NAME OF THE DOG by Élmer Mendoza (MacLehose, £14.99)
On the cover of this, his third novel about detective Lefty Mendieta, Mendoza is hailed as “the godfather of narco-lit”, the booming genre of crime thrillers set in a Mexico run by drug cartels, and it introduces the son Mendieta never knew he had, a lad who wants to follow in his dad’s footsteps, even though the life of a cop in Mexico is more perilous than ever. Mendieta is an appealing enough protagonist, and Mendoza gives a real sense of law and order collapsing under the weight of the cartels, but his preference for omitting both quotation marks and paragraph breaks from the dialogue make this a harder book to get through than it really should have been.
HERE COMES TROUBLE by Simon Wroe (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £8.99)
In Kyrzbekistan, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, teenager Ellis Dau has been suspended from school for fire-raising. To get the boy out of the house, his father, Cornelius, starts taking him to work, at the offices of the Chronicle newspaper. Cornelius’s dream is to expose Russian oligarch Tima Blum, but Blum has brought a lot of money into the country and it’s going to be hard to turn people against him. After some initial scepticism, Ellis has begun to enjoy being part of the Chronicle team, but he’s also fallen for Blum’s daughter. Principally a coming of age story, Here Comes Trouble also straddles the line between dark satire and political comedy.
THE DOCTOR’S WIFE IS DEAD by Andrew Tierney (£9.99)
Forgotten now, the death of Ellen Langley of Nenagh in Tipperary caused shockwaves in 1849. The people of Nenagh were convinced her husband, a local doctor, had poisoned her. Dr Langley asked for an inquest to prove his innocence, but the request was inconveniently found to have been written before her death. A distant descendant of Ellen Langley, Andrew Tierney comes from Nenagh, and he follows every twist of the subsequent investigation and trial. The only voice not heard in the clamour is Ellen Langley herself, a fact which Tierney thinks inspired Sheridan Le Fanu to write his story The Spirits Whisper. It’s a fascinating study of Irish society at the time of the Great Famine and of 19th Century attitudes towards women in general.