Category > Thriller fiction

A Cut Like Wound

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Cut Like Wound, Anita Nair, book reviewA Cut Like Wound is the latest book by one of my favourite Indian writers, Anita Nair, and it’s a very new direction for her to take.She normally writes about the rotten lot of Indian women or complicated emotionally-charged romances between unlikely people. I certainly wasn’t expecting her to suddenly come out with a crime novel, apparently the first in a yet-to-be written series if the cover blurb of ‘Introducing Inspector Gowda’ is to be believed. I didn’t expect Nair to pack in all her literary fiction and go down the crime route – but of course I knew she’d do it well.

In a dark alley in Bangalore, the charred body of a young male prostitute is found one night by a passing photographer. Whilst initial suspicions are that the man has ‘just’ been set alight, an autopsy shows he shares the same marks around his neck as another man, found elsewhere and killed the same night.


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The Three

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The Three,  Sarah Lotz, book reviewI get a lot of advance proof copies of books in my role as Curious Book Fans reviewer. Most are quite plainly presented; simpler, often smaller, versions of the book they will become when finally unleashed upon the market. When I therefore received a custom black jiffy bag from Hodder containing a glossily produced black book and a press release folded into an origami aeroplane, I suspected I might just have been sent something due for a very big release. Something that Hodder is wasting no expense on promoting, as they expect it to make a significant impact on the bestseller lists. Having just finished said book – Sarah Lotz’s The Three – I think that they might just be right; if this book isn’t huge by the end of the year, then I will be quietly amazed.


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The Troop

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The Troop by Nick Cutter, book reviewImagine finding yourself plunged into an episode of The X-Files. Forget the convoluted alien/government conspiracy that nobody really understood; I’m talking about one of the early episodes, where something that shouldn’t exist and yet is frighteningly plausible seems to slip into the real world. Yet in this scenario, you are just fourteen years of age and Mulder and Scully aren’t coming to save the day. That is almost exactly the atmosphere generated by Nick Cutter’s new novel, The Troop.

The Troop in question is a small group of Scouts from Prince Edward Island, Canada. Led by Scoutmaster Tim (otherwise known as Doctor Riggs, their small town’s only GP), five fourteen year old boys set out for a long weekend of camping on Falstaff Island, a tiny uninhabited dot of land a short boat trip away from their homes.


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Snowblind

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Snowblind, Christopher Golden, book reviewChristopher Golden’s new novel Snowblind reads like Stephen King light. Here is the New England setting, complete with a town past its prime following the departure of the main local industry some years previously. Here is the ensemble cast of all-American characters. Here is the strange event that is about to impinge upon the lives of said characters without warning or explanation. It is perhaps, therefore, not surprising that that King himself gives the book its cover quote, endorsing the contents within as “the real deal”.

In Snowblind, we visit the town of Coventry as the worst winter storm in living memory is sweeping through, depositing huge amounts of snow and blowing it into thick drifts that block roads and bring down power lines.


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What Lies Within

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What Lies Within by Tom Vowler, book reviewWe all lie. I like your new haircut; your bum doesn’t look big in those trousers; the cheque is in the post. We also lie by omission, by not telling the whole truth or not mentioning something important at all to those who should know about it. Anna is particularly familiar with this second sort of lie.

In Tom Vowler’s debut novel What Lies Within, we meet Anna living in a remote cottage on Dartmoor with husband Robert and teenage children Paul and Megan. She appears to have a good life with a kind husband and a fulfilling job as a ceramic artist working out of a studio at home, and things are taking an exciting turn with her first exhibition at a local gallery just days away.


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Black Irish

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Black Irish, Stephan Talty, book reviewIn the far north of New York State sits the city of Buffalo, the “27th county of Ireland”. The south of city, working class and suffering from the closure of the local milling industry, has such a high proportion of Irish Americans living there that it has become known as simply “the county”, an area with a fierce sense of community and heritage, and an innate distrust of outsiders. In the county, where you are from is everything; families can object to other families simply because an ancestor several generations back came from the “wrong part” of Ireland. It is into this distinctive and atmospheric world that Stephan Talty takes us in his debut novel, Black Irish.


