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Geoffrey Wansell


Jounalist


Geoffrey Wansell



Thrillers and Crime Reviews

Crime Thrillers

26 October 2017

The Darkest Day by
HAKAN NESSER (Mantle £16.99)

 

The Darkest DayA master of Nordic noir, Nesser created one of the most memorable figures in Swedish crime fiction in the downbeat Inspector Van Veeteren, who last appeared in 2003.
This new novel introduces the more cheerful Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti, a man born of an Italian father and Swedish mother who is recently divorced and who has formed a pact with God in an attempt to make sense of his life.
It’s 200 pages before the inspector arrives in this story of a dysfunctional family in the small town of Kymlinge just before Christmas — when not one, but two relatives disappear within 24 hours.
It takes a further 300 pages to get an answer to his investigation, but in doing so, he becomes a marvellously compelling companion.
Told with wry humour and compassion, Nesser has four more Barbarotti stories to come — cherish them all.

 

 

26 October 2017

Without a Word by
Kate McQaile (Quercus £13.99)

 

Without A WordThis exquisite second novel begins with a disappearance.
It is November 2006, and Orla is in London when her friend Lillian, who has moved back to her native Ireland, Skypes her on the computer as she has ‘so much to tell’ her.
Then, Lillian suddenly announces there is someone at the door and disappears from the screen — but she never returns.
Orla waits and waits, until she finally realises that something terrible has happened.
Spin forward ten years and the mystery remains unsolved, until Orla receives a visit from Ned Moynihan, the detective who examined Lillian’s original vanishing.
He is receiving anonymous notes suggesting he failed to conduct a thorough investigation and wrongly suspects the letters are from Orla.
The story of what really happened finally emerges from the darkness, demonstrating just how fine a storyteller McQuaile has become.

 

26 October 2017

Death On The Canal by
Anja de Jager (Constable £19.99)

 

Death On The CanalTroubled Dutch detective Lotte Meerman is trying to rebuild her life and career when she finds herself caught up in a killing outside an Amsterdam canal-side bar.
She tries to save the victim, but he bleeds to death in her arms. Police believe the man was a drug dealer, so she gets herself transferred to the squad pursuing the case.
Six British tourists have died after being sold heroin rather than cocaine and the squad is determined the canal killing must not contaminate its case, but Meerman is convinced that there is a child involved and that the murder was not about drugs.
Amsterdam is beautifully captured, and Meerman is an engaging if conflicted character who is becoming more interesting with each book in this series

 

 

 

 


28 September 2017

A PATIENT FURY by
Sarah Ward (Faber £12.99)

 

A Patient FuryThis third outing for Ward’s robust DC Connie Childs underlines that she is on the way to being a Jane Tennison for a new generation.
A family of three is obliterated by a fire at their Peak District house.
On the surface, it looks like a straightforward case of murder-suicide: the mother kills her husband and son, and hangs herself after setting fire to the house.
But Childs doggedly sets off in pursuit of other possibilities — not least that all three family members were murdered by an intruder, even though there is no sign of forced entry. The Derbyshire countryside is beautifully evoked as the plot unfolds, revealing that the victims’ past had a large part to play in their fate and that old jealousies can cast long shadows.
A crime reviewer herself, Ward’s confidence is growing, making Childs a modern police heroine to cherish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

28 September 2017

GOOD FRIDAY by
Lynda La Plante (Zaffre £18.99)


Lynda La PlanteDCI Jane Tennison became one of the great fictional detectives of the second half of the past century, immortalised by Dame Helen Mirren in the television series Prime Suspect.
Gritty and ferociously proud to be a woman in a man’s world, she epitomised the changing face of policing.
Her creator, La Plante, has written three prequels to her character’s story, telling how the young Jane progressed from constable to detective.
In this third episode, set in 1976, Tennison is a new DC, appointed to the ‘Dip Squad’ — responsible for catching pickpockets — when she finds herself caught up in an IRA bombing in Covent Garden.
Told with La Plante’s typical elan, it charts with nail-biting precision the effort to catch the bomber, before there is another atrocity.
My only reservation is that this young Jane demonstrates none of the splendid spirit that so illuminated her later years — she almost seems intimidated by her colleagues. The original, older Tennison would never have let that happen.

 

 

 


28 September 2017

RESURRECTION BAY by
Emma Viskic (Pushkin Vertigo £12.99)

 

Resurrection BayThis striking debut, which arrives with a considerable critical reputation, more than lives up to its hype and introduces an intriguing new detective — Caleb Zelic, who happens to be profoundly deaf.
He makes up for his lack of hearing with exceptional intuition and powers of observation.
The story opens with the murder of one of his childhood friends, Gary, a policeman in Melbourne.
Zelic and his female partner Frankie, a former cop, run a company that investigates fraud, but they decide to look into the death nevertheless. In doing so they find themselves the target of the killer, who may also be threatening Zelic’s ex-wife Kat, whom he still loves. The search takes the pair back to Zelic’s home town of Resurrection Bay.
Fierce, fast-moving, violent and yet written with a delightful sprinkling of irony, it is as exciting a debut as fellow Australian Jane Harper’s The Dry, and I can think of no higher praise. 

 





Crime Thrillers

Cary Grany biography
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Goldsmith biography
Garrick History
Cary Grant picture book
Frederick West
Bus Stop Killer
David Suchet

For a synopsis of any of Geoffrey's books, please click on the appropriate cover above.

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