A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer

You probably read about this in the newspapers. An ultra-strange story of how famed South Korean actress, Choi-Eun-hee and her husband, the film director Shin Sang-ok, were kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il and the North Korean regime, held for eight years and forced to make movies. It’s a tale of international espionage, skulduggery, defections, escape attempts…

An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris

The Dreyfus case – with its blend of corruption in high places, and high tension as the plot was unravelled. – is, let's be fair, the perfect meat for a writer expert in historical literary thrillers to sink his teeth into. And here’s Robert Harris to prove that point. In 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an…

Quarry by Max Allan Collins

By the time we get to the 1970's, there’s been a real change in the character of tough guy American fiction. In the immediate post-Second World War period there was still a curious, old school morality to the genre. Yes, there may have been murders, beatings, rape and general mayhem, but there was still a…

Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon

There’s a distinct lack of glamour to this first Maigret mystery. In itself that’s interesting as this is a story centred on an international conman and an American investor in one of the finest hotels in Paris. Surely that should give a triumphant yell of glamour. In the hands of a Leslie Charteris or an…

Silence by Natasha Preston

I remember once watching a documentary about teenagers who have chosen not to speak. There are some who are affected by such intense social anxiety that they find it best not to say a word to anyone rather than say the wrong thing. It was a heart-breaking programme where I just hoped that these young…

Elevation by Stephen King

This is, without a doubt, the best Stephen King work I’ve read in a long time. Not in any way a horror story, it’s more a fantastical allegory which can perhaps be read as about a man finding his soul lightens when he gives up on petty concerns and instead focuses on helping others. (Although…

The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

It feels like I haven’t read any of magical policeman. Peter Grant’s adventures in quite some time. Too long. And so this slight and pleasing tale works for me a great reintroduction to the series. The stakes feel low (even as our heroes eventually end up investigating a kidnapping), and there’s a nice, unhurried, gentle…

Black Cross by Greg Iles

Did you hear the one about the Zionist and the pacifist who went behind enemy lines? Greg Iles was, until a few weeks ago, an author I’d never come across – which given the cover boasts of ten million sales and has a Stephen King quote to boot, seems like an almost embarrassing admission. Now,…