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crime fiction

Detail of an illustration prepared for the print version of this story.Sam Kalda/The Globe and Mail

Trust Your Eyes
By Linwood Barclay, Doubleday Canada, 496 pages, $22

Linwood Barclay has taken a chance in Trust Your Eyes, his 11th novel, and it pays off. This is, by far, his best yet. Even better, it promises well for future books.

The main plot is a riff on Rear Window, but instead of an broken-legged journalist, we have solitary schizophrenic Thomas Kilbride. Thomas spends his days travelling the Earth via a computer program that sounds a lot like Google Maps. On one of his virtual journeys, he sees a murder. But who is going to believe a madman? Thomas tries to tell his brother, Ray, what he has seen, but it's mixed in with CIA conspiracy theories and the flotsam of a mixed-up mind.

Then a photograph shows up that proves Thomas wasn't hallucinating. But just as Ray sees the truth of his brother's story, the photo vanishes and the pair are enveloped in a real conspiracy, one that may kill them both.

Barclay tends to overly complicated plots, so there are a couple of side stories that could have been cut, but that's a minor flaw. Trust Your Eyes is a terrific thriller, and readers are already debating whether Thomas is a schizophrenic or high-functioning autistic. When folks get that involved with a character, a book is near perfect

In the Darkness
By Karin Fossum, translated by James Anderson, Random House, 314 pages, $22

Fossum's very first Konrad Sejer novel, published in Norway in 1995, will fill in some gaps for fans of the series. It also shows just how well she constructs a mystery. Along with Sejer and the cops, we have a dead man in the river and a woman named Eva, who finds the body; she doesn't call the police, but someone else. And what does it all have to do with a dead prostitute who is already on Sejer's mind? This clever, elegant policier shows why Fossum is hailed as the Ruth Rendell of Nordic crime.

Death in Breslau
By Marek Krajewski, translated by Danusia Stok, Melville House, 256 pages, $24.95

A first glance, one might dismiss this as a reprise of Philip Kerr's brilliant Berlin Noir books, but Breslau's Police Inspector Eberhard Mock is no Bernie Gunther. It's 1933 in the Silesian city, and Mock is faced with the brutal rape and murder of the daughter of a local noble who is connected to the Nazis. Mock finds a convenient suspect – an epileptic Jewish man – and closes the case. But the case reopens, and Mock must find the real killer or face a concentration camp himself. This is the first of four Mock novels. It promises to be a great quartet.

The Red Pole Of Macau
By Ian Hamilton, Anansi, 336 pages, $19.95

Ava Lee, that wily, wonderful hunter of nasty business brutes, is back in her best adventure ever. Her brother, Michael, is in trouble. There's a multimillion-dollar deal in Macau that looked great, but the developers want another $80-million to keep the concrete pouring. Michael wants out, the bank wants money and Ava's father is willing to spend his last buck to save Michael's deal. Enter Ava and an old client, Ms. May Ling Wong, and a trip into the money pit of Hong Kong and some very dangerous people. If you haven't yet discovered Ava Lee, start here.