Lockdown Top Ten 2020

1. I Could Be You - Sheila Bugler
Canelo £8.99

"Dee Doran finds the crumpled body of her neighbour, Katie on the road leading to her house on the fringes of Eastbourne. There is a smashed buggy, but no sign of Katie's little boy, Jake. Dee suffering from depression, finds her journalistic instincts kicking in and is determined to find the truth of what happened. Little did she know the truth would be embedded in Katie's past and that a killer was still out there.

This psychological thriller from Bugler got my reading juices going before I finished the first page. The sights, sounds and smells of Eastbourne sent me straight to that Sussex seaside town and head first into this gripping thriller. With plenty of twists, this was a book I could literally not put down until I finished the last page! Stunning.

Check out the Crimesquad review of ‘I Could Be You’ by Sheila Bugler "

2. The Recovery of Rose Gold - Stephanie Wrobel
Penguin Random House £12.99

"Rose Gold Watts believed she was sick for eighteen years. She thought she needed the feeding tube, the surgeries, the wheelchair… Turns out her mum, Patty, is a really good liar.

After five years in prison, Patty Watts is finally free. All she wants is to put old grievances behind her, reconcile with her daughter and care for her new infant grandson. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty won’t rest until she has her daughter back under her thumb.

Fellow crime writer and Crimesquad reviewer, Sheila Bugler contacted me the moment she finished this book and said we had to highlight it on the site due to the sheet brilliance of the story and Wrobel’s writing. Who am I to disagree with such high praise! This is a tour-de-force that will have you biting your nails in this tale of love, revenge and childhood trauma. Exceptional.

Check out the Crimesquad review of ‘The Recovery of Rose Gold’ by Stephanie Wrobel "

3. Nine Elms - Robert Bryndza
Little Brown £12.99

"Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and driven, with a talent for getting into the minds of criminals, she solved several high-profile murder cases. Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her instinct and ability to immerse herself in violent worlds couldn't help her find him – until he found her. Years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life. One day she receives a letter from someone in her past and is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well…

The crime is disturbingly dark and Bryndza touches on some shocking themes including child grooming, rape and mutilation. Bryndza writes with a touching narrative, and creates well-devised characters who fit the story rather than going for the shock factor. 'Nine Elms' is dark, gripping and the very essence of a page turner.

Check out the Crimesquad review of ‘Nine Elms’ by Robert Bryndza "

4. Dead Fashion Girl - Fred Vermorel
MIT Press £15.99

"Twenty-one-year-old Jean Mary Townshend was found in a patch of wasteland near the train station in the early hours of 15 September 1954. She had been strangled with her own scarf and, while her body showed no signs of sexual assault, her underwear had been removed and placed in a neat pile beside her. Mary had been on her way home from a night spent with her boss at The Londoner, an elite nightclub in Soho. But the public would never find out, as the case was never solved… until Fred got on the case.

This is not only a true crime book, but an exploration of Britain in the 1950s. Vermorel explores why the murder of this young woman was covered up by officials and documents pertaining to the case not to be released until 2058! Vermorel’s tenacity brings him to a truth that could have had wide permutations if uncovered back in the 50s. With many photos, this is a fascinating journey down some very dark London alleyways!

Check out the Crimesquad review of ‘Dead Fashion Girl’ by Fred Vermorel "

5. How a Woman Becomes a Lake - Marjorie Celona
Virago £16.99

"By a frozen lake, ten-year-old Jesse waits for his father. It's New Year's Day, and his dad promised a fresh start. But Jesse messed it all up. And that's when he meets the woman... In the months ahead, the woman's sudden disappearance sets off a chain of events in Whale Bay, spanning out like fracture lines into the lives of her husband, the detective trying to solve her case, and of Jesse and his family – a young boy cracking like ice under the weight of a terrible secret.

A stunning, literary novel told with such warmth and empathy. 'How A Woman Becomes a Lake' is a chilling literary mystery that asks what happens when we are failed by the ones we love. 'How a Woman Becomes a Lake' is a wonderful meditation on what it means to be human. Through her examination of these imperfect humans, Celona reminds us that we are all, in our own ways, flawed beings. This is a novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

Check out the Crimesquad review of ‘How a Woman Becomes a Lake’ by Marjorie Celona "

6. The Six - Luca Veste
Simon and Schuster £7.99

"Coming in at no.6 is The Six. (Did you like what I did there?). It was supposed to be their last weekend away as friends before getting married and having kids, but in the middle of the night someone died. The six left promised never to tell about the body they buried... Now the pact has been broken and the killing has started again.

We highlighted this standalone thriller back in January (how long ago that already feels!!), giving this book the big thumbs up for chills, thrills and a bit of gory, ending with a sucker punch ending. What more could you ask for to keep you entertained during lockdown?

Check out the Crimesquad review of ‘The Six’ by Luca Veste "

7. Died and Gone to Devon - T.P. Fielden
HQ £8.99

"South-West England in the 1950s. In the seaside town of Temple Regis the body of political candidate, Odile Clifford is found on the balcony of the local lighthouse. Fearless reporter, Judy Dimont yet again sinks her teeth into this latest development and is determined to find the killer.

If you not only want to be transported to a different location, how about being taken back into the past? Then this will be a perfect read for you during lockdown. Fielden has written a wonderful series that gives a nod to vintage Golden Crime.

Check out the Crimesquad review of ‘Died and Gone to Devon’ by T.P. Fielden "

8. The Holdout - Graham Moore
Orion £12.99

"It was the most sensational case of the decade. Billionaire heiress, Jessica Silver vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock is prime suspect. It's an open and shut case... until Maya Searle, a young woman on the jury persuades the rest to vote Not Guilty. Ten years later one of the jurors is found dead... and Maya is now the prime suspect.

Described as Agatha Christie meets John Grisham, this is a mesmerising thriller with a serpentine plot you just can't pin down! This is one you will race through right to the big reveal. A perfect read to sit out in the garden. Soak up the rays and prepare to be entertained!

Check out the Crimesquad review of ‘The Holdout’ by Graham Moore"

9. The Lantern Men - Elly Griffiths
Quercus £18.99

"This is the twelfth book in the Forensic Archaeologist Ruth Galloway series. If you haven't heard of this series before then where have you been??!! Griffiths' books combine the present with the past and are guaranteed to enthralling her readers. Here, Ruth is involved in a case of a mass murderer March telling Ruth he killed four more women on the edge of a village that folklore says is haunted by the Lantern Men. What is March's ultimate motive for confessing to more killings than he was convicted for?

Mixing a sense of folklore with her crime, Griffiths always delivers a story that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat!

Check out the Crimesquad review of ‘The Lantern Men’ by Elly Griffiths "

10. The Jealous One - Celia Fremlin
Faber £10.54

"Rosamund is ill with a high temperature. She dreams of disposing of her neighbour, Lindy who is seductive and a man magnet. Then Rosamund's husband tells her that Lindy has gone missing. Was it a dream or did Rosamund really get rid of her neighbour?

Originally published in 1965, Fremlin was for a long time in the Out of Print wilderness. Now all her books are available and they certainly stand the test of time. Fremlin in my opinion, is one of the Godmothers of Domestic Noir and she always mixes a claustrophobic sense of foreboding with her suspense. Fremlin had an acute eye for the minutiae of domesticity and how it could be cranked up to give it a menacing edge. She is one of my favourite writers who could be dark one moment and then add a dry sense of humour the next. I pushed her books on many friends who were blown away by her writing and this one in particular is a favourite among us who have become firm Fremlin fans over the years.

Check out the Crimesquad review of ‘The Jealous One’ by Celia Fremlin"