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DAVID CROZIER reviews Relics, The Two-Minute Rule, The Scent of the Night and Dying Light.

PUBLISHED: 12:35 26 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:25 07 September 2010

RELICS by Pip Vaughan-Hughes Orion, £6.99 Set in 13th century England, Vaughan-Hughes s thriller tells of Brother Petroc – Patch to his friends – who is framed for murder by a sinister Templar Knight and is forced to run for his life. Unfortunately, when

RELICS

by Pip Vaughan-Hughes

Orion, £6.99

Set in 13th century England, Vaughan-Hughes's thriller tells of Brother Petroc - Patch to his friends - who is framed for murder by a sinister Templar Knight and is forced to run for his life. Unfortunately, when he flees, he's clutching a priceless relic - St Euphemia's hand - which gives evidence to the Templar's lie.

Before long, and with the long arm of the church on his trail, his best friend has been murdered and he's fled the country. But he soon realises that he must not only avenge his friend's death but find out the truth behind these baffling events - something which appears to be connected to a saint who died a thousand years earlier.

A good historical thriller, once it gets up to speed Relics rattles along nicely with some excellent touches and a wholly satisfying ending. A debut novel that leaves you looking forward to the author's next work.

THE TWO MINUTE RULE

by Robert Crais

Orion, £6.99

I'm a bit suspicious of any book endorsed by Dan Brown but I shouldn't be in this case because Crais has been writing cracking crime novels for donkey's years now and this latest one is a belter. The title refers to the length of time you can expect at a robbery before the police show up. Break the rule and you face a lifetime in jail. When an aging ex-con finally gets out of jail, his son is killed in what is exposed as a revenge killing. His son, you see, was a policeman.

Police corruption rears its ugly head and despite his dodgy past, it becomes the father's last duty to clear his son's name and catch the killer. Crais is rated one of the best crime thriller writers around and fans of the genre won't be disappointed by this one.

THE SCENT OF

THE NIGHT

by Andrea Camilleri

Picador, £12.99

The latest in the hugely popular Inspector Montalbano series involves a few missing lire (several billion in fact), a favourite olive tree and all the usual vigour and wit. Fans of Donna Leon will love it - and, at the time of writing, previous books in the series are on a three-for-two deal at Waterstone's so there's no reason not to catch up.

DYING LIGHT

by Stuart MacBride

Harper, £6.99

Just when you thought Ian Rankin had Scottish detective fiction sewn up, up pops Stuart MacBride with his second novel set in the granite city, Aberdeen. It starts with a naked prostitute, beaten to death down by the docks, and gets worse from there. DS Logan McRae is in his superiors' bad books after a botched raid and he needs to solve this one pretty quick. Then another dead prostitute turns up... Gritty and gripping, it's every bit as good as its predecessor (Cold Granite) and marks MacBride out as one to watch.

David Crozier

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