I have recently enjoyed immersing myself in books by a number of writers who are new to me, and in particular two series of books which are a cross between police procedurals and thrillers. These offer compelling reading, challenging themes, issues and experiences of loss and redemption, racism, violence and exploitation, crimes against humanity: these books grapple with gritty contemporary realities with clarity and compassion. Both series are thoroughly researched and engage in such a way with moral/spiritual concerns and human ethics that you are drawn into the heart of their concerns. The books include suggested further reading and both authors have won awards for their writing.
I strongly recommend reading the books in the order of publication (as numbered below) – they are available as ebooks.
Author Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. Her alter-egos are Toronto-based Sergeant Rachel Getty and Sunni Muslim Inspector Esa Khattak who work in the community policing, though they make international forays at times. The series has 5 books to date:
The Unquiet Dead (#1)
The Language of Secrets (#2)
A Death in Sarajevo (novella)
Among the Ruins (#3)
(book 4, No Place of Refuge, and book 5, A Deadly Divide are due out early in 2019 as ebooks and later in the year as hardbacks.)
A A Dhand is a Sikh pharmacist/writer from the UK. His alter-ego is Bradford-based senior police detective Harry Virdee, “a progressive British Sikh who struggles with his cultural identity and family loyalties” and who is married to a Muslim woman. The books in order are.
Streets of Darkness (#1)
Girl Zero (#2)
City of Sinner (#3)
One Way Out (#4) is due to be published on 30 June 2019.
Other recent reads by writers who are breaking conventions and innovating on the form, include:
- Call Me Evie by Perth-based Kiwi #yeahnoir writer J P Pomare (a disconcerting yet compelling mystery with twists and turns)
- The utterlyunputdownable Crossroads Trilogy by Stacy Green (USA) and follow-on Delta Detective Cage Foster series: #1 Tin God, #2 Skeleton Key, #3 Ashes & Bone
Delta Detective/Cage Foster novella prequels box set
The Lies We Bury (#1 in the new series) — Book 2 due in February 2019.
[Cage Foster is also a character in the Crossroads trilogy.]
- The Hanne Wilhelmsen police procedural series by Danish writer Anne Holt are bestsellers in Denmark and are slowly being released in translation. The first 4 are:
#1 Blind Goddess
#2 Blessed are those who thirst
#3 Death of the Demon
#4 The Lion’s Mouth
- Australian writer Sarah Bailey has two compelling books out so far: The Dark Lake (#1) and Into the Night (#2).
- American writer Sarah Gran is earning recognition for an innovative approach to mystery writing with three books so far: City of the Dead (#1), Claire de Witt and the Bohermian Highway (#2) and The Infinite Blacktop (#3);
- Another American writer to be recognised for a fresh approach to mystery writing is Rachel Howzell Hall – her first of 4 books in the series is Land of Shadows
- Danish writer Agnes Ravatn hs so far one book translated into English – The Bird Tribunal (more please!!)