The bodies of two off-duty police are found inside snowmen at a children's competition, and then another snow-covered corpse is found by a country lake by rookie elected sheriff Iris Rikker, a former English teacher. Soon Detectives Gino and Magozzi are heading north in the midst of the worst blizzard seen in Minneapolis for years to join the two investigations. But some things should remain buried. And as the cases unravel, it seems the snowmen weren't alone in hiding dark secrets. The old barn next to Sheriff Rikker's isolated farmhouse also appears to have some strange connection to the killings... Extremely well-constructed thriller with some interesting characters, not least Rikker.
Faithful Place, by Tana French [audiobook]. Read by Gerry O'Brien. Oxford: Isis, 2010.
The course of Frank Mackey's life is set by one defining moment when he was 19. The moment his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, failed to turn up for their rendezvous in Faithful Place, failed to run away with him to London as they had planned. Frank never heard from, or of, her again. Twenty years on, Frank is still in Dublin, working as an undercover cop. He's cut all ties with his dysfunctional family. Until his sister calls to say that Rosie's suitcase has been found...
Innocent, by Scott Turow [audiobook]. Read by Edward Herrmann (and ??). Oxford: Isis, 2011.
A return to a cast of characters last seen in Turow's Presumed innocent in 1987. Once again, Rusty Sabich is prosecuted by Tommy Molto for murder, this time of his wife; and this time Sabich has even more to lose having been elected to the state Supreme Court, and with the desire to cover up an affair with a former colleague. His son Nat, a child at the time of the previous novel, is now a junior lawyer and also keen to investigate the case. Another extremely good tense courtroom drama by a master of the art. The reading is very good - Herrmann sounds just enough like Harrison Ford for the image of Sabich in the film version to stand, and the (completely uncredited) female reader is also extremely competent.
Last rituals, by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2008.
This was one I picked up at a book sale at work, with a slightly back-handed recommendation from one of the library directors who had donated it. It's certainly atmospheric - Icelandic landscapes and a plot involving both folklore and witchcraft - and occasionally unpleasant. Definitely worth reading although the final dénouement isn't as surprising as you might wish.
The rapture, by Liz Jensen. London: Bloomsbury, 2009
This is a very strange, and extremely good, apocalyptic near-future story which combines detective, speculative and science fiction. A very disturbed and violent teenager in a mental health facility tells her art therapist about visions she has about an environmental catastrophe. As the art therapist investigates whether any of the facts Bethany gives are scientifically possible, she draws a physicist friend into the intrigue, and puts her career and his in danger. If John Wyndham were writing now, he might aspire to this.