Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly Orion, £20 Connelly has added another memorable character to his familiar cast of low-rent lawyer Mickey Haller and tough cop Harry Bosch. Detective Renée Ballard, consigned to the graveyard shift after complaining about harassment by a colleague, finds herself knee deep in a cold case involving religious demagogues and the porn industry.
A Treachery of Spies by Manda Scott Bantam Press, £16.99 The success of Manda Scott’s magisterial Boudica quartet gave no hint of the very different pleasures to be accorded by A Treachery of Spies. The book opens in the present-day with a murder whose tendrils stretch back to World War Two. An elderly woman is savagely killed in Orléans, France, her throat cut and her tongue removed — a death in the manner of those who betrayed the Resistance.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton Raven Books, £14.99 Turton’s much-acclaimed debut is an ambitious crime riff on Groundhog Day. Aiden Bishop is forced to repeat the same day over and over a weekend party until he can nail a murderer. Turton’s boldest stroke is to have his protagonist begin each day in a different host body. Lengthy, but full of quirky originality.
Tombland by C. J. Sansom Mantle, £20 The seventh Matthew Shardlake novel is classic Sansom: sprawling, colourful and ambitious, with (as ever) a stunning backdrop of Tudor England. On a clandestine assignment for Ann Boleyn’s daughter Elizabeth, Sansom’s wily lawyer is on the track of a savage murderer, the dark legacy of Henry VIII a shadow over the land.
In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin Orion, £20 Four boys discover the corpse of a private investigator in an abandoned car. Although DI John Rebus is retired, he inveigles himself onto the case, and is once again working with his old colleague Siobhan Clarke, herself recently the target of the anticorruption unit. Rankin’s plotting here is as confidently sure-footed as ever.
Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee Harvill Secker, £12.99 The third in this remarkable series has his protagonist Sam Wyndham and his colleague ‘Surrender Not’ Banerjee on another odyssey into the more minatory aspects of the British Raj. Smoke and Ashes begins with Wyndham in an opium den as a police raid has him stumbling over the body of a murdered Chinese. Mesmerising fare.
Sunburn by Laura Lippman Faber Lippman’s diamond-hard prose and quirky characterisation epitomise the best in American crime writing. Sunburn represents something new for her: a touch of Anne Tyler (whose astringent portraits of American families are echoed), but also the hard-boiled writer James M. Cain — this is a modern take on his blue-collar narratives. Polly walks out on her husband and daughter to lead a new hidden life as a waitress. She is pursued by her husband and a shadowy figure who hires a laconic detective to track her down.
Force of Nature by Jane Harper Little, Brown, £12.99 While her second book has had nothing like the seismic impact of her debut The Dry, Force of Nature is nevertheless proof of what a welcome addition to the current crime fiction scene Harper is. Five women on a team-building exercise undertake a punishing hike across Australia’s Ranges — but only four return.