Best of the summer thrills
Myles McWeeney takes the mystery out of picking your holiday reads for those crime connoisseurs
If crime connoisseurs take only one book to the beach this summer they should make sure it is Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville (Harvill Secker, €19.50), in which the absolute master of Belfast Noir delivers a sustained crescendo of creeping menace as two caring female public servants, a senior police officer and a probation officer try to orchestrate the safe return to society of a troubled teenager who committed a brutal murder when he was aged 12.
If there's room for a second book in the beach bag, make it Are You Watching Me? By Sinéad Crowley (Quercus, €17.99). This is the RTÉ Arts and Media correspondent's follow-up case for her best-selling creation, Sergeant Claire Boyle, as the garda tries to protect a reluctant media star from an obsessed and vicious stalker.
If you fancy a dark, page-turning police procedural try After the Fire by Jane Casey (Ebury Press, €16.99), the seventh outing for the ambitious and increasingly reckless young London policewoman Maeve Kerrigan in which she must figure out why a controversial MP apparently jumped from a burning tower block where he had no right to be.
If you hanker for something a little less frenetic The Dying Season by Martin Walker (Quercus, €28.50) is highly recommended. The latest adventure in the life of Bruno Courreges, Chief of Police of the sleepy and picturesque town of St Denis in the Dordogne in deepest rural France, is a delightful pot-pourri of murder, rural politics, fine food and wine and, since it features Bruno, romance.
More violent by far, but also set amongst the most stunning scenery imaginable, is The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron (Constable, €13.50). Former Maine game warden Mike Bowditch, now working as a fishing guide, must put himself in the line of fire of angry and psychologically damaged army vets when his friend and mentor Sergeant Kathy Frost is shot and left for dead.
If a touch of a scarily believable dystopian near future intrigues you, The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland (HarperCollins, €19.50) is a compelling read. Set in an America that has defaulted on its sovereign debts and must now kowtow to a China that directs the US economy, investigative journalist Madison Webb, a thorn in the side of the corrupt administration, refuses to accept the official report that her sister's death was suicide.
Adrenalin junkies will relish the latest thrill-a-minute episode in the David Janson franchise, Robert Ludlum's The Janson Equation by Douglas Corleone (Orion, €22.10). To prevent a war in Asia that could easily spread to the rest of the world, Paul Janson and sidekick Jessica Kincaid must solve the death of US Senator Wyckoff's son's girlfriend while being chased by agents of a shadowy US State Department agency with a dangerous agenda.
Last, but certainly not least, look out for the early September release of Death at Whitewater Church by Andrea Carter (Constable, €22.10), the first in what promises to be a fascinating series of mysteries set in Donegal's Inishowen Peninsula and featuring local solicitor Benedicta 'Ben' O'Keefe as a sharp-as-tacks amateur sleuth.