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Start reading Life or Death, and you’ll want to stay curled up in an armchair with one of the best thrillers you’ll read this year.

After an armed robbery goes wrong, leaving four people dead and $7m unaccounted for, Audie Palmer is sentenced to 10 years in prison. It is a decade of hell for him: almost daily, he is brutalised, stabbed and threatened by both prison guards and inmates trying to get him to reveal the whereabouts of the missing money. But on the day before his release, Audie suddenly vanishes. There’s a host of people on his tail, but his mind is on something other than the money – he is trying to save someone’s life, even at the cost of his own.

These days, Robotham is celebrated as a crime writer, but he toiled for years as the ghost writer of choice for many celebrities; his second career, the criminal one, showed that his previous pseudonymous efforts barely scratched the surface of his considerable skills.

Life or Death, by Michael Robotham, Sphere, RRP£19.99, 434 pages

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