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Dodgers, by Bill Beverly, No Exit Press, RRP£14.99/ Crown, RRP$26
Beverley’s road trip from hell has quickly acquired a cult following. Its hero, East, is 16 and a lookout at a Los Angeles drug house. He is dispatched to Wisconsin to murder a witness, and the nightmare journey that follows is written in an unadorned style that is both poetic and caustic.
The Plea, by Steve Cavanagh, Orion, RRP£12.99
Cavanagh’s The Defence featured a powerfully drawn protagonist in lawyer Eddie Flynn, and the new book has the same mixture of courtroom theatre and visceral channelling of thriller mechanics. The Plea reads like an idiosyncratic cross between Elmore Leonard and John Grisham, but bursts with its own individual flavour.
Tastes Like Fear, by Sarah Hilary, Headline, RRP£16.99
Hilary presents a charismatic couple with loving, obedient daughters. Needless to say, appearances are deceptive and, as detective Marni Rome investigates a road accident involving a teenage girl wearing only a shirt, dark secrets are revealed.
Conspiracy, by SJ Parris, HarperCollins, RRP£14.99
Parris’s 16th-century thrillers feature heretic and spy Giordano Bruno in vivid, sprawling canvases. The fifth in the series, set in Paris, has Bruno up to his neck in the court of Henry III as Catholic extremists under the Duke of Guise plan a coup. Well-crafted, exuberant fare.