Five Leaves Publications - Crime Express

The Crime Express imprint presents a series of crime novellas written by established authors. Shorter than novels but still packing a punch, these books provide a quick fix for serious crime fiction fans.

Postcard showing Crime Express titles from Five Leaves

The popular series, edited by David Belbin, launched in 2007 with Stephen Booth’s Claws, Rod Duncan’s The Mentalist, and Trouble in Mind by John Harvey.

Now we present three new novellas by critically acclaimed authors Danuta Reah (who also writes as Carla Banks), Charlie Williams and Ray Banks. The re-launch also includes a new edition of Claws, which sold out in its first edition.

Claws by Stephen Booth is the story of DC Ben Cooper's assignment to the Rural Crime Squad. He steps into the middle of an age-old conflict on the wild Peak District moorlands, where not all the victims are human.

Alongside Claws, Crime Express presents three new books:

Graven Image by Charlie Williams is noir at its best.Brothel bouncer Leon has to rescue his daughter from Graven, but everything goes wrong. Badly wrong.

Not Safe by Danuta Reah is a powerful story about a detective's investigation into the apparently closed case of a refugee's brutal murder.

California by Ray Banks is gritty and dark, it follows parolee Shuggie Boyle's increasingly desperate attempts to get from California (Falkirk) to California (America).

We're very excited about this relaunch. All four books represent the best in twenty-first century British crime fiction, and we're sure readers will agree. Not only that, but they look great, with stunning cover art by Gavin Morris.

All four are available to buy online from our friends at Inpress.

Series editor: David Belbin

Latest Publications:

Crime Scene Britain and Ireland
A Reader's Guide
by John Martin
ISBN: 978-1910170052, 296 pages

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This book is for all readers of crime fiction. Dividing Britain and Ireland into twelve regions, the author describes the work of contemporary and historic crime writers and their novels where the setting of the novel is crucial, giving the story context and local relevance.

While regional crime novels go back to The Hound of the Baskervilles, identifiably regional crime within specific cityscapes and landscapes only came into its own twenty years ago with Ian Rankin, John Harvey and Val McDermid. Their work, together with hundreds of others, and thousands of titles are described in this volume which will be essential for the serious crime reader.

John Martin is a lifelong crime reader. A former librarian, he has given hundreds of talks on crime fiction to library, bookshop and local audiences. For three years he was judge for the The Dagger in the Library Award for the Crime Writers Association. If he hasn't read it, it isn't crime fiction!


The Killing of Emma Gross
by Damien Seaman
ISBN: 978-1907869815, 264 pages

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Dusseldorf prostitute Emma Gross has been murdered and the police have charged Peter Kurten – the "Vampire of Dusseldorf", the first man ever to be called a serial killer. Murderer, yes, but did he commit this particular crime? The arresting officer, Thomas Klein, thinks not, even though Kurten has confessed. These are the dying days of Weimar Germany, the police force is increasingly divided between right and left. It is a dangerous time. Klein thinks that the real killer is somewhat closer to home. Yet the only people who can help him include a Communist journalist, Gross's friends, and others in the underworld who hate the police. This is a novel of obsession set in the wild days of Weimar, doomed to end with the Nazi takeover. One of the highlights of my holiday reading – Stuart MacBride There is a name that should be on every crime fan's reading list and it's Damien Seaman – Tony Black, author of Murder Mile

Damien Seaman lived in Germany for several years. He has a degree
in Modern History from Oxford and has worked as a Parliamentary
Assistant, security guard and financial analyst. His short crime fiction,
interviews and reviews have appeared on many crime ezines and
websites, and he has been published in the New York Times. Brought
up in Lincolnshire, he now lives in Birmingham.

A Taste for Malice
by Michael J Malone
ISBN: 978-1907869754, 260 pages

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DI Ray McBain is back at work and on filing duty. Desperate for something to do, a pair of old files intrigue him. In the first a woman pushes her way into a vulnerable family. The children adore her. At first. Then she has some "fun", which soon becomes torture and mental cruelty. Then she disappears. Meanwhile, in Ayrshire, another young family is relieved when a stranger comes into their lives to help them out. McBain makes the link, but nobody is interested in what he has to say. Is it even the same woman?

