The Return of the King

On the Radar — Don’t worry we haven’t crossed over into Tolkienesque fantasy. The King we’re refering to in the header is none other than Stephen King, whose book Mr Mercedes is the horror author’s first forray into hardboiled detective crime fiction. We can’t wait to get our hands on it, however this week also sees a strong line-up of new releases from a range of authors. There’s vengeance, a dead genius, Australian crime fiction and even a mystery set in the world of video game production…

Mr MercedesMr Mercedes by Stephen King
Stephen King has dabbled in crime fiction before, particularly with his pulp novels The Colorado Kid and Joyland. Now he’s releasing what he calls his first hardboiled detective book. Conceived and mapped out before the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist outrage, Mr Mercedes deals with a man who seeks to inflict mass civilian destruction but his weapon of choice is not an explosive vest, or a rucksack packed with Semtex. Instead, it’s his Mercedes car. After Brady Hartfield claims over 20 victims by driving into a queue at a Jobfair, retired cop Bill Hodges tries to track down the crazed killer. Hodges must rouse himself from the semi-depressive idleness of his retirement to try and prevent a massacre which will dwarf the Jobfair attack. Any release by Stephen King is an event, but now he has turned his attention to pure crime fiction this release is eagerly awaited. Published on 3 June.
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Day of VengeanceDay of Vengeance by Jeanne M Dams
American author Jeanne M Dams has always relished the idea of living in England. She realised that writing a series of book set in the country would be therapeutic, as well as being a whole lot cheaper than actually moving to the UK. Thus was born Dorothy Martin, whom the author admits is her own alter ego. Dorothy – an American expat –  first appeared in The Body in the Transept as long ago as 1996 and is returning for her 15th mystery. Dorothy and her husband Alan are drawn into the extremely precious world of Church of England politics, as the cathedral town of Sherebury looks to appoint a new bishop. While the good old C of E is known for being introverted and riven by petty rivalries, but is it a milieu for murder? Sadly, the answer is an emphatic YES! Available in print from 29 May.
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Some Dead GeniusSome Dead Genius by Lenny Kleinfeld
This is Kleinfeld’s second novel. His first, Shooters and Chasers (2009) was set in the deep, dark, blue criminal heart of Chicago and featured homicide detectives Mark Bergman and John Dunegan. Most people would tick off corrupt city bosses and vicious mafioso as essential Windy City tropes, and Kleinfeld doesn’t disappoint as both report for duty early on in Some Dead Genius. There’s violent death, wisecracks, black humour and criminal grotesques. The two hard-bitten police officers try to work out why a well-regarded artist has been killed and how his death links to the activities of an apparent serial killer. The author explains: “It’s got a very Chicago serial killer; he doesn’t have a psychosis, he has a business plan.” To be published on 30 May.

Murder In The FabricMurder in the Fabric by Andy Jennings
This novel is set a few years hence in Melbourne, Australia. George Kostas investigates murder in a city dominated by CCTV, information exchange and a real sense that Big Brother has won. Even the cabs have surveillance cameras, and if you take the subway, your ticket has a barcode that can reveal your every move to the authorities. Drones hover over the city, relaying information about who is where, and what they are doing. Kostas tries to work out why a Chinese employee of one of the companies in the burgeoning security industry has been killed. The shadow of big business and even bigger money darkens his landscape. Out now for Kindle.
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Reckless DisregardReckless Disregard by Robert Rotstein
Robert Rotstein made connoisseurs of the legal thriller sit up and take notice with his 2013 debut Corrupt Practices. Readers met Parker Stern, a brilliant attorney whose meteoric rise to fame has been crippled with a kind of courtroom stage fright. Now, Stern is forced to earn his living among the bottom feeders of the judicial system. A mysterious game designer has launched a product which features a powerful real-life Hollywood producer called William Bishop. One of the game’s scenarios sees William Bishop collude in the disappearance and death of a glamorous actress three decades earlier. The real world Bishop uses his millions to bring a potentially ruinous libel suit against the game designer, and Stern draws the short straw – to prove that the allegations in the game’s storyline are true. Out on 3 June.
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Black CurrentBlack Current by Karen Keskinen
I’m not sure if the author or her publishers were aware of the slightly ambiguous title of this book, but I am reliably informed that the text has nothing to do with the highly nutritious source of vitamin C, Ribes Nigrum. Instead, this is the second book in a series featuring Jaymie Zarlin, a private detective in Santa Barbara. The first in the series was Blood Orange, published almost a year ago. The tanks in the city aquarium are a popular tourist destination containing exotic and spectacular sea creatures. One far less desirable exhibit is the corpse of Skye Rasmussen, a much loved high school athlete. Jaymie is hired to get to the truth of his death, but her investigation brings her much closer to a very personal tragedy than she would have wished. Out on 3 June.
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something-wickedSomething Wicked by Kerry Wilkinson
The author has made his name with the popular series featuring Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel. Now he returns with a new central character, private detective Andrew Hunter. The new novel is described as something of a spin-off from Playing With Fire, the fifth Jessica Daniel book.  A lost son. A grieving father. A police investigation which got nowhere and has been put in the cold case cabinet. Hunter must try to find out if a gruesome find in a Manchester wood has anything to do with Nicholas Carr’s disappearance, but also has to fathom out whether his female assistant is a help or a dangerous hindrance. Fans of Jessica Daniel – fret ye not. She returns in a new story in September. The author was born in Bath, but after going to university in Lancashire, has now settled in the Red Rose County. Something Wicked is out on 5 June.
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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]Treachery in Bordeaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen
Originally titled Mission à Pessac, this book introduced the central character Benjamin Cooker, a renowned oenologist turned amateur detective. He sets out to investigate why the esteemed – and expensive – wine house of Moniales Haut-Brion is being targeted. Has someone made a series of costly mistakes? Is it the work of a rival? Set in the modern city of Bordeaux, Treachery in Bordeaux is part of the A Winemaker Detective Mystery series. Though these books have a cosy crime feel to them, the world of wine is a high stakes business. There are honorable rivals, certainly, but there are also criminal agents who will stop at nothing – even murder – to gain a commercial advantage. Translated by Anne Trager, this book came out for Kindle in 2012, but the print versions will be available from 29 May.
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