Crime fiction: Definitely not one for arachnophobes

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The Independent Culture

Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner (Orion £12.99)

Young prostitutes are going missing in Sandy Springs, Atlanta, and no one but FBI field officer Kimberly Quincy seems to care. Quincy is heavily pregnant and has a basket full of her own problems, but is soon drawn into a search for a serial killer with a love of spiders. Believe me, some of this novel gave me shivers up my spine. It is definitely not one for arachnophobes, but everyone else should love it.

Perfect Night by Peter Grimsdale (Orion £12.99)

While on his way to interview an arms dealer in Sri Lanka, the documentary film-maker Nick Roker is on a yacht which is blown up, and he loses his memory. Years later he discovers a reel of film containing images of the event, and soon he's back on the run from unknown enemies who want him dead. There's a convincing plot here, full of twists and turns, but unfortunately Grimsdale's pedestrian style slows down the action.

The 47th Samurai by Stephen Hunter (Arrow £6.99)

Bob Lee Swagger, an ex-marine sharpshooter, is approached by a Japanese officer searching for the rare sword that Swagger's father had captured during the Second World War. Swagger tracks down the artefact but then loses it to a Japanese pornographer, and to retrieve it must train as a Samurai warrior. Hunter writes battle scenes like no other author and this novel held me spellbound from beginning to end.

City of Fire by Robert Ellis (Pan £6.99)

Los Angeles is burning – as it always seems to in crime novels at the moment – but there's more than smoke in the air while the LAPD detective Lena Gamble prepares for her first big case. A businessman has arrived home to find his wife gutted from belly to throat. As the husband, he's the natural suspect, but it soon seems that a serial killer nicknamed "Romeo" may have first dibs there. 'City Of Fire' slipped under the radar when it came out in hardback last year, but is definitely a good one.