This is the second novel to feature DI Ray McBain. Blood Tears was published in 2012.

Michael J Malone is well known in Scotland for his poetry (once being a poet in residence in a sex shop). His first crime fiction, Blood Tears, was reprinted within weeks of publication. His book of interviews with leading Scottish public figures is published October 2012. Michael J Malone reps for Faber in Scotland and the north.

Father Confessor
by Russel D McLean
ISBN: 978-1907869549, 240 pages

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“He must have known he was going to die… he must have known how things would end.”

“He must have known he was going to die… he must have known how things would end.” DCI Ernie Bright is dead. A good cop gone bad? Not everyone believes that one of Tayside Constabulary’s longest serving detectives was leading a double life. One of those looking to vindicate the dead copper is Bright’s protégé, , the private investigator J McNee who has his own reasons for trying to prove Bright’s innocence. But as the evidence piles up and McNee makes enemies on both sides of the law, he finds that justice and the law are not always the same, and that good people can make bad decisions.

Dark, violent and psychologically gripping, the third in the critically acclaimed J McNee series will change the Dundee detective’s world forever.

The third book of the McNee series.

Russel D McLean's previous books are The Good Son and The Lost Sister, both of which ran to reprints and had good reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. Russel writes for the crime magazines The Big Thrill, Do Some Damage and Crime Scene Scotland. He works in bookselling in Dundee.

Blood Tears
by Michael J Malone
ISBN: 978-1907869341, 260 pages

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A body is discovered: the terrible mutilations spell out the wounds of the Stigmata. For Glasgow DI Ray McBain, the killings are strangely familiar... and then the dreams begin.

The first in a series of books featuring DI Ray McBain, a Glasgow detective who has too many friends in the underworld for his own good, but enough to support him when he has to go on the run, the main suspect in a murder case.

Michael J Malone is already known in Scotland as a poet,
including for a residency in a sex shop. He works as a financial
advisor in Ayr. This is the first book of a planned series by an
author who has already worked the territory in preparation for
his first book. We expect a lot of attention and readings.

Graven Image
by Charlie Williams
ISBN: 978-1907869105, 120 pages

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Brothel bouncer Leon shouldn’t be here. A week ago he stepped over the line, maiming a slap-happy VIP punter. But he can’t stay away. Not with his daughter Kelly being so young and vulnerable. If he can sort it out with Graven, take the kicking he knows he’ll get, maybe they can call it a debt paid. But when Kelly goes missing Leon realises what kind of debt is due.

"It knocks the wind out of you, reality does"

Charlie Williams is the author of Stairway to Hell and the Mangel
trilogy of books, set in Worcester, all published by Serpent’s Tail.
His short stories have appeared in good crime magazines and his
short film, Ark, appeared at Cannes (OK, in the short film
section). He lives in Worcester and knows about sauce.

by Ray Banks
ISBN: 978-1907869075, 96 pages

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Shuggie Boyle is a changed man. Which is why after serving four years for armed robbery, he’s skipped his licence and jacked a pensioner’s car. He is heading back to his ex-girlfriend’s house to retrieve the stash from the robbery. He’s following his long-term goal and the secret of keeping his temper. Happiness for Shuggie is only a few grand and a few thousand miles away – that journey from California (in Falkirk) to California (in America).

Ray Banks is one of the new wave of Scottish crime writers, with seven books to his name. He does, however, live in Newcastle. Banks took up crime fiction when the casino he worked in was ram-raided.

"Banks is one of the freshest voices in hard-boiled crime fiction today." – Library Journal

by Stephen Booth
ISBN: 978-1907869082, 96 pages

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Derbyshire police detective DC Ben Cooper is on assignment to the Rural Crime Squad to investigate wildlife crime. On the wild Peak District moorlands, Cooper steps into the middle of a conflict that has been raging for years over one of the most prized landscapes in the National Park. Many lives are at stake. And, in this battle, not all the victims are human…

"Booth is a modern master of rural noir" - the Guardian

"Booth delivers some of the best crime fiction in the UK" - Manchester Evening News

"One of the elite British mystery writers" - Washington Times

"There are few, if any, contemporary writers who do this as well as Stephen Booth" - Arena Magazine

Stephen Booth has won the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel twice and the Dagger in the Library Award. He has published ten best-selling full length crime novels since 2000, the latest being Lost River. He lives in North Nottinghamshire.

