Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke Serpent’s Tail, £14.99 Attica Locke — a key writer for many crime aficionados — goes from strength to strength. Her stunning new book introduces her first detective protagonist, black Texas Ranger Darren Matthews, struggling to deal with murderous white supremacists, drug dealers and – most intractably — his own prejudices in a dystopian modern America.
The Force by Don Winslow HarperCollins, £18.99 Winslow is regarded by the au courant as one of the best in the field; his drug crime novel The Power of the Dog is equalled in ambition by this similarly weighty study of police corruption. Sprawling and visceral, it has already been described (by Lee Child) as the ‘best cop novel ever written’.
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic Pushkin Vertigo, £12.99 Trailing literary prizes in its wake, this accomplished debut has damaged cop Caleb Zelic and an alcoholic colleague cracking the murder of a senior policeman. The protagonist’s deafness is a key ingredient in the story and a superbly characterised cast of characters lifts this well above most contemporary crime.
Fever by Deon Meyer, trans. K. L. Seegers Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99 An epic-length novel and a change of pace for Meyer, far from his customary state-of-the-nation South African thrillers. Nico Storm and his father undertake a nightmare journey through a devastated continent; they are among the few to survive a worldwide virus. Meyer justifies at every point the book’s daunting length.
Spook Street by Mick Herron John Murray, £14.99 Winner of a 2017 CWA Dagger, this is irresistible writing suggesting a lovechild of le Carré and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22: ironclad storytelling and off-kilter humour. Jackson Lamb, leader of a team of superannuated agents, investigates the murder of one of his associates – and mass killings by a suicide bomber may have a connection.
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee Harvill Secker, £12.99 In Mukherjee’s second novel, the heir to the throne of a wealthy kingdom is both liberal and a moderniser — and has upset the hardline religious elements of his country. After he is assassinated in the presence of Captain Sam Wyndham, the investigation that follows proves to be dangerous indeed. As exuberant and mesmerising as its predecessor.
The Long Drop by Denise Mina Harvill Secker, £12.99 This riveting treatment of a bizarre true crime paved the way for more awards for Mina. As The Red Road proved, she is one of the finest practitioners of the modern criminous art – and is also a social commentator of perception and humanity. Concealed beneath the surface of her work is a passionate concern for the vulnerable in society.