Byline: by John Williams
The Nearest Exit
by Olen Steinhauer Corvus [pounds sterling]14.99 % [pounds sterling]13.99 inc p&p ****
Stephen King has hailed Steinhauer as the best espionage writer since Le Carre. On this evidence, that's a generous but not outrageous comparison. Steinhauer shares Le Carre's cynical world view. The central character, Milo Weaver, who first appeared in The Tourist, Steinhauer's breakthrough book, is a reluctant assassin working for a secretive branch of US intelligence. Here we find him determined to forge a new life with his estranged wife and child. But first, he has one more assignment, plunging him into a hall of mirrors in which nothing and no one are what they seem.
Full Dark, No Stars
by Stephen King Hodder & Stoughton [pounds sterling]18.99 % [pounds sterling]16.99 inc p&p *****
This is a collection of three finely wrought novellas, all concerning violence against women, packaged along with a short story, the blackly humorous Fair Extension. The novella is a much underrated form and King is one of its modern-day masters. The opening one here, 1922, offers a bleak account of a botched murder, the consequences of which are as unimaginably horrible for its perpetrators as for the victim. …