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Review Roundup: Top Crime and Thriller Books of Late


The Year of the Locust by Terry Hayes

The Year of the Locust by Terry Hayes (Bantam, £22)

Reworded: It has been ten years since Hayes’s debut novel, I Am Pilgrim, received widespread critical acclaim and became a bestseller. Now, after numerous delays, his second novel, The Year of the Locust, has finally been released. The story begins strongly as CIA agent Ridley Kane is given the task of secretly entering Iran to gather information about a potential catastrophic act of terrorism. With vivid descriptions, thrilling action scenes, and a constant sense of suspense, this book meets all the criteria for a top-notch geopolitical thriller. However, it is hard to believe that a competent CIA agent would miss an obvious reference to a major industrial accident, causing readers to wait over 100 pages for the characters to catch on to the true nature of the attack. Despite this, the book still offers plenty of entertainment and distraction as you impatiently wait for the plot to unfold. However, towards the end of the book, without any warning, the story takes a sudden turn into a completely different genre, potentially leaving readers confused and bewildered rather than intrigued.

The First 48 Hours by Simon Kernick

Simon Kernick’s The First 48 Hours is available for purchase at a price of £20 from Headline.

Simon Kernick’s work is unmatched in its ability to accurately depict its contents. This gripping thriller, expertly crafted and fast-paced, presents multiple perspectives from four distinct narrators: the disturbing Delvina, an embalmer and leader of the notorious Vanishers; cynical police officer Keith “Fish” Fisher, who has infiltrated the Vanishers for the National Crime Agency’s Anti Kidnap Unit; lawyer Becca, who is defending hitman Logan Quinn; and Becca’s daughter Elle, who becomes the Vanishers’ next target. As the intensity rises, each narrator takes turns sharing their story in this vivid, adrenaline-fueled page-turner.

The Unspeakable Acts of Zina Pavlou by Eleni Kyriacou

The Unspeakable Acts of Zina Pavlou by Eleni Kyriacou (Head of Zeus, £14.99)
Based on the real-life events of Styllou Christofi, who was found guilty of killing her daughter-in-law and became one of the last women to be executed in Britain in 1954, Kyriacou’s novel delves into the theme of miscommunication – not just between languages and cultures, but also between genders and generations. The story follows Zina, a fictionalized version of Christofi, a poor and uneducated peasant from Cyprus who moves to London to live with her son and his family. However, tensions arise between Zina and her daughter-in-law, leading to a clash between the two women. The interpreter Eva, who is hired to assist Zina, finds herself sympathizing with Zina’s struggles and becomes conflicted when Zina reveals that this is not her first accusation of murder. While the story may rely too heavily on chance and takes liberties with the legal process – as Eva has more access to Zina than would be allowed – it still offers a complex and captivating depiction of the immigrant experience in postwar Britain, as well as a tragic and compelling narrative.

The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok

Jean Kwok’s novel, The Leftover Woman, is published by Viper and priced at £14.99.

Kwok’s latest work tells the story of a powerless woman in a foreign country, set in the present day. Jasmine discovers that her husband has sold their daughter, who she believed was stillborn, to an American couple. This was a result of China’s one-child policy and the preference for male children. Determined to find her daughter, Jasmine travels to Manhattan despite being an illegal immigrant and being pursued by her angry husband. To fund her journey, she is forced to work in a lapdancing club and pay off gangsters. Meanwhile, the adoptive mother of Jasmine’s daughter, a wealthy white woman with a successful career, also faces her own troubles. Her job and marriage are falling apart, and she begins to suspect that something is not right with the nanny hired by her husband. Although the story may be overly dramatic and obvious at times, it remains a gripping and captivating narrative.

Gaslight by Femi Kayode

“Gaslight” is a book written by Femi Kayode, published by Raven and priced at £16.99.

The second book in Kayode’s series set in Nigeria follows the story of investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo as he delves into a case involving a megachurch based in Lagos. Taiwo is tasked with investigating the disappearance of Bishop Jeremiah Dawodu’s wife, known as “First Lady”, and discovers that she was not well-liked by the church elders who saw her as a troublemaker. However, things are not what they seem as evidence points to a staged struggle in the couple’s home and the italicized passages hint at someone with a vendetta against the bishop, who may not be the pious man he portrays himself to be. With cleverly crafted plot twists, strong character development, and vivid descriptions of the setting, Gaslight lives up to the high standards set by its predecessor.

Source: theguardian.com