Criminally good reads... February

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The mulberry bush by Charles McCarry
I became a spy because my father before me was a spy. Although I am, for the time being, hiding something from you.
In a rose garden in Buenos Aires, a young American spy meets the beautiful daughter of a famous Argentinian revolutionary. They fall in love.
But he is no ordinary spy - and she is no ordinary woman.
For he has a hidden agenda: to avenge his father, who died penniless and friendless on the streets of Washington.
In Luz, he seems to have found an ally for his secret mission. But, as his fate becomes further entwined with hers, he soon finds himself caught in a perilous web of passions, loyalties and lies that stretches back to the darkest days of the Cold War.

What remains by Tim Weaver
 When all has been lost what is there left to find? Colm Healy used to be one of the Met's best detectives. Until, haunted by the unsolved murders of a mother and her twin daughters, his life was left in ruins. His failure to find an elusive killer - or even a motive for such a merciless crime - consumed him, his career and his family. Missing persons investigator David Raker is the only friend Healy has left. The only one who understands that redemption rests on solving these murders. As they reopen the investigation together, Raker learns the hard way how this case breeds obsession - and how an unsolvable puzzle can break even the best detective. Their search will take them down a trail of darkness, unravelling a thread of tragedy spanning years, and will force them to sacrifice everything they have left...

Hidden by Emma Kavanagh
He's Watching.

A gunman is stalking the wards of a local hospital. He's unidentified and dangerous, and has to be located. Urgently. Police Firearms Officer Aden McCarthy is tasked with tracking him down. Still troubled by the shooting of a schoolboy, Aden is determined to make amends by finding the gunman - before it's too late.

She's Waiting.

 To psychologist Imogen, hospital should be a place of healing and safety - both for her, and her young niece who's been recently admitted. She's heard about the gunman, but he has little to do with her. Or has he? As time ticks down, no one knows who the gunman's next target will be. But he's there. Hiding in plain sight. Far closer than anyone thinks...

Wolf winter / Cecilia Ekbäck
Swedish Lapland: 1717; a group of disparate settlers struggles to forge a new life in the shadow of the grim mountain Blackasen whose dark mythology lies at odds with the repressive, almost feudal control exerted by the church. Into this setting, Maija, her husband and two daughters arrive, yearning to forget the traumas that caused them to abandon their native Finland and start anew. Not long after their arrival, their teenage daughter Frederika stumbles across the savagely mutilated body of a fellow settler, Eriksson, in a picturesque glade. The locals are quick to dismiss the culprit as wolf or bear. Maija, however, is unconvinced and compelled by the ghosts of her past she determines to investigate a murder. As the seasons change and a harsh winter known as a 'Wolf Winter' descends, Maija begins a dangerous quest to unearth the secrets that both her neighbours and the church have conspired to bury. Now as the snow begins to fall, she will come to know the full cost of survival demanded from those who would live in the shadow of Blackasen - and the terrible truth about those who have paid the price.
 A banquet of consequences by Elizabeth George
When noted feminist writer and speaker Clare Abbott is poisoned after a debate at Cambridge University, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers has the chance she needs to redeem herself with her superior officers. Barbara desperately needs this chance after skipping out on her job to go to Italy in aid of friends, after using a tabloid to manipulate New Scotland Yard, after heading out on her own to hire a sly private investigator. The result of this has been a forced signature on paperwork 'requesting' a transfer. So Barbara needs a case to get herself back onto the right track. With DI Lynley working the case in London and DS Winston Nkata working with Barbara in Dorset, suspects emerge and a twisted personality behind a ruthless killing is revealed.

 Darkest place by Jaye Ford
Carly Townsend is starting over after a decade of tragedy and pain. In a new town and a new apartment she's determined to leave the memories and failures of her past behind.

However that dream is shattered in the dead of night when she is woken by the shadow of a man next to her bed, silently watching her. And it happens week after week.

Yet there is no way an intruder could have entered the apartment. It's on the fourth floor, the doors are locked and there is no evidence that anyone has been inside.

With the police doubting her story, and her psychologist suggesting it's all just a dream, Carly is on her own. And being alone isn't so appealing when you're scared to go to sleep . . .

The last four days of Paddy Buckley / Jeremy Massey
A dark and unexpected novel about a Dublin undertaker who finds himself on the wrong side of the Irish mob.

Paddy Buckley is a grieving widower who has worked for years for Gallagher’s, a long-established—some say the best—funeral home in Dublin. One night driving home after an unexpected encounter with a client, Paddy hits a pedestrian crossing the street. He pulls over and gets out of his car, intending to do the right thing. As he bends over to help the man, he recognizes him. It’s Donal Cullen, brother of one of the most notorious mobsters in Dublin. And he’s dead.

Shocked and scared, Paddy jumps back in his car and drives away before anyone notices what’s happened.

The next morning, the Cullen family calls Gallagher’s to oversee the funeral arrangements. Paddy, to his dismay, is given the task of meeting with the grieving Vincent Cullen, Dublin’s crime boss, and Cullen’s entourage. When events go awry, Paddy is plunged into an unexpected eddy of intrigue, deceit, and treachery.

A game for all the family / Sophie Hannah
After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon.

But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody's been expelled - there is, and was, no George.

Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret - yet Justine doesn't recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves - two big and one small, to fit a child - Justine fears for her family's safety.

If the police can't help, she'll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she's supposed to be...

Coffin Road by Peter May
A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive and borderline hypothermic. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road. He does not know where it will lead him, but filled with dread, fear and uncertainty he knows he must follow it.

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