The best new crime reads in August
Our crime specialist shares 10 great crime reads to look out for this month.
CRIME BOOK OF THE MONTH
The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle
Summer and Iris are identical twins – asymmetrically, so when Iris looks at her sister, she sees her own reflection. But where Summer has succeeded – handsome husband, loving friends, immense wealth – Iris has failed, with one broken marriage already behind her and only jealousy to fuel her.
So when Summer asks Iris for a favour – to sail the family yacht out of a sticky situation in Thailand with her husband, Adam – Iris can see a future on the open sea, with a handsome man and a new way of wresting her father’s conditional inheritance from her siblings. But one morning, in the middle of the ocean, Iris wakes to find herself completely alone. It’s a struggle to get back to land, but on the arduous journey there, wracked with horror and grief, a new path appears before her. Can she take it? Can she sell it? And what will it cost?
This book has everything: a beautiful yacht; first-class living; endless, treacherous water; an inheritance that has seen a family discreetly torn into bitter pieces; a good twin and a bad twin. It’s a story laced with surprises and deceit; Carlyle, a sailor herself, knows her boats (I assume – I happily know nothing but love to read about them), and knows how to navigate readers through an excellent, twisty book and to drop anchor hard in an ending that will stop your heart.
NEW CRIME FICTON
The Dead Line by Holly Watt
British investigative journalist Casey Benedict is hunting for stories at the Post when one is delivered straight into her hands: a fashion- editor colleague, shopping for clothes for a shoot, finds an embroidered note in a skirt that reads: They take the girls to a baby factory. It’s not the only note they find, and Casey knows this problem is big – she’s been on life-altering, life- damaging investigations before. And so she traipses the world to find out not only where this happened and how to stop it, but also where these babies are now and the scale of wreckage her discoveries will unveil.
Playing Nice by JP Delaney
It’s an ordinary day when Pete opens the front door to Miles and his private detective. They have the exact kind of news that makes you need to read the rest of the book: Pete’s son, Theo, is not his at all. He’s Miles’s. And Miles, in turn, has Pete’s son, who he and his wife Lucy have called David. A hospital mix-up has seen them raise each other’s children for more than two years, and now they need to talk. The two families tentatively start to strike a bond and to involve each child in the other family’s life, which seems the only way to go – until what happened in the past, and what’s happening now, as Pete and his partner Maddie spiral deeper into panic, starts to make their relationship with Miles and Lucy not only uncertain but also dangerous.
The Hunted by Gabriel Bergmoser
A young man, on a road trip to find the real Australia, encounters a woman at an isolated pub. They hit it off, and she asks to come along with him – and why not, he thinks. Can’t say you’re out for an adventure and not grab it when it sits next to you at a bar. Then there’s Frank, who runs a roadhouse in the middle of nowhere, who’s suddenly in charge of the granddaughter he has no relationship with and just wants to get through the next two weeks as cleanly as possible. But when a young woman arrives at the roadhouse, badly injured and telling him not to call for help, Frank, and the customers in the wrong place absolutely at the wrong time, soon realise that there is nothing clean about what has brought her here, and who exactly has followed her. Tense and terrifying, The Hunted is a blood-soaked nightmare – in the very best kind of way.
The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea
In an abandoned boarding house at an elite American prep school, there’s a game that students play. You find your way through the woods with a candle, into the house, and to the mirror. You light a candle, and you repeat a mantra. One night, a group of students take the challenge, and two of them are brutally murdered. Days later, the killer jumps in front of the train that runs behind the school, but lives. And over the next year, the students who survived that horrifying night do the same – but succeed. A year after the first deaths, as the case regains momentum, an online presenter, a podcaster, a profiler and a forensic reconstructionist all know that there’s more to this case than the neat and tidy ending the media reported, and that what lies within the school gates might be the worst kind of game you ever join. (Apart from Monopoly.)
When She Was Good by Michael Robotham
Once upon a time, six years ago, a man was found dead in a house – tied to a chair and tortured. Then things started to go missing in neighbouring houses, and one keen-eyed police officer traced the clues back to that house – finding a girl hiding in a secret room. Years later, and still nobody knows the identity of the girl nurses nicknamed ‘Angel Face’; nobody knows her name, her age, or what she saw. But forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven, fresh from Michael Robotham’s bestselling Good Girl, Bad Girl, wants to find out who Angel Face – now a cynical young woman called Evie – really was, even if she doesn’t want him to. Because people who ask those questions wind up dead, and now Cyrus – and Evie – are on their radar. Another gripping, nonstop entertainer by the author of The Secrets She Keeps, which has been adapted for TV on Channel 10.
The Night Whistler by Greg Woodland
It’s summertime in Australia, and the 1960s are rolling along in the rural town of Moorabool. There are new faces in town: Constable Mick Goodenough, there thanks to a demotion, and young Hal and his family, who Mick hears from after Hal’s mother starts to get some strange phone calls late at night. Somebody keeps whistling down the line to her and then hanging up. Then there’s Hal’s gory discovery of a dead dog – or, rather, a clearly murdered dog – and Mick’s missing pet of his own. Slaughtered animals are a bad sign, Mick knows. And while nobody else might be listening, he knows the phone calls are too. A tense, evocative trip into the past.
The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
Rachel Krall is on her way to the Atlantic Ocean, bound for the seaside tourist town of Neapolis, when somebody leaves a note in her windscreen. Rachel’s on her way to Neapolis to record another season of her hit podcast, Guilty or Not Guilty – the first of which saw a jailed man freed – and somebody knows she’s on her way, and they want a favour. Rachel’s plan is to cover a rape trial that’s tearing the community apart, but, decades earlier, a teenager named Jenny Still died, and her sister is desperate to find answers. Rachel doesn’t have time for another case, but her curiosity always gets the better of her – and when connections between the new and old cases arise, there’s no way to let go until the truth is out.
Arkhangel by James Brabazon
Documentarian and frontline journalist James Brabazon has written an action- thriller that should end up in the hands of Lee Child’s fanbase or with those who miss tearing through a Dan Brown – and for those of us who miss the jetsetting lifestyle of an assassin. (Or, you know, a tourist.) Max McLean is a contract killer for the British government, but when a hit turns out to be a set-up, a strange clue is left on a dead body, and then Max finds himself in the middle of a sometimes-gory, always-thrilling world-romping escapade towards the truth – and away from some very high-stakes danger.
Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi
Thirty years ago, mathematician Grant McAllister calculated all the possibilities of a murder mystery and wrote The White Murders: seven perfectly crafted detective stories that he published to little fanfare. Now, he lives on a Mediterranean island, alone but for Julia Hart, the editor who’s just arrived on his doorstep to publish his stories afresh. McAllister isn’t much for talking, and the more Julia reads his stories the more she realises what’s been missed in them – but are these rookie writer errors or something much deeper that will lead her right back to a real-life mystery? A challenging, brain-twisting whodunnit.
Also out this month…
S.J. Watson’s Final Cut; Lisa Jewell’s Invisible Girl; Anthony Horowitz’s Moonflower Murders; Shari Lapena’s The End of Her; Ilaria Tuti’s Painted in Blood; Karen Dionne’s The Wicked Sister; Sophie Hannah’s The Killings at Kingfisher Hill; Chris Carter’s Written in Blood; James Lee Burke’s A Private Cathedral; Daniel Silva’s The Order … and more!