THE POOL OF UNEASE BY CATHERINE SAMPSON (Macmillan, £12.99)
THIS gripping thriller, set in modern China, starts with the discovery of the headless torso of a man. The death is investigated by a Chinese private eye and by a female British television reporter. The plot is absorbing, despite the fact that the culprit is pretty obvious to spot – a character whose place in the storyline really has no justification other than to be the murderer. That aside, this is an enjoyable whodunit, worth reading as much for its intriguing picture of today's burgeoning superpower as for the detective trail.
THE SLEEPING DOLL BY JEFFREY DEAVER (Hodder, 14.99)
KATHRYN Dance, a Californian special agent whose expertise in kinesics – the science of interpreting behaviour – proves an unusual detective in this procedural with a twist. Here she is on the trail of a cult murderer, whose former women associates are enlisted to help understand him and track him down. Whammy follows whammy in a finale that offers an ultimate, extraordinary shock.
THE FINAL MURDER BY ANNE HOLT (Sphere, 18.99)
A SERIAL killer of celebrities runs amok in a vividly described Oslo. Superintendent Adam Stubo is assigned to investigate, and, stymied, he enlists the help of his wife, an ex-FBI profiler. It is for readers to decide whether this book's ending is deeply disturbing – or a let-down.
PROBABLE CAUSE BY THERESA SCHWEBEL (Quercus, 10.99)
RAY Weiss is a rookie cop in Chicago who, despite coming from generations of cops, is required by his new associates to pass an initiation ceremony. It all goes wrong, and he finds himself at the wrong end of a murder investigation. How he extricates himself, and proves his abilities, is recounted absorbingly and excitingly in a tale with a dramatic, surprise ending.