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Crime & Thrillers THE ACCIDENT ON THE A35 Graeme Macrae Burnet

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Existentialism meets crime fiction in the third novel from Graeme Macrae Burnet, who was shortlisted for the Booker for His Bloody Project. Like Burnet’s debut, The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau (Text PB $19.99), this book also purports to be written by French novelist Raymond Brunet and merely translated by Burnet. It, too, features small-town detective Georges Gorski and the town of St Louis. Gorski is intrigued by a seemingly unremarkable car accident, although he may be more intrigued by the deceased’s wife. The story of the dead man’s son, who plays at reading Sartre, runs in parallel, as both try to find out more about the enigmatic father and husband. Burnet – or is it Brunet? – plays with the familiar tropes of detective fiction, and creates intriguing layers of references.

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DEADLIER: 100 OF THE BEST CRIME STORIES WRITTEN BY WOMEN Sophie Hannah (ed.)

This extensive collection is a perfect gift for lovers of crime or as an introduction to the genre. The allure of mystery and pleasure of puzzles is celebrated, with worldwide bestsellers printed side by side with local prize-winners. We encounter Margaret Atwood’s playfulness and Patricia Highsmith’s dark, homoerotic intrigue; and we are offered a sad Australianaladen story from 2016 Ned Kelly Award winner Emma Viskic and a foray into Phryne Fisher’s 1920s world from Kerry Greenwood. Styles range from gothic to gimmick, historical to haunting, and are sure not to disappoint. A treasure to be savoured over a holiday break.

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Creating compelling fiction out of compelling history is Robert Harris’ forte, and in this gripping novel he thrusts us into the crucial days leading up to the Munich Agreement. We follow two fictional friends from Oxford, one an English civil servant, and one a German diplomat involved in the (real) 1938 plot against Hitler, as they try to alert the British to Hitler’s ultimate plans. Harris sticks closely to historical fact, making the fictional elements ring true and lending poignancy to the novel. While history may condemn Chamberlain for the Munich Agreement, which is now seen as a futile act of appeasement, this is a sympathetic portrait of a man desperate to avoid another world war so soon after the last one.

There’s certainly a twist in the tail – or should that be tale? – of this psychological thriller that falls squarely into the category of domestic noir. German author Melanie Raabe creates an atmosphere thick with menace and mystery in her second foray into crime fiction. Seven years after her husband disappears in South America, Sarah is starting to re-make her life in Hamburg when she is informed he is still alive. But the man she meets at the airport is a stranger to her. So what does he want with her and her son? With references to fairy tales, and with plenty of questions about love, Raabe cleverly exploits the now-familiar trope of a strong but shaken woman whose credibility is undermined by the man who is threatening her.

AFTER THE FIRE Henning Mankell

The final novel written by the creator of the bestselling Wallender books, After the Fire is an elegiac work in which Mankell returns to the location and protagonist that featured in his 2009 novel Italian Shoes. Picking up the themes of ageing and mortality that were explored there, he delivers a novel quite unlike his others, one that has a mystery at its core but is much more than a mystery or crime novel. Rather, it is a melancholy fictional meditation on loneliness, love, loss and how to live a good life. Set on a small island in the Swedish archipelago, the plotline seems to unfold as inexorably as the tides but holds some surprises, chiefly among them the unpredictable and very human character of the elderly protagonist.

DEEP FREEZE John Sandford

Virgil Flowers, a detective with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, knows the town of Trippton a little too well. A few years back, with the help of a retired schoolteacher, he investigated the corrupt – and as it turned out, homicidal – local school board (Deadline). Now the teacher is back with even more alarming news: over the past year, three women from the same high school class of 20 years ago have been found dead in unusual circumstances, and she’s worried about what may happen at the upcoming mid-winter reunion. Will Virgil help? Fans of this long-running American series are sure to enjoy the latest Flowers novel.

