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Chills, thrills and spills abound in the best new thrillers  | Books | Entertainment

Category: Art & Culture,Books

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths (Quercus, £12.99)

Griffiths’s spooky murder mystery is so obviously designed to be read next to a roaring fire on a dark winter’s night that it ought to come with a money-off voucher for coal. It tells the tale of Clare, a teacher whose research into the life of a Victorian Gothic novelist turns out to have a bearing on the murder of one of her colleagues. And who is writing mysterious entries in Clare’s private diary? This is written with Griffiths’s usual warmth and lightness of touch but has a genuine creepiness that gets under your skin. 

We Can See You by Simon Kernick (Century, £12.99)

Kernick is one of the most reliable British purveyors of the edge-of-your-seat thriller and at his best, he gives a more powerful adrenaline rush than an EpiPen. That’s very much the case with this standalone thriller in which life coach Brook Connor finds her perfect existence unravelling when her daughter is kidnapped and she discovers she has an enemy who knows all her darkest secrets. A venture into the territory of domestic noir but still with plenty of Kernick’s trademark thrills and spills. 

Her Last Move by John Marrs (Thomas & Mercer, £8.99)

The Metropolitan Police’s unit of “super recognisers” – people who are particularly gifted at recognising faces – has been in the news after helping to identify the culprits behind the Salisbury poisonings. John Marrs’s fifth novel is as topical as it is tense, pitting super recogniser DS Joe Russell against a serial killer with a highly moral, if twisted, agenda. No skill required to recognise why Marrs has become such a popular author, with his relatable characters, clever ideas and smooth storytelling.

Trap by Lilja Sigurdardottir (Orenda, £8.99)

Iceland is currently punching above its weight as a fount of top-quality crime fiction and Lilja Sigurdardottir is one of its best authors and probably its darkest. Following where Snare (which was translated into English last year) left off, Trap opens with former drug smuggler Sonia attempting to start a new life in Florida but soon having to return to Reykjavik when her son is snatched. This is a searing portrait of the less salubrious parts of the Icelandic psyche as well as a riveting thriller. 

Cold Breath by Quentin Bates (Constable, £6.99)

In the sixth novel to feature Officer Gunnhildur, the no-nonsense grandmother with the best murder clear-up rate in the Reykjavik police, this British author’s take on Icelandic crime benefits from being written from the viewpoint of a shrewd outsider. Gunnhildur is reluctantly acting as bodyguard to a man who may or may not have been exploiting the European refugee crisis but, although this book has serious points to make, it is primarily tremendous fun. 


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