Linwood Barclay’s Xmas Recommendations

Master of suspense Linwood Barclay takes up the reins in today’s Christmas recommendations blog and presents his favourite books of 2015.

Nothing says the holidays like a novel that will keep you awake all night. That way, when Santa lands on the roof with his reindeer, you’ll hear them breaking into your house.

There were a lot of terrific thrillers written in 2016, and plenty would make great gifts this Christmas. Here are just a few recently published crime novels I’ve enjoyed this year and recommend for wrapping:

Even Dogs in the Wild, by Ian Rankin: John Rebus, now retired and acting as a police consultant, is back for his 20th outing. Someone’s taken a shot at his nemesis, Big Ger Cafferty, but that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. A great read that builds to a satisfying conclusion.

The Cartel, by Don Winslow: A few years ago, Winslow wrote a stunning novel about the Mexican drug cartels called The Power of the Dog. The Cartel follows up on, and expands, that story in epic fashion. It’s often jaw-dropping, and unfortunately for the Mexican tourism industry, unlikely to have you booking a trip there any time soon. If Tolkien had decided to write about drug dealers instead of Middle Earth, this is what he would have turned in.

Little Black Lies, by Sharon Bolton: This terrific psychological thriller, set in the Falkland Islands, concerns the accidental deaths of two children and their impact on a community. But it’s the scene with the whales on the beach that will stay with me forever.

The Whites, by Richard Price, writing, for no apparent reason, as Harry Brandt: Price’s tale of a New York cop’s past catching up with him has plenty of plot, but the joy of reading it is in the fantastic writing itself.

Fear the Darkness, by Becky Masterman. This followup to Masterman’s stunning debut, Rage Against the Dying, again stars ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn in a more personal story where you really don’t know what the heck is going on, and can’t turn the pages fast enough to find out.

Time of Death, by Mark Billingham: After the horrific events of The Bones Beneath, a slightly less harrowing adventure for Tom Thorne. But this engaging tale of missing schoolgirls, which co-stars Thorne’s partner Helen Weeks, gets him back in the game in admirable fashion.


Linwood Barclay is the international bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels, including No Safe House, A Tap on the Window, Trust Your Eyes and the Richard & Judy 2008 Summer Read winner and number one bestseller, No Time for Goodbye. His latest novel, Broken Promise, introduces us to the town of Promise Falls, and the mystery of a dead mother and an abducted child.

For more information, visit Linwood’s website or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.