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The Master Key – Masako Togawa

In ‘The Master Key’, the first novel by Japanese crime author Masako Togawa, reality is far from straightforward: it’s made of sliding layers, like shoji screens in Japanese houses, concealing and revealing in turns the life that goes on behind them, often showing its mere outline. The author delights in stunning readers with every unexpected ...
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Nine Lessons – Nicola Upson

As a crime fiction author, Nicola Upson is going against the grain of much of the contemporary canon. You won’t find high-testosterone heroes, gory bloodshed and adrenaline-filled action scenes in her novels. Expect instead subtle character development, satisfying whodunnits and absorbing historical details in all of the seven novels she created featuring early-twentieth-century Scottish mystery ...
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Sleep No More – P.D. James

In the preface to another collection, published by Faber & Faber last year, British crime-writing giant P.D. James wrote that, in a short story, “much has to be achieved with limited means.” The six stories in ‘Sleep No More’ are dazzling proof of just how much can be achieved when an author of P.D. James’ ...
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Resurrection Bay – Emma Viskic

Gutsy, original and with a devilishly tricky plot: ‘Resurrection Bay’, the debut novel crime novel by Australian author Emma Viskic, has a lot going for it, enough in fact to be a hit as soon as it was published in Australia, where it won the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut, as well as ...
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Down for the Count – Martin Holmén

‘Down for the Count’ is the second novel in the Stockholm trilogy by Martin Holmén. Like the first, ‘Clinch’, it’s a well-crafted noir that doesn’t pull its punches, hitting you in the guts with stark surprises and with a setting, 1930s Sweden, which is quite far in time yet disturbingly familiar. Stockholm, November 1935: Harry Kvist, ...
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Fateful Mornings – Tom Bouman

No debut novel is easy to follow up on, especially one as convincing as ‘Dry Bones in the Valley’, but with his second effort, ‘Fateful Mornings’, US author Tom Bouman has well and truly risen to the challenge, producing a work of rare power, intensity and depth. A work which, incidentally, is also a cracking ...
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The Last Place You Look – Kristen Lepionka

In her excellent debut novel, ‘The Last Place You Look’, young US writer Kristen Lepionka has taken several sizeable authorial risks: a relatively unglamorous suburban setting, a crime seemingly tinged with race issues, characters that are (mostly) urban-middle-class-America normal, and a protagonist who fails to tick most of the ‘safe’ boxes for lead investigator choice: ...
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