James wolff

The chase looms large in the best new thrillers

The ‘chase’ thriller is the fallback choice of writers looking for an easy way to make the pages turn. The Continental Affair (Bedford Square, £16.99) shows a gifted writer embracing the more obvious traits of these novels, while adding some innovative twists of her own. The story is set during the Algerian war that led to independence; its co-protagonist Henri is a former Algerian gendarme, of French and Spanish descent, who deserts when he is made to interrogate a childhood friend. Henri takes refuge in Grenada among his late mother’s family – countless cousins, and all of them crooks. As they get to know Henri, the cousins decide to give

Secret treaties and games of cat and mouse: a choice of recent crime fiction

Almost any promising writer of spy fiction can expect at some point to be called the ‘next Le Carré’, an accolade even more promiscuously applied since the death of the master. James Wolff has immediate credentials to jump the queue, since, like Le Carré, he uses a pseudonym and claims to work at the Foreign Office — though his familiarity with surveillance techniques suggests a slightly different employer. How to Betray Your Country (Bitter Lemon Press, £8.99) arrives as the second in a planned trilogy, hard on the heels of Wolff’s striking debut, Beside the Syrian Sea. August Drummond is a former British intelligence officer, cashiered for insubordination after the