Hot Summer Reads 2017

1. He Said/She Said - Erin Kelly
Hodder £12.99

"In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear. While Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden... something she never could have guessed.

Great things have been mentioned about this title since it came out in February. I will be throwing this one in my suitcase on my holiday next week. Erin is a very fine writer and I am sure this will surpass any of the quotes given it since its release."

2. Vixenhead - Eve Seymour
HarperImpulse £7.99

"When Roz Outlaw's partner Tom mysteriously vanishes, she knows his life is in danger. Tom has been distracted lately, afraid, as though he is being hunted. With the police showing little interest Roz knows it falls to her to find Tom. But as Tom's secrets are uncovered nothing can prepare Roz for the dark lies and twisted truths she finds. She thought she loved Tom, but quickly realises she has been living with a stranger – a man with murder in his past. The key to unlocking Tom's past lies in his childhood home – Vixenhead. A house of wickedness that keeps its secrets well hidden. Can Roz find Tom before it's too late or will the evil within Vixenhead claim her too.

I do love a good thriller with a missing person and a mysterious house filled with haunted memories and bloody murder embedded in its walls. This again will be in my suitcase as it sounds one of those books you can lose yourself in lying next to the pool. Well, that’s what I will be doing anyway!"

3. Quieter Than Killing - Sarah Hilary
Headline £16.99

"It's winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie's family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it's personal. Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

Sarah Hilary is fast becoming a big name in the crime genre. Her meteoric rising with only four books is admirable, but also justified. Some writers grow with each book, others like Hilary appear as though they were born to write. Her four books are solid investigations with a deep darkness to all of them. Her latest, Quieter Than Killing is also going in my suitcase. With Sarah and Erin with me I do wonder if I will ever leave the poolside and/or even speak to anyone else during my week away. With these books I rather think not!

Crimesquad Review of ‘Quieter Than Killing"

4. Strange Magic - Syd Moore
Point Blank £8.99

"Rosie Strange doesn't believe in ghosts or witches or magic. It’s no surprise therefore when she inherits the ramshackle Essex Witch Museum, her first thought is to take the money and run. Still, the museum exerts a curious pull over Rosie. There’s the eccentric academic who bustles in to demand she help in a hunt for old bones, those of the notorious Ursula Cadence, a witch long since put to death. And there’s curator Sam Stone, a man about whom Rosie can’t decide if he’s tiresomely annoying or extremely captivating. It all adds up to looking like her plans to sell the museum might need to be delayed, just for a while.

Finding herself and Sam embroiled in a most peculiar centuries-old mystery, Rosie is quickly expelled from her comfort zone, where to her horror, the secrets of the past come with their own real, and all too present, danger as a strange magic threatens to envelope them all.

Syd was out Author of the Month in May and writer, Cathi Unsworth gave this first in a new series, a roaring seal of approval. The macabre and supernatural is making itself more and more known in recent years with series from authors like James Oswald. Here, Syd mixes fact with fiction with the supernatural. This all adds to the mix and makes this a book you simply can’t put down. But don’t believe what I say… read Cathi’s rave review for yourself!

Read the Crimesquad Author of the Month feat. Syd Moore "

5. Ticket to Ride - Janet Neel
Ostara £12.99

"Ticket to Ride which, although published in 2005 is a remarkably prescient mystery, flagging up the exploitation of illegal immigrants tempted by the offer of work in agriculture in East Anglia. It begins with the discovery of eight bodies in shallow graves on a beach near King’s Lynn. The trail leads to refugees from the former Yugoslavia and atrocities committed during the conflict in Bosnia in the 1990s. A solicitor, Jules Carlisle, as well as the police and MI5, become involved in uncovering the network organising this human trafficking. This is a book that is very relevant to what is happening today. With Neel’s expertise in this area, you get a real sense that the author knows what she is writing about. Strong and exciting stuff.

Janet Neel is July's Classic Crime author. Check out my interview with Neel aka Baroness Cohen of Pimlico. "

6. Continental Crimes - Ed. by Martin Edwards
British Library Crime Classics £8.99

"Yet again, our intrepid diver of the depths of the Golden Age mystery delivers a platter of exotic delights. Here we have a menu consisting of Conan Doyle, Christie, Chesterton and Oppenheim alongside Farjeon who is enjoying a huge renaissance of late with lesser known Josephine Bell, H.C. Bailey and Michael Gilbert and many more. Also included is Marie Belloc Lowndes who wrote about a Belgian detective called Hercules Popeau, plus many more. Edwards knows how to get your classic crime juices running and this is perfect to read on a glittering golden beach with a cocktail or two and whisk yourself away back to the past with louche men and motor cars! Divine."

