February
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Lynn S. Hightower --- Flashpoint --- New English Library (0 340 63848 6) 5.99 Out on 15th February. Book of the Month
Lynn S. Hightower was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and lived in Georgia and Virginia as a child before moving to Lexington, Kentucky where she now lives. At school she read voraciously, especially mystery writers and later science fiction. In 1977 she graduated in journalism from the University of Kentucky where she enrolled in creative writing classes. For a while she wrote television commercials then went back to college to study for a master's degree in business administration, but towards the end of the course she realised that she had made a mistake and that what she really wanted to do was write. She now works full time writing fiction.
This, her first novel in the UK, has been chosen for the prestigious W.H.Smith Fresh Talent promotion in February - March 1996, where six of the best new novelists are published in paperback and promoted in every single branch of W.H.Smith in the country. It is a tale of the hunt for a woman stalker and serial killer and of her pursuer, Homicide Detective Sonora Blair of the Cincinnati Police Department. Reginald Hill has described it as a powerfully original book .
Eyeshot,the second Sonora Blair novel will be published by Hodder & Stoughton in hardback in October 1996.
Philip Hook --- The Island Of The Dead --- Little & Brown: Coronet Pbk 5.99 --- Out on February 1st
When a macabre and disturbing painting, The Island Of The Dead is savagely attacked by an elderly visitor to a gallery where it is on view, journalist Minto Maitland finds himself unexpectedly drawn to the perpetrator of the attack. Thomas Donat's story is a horrific revelation of brutality and betrayal in Budapest at the time of the 1956 Revolution and exposes curious connections between the picture and Alexander Courtney, a recently deceased art dealer.
As Maitland delves deeper into the past and the present, he discovers appalling truths which leave him with an impossible dilemma.
As a senior director of Sotheby's auction house, Philip Hook offers a diverting new genre of mystery novel in the form of an insider's view into the international are world. Philip Hook has the unusual distinction of also having been a director of Christie's, which he joined in 1973 straight from Cambridge University where he read History of Art and won a soccer blue. He appears regularly as a picture expert on BBC TV's Antiques Roadshow. He has been responsible for a series of dramatic discoveries, including a watercolour by Foujita valued at 50,000.
Following in Melvyn Bragg's footsteps, Philip Hook has received the dubious honour of winning the Literary Review Bad Sex Award, his acceptance of which earned him the admiration of the world's press.
Stephen Leather --- The Double Tap --- Hodder (0 340 62838 3) 16.99
Robert Little --- Walking Back the Cat --- Faber & Faber (0 571 17150 8) 14.99
Post Cold-War thriller from a master of the Espionage genre
A Soviet-era KGB agent code-named Parsifal lives under deep cover in a western American town. A specialist in what the KGB describes as 'wetwork' and the rest of the world calls murder, Parsifal discovers that he has come under the orders of a new Resident - one who is preparing an operation that will shake the world.
Into this cauldron of chaos comes Finn, a young veteran of the Gulf War, hoping against hope to land in a backwater where he can put the savagery he has witnessed in the desert behind him...
Walking Back the Cat plunges the reader into the mesmerising world of KGB agents, CIA spooks and modern day Apaches desperately trying to walk the fine line between their ancestral legacy and survival in a world dominated by White Eyes run riot.
Sharyn McCrumb --- The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter --- Hodder & Stoughton (NEL Paperback Original) (0 340 64688 8) 5.99 --- Out on February 15th See Review
When she felt the cold blade of the hatchet cut through the skin of her neck, Nora Bonesteel sat bolt upright, tears streaming down her face groping for the bedside lamp.
Death was no stranger to Dark Hollow, Tennessee, but Nora Bonesteel was the only one who could see it coming.
The Underhill family were newcomers to town - now four of them lie dead. An open and shut case, it appears: the eldest son killed the rest, then turned the gun on himself. Only Sheriff Spencer Arrowood remains unconvinced. And old Nora who, as all the townsfolk know, has the Sight .
But the Sheriff would feel a whole lot worse if he knew what else Nora could foresee for them all.
If you read just on crime novel this year, it should be The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. The Chicago Sun-Times
McCrumb draws you close, makes you care, leaves you with the sense, sought for in most fiction, that what has gone on has not been invention but experience recaptured Los Angeles Times
Sharyn McCrumb has written a lyrical novel that fairly sings with the soul of Appalachia Knoxville News-Sentinel
Elegaic .... McCrumb writes with quiet fire and maybe a little mountain magic about these events and the final cleansing disaster that resolves them. She plucks the mysteries from people's lives and works these dark narrative threads into Appalachian legends older than the hills. New York Times
Sharyn McCrumb, a native of North Carolina, lives in the Virginia Blue Ridge, less than a hundred miles from where her family settled in 1790 in the Smoky Mountains that divide North Carolina and Tennessee.
