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August Crime Question – books to look out for in the next few months

30/6/14 Grave Matters at St. Blane`s-Myra Duffy

A contract to write a visitor guide for a theme park, planned for Kingarth on the Isle of Bute, proves to be a dangerous assignment for Alison Cameron. There is fierce local opposition to the proposal; the manager has left suddenly with no explanation and the on-site archaeologists are in no hurry to complete their survey. There is a suspicion that Alexander Crombie, who is financing the project, is about to run out of money and then, when she thinks things can’t get any worse, the first body is found.

14/8/14 Paths of the Dead-Lin Anderson

It was never just a game . . . Paths of the Dead is the next novel in Lin Anderson’s esteemed Rhona Macleod crime series.

When Amy MacKenzie agrees to attend a meeting at a local spiritualist church, the last person she expects to hear calling to her from beyond the grave is her son. The son whom she’d only spoken to an hour before.

Then the body of a young man is found inside a neolithic stone circle high above the city of Glasgow and forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod is soon on the case. The hands have been severed and there is a stone in the victim’s mouth with the number five scratched on it. DI Michael McNab is certain it’s a gangland murder, but Rhona isn’t convinced. When a second body is found in similar circumstances, a pattern begins to emerge, of a killer intent on masterminding a gruesome Druidic game that everyone will be forced to play . . .

14/8/14 The Night the Rich Men Burned-Malcolm Mackay

There’s nothing so terrifying as money. . .

Two friends, Alex Glass and Oliver Peterkinney, look for work and for escape from their lives spent growing up on Glasgow’s most desperate fringes. Soon they will become involved in one of the city’s darkest and most dangerous trades. But while one rises quickly up the ranks, the other will fall prey to the industry’s addictive lifestyle and ever-spiralling debts.

Meanwhile, the three most powerful rivals in the business – Marty Jones, ruthless pimp; Potty Cruickshank, member of the old guard; and Billy Patterson, brutal newcomer – vie for prominence. And now Peterkinney, young and darkly ambitious, is beginning to make himself known . . .

Before long, violence will spill out onto the streets, as those at the top make deadly attempts to out-manoeuvre one another for a bigger share of the spoils. Peterkinney and Glass will find themselves at the very centre of this war; and as the pressure builds, each will find their actions – and inactions – coming back to haunt them. But it is those they love who will suffer most . . .

15/8/14 Crow’s Bait-Douglas Skelton

Davie McCall is nearing the end of a long prison sentence following the events of Blood City. As well as forcing him to grow up fast, prison has introduced him to a new cast of criminals and unfortunates. Fellow inmate Sammy tells him that he knew his father, bringing back painful memories for Davie. Meanwhile, Davie’s old adversaries, detectives Frank Donovan and Jack Bannatyne are investigating the brutal murder of a young female student. Davie’s old flame, reporter Audrey Fraser is putting together a series on the drug trade in the West of Scotland for the Daily Record. It’s soon clear that Davie’s dad, Danny McCall, is back in town and after blood, working his way back into the criminal underworld. He can’t have his son getting in the way of that, at any cost, and he knows exactly how to get to him. The cases begin to link up and the past begins to catch up with Davie McCall in this enthralling tale of violence, corruption and divided loyalties.

4/9/14 Troubled Waters-Gillian Galbraith

A young, disabled girl is lost on a winter’s night in Leith, unable to help herself or find her way home. Someone is combing the streets, frantically searching for her. Within hours of her disappearance, a body is washed up on Beamer Rock, a tiny island in the Forth being used as part of the foundations for the new Queensferry Bridge. No sooner has Detective Inspector Alice Rice managed to discover the identity of that body than another one is washed up on the edge of the estuary, in Belhaven Bay. What is the connection between the two bodies? Has the killer any other victims in their sights and if so, can Alice solve the puzzle before another life is taken? In this novel, the sixth in the series, appearances belie reality, and truths and falsehoods gradually merge, becoming indistinguishable.

11/9/14 Thin Air-Ann Cleeves

A group of old university friends leave the bright lights of London and travel to Unst, Shetland’s most northerly island, to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends to a Shetlander. But late on the night of the wedding party, one of them, Eleanor, disappears – apparently into thin air. It’s mid-summer, a time of light nights and unexpected mists. The following day, Eleanor’s friend Polly receives an email. It reads like a suicide note, saying she’ll never be found alive. And then Eleanor’s body is discovered, lying in a small loch close to the cliff edge.

Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are dispatched to Unst to investigate. Before she went missing, Eleanor claimed to have seen the ghost of a local child who drowned in the 1920s. Her interest in the legend of the ghost had seemed unhealthy – obsessive, even – to her friends: an indication of a troubled mind. But Jimmy and Willow are  convinced that there is more to Eleanor’s death than there first appears.

Is there a secret that lies behind the myth? One so shocking that someone would kill – many years later – to protect?

11/9/14 The Skeleton Road-Val McDermid

When a skeleton is discovered hidden at the top of a crumbling, gothic building in Edinburgh, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is faced with the unenviable task of identifying the bones. As Karen’s investigation gathers momentum, she is drawn deeper into a world of intrigue and betrayal, spanning the dark days of the Balkan Wars.

Karen’s search for answers brings her to a small village in Croatia, a place scarred by fear, where people have endured unspeakable acts of violence. Meanwhile, someone is taking the law into their own hands in the name of justice and revenge — but when present resentment collides with secrets of the past, the truth is more shocking than anyone could have imagined . . .

18/9/14 The Meating Room-T.F. Muir

When the body of Thomas Magner’s business partner is found dead in his car on the outskirts of Anstruther, all evidence points to suicide. And Magner himself, a wealthy property developer, is currently under investigation for a series of alleged rapes from thirty years ago.

In total fifteen women are prepared to go to court to testify against Magner but one by one they inexplicably withdraw their complaints until only five remain. With the CPS now reconsidering its case, one of Magner’s accusers is killed in a hit-and-run – and the abandoned car is found to be registered to one T Magner.

DCI Andy Gilchrist is assigned to the hit-and-run case and soon discovers that Magner’s murky past is very much seeping into the present. How did he acquire his wealth? How his first wife die? And why did his business partner commit suicide?

And was Magner a serial rapist in his youth? Or was he something far worse?

28/11/14 Cry Uncle-Russell D MacLean

Dundee-based private investigator J. McNee finds himself way out of his depth in his latest undercover assignment
Working undercover on behalf of the police, McNee’s mission is to get close to aging gangster David Burns and uncover his secrets. In his role as Burns’ new right hand man, he’s expected to follow orders and get his hands dirty. But how far can he go before he crosses the line? With the murder of Burns’ nephew – supposedly under McNee’s protection at the time – the tension ratchets up to breaking point, and McNee finds himself in the midst of a vicious turf war. His cover at risk of being blown at any moment, in this deadly game McNee is beginning to realize he’s expendable. To survive, he’s going to have to change the rules … Dark, violent and psychologically gripping, Cry Uncle blends the grit of classic American hardboiled fiction with a distinctly Scottish voice and attitude.

18/12/14 Runaways-Peter May

In 1965, five teenage friends fled Glasgow for London to pursue their dream of musical stardom. Yet before year’s end three returned, and returned damaged.

In 2015, a brutal murder forces those three men, now in their sixties, to journey back to London and finally confront the dark truth they have run from for five decades.

Runaway is a crime novel covering fifty years of friendships solidified and severed, dreams shared and shattered and passions lit and extinguished; set against the backdrop of two unique and contrasting cities at two unique and contrasting periods of recent history.

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