Tuesday, 21 January 2020

2019 Agatha Award Nominees

The 2019 Agatha Award nominees have been announced.  The winners will be announced at Malice Domestic 32 which will be taking place between 1 – 3 May at the Agatha Awards Banquet.

Best Contemporary Novel
Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur)
Fair Game by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
A Better Man by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
The Murder List by Hank Philippi Ryan (Forge)

Best First Mystery Novel
A Dream of Death by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books)
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House, a division of Harlequin)
Murder Once Removed by S. C. Perkins (Minotaur)
When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano (Encircle Publications)
Staging for Murder by Grace Topping (Henery Press)

Best Historical Mystery 
Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen (Penquin)
Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur)
The Pearl Dagger by L. A. Chandlar (Kensington)
Charity’s Burden by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)
The Naming Game by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Publishing)

Best Nonfiction
Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story by Laird R. Blackwell (McFarland)
Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrified Los Angeles by Julia Bricklin (Lyons Press)
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep (Knopf)
The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women by Mo Moulton (Basic Books)
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt)

Best Children/Young Adult
Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak (Disney Hyperion)
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen MacManus (Delacorte Press)
The Last Crystal by Frances Schoonmaker (Auctus Press)
Top Marks for Murder (A Most Unladylike Mystery)
by Robin Stevens (Puffin)
Jada Sly, Artist and Spy by Sherri Winston (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

Best Short Story
"Grist for the Mill" by Kaye George in A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books)
"Alex’s Choice" by Barb Goffman in Crime Travel (Wildside Press)
"The Blue Ribbon" by Cynthia Kuhn in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"The Last Word" by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"Better Days" by Art Taylor in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine



Friday, 17 January 2020

CFP: Murder and True Crime in the Media

Proposals are invited for an interdisciplinary conference at St Mary’sUniversity, Twickenham on Friday 29th May 2020. 

Book your free place on the conference website:

New Confirmed Keynotes
Dr Sarah Moore‘s research is concerned with gender and risk, she has published work on media representation of date rape and student beliefs concerning drug-facilitated sexual assault. Sarah is the author of Crime and the Media (2014, Palgrave Macmillan) 

Dr Jane Monckton-Smith has published on interpersonal violence, stalking, coercive control, domestic abuse and homicide prevention. Jane is also the author of the Homicide Timeline – the 8 stages. 

About the Conference 
Modern audiences demonstrate and appetite for true crime, and particularly stories that involve murder. Whilst public fascination for true crime is not new, the genre has long dominated our entertainment industries, from biopics, whodunnits, to gangster films; interest in true crime is certainly renewed. One reason for the resurgence of popularity for true crime is Industrial. There is a recent influx of new content available. Making a Murderer can be viewed through the lens of Netflix and binge-watching, Sarah Koenig’s Serial is closely linked to an increase in podcast listeners. Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil, and Vile and Mindhunter both demonstrate the draw for well-known stars (such as Zac Efron) and personnel (David Fincher) to this genre. 

Where there is scheduling, there is also a market. The people that ‘demand’ on demand. Therefore, alongside these industrial contexts, there are a number of wider factors involved in the surge of murder content. Violent crimes, particularly murder, have ideal narrative structures with a ready-made story arc, ‘social order is disrupted by a deviant act, the guilty are sought and generally identified, and, finally, justice is done or thwarted’ (Auden in Moore, 2014: 177). They are enigma narratives that compel audiences to binge-watch the investigation so that they may finally achieve satisfaction in the form of closure. Some narratives are exoneration tales, using documentary as trial spaces that jurify the public (Bruzzi, 2016), others provide us with an opportunity to experience fear in a safe environment. David Altheide’s (2002) work on fear and the news and Ulrich Beck’s (1992) on Risk Society demonstrates how a perceived lack of control over our lives has led to a preoccupation with safety and risk. 

Through the consideration of murder in the press, documentaries, films and novels, this conference will interrogate the different representations of true crime and how these can contribute to important debates in contemporary culture and society. For instance, can analysis into victims shed light on the way that social groups are constructed in the media, and whether there is a process of selection occurring? How can the study of murder cases provide further insight into coercive control? How might the representations of crimes vary, from knife crime, organised crime, to the glamorisation or even celebrification of some serial killers? What are the ethical considerations when producing murder content and how do platforms such as podcasts and YouTube, pose issues of regulation?

