Shelf Life

Shirley Stephen­son pre­views the lat­est re­leases for lovers of crime fic­tion

The West Australian - - BOOKS -

The Hang­ing Tree

Ben Aaronovitc­h Ha­chette Aus­tralia, $29.99, ebook $16.99 This is the sixth in the PC Peter Grant series. Com­pared by some to an adult Harry Pot­ter, Aaronovitc­h’s drily hu­mor­ous Lon­don-set tale in­volves the laid-back Grant, whose mag­i­cal abil­i­ties make him a vi­tal re­cruit to the Fal­con ad­junct of the Met, which grudg­ingly ac­cepts the su­per­nat­u­ral al­lies in the face of a wave of mag­i­cal crime. Aaronovitc­h paints a pic­ture of a be­witch­ing but down-to-earth Lon­don, where river gods and god­desses and fae mix with hu­mans, and all forces com­bine to solve a drug-re­lated high-so­ci­ety mur­der. A highly en­ter­tain­ing novel but I’d rec­om­mend read­ing the ear­lier episodes in the series to get the sub­tler ref­er­ences.

Cast Iron

Peter May Ha­chette Aus­tralia, $32.99, ebook $16.99 May fans, you have to wait un­til next month for an­other serve of this cold-case ex­pert, the ec­cen­tri­cally named Enzo Macleod, whose stamp­ing ground is a beau­ti­fully ren­dered France. Macleod is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mur­der of Lucie Martin, killed and dumped in a lake. A judge’s daugh­ter, she walked out, seem­ingly, and never came back. Macleod finds links to pros­ti­tu­tion rack­ets. Mean­while, his per­sonal life is in tur­moil, as a for­mer lover de­nies he is the fa­ther of their son and he strug­gles to ac­cept his daugh­ter’s crim­i­nol­o­gist lover, even though they work to­gether on cases. An in­tri­cate plot and em­pa­thetic char­ac­ters are the usual sus­pects in May’s charm as a writer, and he doesn’t disappoint here.


Saul Black Ha­chette Aus­tralia, $32.99 Black launched his Valerie Hart nov­els with the ter­ri­fy­ing The Killing Lessons, fol­lowed this month by Love­mur­der. Fea­tur­ing a fas­ci­nat­ing fe­male Han­ni­bal Lecter, Kather­ine Glass, caught by San Fran­cisco de­tec­tive Hart and jailed in­def­i­nitely, the book be­gins with a happy Hart aim­ing for a hol­i­day with her lover, fel­low cop Nick. Her plans are dashed when a slaugh­tered woman is found with a note — to Hart. Glass’ co-mur­derer has never been iden­ti­fied and re­mains free to taunt Hart. Only Glass can solve his elab­o­rate clues to the next mur­ders but is her hyp­notic hold over Hart a pre­lude to dis­as­ter? Black’s taut, dense and in­tense prose lays bare his char­ac­ters’ emo­tions and mo­ti­va­tions un­flinch­ingly. Not for the squea­mish.

Scared To Death

Rachel Am­phlett Visit rachelam­ UK-born, Bris­banebased Am­phlett’s new hero­ine de­tec­tive Kay Hunter is still un­der a shadow with some of her su­pe­ri­ors, de­spite hav­ing been ex­on­er­ated by the po­lice pro­fes­sional stan­dards com­mit­tee, and feels the pres­sure. So when a kid­napped girl is mur­dered af­ter her par­ents paid a ran­som she is de­ter­mined to find the un­usu­ally cruel mur­derer, who lit­er­ally scared his vic­tim to death. But the sup­posed kid­nap­per is found dead, still with the ran­som, and only Hunter doubts he is the mur­derer. Is there an­other killer in­volved? And what does in­ter­net porn have to do with the crimes? Am­phlett has writ­ten an in­trigu­ing plot-driven po­lice pro­ce­dural, with Hunter a com­pli­cated hero­ine.

No Man’s Land

David Bal­dacci Macmil­lan, $29.99 Pol­ished thriller writer Bal­dacci scores again with an­other episode in his John Puller series. The US army spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tor’s for­mer top brass fa­ther is suf­fer­ing from de­men­tia and a dy­ing woman ac­cuses him of mur­der­ing his wife, Puller’s mother, who dis­ap­peared 30 years be­fore. Told by the army he is on his own, Puller is on a mis­sion to find the truth. How that mis­sion gibes with the fate of a for­mer army grunt who was a guinea pig and a mys­te­ri­ous multi­bil­lion-dol­lar com­pany is smoothly and ex­cit­ingly re­solved in this slick page-turner.

Rachel Am­phlett

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