Not Safe
by Danuta Reah
ISBN: 978-1907869099, 108 pages

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Farah Jafari needs sanctuary, but now she is dead. A man is in custody and soon the case will be closed. DC Tina Barraclough works with refugees like Farah and the man under arrest and she knows there is something wrong with the official version. She is off the case, but needs to find out what really happened. What price is she prepared to pay?

Danuta Reah (also publishing as Carla Banks) is the author of nine previous crime books. She is an active member of the Crime Writers Association. She writes for English and Media and lives in Sheffield.

Reviews of her previous books include:

"A powerful psychological thriller" – Daily Mail,

"Scary Stuff" – Literary Review,

"Splendid - evokes an air of menace" – Daily Mail.

No Way To Say Goodbye
by Rod Madocks
ISBN: 978-1905512577, 276 pages
Shortlisted for the ITV Thriller & Crime Awards

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…He was a doctor for God’s sake. I was told to strip and they tossed my clothes away saying, ‘You won’t need these here either,’ and I was handed a blue boiler suit to wear. I began to protest but got a slam in the mouth and lost my front teeth. They then pushed me into the pool, to disinfect me, they said. And that was my start in the hospital. I was there eighteen years. They took everything away.
Patient R. Recounted to the author 1997.

Dr Jack Shade’s long time girlfriend vanishes, presumed dead. Through his professional contacts Shade moves to work within the secure hospital system – to try to understand, and take revenge on those who might be responsible.

During his time in the hospital he realises he is as much a prisoner as those he works with.

Shade observes, gets involved with, hurts but ultimately comes to understand his clients. Meantime his own dissolute life of drugs and affairs takes its toll.

Like WG Sebald, the author includes photos to help tell the story - are they real or is this all fiction?

Rod Madocks has spent ten years writing this unforgettable novel, drawing on his experience of secure units. He is a policy officer in Mental Health Commissioning in Nottinghamshire.

The Lost Sister
by Russel D McLean
ISBN: 978-1905512799, 240 pages

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Following on from the successful The Good Son, Russel McLean’s Scottish Private Eye J McNee gets drawn into trying to find a missing child, the God-daughter of local hard man David Burns who seems to have some friends on the Dundee police force.

"Dark, well-honed and taut. I crave more McNee." - Jen Jordan for Crimespree Magazine

Russel D McLean writes for The Big Thrill (the newsletter of the International Thriller Writers’ Association), At Central Booking and Crime Scene Scotland. He Lives in Dundee, and has worked in bookselling for many years.

Killing Mum
by Allan Guthrie
ISBN: 978-1905512690, 96 pages

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Using a tanning salon as a front, Edinburgh-based Carlos Morales runs an operation that arranges contract killings.

Slight snag: his hit man’s in jail and won’t be out for a while. So when an anonymous – and very generous – payment arrives on account, Carlos decides to take the job on himself. He’s a pro. It can’t be that hard. But once the ‘mark’ is revealed, Carlos is forced to re-think his plans.

This is no longer business - it’s personal - because the ‘mark’ is his mother…

"Blacker than a dog’s guts." - Pulp Pusher

"Speedy, dialogue-driven and cleverly structured.” - Sunday Herald

"A dark, perfectly placed journey through psychoses, surreality and the twilight world of noir." - Crime Scene Scotland

"Razor-sharp characterization and an evocative sense of place…dark and splendid" - the Guardian

"Guthrie writes with an urgency, energy, cynical realism and mastery of casual violence that is rarely encountered in British crime writing" - The Times

"Guthrie’s control of this dark material is sheer wizardry." -
the Scotsman.

Allan Guthrie’s previous books include: Two-Way Split: Winner of Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year 2007; Hard Man: Shortlisted for Spinetingler Magazine award; Kiss Her Goodbye: Shortlisted for MWA Edgar,Gumshoe and Anthony awards. Allan lives in Edinburgh where he works as a literaryagent for Jenny Brown Associates.

