Barbara Ludman reviews Rafael Reig's <i>Blood on the Saddle</i> and <i>A Pretty Face</i>, set in a dystopian world where the oil has run out and parts of Madrid have been flooded, so one gets around by boat, bicycle or elevated electrobus, as well as Michael Harvey's <i>The Chicago Way</i>.
Why are readers so stuck on series? Do we count the cast as personal friends or are we longing for the familiar in a world out of control? Whatever the reason, the authors of crime novels tend to be caught in a web of their own spinning, unable to jettison a likeable or interesting protagonist and create something different.
In his new life Mac Faraday is a blacksmith set up on his late father's spread not too far from Melbourne. In his old life, he was a senior detective in the Australian federal police, but he left after a stakeout went sour and he's trying to forget the whole thing. Then his friend on the next farm is found hanging in a machine shed.