21st CENTURY  BOOK OF THE YEARs

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2019 Tana French The Witch Elm

An intelligent stand-alone novel from a master of psychological crime, The Which Elm is a meditation on luck and white privilege. Toby is the happy-go-lucky narrator, a charmer who is celebrating with friends when his night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead.

2018 Mick Herron London Rules

The fifth instalment of Mick Herron's superb Jackson Lamb/Slough House series is another work of spytastic satire. In a post referendum Britain with a beleagured PM, a series of terror attacks have a group of MI5 agents struggling to handle their workload and own problems.     

2017 Don Winslow The Force

Dirty cop Denny Malone leads an elite unit to fight gangs, drugs and guns in New York. For eighteen years he’s been on the front lines, doing whatever it takes to survive in a city built by ambition and corruption. Greed, violence, inequality and race issues are tearing the city apart and leaving Malone fighting for air.

2016 Bill Beverly Dodgers

When East, a low-level lookout for a Los Angeles drug organisation, loses his watch house in a police raid, his boss recruits him for a very different job: a road trip – straight down the middle of white, rural America – to assassinate a judge in Wisconsin. The writing is superb.

2015 Attica Locke Pleasantville

Houston 1996, and the mayoral election campaign focuses on Pleasantville. Axel Hathorne, was all set to become Houston's first black mayor but his lead is slipping. As the campaign intensifies, a girl goes missing and Axel's nephew is charged with murder. Respected lawyer Jay Porter takes the case and becomes embroiled in a dangerous political world.

2014 Adrian McKinty In The Morning I'll Be Gone

It's 1984 and IRA man Dermot McCann has escaped from Her Majesty's Maze prison. Sean Duffy is reinstated to help find him and prevent the bombs going off. This leads to an old locked room mystery, and a thrilling read. 

2013 Wallace Stroby Shoot the Woman First

Professional thief Crissa Stone and her team look to steal half a million dollars in drug proceeds, guarded by three men with automatic weapons. Crissa finds herself on the run with the stolen cash, bound by a promise to deliver part of the take to the needy family of one of her slain partners. Powerful, pacy, punchy and poetic. 

2012 Linwood Barclay Trust Your Eyes

Rear Window meets Rain Man. Fast-paced whilst maintaining the suspense throughout.

Map-obsessed Thomas sees a suspicious image on the internet. When his brother investigates they hit on a deadly conspiracy which puts them both in danger.

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2011 Peter May The Blackhouse

The first novel of The Lewis Trilogy is a suspense thriller. The action takes place mostly on the remote and weather-beaten Isle of Lewis off the coast of northern Scotland where a brutal murder has taken place. Evil lies within and the hunter becomes the hunted.  

2010 Steve Hamilton The Lock Artist

The extraordinary story of a safe-cracker trying to unlock the key to his past.

Michael survived a terrible incident which took his parents and left him unable to speak. His life continues on its downward slope. Now the mob threatens to kill the father of the girl he now loves.

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2009 Stieg Larsson The Girl Who Played With Fire

The second and best novel in the popular Millennium Trilogy series. The brilliant  computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, an eccentric and unique heroine, is wanted by the police, missing and in danger. In trying to help, Mikael Blomkvist uncovers her terrible past.

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2008 C J Box Blue Heaven 

A twelve-year-old girl and her younger brother are on the run in the Idaho woods - outside the small town of Kootenai Bay, nicknamed Blue Heaven for its abundance of retired LAPD officers - pursued by four men they have just watched commit murder. Complex and compelling.

2007 Laura Lippman What the Dead Know

The Bethany girls, ages eleven and fifteen, disappeared from a Baltimore shopping mall. They never returned and their bodies were never recovered. Thirty years later, after a hit-and-run accident, a clearly disoriented woman is claiming to be Heather, the younger sister. A gripping tale of deception, delusion, old wounds and betrayal.

2006 Nick Stone Mr Clarinet

There’s a myth on the island of Haiti about a pied-piper like figure called ‘Mr Clarinet’ being responsible for children disappearing over the years. When private eye Max Mingus is hired to find the missing son of a billionaire he must confront the chilling reality behind the myth.

2005 Arnaldur Indriðason Silence of the Grave

Detective Erlendur and his team investigate Reykjavík's hidden past to unravel a case of human nastiness. Tense, atmospheric and disturbingly real, this is an outstanding continuation of the Reykjavík Murder Mysteries.

2004 Jeffrey Deaver Garden of Beasts

To avoid the electric chair, Paul Schumann, a contract hit-man for the mob, is required to pose as a member of the 1936 Olympic team, travel to Berlin, and kill a high-ranking Nazi close to Hitler. In Berlin, honest apolitical cop Kohl finds himself on Schumann's trail, in this twisty historical thriller.

2003 Dennis Lehane Mystic River

We follow the lives of three friends growing up in an old rundown working-class neighbourhood of Boston, a city at war with itself. A terrible childhood incident returns to haunt them when, as adults, one of their own children is murdered.

2002 Julia Spencer-Fleming In the Bleak Midwinter

The police chief and new-to-town Episcopal priest meet after a baby is abandoned at the church. The two later discover the body of the baby's young mother and a challenging investigation ensues. Fast-paced, spine-chilling and vivid.

2001 Harlan Coben Tell No One

Eight years ago David Beck was left for dead, and his wife Elizabeth was kidnapped and murdered. Then he receives an anonymous email telling him to log on to a certain website. The screen opens on to a web cam - and it is Elizabeth's image he sees. Once started this book is harder to put down than a family pet.

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2000 Karin Alvtegen Missing

Sibylla lives on the streets, seen as a nobody. Then she finds herself thrust into the news headlines after a man who bought her dinner winds up dead. When another body is found, Sibylla becomes the prime suspect, and she is forced on the run from crimes she didn’t commit. Missing is as unputdownable as it is unnerving.