a couple of 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 couple of 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

Mick Herron’s latest spy thriller will keep you guessing

Joe Country is Mick Herron’s latest spy thriller, but why should you care? That’s easy. Think of today’s leading spy novelists, and the usual suspects will come up. John le Carré leads the list, of course (although sadly he recently died). Of those who are still living and writing, Joseph Kanon and Alan Furst surely […]

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a few months ago

From Aya de León, a brilliant thriller that exposes the FBI’s illegal tactics

From the 1950s through the 1970s, the American intelligence establishment ran amok. Until brought up short in 1975 by the Church Committee hearings, the CIA roamed the planet, eliminating “Communist” leaders through assassination and economic sabotage from Iran to Guatemala to the Congo. Domestically, the FBI undermined activist movements both Black-led and white with undercover […]

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a few months ago

A deeply affecting tale of child trafficking in India today

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is one of the most highly praised novels of the past year. It’s the fiction debut of Deepa Anappara, an Indian journalist transposed to London. It seems likely that in other hands, the story she tells in this novel might well have wandered off into sensationalism, pathos, or worse. […]

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a few months ago

They’re trying to assassinate the queen!

What is it with superheroes? Why have so many of us become obsessed with characters who transcend the boundaries of human ability? And why would an author of what might otherwise be a perfectly good spy thriller set in the Elizabethan era spoil it by endowing his protagonist with superhuman abilities? After all, people are […]

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a few months ago

Political opposition research dominates this edgy thriller

Lies, conspiracy theories, dirty tricks, and attack ads represent the ugly side of politics to the public at large. But the down-and-dirtiest aspects of election campaigns today emerge from political opposition research, or “oppo” in the jargon of the trade. In hopes of uncovering some hidden scandal in the life of an opposing candidate, a […]

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a few months ago

A WWII thriller about Nazi “vengeance weapons”

Long before Adolf Hitler launched World War II in Europe, he started the push to develop the superweapons he believed would make Germany invincible. As early as 1936 his minions began construction of the Peenemünde Army Research Centre. There, German scientists and engineers pioneered in the development of guided missiles, the most famous of which […]

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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 thriller from Jo Nesbø set in rural Norway

There’s something wrong with the Opgard brothers. They’re both hard-working, clever, and good-looking to boot. The sheriff knows something’s amiss, but he can’t prove it. Roy’s the village’s car mechanic, and he runs the local service station well enough to keep the corporate owners happy. And Carl, back after sixteen years in North America, returns […]

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