CLEAR TO THE HORIZON Dave Warner

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BER DECEM SE RELEA

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PALE HORSE RIDING Chris Petit

MUNICH Robert Harris

THE STRANGER Melanie Raabe

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This grim but gripping novel goes deeply into the idea of corruption. A black market is thriving at Auschwitz in 1943, and two policemen are sent to root out its source. But how can they investigate one instance of corruption when it is everywhere, and in many guises, at the camp and throughout Nazi Germany. And when our detectives are sent back to investigate a murder, how does it make sense to solve one when, as they eventually realise, thousands of people are killed there? Throughout, it is near impossible for them to get any handle on how or why things are happening. A sequel to The Butchers of Berlin, but able to stand alone, Pale Horse Riding blends the historical and the fictional to great effect. Free gift: A copy of The Butchers of Berlin (RRP $19.99) with every copy.

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Few Australian crime novels have been as eagerly anticipated as this second book from the author of The Dry. Harper's first novel garnered a swag of awards, including a CWA Gold Dagger and a Ned Kelly from the Australian Crime Writers Association. In Force of Nature, she returns to a bush setting and to an investigation featuring federal police agent Aaron Falk. Working with his partner Carmen Cooper, Falk investigates the disappearance of Alice Russell, a whistleblower in their latest corporate malfeasance case. Alice went missing while on a team-building bush hike with four female colleagues. The aim was to build resilience and team building; instead, the team fractured and Alice went missing. Aaron and Carmen uncover what actually happened.

A mash-up of three genres – psychological thriller, horror story and literary fiction – this debut title from Australian writer Lois Murphy is an exhilarating and unorthodox read. The story starts after a sinister convoy of four-wheel drives visits the rural town of Nebulah during the winter solstice. Soon, the birds disappear and a malevolent mist descends on the town every evening at dusk. With the mist come unimaginable horrors that few local residents can endure or survive. Ex-policeman Peter and his neighbours Li and Milly are among the few to remain; trapped by circumstance, they adjust their lives to the new reality. Or so they think. Written from Peter’s perspective, Soon is the type of book that is impossible to put down once you’ve started reading.

UNDER THE COLD BRIGHT LIGHTS Garry Disher

TWO KINDS OF TRUTH Michael Connelly

The juggernaut that is Michael Connelly Inc continues to dominate bestseller lists worldwide, and is now also making a significant mark on the small screen. It seems extraordinary that this prolific output hasn’t led to a compromise in quality, but as the latest Harry Bosch book – the 20th in the series – attests, Connelly is one of the most consistent and admirable crime writers working today. Two Kinds of Truth takes as its subject the topical issue of the abuse and illegal supply of prescription drugs. Harry’s role at the San Fernando PD has expanded from solving cold cases and his latest challenge sees him going undercover to solve the double murder of two pharmacists. Meanwhile, an old case from his LAPD days comes back to haunt him...

FORCE OF NATURE Jane Harper

SOON Lois Murphy

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Despite having been awarded two major literary awards (the ACWA’s 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction for Before it Breaks and the 1996 WA Premier’s Book Award for City of Light), Dave Warner may well be Australia’s most under-rated writer of crime fiction. Aficionados know how good his Snowy Lane books are, though, and they are sure to be enthralled by the latest instalment, which sees the former police detective (now a Broome-based private investigator) drawn back into the investigation of the disappearance of three young women in Perth. Loosely based on the infamous Claremont killings, Clear to the Horizon has an extremely likeable main character, a fast-paced plot and writing that is dense with colourful vernacular and Aussie humour.

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Few Australian crime writers are as prolific as Garry Disher. Though best known for his eight Wyatt novels, he also authors the seven-strong Challis and Destry series and has published a number of stand-alone crime titles. Under the Cold Bright Lights is his latest stand-alone effort, and it’s one of Disher’s best. Recently brought out of retirement to work on cold cases with the Victoria Police, Acting Sargeant Alan Auhl is juggling three investigations, getting to know his new work partner Claire Pascal and giving shelter to a mother and daughter fleeing domestic abuse. Though a talented and driven policeman and a caring father and friend, Auhl has what he acknowledges as a ‘retributive darkness’ in his soul, which prompts him into vigilante-like acts that may well come back to haunt him. This complex and compelling story begs a sequel; let’s hope one eventuates.

Gleebooks Summer Reading Guide 2017  

Summer 2017's best books selected by your favourite independent bookseller.

Gleebooks Summer Reading Guide 2017  

Summer 2017's best books selected by your favourite independent bookseller.