a few days ago

Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers take on drug smugglers

So, here we go again with our old friend Lucas Davenport, star of thirty previous novels in John Sandford’s “Prey” series. Lucas left the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) quite some time ago. He’s been a United States Marshal ever since. Still based in the Twin Cities, but he gets around. A lot. And […]

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last week

A Russian police procedural set in the Soviet Union

Chief Inspector Porfiry Petrovich Rostnikov is out of favor. He had tried to blackmail a senior KGB official in hopes of obtaining exit visas for himself and his Jewish wife. Given widespread antisemitism, they hoped to emigrate to the United States. At the time, his boss, Assistant Procurator Anna Timofeyeva, had valued his work and […]

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last month

The suspenseful first Easy Rawlins detective novel

In 1948, the first In-N-Out Burger opened in Los Angeles, a harbinger of the car culture that would come to dominate the region. Farmland divided the city from the town of Santa Monica, and the population then fell short of two million. (It was only with the 1950 census that L.A. surpassed Detroit as the […]

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a few months ago

The truth lies undercover in this Ghana murder mystery

Ghana’s most celebrated women’s fashion designer has been murdered in her bed, and the police investigation has, as is so often the case, gone awry. Lacking even a shred of evidence, they’ve arrested and imprisoned without trial Lady Araba’s driver and prevented the police lab from analyzing DNA gathered at the scene. Months later, Lady […]

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a few months ago

In the original Nordic noir series, the police come off poorly

The Abominable Man may be the best of the ten Martin Beck novels by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. It’s certainly the best of the six I’ve read to date. In this, the first Nordic noir series, the left-wing couple routinely explores the disruptive changes overcoming Swedish society in the 1960s and 70s. The police […]

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a few months ago

John Banville launches a new detective series

Irish wordsmith John Banville has won the Booker Prize and torrents of praise for the richly textured prose of his novels. He has also written a series of seven historical mysteries set in 1950s Dublin that feature a man named Quirke, the town’s coroner, who spends far more time solving crimes than conducting autopsies. To […]

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a few months ago

A standalone mystery from Tana French set in Ireland’s rural West

American-Irish actor and author Tana French gained prominence in literary circles with the six bestselling Dublin Murder Squad novels. Justly so. The books display the magical charm of her writing and the scope of her understanding of human psychology. But formulas sometimes lose their charm for both writers and readers, and it seems that’s the […]

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a few months ago

The collapse of the USSR is underway in this detective novel

Why did the Soviet Union implode and the Berlin Wall crumble overnight? For many conservative Americans, the answer is Ronald Reagan. But level-headed analysts have debunked that thesis. In fact, the roots of the crisis that came to a head in the fall of the USSR lay deep in Soviet society. And Edgar Award-winning mystery […]

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7 months ago

A murder in Palestine exposes the fault lines in the refugee community

From 2007 to 2010, Welsh author Matt Rees published the four novels of the Palestine Quartet. The first, The Collaborator of Bethlehem, introduces schoolteacher and would-be detective Omar Yussef. It was an outstanding debut for the series that followed—an unconventional but entirely convincing picture of the Palestinian Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000-5). Drawing on his many years […]

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8 months ago

A grim murder mystery set in the USSR

Set in the USSR not long after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Death of a Dissident paints a savage if all too credible picture of life in Moscow early in the final decade of Communist rule. If you enjoy historical fiction and have a hankering to understand the lies, compromises, and inefficiencies that led to […]

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