Some current mysteries to consider

The best recent crime novels – review roundup

by Laura Wilson


The Ex book coverA pleasingly suspenseful mixture of legal thriller and whodunnit, Alafair Burke’s latest novel, The Ex (Faber, £12.99), introduces us to lippy, take-no‑prisoners New York City district attorney Olivia Randall, who receives a panicky phone call from the teenage daughter of her former fiance, Jack Harris, begging for help. Harris, whose wife was killed in a mass shooting three years earlier, has been charged with triple homicide, which the police are treating as a revenge attack because one of the victims is the father of the boy who shot his wife. For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for the hurt she caused him in the past, but his alibi is flimsy and there is corroborating evidence, and she begins to wonder if he may, after all, be guilty. Burke’s writing has always been intelligent and often funny, and her female protagonists sharp and engaging – The Ex is her best yet.

Other books in the round-up include:

Icelandic author Ragnar Jonasson’s excellent debut novel, Snowblind, was widely praised for its distinctive blend of Nordic noir and golden age detective fiction. Nightblind (translated by Quentin Bates, Orenda Books, £8.99), also featuring police officer Ari Thor Arason and set in Siglufjörður, an isolated fishing village hard by the Arctic Circle, certainly lives up to the promise of its predecessor.

A Masterpiece of Corruption (Constable, £19.99) is the second of LC Tyler’s novels set during the Interregnum and featuring law student John Grey. The year is 1657, and a case of mistaken identity results in Grey, who has republican sympathies, finding himself in the middle of a plot by the Sealed Knot, a secret royalist association, to assassinate Oliver Cromwell in order that Charles Stuart may return from exile to take his place on the throne.

To see these and the other books being offered, go to


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