Sunday, 23 April 2017

Books to Look Forward to from Europa Editions

July 2017

Glass Souls is by Maurizio de Giovanni.  In the abyss of a profound personal crisis, Commissario Ricciardi feels unable to open himself up to life. He has refused the love of both Enrica and Livia and the friendship of his partner, Maione. Contentment for Ricciardi proves as elusive as clues to the latest crime he has been asked to investigate.  The beautiful, haughty Bianca, countess of Roccaspina, pleads with Ricciardi to investigate a homicide that was officially closed months ago. In the tense, charged atmosphere of 1930s Italy, where Benito Mussolini and his fascist thugs monitor the police closely, an unauthorized investigation is grounds for immediate dismissal and possible criminal charges. But Ricciardi's thirst for justice cannot be sated.  A tightly plotted historical noir novel, this eighth instalment in the Commissario Ricciardi series is a gripping meditation on revenge and justice in which each character's soul reveals itself to be made of glass.

August 2017

In Ostia, a depressed coastal settlement twenty miles from the powerful and corrupt city of Rome, a mighty local crime family, the Mafia, corrupt politicians, and new rabid criminal elements battle each other for a billion-dollar payoff. During the final days of Silvio Berlusconi's reign, a massive development proposal that will turn Ostia into a gambling paradise, a Las Vegas on the Mediterranean, is winding its way through the Italian legislature thanks to the sponsorship of politicians in the pay of crime syndicates with vested interests. In short, it's business as usual in the Italian capital. But a vicious gang of local thugs loyal to nobody but themselves is insisting on a bigger cut than agreed upon. They argue their case quite convincingly, but the Mafia and their political puppets aren't likely to back down without a fight.  Suburra is by Carlo Bonini and Giancarlo De Cataldo and is soon to be a Netflix original series.

October 2017

Ferocity is by Nicola Lagioia and is the Winner of the 2015 Strega Prize. Southern Italy, the 1980s. On a hot summer's night under a full moon, far from the outlying neighborhoods of a southern Italian metropolis, Clara stumbles naked, dazed, and bloodied down a major highway. When she dies no-one is able to say exactly how or why, but her brother cannot free himself from her memory or from the questions surrounding her death. The more he learns about her life and death, the more he uncovers the moral decay at the core of his family's ascent to social prominence.
Venice 1118 AD.  In a medieval Venice undone by devastating famine and excessive, orgiastic Carnival festivities of all kinds, the protagonists of The Apothecary's Shop chase a dream of rebirth, the eternal dream of defeating death.  The young Costanza, of the noble Grimani family, has disappeared. The family scribe, Edgardo, promises to return the girl to her family, who themselves may not be above suspicion. Doctors, apothecaries, undertakers, Eastern merchants, farmers: everyone seems to be involved in the girl's disappearance, even African slave traders.  Abella, Edgardo's ambiguous ally and the only female doctor in Venice, introduces him into secrets and occult practices of medicine. Through her, Edgardo discovers Sabbatai's Apothecary, where remedies and concoctions of all kinds are prepared and clues to Costanza's disappearance may lie.  The Apothecary's Shop is by Roberto Tiraboschi.

January 2018

The Sacco Gang is by Andrea Camilleri.  Raffadali, province of Agrigento, 1920s. The Sacco brothers are free men with strong ideas about socialism and the State. Their lives change radically one morning when their father, Luigi Sacco, receives an anonymous letter from the local Mafia demanding protection money and is the victim of a robbery attempt. Luigi tells the police of the extortion letters he received, but the police don't know what to do: no one in the village has ever dared denounce the Mafia before. From that moment on, the Sacco brothers must defend themselves: from the Mafia and the forces of order, from their collaborators, traitors, and from the village's leaders, as they are assailed by murder attempts, false accusations, and false testimony.  Through the tale of the Sacco brothers and what happens to the town of Raffadali, The Sacco Gang makes clear that not only does the mafia kill people, but it can also condition and irreparably devastate people's lives.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

2017 Arthur Ellis Award Shortlist

Best Novel
City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong, Penguin Random House of Canada
After James by Michael Helm McClelland & Stewart
Dead Ground in Between by Maureen Jennings McClelland & Stewart
Wishful Seeing by Janet Kellough  Dundurn Press
The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey Viking Canada