Druids Hill
by Tighe Carl
ISBN: 978-1905512553 , 176 pages

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Druids Hill is set in Manchester and starts with the shocking murder of a fourteen year old – an unsolved crime. Many years later journalist Emma Tulip witnesses a death on a demonstration against General Pinochet. She had investigated the previous unsolved murder, and somehow these two deaths appeared to be linked. And Emma is now at risk herself.

Druids Hill is a story of police corruption, secret deals, assassination, torture and greed. Druids Hill is a political thriller linking events of today with those of the past.

"A superb new writer…a tightly executed range of experiences and styles." - Vogue

"Narrates terrible and bizarre events in a manner at once stiff and playful…" - the Guardian for Rejoice

Praise for KssssS:

"Carl Tighe has done it again, as he leaps up into the cosmos to pull down a tale that nicely sums up the finesse and folly that is man." - Jabberwocky Webb

Carl Tighe writes fiction and nonfiction – his awards include: Manchester City Life Writer of the Year, Shortlist for Whitbread First Novel Award, The Irish Times Fiction Award, and Author’s Club Award. He lives in Manchester and teaches creative writing at Derby University.

Carl Tighe writes fiction and nonfiction – his awards include: Manchester City Life Writer of the Year, Shortlist for Whitbread First Novel Award, The Irish Times Fiction Award, and Author’s Club Award. He lives in Manchester and teaches creative writing at Derby University.

The Good Son
by Russel D. McLean
ISBN: 978-1905512560 , 176 pages

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James Robertson, a local farmer, finds his estranged brother’s corpse hanging from a tree. The police claim suicide. But Dundonian private investigator J. McNee is about to uncover the disturbing truth behind the death. With a pair of vicious London hard men loose in the Scottish city, it’s only a matter of time before people start dying.

McNee must confront his own demons and these brutal killers in a violent, bloody showdown that threatens to leave no-one alive.

Russel McLean writes for Crime Spree Magazine, The Big Thrill (the newsletter of the International Thriller Writers Association), At Central Booking and Crime Scene Scotland. His short fiction has been published in crime fiction magazines worldwide.

"THE GOOD SON is the most exciting, and gripping, Scottish crime fiction debut of recent years. Stylish and atmospheric, it marks the arrival of a exceptional talent." - John Connolly, bestselling author of The Reapers

Speaking of Lust
by Lawrence Block
ISBN: 978-1905512539, 100 pages

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Four old friends; a policeman, a soldier, a doctor and a priest play cards and trade stories about sex.

Crime Express goes American with one of the biggest names in American crime fiction. Mystery Writer’s Grand Master Lawrence Block is the first American writer in this acclaimed series of novellas.

Lawrence Block is the second winner of the Cartier Diamond Dagger for Life Achievement from the UK Crime Writers Association to join Crime Express – the other being John Harvey.

"...based on the seven deadly sins...outrageous, explicit, gory, and just plain fun." - Mary Frances Wilkens, Booklist

“I had as much fun writing ‘Speaking of Lust’ as I’ve had with anything in years, and if you enjoy it half as much as I did you’ll be happy indeed.” - Lawrence Block

Lawrence Block’s novels range from urban noir to urbane effervescence. He was executive story editor for the TV series TILT. Several of his novels have been filmed. He is a past president of the Private Eye Writers of America and won the Edgar and Shamus awards four times each as well as the Nero Wolfe and Philip Marlowe awards, together with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America.

by Ray Banks
ISBN: 978-1905512522, 80 pages

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Richie, a man fresh out on licence and desperate for money to support his new family, agrees to pick up a converted air pistol for local drug dealer Goose. When Richie is beaten up and robbed, he's forced to retrieve the gun, as well as question his career choice.

"Banks is part of the post-Rankin generation for whom hardboiled is not just a state of mind but a reality. Tough-guy colloquial prose and a pace fast enough to skin a rabbit, at the service of a tale of down-and-dirty realism: this is fiery stuff." - The Guardian

Ray Banks is the author of four previous crime novels: The Big Blind, No More Heroes, Saturday's Child, and Donkey Punch. He currently lives in Newcastle but is known as part of the Scottish crime writing scene. He also writes for the rock magazine Bullet.

