Welcome to CrimeSquad.com!

Iím not going to write about the current situation, I think we have all been battered over the head about it, especially on social media where folk without a single qualification seem to become leading experts overnight. So, I will simply say here are some reviews of the recent crime books we have loved. Enjoy!

Author of the Month is Simon Scarrow and a change of direction in his new novel, Blackout. Scarrow has chosen Nazi Germany 1939 for this start of a new series featuring Inspector Schenke. Berlin as with all of Germany is in blackout during the night, and many take advantage of the darkness. One in particular is raping and killing women and dumping them by the railway lines. It is fascinating to see the propaganda and hysteria caused by the Third Reich, believing the French and British would rapidly step in line with their ideology. Not everyone was onboard, as we find with Inspector Horst Schenke who is not a member of Ďthe partyí, something that has been noted by those in power. As with his Eagle series, Scarrow brilliantly brings Berlin 1939 to life along with an exciting plot. Definitely worthy of being Author of the Month.

Fresh Blood has been reviewed by our own Empress of Noir, Cathi Unsworth who nominated The Beloved Children by Tina Jackson as the perfect Fresh Blood candidate. Who am I to argue with an author who knows her stuff. Describing it to me, Cathi made me want to go out and buy it immediately Ė and I have a copy reading to read during lockdown. It tells the story of three sisters at the tail-end of the Second World War. Jacksonís story involves the circus, magicians and deep, dark secrets. This has a marvellous hint of the fables that fascinated the late, great Angela Carter. All I can say is read Cathiís review and the wonderful and insightful Q&A with Tina. One of the most exciting books of 2021 already!

Reviews this month includes Elly Griffiths, Ann Cleeves, Jane Harper, James Oswald, Sharon Bolton plus newbies, Romy Hausmann and Femi Kayode.

On Classic Crime I am celebrating the short stories of Patricia Highsmith in a new collection called Under A Dark Angelís Eye released to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of this author who was born 19th January 1921 and died 4th February 1995. I have read her books for the best part of thirty years and always loved her quirky and dark short tales which always come with their own little stab of pain, like being pricked by a thorn on a rose. For me, the short story was where Highsmith excelled and this is definitely a grand collection.

Events show a plethora of reviews of Agatha Christie novels I have loved for decades, ones I have re-visited and others I have a new-found appreciation for. I have read more Christie this year than any other for decades. I gobbled up all of Christieís books as a teen, some stayed with me while others didnít quite leave as much of an impression. That is the joy of coming back to a book and with older eyes seeing where Christie was coming from, the nuances of her writing and realise that Christie was quite the chronicler during her fifty-six years of writing.

I am currently compiling a Top Ten of books that are recently out or to be released soon that we have enjoyed/looking forward to in the coming months. This will be online soon.

To check out all our past reviews use the Review Archive. Search under author surname and author Christian name if you canít recall the surname. And for good measure you can also search under the title of the book. Simply click on the box at the top of the page and then click on to the letter of the author/title you would like to find. As you will see, we have reviewed a huge number of books during Crimesquad.com's thirteen years. Have a wander round our archives and I hope you will find something you might have missed first time around!

If you have any comments or have a particular author you would like to see highlighted on this website please e-mail me at chrissimmons@crimesquad.com.

Chris Simmons
Online Editor.

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