Papers are invited from a broad range of disciplines including Media, Film, Criminology, Sociology, Law. Some focal points include (but are not limited to) 

·         The victims and/or survivors of murder 

·         Serial killers and/or mass murderers in the media 

·         Organised crime and human trafficking  

·         Murder in the news 

·         Policing and the murder investigation 

·         Domestic violence  

·         Coercive control 

·         True Crime trials – the use of documentary and podcasts as an alternative ‘trial space’ to either exonerate the falsely accused or announce culprits (and negotiations in-between) 

 ·       The platforms and technologies of true crime - Netflix, podcasts, YouTube, crime binge-watching (extending to issues of regulation) 

·         The ethical considerations involved in murder themed productivity 

·         Negotiating risk and fear in true crime  

·         Cultivation theory 


Please submit a maximum 500-word abstract by Friday 14th February 2020 to
 Dr Maria Mellins,  maria.mellins@stmarys.ac.uk 
St Mary’s University, Waldegrave Road, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham. TW1 4SX. 

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

2020 Left Coast Crime - Lefty Award Nominees

The Left Coast Crime “Lefty” Awards are fan awards chosen by registered members of the Left Coast Crime convention. Nominations for awards to be presented at each annual convention are made by people registered for that convention and also the immediately prior convention. A ballot listing the official nominees is given to each registrant when they check in at the convention, and final voting takes place at the convention. The ballots are tabulated and that year’s Lefty Awards are presented at the Awards Celebration.

Left Coast Crime 2020 will be presenting four Lefty Awards at the 30th annual LCC convention in San Diego, California The Lefty awards will be voted on at the convention and presented at the Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 14, 2020, at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley.

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
Murder from Scratch by Leslie Karst (Crooked Lane Books)
The Subject of Malice by Cynthia Kuhn (Henery Press)
Scot & Soda by Catriona McPherson (Midnight Ink)
Drowned Under by Wendall Thomas (Poisoned Pen Press)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial)
for books covering events before 1970
Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur Books)
The Pearl Dagger by L.A. Chandlar,  (Kensington Books)
A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington Books)
The Body in Griffith Park by Jennifer Kincheloe (Seventh Street Books)
The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel
Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha (Ecco)
Borrowed Time by Tracy Clark (Kensington Books)
Lost Tomorrows by Matt Coyle (Oceanview Publishing)
They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge Books)
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke (Mulholland Books)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel
The Ninja Daughter by Tori Eldridge (Agora Books)
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton Books)
One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)
Three-Fifths by John Vercher (Agora Books)
Murderabilia by Carl Vonderau, (Midnight Ink)

To be eligible, titles must have been published for the first time in the United States or Canada during 2019, in book or ebook format. (If published in other countries before 2019, a book is still eligible if it meets the US or Canadian publication requirement.)

Monday, 13 January 2020

Six Wicked Reasons by Joanne Spain

Extract from Six Wicked Reasons -

This was her world. These days, you couldn’t get next nor near Greenwich Village for the rent she was paying for this place. But when Clio had arrived, four years ago, at the tender age of twenty-one, her then-boyfriend had already secured the rent-controlled studio from a departing expat and Clio had clung onto it ever since.

At the time, the boyfriend had told her she’d never grow accustomed to New York. Clio was used to sleeping in the blackest of nights, a blanket of stars overhead, to a soundtrack of lapping waves and gulls. 

Bleecker Street was sirens and pneumatic drills and nightclub revellers and car horns.

In the end, it was the boyfriend who ran home. Clio stayed, working in various bars or restaurants, taking cleaning work and other jobs – any position that would pay her cash in hand.

She’d told herself she didn’t need much money once the essentials were covered.

Walking along the Hudson was free. The city’s art galleries and libraries regularly ran open-house nights. Shows could be seen for half price if you were happy to queue or knew somebody on the concession stand. Drinks flowed liberally if you found the right barman to screw.

It said a lot about her personality that she could see the positives. Most people who’d been done out of fifty-plus grand on their twenty-first birthday and endured what she had would have been bitter about their circumstances.

Clio zipped up her holdall and looked around the room one last time.

