All books reviewed are availible in the TCF bookshop where all profits go to support independent retailers and the podcast/website.
In part two of our New Year episodes, we look at a run down of the best crime fiction books TCF has reviewed in 2022. Again, this is in no particulary order.
HellSans this Sc-Fi thriller looks at a future world to explore attitudes towards disability in our current one. While people spend most of their days high on the hits of bliss a new font, HellSans, delivers them, those who are allergic, a chronic illness similar to autoimmunity and dyselxia combined, are essentially treated as criminals. However the real criminals is the state and politicians who exploit the disabled for their own ends, and so we see a future world where little has improved for those who live with disability and chronic illness.
Dirt Town a wonderfully lyrical crime novel which with a deceptively simple narrative of a missing child dives into the difficult and confusing feelings of the children effected by the crime and investigation as they are on the cusp of entering adulthood. Part coming of age novel, part crime drama Hayley Scrivinor hit an emotional resonance that isn’t often found in crime, and the novel is all the richer for it.
The Key in the Lock has given us a protagonist who is bucks the shallow strong woman trend and instead gives us a subtle and possibly more realistic piece of crime fiction. Our protagonist, Ivy Boscawen, flits between her childhood memories that surround the death of a young boy, and her mourning of her son killed in the Great War. She tries to slove the puzzel of what really happened to both boys and what she could have prevented. Atmospheric and gothic, The Key in the Lock is poignant and suffused with sadness, very much a narrative of a specific place and time as Britain goes through it’s own momumental socatal change.
London in Black another sci-fi thriller and although it and Hell Sans don’t completely mirror each other it explores similar themes, the haves, the have nots, the genetic lottery that we are all subject to, and the shock waves in society that any change produces. Lucy Stone winds her way through a London of the near future, while trapped by flashbacks of her own past trauma, as she also tries to find an antidote to the horrible side effects of chemical attacks, and a murderer. All powered by the most terrifying drink in litrature.
The Darkest Sin. There is much to love in the Cesera Aldo series by D.V. Bishop, renanciance Florence, hot gay romance, courtisans, political intregue, nuns on the verge of a breakdown, torture, Medici’s and more. This installment is a clever play on the locked room mystery, and Bishop manages to deftly weave, emotion, threat and pace together to give a satisfying read, which will see you want more of his dashing, yet lonely detective. We here that next years instalment comes with added immolation and religious intollerance.
The Bingo Hall Detectives cosy crime is having a moment, maybe because we all feel the need for escaping the struggles of a tumultuous and chaotic state, which appears to reamin without leadership or vision. In this charming and quirky story the everyday and mundanities of life are placed alongside a murder with terrible motives, which somehow don’t feel quite as bad next to making dinner for the kids, and soft play. It’s strange given that so many murders are perpetraited by people that know the victim, that we take such comfort in the every day rubbing up against the horrific but as human’s we are a contrary lot, and there’s not much that can be done about it.