John Cleal


Books reviewed by John Cleal

Highbridge

Janey Carlton has been killed by her own car, stolen by a junkie mugger. When her murder remains unsolved after three years, her brothers and her widower set out to gain revenge.

Reviewed on 18 March 2017 by John Cleal

The Ashes of Berlin

Inspector Gregor Reinhardt, back in Berlin after the war ends, must track down a serial killer, but his investigation is interfered with by the political interests of the occupying powers and a group of ex-Nazis.

Reviewed on 18 March 2017 by John Cleal

The Death of Kings

Retired Chief Inspector John Madden re-examines a ten-year-old murder amid fears that the wrong man was hanged for the crime.

Reviewed on 18 March 2017 by John Cleal

You Were Never Really Here

Joe, a former FBI agent and Marine, is a gun for hire. He’s employed to rescue a senator’s daughter from a Manhattan brothel, and stumbles into a deadly web of conspiracy.

Reviewed on 18 March 2017 by John Cleal

The Sign of Fear

As London cowers under German aerial bombardment, Doctor John Watson must solve the kidnap of leading government officials and the mystery of a lost ambulance ship.

Reviewed on 04 March 2017 by John Cleal

Lawless and the Flowers of Sin

As a reluctant Inspector of Vice, Campbell Lawless must make a reckoning of London’s houses of ill repute. His inquiries draw the attention of powerful men, merciless in defending their reputations.

Reviewed on 04 March 2017 by John Cleal

Quarry's Deal

Quarry follows a killer from a steamy Florida singles resort back to his own territory. But this killer is a beautiful woman and the ex-Marine wonders if he may have met his match.

Reviewed on 04 March 2017 by John Cleal

Brighton

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Kevin Pearce learns an old friend is prime suspect in a string of murders. He heads home to protect the secret they share and face both an elusive killer and his own conscience.

Reviewed on 04 March 2017 by John Cleal

Beloved Poison

St Saviour’s Infirmary in London awaits demolition. Apothecary Jem Flockhart uncovers six tiny coffins and her search for their meaning reveals a long forgotten past and sparks a series of murders.

Reviewed on 18 February 2017 by John Cleal

Birthright

Widowed Mercia Blakewood must gamble everything she loves to save her family and inheritance. Her quest takes her to the New World at a time of historic change.

Reviewed on 18 February 2017 by John Cleal

Blood For Blood

Criminal brain Red Dock steals a policeman’s daughter to begin a carefully planned, brutal and barbaric revenge on the family who put him and his twin brother into care.

Reviewed on 18 February 2017 by John Cleal

Lady Cop Makes Trouble

Constance Kopp, America’s first female deputy sheriff, discovers her position may be in jeopardy because of the law. When a German conman escapes her custody, she must find him to save the job she loves.

Reviewed on 18 February 2017 by John Cleal

The Devil's Feast

Afghan war hero Captain William Avery, a reluctant sleuth, investigates a horrible death at the Reform, London’s grandest gentleman’s club – a death the club is desperate to keep quiet.

Reviewed on 18 February 2017 by John Cleal

Mister Memory

In post-Commune Paris, in the last year of the 19th century, a man with a perfect memory murders his wife. But that is just the start of the story.

Reviewed on 04 February 2017 by John Cleal

The 3rd Woman

When her younger sister is found dead, apparently from an OD, investigative reporter Madison Webb refuses to accept the official verdict and begins her own inquiries. These lead her into a dangerous web of state and international politics, greed and corruption.

Reviewed on 04 February 2017 by John Cleal

The Age of Treachery

When a close friend is accused of murder, Oxford fellow and wartime SOE agent Duncan Forrester sets out to prove his innocence, following the trail of evidence from the ruins of Berlin to the forests of Norway – and discovers, that for some, the war is not over.

Reviewed on 04 February 2017 by John Cleal

The Black Friar

Damian Seeker, captain of Cromwell’s guard, faces sedition, armed rebellion, a Royalist spy in his own ranks and the threat of a Stuart invasion.

Reviewed on 04 February 2017 by John Cleal

The Chelsea Strangler

Thomas Chaloner investigates murder, plots and robbery while the plague rages in London.

Reviewed on 04 February 2017 by John Cleal

Corpus

American lecturer Tom Wilde, a specialist in Elizabethan espionage history, is dragged into political conspiracies as Communists and Nazis vie for influence over the English throne.

Reviewed on 04 February 2017 by John Cleal

Cut Me In

No-one liked tough literary agent Del Gilbert – not those he did business with, the women he cheated on, not even his partner in the agency. But when he is found shot in his office, Josh Blake must find the killer – and a missing contract potentially worth millions.

Reviewed on 21 January 2017 by John Cleal

Little Deaths

Ruth Malone wakes one morning to find a window wide open and her two young children missing. It’s every mother’s nightmare – but Malone is not like other mothers.

Reviewed on 21 January 2017 by John Cleal

Ordeal by Fire

Veteran Sheriff Sergeant Catchpoll must catch a 12th century arsonist who has set fires which have killed two people – and at the same time cope with a keen, but inexperienced, new Under Sheriff.

Reviewed on 21 January 2017 by John Cleal

The Mystery of the Three Orchids

As models parade her new creations, fashion house owner Cristiana O’Brian discovers the body of one of her staff on her own bed. Commissario Carlo De Vincenzi  must untangle a web of deceipt and blackmail to find the killer.

Reviewed on 21 January 2017 by John Cleal

The Secret of High Eldersham

The East Anglian village of High Eldersham is unwelcoming to strangers. Several have suffered catastrophic accidents. But when a new landlord is found stabbed in his own pub, Scotland Yard are called in.

Reviewed on 21 January 2017 by John Cleal

Fifth Column

A young woman is found dead on a bomb site, but she is no air raid victim. A post-mortem shows she was strangled. DI John Jago is called in and uncovers a trail of deception, betrayal and theft.

Reviewed on 07 January 2017 by John Cleal

Quarry's List

Hitman and ex-Marine Quarry finds himself a target when the would-be successor to the man he worked for – and in whose death he was involved – tries to take over.

Reviewed on 07 January 2017 by John Cleal

Sons of the Blood

What is the meaning of the mysterious map entrusted to his bastard son Jack Wynter by Yorkist courtier Sir Thomas Vaughan before his execution?

Reviewed on 07 January 2017 by John Cleal

The House of Smoke

Killer Simeon Lynch, incarcerated in London’s foul and filthy Newgate prison, counts the days to his execution – for two crimes he did not commit.

Reviewed on 07 January 2017 by John Cleal

Crime and Corruption at the Yard

DI David Woodland’s 19 years service covers the growing pressure on the capital’s police, its major scandals, and the current problems faced by a depleted, demoralised force hamstrung by gutless bosses and the effects of PC and ‘human rights’ on the preservation of law and order.

Reviewed on 24 December 2016 by John Cleal

Death in the Tunnel

Sir Wilfred Saxonby is found dead on a train, alone in a locked first class carriage with a gun close to his body. There is no reason for suicide and a baffled Inspector Arnold calls on Desmond Merrion – a criminologist and amateur detective – to help him untangle the puzzle.

Reviewed on 24 December 2016 by John Cleal

The Fatal Flame

‘Copper star’ Timothy Wilde chases down an arsonist and violence and murder follow as he and his brother follow the trail around the dangerous and corruption-filled streets of a pre-civil war New York.

Reviewed on 24 December 2016 by John Cleal

The Plague Road

Who killed actor/spy Charles Fincham? And what is the secret of the letter he was carrying from Charles II’s brother to the French ambassador? In plague-hit London, rising young lawyer and civil war intelligence officer John Grey must find out.

Reviewed on 24 December 2016 by John Cleal

To Fight For

Former Para and bare knuckle fighter turned-assassin Joe seeks vengeance on those who killed the woman he loved.

Reviewed on 24 December 2016 by John Cleal

Ash and Bones

A plain clothes officer is shot dead in a raid and the original suspect left in a coma. CID trainee Will MacReady is desperate to help, but ignored by his colleagues, follows his own leads that lead the detectives down a dark path.

Reviewed on 10 December 2016 by John Cleal

Cold

Former IRA bombmaker Joe Tiplady, on the run from his former colleagues, becomes a target in a worldwide chain of events he does not understand.

Reviewed on 10 December 2016 by John Cleal

Death at the Seaside

War widow turned private investigator Kate Shackleton takes an overdue holiday to visit an old school friend and her goddaughter and discovers a body – and a wall of silence.

Reviewed on 10 December 2016 by John Cleal

The Cheapside Corpse

Intelligencer Thomas Chaloner must solve the killing of an unpopular banker in a Restoration London threatened by war, civil unrest and plague.

Reviewed on 10 December 2016 by John Cleal

Thunder of the Gods

Marcus Aquila and his Tungrian cohort are sent east on a desperate mission to save a key fortress and halt a war which could destroy the Empire.

Reviewed on 10 December 2016 by John Cleal

Pain Killer

Monica Wood lives with chronic pain after an accident. Drugs blur her memories. But when she finds what appears to be her own suicide note, which she has no memory of writing, she wonders who did – and why?

Reviewed on 07 December 2016 by John Cleal

Camille and the Lost Diaries of Samuel Pepys

Bawdy Restoration England is threatened by a renewal of the war between King and Parliament. A chance meeting between the beautiful Camille, a fugitive French actress and Royal advisor Samuel Pepys leads to an improbable love story in an atmosphere of  political intrigue and danger.

Reviewed on 26 November 2016 by John Cleal

Cuckold Point

River policeman Tom Pascoe tries to track down a consignment of stolen silk and becomes involved with brutal criminals and international espionage in a case which threatens his life, his family and his country.

Reviewed on 26 November 2016 by John Cleal

Kill Me Twice

Reporter Rosie Gilmour investigates a trail of abuse and murder from the sink estates of Glasgow to the corridors of Westminster.

Reviewed on 26 November 2016 by John Cleal

The Promise

Maverick DC Gary Goodhew returns to duty after injury to help investigate the strange killing of a down-and-out and part-time informant and finds a chain of events which all point to an obsessed killer.

Reviewed on 26 November 2016 by John Cleal

An Honest Man

Criminal barrister Charles Holborne has escaped being framed for murder, but his life and career are in ruins. A major brief offers him a lifeline, but drags him into London’s shadowy underworld.

Reviewed on 26 November 2016 by John Cleal

Beneath the Surface

A minister’s aide is murdered in the Irish parliament building. Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds and his team must uncover the truth in a sea of lies, corruption and secrets.

Reviewed on 12 November 2016 by John Cleal

By Gaslight

American detective William Pinkerton is in London following up his father’s obsession with ‘phantom’ crook Edward Shade. So is gentleman thief Adam Foole, responding to a letter from a long lost love. The woman is brutally murdered – and when Foole discovers Pinkerton was one of the last to see her alive, their paths are bound to cross.

Reviewed on 12 November 2016 by John Cleal

Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel

The true story of the arrest and trial of Soviet spy Colonel Rudolf Abel by the man who defended him – and his eventual exchange for shot down U2 pilot Gary Powers.

Reviewed on 12 November 2016 by John Cleal

The Amber Shadows

Honey Deschamps works at Britain’s wartime top secret intercept and decoding centre. Somebody starts to send her parcels of amber, apparently from a looted Russian palace. Who is responsible, and in a place where everyone keeps secrets, who can she trust?