There was a definite nostalgic lump in her throat.

Here, in a small apartment in a big city, she’d found independence. She’d found peace. The space to be just Clio, and not Clíodhna Lattimer, youngest of the brood, daughter of Frazer and Kathleen, sister to. . . you know the ones.

But it hadn’t all been easy.

In fact, at a certain point, it had been spectacularly shit.

But even prisoners find it hard to leave their cells and face the outside world.

People ran out of empathy, somebody had once told her. They could listen to your pain for a while, but then their worlds moved on. Nobody stayed long in the company of a victim.

So, she would never let anybody know the full truth of what she’d endured.

Clio picked up the white rectangular envelope she’d left on the bed.
She’d taken the letter out of its original envelope. This one was plain, no name or address inscribed on its front.

The letter had started it all. It explained everything.

She’d promised herself she’d get rid of it. If anybody knew she had it, if they read it, they’d learn what she’d learned. But she couldn’t destroy it. She needed to keep reading the words, to remind herself why she was returning to Spanish Cove.

She tucked it into her handbag and grabbed her holdall and wheelie suitcase containing the sum of her worldly possessions.

‘Goodbye, home,’ she said, her voice caught on a sob, and left.

The screech of aeroplanes braking on the runway at JFK airport.

A long line of yellow cabs; a wide expanse of stone-grey buildings; glass-fronted terminals; a mass of travellers, the experienced and the wide-eyed.

Inside, in a tiny office, a twenty-five-year-old woman pretending not to give a damn but, truthfully, trembling like a little child.

‘It’s Clio. Clio, like the car, you know? Renault Clio? Not Cleo like the queen. But you pronounce it like that.’

‘It says here on your passport Cleed-na . . . Clee-odd-ha-na, ma’am.’

‘It’s Clíodhna. Clee-oh-na. This is exactly why I use Clio. For the love of Christ, is this going to take much longer? Can’t you hear the announcements? That’s my fucking plane they’re talking about.’

‘Ma’am, please refrain from using expletives.’

The large black security official’s eyes bored into Clio’s. She felt the heat burning red hot in her cheeks. She blinked first, lowered her gaze. This small interrogation office she’d been brought to, after being plucked out of the passport control line post-security, already felt like a prison cell. She wanted out.

‘You will be accompanied through the terminal to your flight. You will stay in the boarding lounge. You will be. . .’

Clio switched off at that point. She had no rights, no argument to make.

She’d overstayed her welcome in the greatest country in the world and now she was being chaperoned out of it. Make America.

Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain (Published by Quercus Publishing)
It's June 2008 and twenty-one-year-old Adam Lattimer vanishes, presumed dead. The strain of his disappearance breaks his already fragile family.  Ten years later, with his mother deceased and siblings scattered across the globe, Adam turns up unannounced at the family home. His siblings return reluctantly to Spanish Cove, but Adam's reappearance poses more questions than answers. The past is a tangled web of deceit.  And, as tension builds, it's apparent somebody has planned murderous revenge for the events of ten years ago.

Friday, 10 January 2020

When The Dead Comes Calling by Helen Sedgwick

I didn’t mean to write a Brexit novel. In fact, I really, really didn’t want to do that. I don’t even mention the word Brexit anywhere in When The Dead Come Calling.

What I wanted to do was write about a place and how it has been shaped by its past. More specifically, about how crimes of the past don’t just go away; how what we bury doesn’t just disappear. That is true in a literal sense for one of the characters when an unsolved decades-old crime against them becomes part of the present day police investigation into a brutal murder. It also happens in a more metaphorical sense for the village of Burrowhead – the fictional setting for my book on the Northwest coast of England – and to our society as a whole.

We have a past, here in the UK. It’s a deeply unpleasant one, and it is not done with us yet. What I was really writing about was a society on the verge of breaking, and societies don’t break overnight. To see the cause, to understand why a place becomes what it is, and fails the way it does, then we have to look back at what has happened there over generations, even over centuries.

In the present day, the villagers of Burrowhead are desperate. The village is isolated, miles from the nearest town, sitting on a wind-battered coast, and with very little left in the way of facilities. There is one shop, the Spar, run by Pamali Patel. There is a rusty playground – the site of the present-day murder that opens the book. Unemployment and poverty have led to hopelessness, which has brought with it resentment, blame, racism, and a deep-seated fear of otherness. 

