Thriller: Chock-full of colourful characters
Before He Finds Her; Michael Kardos; Head of Zeus, tpbk, 384pp, £12.99
Everybody in the quiet Jersey Shore town of Silver Bay knows what happened on a fine evening in September 1991. A quiet and reserved truck driver called Ramsey Miller uncharacteristically threw a block party in his yard for all his neighbours and then murdered his beautiful wife and three-year-old daughter Meg and disappeared.
But what no one in Silver Bay knows is that Meg, now known as Melanie Denison, actually survived that dreadful night. For the past 15 years, she's been living an isolated life in rural West Virginia with her guardians, a couple she calls Uncle Wayne and Aunt Kendra.
As far as she knows, she is part of the US Government Witness Protection Programme, secreted away so her father can't find her and finish his dreadful crime. She was home schooled, not allowed to post pictures on social media or make friends, lest her father learns where she is living. But at 18 and finally attending the local community college, she is desperate for her freedom, yearning for a normal life. So she determines to make her way across the country to Silver Bay and put the demons of her past to rest by finding out the truth behind her father's terrible deed.
Utterly compelling, innovative and packed with beautifully drawn characters, Michael Kardos' second thriller propels him into the front rank of contemporary American thriller writers.
The Dangerous Game Mari Jungstedt
Doubleday, tpbk, 336pp, £12.99
Jenny Levin is spotted in the street by an agent for Sweden's biggest model agency and goes from schoolgirl to international supermodel celebrity in a few short months. But the life she has entered has its drawbacks too.
Agnes used to be a top model, but now she is in a clinic, wasting away from a severe eating disorder. But someone wants revenge for Agnes' distress, and it is up to Gotland detective Anders Knutas and his team to halt a serial killer in full flight. Scandinavian noir at its very best.