7. The Green Bicycle Mystery - Anthony M. Brown
Mirror Books £7.99

"This is the first of a unique set of true crime dramas. The series begins with the tragic case of Bella Wright which gripped the nation back then. Even a book on the case was written by H.R. Wakefield back in 1930. So what was it that made this case so memorable? It starts in a lonely lane running through rural Leicestershire in 1919, a solitary bicycle lies on its side, its metal frame catching the glow of the fading evening light. Next to the bicycle, lying at an angle across the road, is a young woman. She is partly on her back, partly on her left side, with her right hand almost touching the mudguard of the rear wheel. Her legs rest on the roadside verge, where fronds of white cow parsley and pink rosebay rise above luxuriant summer foliage. On her head sits a wide-brimmed hat, daintily finished with a ribbon and bow. She is dressed in a pastel blouse and long skirt underneath a light raincoat, the pockets of which contain an empty purse and a box of matches. The blood-flecked coat tells a story... Although each book is perfectly self-contained and offers the author's conclusion, there is a website ( for those who wish to share their own verdicts and opinions, making these the first truly interactive crime tales. I rarely read true crime, but this is a fascinating insight to a crime from a lost world nearly a hundred years ago."

8. Your Blue-Eyed Boy - Helen Dunmore
Penguin £3.99

"At thirty-eight Simone has ‘responsibilities’: she's a district judge with two small boys and a husband on the verge of bankruptcy and breakdown. When she receives a letter postmarked New York she has no idea that opening it will threaten all she has worked for and call into question her judgement. For the photographs contained in the letter remind her of things she regrets from twenty years ago, and a man she'd decided to forget. But blackmail, like the heart, never forgets…

I have included this book of Dunmore’s from 1998 due to her sudden passing from cancer in June this year. She was one of those people who was born to be a writer, whose prose felt like music, it was so lyrical. As a small gesture to honour her memory, I have included this title that I will myself be taking with me on my holiday to again feel why I enjoyed her books so much. This is one of a handful you could say was a psychological suspense novel. If you haven’t read any of Dunmore’s then start with this one and also ‘Talking to the Dead’, which was the first I read of hers in 1996."

9. The Party at No.5 - Shelley Smith
Endeavour Press £5.99

"Again, this is another classic from 1954 which has also been out of print for years and years. Unlike with Celia Fremlin, I cannot claim any credit for these all being back in print. This was a very nice surprise from Endeavour Press. All are back in print in nicely priced paperbacks, or bargain bucket e-books. The choice is yours. This was the first of Smith’s books I read. It is a wonderfully quirky tale. As I read it I could see it made into a film along the lines of the sublime ‘Séance on a Wet Afternoon’. What is not to love when the main character is a Mrs Luna Rampage! She rattles around alone in her big house, her only child is in Australia with very little communication. Despite Rampage’s excuses, you feel her daughter has deliberately put space between her and her mother. To relieve the boredom, Luna takes on a companion in the form of Miss Roach. From there the bizarre acts of one-upmanship start, leading to murder and madness. This is a slim tale very well told. Yet again, it is great to see Smith back in print as her books are great little exercises in suspense."

10. The Hours Before Dawn - Celia Fremlin
Faber £7.99

"Louise would give anything - anything - for a good night's sleep. Forget the girls running errant in the garden and bothering the neighbours. Forget her husband who seems oblivious to it all. If the baby would just stop crying, everything would be fine. Or would it? What if Louise's growing fears about the family's new lodger, Miss Vera Brandon who seems to share all of her husband's interests, are real? What could she do, and would anyone even believe her? Maybe, if she could get just get some rest, she'd be able to think straight.

Over the years I have managed to convert, and most probably bored with my constant ‘selling’ of Fremlin’s books – but I can have the last laugh as now all her titles are in print. Not a single one was when I first discovered this forgotten author, who I view as the Godmother of Domestic Noir. Now her first and most famous title, which won the Edgar for Best Crime Novel in 1960, is given the royal treatment from those lovely people from Faber – and at a very reasonable price! This may have been written nearly fifty years ago, but it still as relevant and sharp today.

Check out Sarah Hilary's homage to Celia Fremlin on the Events page."