Reviewed on 12 November 2016 by John Cleal

The Dead House

The discovery of a woman’s body, dressed in white and laid out in a candle-lit ‘death house’ in a Welsh valley church sets Detective Sergeant Fiona Lewis on her most baffling case.

Reviewed on 12 November 2016 by John Cleal

Apothecary Melchior and the Ghost of Rataskaevo Street

A prostitute, a Flemish painter and a tower watchman all die after claiming to see a ghost. Apothecary and assistant bailiff Melchior Wakenstede sets out to find the truth behind these seemingly supernatural, but unconnected, murders.

Reviewed on 29 October 2016 by John Cleal

Blind Arrows

English journalist Martin Kant has a chance encounter with a mysterious woman in a Dublin wracked by violence, treachery and spies as the Irish fight for independence gathers momentum.

Reviewed on 29 October 2016 by John Cleal

The Angel of Highgate

Victorian rakehell Lord Geoffrey Thraxton cares only for his own amusement and boasts his contempt for mortality. But in humiliating a literary critic, he creates an enemy who will change the rest of his life.

Reviewed on 29 October 2016 by John Cleal

The Monster's Daughter

A British concentration camp doctor carries out eugenics experiments on Boer prisoners. A hundred years later, a young policewoman discovers a woman’s body, burned beyond recognition, a crime that leads her into her country’s violent past – and her father’s part in it.

Reviewed on 29 October 2016 by John Cleal

The Secrets of Gaslight Lane

‘Personal’ detective Sidney Grice and his ward March Middleton struggle to unravel the mystery of two killings of members of the same family in the same house, but ten years apart.

Reviewed on 29 October 2016 by John Cleal

Fade To Black

The apparent return from the dead of a cult film icon forces media man Root Wilson – who wrote his obituary – to search for the truth. A series of twists ensure Root becomes a suspect for murder himself – as well as a possible next victim.

Reviewed on 15 October 2016 by John Cleal

Fear the Darkness

Retired FBI undercover agent Brigid Quinn is settling into marriage and a slower life as a private investigator. When her niece comes to live with her and she reluctantly takes on a case of what looks like accidental drowning, her world turn upside down.

Reviewed on 15 October 2016 by John Cleal

Missing Pieces

Journalist Sarah Quinlan investigates a decades old mystery that has forced her husband to live a lie.

Reviewed on 15 October 2016 by John Cleal

The Girl In Green

Journalist Thomas Benton is persuaded by ex-US soldier Arwood Hobbes to return to the Middle East to atone for their failure to save a girl in the aftermath of  Operation Desert Storm 20 years before.

Reviewed on 15 October 2016 by John Cleal

Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster

Edgar Allan Poe summons his detective friend C Auguste Dupin to London to solve a mystery.

Reviewed on 11 October 2016 by John Cleal

A Death at Fountains Abbey

John Aislabie, one of the wealthiest and most hated men in England, has been threatened with murder. Thomas Hawkins is blackmailed into investigating and must hunt those responsible, or lose the woman he loves.

Reviewed on 01 October 2016 by John Cleal

A Poisonous Plot

Tensions between town and gown threaten full scale warfare in 1350s Cambridge as physician/corpse examiner Matthew Bartholomew and senior proctor Brother Michael try to solve a series of murders and mysterious deaths.

Reviewed on 01 October 2016 by John Cleal

Buried

The mummified bodies of a family and their pets found beneath the floorboards of a cottage point to an execution during the Troubles.

Reviewed on 01 October 2016 by John Cleal

The Detective and the Devil

Constable Charles Horton of the River Police investigates the brutal killing of a clerk and his family in London’s East End and is drawn into the secretive world of the East India Company and a confrontation on a lonely South Atlantic island with a killer who seems to be the very Devil.

Reviewed on 01 October 2016 by John Cleal

The Silent Ones

Father Anselm is approached by the head of a minor Order to trace a missing priest who ran from a police station while being questioned over an allegation of child abuse. Anselm finds he must again defend a man who is the only link to others who have chosen silence over their right to justice.

Reviewed on 01 October 2016 by John Cleal

The Singer From Memphis

Athenian investigator Nicolaos and priestess wife, Diotima, are hired by would-be historian Herodotus to guard him on a research trip to war-torn Egypt.

Reviewed on 17 September 2016 by John Cleal

Zambezi

Special Forces Master Sergeant Jed Banks flies to Africa to find the truth about his conservation researcher daughter, supposedly killed by a man-eating lion, and finds himself in the frontline of the war against terror.

Reviewed on 17 September 2016 by John Cleal

Darktown

When a young black girl, last seen in the car of a white man, is found dead, new black Atlanta policemen Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith go against the rules to investigate.

Reviewed on 17 September 2016 by John Cleal

Easy Motion Tourist

Guy Collins, a British journalist visiting Lagos, stumbles into a brutal killing. A mutilated female body is discovered and Collins is picked up as a suspect.

Reviewed on 17 September 2016 by John Cleal

So Nude, So Dead

Former pianist and heroin addict Ray Stone wakes up in a cheap motel with a dead girl in his bed. The only way he can stop the police charging him with her murder is to find the real killer.

Reviewed on 17 September 2016 by John Cleal

The Last Good Kiss

Montana private eye CW Sughrue is hired to track down a failing alcoholic author, but winds up searching for a girl missing for ten years whose trail leads him into a world of sex and crime.

Reviewed on 03 September 2016 by John Cleal

Dear Daughter

A technical miscarriage of justice frees wild child Janie Jenkins from prison where she is serving life for killing her socialite mother and she sets out to discover the real murderer.

Reviewed on 03 September 2016 by John Cleal

Silence

Inspector Celcius Daly investigates the car crash death of a priest and is dragged back into deadly history of the Troubles – and the death of his mother.

Reviewed on 03 September 2016 by John Cleal

The Rat Stone Serenade

The board of one of the world’s biggest private companies is the target of an ancient cult bent on revenge. DCI Jim Daley and DS Brian Scott must find the killers.

Reviewed on 03 September 2016 by John Cleal

Crisis

Sent to Colombia to investigate the murder of a British intelligence officer, Spanish-speaking former SBS man Luke Carlton is caught in a revenge plot with international dimensions – and London as its target.

Reviewed on 03 September 2016 by John Cleal

Operation Goodwood

Mirabelle Bevan escapes a fire in her block of flats, but her racing driver neighbour is found hanged. When it is established he was murdered, Mirabelle investigates – and meets a wall of lies and evasion.

Reviewed on 30 August 2016 by John Cleal

Dead Man's Blues

A group of Chicago city leaders is poisoned; a white gangster found dead and mutilated in a poor black area; an heiress vanishes. Pinkerton detectives Michael Talbot and Ida Davis must find the links between the three events which threaten to shake America’s most corrupt city.

Reviewed on 20 August 2016 by John Cleal

In the Heat of the Night

When a well-known musician is found robbed and clubbed to death in the small city of Wells, the first suspect picked up is black. The local police chief is embarrassed to discover the man is a homicide detective and reluctantly enlists his help.

Reviewed on 20 August 2016 by John Cleal

Paradise Sky

A young black man escapes lynching and is pursued across America’s south west by a vicious racist in a chase to the death.

Reviewed on 20 August 2016 by John Cleal

Quarry

When successive contract killings go wrong, his partner is killed and he injured, Vietnam vet-turned-assassin Quarry loses trust in the ‘Broker’ who sets up his ‘jobs’ and sets out to deliver his own brand of justice.

Reviewed on 20 August 2016 by John Cleal

The Children of Silence

A body is found in the Paddington canal basin and a woman with a hearing impairment claims it is that of her husband, who disappeared three years before. She appeals to Frances Doughty, the lady detective, to help her prove her case.

Reviewed on 20 August 2016 by John Cleal

The Unseeing

In 1837 Sarah Gale was sentenced to hang for her part in her murder of another woman. An idealistic young barrister is appointed to determine if the sentence is appropriate.

Reviewed on 06 August 2016 by John Cleal

The Body on the Doorstep

Reverend Marcus Hardcastle is pickling himself in beer and port in a lonely parish on the Romney Marshes. When a man is shot on his doorstep, he is plunged into a plot involving espionage, treason and betrayal.

Reviewed on 06 August 2016 by John Cleal

Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square

Scotsman Campbell Lawless has ambitions to be a Scotland Yard detective. His assignments soon lead him into a dark world which threatens the very future of the Empire.

Reviewed on 06 August 2016 by John Cleal

The Spy of Venice

Caught in a seduction too many, young William Shakespeare flees Stratford. He falls in with a band of players, but others have their eye on the young wordsmith. England’s survival is in the balance and soon he is sent to Venice as part of a crucial embassy – and into deadly danger.

Reviewed on 06 August 2016 by John Cleal

Eden Burning

A story of love amid the violence and death of the Troubles, centred on two families on either side of the sectarian divide, who share a dark secret.
 

Reviewed on 06 August 2016 by John Cleal

Death of a Scholar

Once again Cambridge is full of murdered clerics and scholars. Physician/detective Matthew Bartholomew and Brother Michael must sort out their latest mystery.

Reviewed on 23 July 2016 by John Cleal

Goodbye to the Dead

Lieutenant Stride is investigating a street killing, and discovers a link to a murder in which he found himself on the opposite side to his late wife years before.

Reviewed on 23 July 2016 by John Cleal

Hidden

A gunman stalks the wards of a hospital. Two members of a police firearms unit assigned to find him are recently reinstated after being investigated for shooting a teenage boy. The third has his own problems. As the stress mounts, death is only the pull of a trigger away.

Reviewed on 23 July 2016 by John Cleal

The Hotel of the Three Roses

Commissario Carlo De Vincenzi receives an anonymous tip that a crime is to be commited at a louche hotel.

Reviewed on 23 July 2016 by John Cleal

No Harm Can Come To A Good Man

Senator Laurence Walker is set to win his party’s nomination for President until a family tragedy, followed by what appears a rogue prediction from the mathematically-based algorithm on which America has come to rely, sparks a dramatic collapse.

Reviewed on 09 July 2016 by John Cleal

She Who Was No More

Salesman Ferdinand Ravinel and his lover, Lucienne, an ambitious doctor, plan to murder his wife for the insurance money. When her body disappears Ferdinand is plunged into a nightmare world of self doubt.

Reviewed on 09 July 2016 by John Cleal

Shot Through The Heart

A gunman kills five people, including the policeman boyfriend of his former wife, on Christmas Day, before turning the gun on himself. DI Grace Fisher traces the illegal weapon and discovers a web of police corruption, vendettas and revenge.

Reviewed on 09 July 2016 by John Cleal

The Ashes of London

The body of a murdered man is found in the ruins of St Pauls after the Great Fire. Minor civil servant James Marwood, son of a Protestant extremist, is dragged into treacherous waters where he crosses the path of a determined, but vengeful young woman.

Reviewed on 09 July 2016 by John Cleal

The Incorruptibles

Army scouts Fisk and Shoe are assigned to guide a Senator on a hunting trip, but face supernatural as well as human enemies.

Reviewed on 09 July 2016 by John Cleal

Art in the Blood

Sherlock Holmes is approached by a beautiful French cabaret star when her illegitimate son by an English aristocrat goes missing.

Reviewed on 25 June 2016 by John Cleal

Called Back

A blind man stumbles on a murder. Because he cannot see, the assassins allow him to go. He later recovers his sight and falls in love with a mysterious girl who is in some way involved in the crime.

Reviewed on 25 June 2016 by John Cleal

Runaway

Five young Scots run away to swinging 60s London. Their adventure turns sour when they find few people can be trusted and favours always expect returns. Fifty years later three return to solve a mystery killing.

