SIXTEEN HORSES by Greg Buchanan (Mantle £16.99, 464 pp)


by Greg Buchanan (Mantle £16.99, 464 pp)

On the edge of the fading English seaside town of Ilmarsh, local police detective Alec Nichols stumbles upon the heads of 16 horses buried in a field — each one with a single eye facing the low winter sun.

This is the starting point for a breath-taking debut. Written with immense panache, it weaves the story of how the horses came to be decapitated and why they were buried in such a macabre fashion.

Nichols enlists the help of a young forensic veterinarian, Cooper Allen, and together they unearth — literally — a frightening series of mysteries, including arson and mutilations, that prove the town is haunted by disappearances in its past. This is crime writing of a striking calibre, which constantly surprises as it takes unexpected twist after twist — leaving you desperate for more.


THE PERFECT LIE by Jo Spain (Quercus £14.99, 400 pp)

by Jo Spain (Quercus £14.99, 400 pp)

Erin Kennedy has seen evil and moved to New York from Ireland five years ago in the wake of a family tragedy. She married black police detective Danny Ryan and they live in a spacious top floor apartment in the seaside town of Newport on Long Island.

One Saturday morning there is a knock on the door — it’s her husband’s police partner and two other officers.

Erin senses something is wrong, but no sooner has she opened the door than her husband jumps from the French windows, falling to his death. But the plot thickens when, one year on, Erin finds herself on trial — charged with her husband’s murder.

The truth stealthily emerges from the miasma of lies and half-truths the couple have spun for one another. It’s so good that you will not want it to end.


THE TRAWLERMAN by William Shaw (Riverrun £16.99, 336 pp)

by William Shaw (Riverrun £16.99, 336 pp)

Dungeness-based DS Alex Cupidi is on sick leave with PTSD when the naked corpses of a married couple are discovered in their comfortable home by a delivery driver. Cupidi’s friend and colleague, Jill Ferriter, is investigating but the still-fragile detective sergeant cannot resist the opportunity to help out.

It emerges that the couple had invested heavily in a financial scam — a reforestry scheme in Guatemala — that has destroyed their savings. A former police colleague has also lost money in the scam and so Cupidi finds herself dragged into a web of deceit woven among the fishing community on the Kent coast.

This fourth novel in the Cupidi series underlines Shaw’s talent at crime fiction.

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