Silkworms, Sicilians and spies… or you can watch the World Cup

On the Radar — World Cup fever has us in its grip, but before your favourite country has even been eliminated from the competition you’ll be able to get your hands on the latest Robert Galbraith novel, Silkworm, which comes out next week. While players dazzle us on the world stage with their silky skills, we still need something to read between the matches, don’t we? Also out soon are some great spy novels, some Missouri Noir and the new Camilleri. Which books will land in your reading pile?

THE SILKWORMThe Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The real identity of Robert Galbraith was one of great talking points in the world of books during 2013. Now JK Rowling has given her private investigator Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott their second case. A vindictive novelist, who has used his literary skills to write demeaning portrayals of many of his acquaintances, goes missing. Strike is asked to track him down, but when the novelist is found dead, it becomes clear that there is no shortage of suspects. Readers who enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling (reviewed here) can look forward to further fleshing out of the fascinating but flawed ex-army detective, and those of a romantic frame of mind will certainly want to know how the relationship between Strike and his young helper develops. Out on 19 June.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Angelicas SmileAngelica’s Smile by Andrea Camilleri
The doughty Inspector Montalbano, in the Sicilian coastal village of Vigàta, is more concerned with entrancing women than with entrapping criminals. His attention also tends to wander more towards gastronomical delights than gathering evidence. If the previous dozen or so books are anything to go by, Angelica’s Smile will have the sea, the sun, and the promise (if not the realisation) of sex. Here, Montalbano tries to keep his head clear as he investigates a series of burglaries, but he is hindered by the seductive presence of the flawlessly beautiful Angelica Cosulich, and perhaps one too many long lunches followed by afternoon naps. Can the island’s Migliori Poliziotto  cast aside his love of the the sensual life long enough to bring a clever criminal to justice? We took a brief look at The Treasure Hunt (2013) here, and August Heat (2012) here. Angelica’s Smile is available on 19 June.
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A Swollen Red SunA Swollen Red Sun by Matthew McBride
Missouri may not sound the most atmospheric background for a crime novel, but when we are talking Gasconade County (so called because many of its founding fathers were French Gascons), we are talking about a land of crystal meth. When a hard-up Sheriff’s Deputy finds a cool $52,000 hidden in a trailer belonging to the wonderfully named Jerry Dean Skaggs, he realises three things, instantly. One, this cash is clearly the product of Jerry Dean’s illegal chemistry set. Two, it is the proceeds of crime, and should be handed in to the lawful authorities. Three, Mr Skaggs is only a walk-on player, and there are some very serious dudes above him in the food chain. So, what does Dale Banks do? Well, obviously, since this is a crime novel, he takes the noir route and keeps the money. The result? Well, as the French might say but probably don’t, la merde frappe le ventilateur. Published in Kindle, paperback and audiobook formats on 17 June.
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TerminalCityTerminal City by Linda Fairstein
Assistant DA Alex Cooper and her colleagues are back in another action-packed thriller. Fairstein has a virtually unrivaled knowledge of the history of New York. Given her real life experience as Assistant DA for Manhattan, and her campaign against sexual crimes, Terminal City will offer meticulous topographical and legal detail. Outsiders may just think of the New York landscape as completely ‘now’, but Fairstein knows different. Literally beneath and alongside the skyscrapers and dazzling modern architecture is a past as full of resonance and dark history as any city in the world. Murder is murder is murder, and when the investigation is drawn to the iconic Grand Central Station, the search for a savage killer takes Cooper, aided by Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, below ground as they hunt an elusive modern psychopath in the depths of New York’s 19th century transport infrastructure. Available on 17 June.
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RunnerRunner by Patrick Lee
Lee is the author of two books featuring the ex-cop Travis Chase, and while those novels have been described as techno-thriller meets sci-fi, this latest offering promises to be a little more down to earth. Sam Dryden has a history of working in black ops as a Ranger and Delta Force operative, but now he has settled down to an action-free life in California. While out jogging he encounters a terrified 11-year-old girl, who claims she has been held captive by mysterious government agents but has managed to escape. She has a particular skill that means that her faceless captors would rather have her dead than free. Dryden is soon in the thick of the kind of action he has vowed to leave behind, but his own memory is scarred by the tragic loss of his own wife and daughter. Available from 19 June.
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The Memory KillerThe Memory Killer by JA Kerley
Kerley’s Carson Rider is very close to the Holy Grail of crime fiction, where a fictional character is instantly associated with his literary creator. While Ryder-Kerley is not yet in the Premier League alongside Holmes-Conan Doyle, Marlowe-Chandler or Poirot-Christie, the partnership is very much in the Championship promotion race. Along with his bruiser of a friend Harry Nautilus, the endearingly geeky Ryder cuts a swathe through the perspiration-stained nights of the Deep South, as his forensic skills bring us horribly close to the physical legacy of violent death. Carson Ryder has one vital ally in his fight against crime – his psychopathic but entertaining brother Jeremy. Ryder investigates a series of abductions and tortures that seem to have an obsessively sexual core, but how much can he trust Jeremy? And, will brotherly love be cast aside? Our review of the previous Carson Ryder story, The Killing game, is here. The latest instalment of Carson Ryder’s battle against the bad guys is published on 19 June.
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Arts and CraftsArts and Crafts by JT Prescott
Have you ever wondered where former CIA operatives go when they get old? Chances are you wouldn’t have settled for the Spring Village Retirement Community in Pleasant Hills, Maryland. But that’s just where former spook Ken Frazier ends up when his daughter just can’t trust him not to leave the stove on anymore. Ken reluctantly settles in and reconciles himself to watching the liver spots multiply on the backs of his arthritic hands. His contemplation is rudely interrupted when former colleague George Larsen turns up on his doorstep with an alarming plea for help. An acquaintance of George, knowing his CIA background, has shared with him a snatch of conversation she overhead in the hotel where she works. The conversations seems too fantastical to be true, but when the woman turns up dead, George panics. Ken hears George out, but is unconvinced. The next day, George himself makes headline news – as a corpse – and Ken realises that something dreadful is being planned. In movie terms, imagine a cross between On Golden Pond and Gran Torino. Arts and Crafts will be available in USA from 24 June. Watch this space for details of the UK release.
Order on Amazon US

