Round-up: crime fiction

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Sphere, 19.99

In the latest of Gray's Glasgow police procedurals featuring DCI Lorimer, someone seems to have a grudge against the Partick Thistle-ish Kelvin Football Club, bumping off its star players, not to mention a referee. A touch of Taggart here: lots of bodies, motives, suspects and a least likely culprit. It's a pity Gray sidelines her most interesting character the psychologist Solomon Brightman, who spends most of the book at the bedside of his injured fiance. Lorimer's blurbed as a rival to Rebus, but he's got a long way to go when the wildest he gets is popping a sherbet lemon.

Also try: Lin Anderson, Torch


Nicci French

Michael Joseph, 16.99

We're in Rendell territory here with this gripping tale of urban paranoia, told mostly by London cycle dispatch rider Astrid, who keeps finding herself in proximity to dead bodies and under police suspicion. The last part of the book is written from the perspective of the killer, who shows how skewed our knowledge of things was, but isn't quite as lively a storyteller as Astrid and her brilliant account of her menage of seven housemates, a "commune of perpetual adolescence" with its constant squabbles, jealousies and musical partners.

Also try: Ruth Rendell, The Keys to the Street


Alan Guthrie

Polygon, 8.99

I wanted to like this fresh slice from Edinburgh's underbelly carved by young Turk Guthrie. The writing's still as good – stripped-down prose, chilling banter – as Two-Way Split and Kiss Her Goodbye. He's still 'horrifying and hilarious' (to quote a previous review) but here it's almost all horrifying, and I just couldn't care a jot for the characters and the slender plot about family vengeance that goes agley. It does belt along, you want to find out what happens, but you're glad when the whole grisly thing is over.

Also try: Ray Banks, Saturday's Child

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