Sherlock Holmes – The Thinking Engine by James Lovegrove

It’s Sherlock Holmes versus the internet! Well, that’s not quite accurate. But it is Sherlock Holmes pitted against an incredible crime solving machine which its inventor hopes one day will link up to other machines in police stations and newspaper rooms all around the country. So yeah, it’s Sherlock Holmes taking on the internet. It's…

The Blue Hammer by Ross MacDonald

In many ways this last of Ross MacDonald's Archer novels feels like a culmination of all that went before. Here, MacDonald has refined his normal trick - a case which has echoes back to the past and reveals a covered up crime from decades before - and taken it to the point of tragedy. Tragic…

Cabals of Blood by Richard Klu

This is the rare book I actually dreamt about. A strange other worldly tale unfolding inside my sub-consciousness, wherein a set of cookie-cutter new-build houses were far from pristine inside. The people lured in were captured, devoured, transformed and used as breeding stock by some strange new creature – a mix of insects and plants.…

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

In the future – after the inevitable calamity – women are no longer born, they are bred. Bred to be aesthetically pleasing to the male gaze and as compliant as possible. They are raised together in a school, learning to be approved versions of the ‘perfect’ woman, and when they turn seventeen, they are chosen…

Sarah by Teri Polen

In the day or so since I finished reading SARAH, I've been trying to figure out what it does right so as to utterly grip me. After all, this is a YA novel about the ghost of a teenage girl, and the other teenagers who encounter her. Written baldly like that, most people are going…

The Biting Cold by Mark Henwick

There’s a lot to admire in this creepy, intriguing quasi-vampire novella. I particularly enjoyed the way it unpacks a suitcase full of backstory, gives hints at a wider mythology, all while being an intimate chamber piece. There are two characters essentially – well, two characters who matter anyway - and the story works hard to…

Rasputin’s Legacy by Lee Jackson

Set in the 1980s and with actual speaking roles for both Gorbachev and Reagan, this is a frothy concoction of super spies, deadly double agents, a scheme to take control of Russia and some stinking fish soup. It’s boy’s own escapism pulled off with the ghostly bearded shadow of Rasputin hanging over every page of…