Kotaro Isaka’s Three Assassins follows hot on the heels of the release of Bullet Train, the Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt, based on the English-language edition of the author’s previous thriller of the same name. The novel alternates between the voices of Suzuki, a former middle school math teacher turned scammer; The Whale, a towering presence who convinces his victims to end their own lives; and Cicada, a notorious killer of entire families. 

Three years ago, Deepti Kapoor’s Indian crime trilogy went through a bidding war, not just for the books—including translations in fifteen languages—but also for Hollywood film rights. As unusual as crime blockbusters set in India may be, Age of Vice, the first book in the trilogy, has catapulted Kapoor into the running for the hottest new crime writer of the moment.

It’s 1951 and Jean-Luc Guéry, a perpetual ne’er-do-well, has arrived in Saigon from his native Côte d’Azur to look into the as yet unsolved murder of his brother. Guéry, a hack reporter for the regional Journal d’Antibes, has a fondness for alcohol and a weakness for gambling. His brother, on the other hand, was running a respectable business importing agricultural machinery but was found floating face down in the Arroyo Chinois with a bullet in his head. 

With its opening scene of a hard-boiled interrogation of murder suspect Han Manu, Lemon seems to be setting the reader up for yet another rote exercise in crime fiction. And the reader follows the cues, according to convention: skeptically receiving the detective’s attributions of guilt to a clearly confused Manu, suspecting that the murder of the teenage girl that has taken place will prove to be anything but a clear-cut case—and, still, satiated with the requisite hunger to plunge onward, with the promise of more clues to be unveiled shortly in the course of what is, after all, a refreshingly thin novel. 

Diversity, even—or perhaps especially—Asian diversity, in crime novels and dramatizations is of course nothing new: Inspector Ganesh Ghote first appeared in 1964; Priyanka Chopra debuted in Quantico in 2015. But, mirroring the real world, there is now diversity within the diversity. Bloody Foreigners, Neil Humphreys’s latest “Inspector Low” novel, this time has the bipolar Singapore detective being called upon by London’s Detective Inspector Ramila Mistry to help with the murder of moonlighting Singapore student Mohamed Kamal in Chinatown.