Reviewed on 25 June 2016 by John Cleal

Scarlet Widow

Orphaned at 16, Beatrice Scarlet marries a Proestant preacher and emigrates to America. When animals are found slaughtered, with indications of satanism, she suspects a human rather than a supernatural hand.

Reviewed on 25 June 2016 by John Cleal

The Printer's Coffin

Blake and Avery are back in England and charged by philanthropist and social reformer Lord Allington with investigating the strange murders of two printers – which London’s new police force seems determined to ignore.

Reviewed on 25 June 2016 by John Cleal

Rough Cut

Reporter Rosie Gilmour becomes suspicious after a young Pakistani bride falls to her death.

Reviewed on 11 June 2016 by John Cleal

The Art of Killing Well

Cookery writer Pellegrino Artusi is invited for a weekend at a Tuscan villa. When the butler is killed and the owner shot, the celebrity chef with a liking for Sherlock Holmes helps the police discover why.

Reviewed on 11 June 2016 by John Cleal

The Butcher Bird

Monastery-raised Oswald de Lacy must grow up fast as lord of Somershill Manor. When two newborn babies are found impaled on thorn bushes, a strange story of a giant killer bird threatens chaos.

Reviewed on 11 June 2016 by John Cleal

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart

The girl George Foss fell in love with in college faked suicide so she could disappear. Twenty years later she walls into a bar with a new name to tell George she is in trouble and he is the only one who can help.

Reviewed on 11 June 2016 by John Cleal

The Graveyard of the Hesperides

Flavia Albia is preparing for her wedding. But when workmen uncover six bodies in the backyard of a downmarket bar, she and husband-to-be Manlius Faustus must unravel a dark secret.

Reviewed on 11 June 2016 by John Cleal

The Paris Architect

An architect, desperate for work, accepts a commission to design hiding places for wealthy Jews in occupied Paris. When one dramatically fails, he unwilling becomes a Resistance hero.

Reviewed on 11 June 2016 by John Cleal

The Red House

Imogen is obsessed with finding her young brother from whom she was separated by adoption. Her fiancé Maxwell comes to believe he could be the boy.


Reviewed on 28 May 2016 by John Cleal

A Death in the Dales

Investigator Kate Shackleton is loaned a cottage in a Dales village by her suitor – and plunged into a decade old mystery by documents suggesting a man hanged for murder was innocent.

Reviewed on 28 May 2016 by John Cleal

Spy Out The Land

Double agent Paul Dark hides his own past, but when his family is kidnapped, he discovers his wife has also been living a double life – and one which may hold the key to the future of war-torn Rhodesia.

Reviewed on 28 May 2016 by John Cleal

A Fever of the Blood

Mismatched detectives ‘Nine Nails’ McGray and Ian Frey, on the track of a patient who has escaped Edinburgh’s asylum where a nurse has been murdered, follow a psychopath across the border to the shadow of Pendle Hill, home of the Lancashire witches.

Reviewed on 28 May 2016 by John Cleal

The Lie Tree

Faith’s scientist father is found dead under strange circumstances. In his belongings she discovers references to a tree which feeds off lies and bears fruit revealing secrets.

Reviewed on 28 May 2016 by John Cleal

On the Bone

A man collapses and dies on a busy street. His stomach contains human flesh. Inspector Cetin Ikmen and his squad must unravel the mystery.

Reviewed on 14 May 2016 by John Cleal

House of the Rising Sun

Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland struggles to be reunited with his estranged son, but his efforts are imperilled by the possession of a precious artefact he stole during the Mexican revolution.

Reviewed on 14 May 2016 by John Cleal

Endangered

Game warden Joe Pickett takes the law into his own hands when his adopted daughter is beaten close to death and his main suspect has an unshakeable alibi.

Reviewed on 14 May 2016 by John Cleal

A Fatal Freedom

Would-be PI Ursula Grandison and her friend and former detective Thomas Jackman face a maze of blackmail and murder as they track a clever and ruthless killer.

Reviewed on 14 May 2016 by John Cleal

The Serpentine Road

The heiress of a billionaire industrialist is murdered in an apparent race-hate crime. Colonel Vaughn De Vries of the Special Crimes Unit investigates and finds a morass of  corruption – and a link to an event in his own past he would rather forget.

Reviewed on 23 April 2016 by John Cleal

The Fifth Heart

Sherlock Holmes, under cover following his alleged death at Reichenbach Falls, prevents American author Henry James from commiting suicide and enlists him to investigate a suicide and a plot to destablise the United States.

Reviewed on 23 April 2016 by John Cleal

With Our Blessing

The body of an elderly woman is found crucified in a Dublin park and DI Tom Reynolds must solve a killing which has its roots in Ireland’s darkest past.

Reviewed on 23 April 2016 by John Cleal

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - The Albino's Treasure

Holmes and Watson are asked to investigate the vandalising of a picture at the National Portrait Gallery and are sucked into a morass of politics, crime and killings.

Reviewed on 23 April 2016 by John Cleal

His Bloody Project

A triple murder in a remote Scottish village leads a 17-year-old to trial. He admits the killings, but motive remains the question, and his fate is unclear.

Reviewed on 02 April 2016 by John Cleal

The Protector

William Falkland is again pressed into service by Oliver Cromwell, this time to find a kidnapped woman whose return is seen as vital to the parliamentary cause.

Reviewed on 02 April 2016 by John Cleal

The Mayfair Mystery

The body of a society doctor is discovered by his valet who hurries to inform a lifelong friend of the dead man. They return to find the body gone.

Reviewed on 02 April 2016 by John Cleal

A Shadowed Livery

Lady Isabelle Barleigh shoots her disabled son on his wedding eve, then turns the gun on herself. An hour later his distraught fiancée commits suicide. DI James Given, assigned to re-examine the case, soon finds all is not as it seems.

Reviewed on 02 April 2016 by John Cleal

Dead Pretty

One girl is missing, another dead. DS Aector McAvoy of the Humberside Serious and Organised Crime Unit can’t let the memory of either go.

Reviewed on 12 March 2016 by John Cleal

Death Descends on Saturn Villa

March Middleton is invited to meet her only living relative, a previously unknown uncle. She wakes the following morning to find her uncle dead and a bloody axe in her hand.

Reviewed on 12 March 2016 by John Cleal

Every Night I Dream Of Hell

With its boss in prison, hard man Nate Colgan is named ‘security consultant’ to the Jamieson criminal empire, his job to track down an outside challenge and deal with internal power bids.

Reviewed on 12 March 2016 by John Cleal

The Girl Who Couldn't Read

A man calling himself Dr John Shepherd arrives to take up a post at an isolated women’s mental hospital in New England and becomes involved with a young amnesiac who is fascinated by books, but cannot read.

Reviewed on 12 March 2016 by John Cleal

Paternoster

When a client mysteriously dies, private investigator Eden Grey is plunged into a web of evil while her own past threatens to come back to haunt her.

Reviewed on 27 February 2016 by John Cleal

Rust

From childhood, Alfred Hastings Rust has an obsession with owning Ridley Hall, a Victorian mansion. Driven by this and greed, he cheats, lies and betrays his way towards his goal.

Reviewed on 27 February 2016 by John Cleal

Shadow of The Hangman

Thief-taker twins Peter and Paul Skillen battle escaped American prisoners seeking revenge and French spies intent on assassination.

Reviewed on 27 February 2016 by John Cleal

Manhattan Mayhem

Seventeen short stories from members of the Mystery Writers of America to celebrate the organisation’s 70th anniversary.

Reviewed on 13 February 2016 by John Cleal

Preserve the Dead

Detective Sergeant Lucy Black and her reformed alcoholic DI Tom Fleming become involved in a series of apparently unconnected events which eventually lead them to corruption and murder.

Reviewed on 13 February 2016 by John Cleal

Sarah Canary

A mysterious white woman appears in a Chinese railway camp in the winter of 1873. Ordered by his uncle to return her to the white world, a young Chinese man begins a quest for right and good.

Reviewed on 13 February 2016 by John Cleal

The Unburied

Academic Dr Edward Courtine visits a former college friend with whom he had lost touch, but becomes involves in a 200-year-old murder mystery  – and a very modern killing.

Reviewed on 13 February 2016 by John Cleal

The Traitor's Mark

Goldsmith Thomas Treviot awaits a design for an important commission from Hans Holbein, Henry VIII’s court artist. When it fails to arrive Treviot is sucked into the murky and murderous world of Tudor politics.

Reviewed on 30 January 2016 by John Cleal

Deadly Election

When a body is discovered in a chest at one of Falco’s auctions, his private-eye daughter Flavia Albia uncovers a trail of revenge and hatred set amid the politics of Domitian’s Rome.

Reviewed on 30 January 2016 by John Cleal

The Devil's Daughters

Scientist Dr James Murray returns from his father’s funeral to find a letter from the woman he loved begging him to return to Turin to find her missing cousin and plunging him and his sister Lucy into a world of danger and evil.

Reviewed on 30 January 2016 by John Cleal

The Royalist

Royalist Dragooner William Falkland awaits death in Newgate. But an incident in his past has reached the ears of Oliver Cromwell, who sends him to investigate a series of mysterious deaths inside his New Model Army.

Reviewed on 30 January 2016 by John Cleal

The Dead Pass

PI Dan Starkey is hired by a former political activist to find her missing criminal son who she believes has been killed. When she is murdered, Starkey’s investigation takes him into Derry’s underworld, dominated by a new generation of gangster-terrorists.

Reviewed on 16 January 2016 by John Cleal

The Disappearance of Signora Giulia

When the much younger wife of an eminent lawyer disappears, Commisario Corada Sciancalepre must trace her, but finds himself deep in a tangled mystery.

Reviewed on 16 January 2016 by John Cleal

The Nightmare Place

DI Zoe Dolan is hunting the attacker branded The Creeper, whose violence is escalating, but she has no clue how he has been getting into the victims’ homes, no pattern to his attacks or no idea who could be next.

Reviewed on 16 January 2016 by John Cleal

The Valley

With a past that haunts him and a dead-end admin job, US Lieutenant Black is sick of the army. Then he is tasked with a minor investigation in a desolate northern Afghan valley – and is plunged into a whirlpool of lies, madness, drugs and killing.

Reviewed on 16 January 2016 by John Cleal

Emperor's Silver

Roman investigator Cassius Corbulo, his bodyguard and Christian slave must track down a gang of counterfeiters threatening the economic stability of the Empire.

Reviewed on 02 January 2016 by John Cleal

Tabula Rasa

Legion doctor Gaius Ruso and his wife Tilla must solve the mystery of a missing military clerk and a local boy to avoid threatened rebellion during the building of Hadrian’s Wall.

Reviewed on 02 January 2016 by John Cleal

The Deadliest Sin

In the Murderers’ tribute to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a group of pilgrims on their way to Walsingham tell their stories of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Reviewed on 02 January 2016 by John Cleal

The Price of Blood

Queen Emma of Normandy, threatened by Viking invasions, a brutal and unstable husband and enemies at court, struggles to defends both her children and her crown.

Reviewed on 02 January 2016 by John Cleal

A Study in Murder

Major John Watson is a prisoner of the Germans. A former adversary of Sherlockj Holmes, seeking revenge, vows to make him suffer and Watson is sent to a vicious PoW camp in the Hartz mountains. There he uncovers a murderous racket among the prisoners and puts his own life, as well as that of Holmes at risk.

