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Warning Light by David Ricciardi, Berkley, US $27.00, Pp 336, April 2018, ISBN 978-0399585739

     Whispers of the Dead:  A Special Tracking Unit Novel by Spencer Kope, Minotaur Books,      US $26.99, Pp 324, April 2018, ISBN 978-1250072887

For Those Who Know the Ending by Malcolm Mackay, Mulholland Books, US $26.00, Pp 272, May 2018, ISBN 978-0316556071

Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan, Dutton/Penguin Random House, US $26.00, Pp 292, April 2018, ISBN 978-1524742614

Warning Light is set against the background of cold war between the United States and Iran. As the novel opens, a Singapore-bound British Airways flight develops a technical fault and drifts towards Iran. It has to make an emergency landing at a closed airport inside Iran. Among the passengers is a CIA analyst who is traveling in business class under the cover of a technology consultant. Zac Miller had volunteered to take the place of another CIA agent whose cover had been blown away although he was never trained to be a field operative. After the plane lands and passengers come out of the airplane, Zac Miller starts taking photographs of the airport destroyed during an earthquake with his cellphone. This airport is located near a secret Iranian nuclear facility. As he ventures out the airport, Iranian agents quickly detain him and refuse to accept his false excuses. The unscheduled landing is actually a ruse to make it possible for him to take photographs of the places around the nuclear facility. He succeeds in escaping from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and finds himself on the run. His own team misreads the situation and believes Zac Miller has gone rogue. Consequently, they abandon him. The only option Zac Miller has is to struggle through the mountains and rocky deserts of Iran to the Persian Gulf and across the Strait of Hormuz into Europe and back to America. Even if he makes it alive, the life will not be the same as before. Warning Light is an engrossing edge-of-your-seat thriller. David Ricciardi is a perfect storyteller who creates characters that resemble real-life characters.

David Ricciardi incorporated many personal experiences into Warning Light. He’s backpacked through the mountains of the western United States and Alaska, received extensive training from law-enforcement and US special operations personnel, and once woke up for a 2 AM watch aboard a sailboat only to discover that it was headed the wrong way through the Atlantic sea lanes in heavy weather, with one of the crews suffering from hypothermia. Warning Light is his first novel.


A killer breaks into the house of a Federal judge in El Paso, Texas and leaves a portable cooler. The cooler carries a pair of human feet. The message is clear that somebody has killed the person whose feet are found in the cooler. The killer leaves no trace of his or the victim’s identity. The intent of the killer is not clear either. All the law-enforcing agencies are at a loss in the absence of the identities of the killer and the victim as well as the killer’s intent. The law-enforcement authorities, however, are nearly certain that this is not the killer’s first — or last – murder. Magnus “Steps” Craig, an elite tracker, is probably the best agent FBI has. “Steps” is known for his ability to follow the most difficult trails. He is usually called in on the most difficult cases. The secret of his ability is that he has some kind of ability that allows him to see whatever each particular person has touched in a unique color. “Steps” calls this ‘shine.’ This secret is known to a very few people — his father, the director of the FBI, and his partner, Special Agent Jimmy Donovan. As the Special Tracking Unit investigates the gruesome scene in El Paso, they learn about an earlier victim. The killer had left only the feet of the victim in a disposable icebox. The killer had not left any clues except the feet of the victim. FBI tracker “Steps” Craig has now to match wits with the most successful killer of his career. Spencer Kope knows how to make his readers additive of his writings. Whispers of the Dead is a mind-numbing mystery like no others.

Spencer Kope is the author of Collecting the Dead, the first novel featuring ‘Steps’ and the Special Tracking Unit. He is also the Crime Analyst for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office in Washington State. Currently assigned to the Detectives Division, he provides case support to detectives and deputies. He lives in Washington State.


When Martin Sivok wakes up or regains his consciousness, he finds himself tied to a chair with plastic strips that are biting his wrists. When he looks around, he realizes he is inside a completely deserted warehouse. There is no soul around. How would this end? Probably too badly for Martin Sivok no matter how it ends. He wants to stay conscious and tries to figure out who might have brought him there. Martin Sivok is a Czech citizen who had been evading the law for more than a year. He had fled the Czech Republic and took refuge in Glasgow. All he wanted in Glasgow was to stay away from the spotlight to keep avoiding Czech law but still make some money for a decent living. He has no acquaintances in Glasgow. He had no knowledge of the city or its geography even. In Glasgow, he settled into a respectable relationship with his landlady. He restarted his criminal life but at a lower scale. His accomplice in Glasgow was Usman Kassar, a kid who wanted to prove himself. All they plan is to hit people in the street on the head, take the cash and run. But there are heads that are too dangerous to crack and some cash is too hot to touch even for hardened criminals. Malcolm Mackay is a leading living writer of noir fiction. In For Those Who Know the Ending, Malcolm Mackay helps readers discover the dark underworld in Glasgow, full of gunmen, gangsters and all sorts of criminals. This is the world where they not only prove your worth also stay alive. It is not possible in many cases. This is one of those novels you try to finish in a single sitting.

Malcolm Mackay is the award-winning author of The Glasgow Trilogy. The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter was shortlisted for the Edgar Awards’ Best Paperback Original, the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. How a Gunman Says Goodbye won the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award. Mackay was born in Stornoway on Scotland’s Isle of Lewis, where he still lives.


Too Close to Breathe is set in an upscale Dublin, Ireland, suburb. One morning, Eleanor Costello is found hanging from a rope in her house. Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan is thinking of declaring it a suicide as there is no trace of it being a murder. Another reason is that Frankie Sheehan is not very interested in investigating it as she almost got killed investigating another homicide. However, the autopsy report shows Eleanor Costello’s bones had not fully healed and old stab wounds were also missing from the medical records. A new cut is meticulously covered with paint. Eleanor’s husband is also missing. A search of Eleanor’s home shows that she loved to read books on art and had access to the Dark Web through her laptop computer. As the number of suspects grows, Frankie starts receiving mysterious phone calls. The killer is not only close by but also watching Frankie closely. It isn’t easy to trace the killer. The case is complex also because Eleanor guarded her secrets closely not only in life but also in death. This makes the investigation more and more challenging. Before Frankie can resolve this murder, another woman is murdered and the killer leaves the paint on her corpse as well. Revealing Eleanor’s personal life is more important than catching the murderer to stop the murderer from claiming another life. Is Eleanor’s murder related to the last murder Frankie investigated? Olivia Kiernan is a formidable storyteller. She is a welcome voice in the world of crime fiction. The plot of Too Close to Breathe is tight and the story moves in an intricate way that makes it captivating and thrilling. The characters are meticulously crafted and will remain stuck in your memory for some time. Too Close to Breathe is an assured debut.

Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK. She holds an MA in creative writing awarded by the University of Sussex. Too Close to Breathe is her first novel.

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