Banks joins John Harvey, Stephen Booth, Rod Duncan and Lawrence Block on the Crime Express.

The Okinawa Dragon
by Nicola Monaghan
ISBN: 978-1905512393, 96 pages

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Jack deals in cardboard, selling expensive and rare gaming cards to rich collectors. He makes plenty of money, travelling the world. He meets millionaire Henri, the man who has everything. Well, almost everything. Henri wants the elusive Okinawa Dragon, a one-off card given to a Japanese businessman who refuses to sell. A plan is hatched, and Jack is soon on his way to Osaka to complete Henri’s collection. There is only one way to get hold of something somebody doesn’t want to give.

Praise for Nicola Monaghan’s The Killing Jar:

"An exuberant debut that reaches the parts of Britain mainstream fiction usually leaves alone." - The Independent

"Direct and deceptively simple. In spite of the suffering there are surprising touches of humour and tenderness that bloom like flowers on asphalt." - The Times

"...often violent, it isn't gratuitous, and Kerrie-Ann's strident voice sounds authentic; her plight compelling and affecting."
- Independent on Sunday

"Utterly compelling reading about a 'dead stormy'" - coming of age Booklist (starred review)

"startling and potent debut novel. Powerful and complex."
- The Independent
The Quarry
by Clare Littleford
ISBN: 978-1905512423, 96 pages

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A frightened phone call from her young daughter sends Jenny Carter into the darkness of Quarry Woods, seventeen years after she swore she’d never return. What she finds there triggers a journey back to a horrific event in her own childhood – an event which now threatens the present.

Clare Littleford is the author of two previous crime novels. She is the crime reviewer of the Yorkshire Post.
The Mentalist
by Rod Duncan
ISBN: 978-1905512263, 70 pages

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Enthusiasts call Harry Gysel a psychic. To others he is a fraud, a meddler in the occult. When he appears to predict the death of a woman in the audience of one of his shows and that woman is subsequently found murdered, Harry becomes an instant celebrity. But Chief Inspector Morgan isn’t so easily convinced.

"You’ve come here to find the truth", says Harry Gysel to the audience, but the truth is not so easy to find…

Rod Duncan is the author of a trilogy of novels based around a fictional riot in contemporary inner-city Leicester. Backlash, Breakbeat and Burnout.

Backlash was shortlisted for the John Creasey award for the best debut crime novel of the year.

Praise for Rod Duncan's previous trilogy:

"Sheer page-turning compulsion" - Martyn Waites

"(this) pacy tale of life in the inner city shows that modern British crime fiction is alive and kicking over the traces" - Birmingham Post

"A thriller which has the reader gripped from the opening" - Leicester Mercury

"Separate but interlinked stories are played out where good and bad are never clearly defined and each chapter ends on a cliffhanger urging you to read on." - Big Issue
Trouble In Mind
by John Harvey
ISBN: 978-1905512256, 70 pages

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Jack Kiley, a professional footballer turned private investigator, is hired to track down a solider who has gone missing while on leave from Iraq. The soldier's mind is disturbed by what he has seen and done in the war, and he is armed. There are fears both for the man himself and for the safety of his estranged wife and two young children.

Kiley's search leads him to Nottingham, where he teams up with D. I. Charlie Resnick. Together they search the house where the soldier's wife and children have been living and find them gone, almost certainly taken against their will ... the only question now is, will they find them before it is too late?

Trouble in Mind brings together two of John Harvey’s major characters.

"No one in Britain is writing better crime fiction" - The Times

"One of the masters of British crime fiction" - Sunday Telegraph

"One of the leading writers of crime fiction alive today" - Le Monde

"A little gem of a book: it's a bit longer than a short story, and a bit shorter than a novella. Harvey is a wonderful writer. It's about a detective and a cop trying to find a soldier absent without leave from Iraq. It made me green with envy: it made me wonder if I over-write everything." - Mark Billingham, Sky Books Programme

John Harvey is the author of ten Charlie Resnick novels, the first of which, Lonely Hearts, was named by The Times (London) as one of the 100 Best Crime Novels of the Century.

In 2007 he was awarded the British Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for Sustained Excellence in Crime Writing for his title Flesh and Blood.