Reviewed on 12 December 2015 by John Cleal

Sherlock Homes and A Scandal in Batavia

Holmes and Watson are begged by Prince Alexander, heir to the Dutch throne, to investigate his fears of a plot to steal his inheritance and an attempted poisoning.

Reviewed on 12 December 2015 by John Cleal

The Dark Meadow

Afra has returned to the poverty-stricken Bavarian home she left as a 14-year-old. Her pregnancy places intolerable strains on her staunchly Catholic family. When she and her son are murdered, her father is convicted, but 18 years later the case is reopened.

Reviewed on 12 December 2015 by John Cleal

The Death's Head Chess Club

An SS officer’s attempt to boost morale among death camp guards leads to an impossible friendship which bears fruit many years later.

Reviewed on 12 December 2015 by John Cleal

The Blooding

Matthew Hawkwood, former soldier, Bow Street Runner and spy, attempts to escape America, with which Britain is at war, but uncovers a plot to invade Canada.

Reviewed on 21 November 2015 by John Cleal

The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins

Gambler and rake Tom Hawkins has survived Marshalsea prison only to be convicted of a murder he did not commit. He’s mixed up in the affairs of two ‘courts’, that of George II and the criminal overlord of London’s grim St Giles. Can any of his friends or patrons save him?

Reviewed on 21 November 2015 by John Cleal

Death of an Airman

An Australian bishop, on leave in England, decides he must learn to fly to get around his huge bush diocese. When an instructor crashes and is killed he suspects there is more to it than accident and with the help of a local policeman and a Scotland Yard detective, uncovers an international drugs ring.

Reviewed on 21 November 2015 by John Cleal

The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne

The torture and brutal killing of a wealthy spinster in a quiet Scottish seaside town baffles police.

Reviewed on 21 November 2015 by John Cleal

Perfidia

As tension in Los Angeles explodes with the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, its corrupt rulers bid to exploit the situation for their own profit.

Reviewed on 07 November 2015 by John Cleal

The Bone Tree

Dr Tom Cage is on the run, charged with the killing of the woman who was once his nurse. In his attempts to find him, his son Penn stirs up dark secrets from Louisiana’s and America’s violent and racist past.

Reviewed on 07 November 2015 by John Cleal

Through The Evil Days

During an ice storm, police chief Russ Van Alstyne and his wife, Episcopal pastor Clare Fergusson, battle a brutal drugs gang and corrupt law enforcement officers in a deadly chase to track down a seriously ill little girl, kidnapped from the scene of a double killing.

Reviewed on 07 November 2015 by John Cleal

Kill Me Darling

PI Mike Hammer, on a massive drinking binge after girlfriend/secretary Velda leaves him, apparently for a gang boss, heads for Miami after the murder of the police captain who brought them together.

Reviewed on 05 November 2015 by John Cleal

Blood Salt Water

The body of a woman surfaces in Loch Lomond. DI Alex Morrow must tie the crime to a drugs and money-laundering ring, the disappearance of a second woman and deadly tensions in what seems a chocolate-box town.

Reviewed on 24 October 2015 by John Cleal

Dark Heart

A former British Army doctor and two of his lovers, a South African photographer and an Australian lawyer, were all damaged by their experiences of the Rwandan genocide. Years later, a mystery photograph puts them at risk.

Reviewed on 24 October 2015 by John Cleal

Dead Girl Walking

Disgraced journalist Jack Parlabane is hired to find a missing pop diva. His search takes him across Europe, into the murky backstage world of rock – and into danger.

Reviewed on 24 October 2015 by John Cleal

The Father

Sean Rooney, an alcoholic and mentally-disturbed former forensic profiler, is dragged out of retirement by his DCI ex-wife to help her solve the gruesome murders of a whole family.

Reviewed on 24 October 2015 by John Cleal

A Cold Killing

Crime reporter Rosie Gilmour, back from hiding in Bosnia, investigates the murder of a retired university lecturer who was far more than he appeared.

Reviewed on 10 October 2015 by John Cleal

River of Souls

A minister’s wife calls in forensic psychologist Alice Quentin to reopen the case of the attack which left her daughter mutilated and half drowned. A priest and a policewoman die the same way and Alice must get inside the mind of a madman obsessed by the River Thames.

Reviewed on 10 October 2015 by John Cleal

Solomon Creed

A plane crashes in the Arizona desert and a lone figure emerges from the blazing wreck. He has no memory of his past, no idea of his future. He only knows he must save a man – a man who is already dead.

Reviewed on 10 October 2015 by John Cleal

The Suicide Club

British forces are mired in the bloody stalemate of Passchendaele. Prime Minister Lloyd George is unhappy with progress and soldier-spy Sandy Innes, sent to report on the divided headquarters of commander-in-chief Sir Douglas Haig, soon suspects treachery.

Reviewed on 10 October 2015 by John Cleal

At the Ruin of the World

The western Roman empire is collapsing with its rulers relying on unstable alliances with barbarians while fighting among themselves. Three young people hang on the dream that Rome can be great once more, but how can they save it, or themselves?

Reviewed on 26 September 2015 by John Cleal

The Case of the Hail Mary Celeste

Railway detective Jack Wenlock sets out to solve the 30-year-old mystery of a party of missing nuns and finds love – and problems with the secret state.

Reviewed on 26 September 2015 by John Cleal

The Seeker

Damien Seeker is a mystery. His family and past are unknown, but as an enforcement agent for Oliver Cromwell he is known and feared as a ruthless investigator, sworn to protect the ruler of England at any cost.

Reviewed on 26 September 2015 by John Cleal

The Thief Taker

As the plague wracks London, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly takes on a murder investigation and becomes involved in a world of intrigue and witchcraft in which he is the hunted as well as the hunter.

Reviewed on 26 September 2015 by John Cleal

A Very British Ending

Senior MI6 officers Catesby and Bone try to outwit a cabal of power-hungry plotters on both sides of the Atlantic trying to overthrow the British Prime Minister.

Reviewed on 12 September 2015 by John Cleal

Darkness, Darkness

Charlie Resnick, in semi-retirement, is called back to help with the investigation into the killing of a young woman during the miners’ strike of 30 years before.

Reviewed on 12 September 2015 by John Cleal

Marston Moor

Five armies meet outside York in July 1644 in a brief, but bloody battle which changed the course of history. Battle-scarred Royalist Major Innocent Stryker must call on all his experience to survive the Parliamentary assault and treachery from his own side.

Reviewed on 12 September 2015 by John Cleal

The Lord Bishop's Clerk

No-one is sorry when the Bishop of Winchester’s manipulative, spying, clerk is found bludgeoned to death before the altar at Pershore Abbey. But Serjeant Catchpoll, thief-taker to Worcester’s Sheriff, must discover who did it and why.

Reviewed on 12 September 2015 by John Cleal

The Fifth Season

A woman’s mutilated body found in a forest shows signs of the most appalling torture. Inspector Malin Fors sees similarities to the case of a young woman found raped and beaten years before and still in a psychiatric unit.

Reviewed on 29 August 2015 by John Cleal

The Invention of Fire

Sixteen corpses have been dumped in a London midden bearing wounds not seen before. John Gower, poet and trader in secrets, investigates despite official reluctance and struggles against failing vision, deception and treachery to prevent an even more devastating massacre.

Reviewed on 29 August 2015 by John Cleal

The White Van

Drifter Emily Rosario is plunged into a world of confusion and fear when she is used as a pawn in a bank raid. As she struggles to escape, she is pursued by a desperate policeman who sees the stolen money as the solution to his own problems.

Reviewed on 29 August 2015 by John Cleal

Ugly Bus

Newly-promoted young sergeant Martin Finch struggles to control a group of veteran policemen under the pressures of a football riot and violent demonstrations.

Reviewed on 29 August 2015 by John Cleal

The October List

A mother waits with a bodyguard for news of her kidnapped six-year-old daughter. Then the kidnapper walks in, gun in hand. What happens next? How did they all get there? Can anything or anybody be believed?

Reviewed on 15 August 2015 by John Cleal

The Tapestry

Against her will, former novice nun Joanna Stafford is dragged back into the plotting and brutality of Henry VIII’s seething court – and becomes the target of a killer.

Reviewed on 15 August 2015 by John Cleal

The Whispering City

When a prominent socialite is murdered, young journalist Ana Martí Noguer gets her first chance at a big story – and enters a ruthless world of corruption and violence which lies behind the glitz and glamour of Barcelona’s Fascist power brokers.

Reviewed on 15 August 2015 by John Cleal

King of the Weeds

PI Mike Hammer and secretary and partner Velda are planning a long overdue wedding when he is targeted by a hitman. At the same time, the couple’s friend Captain Pat Chambers, nearing retirement, finds his whole career under threat when a man he and Hammer helped convict years before is freed – and policemen start to die.

Reviewed on 15 August 2015 by John Cleal

A Book of Scars

DS Cathal Breen is recovering at the Devon farm of his former partner Helen Tozer, whose sister was murdered five years before. When a second killing copies the style, Breen and Tozer investigate – and uncover secrets from the past.

Reviewed on 01 August 2015 by John Cleal

Hangman

A serial killer murders a prison officer and returns to the scene of his crimes to kill again. Detective Abbie Kearney must somehow halt his rampage.

Reviewed on 01 August 2015 by John Cleal

Ruthless

DC Janet Scott and DC Rachel Bailey investigate after a man’s body, shot to death, is found in a blazing and abandoned chapel.

Reviewed on 01 August 2015 by John Cleal

The House on the Hill

A young runaway who contacts disillusioned DCI Billy McCartney brings back memories of his most traumatic case – and a renewed pursuit of a ruthless drugs gang.

Reviewed on 01 August 2015 by John Cleal

Kitty Peck and The Child of Ill Fortune

Kitty Peck is the reluctant heiress to Paradise, the criminal East End empire of her grandmother Lady Ginger. She is reunited with her estranged brother in Paris, and is persuaded to take a child back to London – but it is soon clear someone is determined to kill the little boy.

Reviewed on 18 July 2015 by John Cleal

One Boy Missing

Detective Sergeant Bart Moy returns to his fading outback home town after the accidental death of his son and becomes involved with a child abduction and murder investigation while trying to work out his own problems.

Reviewed on 18 July 2015 by John Cleal

The Quick

When Charlotte Norbury travels to London to find her younger brother who has disappeared, she finds herself involved with a mysterious vampire society.

Reviewed on 18 July 2015 by John Cleal

Wolf Winter

Finnish immigrant Maija and her daughters are left alone on a grim mountain. The girls find a murdered man, but locals and the authorities dismiss it as a killing by animals.

Reviewed on 18 July 2015 by John Cleal

Robin Hood Yard

Reporter John Steadman and his lifelong friend Detective Constable Matt Turner investigate a series of brutal sexually perverted killings against a background of approaching war.

Reviewed on 04 July 2015 by John Cleal

The Norfolk Mystery

Wounded Spanish Civil war veteran Stephen Sefton accepts a job as assistant to the eccentric ‘Professor’ Swanton Morley who is writing a county-by-county guide to traditional England. Starting in Norfolk, they discover a vicar hanging by his church’s bell rope.

Reviewed on 04 July 2015 by John Cleal

The Winter Foundlings

Psychologist Alice Quentin is doing research at a high security hospital, when a copycat killer begins kidnapping and murdering young girls – apparently in tribute to a prolific child killer who is a patient there. Alice must establish a relationship with the charismatic killer to find the link to these new murders.