The unemployment was caused, in part, by the closure of a nuclear site which, when it opened generations before, had brought jobs and hope – and incomers. Generations before that, the village had been more insular, people travelled less and lived where they grew up, and the smaller population felt safe. Except that, generations before that, the village was embroiled in the slave trade, suffered through crop failures and disease which led to hopelessness, which brought with it resentment, blame, racism, and a deep-seated fear of otherness. And before that…?
The layers of it,’ says DI Georgie Strachan, the hero of my story. ‘The terrible layers of it.’

Of course, there are always different perspectives to consider. In the book I use multiple points of view to convey the experiences of people who have been shaped in very different ways. We see the kindness of one of the older villagers, his genuine desire to save the last remnants of his community and way of life. We see the village through the eyes of a visiting police officer, horrified by the levels of prejudice going seemingly unchecked. We see the perspective of a local woman who loves her home despite its failings, who is angry and frustrated by the lack of help and infrastructure. We see teenagers desperate to leave; we even see the beauty of the landscape, the wild coast, and the vast ever-changing sky.

But despite how much can change, there is something cyclical about how we seem to improve and then regress, as a society, and for this writer at least, we seem to be in a period of regression right now. I’m writing this blog from my home in the Scottish highlands (cue a chorus of ‘not us’) and I grew up in London (ditto) but if anything When The Dead Come Calling is about how we are all complicit, in a way. If our society is breaking, that means it has been breaking for a long time, and we have failed to intervene. 

Fergus Strachan, the husband of my DI, is a man who literally picks up other people’s rubbish. He’s also delving into the past while the present-day police investigation pushes forwards. Himself unemployed, he is becoming fascinated by the history of Burrowhead, by everything that the villagers have done and been through, and in that way we begin to see not only the guilt buried there, but some hope as well. I am, perhaps surprisingly, an optimist. What he will eventually find might turn things around again. Though, I must warn you, probably not until later in the series…

For now, the village of Burrowhead is desperate and, as has happened before, those who are seen as different are being blamed.

Look out of the window. It’s happening already.
When The Dead Comes Calling by Helen Sedgwick. (Published by Point Blank) Out Now
In the first of the Burrowhead Mysteries, an atmospheric murder investigation unearths the brutal history of a village where no one is innocent.  When psychotherapist Alexis Cosse is found murdered in the playground of the sleepy northern village of Burrowhead, DI Strachan and her team of local police investigate, exposing a maelstrom of racism, misogyny and homophobia simmering beneath the surface of the village.  Shaken by the revelations and beginning to doubt her relationship with her husband, DI Strachan discovers something lurking in the history of Burrowhead, while someone (or something) equally threatening is hiding in the strange and haunted cave beneath the cliffs. 

Thursday, 9 January 2020

My Writing Process by B A Paris

There are only two things I need when I sit down to write - my computer and my imagination. I don’t have whiteboards or spread-sheets, I don’t have anything on my desk to inspire me. I don’t even have a notepad and pencil on hand to jot down ideas. I know the beginning of my novel and sometimes - but not always - the end. Even if I know the end, I don’t actually know how I’m going to get there. I might have one or two ideas but I prefer to wait and see where the characters take me. It’s like going on a journey with a group of friends with only a vague idea of how you’re going to get to the destination – and being open to the fact that even that vague idea might morph into something completely different.

I’ve tried to plot. When I first started writing, I met an author who was horrified that I didn’t plan everything out beforehand. It made me wonder if I was doing everything wrong so another author kindly sent me her spread-sheets so that I could see how she worked. I duplicated them and tried to fill them in chapter by chapter, as she had done. But I couldn’t, because I had no idea what was going to happen in those chapters. So I went back to being a pantser – so called because we non-plotters apparently fly by the seats of our pants!

That’s not to say that I haven’t thought a lot about the story I want to tell before I sit down to write it. I always have two books on the go, the one I’m currently writing and the one I intend to write next. One on my computer screen, the other in my head. Writing without a plan means that I have to edit more. I love editing, so it’s not a problem.  My favourite part of my writing day is in the morning, when I read over what I wrote the day before and refine it until I’m happy. I’m quite ruthless. Sometimes I bin whole paragraphs.  Although I might like what I’ve written, if it’s not moving the story along, it has to go.

