Pan Macmillan pick seven stellar reads

‘Publisher’s Picks’ brings you a weekly dose of top crime gems for your discovery. This week we hand the baton to Pan Macmillan, who run through  their ‘Best of 2011′ list. 

Let us know your thoughts on the books chosen by leaving your comments below the feature. Maybe you’ve read one of Macmillan’s stellar titles? If so, let us know what you thought in our Reader Reviews section.

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1. The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn      

The phone rings. It’s your daughter. She’s been dead for four months.

Ian Hunt is the police dispatcher for the small town of Bulls Mouth, East Texas. Just as his shift is ending he gets a call from his fourteen-year-old daughter, Maggie.

Maggie, who has just been declared dead, having been snatched from her bedroom seven years ago. Her call ends in a scream.

The trail leads to a local couple, but this is just the start of his battle to get his daughter back. What follows is a bullet-strewn cross-country chase along Interstate 10, from Texas to California.

The riveting new novel from the acclaimed author of Acts of Violence and Low Life is a brilliantly original, blood drenched thriller, about the lengths a man will go to for his daughter.

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2. Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo  

Chief of police Kate Burkholder is back.

When Chief of Police, Kate Burkholder, is called to a farm in the Amish community of Painter’s Creek, nothing could prepare her for the horror and tragedy she encounters. Solly and Rachel Slabaugh, and his brother Abel, have drowned in the hog pit leaving the four children as orphans. As the investigation progresses, it seems that the Slabaugh deaths were not an accident, and the case suddenly becomes a murder enquiry.

As the case deepens, Kate develops a bond with the children, particularly the 15-year-old daughter, Solome. Maybe she is reminded of herself at that age, and maybe there’s something about this case which stirs up memories for her. The events surrounding the deaths puzzle her – something doesn’t feel right. As more information comes to light, a tragic incident turns into something much more shocking.

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3. Next of Kin by David Hosp 

Fast-paced, gripping and brimming with suspense. NEXT OF KIN delivers on every level a brilliantly plotted thriller with an unexpected twist.

When Boston attorney Scott Finn agrees to defend the son of notorious mobster Eamonn McDougal, he knows he’s putting his reputation on the line. But he also knows he can use him as bait to reel in the prize catch. In a city where mob crime once ruled, a core of corruption, greed, lies and deceit still lingers. And it seems there are those in power who will stop at nothing to achieve what they want.

Finn, who grew up an orphan on the meanest streets in the city, is determined to solve the murder of the mother he never knew. In his search for the truth he uncovers a sinister trail of murder, betrayal and revenge borne by someone who could neither forgive nor forget.

But who can be trusted, and who can be believed? And can Finn find the answers before it’s too late?

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4. The Redeemed by M R Hall  

The third stunning Jenny Cooper novel from the author of The Disappeared.

The body of a dead man is discovered in an overgrown cemetery in Bristol, the sign of the cross gouged into his flesh. At first it seems to coroner Jenny Cooper that all the evidence points to a horrific, if routine, suicide.

Then an enigmatic young priest, Father Lucas Starr, arrives on Jenny’s doorstep, entreating her to hold an inquest into the death of Eva Donaldson, a high profile political campaigner whose past life continued to haunt her. A young man, Paul Craven, has recently been sentenced for Eva’s brutal murder. But despite Craven’s conviction and the evidence against him, Father Lucas is convinced of the man’s innocence.

Jenny’s lone quest for justice will take her to the dark heart of an establishment who wish to silence her, and on an inner journey to confront ghosts that have haunted her for a lifetime. For Jenny Cooper answers to no one but the dead . . .

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5. The Holy Thief by William Ryan  

Introducing Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, and an outstanding new voice in historical crime fiction…

Moscow, 1936 and Stalin’s Great Terror is beginning. In a deconsecrated Church, a young woman is found dead, her mutilated body displayed on the altar for all to see.

Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD – the most feared organisation in Russia – becomes involved.

As more bodies are discovered and the pressure from above builds, Korolev begins to question who he can trust; and who, in this Russia where fear, uncertainty and hunger prevails, are the real criminals. Soon, Korolev will find not only his moral and political ideals threatened, but also his life . . .

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6. The Facility by Simon Lelic

The startling second novel from the critically lauded author of Rupture.

Henry Graves has dedicated his life to the prison service, but he is unprepared for the challenge his new and secret assignment brings. Tasked with managing a government facility hidden deep in the countryside, Henry finds himself tested as never before: by the confused and frightened prisoners, by the sinister Dr Silk and, above all, by his conscience.

Tom Clarke, a precocious but naive journalist, has his own problems meanwhile. His career – and his life – is turned upside down by the arrival of Julia Priestley, who seeks his help in finding her estranged husband, Arthur, an innocent dentist who has been arrested under severe new anti-terrorism legislation. The authorities admit they have taken him but will not say where he is being held – or why.

Discovering a trail that implicates those at the very top of government, Tom and Julia begin a quest to find Arthur, and the truth about his incarceration. But some people will stop at nothing to keep the facility’s secret hidden, and soon the couple find themselves fighting for their lives . . .

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7. Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves

The new novel featuring Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope.

When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once, it’s a death from natural causes. But closer inspection reveals ligature marks around the victim’s throat . . .

Doing what she does best, Vera pulls her team together and sets them interviewing staff and those connected to the victim, while she and colleague Sergeant Joe Ashworth work to find a motive. While Joe struggles to reconcile his home life with the demands of the job, Vera revels being back in charge of an investigation. Death has never made her feel so alive.

And when they discover that the victim had worked in social services – and was involved in a shocking case involving a young child – it seems the two are somehow connected.

But things are rarely as they seem . .

* You can find our more about Ann Cleeves, courtesy of You’re Booked, over on Author’s Bookshelf

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