Reviewed on 04 July 2015 by John Cleal

This Thing of Darkness

DC Fiona Griffiths uses her unique talents to link three apparently unconnected events involving two deaths and a massive international conspiracy.

Reviewed on 04 July 2015 by John Cleal

The First Horseman

House of Commons member Robert Packington became the first man in London to be murdered with a pistol when he was shot dead while walking to Mass.Thomas Treviot, a close family friend, sets out to investigate his killing amid the corruption and conspiracies of Henry VIII’s court.

Reviewed on 20 June 2015 by John Cleal

The Man Who Loved Dogs

A Cuban writer meets a man with two Russian wolfhounds while walking on a beach. He gradually learns the man’s story – he is the exiled killer of Leon Trotsky.

Reviewed on 20 June 2015 by John Cleal

The Strings of Murder

Victorian Inspectors Ian Frey and ‘Nine Nails’ McGray must solve the gruesome killing of an Edinburgh violin virtuoso. Their inquiries take them into a world of music, madness and devil worship.

Reviewed on 20 June 2015 by John Cleal

Inquest

Coroner Dr Mike Wilson is dragged into a morass of corruption and killing as he conducts an inquest into the apparent suicide of the drug-addicted son of a government minister.

Reviewed on 20 June 2015 by John Cleal

A Man's Head

Chief Inspector Maigret embarks on an audacious scheme to prove the innocence of a man awaiting execution and must confront a killer convinced of his own intellectual superiority.

Reviewed on 06 June 2015 by John Cleal

Face Off

Eleven short stories featuring some of the best known protagonists and authors in the field, set mainly in America and covering most types of crime with the occasional twist of horror or the supernatural.

Reviewed on 06 June 2015 by John Cleal

Loser's Corner

Policeman and club boxer George Crozat, facing to the end of his career in the ring, accepts an offer to make a profit with his fists – and becomes a pawn in a dangerous game where powerful men will go to any lengths to hide the past.

Reviewed on 06 June 2015 by John Cleal

Dodger of the Dials

Jack Dawkins, the Artful Dodger, is making his living running what remains of Fagin’s gang of pickpockets and thieves. But he is forced to accept a junior partnership in a bigger and more brutal operation which leads him – and his mistress – into a situation where their lives are at risk.

Reviewed on 06 June 2015 by John Cleal

The Tower

A giant tower in the desert will hold digitalized versions of all the world’s publications – including unpublished texts by the 16th century philosopher and genius Giordano Bruno. When those texts go missing, investigator Peter Sims and literary scholar, Giulia Ripetti are called in to find them. But someone is determined to stop them at any cost.

Reviewed on 23 May 2015 by John Cleal

Blood Whispers

Rising criminal lawyer Keira Lynch can break a vicious Eastern European prostitution ring – if she can keep her client alive long enough to give evidence. But those behind the whoremasters will kill to protect their secret.

Reviewed on 23 May 2015 by John Cleal

Gone For Good

When Elizabeth’s mother is murdered and her Down’s Syndrome brother accused, her bid to clear his name uncovers dark family secrets.

Reviewed on 23 May 2015 by John Cleal

Quarry's Choice

Ex-marine sniper Quarry has to infiltrate a crime syndicate in 1970s Mississippi.

Reviewed on 23 May 2015 by John Cleal

The Murder of Harriet Krohn

Charles Torp has problems. He misses his dead wife and his gambling addiction has driven his teenage daughter away. His plan to solve his problems and win her back goes horribly wrong.

Reviewed on 08 May 2015 by John Cleal

Whited Sepulchres

Edwin Weaver must solve the killing of the earl’s household marshal which threatens to disrupt plans for the wedding of his sister. But there appears to be no motive and Edwin soon suspects there are other targets for the killer.

Reviewed on 08 May 2015 by John Cleal

An Appetite For Violets

Irrepressible under-cook Biddy Leigh wants only to wed her sweetheart and set up a tavern. But when her elderly master marries a much younger woman, Biddy is swept in a world of secrets and lies.

Reviewed on 08 May 2015 by John Cleal

Kingdom

Robert Bruce, king of Scotland, fights to throw the English occupiers out of his country.

Reviewed on 08 May 2015 by John Cleal

A Scream in Soho

Detective Inspector Patrick McCarthy is preparing for bed in his Soho flat when he hears a scream. Stumbling through the 1941 blackout, he discovers clear evidence of a murder – but no body.

Reviewed on 18 April 2015 by John Cleal

Betrayed

Investigative reporter Rosie Gilmour senses there is more to the fading story of a missing barmaid – and finds herself drawn into the brutal and violent world of Glasgow’s Ulster Volunteer Force.

Reviewed on 18 April 2015 by John Cleal

The Cunning House

A raid by the Bow Street Runners on a notorious male brothel, an attack on the Duke of Cumberland at nearby St James’ Palace and the alleged suicide of a valet …What links the three events? Lawyer Wyre must find out.

Reviewed on 18 April 2015 by John Cleal

The Man From Berlin

German intelligence officer Gregor Reinhardt, a former Berlin detective, is assigned to investigate the killing of a German officer and a beautiful young Croat filmmaker against a background of internal rivalries, partizan attacks and growing anti-Nazi feeling.

Reviewed on 18 April 2015 by John Cleal

Nunslinger

Visitandine nun Sister Thomas Josephine is a survivor of an attack on a California-bound wagon train, in 1864. She goes on the run, building a legend as the Six Gun Sister as she flees across the south west.

Reviewed on 04 April 2015 by John Cleal

The Frozen Shroud

DCI Hannah Scarlett joins forces again with historian Daniel Kind to investigate a third killing – all following the same MO and spread over a hundred years – in a small and isolated community on the shores of Ullswater, reputedly haunted by the ghost of the first victim.

Reviewed on 04 April 2015 by John Cleal

The Kill Switch

Undercover operative Tucker Wayne and his dog Kane must get a Russian pharmaceutical magnate, who may hold the key to a bio-weapon which threatens a global apocalypse, out of the country.

Reviewed on 04 April 2015 by John Cleal

Watching You

Marnie Logan, a single mother since her gambler husband disappeared, often feels she’s being watched. She turns to clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin for help, but when she discovers a book her husband was preparing for her birthday, her situation quickly spirals into one of fear and horror.

Reviewed on 04 April 2015 by John Cleal

Savage Magic

Constable Charles Horton and magistrate Aaron Graham must solve a string of horrific murders of depraved aristocrats in 19th century London.

Reviewed on 21 March 2015 by John Cleal

The Anatomy of Murder

A re-examination of some the world’s most notorious murder mysteries by seven of the greatest classic crime writers of their age.

Reviewed on 21 March 2015 by John Cleal

This House Is Haunted

Eliza Caine arrives at a remote hall to take up a position as governess to two children. From her arrival she is subjected to a series of strange and terrifying events as she struggles to unlock the secrets of their home.

Reviewed on 21 March 2015 by John Cleal

Head of State

With Britain on the edge of a political precipice, two bodies discovered in London, one a young investigative reporter, the other – minus head and hands – arouse little interest. There appears no connection, but both are part of a shocking secret at the heart of government.

Reviewed on 21 March 2015 by John Cleal

If I Should Die

Afghan veteran Joe Stark is recovering from physical and psychological wounds while trying to qualify as a Met detective. The TA soldier and policeman is assigned to investigate a series of apparently random attacks on down-and-outs, but as Stark struggles to deal with his own problems, the case explodes into murder.

Reviewed on 07 March 2015 by John Cleal

Forty Acres

Rising lawyer Martin Grey comes to the notice of a group of black powerbrokers. They invite him to join them, but when he visits their secretive headquarters he discovers an alternative world which challenges most deeply held beliefs.

Reviewed on 07 March 2015 by John Cleal

Mallory's Oracle

When child thief Kathy Mallory was rescued from the streets by Sergeant Louis Markowitz, he and his wife reshaped her life. When he is butchered, Mallory, now a detective herself, sets out to trap his killer.

Reviewed on 07 March 2015 by John Cleal

Sleeping Dogs

Gangland boss Harry Larkin, dying after being shot, begs DI Leo Woods to find his missing daughter. Woods is drawn into the dysfunctional Larkin family – including Harry’s wife with whom he had an affair.

Reviewed on 07 March 2015 by John Cleal

Orkney Twilight

Jim is a great storyteller, whose stories get wilder with each glass of whisky. Teenage daughter Sam tries to find out the truth about her undercover cop dad.

Reviewed on 27 February 2015 by John Cleal

A Killing of Angels

Someone tucked a picture of an angel and a handful of white feathers into a banker’s pocket before pushing him in front of a Tube. It appears that a killer is stalking the Square Mile.

Reviewed on 21 February 2015 by John Cleal

Cemetery Girl

The disappearance of Tom and Abbey Stuart’s 12-year-old daughter shatters their marriage and their lives. Four years later she is found. She refuses to say anything about the time she has been missing and when the police arrest a suspect, she will not give evidence. The Stuarts face a choice: let the man who has destroyed their lives go free – or take matters into their own hands.

Reviewed on 21 February 2015 by John Cleal

Death of an Avid Reader

Detective Kate Shackleton is hired by a titled lady to find her illegitimate daughter and her inquiries take her into the quiet of a Yorkshire library, the poverty-stricken back streets of Leeds, a series of murders – and a meeting with a very clever monkey!

Reviewed on 21 February 2015 by John Cleal

Galveston

Gangland enforcer Roy Cady has been sentenced to death twice – by cancer and by his own boss. He escapes a murder set-up, rescues a young prostitute and the pair, together with her little ‘sister’, go on the run from New Orleans through Louisiana and Texas.

Reviewed on 21 February 2015 by John Cleal

Lawless

Journalist Campbell McBride’s true crime book is a success, but at a signing in his home town he is confronted by the father of one of the killers he featured who swears his son’s innocence. McBride re-examines the case when instinct tells him the man is telling the truth.

Reviewed on 07 February 2015 by John Cleal

Never Go Back

Jack Reacher goes back to visit his old Military Police unit on a whim. But its new woman commanding officer, whose voice he liked on the phone, has gone missing and he’s arrested on charges relating to old events.

Reviewed on 07 February 2015 by John Cleal

Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil

Sleuth Reverend Sidney Chambers and his friend DI ‘Geordie’ Keating face four more mysteries.

Reviewed on 07 February 2015 by John Cleal

The Silent Boy

The son of Edward Savill’s estranged wife has been brought to England by French émigrés fleeing the bloody excesses of the Revolution. But the horrors he has witnessed – and a terrible secret he holds – keep the boy from speaking.

Reviewed on 07 February 2015 by John Cleal

A House of Knives

DS Cathal Breen and DC Helen Tozer investigate the death and mutilation of an MP’s son in swinging – and corrupt – London in 1968.

Reviewed on 24 January 2015 by John Cleal

Gun Machine

A disenchanted New York detective is jolted into life when his partner is killed and during a search of the murder building he stumbles on a room containing hundreds of guns arranged in a bizarre pattern – each used in a recent killing and each matched with a weapon used in a historic murder.

Reviewed on 24 January 2015 by John Cleal

Roseblood

England is poised on the brink of civil war in 1455. Former soldier Simon Roseblood, a sworn Lancastrian supporter, faces growing threats to his position and businesses – and a fanatical group seeking revenge for a massacre in which he had no part.