My idea for a story usually comes from something that has happened to me, or that I think could happen to me. For my second book, The Breakdown, I was driving though some woods during a terrible storm and I wondered what would happen if I broke down, or if I saw someone who had broken down. For Bring Me Back, my husband stopped at a service station in France, leaving me alone in the car, and I wondered what would happen if he came back and found me gone. I have a very vivid imagination and usually manage to come up with the worst possible scenario!

I’m not a great sleeper but it doesn’t bother me if I’m awake during the night because I’ll use the time to write. It’s impossible to say how many hours I write each day; if I’m having a writing day, with no distractions, I’m capable of writing for six hours at a stretch, simply because I don’t see the time passing. It’s hunger or thirst that will eventually make me stop and after a short break, I’ll write for another few hours. And if I can’t sleep that night, I’ll do a couple more. Buy there are days when I don’t write at all, because of other commitments. Those days always feel a little less shiny.

I can write anywhere. I have a writing desk and soon I’ll have a lovely writer’s room in the garden. But I’m most comfortable writing on my bed, my laptop propped on my knees. We recently moved back to the UK after more than thirty years in France and live in the middle of the English countryside so if I hit a wall and I’m not sure where my story is going, I’ll take a walk over the fields until I’ve found a way forward. It usually works!

I’m always relieved when my book goes to print. Until that point, the urge to tweak it, to change a word here and there, move a paragraph from one place to another, is terrible. But like a child flying the nest, there comes a time when you have to let go so that it can make its own way in the world.
The Dilemma by B A Paris (Published by HarperCollins Publishers), £12.99 Out Now.
It's Livia's 40th birthday and she's having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who's studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she's secretly glad she won't be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she's waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.  Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he's secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she's so happy, so excited - and the guests are about to arrive.  The Dilemma - how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

B A Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed DoorsThe Breakdown and Bring Me Back. Now approaching 1.5 million copies sold in the UK alone, she is a Sunday Times bestseller, New York Times bestseller as well as a number one bestseller on Amazon and iBooks. Her books have sold in 38 languages around the world. Having lived in France for many years, she recently moved back to the UK.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

St Hilda's College Crime Fiction Weekend 2020 more information.

Dear friends, it is not too early too book for the
2020 St Hilda's College Crime Fiction Weekend
14/15/16 August
This year our theme is ‘All Our Yesterdays’: historical crime fiction’.
Find yourself unleashed upon the London of the Swinging Sixties, caught amid clashes of classes and cultures as the Empire’s sun sets on Calcutta, pursuing India’s first female detective down the winding backstreets of 1950s Bombay, browsing the gin shops and brothels of Georgian London, or goggling at the puppet masters, dancing girls and fortune tellers as Brighton hangs out the bunting for the Coronation of Elizabeth II – and all in pursuit of Murder.
After all, they say time heals everything…
Featured particpants and speakers include:
Val McDermid, Mick Herron, William Shaw, Sarah Hilary, Abir Mukherjee, Vaseem Khan,
Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Elly Griffiths, and Tom Wood.
Alison Joseph and Jake Kerridge will be sharing the chairing. Critic and biographer Andrew Wilson is the Friday night after dinner speaker, and Hilda's hero Andrew Taylor is already devising the Saturday night Whodunnit featuring a glittering cast of authors (prize provided by Blackwell's Bookshop).
For more details, announcements, and to book click here
Triona Adams - Alumnae Events Manager

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Books to Look Forward to from Bitter Lemon Press

January 2020
On a stormy summer day the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer's, and the physician's bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only person spared injury. But the youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery. The police are convinced that Hisako had a role in the crime, as are many in the town, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders written a decade after the incident, who was herself a childhood friend of Hisako' and witness to the discovery of the murders. The truth is revealed through a skilful juggling of testimony by different voices: family members, witnesses and neighbours, police investigators and of course the mesmerizing Hisako herself.  The Aosawa Murders is by Riku Onda. 

