This weekend sees the return of the Bloody Scotland festival, celebrating another of our most successful exports: crime fiction.
Yes, readers can’t seem to get enough of murder and mayhem solved by our vast array of detectives whether on the mean streets of our cities, or our picturesque, remote landscapes. Here’s a selection of some of the best new releases.
Lin Anderson’s forensic science superstar is back for her thirteenth adventure which opens with a female Harley Davidson gang illegally racing in the old railway tunnel in Glasgow. They make a gruesome discovery: a dead body laid out in a way that mimics the medieval religious practice of sin-eating. There are few clues to help Rhona, and when another body is discovered near her home, she realises she is being stalked by a forensically aware killer.
This debut, receiving great reviews and a lot of buzz, follows the story of the aftermath of an Edinburgh college massacre where 20-year-old Ryan Summers gunned down 13 fellow students before killing himself. The story is thoughtfully told through the characters of Moira Summers, Ryan’s mother, Helen Birch, the newly-promoted detective inspector investigating the case, and Ishbel Hodgekiss, the mother of one of the victims.
Michael Malone gives us another expert slice of domestic noir, telling the story of newly-widowed Paula Gadd, who is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral, slipping her a note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed. An unpredictable thriller that wrong foots the reader at every turn, this is a novel that will make you question whether you can ever truly know anyone.
Another intriguing debut, which sees Anna, a criminology lecturer based in Rome, return home to Glasgow to help celebrate an old friend’s birthday. In the one of the worst winter’s Glasgow has had, Anna bumps into her ex-boyfriend while on the night out. When he is murdered, she becomes the star witness and decides to investigate his death herself. She soon realises that the motive lies closer to home. . .
Leo Moran returns for his second outing swapping his life in the West End of Glasgow for a visit to Biggnarbriggs Hall, the stately home of his friend Fordyce Greatorix. In the rolling hills of the Dumfries-shire countryside, Leo is delighted when romance starts to blossom. But he cannot escape who he is, and when he finds himself plagued by visions after a local girl goes missing, he is reminded of a similar disappearance thirty years previously.
The hugely popular DCI Daley is back for his sixth adventure alongside his much-loved sidekick DS Brian Scott. The sleepy village of Kinloch is thrilled when a team of archaeologists believe they have discovered Viking remains, but the delight turns to horror when it becomes clear that these are the missing victims of the `Midweek Murderer’, a serial killer at work in Glasgow in the early 1990s – one of Daley’s first ever cases.
Co-written by the bestselling writer Christopher Brookmyre and his wife, consultant anaesthetist Dr Marisa Haetzman, The Way of All Flesh is a rip-roaring tale of murder amid the medical experiments of 19th-century Edinburgh. Bright and ambitious medical student,Will Raven, is suspicious about a spate of mysterious deaths in the New Town, as is Sarah Fisher, housemaid to Raven’s renowned tutor, Dr Simpson. Can they overcome their differences to solve these gruesome murders?
Another book in the Cormoran Strike series, written by J K Rowling under a pen name, is always a big publishing event: expect this book to rocket up the charts on its release this week. In Lethal White, the relationship between Strike and his agency partner, Robin Ellacott, is under the microscope while they negotiate political factions at play in Westminster while the rest of the country celebrate the London 2012 Olympics. And following his newfound fame as a private eye, Strike realises he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did.
And that’s just a taster. Check out the Bloody Scotland programme for more crime fiction recommendations. You are really spoiled for choice. . .