A mob mur­der mys­tery not to be missed

Peo­ple are haunted by the past in our choice of the best new thrillers...

Daily Express - - Week­end Films - ELIZ­A­BETH ARCHER, JON COATES, COLIN GAN­NON

THE MOB­STER’S LAMENT ★★★★★ by Ray Ce­lestin Man­tle, £16.99

PRI­VATE in­ves­ti­ga­tor Ida Young is called to New York in au­tumn 1947 to save the son of her for­mer part­ner and men­tor Michael Tal­bot from the elec­tric chair.

The son,Thomas, was found red-handed, quite lit­er­ally, in a Har­lem flop­house where four peo­ple were bru­tally mur­dered.

As the duo delve into the killing spree, they re­alise it was part of a much larger con­spir­acy in­volv­ing pow­er­ful fig­ures and stretching back to the Sec­ond World War.

At the same time nightclub man­ager and mob fixer Gabriel Leve­son, who is just days from ex­e­cut­ing a plan to es­cape his crim­i­nal life for the sake of his niece, is sum­moned to a meet­ing with the “boss of all bosses” Frank Costello.

He is tasked with track­ing down stolen mob money, which sends him on a jour­ney to con­front demons from his past be­fore he can leave it be­hind for good.

When Gabriel finds he is hunt­ing the same killer as Ida and Michael, they form an un­easy al­liance to save Thomas and stop a mon­ster be­fore he catches them.

The Mob­ster’s Lament is a glo­ri­ous evo­ca­tion of New York when the Mob was ris­ing to the zenith of its power.

The third in­stal­ment of the City Blues Quar­tet is an edge-of-the-seat crime epic that sur­passes the re­mark­able stan­dards set by its pre­de­ces­sors The Ax­e­man’s Jazz and Dead Man’s Blues.

The Mob­ster’s Lament is a con­tender for book of the year and should not be missed. JC

STONE MOTH­ERS ★★★★★ by Erin Kelly Hod­der & Stoughton, £12.99

WHEN Mar­i­anne’s hus­band Sam sur­prises her by buy­ing a flat in Suf­folk, he thinks she will be thrilled. Lon­doner Mar­i­anne is caught be­tween car­ing for Honor, her se­verely de­pressed teenage daugh­ter, and a mother with de­men­tia in Suf­folk.

But the mere sight of the flat makes Mar­i­anne feel sick to the stom­ach. It is lo­cated in an im­pos­ingVic­to­rian build­ing which was once an asy­lum called Nazareth Hospi­tal.

Un­be­knownst to Sam, it is also the epi­cen­tre of a trau­matic child­hood mem­ory for Mar­i­anne.

She is un­able to tell her hus­band the se­cret she’s kept since she was a girl so she has no choice but to put her feel­ings aside and move into the flat.

But soon Mar­i­anne’s volatile, mo­tor­bike-rid­ing child­hood sweet­heart Jesse gets wind that she’s back in town and starts pay­ing un­wanted vis­its.

As Mar­i­anne feels her past clos­ing in on her present-day life, Kelly cre­ates a bleak at­mos­phere of suf­fo­ca­tion.

The dark pact which binds her to Jesse threat­ens to come to light, putting Mar­i­anne’s mar­riage and the life of her teenage daugh­ter in jeop­ardy.

The novel is told is three parts, firstly by Mar­i­anne in the present day, then by Mar­i­anne as a teenager, and fi­nally by a well-to-do woman called He­len Green­law who also knows about Mar­i­anne’s past.

Clues about Mar­i­anne’s se­cret are drip-fed in an ex­pertly-paced book with vivid char­ac­ters.

Kelly art­fully evokes Nazareth Hospi­tal, which is at once sin­is­ter and beau­ti­ful, loom­ing over the char­ac­ters through­out, and she ex­plores mad­ness by con­trast­ing the way Mar­i­anne’s mother and daugh­ter are treated with the way the asy­lum’s pa­tients were treated in days gone by.

