Authors pick top lockdown crime novels

Ahead of the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival, which begins online on 18 September, authors Alex Gray and Gordon Brown – who writes as Morgan Cry – pick their favourite lockdown books.

Alex Gray

Three books that were really good during lockdown days include Kate Atkinson’s Big Sky. A terrific read, thoroughly enjoyable, beautifully written and quirky. You are a crime writer sometimes, Kate. Come to Bloody Scotland.

I read lots of debut crime novels, far too many to mention, but there were several that stood out from the pack like The Lizard by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart. The storyline set in Greece was perfect escapism for lockdown readers and I loved the twist ending that promises a sequel.

I am hooked on Mick Heron’s “Slow Horses” series and his latest, Joe Country, was brilliant. Black humour and fast-paced action, offbeat characters and biting political satire combine to make this my most entertaining book of the lockdown.

When Shadows Fall by Alex Gray is the 17th in the Lorimer series. It’s published by Sphere.

Morgan Cry

November Road by Lou Berney: The story of a loyal gangster who knows too much about the death of Kennedy. Dialogue as sharp as a continental cut suit. Description that breathes the sixties. A road book that has more twists than the highway and plot so cleverly woven into the events surrounding the assassination that you can’t help but be hypnotised by Berney.

Jeremiah’s Bell by Denzil Meyrick: Meyrick has a way of painting with words that brings the world of Kinloch, on Scotland’s west coast, alive with a deft balance of humour and intrigue. Jeremiah’s Bell travels in time and unlocks long-hidden mysteries for DCI Daley – peeling that story onion with skill. But look out for the “real star”, DS Scott and his foot-in-the-mouth approach to life.

Mr Mercedes by Stephen King: King steps into crime writing with an ease that makes you sick. Ex-cop Bill Hodges hunts the Mercedes killer, Brady Hartsfield, a bad guy up there with the best of Kings’ creations. With help from two of the most unlikely of friends, you can’t help rooting for Hodges, booing at Hartsfield and sprinting through the pages to a seat-edge conclusion.

Thirty-One Bones by Morgan Cry (Gordon Brown) was published by Polygon on 2 July.

The Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival will take place online from 18 September, which will coincide with the announcement of the winners of The McIlvanney Prize 2020 and The Bloody Scotland Debut Prize 2020. Find out more at

Read more book news and reviews on Scottish Field’s book pages.