NO PLAN B by Lee Child and Andrew Child (Bantam £22, 384pp)


by Lee Child and Andrew Child (Bantam £22, 384pp) 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the appearance of Child’s uncontainable solo vigilante Jack Reacher and this is his 27th outing — the third collaboration between Child and his younger brother Andrew. 

The structure is exactly what millions of readers around the world have come to expect. Reacher witnesses the death of a young woman who is pushed in front of a bus and tracks the hooded killer. 

Meanwhile, a dark plot is being hatched in a high security prison in Mississippi, which involves the prison warden, the chief of police and the two founders of the Correctional Facility. The two plots are clearly linked and Reacher is a fly in the ointment, as he has been so many times. 

It tears along, constantly asking Reacher to escape seemingly impossible situations. There is never a moment to draw breath, which is one reason why a Reacher novel is sold somewhere in the world every nine seconds. 


by John Grisham (Hodder £22, 464pp) 

No one — except perhaps Scott Turow — writes courtroom dramas like Grisham. Here he returns to his favourite southern U.S. stamping ground and the thriving Gulf Coast town of Biloxi, famous for its gambling and sex trade, as well as wonderful seafood. It focuses on two school friends during the 1960s. 

Keith Rudy goes to law school, watching as his father becomes the legendary criminal prosecutor determined to ‘clean up the Coast’, while Hugh Malco settles for the shadier life of his father’s nightclubs. 

Inevitably, the two former friends find themselves in a legal confrontation that may have terrifying consequences for them both. As ever with Grisham there are corkscrew twists and turns as he ratchets up the suspense. 

It is exceptional story-telling, which leaves the reader begging for the novel never to end. Grisham has sold more than 300million copies of his work. This shows exactly why.

BLEEDING HEART YARD by Elly Griffiths (Quercus £22, 352pp)


by Elly Griffiths (Quercus £22, 352pp) 

This standalone novel from the talented Griffiths is a long way from her crime stories featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway. 

There have been 14 of those, all set in Norfolk. But this story is set firmly in London and features an intriguing new heroine, DI Harbinder Kaur, a Sikh who is not only gay but also on the rise in the Met. 

A group of school friends meet at a reunion 21 years after leaving school, only for one of their number, a Rightwing Tory MP, to be found dead in the toilets with traces of what looks like cocaine on his nose. At first the assumption is an overdose, but that is quickly discounted. 

Then another of the reunion group, this time a Labour MP is stabbed to death with what looks like a human heart set out beside his body. 

What is the link? Part locked room mystery, part unnerving thriller, this intensely satisfying, fast-moving story underlines Griffiths’s skill. 

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