August 04 2018

Funny things, families … We can guarantee you a fair few dysfunctional units this week, and that’s even without the current domestic noir craze (at which point your long-suffering editors depart to bang their heads gently against a convenient wall!)

In The Parentations by Kate Mayfield, two elderly sisters do their best to protect a child born of immortal parents. John Barnbrook was very impressed and says the book is masterfully crafted. Chris Roberts wasn’t quite so taken with The Good Son by You Jeong-Jeong, in which a young man wakes up in his own bed covered in blood. Chris says if you enjoy speculating on good and evil, there’s plenty of scope for rumination here, but this wasn’t one for him. He got on a lot better in Turkey with Barbara Nadel’s Inspector Ikmen who’s taken up the case of a young woman from a mixed marriage found eviscerated in an Istanbul backstreet. Chris says Incorruptible explores the history underlying the cultural traditions and beliefs of the characters and conveys well their sense of connection with the past. Sharon Wheeler says the serial killer plot in AA Dhand’s City of Sinners is unusual, but she was fascinated by the conflicts within Asian families in Bradford, where different religions are at each other’s throats.

Ewa Sherman heads over to Stockholm where a criminal profiler and the national police homicide unit are in search of a killer who’s murdered an entire family in a quiet Swedish town. She says The Silent Girl gallops along at breakneck speed and that Hjorth and Rosenfeldt write with verve and passion. Arnold Taylor was intrigued by Maigret Enjoys Himself in which author Georges Simenon takes a look at the relationship between the inspector and his wife.

The Good Mothers by Alex Perry dives deep into the claustrophobic world of the Calabrian mafia and a prosecutor’s battle to bring down the world’s most powerful crime syndicate. John Cleal says this tale of determination, heroism and the power of a mother’s love for her children is an absolute must-read. Madeleine Marsh was happy to accept Laura Marshall’s Friend Request and says the characters in this psychological thriller are well-written and the plot is well-conceived. Kati Barr-Taylor describes While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt, where an American woman travels to a remote Scottish island to flee her domineering husband, as an entertaining mix of genres with plenty of gasp-worthy twists. She wasn’t entirely convinced by the smut, though!

There’s more rumpy-pumpy in Paul Colize’s Back Up where the police seem strangely disinterested when all four members of a rock band die within a few days. Chris Roberts says that if you like sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll (you know who you are!) there may be something here to entertain…   

Back in Britain, Essex copper DI Lowry investigates two deaths on a farm, one clearly a murder, the other apparently a suicide. John Cleal says Yellowhammer by James Henry is a darkly clever procedural. He also recommends testing your brains against the twists and turns of the plots in Mark Hardie’s Truly Evil where a 50-year-old establishment conspiracy casts a long shadow over a present day murder investigation. The Shout follows a female firefighter, badly injured on the job, who’s shunted sideways away from front-line danger, but soon discovers that the Fire Investigation Unit isn’t quite the dead-end job she’d expected. Linda Wilson says Stephen Leather always tells a good story and this standalone is no exception. She also enjoyed another off-beat investigator in The Death Knock by Elodie Harper, where a TV journalist is convinced that a serial killer is at work in the East Anglian fens. 

In Loch of the Dead by Oscar de Muriel, paranormal investigators Inspectors Frey and McGray are lured to a lonely Highland manor and enter a Gothic world of blood, bats, folklore, superstition and murder. John Cleal is a huge fan of this series and says the Scottish setting is superbly depicted. He also enjoyed The Searcher by TJ Alexander, in which ‘Searcher’ Adah Flint examines a little girl’s body to discover her identity and how she died. John describes this as an important as well as an entertaining story and should be a must-read for those bored with traditional Victorian fiction.

Chris Roberts is always happy to head into the wilderness with CJ Box’s hero, game warden Joe Pickett, and in The Disappeared he’s working in the atmospheric beauty of the Wyoming uplands in winter. There’s another ranger hero in Lone Wolf by Michael Gregorio, this time in Sylvia Maughan’s beloved Italy. She enjoyed the careful depiction of people and places in this complicated, rather dark book. If you want to know about Tel Aviv trashcans, you might want to hang on for the ride in Last Instructions. Nir Hezroni’s book sees a rogue agent emerge from a nine-year coma to finalise spectacular plans for revenge against the shadowy Organisation. Chris says the book is great fun, with lots of technical detail demonstrating that a single man can blow up the world providing he plans well. He was convinced!

On the young adult scene, Linda Wilson liked the second outing for the gang of teenage sleuths in The Amateurs: Follow Me by Sara Shepard. An internet sensation has gone missing and the kids are receiving taunting messages from her kidnapper. Linda likes the characters and says there’s a decent mystery at the heart of this crime thriller.

In the Countdown spotlight this week we have YA author and former scientist, lawyer and optometrist Teri Terry. We would very happily invite ourselves over to her house for lunch – we agree enthusiastically that toast is always good – and to cuddle her puppy!

We’ll be back in a fortnight with 20 new reviews and an interview with a top name on the crime fiction scene. If you have a moment, see what our friends at Reviewing the Evidence think about new releases in the US, Canada and Australia.

If you’d like to be included on our fortnightly update email, drop us a line (the email address is on the site).
And if you're not following us on Twitter, you can find us chatting at .

Linda and Sharon

Countdown with
Teri Terry

Teri Terry has lived in France, Canada, Australia and England at more addresses than she can count, acquiring four degrees, a selection of passports and an unusual name along the way.

Past careers have included scientist, lawyer, optometrist and, in England, various jobs in schools, libraries and an audiobook charity.

The footpaths and canal ways of the Buckinghamshire Chilterns where she now lives inspired much of the setting of her Slated trilogy. Teri is also the author of Mind Games and Book of Lies, and her most recent work is the Dark Matter trilogy.

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

It was all pretty random until I began to write.

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

A sleeping puppy, a cup of tea, a turquoise gel pen, a stack of notebooks, a fireplace, a teetering pile of books, oak floors, candles, light through stained glass.

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

Salad with toasted pine nuts, a boiled egg, and whatever else is in the fridge at the time (today that’d be hummus, olives, tomatoes). Or toast. Toast is always good.