Criminally good reads...March

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I'm travelling alone / Samuel Bjork ; translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund.
When a six-year-old girl is found dead, hanging from a tree, the only clue the Oslo Police have to work with is an airline tag around her neck. It reads ‘I'm travelling alone'.
Holger Munch, veteran police investigator, is immediately charged with re-assembling his homicide unit. But to complete the team, he must convince his erstwhile partner, Mia Kr├╝ger – a brilliant but troubled investigator – to return from the solitary island where she has retreated with plans to take her own life.
Reviewing the evidence, Mia identifies something no one else has noticed – a thin line carved into the dead girl's fingernail: the number 1. Instinctively, she knows that this is only the beginning. To save other children from the same fate, she must find a way to cast aside her own demons and confront the most terrifying, cold-hearted serial killer of her career…

Death of a nurse/ M. C. Beaton
James Harrison has recently moved to a restored hunting lodge in Sutherland with his gorgeous private nurse Gloria Dainty. When Hamish visits Mr. Harrison to welcome him to the neighborhood, the old man treats him very rudely. Gloria apologizes for her employer's behavior, and Hamish takes the plunge and invites her out for dinner. On the appointed evening, Hamish waits for Gloria at the restaurant. And waits. Gloria never shows up. Four days later, Gloria's body washes up on the beach near Braikie. Now without a date and without his former policeman Dick Fraser (who left the force to buy a bakery), Hamish must find out who killed the beautiful new resident of Sutherland, and why, before the murderer strikes again....

The forgotten room/ Lincoln Child
Professor Jeremy Logan (the quirky and charismatic “enigmalogist” who specializes in solving problems of the strange or seemingly supernatural variety) receives an urgent summons from the director of Lux, one of the oldest and most respected think tanks in America. An unexplainable tragedy has taken place in the sprawling compound located on the coastline of Newport, Rhode Island. One of Lux’s most distinguished doctors, overcome by erratic behavior, violently attacked his assistant before meeting with a gruesome self-inflicted end. Deeply shaken by the incident and the bizarre evidence left behind from the doctor’s final project—as well as recent troubling behavior among several of the think tank’s other scientists—Lux fears there is something more sinister occurring within its walls and looks to Jeremy Logan to investigate.
     Logan quickly makes a surprising discovery. In a long-dormant wing of the estate, he uncovers an ingeniously hidden secret room, unknown and untouched for decades. The room is essentially a time capsule, fiffiilled with eerie machinery and obscure references to a top-secret experiment known as “Project S.” As Logan attempts to unravel its meaning, he begins to discern what transpired in that room—and why the frightening project was suddenly abandoned and sealed off many years before. As his work draws him ever deeper into harm’s way, Logan soon unleashes a series of catastrophic events upon the rest of Lux . . . and himself.

Black Widow/ Christopher Brookmyre
There is no perfect marriage. There is no perfect murder.
Diana Jager is clever, strong and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing.
Then she meets Peter. He's kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past: the second chance she's been waiting for.
Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead in a road accident, a nightmare end to their fairytale romance.
But Peter's sister Lucy doesn't believe in fairytales, and tasks maverick reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling Black Widow...

Beside myself/ Ann Morgan
Helen and Ellie are identical twins – like two peas in a pod, everyone says.

The girls know this isn't true, though: Helen is the leader and Ellie the follower.

Until they decide to swap places: just for fun, and just for one day.

But Ellie refuses to swap back...

And so begins a nightmare from which Helen cannot wake up. Her toys, her clothes, her friends, her glowing record at school, the favour of her mother and the future she had dreamed of are all gone to a sister who blossoms in the approval that used to belong to Helen. And as the years pass, she loses not only her memory of that day but also herself – until eventually only 'Smudge' is left.

Twenty-five years later, Smudge receives a call from out of the blue. It threatens to pull her back into her sister's dangerous orbit, but if this is her only chance to face the past, how can she resist?

Missing pieces/ Heather Gudenkauf
Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded. Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago--barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

Black-Eyed Susans/ Julia Heaberlin
I am the star of screaming tabloid headlines and campfire ghost stories. I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans. The lucky one.

Seventeen-year-old Tessa, dubbed a 'Black-Eyed Susan' by the media, became famous for being the only victim to survive the vicious attack of a serial killer. Her testimony helped to put a dangerous criminal behind bars - or so she thought.

Now, decades later, the case has been reopened and the black-eyed Susans planted outside Tessa's bedroom window seem to be a message from a killer who should be safely in prison.

Tessa agrees to help with the investigation, but she is haunted by fragmented memories of the night she was attacked and terrified for her own teenage daughter's safety. Can she unlock the truth about the killer before it's too late?

If she did it / Jessica Treadway
What if you began to suspect your child of an unspeakable crime? When Dawn introduces her family to her new boyfriend, Rud, they hide their unsettled feelings because they're glad that Dawn, always an awkward child, seems to have finally blossomed. Then Dawn's parents are savagely beaten in their own bed, and though Hanna survives, Rud stands trial for Joe's murder. Claiming her boyfriend's innocence, Dawn initially estranges herself from everyone she knows, but when Rud wins an appeal, Dawn returns home saying she wants to support her mother. Hannah knows that if she could only remember the details of that traumatic night, she could ensure her husband's murderer remains in jail. But Hanna hadn't realised that those memories may cause her to question everything she thought she knew about her daughter...

The bones of you / Debbie Howells
A community in shock
When eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson disappears, the idyllic village where she lived will never be the same again. Local gardener Kate is struck with guilt. She'd come to know Rosie well, and thought she understood her - perhaps better even than Rosie's own mother.

A family torn apart
Rosie was beautiful, kind and gentle. She came from a loving family and she had her whole life ahead of her. Who could possibly want to harm her? And why?

A keeper of secrets
Kate is convinced the police are missing something. She's certain that someone in the village knows more than they're letting on. As the investigation deepens, so does Kate's obsession with solving the mystery of what happened to Rosie.

Fear is the rider/ Kenneth Cook
It was quite silent in the scrub. No breeze stirred the leaves and no bird moved, except for the kite hawks wheeling silently, eternally, high in the hot air.

She smelt her attacker before she saw him.

A heavy stench hit her with such force that she started with shock. It was a smell she’d never encountered before. Not man, not animal, something like carrion, but alive. It seemed to envelop and suffocate her, then became tangible as two arms wrapped around her body and began tearing at her clothing.

A young man driving from Sydney to Adelaide for work decides to take a short detour into the desert. He turns his hatchback on to a notoriously dangerous track that bisects uninhabited stone-covered flats. Out there, under the baking sun, people can die within hours.

He’s not far along the road when a distraught young woman stumbles from the scrub and flags him down. A journalist from Sydney, she has just escaped the clutches of an inexplicable, terrifying creature.

Now this desert-dwelling creature has her jeep. Her axe. And her scent…


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