lasttaxiride200The Last Taxi Ride by AX Ahmad
If there was a gap in the CriFi market for a crime-solving New York taxi driver of Punjabi origin, then it has probably been plugged by Amin Ahmad and his proposed  trilogy of books featuring Ranjit Singh. We were introduced to the Sikh sleuth, formerly of the Indian military, in The Caretaker (2013). In the second part of the trilogy, Ranjit’s decline and fall from his former status is even more pronounced; he is reduced to driving a NYC cab. His fingerprints are all over a crime scene, where the leading lady is a dead Bollywood actress, and there is the small matter of CCTV footage of him leaving her apartment. Ranjit is a man living between two worlds and two different cultures, and he has to call on elements of both in order to prove his own innocence and bring the real killer to justice. On the shelves and online from 24 June.
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That NightThat Night by Chevy Stevens
Home for Rene Unischewski, aka Chevy Stevens, is Vancouver Island, Canada. Her debut novel, Still Missing (2010) was set on home territory. Still close to home, her fourth novel features a brittle and abrasive woman who has done time in one of Canada’s roughest prisons. Toni was sent down for murdering her younger sister in what appeared to be a moment of teenage madness set against a dysfunctional family life, school days full of spite and bullying, and a boyfriend for whom the expression ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ might have been tailor-made. Now Toni is out on parole, but with no option but to go back to the community where she only has to walk into a diner for all conversation to stop. The chatter is replaced by the silence of the damned, but Toni must resist the temptation to lash out or use brutal tactics of retaliation learned behind bars. She knows she did not kill her sister, but as she sets out to find who did, she becomes aware that one of the great lines in movie history, “You can’t handle the truth!” may well apply to her. Out on 17 June.
Pre-order now on Amazon

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