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Adult fiction: Murder, Mystery and Suspense

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Blue Belle

Author: Andrew Vachss

Publisher: Pan Books (1990)

Burke is one of the most cold-blooded yet strangely honorable heroes in the history of crime fiction, an outlaw who makes his living by preying on the most vicious of New York City's bottom-feeders, those who thrive on the suffering of children. In Andrew Vachss's tautly engrossing novel Burke is given a purse full of dirty money to find the infamous Ghost Van that is cutting a lethal swath among the teenage prostitutes in the hood. He also gets help in the form of a stripper named Belle, whose moves on the runway are outclassed only by what she can do in a getaway car. But not even Burke is prepared for the evil that is behind the Ghost Van or for the sheer menace of its guardian, a cadaverous karate expert who enjoys killing so much that he has named himself after death. "A book so ferocious, with characters so venal and actions so breakneck, that you dare not get in the way . . . . First rate." Chicago Tribune

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Body Of Evidence

Author: Patricia Cornwell

Publisher: Sphere (2011)

A reclusive writer is dead. And her final manuscript has disappeared ... Someone is stalking Beryl Madison. Someone who spies on her and makes threatening, obscene phone-calls. Terrified, Beryl flees to Key West - but eventually she must return to her Richmond home. The very night she arrives, Beryl inexplicably invites her killer in ... Thus begins for Dr Kay Scarpetta the investigation of a crime that is as convoluted as it is bizarre. Why would Beryl open the door to someone who brutally slashed and then nearly decapitated her? Did she know her killer? Adding to the intrigue is Beryl's enigmatic relationship with a prize-winning author and the disappearance of her own manuscript. As Scarpetta retraces Beryl's footsteps, an investigation that begins in the laboratory with microscopes and lasers leads her deep into a nightmare that soon becomes her own.

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Author: Dick Francis

Publisher: Penguin (1971)

At midnight Neil Griffon's home is broken into and he is abducted by masked men. When he wakes up, hours later, Neil discovers that 'unless he cooperates' his kidnappers will destroy his father's racing stable, his precious horses and even Neil himself. Returning to the stables, Neil can tell no one about his ordeal, or his kidnappers' threats of violence if he does not comply with their demands. Trapped, Neil refuses to surrender - and devises an ingenious scheme to beat his kidnappers at their own game.

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Bones To Ashes

Author: Kathy Reichs

Publisher: Arrow (2011)

Dr Temperance Brennan takes on a case that uncovers horrors she could never have predicted. It is the skeleton of a young girl, no more than fourteen years old - and forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is struggling to control her emotions. The coroner is being evasive, insisting the bones are ancient and of no interest. But this doesn't feel right, and Tempe is convinced that someone is hiding something. Working on instinct, Tempe takes matters into her own hands. But her work uncovers horrors she could never have predicted, as what started in the lab quickly becomes her most harrowing, and personal, case yet.

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Break In

Author: Dick Francis

Part of a series: Kit Fielding

Publisher: Berkley (2005)

Kit Fielding wins handily as a steeple-chase jockey and enjoys the friendship of the princess who owns the horses he races. But trouble threatening his twin Holly and her husband Bobby Allardeck interrupts Kit's routine. As horse trainers, the Allardecks are about to go bankrupt after a scandal sheet prints the false report that they can't pay their debts. Determined to discover the motive for the attack, Kit enlists the help of people in the princess's circle, which includes her niece, Danielle. A romance develops between the jockey and Danielle, but there are villains out there - villains sent to kill him. A colourful and intricate novel.

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Break No Bones

Author: Kathy Reichs

Publisher: Arrow Books (2007)

Dr Temperance Brennan is working with her students at an archaeological field school on an Island near Charleston , South Carolina. A decomposing corpse is discovered in a shallow grave, showing evidence (connected vertebra, etc.,) that the body has not been dead for long. While engaged in this mystery, Tempe’s own life encounters real havoc when a bullet, possibly meant for her, hospitalises her estranged husband Peter; and her new relationship with Detective Andrew Ryan is in trouble. But, as so often before, cracking a mystery may cost her her life. All of this is handled with the assurance that we have come to expect from Reichs, but there are new things here: Reichs' sense of structure has always been strongly linear, but the extra looseness of the narrative pays dividends in disorienting the reader. Set pieces, too, are more integrated, though with all the usual capacity to raise hairs on the back of the neck. When so many authors are repeating themselves to ever-diminishing effect, it’s good to see Reichs is clearly not content to rest on her laurels

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Author: David Blake

Publisher: Independently Published (2019)

A girl’s body found mutilated by a boat’s propeller, another dumped at the bottom of a slipway, and a disused Norfolk mill, hiding the secret to both. When a girl’s body is found strangled, raped, and horrifically mutilated by a boat’s propeller, deep in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, newly arrived Detective Inspector John Tanner is asked to assist with the investigation. At first, all the evidence points to a man who had a multi-million pound reason to kill her. But when an alibi is produced from an unexpected source, and another body appears at the base of a slipway, Tanner finds himself turning to local girl, Detective Constable Jenny Evans for help. As a more intimate relationship begins between them, they find themselves facing a race against time to identify a lethal adversary, one with a lust for blood and a mind set on revenge.

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Bullet Proof

Author: Frank Kane


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Author: Mark Billingham

Part of a series: Tom Thorne Novels

Publisher: Sphere (2012)

Teenager Luke Mullen was last seen getting into a car with an older woman. No one can understand why he has disappeared. His father - a former police officer - knows all too well that the longer he is missing, the more likely he is to turn up dead. Then Luke's parents receive an anonymous video. It shows their son, eyes wide with terror, as a man advances towards him holding a syringe. DI Tom Thorne recognises a psychopath when he sees one. And the scene on the tape chills him to the bone - he knows that a child's life hangs in the balance, and that every minute counts...

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But He Was Already Dead When I Got There

Author: Barbara Paul

Publisher: Collins Crime Club (1986)

Miserly Vincent Farwell decided to call in a loan he had made to his family and thereby put their jewellery business at risk. They all had motive and opportunity to kill him, and all of them for one reason or another seemed to have visited the scene of the crime after the murder but before the body was officially discovered. Other people too had been in the study where Uncle Vincent was found; but they all claimed 'he was already dead when I got there'. One of them wasn't telling the truth - but which one?

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