Sunday 4 December 2016

Finding the perfect stocking thriller

Published 11/12/2011 | 06:00

There's nothing more hard-boiled crime and thriller fans would like to find in their Christmas stockings than a stack of the latest bestsellers from their favourite authors.

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Top of the list should be Lee Child's THE AFFAIR (Bantam Press) in which Jack Reacher is sent to steamy Mississippi to hunt down a serial sex killer on what turns out to be his last investigation for the US Army.

THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD

Ian Rankin

(Orion, £18.99)

The second of Rankin's intriguing new series about Inspector Malcolm Fox and his team from Internal Affairs who are in Fife, Scotland, investigating police corruption in a story inspired by the real-life mysterious and unsolved death in 1985 of Willie McRae, a prominent Scottish solicitor with links to the SNLA terrorist group.

STOLEN SOULS

Stuart Neville

(Harvill Secker, £12.99)

A gritty and violent thriller about the underground exploitation of sex workers in Belfast by Eastern European gangsters from the pen of one of Ireland's most promising crime fiction talents.

THE FEAR INDEX

Robert Harris

(Hutchinson, £12.99 pbk).

Part techno-thriller, part psychological drama, The Fear Index is a gripping tale from one of Britain's hottest authors about a computer genius whose radical VIXAL-4 hedge fund software threatens the stability of the international financial system.

THE RETRIBUTION

Val McDermid

(Little, Brown, £18.99).

Tension filled from start to finish, this concerns unorthodox police profiler Dr Tony Hill and his close friend Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan who are threatened with maximum pain and suffering by an escaped serial killer who they had convicted 12 years previously.

TAKEN

Niamh O'Connor

(Transworld Ireland, £12.99)

The Sunday World's crime correspondent delivers a cracking thriller featuring Garda DI Jo Birmingham, a single mother peeling away layers of the sordid underbelly of post Celtic Tiger Ireland, where cocaine and heroin, sex trafficking and casual violence are endemic, in search of a kidnapped child.

and for teenage thrill seekers . . .

A number of America's top-flight crime writers have published books for the young adult market. John Grisham's two Theodore Boone books, KID LAWYER and THE ABDUCTION, featuring a super-smart 13-year-old who appears to know more about the law than any half-dozen group of grown-up lawyers, are excellent page-riffling entertainment.

So too is Harlan Coben's SHELTER. This book centres on a troubled teenager Mickey Bolivar, sent to live with his uncle, sports agent turned private detective Myron Bolitar (the main character in many of Coben's adult bestsellers) after he is separated from his parents in tragic circumstances. When Mickey's girlfriend Ashley goes missing, the teen is plunged into a seedy underworld with danger at every turn.

Kathy Reichs, creator of the series featuring forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan, enters the lists with VIRALS, an exciting sci-fi/thriller introducing Tory Brennan, Temperance's niece. Tory lives on an isolated island off the city of Charleston, South Carolina, who, with her computer geek friends, stumbles on a terrorist biological weapons plot that threatens the lives of thousands. MYLES McWEENEY

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