Quick Review: THE KILLING SEASON and THE SAMARITAN by Mason Cross (Orion/Pegasus)

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A must-read new thriller series

The first thing you should know about me is that my name is not Carter Blake. That name no more belongs to me than the hotel room I was occupying when the call came in.

When Caleb Wardell, the infamous ‘Chicago Sniper’, escapes from death row two weeks before his execution, the FBI calls on the services of Carter Blake, a man with certain specialised talents whose skills lie in finding those who don’t want to be found. A man to whom Wardell is no stranger.

Along with Elaine Banner, an ambitious special agent juggling life as a single mother with her increasingly high-flying career, Blake must track Wardell down as he cuts a swathe across America, apparently killing at random.

But Blake and Banner soon find themselves sidelined from the case. And as they try desperately to second guess a man who kills purely for the thrill of it, they uncover a hornets’ nest of lies and corruption. Now Blake must break the rules and go head to head with the FBI if he is to stop Wardell and expose a deadly conspiracy that will rock the country.

I read both of these novels back-to-back, and loved them both. The first two in a new series by British author Mason Cross, they are a wonderful blend of classic loner-hero thrillers and some fresh ideas. They’re difficult to review without spoiling, as is often the case with thrillers, but in a nutshell: Briskly paced, realistic, and gripping — what more could you ask for from a thriller? Continue reading

Upcoming: “Broken Monsters” by Lauren Beukes (Harper)

Beukes-BrokenMonstersUKI’m a latecomer to the excellence that is Lauren Beukes’s work. Last year, I was quickly sucked into The Shining Girls, and since then I’ve been eagerly awaiting her next novel. Now, BROKEN MONSTERS is on the horizon! Published in the UK on July 31st by Harper.

In the city that’s become a symbol for the death of the American dream, a nightmare killer is unravelling reality…

Broken city, broken dreams

In Detroit, violent death – along with foreclosure and despair – is a regular occurrence. But the part-human, part-animal corpses that have started appearing are more disturbing than anything Detective Gabriella Versado has ever seen.

As Gabriella works the case, her teenage daughter Layla embarks on a secret crime-fighting project of her own – hunting down online paedophiles – but it all goes horribly wrong…

TK has learned how to make being homeless work for him and his friends, but something evil is threatening the fragile world he’s constructed on the streets…

Ambitious blogger Jonno is getting desperate. The big four-oh isn’t that far away, and he’s still struggling to make his mark. But then he stumbles across some unusual and macabre art, which might just be the break he needs to go viral…

Broken Monsters lays bare the decaying corpse of the American Dream, and asks what we’d be prepared to do for fifteen minutes of fame, especially in an online world.

Can’t wait to read this! Broken Monsters is published by Mulholland Books in the US, and Umuzi in South Africa. Here are the other two covers…

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Review: MAYHEM by Sarah Pinborough (Jo Fletcher Books)

Pinborough-MayhemDr. Bond, I presume…

A new killer is stalking the streets of London’s East End. Though newspapers have dubbed him ‘the Torso Killer’, this murderer’s work is overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel crimes.

The victims are women too, but their dismembered bodies, wrapped in rags and tied up with string, are pulled out of the Thames – and the heads are missing. The murderer likes to keep them.

Mayhem is a masterwork of narrative suspense: a supernatural thriller set in a shadowy, gaslit London, where monsters stalk the cobbled streets and hide in plain sight.

This is the first of Pinborough’s novels that I’ve read, and I rather enjoyed it. It has all of the elements that I look for in fiction, in one tightly-written package: crime, investigation, mystery, a dash of the supernatural and horror. It’s an excellent mix, well-executed. And it’s the first in a series. Continue reading