crime, Forecast Friday, Looking Forward Friday, Thriller | 0 comments



May is a big month for crime releases with new releases from some of the biggest names in the business, as well as some other good books that may slip under your radar.

Set out below, are my pick of the best books coming out in May 2024.

Think Twice by Harlan Coben (Penguin, 23 May 2024)

Leading off the big releases is Harlan Coben’s Think Twice, (Penguin, 23 May 2024).

Coben is one of the most popular authors in the world today and his books are always a ‘must read’. In recent years the success of his twisty, unpredictable novels has been enhanced by a well produced succession of Netflix mini-series based on his books, including the recent Fool Me Once, which have ramped up interest and cemented his standing as a leading storyteller.

His latest book, Think Twice, returns to his popular hero Myron Bolitar, and is another fast paced and unpredictable read:

“How can a man who’s already dead be wanted for murder?

This is the question sports agent Myron Bolitar asks himself when two FBI agents visit him in New York. The man they are looking for is Myron’s former client and rival, Greg Downing. Greg’s DNA has been found at the scene of a high profile double-murder, and he is now the FBI’s main suspect. But Greg died three years previously, Myron says. He went to his funeral and gave the eulogy. The FBI are disbelieving, and Myron knows he has to find some answers – and quickly. Could Greg Downing still be alive? The more Myron and his close friend Win dig into what really happened, the more dangerous their world becomes.”

I have already read Think Twice and really enjoyed it. I will be posting a review in the next couple of weeks, but suffice to say that it offers all the twists and turns you expect from a Coben novel, plus a knock-out ending!

Think Twice is due out internationally on 23 May 2024.

If Something Happens To Me by Alex Finlay (Minotaur Books, 28 May 2024)

Of the current crop of thriller writers, Alex Finlay is probably the closest to Harlan Coben, but with his own style and a really good sense of pacing.

If Something Happens To Me, (Minotaur Books, 28 May 2024), is Finlay’s fourth stand-alone novel and serves up a clever plot full of multiple perspectives and an astute use of timelines:

“For the past five years, Ryan Richardson has relived that terrible night. The car door ripping open. The crushing blow to the head. The hands yanking him from the vehicle. His girlfriend Ali’s piercing scream as she is taken.

With no trace of Ali or the car, a cloud of suspicion hangs over Ryan. But with no proof and a good lawyer, he was never charged, though that doesn’t matter to the podcasters and internet trolls. Now, Ryan has changed his last name, and entered law school. He’s put his past behind him.

Until, on a summer trip abroad to Italy with his law-school classmates, Ryan gets a call from his father: Ali’s car has finally been found, submerged in a lake in his hometown. Inside are two dead men and a cryptic note with five words written on the envelope in Ali’s handwriting: If something happens to me…

Then, halfway around the world, the unthinkable happens: Ryan sees the man who has haunted his dreams since that night.

As Ryan races from the rolling hills of Tuscany, to a rural village in the UK, to the glittering streets of Paris in search of the truth, he has no idea that his salvation may lie with a young sheriff’s deputy in Kansas working her first case, and a mobster in Philadelphia who’s experienced tragedy of his own.”

Finlay has such a smooth flowing style that it is very easy to become caught up in this stories and fly through the pages. If Something Happens To Me opens in an intriguing manner and Finlay keeps his foot on the pedal, as the various characters and storylines interweave and the book builds to a memorable climax. I have already read and enjoyed this one, and will be reviewing closer to the release date.

If Something Happens To Me is released in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States on 28 May 2024.

The Instruments Of Darkness by John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton, 30 April 2024)

Another big release that I am really looking forward to, is the latest Charlie Parker thriller by Irish author John Connolly, The Instruments Of Darkness (Hodder & Stoughton, 30 April 2024).

It has been some time since we last had a full length Charlie Parker novel and it will be good to make his acquaintance again.

The publishers have provided the following information:

“In Maine, Colleen Clark stands accused of the worst crime a mother can commit: the abduction and possible murder of her child. Everyone – ambitious politicians in an election season, hardened police, ordinary folk – has an opinion on the case, and most believe she is guilty.

But most is not all. Defending Colleen is the lawyer Moxie Castin, and working alongside him is the private investigator Charlie Parker, who senses the tale has another twist, one involving a husband too eager to accept his wife’s guilt, a disgraced psychic seeking redemption, and an old twisted house deep in the Maine woods, a house that should never have been built.

A house, and what dwells beneath.”

I recently received a copy of The Instruments Of Darkness and will be keenly reading it over the next few days.

Note: The Instruments Of Darkness is being released in Australia on 30 April 2024, ahead of the UK release on 7 May 2024. It also has a fantastic cover.

They Thought I Was Dead by Peter James (Macmillan, 14 May 2024)

Peter James’ series about Brighton police detective Roy Grace has become a mainstay of the British crime scene, both in books and on television, over the past decade or so. An ongoing element of the series, has been the question around what happened to Grace’s first wife, Sandy, who went missing. Now with James’ They Thought I Was Dead (Macmillan, 14 May 2024), we finally get a resolution.

The book opens in 2007 and follows Sandy’s story down the years:

“Her name is Sandy. You might know her as the loving wife of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace.

But there’s more to her than meets the eye. A woman with a dubious past, a complicated present and
an uncertain future. Then she was gone.

Her disappearance caused a nationwide search. Even the best detective on the force couldn’t find her.
They thought she was dead.

Where did she go? Why did she run? What would cause a woman to leave her whole life behind and
simply vanish?”

I am reading this one currently and I am sure that it will appeal to the many fans of the Roy Grace novels.

They Thought I Was Dead will be released in the United Kingdom on 9 May 2024 and in Australia on 14 May 2024.


