Jeff Popple reviews three chilling reads for winter. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com
Left You Dead by Peter James
Peter James’ series about Brighton police detective Roy Grace has become a mainstay of the British crime scene over the past decade or so, and the latest book, Left You Dead, is another smoothly written tale of murder, mayhem and personal drama. When Niall Paternoster’s wife goes missing while shopping for cat litter, he assumes that she is sulking over a recent fight. But when she does not turn up the next day, he approaches the police, who become worried about Eden’s safety. As the investigation proceeds, secrets are uncovered, and personal tragedy strikes Grace. An accomplished and enjoyable novel that will appeal to James’ many fans.
The Girl Remains by Katherine Firkin
Author and journalist Katherine Firkin made a promising entry into Australia’s crime writing ranks with her 2020 debut novel Sticks and Stones. She has now followed it up with the even better The Girl Remains. When human bones are found on a remote Victorian beach, the police suspect that they are the remains of 15-year-old Cecilia May who went missing over 20 years ago following a night out with her two girlfriends. A local registered sex offender confessed at the time to being involved in her disappearance, but was later alibied and released. Now with evidence of Cecilia’s death, the old case is resurrected. A taut and engaging mystery.
Nighthawking by Russ Thomas
Simon & Schuster, $32.99
Nighthawks are treasure hunters who operate under the cover of darkness, seeking the lost and the valuable. They operate outside the normal rules for archaeologists and are not averse to breaking the law to get what they want. When the body of a young woman is found in Sheffield’s beautiful botanical gardens with ancient Roman coins covering her eyes, Detective Superintendent Adam Tyler finds himself drawn into the secretive world of nighthawks as he tries to find a killer. Thomas is a skilled plotter and Nighthawkingis an entertaining crime thriller that provides an interesting insight into the world of illegal treasure hunting.