She is the author of 13 novels. She has twice won the Best Appalachian Novel Award as well as the Macavity, Edgar and the Agatha for her crime fiction. She has also been the winner of the Sherwood Anderson Short Story contest.
Magdalen Nabb --- The Marshal and the Forgery HarperCollins (0 00 232505 5) 14.99
She is magnificent on the medieval pageantry and sinister facades of her adopted Florence.
John Coleman, Sunday Times
After all the years that Marshal Guarnaccia has commanded the Carabinieri Station housed in the Pitti Palace, great paintings are a familiar part of his life in Florence.... Still, he doesn’t consciously know anything about art and if he joins battle with a successful forger, it is only as a favour to an old friend and because the man fascinates him.
Then he is dragged into a last-ditch attempt to nail the serial killer who has ritually slaughtered seven courting couples over the last ten years, only to find himself faced with a forgery in his own line of business and the problems are distressingly familiar. Nobody wants to know the truth about a fake: not the buyer, not the seller, not the fooled expert or the general public. If a false case is made against the wrong man, who is going to admit it? The Marshal has the courage to speak out but no one wants to listen. It is more comfortable for everyone, event he wrongly accused man, if the blood-soaked vineyards keep their secret of what really happened on those Saturday nights of the new moon...
Magdalen Nabb moved to Florence from her native Lancashire twenty years ago and pursues a dual career as crime writer and children’s author.
J.D.Robb --- Naked in Death --- Hodder & Stoughton --- (0 340 66689 7) 16.99 --- Out on February 15th. See Review
'Paper', she murmured. 'Sealed.' With her protected thumb, she wiped at a smear of blood until she could read the protected sheet. ONE OF SIX 'It looks hand printed,' she said to Feeny and held it out. 'Our boy's more than clever, more than arrogant. And he isn't finished.' Introducing Eve Dallas, a New York City police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer of prostitutes. This killer is different. 22nd Century New York is a time and place where technology rules: the murder weapon of choice is a laser, but these prostitutes are being shot with an old-fashioned gun. The killer then deposits a video tape of the victim's final moments alive, leaving no clues except for the antique weapon at the scene of each crime. With the murders taking place at the rate of one a week, Eve is involved in a deadly race against time....
Meanwhile, Eve, against all her independent instincts, falls in love with a rich and charismatic businessman, Roarke. As he is a prime suspect in the grisly investigation, she puts both her job and her life under threat.
Naked In Death is the first Eve Dallas investigation. J.D.Robb is the pseudonym for one of America's most successful and award-winning novelists. She is a member of Mystery Writers fo America and The Crime Writers League of America and has published over eighty novels. Naked in Death is the first in the series featuring Eve Dallas. Glory in Death and Profit in Death will also be published by Hodder & Stoughton. She lives in Maryland, USA.
Stephen Spruill --- Rulers Of Darkness --- Hodder & Stoughton (Coronet Paperback) (0 340 64940 2) 5.99 --- Out on February 15th See Review
Rulers Of Darkness is vampirism for the Nineties. Gone are the cloaks, the bats, the fangs. Debunked are the myths and legends, the garlic and the crucifixes. Stephen Spruill has created a new creature, not inhuman, not the Undead but essentially human - a human with an incredibly rare recessive gene which alters the blood and prolongs life indefinitely. But these haemophages, as they call themselves, must prey on human blood to live. And without blood they will die - eventually.
Spruill has created a chillingly realistic tale for our modern, scientific times - no Van Helsing here; in Spruill's vision the scourge of the vampires is one of their own. A man with good looks, wisdom and sex appeal. A man who is centuries old, lonely with the pain of having outlived many beloved wives and children. A vampire, a haemophage himself, but a predator sick of the killing, disgusted at the primitive bloodlust programmed into his genes. For centuries his moral sense has led him to prey on criminals, on those humans who might deserve to die and has encouraged his fellow creatures to do the same. But they are not strong as he is, they cannot deny their animal instinct, they do not want to recognise the human in themselves - and so Merrick must destroy them.
Police Detective Merrick Chapman is a cop in Washington DC, investigating the brutal murder of a young woman with her throat torn out. In a supreme twist of irony Merrick's ex-lover, Katherine O'Keefe - a haematologist - is called in to analyse traces of a bizarre blood type found on the victim. As she searches for a scientific explanation Merrick knows the old chase is on again - the murderer has returned to challenge him. Merrick cannot reveal the truth without putting Katie's, and others' lives in danger. He must destroy, or be destroyed by his old enemy, his bane - his son.
An ingenious fusion of horror, medical thriller and police procedural, Rulers Of Darkness is chillingly realistic - a convincing, compulsive read which will grip and terrify you and keep you turning the pages to the very end...
Rulers Of Darkness is Stephen Spruill's forth novel. He lives in Arlington, Virginia and is currently writing the sequel, Daughters of Darkness.


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