Reviewed on 24 January 2015 by John Cleal

The Kill Room

An outspoken critic of US foreign policy is assassinated in the Bahamas. All routes lead to a shady government agency. Lincoln Rhyme and his partner Amelia Sachs investigate.

Reviewed on 24 January 2015 by John Cleal

A Spider in the Cup

Assistant Commissioner Joe Sandilands, investigating the body of a young woman found in the Thames mud and also charged with protecting a powerful American senator who’s in London for a key economic conference, discovers the two are linked – and that far more is at stake.

Reviewed on 10 January 2015 by John Cleal

Leaving Everything Most Loved

Maisie Dobbs is asked by an Indian war hero, who believes the English police have let him down, to investigate the killing of his charismatic sister. When a second girl is killed in exactly the same way, Maisie must explore a sub-culture she finds fascinating to get at the truth.

Reviewed on 10 January 2015 by John Cleal

Pascal Passion

The headmistress of a village Church of England school is horribly murdered. DI Harry Falconer and Sergeant Davey Carmichael investigate, but their inquiries are interrupted by a second killing.

Reviewed on 10 January 2015 by John Cleal

The Dead Can Wait

Dr John Watson is back from the trenches, trying to help soldiers affected by shellshock. With Holmes unavailable, he is tasked with solving the mysterious deaths of seven men at a secret establishment where a new weapon which could shorten the war is being developed, but must battle Army indifference as much as German agents.

Reviewed on 10 January 2015 by John Cleal

Angel of Death

An abused woman seeks revenge on the ring of middle-class professionals who turned her into a drug-addled whore, while a disillusioned veteran detective tries to exploit her quest to bring down a vicious criminal gang.

Reviewed on 27 December 2014 by John Cleal

Blue Is The Night

Ulster Attorney General Lance Curran faces huge political pressures over his decision to prosecute a young man for a brutal killing where a conviction and death sentence threatens to rip the Province apart. At the same time he must deal with an increasingly unstable wife and a rebellious adolescent daughter.

Reviewed on 27 December 2014 by John Cleal

Carolina Skeletons

A 14-year-old black boy follows two white schoolgirls into the woods. Later they are found brutally murdered.  In an atmosphere of racism and possible Klan violence, he is sentenced to death. Forty years later his nephew tries to find out what really happened.

Reviewed on 27 December 2014 by John Cleal

Jack-Knifed

When a gay man is found butchered in his own kitchen there appears to be no suspects and no motive. DCI Martin Phelps and his team must probe the man’s disturbed past to uncover a sinister chain of events – and more killings.

Reviewed on 27 December 2014 by John Cleal

A Monstrous Regiment of Women

Mary Russell comes of age. In London she meets an old university friend who introduces her to a charitable women’s organisation run by the charismatic Margery Childe. But when several of its wealthier members are murdered, Mary’s involvement becomes her first solo investigation – with a little help from her mentor Sherlock Holmes.

Reviewed on 13 December 2014 by John Cleal

Gods of War

Watson is re-united with Holmes on a rare visit to his retirement home and the pair plunge into a whirlpool of ambition, obsession and murder when Holmes is engaged by a powerful industrialist to prove his son’s death was a suicide.

Reviewed on 13 December 2014 by John Cleal

Plague Land

Monastery-raised teenager Oswald de Lacy, lord of the manor after the plague deaths of his father and brothers, must battle greed and superstition to solve the brutal murder of a young girl.

Reviewed on 13 December 2014 by John Cleal

Warlord's Gold

Captain Innocent Stryker is dispatched to the Scilly Isles in search of treasure hidden by a Royalist supporter.

Reviewed on 13 December 2014 by John Cleal

Enemies At Home

Investigator Flavia Albia is hired to discover who killed a newly-wed couple. The main suspects are their slaves, but they have sought sanctuary in a temple. Together with aedile Manlius Faustus, Falco’s adopted daughter sets out to uncover the truth.

Reviewed on 29 November 2014 by John Cleal

The Rising Tide

Tom Pascoe is drinking himself to death grieving for his murdered wife. His last chance to save his job with the River Police is to investigate the death of an MP found floating in the Thames. His inquiries leads to a ruthless ring of slavers determined to preserve their trade at any price – even treason.

Reviewed on 29 November 2014 by John Cleal

The View from the Tower

Helen di Stasi is in a Rome hotel with her lover, when her husband Federico, a senior civil servant, is assassinated. In trying to discover why, she finds herself in a murky world of half truths and betrayals – and must face her own past.

Reviewed on 29 November 2014 by John Cleal

The Winter Siege

As the Empress Matilda, only surviving child of Henry I, and her cousin Stephen battle for the English throne, two women from very different backgrounds struggle to survive as bands of mercenaries burn, rape and loot their way across the country.

Reviewed on 29 November 2014 by John Cleal

Chamber Music

Henry Bane, on his way up in Manchester’s gangland, must face the challenge of Yardie Hagfish and his dreadful ally Mary. At the same time a woman from his past has reappeared, bringing even more trouble with her in the shape of a new boyfriend.

Reviewed on 15 November 2014 by John Cleal

The Lost Abbot

Physician/sleuth Matt Bartholomew travels to Peterborough to investigate the disappearance of the Abbot and his friend, the town’s only doctor. They ride into a web of ambition, avarice, lies, rivalries and deception.

Reviewed on 15 November 2014 by John Cleal

The Tudor Conspiracy

Disgraced spymaster William Cecil recalls Brendan Prescott to his service to uncover a plot to destroy Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan finds himself a double agent, working for the Catholic Queen Mary in a court filled with intrigue, treachery and death.

Reviewed on 15 November 2014 by John Cleal

The False Virgin

A young Saxon aristocrat is found murdered in the chapel where she kept a nightly vigil. The killing is attributed to Norse raiders and the butterflies found on her body to divine recognition of her martyrdom.

Reviewed on 15 November 2014 by John Cleal

Complex 90

When a PI is shot dead at a society party where he and Mike Hammer are providing security, Hammer takes on his job accompanying a conservative Senator to Russia. Kidnapped, he shoots his way out, leaving a trail of bodies and returns to America to find he is wanted by both sides in a Cold War threatening to heat up.

Reviewed on 01 November 2014 by John Cleal

Knife Music

When a bright, attractive teenager hangs herself after her mother discovers her diary in which she confesses to sex with the surgeon who saved her life, Detective Hank Madden must decide whether her death was suicide – and prove whether the doctor was involved or not.

Reviewed on 01 November 2014 by John Cleal

The Guillotine Choice

Mohand Saoudi, a 20-year-old Berber in French-dominated Algeria faces an impossible choice. Found with his dying French employer, he must name the killer or face a never-ending sentence in the dreaded Devil’s Island. Can he send a member of his own family to the guillotine?

Reviewed on 01 November 2014 by John Cleal

The Tilted World

Two prohibition agents are sent to a small Deep South town to investigate the disappearance of their predecessors.

Reviewed on 01 November 2014 by John Cleal

The Night the Rich Men Burned

Two young friends try to escape a pointless life on Glasgow fringes and become involved in the loan-sharking and collection rackets. One rises quickly up the ranks. The other becomes a victim of growing debt and addiction.

Reviewed on 19 October 2014 by John Cleal

Blink

DI Gavin Sexton is looking into a spate of teenage suicides when he meets a young girl paralysed by 'locked-in' syndrome. Communicating by blinks, she tells him: 'I hired a hitman'.

Reviewed on 18 October 2014 by John Cleal

Walking With Ghosts

Hotel owner ‘Honey’ Driver, police liaison officer for her association, becomes involved in a murder and a hunt for a priceless artefact when a woman is killed on a ghost walk.

Reviewed on 18 October 2014 by John Cleal

Young Philby

Kim Philby fled Beirut aboard a Russian ship that sailed so hurriedly it left much of its cargo on the dockside. Cleared by a British inquiry through lack of evidence, the former senior intelligence liaison officer in Washington had spied for the Communists for more than 30 years. 

Reviewed on 18 October 2014 by John Cleal

The Fourth Motive

When Judge Callen’s daughter Paige suffers multiple attacks the reasons may lie with her work as an assistant DA, or perhaps her father did something in the past to seriously offend someone…

Reviewed on 04 October 2014 by John Cleal

The Gods of Guilt

Mickey Haller is surprised to discover that a cyber-pimp accused of murder was recommended to him by his alleged victim – an escort girl Haller represented years before. His decision to defend the man pits Haller against corrupt lawmen who will stop at nothing to cover up their crimes.

Reviewed on 04 October 2014 by John Cleal

The Innocence Game

Three graduates set out to examine a cold case involving the kidnap and murder of a young boy as a possible miscarriage of justice.

Reviewed on 04 October 2014 by John Cleal

The Unquiet Grave

Maverick DI Damen Brook is back from suspension and exiled to the cold case squad. He’s eager to escape this backwater, but his attitude changes when he spots a pattern in a series of murders that began in 1963.

Reviewed on 04 October 2014 by John Cleal

Silent as the Grave

Former TV correspondent Adam Bailey is asked to investigate the mystery of a curse on the aristocratic Rowe family over a Christmas at their isolated Yorkshire home. Cut off by a snow storm, Bailey must try to resolve rumours of madness in the family – and deal with new violence and more killings.

Reviewed on 04 October 2014 by John Cleal

Carnival of Shadows

A travelling carnival with acts of inexplicable paranormal magic and illusion appears in a small town. But when an unidentified man’s body is discovered beneath the carousel FBI agent Michal Travis is sent to investigate.

Reviewed on 20 September 2014 by John Cleal

Getting Warmer

Senior detective Cato Kwong is back in the city after his ‘exile’. He finds himself in danger when he tries to deal with a missing girl, a manipulative killer, growing gang violence – and faces doubts over the motives and honesty of some of his colleagues.

Reviewed on 20 September 2014 by John Cleal

The Axeman's Jazz

1919 and a mad axeman is terrifying New Orleans, America’s most racially mixed and vibrant city. Three very different individuals – a police Lieutenant with his own secrets, a disgraced ex-detective and the mixed-race secretary of a detective agency – set out to track him down.

Reviewed on 20 September 2014 by John Cleal

The Bloody City

Edwin Weaver, son of the former bailiff of Conisbrough Castle, has already bailed his devious lord out of trouble once. When William de Warenne, earl of Surrey, decides to change sides – again – in the civil war ripping England apart, he volunteers Edwin for a dangerous mission.

Reviewed on 20 September 2014 by John Cleal

The Edge Of Normal

Recovering kidnap survivor Reeve LeClaire is asked to help a young girl rescued from a similar situation and unintentionally becomes involved in the hunt for a vicious sexual predator who may be holding other girls captive.

Reviewed on 06 September 2014 by John Cleal

The Mangle Street Murders

Noted ‘personal’ detective Sidney Grice begrudgingly accepts help from his ward March Middleton to solve a series of brutal knife murders which are terrifying the East End of Victorian London.

Reviewed on 06 September 2014 by John Cleal

The Queen's Man

John Shakespeare is ordered to investigate a plot to free Mary, Queen of Scots, but discovers its roots go deep into his native Warwickshire and threaten his own family. How far will he go to protect them?

Reviewed on 06 September 2014 by John Cleal

A Letter of Mary

Mary Russell Holmes and her husband Sherlock’s retirement is interrupted when a figure from Mary’s past arrives with a gift – an inlaid box containing a stained papyrus which could prove a biblical bombshell. When the visitor is run down a day later, the Holmes investigate her murder and its motives.