Best First Novel (Sponsored by Kobo)
Rum Luck by Ryan Aldred, Five Star Publishing
Cold Girl by R.M.Greenaway Dundurn Press
Where the Bodies Lie by Mark Lisac, NeWest Press
Still Mine by Amy Stuart Simon & Schuster Canada
Strange Things Done by Elle Wild, Dundurn Press

Best Novella The Lou Allin Memorial Award
Rundown by Rick Blechta, Orca Book Publishers
No Trace by Brenda Chapman, Grass Roots Press
The Devil You Know by Jas. R. Petrin, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Dell Publishing
When Blood Lies by Linda L. Richards, Orca Book Publishers
The Village That Lost Its Head by Peter Robinson, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Dell Publishing

Best Short Story
Steve’s Story by Cathy Ace - The Whole She-Bang 3, Toronto Sisters in Crime
A Death at the Parsonage by Susan Daly - The Whole She-Bang 3, Toronto Sisters in Crime
Where There’s a Will by Elizabeth Hosang, The Whole She-Bang 3, Toronto Sisters in Crime
The Ascent by Scott Mackay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Dell Publishing
The Granite Kitchen by David Morrell Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Dell Publishing

Best Book in French
Marie-Eve Bourassa Red Light: Adieu, Mignonne, Groupe Ville-Marie Littérature, vlb éditions
Chrystine Brouillet, Vrai ou faux, Éditions Druide
Guillaume Morrissette, Terreur domestique, Guy Saint-Jean Éditeur
Johanne Seymour, Rinzen et l’homme perdu, Expression Noire
Richard Ste-Marie, Le Blues des sacrifiés, Éditions Alire

Best Juvenile/YA Book
Masterminds: Criminal Destiny by Gordon Korman Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.
Trial by Fire by Norah McClintock, Orca Book Publishers
The Girl in a Coma by John Moss The Poisoned Pencil- Poisoned Pen Press
Shooter by Caroline Pignat Tundra Books
Another Me by Eva Wiseman Tundra Books

Best Nonfiction Book
Life Sentence: Stories from Four Decades of Court Reporting — or, How I Fell Out of Love with the Canadian Justice System by Christie Blatchford Doubleday Canada
The Ballad of Danny Wolfe: Life of a Modern Outlaw by Joe Friesen Signal McClelland & Stewart
A Daughter's Deadly Deception: The Jennifer Pan Story by Jeremy Grimaldi, Dundurn Press
Black River Road: An Unthinkable Crime, an Unlikely Suspect, and the Question of Character by Debra Komar Goose Lane
Shadow of Doubt: The Trial of Dennis Oland by Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon Goose Lane

Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel (Sponsored by Dundurn Press)
An Absence of Empathy by Mary Fernando
The Golkonda Project by S.J. Jennings
Concrete Becomes Her by Charlotte Morganti
Celtic Knot by Ann Shortell
The Last Dragon by Mark Thomas

The Derrick Murdoch Award is a special achievement award for contributions to the crime genre the 2017 recipient is Christina Jennings who is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Shaftesbury Films. She has won a number of awards, including Genies, Geminis and Canadian Screen Awards, among several other nominations and accolades throughout her career.

Congratulations to all the nominees.  The 2017 Arthur Ellis Award winners will be announced on May 25th 2017 at the award dinner that is due to take place at the Arts and Letters Club, 14 Elm Street, Toronto, ON

Friday, 21 April 2017

Emma Kavanagh on How to spot a psychopath

credit Matthew Jones
The number of psychopaths within the general population is high enough that most of us will have contact with a psychopath at some point during your average week. (I should point out that I work in my living room with my cat for company - unless she is one, this statistic does not apply to me) And whilst our image of psychopathy is often that of a criminal, statistics suggest that many psychopaths move with some measure of success throughout society. And yet, because of the differences that exist within the brain of a psychopath, their responses to us can range from the unpleasant to the downright dangerous. So how do we protect ourselves?

The Psychopathy Checklist - Revised (PCL-R) was designed by Robert Hare to enable practitioners to identify psychopaths. Below are some of its key points. Now, it should be noted that for a full and accurate diagnosis, an extensive interview should be conducted by a qualified psychologist. However, hopefully, the points listed below will be sufficient to give you some forewarning and perhaps enable you to protect yourself.

