The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Tales of a woman journo in jeopardy, the return of Ian Rankin and an internet obsessive hit the spot
Five years ago, in Ali Knight's The First Cut (Hodder, £7.99), young London journalist Nicky attended her best friend Grace's birthday party in the Oxfordshire countryside.
The weekend's celebrations ended with Nicky's discovery of Grace's corpse. The murder has never been solved.
Now, with her marriage in turmoil, her job as a newspaper obituarist under threat from new technology and still in mourning for Grace, Nicky is flattered when a much younger man starts flirting with her on a plane.
What harm can a little fun do, provided it doesn't go too far? But in woman-in-jeopardy stories all men have secrets - especially the good-looking ones.
Now Nicky's survival depends on working out which of the men in her life mean her well, and which don't.
Knight's second novel is an absorbing romantic suspense tale, with one or two set pieces in particular which really do make the reader's heart beat a little faster.
Five years after retiring as a detective inspector in Edinburgh, John Rebus is working as a civilian in the cold cases unit, in Standing In Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin (Orion, £12.99).
When he listens sympathetically to the mother of a missing girl who is convinced that her daughter's case is linked to several similar disappearances, Rebus triggers a major investigation.
He might even manage to solve the mystery - if he can stay one step ahead of Rankin's other series character, Malcolm Fox of the complaints department, who is determined that modern policing has no place for mavericks like Rebus.
The only slight disappointment for me in Rebus's long-awaited return is that, like his first outing, it's a serial killer story, a format that seems a little tired these days even in the hands of a master like Rankin.
But apart from that, this is vintage Rebus - his life measured out in fag breaks and vinyl LPs, his drinking habits hovering somewhere between alcoholism and connoisseurship, a loner in practice though not in his heart and the kind of rough-cut hero who can't help winding up his bosses and wouldn't if he could.
It's as if the old boy has never been away and his millions of fans will be delighted.
In upstate New York, in Linwood Barclay's Trust Your Eyes (Orion, £18.99), a man sits in his room all day every day, obsessively walking the cities of the world via a mapping website, convinced he's performing vital work of national security.
His photographic memory, and his belief that Bill Clinton regularly phones to debrief him, are symptoms of his mental illness - which in turn is the reason no-one takes him seriously when he claims to have witnessed a murder online.
This 21st century variation on the Rear Window set-up, with, as is Barclay's way, layer upon layer of added conspiracies and new twists, is both a gripping thriller and a touching story about the relationship between two brothers who have little in common but their blood.
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