INTO THE DARK by Fiona Cummins (Macmillan £14.99, 336pp)
INTO THE DARK
by Fiona Cummins (Macmillan £14.99, 336pp)
Nothing and no one is entirely what they seem in the gifted Cummins’ fifth crime story. In a beautiful house overlooking the sea in Essex live the golden Holden family — father Gray, mother Piper and teenagers Riva and Artie.
Then one morning all four disappear into thin air, with the only clue left behind a message written on a mirror in Riva’s bedroom which says, ‘Make Them Stop’.
Has there been a massacre? If so, where are the bodies? Or have the family been kidnapped? No one can tell.
Enter DS Saul Anguish, a new member of the murder squad in Midtown-on-Sea, an officer with an heroic record of protecting two children from a serial killer.
So begins one of the most strikingly original police procedurals this year, whose serpentine twists and turns leave the reader gasping. It is breathtakingly good.
THE FIELDS by Erin Young (Hodder £16.99, 352pp)
by Erin Young (Hodder £16.99, 352pp)
This first venture into crime from award-winning, Brighton-based historical novelist Robyn Young — writing under a pseudonym — is set among the cornfields of Iowa. A young woman is found murdered on one of the few family farms that has not been swallowed up by the titans of ‘Big Agriculture’.
Newly promoted Sergeant Riley Fisher, the first female head of investigations in the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, is sent to investigate. Her search becomes personal when she realises the victim is an old school friend.
Another body is found, and rapidly it emerges that something very frightening indeed is happening in the vast flatlands of the Midwest.
Add to the mix an election for governor and the suspicion that a woman can never be a homicide detective, and you have a story as gripping and sinuous as Jane Harper’s The Dry. There could be no higher praise.
BREAKNECK POINT by T. Orr Munro (HQ £14.99, 400pp)
by T. Orr Munro (HQ £14.99, 400pp)
An interesting debut from a former crime scene investig a torturned-journalist, this focuses on single mother-of-one Ally Dymond.
She’s a CSI who’s been coldshouldered by her colleagues after blowing the whistle on a corrupt detective inspector.
Dymond finds herself exiled to the depths of North Devon, where no serious crime ever appears to take place. But then the body of 19-year-old Janie Warren turns up in the seaside town of Bidecombe.
The lead detective is convinced it is simply a drug overdose, but Dymond is far from sure. Still, no one wants to listen to a female investigator who put one of their own behind bars.
Meanwhile, the killer is watching her every move and charting it in counterpoint to Ally’s story.
Packed with authenticity and a neat line in menace, it could have moved a little faster, but is compelling nonetheless.