Thrillers: Kick-ass female out for revenge
Woman of the Dead, Bernhard Aichner Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 272p, £14.99 hbk, £7.99 eBook
As far as the world is concerned Blum is a contented young wife and mother with a handsome police officer husband and two beautiful little girls. In conservative Austria the fact that she is a successful funeral director is highly unusual, and her decision not to use her given name Brunhilde, is also a little strange.
What the world doesn't know, however, is that Blum has a dark, terrible secret buried deep in her past. When her husband Mark is killed before her eyes just outside their home in a hit-and-run accident, Blum is devastated. Weeks later, she comes across voice recordings on his smartphone that suggest his death may not have been accidental, that he was in fact murdered to prevent him investigating the imprisonment, abuse and torture of three young people by a gang of sadistic men.
Against the advice of Mark's fellow police officer and best friend, she decides to pick up his investigations and rediscovers exactly what she is capable of.
Woman of the Dead has been described as Kill Bill meets Dexter meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and is laced with dark humour.
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Karma comes for those who wait
The Serpentine Road, Paul Mendelson Constable, hbk, 352p, £19.99
In present day South Africa many senior white police officers might well want to forget what their jobs entailed almost 25 years ago in the seismic upheavals that led to the dismantlement of Apartheid.
Colonel Vaughan de Vries is one of them, but when the heiress of an Apartheid-era industrialist is found ritually murdered in Cape Town, a death that is followed by five further connected killings, he finds that old wounds are reopened and the past comes crashing back.
Genuinely thrilling with exotic settings and well-drawn characters, this second Colonel de Vries adventure is highly recommended.
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