A grip­ping thriller which is im­pos­si­ble to put down, cul­mi­nat­ing in a heart­stop­ping fi­nal show­down. EA

TO KILL THE TRUTH ★★★★ by Sam Bourne Quer­cus, £12.99

WHEN for­merWhite House trou­bleshooter Mag­gie Costello is asked to in­ves­ti­gate the mur­ders of prom­i­nent Holo­caust sur­vivors and his­to­ri­ans of slav­ery, she stum­bles upon a con­spir­acy to re­write his­tory.

She vowed to leave the world of po­lit­i­cal skul­dug­gery be­hind for the sake of her san­ity so she is re­luc­tant to be dragged back into the Wash­ing­ton power game. But the Gov­er­nor ofVir­ginia fears the deaths will pro­voke civil un­rest be­tween Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­ers and slav­ery de­niers. She agrees to in­ves­ti­gate.

As mu­se­ums, li­braries and na­tional archives across the globe are set on fire and dig­i­tal records are wiped, she re­alises that some­one pow­er­ful is de­ter­mined to de­stroy the ev­i­dence of hu­man­ity’s great­est crimes.

Costello faces a race against time to save our his­tory.To Kil­lTheTruth presents a fright­en­ing glimpse of where the cur­rent fake news

agenda could lead. JC

FREEFALL ★★★★ by JES­SICA BARRY Harvill Secker, £12.99

ALLISON pulls her­self from the wreck of a plane, strug­gling not to pass out from shock. Her pri­vate char­tered flight from Chicago has crashed in

the Colorado Rock­ies and the pilot is dead. She is stranded and alone. Her leg is hurt and her shoul­der dam­aged but she sets off through the moun­tains to find help. Mean­while, her mum Mag­gie is at home when she hears a knock at the door.

An old friend, the lo­cal po­lice chief, has come to tell her that her daugh­ter died in the crash.

The wreck of the plane has ex­ploded and no one could have sur­vived the re­sult­ing dev­as­ta­tion.

How­ever Mag­gie re­fuses to be­lieve her daugh­ter is dead. She sets out to dis­cover what’s hap­pened to Allison and be­gins to re­alise that the glam­orous life she led wasn’t what it seemed.

It’s easy to see why Freefall’s film rights have been snapped up. Barry’s cin­e­matic writ­ing style paints vivid tableaux.

Both Allison and Mag­gie are in­trigu­ing and at times flawed, mak­ing them easy to re­late to.

And some of the plot may be a lit­tle far-fetched but Barry clev­erly builds ten­sion through an hour-by-hour count­down to­wards the end of the book, which cul­mi­nates in a nail-bit­ing fi­nal show­down.

THE FRIENDS OF HARRY PERKINS ★★ by Chris Mullin Scrib­ner, £12

CHRIS Mullin’s A Very Bri­tish Coup was a para­noid fan­tasy about a Left-wing Labour gov­ern­ment over­thrown by dark Es­tab­lish­ment forces.This fol­low up is less sub­stan­tial.

Set in 2025, six years af­ter Bri­tain has left the EU – which seems op­ti­mistic – the book imag­ines that Brexit has been a flop. It is the mis­sion of Fred Thomp­son, for­mer aide to Left-wing prime min­is­ter Harry Perkins, to take Bri­tain back into the EU while bat­tling cor­rup­tion and the forces of the Far Right. But the writ­ing is light­weight and Mullin ig­nores the maxim “show, don’t tell”. And the time­line is a big­ger mess than Brexit.

THE GLASS WOMAN ★★★★ by Caro­line Lea Michael Joseph, £12.99

AF­TER the death of her fa­ther, Rósa agrees to marry wealthy vil­lage chief­tain Jón to pro­vide food for her ail­ing mother.

She trav­els for four days across Ice­land’s iso­lated land­scape in 1686 to reach her re­mote new home. But the vil­lagers whis­per of dark se­crets. Rósa hears strange noises at night from the locked loft.And why did Jón bury his first wife alone in the dead of night? She be­gins to fear she will be the next wife to die.This evoca­tive de­but is com­pelling with a bril­liant twist.

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