The Hollow Ones, by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan (Del Rey Books, 2021)

A suspended young FBI agent finds that their colleague’s death is linked to an ancient demonic evil. The first of a new series from The Strain collaborators Del Toro and Hogan, this is all set-up. While ambitious – immortal demonologists, John Dee, civil rights and slavery, and backstory-a-gogo all involved – it’s also a bit insubstantial. Brisk enough though.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

City On Fire, by Don Winslow (HarperCollins, 2022)

Providence, Rhode Island, 1980s. Irish and Italian crime families go to war: a reluctant leader emerges in Danny Ryan. A smart, breathless gangland take on The Iliad – the first part of a trilogy – that does precisely what you’d expect it might, and with some verve. Long-time fans will know what to expect and new genre-friendly readers will wonder what they’ve been missing out on all these years. Recommended.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Last Looks, by Howard Michael Gould (Dutton, 2019)

A former LA detective, now living as a minimalistic recluse, is called in to act as a PI when a TV star is accused of murder. Sprightly Hollywood neo-noir with comic elements and an engaging approach to Los Angeles. Breezy and pacy: a fun entertainment with an interesting lead character in Charlie Waldo. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Born For Trouble: The Further Adventures of Hap and Leonard, by Joe R Lansdale (Tachyon Publications, 2022)

Five novellas featuring Lansdale‘s series protagonists: murder and mayhem in East Texas. Bringing together the previously separately-published Coco Butternut, Hoodoo Harry, Sad Onions, The Briar Patch Boogie, and Cold Cotton, this collection finds Hap and Leonard facing middle age but still with plenty of fight in them. Recommended.

A longer review is here.

Note: advance copy provided by the publisher.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Bomb Maker, by Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press/Grove Atlantic, 2019)

A bomber begins a campaign targeted against the LA police’s bomb disposal squad: a security consultant is drafted in to assist the investigation. While the ending falls a bit flat, this is nevertheless a well-sustained and slick contemporary thriller, with a keen focus on plausible detail throughout. Recommended for the journey if not quite for the destination.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Old Man, by Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press/Grove Atlantic, 2017)

A long-in-hiding former intelligence officer goes on the run when his identity is compromised. Excellent pursuit procedural, strong on plausible detail and on cool rational action throughout. Plenty to appreciate in the approach, and in the confidence on display in both protagonist and author. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Final Girl Support Group, by Grady Hendrix (Titan Books, 2021)

A killer is targeting the members of a support group for female survivors of serial murderers. Genre-savvy black comedy horror/thriller hybrid, packed with sneaky and overt references, as well as being a zesty read in its own right. Plenty of fun, basically, with something to say about survivor guilt, online obsessives, and our ongoing fascination with ghoulishness.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Billy Summers, by Stephen King (Hodder & Stoughton, 2021)

A professional assassin waiting for the go on a big-paying hit begins to write a novel. A superb entertainment: King’s patent mix of the implausible and the compelling – here very light indeed on the supernatural – riffs on recurring themes (the lot of the novelist, JFK, lower-middle class America) in fun and interesting ways. Plus, constant reader, this time he lands the ending. Recommended.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Moon Lake, by Joe R Lansdale (Mulholland Books, 2021)

A young writer returns to his childhood hometown to reinvestigate his father’s suicide and his mother’s disappearance. A touch of Stephen King, East Texas-style, in this standalone novel which balances investigative thriller and the gothic with this writer’s concern for probing the underbelly of prejudice. Plenty to enjoy here: a solid, professional job all around from a modern master.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Falling, by TJ Newman (Simon & Schuster, 2021).

His family taken hostage, an airline pilot is commanded to crash his plane. Commendably brisk and straightforward old-school aviation thriller full of plausible cabin detail and with most tropes of the aircraft jeopardy subgenre cheerfully put to work. Tailor-made for a movie adaptation: make sure you read it before the film comes out.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.