Reviewed on 06 September 2014 by John Cleal

Artefacts of the Dead

Critically injured DI Bob Valentine is recalled from convalescence to investigate two horrifying murders. His investigations are hampered by an anxious by-the-book divisional commander and a series of ‘visions’ that leave him doubting his own sanity.

Reviewed on 23 August 2014 by John Cleal

Black Chalk

Six new Oxford students form an instant friendship. At the Freshers’ Fair they sign up with the mysterious Games Society and The Game – an elaborate mixture of luck and consequences emerges. Early penalties are trivial but become more humiliating as they are played out against a background of changing relationships which inevitably lead to tragedy.

Reviewed on 23 August 2014 by John Cleal

Someone To Watch OVer Me

Reykjavik lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir is hired by a deeply unpleasant and manipulative child sex offender with a view to overturning the conviction of a fellow inmate in his secure unit. Her investigations are hampered by lies, half-truths and cover-ups.

Reviewed on 23 August 2014 by John Cleal

You Will Never Find Me

The headstrong teenage daughter of freelance kidnap expert Charlie Boxer and his DI former wife disappears only hours after running away to Madrid. At the same time the young son of a Russian businessman is kidnapped in London. Is there a link between the two events?

Reviewed on 23 August 2014 by John Cleal

Ruthless

Deputy police chief Jess Harris continues her pursuit of serial killer Eric ‘The Player’ Spears who continues to haunt her life. But her task is complicated when someone starts sending her the exhumed bodies of girl children killed years before.

Reviewed on 09 August 2014 by John Cleal

The Alvarez Journal

Detective Gabe Wager and his rookie partner get a tip-off which puts them on the trail of a massive shipment of heroin, but the smugglers are smart and Wager must use all his skills to close the case.

Reviewed on 09 August 2014 by John Cleal

The Devil's Ribbon

Underfunded Victorian forensic scientist Professor Adolphus Hatton and his assistant Albert Roumande are battling to identify the cause of a cholera outbreak. At the same time they must deal with a series of apparently politically motivated brutal murders all connected to an isolated Irish village.

Reviewed on 09 August 2014 by John Cleal

The Sudden Arrival of Violence

As the bosses of rival Glasgow gangs manoeuvre for control, killer Calum MacLean has had enough. He seizes his chance to quit, but cannot anticipate the effect this decision will have.

Reviewed on 09 August 2014 by John Cleal

Revenger

When ex-marine Samuel Carver finds himself in the middle of a riot in South London he has to fall back on his instincts and years of training as the riot turns into a battleground

Reviewed on 26 July 2014 by John Cleal

The Curse of Babylon

Amid the plotting, revolts and wild hedonism of the remains of the Roman empire at the beginning of the seventh century, English adventurer Aelric faces his hardest challenge as he tries to stop a Persian invasion – and deal with a determined and dangerous woman.

Reviewed on 26 July 2014 by John Cleal

The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair

Best-selling young author Marcus Goldman turns to his former professor to overcome a bad case of writer’s block only to discover that his mentor has been hiding an affair with a 15-year-old girl for more than 30 years. When the girl’s remains are found, Goldman, with the help of a determined detective, sets out to investigate.

Reviewed on 26 July 2014 by John Cleal

Theft of Life

A former West Indies slaver is found dead in the grounds of St Paul’s Cathedral. Gabriel Crowther and Harriet Westerman find themselves investigating wealthy and influential traders in human misery who will do anything to protect their trade and their profits.

Reviewed on 26 July 2014 by John Cleal

Natchez Burning

Klu Klux Klan killings from the 1960s resurface to claim new victims and leave ex-prosecutor Penn Cage facing a son’s worst nightmare with his father accused of murder. Attempts to clear his name unearth new secrets, and in a town where the past is never truly buried, those secrets turn lethal.

Reviewed on 12 July 2014 by John Cleal

Original Skin

DS Aector McAvoy of the Humberside Serious and Organised Crime Unit finds a mobile phone which leads him to believe a young homosexual’s death, ruled a suicide, may be more. Already in the middle of a drugs war, he must now plunge into a world of sleazy and violent sex to uncover to uncover the truth.

Reviewed on 12 July 2014 by John Cleal

Shiver

Single mum Samantha drives a repo truck to keep a roof over her son’s head. When she hooks up a BMW, she finds a beaten and shot man in the boot and when she is taken hostage by him is dragged into a fight to survive.

Reviewed on 12 July 2014 by John Cleal

Appetite

Nino Latini has a unique gift, a massively heightened sense of taste and a desire to create the perfect feast that will make his name as a chef in some of the most magnificent houses of Renaissance Italy. But his gift leads him into trouble and physical danger.

Reviewed on 28 June 2014 by John Cleal

The Killer Next Door

As London swelters in a stifling heatwave, the tenants of a bedsit and its landlord each try to hide their own secrets, but one, an obsessed serial killer, must try more than most.

Reviewed on 28 June 2014 by John Cleal

White Bones

The dismembered bones of 11 women whose skeletons bear the marks of a careful butcher are found on a Cork farm. A young American hitch-hiker goes missing, and Ireland’s first senior female detective, Superintendent Katie Maguire, must solve the ancient murders to find a link to a terrifying modern killer.

Reviewed on 28 June 2014 by John Cleal

Broken Faith

Jimmy Costello, a corrupt ex-Met detective, and now a ‘fixer’ for the Vatican, is sent to Spain to check a story that a senior cleric is involved with the Basque terrorist movement. The man he must talk to is killed and Jimmy has to solve the mystery – and also deal with some unwelcome reminders of his violent past.

Reviewed on 26 June 2014 by John Cleal

Let It Burn

Alex McKnight, invalided out of the Detroit police and retired to Michigan’s Lakeland, is tipped off that a killer he helped convict is due for release – but McKnight is now having some doubts about the man’s guilt.

Reviewed on 14 June 2014 by John Cleal

Rubbernecker

Student of anatomy Patrick Fort is a young man with a mission – to find out what happens when people die. His Asperger’s Syndrome means he will pursue that to extremes – and those extremes will lead him to a possible murder.

Reviewed on 14 June 2014 by John Cleal

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing

Student Dani Lancing was brutally raped and murdered. Twenty years on, her death is still affecting the lives of her parents and the man who had loved her since childhood.

Reviewed on 14 June 2014 by John Cleal

Dominion

Churchill has lost his bid to lead the wartime government and Britain surrenders. Resistance to the German masters slowly builds.

Reviewed on 10 June 2014 by John Cleal

Good People

When the tenant of the flat below dies and leaves almost $400,000 in cash, Tom and Anna Read think their problems have all been solved. But their decision to keep the cash involves them with ruthless men who believe they have been double-crossed and will stop at nothing to gain revenge.

Reviewed on 31 May 2014 by John Cleal

The Convictions of John Delahunt

Amoral student John Delahunt is waiting to hang for the killing of a young boy which shocked Victorian Dublin. He looks back over a life of betrayal in which he sacrificed friends, family, love and ultimately himself in pursuit of easy money and self-interest.

Reviewed on 31 May 2014 by John Cleal

The Siege

The Spanish port is under siege from a French army, but within the city a brutal serial killer of young girls is threatening to overturn the delicate balance of public order in a hotbed of change.

Reviewed on 31 May 2014 by John Cleal

Treachery

Renegade monk, philosopher, spy, poet and detective Giordano Bruno, is in Plymouth with his friend, Sir Philip Sidney, on a diplomatic mission. Bruno’s investigations into a murder on Drake’s flagship uncover some of the city’s darkest secrets, but expose him – and the country itself – to mortal danger.

Reviewed on 31 May 2014 by John Cleal

The Devil's Revenge

Occult murder mystery.  Ritual, witchcraft, revenge, alchemy, murder. Portland, Maine. Series. Deputy Archie Lean must discover why someone murdered a thief, then disinterred his body to burn it, leaving occult symbols on nearby walls.

Reviewed on 03 May 2014 by John Cleal

The Helper

A murder victim in a shabby bookstore appears to be a message for Detective Callum Doyle. In mysterious phone calls Doyle is told he will be given clues to more deaths – provided he keeps them to himself. Should he conceal knowledge that could stop these vicious and apparently random killings?

Reviewed on 03 May 2014 by John Cleal

This Dark Road To Mercy

Easter Quillby and her sister are in a state foster home after the overdose death of their mother. Their feckless father, who has stumbled on a cache of stolen money, reappears to claim them and they go on the run pursued by a disgraced former detective and a psychopathic with his own score to settle.

Reviewed on 03 May 2014 by John Cleal

Wolf

Two teenage sweethearts are horrifically murdered in a Mendip wood. The prime suspect confesses, but 14 years later the nightmare returns to haunt a family trying to put their memories behind them.

Reviewed on 03 May 2014 by John Cleal

Graveland

A Wall Street investment banker is shot dead. That night a hedge fund manager is killed. Investigative journalist Ellen Dorsey follows a hunch and opens the door to a world of fabulous riches and staggeringly amoral political and financial manipulation.

Reviewed on 19 April 2014 by John Cleal

Lexicon

The Australian mining town of Broken Hill has been wiped out. The government blames environmental disaster, but a few people know the truth.

Reviewed on 19 April 2014 by John Cleal

River of the Dead

A serial killer who mutilates his victims has been operating for more than 20 years, targeting ten-year-old boys. The killings continue, and then homicide detective Alex Hemingway herself becomes a target.

Reviewed on 19 April 2014 by John Cleal

Tatiana

Senior investigator Arkady Renko, investigating the execution of a Moscow mob boss, finds a connection to the apparent suicide of a female investigative reporter.

Reviewed on 19 April 2014 by John Cleal

Hearts of Darkness

With the Great Plague having burnt itself out in London, Harry Lytle is ordered by spymaster Lord Arlington to an Essex village where the disease is still breeding to track down a traitor and bring him back alive.

Reviewed on 05 April 2014 by John Cleal

Seven for a Secret

Timothy Wilde is a copper star in the newly-formed NYPD, and is dragged into the world of the blackbirders, semi-legal slave catchers, when a beautiful black woman reports her free family has been kidnapped.

Reviewed on 05 April 2014 by John Cleal

The Devil and The River

When John Gaines is called to the discovery of a girl’s body on the riverside of the small Mississippi town of which he is sheriff, he stumbles into a nightmare of murder, violence, corruption and superstition.

Reviewed on 05 April 2014 by John Cleal

The Witness

As a teenager, Abigail was witness to a brutal mafia double murder and the killing of two US marshals. She has been on the run from the killers for twelve years. Now she believes she is finally safe and has settled in a small town in the Ozarks. Then she meets the local chief of police – and her whole life changes.

Reviewed on 05 April 2014 by John Cleal

A Union Not Blessed

Boston lawyer Jean Marie McLeod, worried about his marriage and his young wife, seeks advice from a friend. A chance meeting drags him back into the world of espionage to foil a plot which could change the whole future of America.

Reviewed on 22 March 2014 by John Cleal

A Burnable Book

John Gower, poet and dealer in information is asked by his confidant Geoffrey Chaucer, to recover a missing book. The apparently mundane task leads him into a conspiracy to kill the king of England and destroy the Plantagenet dynasty.

Reviewed on 22 March 2014 by John Cleal

The Devil in the Marshalsea

Marshalsea Prison, Southwark. Country parson’s son Tom Hawkins, a gambler and rake, is thrown into a debtors’ prison where he must share a cell with a man inmates call a devil – and solve a murder or lose his own life.

