Two of my reviews have appeared this week, both of excellent books. First is The Arsenic Labyrinth, the third of Martin Edwards's Lake District mysteries. From my review: "you don't need to have read the previous two books to enjoy this one. The main protagonists are again historian Daniel Kind who, with his media-darling girlfriend Miranda, have "downsized" to a life in the Lakes; and Detective Chief Inspector Hannah Scarlett, whose increasingly unsympathetic partner Marc owns a local bookshop-cafe. Daniel and Hannah are connected because Hannah worked with Daniel's father Ben (now deceased), but over the course of the series they have increasingly come to realise they have more in common – a theme that is continued in this volume." Read on here.
The second review is of Bad Traffic, by Simon Lewis, "a book that epitomises all that is great about the crime-fiction genre. It has a tight plot that unfolds at breakneck pace; it depicts an alien world vividly; there is a range of believable and sympathetic characters; it constantly unsettles the reader; and the events it describes seem as if they could really happen. Although the book has strong elements of the noir genre, with its atmosphere of Greek tragedy in which events and characters fulfil the dictates of fate and there is an absence of sentiment, the book is by no means boiled as hard as noir often can be – hope and humanity are there to be found, like specks of jewels glistening in the depths." Read on here.
Bad Traffic is in the SPREAD THE WORD promotion in the UK, the only book prize decided by members of the public. The publisher writes that votes are now needed to allow this title the profile it deserves. It takes just a few moments to register and vote but would mean a huge amount to the author and to this tiny publishing company, Sort of books. The publisher is offering free books to the first 25 voters who post a comment about Bad Traffic on the Spread the Word website. All you need to do is email the comment and your postal address to Nat [at] sortof.co.uk.