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The Sleeper

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The Sleeper, Emily Barr, book reviewThe Sleeper is Emily Barr’s latest novel and it’s definitely a page turner from start to finish. It is a tense thriller that keeps the reader guessing throughout as he or she tries to work out what has happened to the elusive Lara Finch – a woman with at least one secret and probably more.

Lara Finch has a pretty quiet life living with her husband, Sam, in Cornwall. They moved from London with the hope of starting a family but years later after several rounds of unsuccessful IVF, they are broke, childless and unhappy. When Lara gets the chance to work a contract in London, she realises that as well as helping to pay off their debts, it will be exciting and give her a new outlet in life.


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The Unquiet Grave

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The Unquiet Grave, Steven Dunne, book reviewReturning to work on a dismal winter day after five months of absence, DI Damen Brook is not a happy man. His leave – partly to recuperate from injuries sustained during the previous novel in his series, partly as punishment for his behaviour on the same case – has left him with few friends and plenty of enemies in the Derby Constabulary, and what is effectively a demotion. His boss doesn’t want Brook to have the chance to embarrass his force further, so has removed him from active casework, despite CID being swamped with the search for a local boy who has gone missing. He is instead shipped downstairs to a dingy basement office where he is set to work reviewing cold cases alongside retired copper Clive Copeland. Bored and miserable, Brook tries to be as professional as possible, but cases dating back to the 1960s that have been reviewed unsuccessfully before are not so much cold as frozen solid.


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Safe As Houses

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Safe as Houses, Simone van der Vlugt, book reviewIf you are a woman in a thriller, there are a number of things that it is unwise to do: getting into a vehicle in a multi-storey car park without checking the back seat; coming home on a dark night and locking yourself in without first putting the light on, and living alone in a house that is in any way isolated are chief amongst them. Lisa makes the third mistake. Then she makes it worse by living in that isolated house with her sick five year old daughter, Anouk. Nicely ensconced as a vulnerable target deep in the Dutch countryside, Lisa goes out one sunny Monday afternoon in September to hang the laundry in her garden, and her life changes forever.

As she works, a man suddenly appears from behind the flapping sheets.


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The String Diaries

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The String Diaries, Stephen Lloyd Jones, book reviewAbout three weeks ago, I collected a package from my local Post Office. Upon opening it, I found inside a proof copy of a paperback book, curiously tied up with string. The only other item inside the package was a sheet of paper. I opened the sheet, expecting it to be a standard press release, but instead found a letter written by an editor at Headline publishers, describing how the book had started a buzz at the publishing offices, how he couldn’t get through the plot fast enough – but telling me nothing about the story itself. I dismissed this as a trendy marketing gimmick and left the book in its packaging until a few days ago, when I undid the string to reveal Stephen Lloyd Jones’ debut novel, The String Diaries. I read the first chapter, got hooked, and then devoured the rest of the 670 pages over the past few evenings. However gimmicky the presentation had been, that editor was not wrong.


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The Mine

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The Mine, Arnab Ray, book reviewArnab Ray is better known for his political spoofs under the pen name of The Great Bong. This is his first excursion into novel territory and thriller territory at that. From the first chapter, The Mine sets the tone for what the reader can expect: blood, gore, guts and extreme violence verging on horror. It also seems to have an eye firmly fixed on a cinematic rendition with a red room flashing black lights and a sex and violence combination that ends badly right in the opening pages.

The Mine has a Bengali protagonist, Samar Bose, an ex-spy who has lost his wife, has a missing daughter, a mentally challenged brother and lives on blue pills. He is offered an intriguing job with a dream salary and finds himself deep underground in the Thar Desert to solve the mystery of an ancient shrine which seems to curse everyone who comes in contact with it.


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Daddy Love

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Daddy Love, Joyce Carol Oates,  book reviewDinah Whitcomb is out shopping at the mall with her five year old son Robbie when she realises she can’t find the family car. In a bit of a panic, she hunts for the car only for something far worse to happen. She is attacked by a man with a hammer who hits her over the head. Her son is abducted and when she chases the van in which his captor is driving she is run over, her body and face badly mutilated. The physical pain of her injuries is nothing compared to the horrifying loss of her son.

Chester Cash is a charismatic and attractive man, with long flowing hair and a well toned, muscular body. Ladies like Chester and Chester knows how to use that to his advantage.


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