Six crime novels to look out for
The latest crop of crime novels rounded up by Daneet Steffens
In ‘The Impossible Dead’, by Ian Rankin (Orion, RM59.90), it’s a simple matter of possible police cover-up that brings Malcolm Fox and his Complaints (Internal Affairs) buddies to coastal Kirkcaldy. But the investigation quickly spirals into something much bigger – a long-buried death that reaches back into the turbulent ’80s when Scottish separatists were making their presence known. Fox chugs Irn-Bru while tackling tensions both on the force and closer to home. A terrific second outing for Rankin’s new policeman protagonist from one of the world’s most beloved crime writers.
Making the journey from a cell on Ohio’s Death Row to the interrogation rooms of Sweden’s Detective Superintendent Ewert Grens, Roslund & Hellstrom’s 'Cell 8’ (trans. Kari Dickson; Quercus, RM71.95) is marked by the same surprise element that made their earlier novel, ‘Three Seconds’, such a spectacular read. ‘Cell 8’ tackles the stories behind the drama head-on: from John Meyer Frey, convicted of murder 17, to Ed Finnigan, fanatic father of the murdered girl, to grumpy Grens and his workmates, Roslund & Hellström milk the human moments for all they are worth in an intercontinental tale that tackles the hot-button issue of capital punishment, on both American and Swedish soil.
In ‘The Deadly Touch of the Tigress’, by Ian Hamilton (Sphere, RM65.95), Ava Lee is a forensic accountant with an expertise in Chinese martial art Bak Mei, a penchant for James Clavell and a discerning taste in accessories (Moleskine notebooks, Cartier watches and jade cufflinks). With the power and connections of her business partner behind her, she’s forced to follow the money in the shadowy worlds of commodities and private banking – and tangle with anyone who crosses her path. Her current investigation finds her battling politicos and gangsters alike, outsmarting them all.
Four friends have won the lottery when one, Waldemar Leverkhun, is murdered, and another goes missing. In the aptly named ‘The Unlucky Lottery’, by Hakan Nesser (Mantle, RM59.90), as soon as the police investigation begins, Leverkhun’s neighbour disappears, leaving the detectives stumped. Inspector Munster finds his hands full with a set of suspicious pensioners – each as grumpy and unsociable as the last – and a creepy tale of familial deceit.
The first offering from the newly launched publisher Aston Bay, ‘A Means of Escape’ (Aston Bay, RM62.15), by Joanna Price, opens with an odd murder-discovery on the Glastonbury Tor – is it ritual, sacrifice, or something more sinister? The enquiry leads DS Kate Linton and her colleague, the devilishly handsome DI Robert Brown, into a merry chase, incorporating victims found at Avebury and the print of an extremely rare shoe. Complicating matters, Linton’s old flame – now a local journalist – keeps turning up like a bad penny. As Linton bats away one red herring after another, Price has a bit of fun with the pendantsand- patchouli locations, as well as a canny reference to the recent revolving door policy on James Bonds.
Finally, ‘The Drop’, by Michael Connelly (Little Brown & Co, RM103.38), finds Harry Bosch back on the case of old crimes in his Open-Unsolved Unit. A new adventure pops up when forensics match DNA evidence to a 20-yearold murder; at the same time, Bosch is pulled into a political tangle: a city official’s son has been found dead under a balcony at the Chateau Marmont. Did he jump or was he pushed?