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Top Notch British Crime Fiction

Last week I offered up some first novel crime fiction reading suggestions, as chosen by the Barry Awards. This week I am suggesting that crime fiction fans should consider the titles that the Barry Awards have chosen as the best in British crime fiction:

STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG,
Kate Atkinson

“Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective-a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other-or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge. Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, the beloved detective of novels such asCase Histories, is embarking on a different sort of rescue-that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.” – Publisher

BLOOD HARVEST,
S. J. Bolton

“The Fletchers‘ beautiful new house is everything they dreamed it would be. Built between two churches in Heptonclough, a small village on the moors that time forgot, it ought to be paradise for this young family of five, but they barely have a chance to settle in before they find that they’re anything but welcome. Someone seems to be trying to drive them away–at first with silly pranks but then with threats that become increasingly dangerous, especially to the oldest child, ten-year-old Tom Fletcher, who begins to believe that someone is always watching him. The adults in Tom’s life are trying to help, including his parents; the vicar next door, younger and more dashing than you’d expect a vicar to be; and a therapist, Evi Oliver, who believes him more than she wants to. But there are other clues that something isn’t quite right in Heptonclough, including the mysterious accidental deaths of three toddlers over the last ten years. It is not until Tom’s siblings, two-year-old Milly and five-year-old Joe Fletcher, go missing in turn that the little village’s evil secret turns the Fletchers‘ dreams into a nightmare.” – Publisher

THE WHISPERERS,
John Connolly

“In his latest dark and chilling Charlie Parker thriller, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly takes us to the border between Maine and Canada. It is there, in the vast and porous Great North Woods, that a dangerous smuggling operation is taking place, run by a group of disenchanted former soldiers, newly returned from Iraq. Illicit goods – drugs, cash, weapons, even people – are changing hands. And something else has changed hands. Something ancient and powerful and evil.The authorities suspect something is amiss, but what they can’t know is that it is infinitely stranger and more terrifying than anyone can imagine. Anyone, that is, except private detective Charlie Parker, who has his own intimate knowledge of the darkness in men’s hearts. As the smugglers begin to die one after another in apparent suicides, Parker is called in to stop the bloodletting. The soldiers’ actions and the objects they have smuggled have attracted the attention of the reclusive Herod, a man with a taste for the strange. And where Herod goes, so too does the shadowy figure that he calls the Captain. To defeat them, Parker must form an uneasy alliance with a man he fears more than any other, the killer known as the Collector. . . .” – Publisher

THE WOODCUTTER,
Reginald Hill

“From humble origins as a woodcutter’s son, Wolf Hadda has risen to become a hugely successful entrepreneur, happily married to the girl of his dreams. But a knock on the door ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison while protesting his innocence, abandoned by friends and family, Wolf retreats into silence. Now, seven years later, he is out on parole. There was a mysterious period in Wolf’s youth when he disappeared from home and was known to his employers as the Woodcutter. And now the Woodcutter is back, looking for the truth – and with the truth, revenge.”–Publisher.

THREE SECONDS,
Roslund & Hellstrom

Piet Hoffman, a top secret operative for the Swedish police, is about to embark on his most dangerous assignment yet: after years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, he’s become a key player in their attempt to take over amphetamine distribution inside Sweden’s prisons. To stop them from succeeding, he will have to go deep cover, posing as a prisoner inside the country’s most notorious jail. But when a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in a murder, the investigation is assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens–a man who never gives up until he’s cracked the case. Grens’s determination to find the killer not only threatens to expose Hoffman’s true identity-it may reveal even bigger crimes involving the highest levels of power. And there are people who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.”–Publisher.

FOURTH DAY, Zoe Sharp

“Fourth Day is well-funded and fiercely guards its privacy. Five years ago Thomas Witney went in to try and get the evidence that the cult’s leader was responsible for the death of Witney’s son, Liam. Witney never came out. Now, soldier turned bodyguard, Charlie Fox, and her partner, Sean Meyer, have been tasked to get Witney out.” – Publisher

Sharp is the best kept secret in crime fiction, it’s about time that changed. Miss this at your peril”. Stuart McBride

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