If you’ve not yet encountered the edgy crime fiction of NJ Cooper, it’s time to adjust that omission. Lifeblood – her new outing for forensic psychologist Karen Taylor – is as sinewy and involving as its predecessor, No Escape. As Natasha Cooper, the author wrote such intelligent and involving books as A Poisoned Mind, but her new incarnation firmly distances itself from the books featuring barrister Trish Maguire (even though the earlier series was not without disturbing undercurrents). Lifeblood is a novel about the corruption of justice (a favourite Cooper leitmotif) and violence against women (another theme that clearly exercises the author). It’s a sharp and nuanced read, full of persuasive detail.

Barry Forshaw

Lifeblood

Natasha Cooper

(Pocket, £7.99)

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