Long Time Gone by Charlie Donlea (Kensington, 21 May 2024)

Charlie Donlea slips under the radar a bit, especially here in Australia, but in recent years he has become one of my favourite authors. His books always deliver good twisty plots and feature straight forward telling that eschews the padding that other authors use.

His latest, Long Time Gone (Kensington, 21 May 2024), has a good twisty premise that quickly draws you in:

“When Dr. Sloan Hastings submits her DNA to an online genealogy site for a research assignment, her goal is to better understand the treasure-trove of genetic information contained on ancestry websites. Brilliant and driven, Sloan is embarking on a fellowship in forensic pathology, training under the renowned Dr. Livia Cutty. Sloan has one reservation about involving herself in the experiment: she’s adopted. Grateful for a loving home, she’s never considered tracking down her biological parents. The results of her search are shocking.

Sloan’s DNA profile suggests her true identity is that of Charlotte Margolis, aka “Baby Charlotte”, who captured the nation’s attention when she mysteriously disappeared, along with her parents, in July 1995. Despite an exhaustive search, the family was never seen again, and no suspects were named in the case.  

Sloan’s discovery leads her to the small town of Cedar Creek, Nevada, the site of her disappearance. It also leads her to Sheriff Eric Stamos. The Margolis family’s influence and power permeate every corner of Harrison County, and Eric is convinced that in learning the truth about her past, Sloan can also help discover what happened to Eric’s father, who died under suspicious circumstances soon after he started investigating the case of ‘Baby Charlotte’s’ disappearance.”

This is another first class crime thriller from Donlea, that ably weaves its way through several surprises to an exciting climax. It will not disappoint the many fans of his earlier books.

Long Time Gone will be released on 21 May 2024 in most countries.

The pick of the thrillers on offer, seems to be Abir Mukherjee’s Hunted, (Harvill Secker, 9 May 2024).

I have enjoyed those of Mukherjee’s Wyndham and Banerjee books that I have read, and Hunted seems to be bringing the brisk pace and social consciousness of those stories to a modern setting:

“It’s a week before the presidential elections when a bomb goes off in an LA shopping mall.

In London, armed police storm Heathrow Airport and arrest Sajid Khan. His daughter Aliyah entered the USA with the suicide bomber, and now she’s missing, potentially plotting another attack.

But then a woman called Carrie turns up at Sajid’s door after travelling halfway across the world. She claims Aliyah is with her son Greg, and she knows where they could be.

Back in the US, Agent Shreya Mistry is closing in on the two fugitives. But the more she investigates, the more she realises there is more to this case than meets the eye and she begins to suspect a wider conspiracy.

Hunted by the authorities, the two parents are thrown together in a race against time to find their kids before the FBI does, and stop a catastrophe that will bring the country to its knees.”

From what I have read so far, Mukherjee really captures the paranoia and gullibility of modern society and sets it against an exciting thriller plot.

Released on 9 May 2024 in most locations, Hunted has the potential to be one of the year’s more controversial thrillers.

For those after a good old-styled 1980s PI novel, Peter Colt’s The Judge (Severn House, 7 May 2024) certainly delivers the goods.

Boston, 1985. With the late December cold comes a new job for ex-military operative turned private investigator Andy Roark. Boston judge Ambrose Messer is being blackmailed, and he needs Roark’s help to stop the culprit.

Messer is judging the bench trial of a chemical company accused of knowingly dumping chemical waste in an unsafe manner, causing birth defects and cancer. The evidence against them is overwhelming, but the message from the blackmailer is clear: If you don’t want the world to know your secret, the chemical company wins. Messer doesn’t want to let a threat corrupt his judgement, but then again, he could lose everything if his secret comes out!

Judging his client to be a man with morals, Roark plunges into action, determined to find the blackmailer before it’s too late. But the disturbing, unexpected revelations he uncovers make him a target of some very dangerous people, who soon seem determined not only to wreck the life of his client, but to destroy Roark’s too.”

This is a very competently done and highly entertaining PI novel. Colt brings to mind 1980s PI authors like Robert Parker and Les Roberts, and delivers some good action and a twist, or too. It also has a very good ‘drone view’ cover.

The Judge will be released in the United Kingdom and the United States on 7 May 2024, and should also be available in Australia from then too.

Smoke by Michael Brissenden (Affirm Press, 28 May 2024)

Finally, coming at the end of the month is Smoke, (Affirm Press, 28 May 2024), by Australian journalist and author Michael Brissenden.

Set in the Californian Sierras, it represents a change for Brissenden, who set his first two crime novels in Australia. The story, however, has a very familiar Australian feel to it, with the focus on bushfires and climate change:

“After a brutal wildfire tears through the town of Jasper in the Californian sierras, a body is discovered in a shed. It looks like an open-and-shut case of accidental death – until further investigation reveals that the victim was locked in from the outside.

Years after leaving Jasper, Detective Alex Markov has been sent back under the shadow of an LAPD corruption investigation. She is convinced that the man, a family friend, was murdered opportunistically under the cover of the fire. As the smoke clears, Alex reveals a town corrupt to its core – but exposing that corruption could destroy her and the people she loves. Will she ignore the crookedness and deceit, or face the consequences of pursuing an inconvenient truth?”

I am just about to start Smoke. Brissenden’s first two novels were very good and I have high hopes for Smoke.

Smoke will be released in Australia on 28 May 2024. It will also be available in America on Kindle and as an Audible book on 28 May 2024.

I have been hampered by some technical difficulties with the blog over the past month, or so, but hopefully this is now fixed. As result, I have fallen behind in my reviewing, but hope to progressively get reviews of the above books up over the next few weeks. Happy reading everyone!

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