A Long Night in Paris, by Dov Alfon, MacLehose Press, RRP£8.99
Winner of the Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger award, Alfon’s debut unfolds across Paris, leaving a trail of corpses and bullet-ridden buildings. When an Israeli tech entrepreneur disappears from Charles de Gaulle airport, intelligence officer Col Zeev Abadi is soon on his trail, with assistant Lieutenant Oriana Talmor, in this smart, racy tale.
An Honest Man, by Ben Fergusson, Little, Brown, RRP£18.99
A beautifully written, evocative literary thriller set in Berlin shortly before the fall of the Wall. Ralf is 18, half-German and half-British, caught between two worlds. He comes of age during an idyllic summer, drinking, partying and exploring a new love. But East Germany still casts a long shadow and Ralph’s world, like the Berlin Wall, is about to come tumbling down.
Black Sun, by Owen Matthews, Bantam Press, RRP£16.99/Doubleday, RRP$26.95
An impressive debut novel from Russia expert Owen Matthews. Set in 1961 at the height of the cold war, Black Sun unfolds in a secret city where scientists are working on an Armageddon weapon. When one dies of Thallium poisoning, just before the bomb is to be tested, KGB Major Alexander Vasin is soon on the killer’s trail. Complex and well-drawn, Vasin is a surprisingly sympathetic protagonist.
The Fragility of Bodies, by Sergio Olguín, Bitter Lemon Press, RRP£8.99
The first of a new trilogy featuring Veronica Rosenthal, an investigative reporter in Buenos Aires. Rosenthal is an engaging protagonist with a chaotic personal life and healthy sexual appetite. But she pursues her leads with courage and determination, as she digs into a suicide that quickly morphs into a deadly conspiracy reaching deep into the city’s ruling elite.
White Hot Silence, by Henry Porter, Quercus, RRP£7.99/Mysterious Press, RRP$26
Fast-paced, uber-topical thriller featuring ex-MI6 officer turned private eye Paul Samson. A roller-coaster ride of a story that ranges from Italy, Russia and New York to Estonia. Porter deftly mixes well-structured storytelling with complex, engaging characters — not least Naji, a Syrian refugee and computer ace, last seen in Firefly, Porter’s previous novel.
Books of the Year 2019
FT commentators, critics and guests select the titles of the year that you need to read. Explore the series here.
What are your favourites from this list — and what books have we missed? Tell us in the comments below.
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