Grandiose sense of self
You know those people who just seem to think they are better than anyone else? Psychopaths typically display a greatly inflated view of their own worth and capabilities. This means that they operate under the belief that they are better than you, smarter than you, more deserving than you. They tend to see themselves as the centre of the universe, and so are justified in following their own rules rather than those of society.

Pathological lying
Psychopaths are natural liars. They will lie about the strangest of things, apparently for no other reason than for ‘duping delight’ - the thrill of lying. They are such proficient liars, that their victims will often find themselves doubting their own knowledge rather than the words of the psychopath. When caught in a lie, the psychopath is rarely embarrassed, but will simply concoct another story to cover up the gaps. It is easy for them - they experience no guilt, no fear of discovery, none of the things that may prevent the rest of us from lying.

Perhaps the most well-known psychopathic trait is a lack of empathy, an inability for psychopaths to understand and appreciate the emotions of others. However, recent brain imaging studies have indicated that this conclusion may be too simplistic, and that, when pushed, psychopaths can in fact form a mental representation of the experience of others. What is unclear, however, is how emotional this is. Is it simply the case that they cognitively understand another’s experience, but do not appreciate the depth of their feelings? It is fair to say that a psychopath will struggle to empathise. However, it should be noted that, because they are such good liars, they can feign it pretty well.

Psychopaths rarely consider the wisdom of a course of action or its possible consequences. Their behaviour can be reckless in the extreme. They can be highly reactive to perceived insults, and will struggle to control their reactions. 

Obligations and commitments mean absolutely nothing to psychopaths. They are likely to show a pattern of erratic job performance, of abandonment of responsibilities and can generally be considered to be untrustworthy.

Glib, superficial charm
The psychopath can be extremely effective in presenting themselves. They will often come across very well to those who meet them and may be considered likeable and charming. However, sometimes the act will seem to be a little bit overdone. You may feel that they are just a little too smooth, giving the impression that they are perpetually playing a role. Psychopaths will also frequently feign knowledge of a wide range of subjects, using sufficient jargon that, to the uninformed observer, their knowledge will seem to be comprehensive. Those with greater knowledge on these subjects are unlikely to be fooled and will quickly notice that the psychopath’s knowledge appears ‘thin’, with little substance to back it up.

Shallow affect
The psychopath will have a limited range and depth of feeling, and so appear unemotional. When they do display emotion, it’s almost as if they are behaving in the way they think they should, rather than actually feeling the emotions they portray. It’s commonly said that the psychopath “knows the words but not the music”. They are also prone to sudden, dramatic, but short-lived displays of temper.

Need for Stimulation
The psychopath will have an ongoing, excessive need for excitement. They are people who live life on the edge, sometimes even committing crimes for the sheer thrill of it. They do not cope well with the monotony that comes with a routine, and are easily bored.

Parasitic lifestyle
They are frequently seen to be living off other people, using those around them for their own ends.

Early behavioural problems
Psychopaths generally begin to exhibit serious behavioural problems at an early age - for example, persistent lying, theft, fire-setting, bullying, etc. Whilst these behaviours are not uncommon in children raised in difficult, disrupted environments, the behaviour of psychopaths is markedly more extreme. Another common factor is early cruelty to animals - often a sign of serious emotional and behavioural problems.

None of these factors alone do a psychopath make. It is only when they are all taken together that one can start considering psychopathy as a factor. Whilst not all psychopaths are criminals, it is true to say that coping with one in your everyday life can be exhausting, exasperating and sometimes psychologically damaging. If you do find yourself in this situation, it is important that you take extra care in protecting yourself, both physically and emotionally, from the harm they may cause.

The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh (Arrow, Paperback Original & eBook, £6.99, 21st April 2017).

The first body comes as a shock. The second brings horror. The third signals the beginning of a nightmare. When fifteen-year-old Isla Bell finds three bodies propped against Hadrian's Wall, her whole world falls apart. In such a close-knit community, everyone knows the victims, and the man who did it. Twenty years on and Isla has dedicated her life to forensic psychology; studying the brains of serial killers, and even coming face to face with the convicted murderer who turned her world upside down. She is safe after all, with him behind bars. Then another body appears against the Wall. And another. As the nightmare returns and the body count rises, everyone in town is a suspect.