Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Review of the month's top crime and thriller releases.

Review of the month’s top crime and thriller releases.


Christie Watson, renowned author and former nurse for the NHS, has released a new thriller this month, along with other well-known authors. Her debut novel, “Tiny Sunbirds Far Away”, won the Costa first novel award, and her memoir, “The Language of Kindness”, has received praise as well. Watson’s latest work, “Moral Injuries” from W&N, delves into the lives of three doctors – Olivia, Anjali, and Laura – who have been friends since their time in medical school. Now in their 40s with teenage children, they are forced to confront a past event that has haunted them for years. With dark and thought-provoking themes, this thriller explores the complexities of their lives as doctors and the consequences of one fateful night.

Watson is, unsurprisingly, brilliant on the reality of working in the NHS, and the strain and reality of the trio’s jobs (Olivia is a surgeon, Laura an air ambulance doctor, Anjali a GP) is brought to riveting life. She is also excellent on betrayal, female friendships and family, and what we might do to protect it. I was so caught up in it all I had to flick ahead to the end to calm myself down. I don’t recommend doing that – but I do recommend Moral Injuries.

Christie Watson.View image in fullscreen

Abigail Dean, the author of the bestselling book Girl A, will now be introduced. This novel is about a young girl who runs away from her family’s abusive home. In her second book, Day One (published by HarperCollins), Dean takes on an even more shocking topic: a shooting at a school in the Lake District. A teacher tragically dies while trying to protect her students from the violence. Through the perspective of Marty, the teacher’s teenage daughter, the layers of the event are carefully revealed to uncover the truth about that day and how it affected her. Marty shares, “After my mother’s death, I would wake up drenched in sweat and smelling of my own body, a reminder of the worst moments. It was my mother who used to change the sheets.”

Dean introduces Trent, a person who is not part of the group but becomes involved in the theories surrounding the shooting. This highlights how a person who is feeling isolated could become immersed in such ideas. Dean’s writing is excellent and Day One is a gripping and emotional read. However, I personally found it to be too emotional as we continuously revisit the shooting from various viewpoints, causing my heart to break for the young characters repeatedly. I had to take breaks from reading and only continue when I was ready.

Stuart Turton, a published author, has written two distinct novels: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, described as a “Groundhog Day murder mystery”, and The Devil and the Dark Water, a thrilling historical novel set on a ship. His latest work, The Last Murder at the End of the World (published by Raven Books), takes place on an isolated island surrounded by a mysterious fog that has destroyed the rest of the planet. The island is home to 122 villagers and three scientists known as the Elders. The unique and inventive story begins with the discovery of one of the scientists’ murder – the first one the villagers have ever encountered. This event triggers the island’s security system, which has kept the fog at bay, to lower, giving the inhabitants only 92 hours to find a solution before they are all killed. The catch is, everyone’s memories have been wiped clean. Turton adeptly unfolds the details of this post-apocalyptic world and its inhabitants, keeping readers engaged. I don’t want to give away too much, as the revelations are part of the enjoyment, but I was completely engrossed in this high-concept thriller and am eagerly anticipating Turton’s future works.

Imran Mahmood’s novel Finding Sophie (published by Raven Books) brings us back to modern society. The story follows Harry and Zara, whose 17-year-old daughter Sophie has been missing for several weeks and the police have no leads. In their desperation, the couple takes it upon themselves to investigate, fixating on a secretive and suspicious neighbor. Mahmood expertly shows us the perspectives of both parents as they take matters into their own hands. He also delves into the trial at the Old Bailey, gradually revealing the pertinent details.

Finding Sophie is a great thriller as well as a moving look at parental grief. “My child is 17,” says Zara at one point. “She’s not dead. But she has been missing for eight weeks. Those last weeks have been like drowning. Every day. Not drowning. Like being held under water.” I frequently wept while reading it but couldn’t put it down.

Source: theguardian.com