Reviewed on 22 March 2014 by John Cleal

Touchstone

American Bureau of Investigation agent Harris Stuyvesant arrives in 1920s London on the trail of an anarchist bomber responsible for the death of his fiancée.

Reviewed on 22 March 2014 by John Cleal

The Game

A killer for hire completes an assignment in Algiers to execute another assassin, then is coerced into posing as the dead man to identify his victim’s latest client. Events spiral out of his control and he must choose between doing the right thing and losing his own life.

Reviewed on 08 March 2014 by John Cleal

Trespasser

Game warden Mike Bowditch, sent to a collision between a car and a deer on a lonely road, is surprised when he finds the car and blood on the road, but at first, no driver and no deer. When the woman is later found dead, things get dangerous for Bowditch.

Reviewed on 08 March 2014 by John Cleal

How a Gunman Says Goodbye

Hitman Frank McLeod has a problem. After decades at the top of his profession he has bodged a job – and had to be rescued by the young killer he recruited. What does a gunman do in retirement? Can he quit or is he a danger to himself and his former bosses?

Reviewed on 08 March 2014 by John Cleal

The Jackal's Share

Corporate investigator Ben Webster is hired by a billionaire Iranian expat to quash rumours about his asset management business and is plunged into the murky world of lies, greed and betrayals that is international finance – and the even more dangerous one of Middle Eastern politics.

Reviewed on 08 March 2014 by John Cleal

All I Did Was Shoot My Man

Private investigator Leonid McGill helped frame an innocent woman for a huge robbery at an insurance company. When he regrets his actions and decides to free her from prison, he sets in motion events which threaten her, himself and his family.

Reviewed on 22 February 2014 by John Cleal

Dark Dawn

A teenager is found kneecapped and killed in a luxury development on Belfast’s River Lagan. Acting DS John O’Neill faces a wall of silence, indifference and a hostile senior officer as he enters the world of violence, drug dealing and corruption that is post-Troubles Belfast.

Reviewed on 22 February 2014 by John Cleal

The Dead

Gang boss David Blake is back on top until the arrest of his accountant for child murder sparks a chain of events which put Blake’s empire – and life – at risk.

Reviewed on 22 February 2014 by John Cleal

Penance

When an elderly woman is shot dead by a sniper after leaving the confessional, Chicago detective John Lynch is assigned to investigate and enters a murky world of political ambition and double cross.

Reviewed on 22 February 2014 by John Cleal

The King's Deception

Ex-Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is on his way to Europe with his teenage son when he agrees to escort a young fugitive wanted in England. He is plunged into the heart of a growing international incident – and forced to attempt to solve a shocking Tudor mystery.

Reviewed on 08 February 2014 by John Cleal

The Cherry Pages

Sam Cooper, chief of police of a small Gulf coast town, doesn’t have a lot to do until an old friend asks him to fill in as bodyguard for the most envied and seductive movie star of the age who has received threatening e-mails. Cooper is delighted with his client and the job – but it soon becomes apparent he faces a very real threat from a maniacal serial killer.

Reviewed on 08 February 2014 by John Cleal

Murder at Wrotham Hill

The year is 1946. Britain is struggling in post-war austerity. Dagmar Petrzywalski, a middle-aged, gentle, eccentric spinster, is found strangled at the side of a main road in Kent. Britain’s first celebrity policeman, Chief Inspector Robert Fabian – Fabian of the Yard – investigates

Reviewed on 08 February 2014 by John Cleal

Stone Bruises

Sean is on the run in a stolen car. He eventually ditches the vehicle, but blunders into a man-trap on a lonely French farm. Rescued by the elder of the farmer’s daughters, he realises he has blundered into a realm of dark secrets which at least one of the family is willing to kill to protect.

Reviewed on 08 February 2014 by John Cleal

The Devil's Recruit

College lecturer Alexander Seaton investigates the disappearance of a Highland clan chieftain's son and the death of a teenage girl, and is drawn into a web of lies and betrayal linked to his own past.

Reviewed on 25 January 2014 by John Cleal

Ratlines

When a murdered German businessman is found in a Galway B&B with a note addressed to former SS paratroop commander Otto Skorzeny pinned to his body, Lieutenant Albert Drake of the Directorate of Intelligence is assigned to find the killer.

Reviewed on 25 January 2014 by John Cleal

Wrapped in White

PI John Craine takes on the case of the brutal homosexual killing of a young Somali which the boy’s aunt insists the police are trying to cover up. He’s plunged irretrievably into a world of drink, drugs, corruption and violence – before coming face to face with a dark spectre from his past.

Reviewed on 25 January 2014 by John Cleal

Fireproof

A serial arsonist is haunting the American capital. Local investigators target a young, white male giving in to anger or sexual impulse. But FBI agent Maggie O’Dell believes this is the work of someone far darker.

Reviewed on 11 January 2014 by John Cleal

Clean Burn

Former police detective Janelle Watkins breaks her vow never to touch a missing child case and returns to her home town to look for two kids. There she must face her past – and the sheriff whose marriage she broke up when they were police partners in San Francisco.

Reviewed on 11 January 2014 by John Cleal

In the Darkness

Eva is walking by the river with her seven-year-old daughter when they discover a man’s body. She leaves the girl telling her she will call police – then rings her father instead. Why? Inspector Sejer and his team must catch a violent killer, but face a cold trail.

Reviewed on 11 January 2014 by John Cleal

Rage Against the Dying

Retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn is trying to build a life apart from the human trafficking and sex predators she acted as bait for in her undercover career, but she is dragged back into this sordid and brutal world when a man confesses a notorious string of sex killings – including the murder of a young agent she had trained.

Reviewed on 28 December 2013 by John Cleal

The Cold Nowhere

When teenage streetwalker Cat arrives at Lieutenant Jonathan Stride’s home drenched, covered in blood and begging protection from an unknown killer, the detective is plunged back in time to the killing of her mother and his discovery of a terrified six-year-old child.

Reviewed on 28 December 2013 by John Cleal

Eleven Days

DI Carrigan and DS Miller are assigned to investigate a fire that has gutted a small West London convent. The bodies of all ten nuns are found inside, apparently willing victims as they have made no attempt to escape. Then an eleventh body is discovered and what began as a fatal mystery becomes a full-scale murder.

Reviewed on 28 December 2013 by John Cleal

The Backs

Unorthodox Cambridge DC Gary Goodhew stops at a roadblock for a burning car and finds a dead man tied to a tree with wire. A shoplifter is arrested in Leeds, a paramedic attacked at a murder scene. These incidents tie into a complicated web of sex, student prostitution and killing.

Reviewed on 14 December 2013 by John Cleal

Where the Devil Can't Go

Janusz Kiszka, unofficial ‘fixer’ for East London’s Polish community, finds himself caught in a web of politics, murder, religion and drugs when he sets out to investigate the disappearance of a young girl.

Reviewed on 14 December 2013 by John Cleal

A Song from Dead Lips

DS Cathal Breen is assigned to the murder of a young girl near the famous Abbey Road recording studios. He is given a young and impulsive temporary female DC as an assistant and together the pair follow a series of clues which lead them from the Beatles’ fan club to an African conflict in which millions are dying.

Reviewed on 14 December 2013 by John Cleal

Hit Me

John Keller’s new business restoring houses in post-Katrina New Orleans bombs in the US sub prime crisis and economic downturn. He now has a new name, a home, wife and baby to support plus his expensive hobby of collecting rare stamps. Then a phone call draws him back into his old business – killing for money.

Reviewed on 30 November 2013 by John Cleal

Black Irish

Detective Absolom Kearney faces the problems of her own past and the closed and secretive Irish community in which she grew up as she attempts to unravel a series of gruesome killings where the murderer’s calling card is a plastic toy monkey.

Reviewed on 30 November 2013 by John Cleal

I Am Pilgrim

A killing in New York leads the man codenamed Pilgrim – a former undercover agent – to a sinister plot to destroy America.

Reviewed on 30 November 2013 by John Cleal

The Scent of Death

In 1778, New York is under siege by the armies of George Washington. Edward Savill has been sent by the English government’s American Department to resolve property issues among loyalists. He stumbles onto a murder, which sparks a trail of deceipt, corruption and lies.

Reviewed on 16 November 2013 by John Cleal

Sycamore Row

When a reclusive multi-millionaire businessman with terminal cancer hangs himself, he leaves a hand-written will cutting out his family and leaving the bulk of his money to his black housekeeper. Jake Brigance is appointed to represent his estate, provoking a controversial trial and forcing Ford County to face its unsavoury past.

Reviewed on 16 November 2013 by John Cleal

The Silent Wife

Todd and Jodi have been together for more than twenty years. He is a small, but successful, property developer, she’s a counselling psychiatrist. But life for the long-time lovers is souring. How far is either of them prepare to go?

Reviewed on 16 November 2013 by John Cleal

Poppet

A series of horrifying, possibly supernatural, incidents shake both patients and staff at a secure mental unit. DI Jack Caffery, still looking for the body of a missing woman, is dragged into the hospital mystery.

Reviewed on 01 November 2013 by John Cleal

The Racketeer

Lawyer Malcolm Bannister is serving a ten year sentence after being railroaded by the FBI for a crime he did not commit. When a Federal judge and his lover are murdered and the investigation stalls, Bannister tells the agency he knows the killer – and launches a brilliantly conceived plot to gain revenge.

Reviewed on 01 November 2013 by John Cleal

A Taste for Malice

Dysfunctional Glasgow DI Ray McBain gets involved in a case of child abuse by a woman who had been entrusted with their care.

Reviewed on 29 October 2013 by John Cleal

The Red Road

A compelling, uncompromising and morally complex look at child abuse, police and institutional corruption

Reviewed on 18 October 2013 by John Cleal

An Act of Kindness

In the east end of London, private investigators, Lee Arnold and Mumtaz Hakim are caught up in protection rackets, sex-trafficking and the problems caused by slum landlords and moneylenders.

Reviewed on 18 October 2013 by John Cleal

Savage Spring

Detective Inspector Malin Fors is called to the devastating scene of a bombing that has killed two little girls. Although still plagued with questions about her past, secrets her mother never revealed and doubts about her own future, Fors must bury her the pain if she is to find the killer before he strikes again.

Reviewed on 17 October 2013 by John Cleal

The Chalice

Former novice nun Joanna Stafford again risks everything she loves when she is caught up in a conspiracy against Henry VIII.

Reviewed on 04 October 2013 by John Cleal

Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders

Teenage music hall seamstress Kitty Peck is blackmailed into a career as an aerial artiste but in return for freedom for the brother she thought dead, Kitty must also find out why girls are going missing from the music halls Lady Ginger controls.

Reviewed on 04 October 2013 by John Cleal

The Heresy of Dr Dee

Queen Elizabeth I’s Astronomer Royal, mathematician and mystic John Dee travels to his father’s Welsh home in search of a fabulous ‘shewstone’, a crystal said to have supernatural powers.

Reviewed on 04 October 2013 by John Cleal

The Start of Everything

A woman’s body is found in a flooded Fenland sluice. The daughter of a Cambridge don attempts to trace a student who seems not to exist. DCI Morris Keene and his partner DI Chloe Frohmann are led to an isolated country mansion where they uncover a web of horror.

Reviewed on 20 September 2013 by John Cleal

City of Devils


Young Edinburgh doctor James Murray travels to Italy to study with Cesare Lombroso, the controversial late 19th century criminologist and is plunged into a series of sadistic and ritualistic killings which threaten his mentor.

Reviewed on 20 September 2013 by John Cleal