Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pierce’s Picks

A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.

In Those We Left Behind (Soho Crime), Stuart Neville devises a plot with several main threads and two distinct time periods, and somehow makes it all work. Set in Belfast, Northern Ireland, this notably dark yarn centers mostly around brothers Thomas and Ciaran Devine, whose foster father, David Rolston, was slain in savage, headline-making fashion in 2007. Ciaran, then only 12 years old, pled guilty to the crime, but he and 14-year-old Thomas were both sent away to a young offenders’ institution. Now move on to the present day, where we find Ciaran finally being released back into society to join his sibling, who’s already been free a while. Hoping to aid in Ciaran’s return is his probation officer, Paula Cunningham. But Detective Chief Inspector Serena Flanagan--who played an important role in Neville’s 2014 novel, The Final Silence, and has just recently gone back to work after treatment for breast cancer--claims her own interest in the ex-convict’s future. She was suspicious of Ciaran’s confession from the start, and resolves to keep a close watch on him, now that he’s back on the streets and under the too-tight control of his short-tempered sibling. Also interested in the Devine brothers is Daniel Rolston, the natural son of Ciaran’s alleged victim, who has never been able to shake off the circumstances of his father’s demise, and is convinced that the wrong sibling paid for that horror. There’s significant menace and potential violence the deeper one travels into this novel, but Neville’s compassion for his characters and his sharp writing make the reading worthwhile. Tennison (Simon & Schuster UK) is a prequel to Lynda La Plante’s Prime Suspect series of police procedurals starring Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison of London’s Metropolitan Police Service. This new book opens in 1973 when Tennison, then a 22-year-old Janis Joplin fan, matriculates from the police training academy and enters a probationary period during which her intelligence, attention to detail, and resilience in the face of rampant male chauvinism will be tested. It’s lucky she catches the eye of WPC (Woman Police Constable) Kath Morgan, a more experienced investigator, who helps Tennison endure sexual harassment and negotiate the complications of her first homicide case. La Plante has already scripted a six-part TV series based on Tennison, which is set to air in the UK sometime next year.

Click here to see more of this season’s most-wanted books.

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