March 2020
The story takes place in the suffocating atmosphere of a social housing estate in the south of France. Sixteen-year-old Celine and her sister Jo, fifteen, dream of escaping to somewhere far from their daily routine, far from their surly, alcoholic father and uncaring mother, both struggling to make ends meet. That summer Celine falls pregnant, devastating news that reopens deep family wounds. Those of the mother Severine whose adolescence was destroyed by her early pregnancy and subsequent marriage with Manuel. Those of Manuel, grandson of Spanish immigrants, who takes refuge in alcoholism to escape the open disdain of his in-laws. Faced with Celine's refusal to name the father, Manuel needs a guilty party and Said, a childhood friend of the girls and conveniently Arab, seems to fit the role perfectly. In the suffocating heat of summer Manuel embarks on a drunken mission of revenge. A dark and upsetting account of an ailing society, filled with silent and murderous rage.  The Summer of Reckoning is by  Marion Brunet

June 2020
Deep as Death is by Katja Ivar.  Helsinki, March 1953. An unusually long and cold winter, everywhere frozen sea, ice-covered lakes and rivers. In a port city flooded with refugees, who cares if a young woman goes missing? An up-and-coming inspector who views this as an opportunity to advance his career. A heartbroken PI with a score to settle. They have yet to discover one thing: the most dangerous lies are those we tell ourselves. It all begins when Nellie, a prostitute working in a high-end brothel is found floating upside down in Helsinki Harbour. Not exactly a high priority case for the Helsinki police, so homicide chief Jokela passes the job to his former colleague Hella. It's beginning to look like a serial killer is at work when Elena, another lady of the night, narrowly escapes being driven into the harbour by her 19-year-old john. Problem was he had handcuffed her in the car. And to add further excitement to Hella's life, the madam is soon found dead in the garden outside the brothel.

July 2020

The Night of The Shooting Stars is by Ben Pastor.  It is just the beginning of a convulsed week, where danger lurks behind army headquarters, down sordid streets, and in the frightening Presidium of the Criminal Police. Bora is unexpectedly ordered by SS General Arthur Nebe, head of Kripo, to investigate the murder of a dazzling showman and clairvoyant, a major star since the days of the Weimar Republic. Bora's inquiry, supported by police inspector and former S.A member Florian Grimm, resurrects memories of the excessive and brilliant world of Jazz Age cabarets and locales. Around them, in the oppressive summer heat, constant allied bombing, war-weary Berlin teems with refugees and nearly a million foreign labourers. Soon enough the perceptive Bora realizes to his dismay that there is much more at stake than murder in a paranoid city where everyone suspects everyone, and where insistent rumours whisper about a conspiracy aimed at the very heart of the Nazi hierarchy. And then there is charming Emmy Pletsch, who works for Stauffenberg: could she be a key to understanding? Trying to solve the murder of the Weimar Prophet takes Martin Bora into the deadly whirlwind of an anguishing moral dilemma, as a German soldier and as a man. The 20 July plot and its dramatic implications as never told before.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Books to Look Forward to from Bonnier Zaffre

January 2020
Hitler’s Secret is by Rory Clements.  The war is going badly for Britain and its allies. If Hitler is to be stopped, a new weapon is desperately needed. In Cambridge, professor Tom Wilde is approached by an American intelligence officer who claims to know of such a weapon - one so secret even Hitler himself isn't aware of its existence. If Wilde can smuggle the package out of Germany, the Third Reich will surely fall. But it is only when he is deep behind enemy lines that Wilde discovers why the Nazis are so desperate to prevent the 'package' falling into Allied hands. And as ruthless killers hunt him through Europe, a treacherous question hangs over the mission: if Hitler's secret will win them the war, why is Wilde convinced it must remain hidden?

Stasi Winter is by David Young.   In 1978 East Germany, nothing is at it seems. The state's power is absolute, history is re-written, and the 'truth' is whatever the Stasi say it is. So when a woman's murder is officially labelled 'accidental death', Major Karin Muller of the People's Police is faced with a dilemma. To solve the crime, she must disregard the official version of events. But defying the Stasi means putting her own life - and the lives of her young family - in danger. As the worst winter in living memory holds Germany in its freeze, Muller must untangle a web of state secrets and make a choice: between truth and lies, justice and injustice, and, ultimately, life and death.
February 2020
The Oath is by Klaus-Peter Wolf. If the system can't make them pay, then he will . . . Former chief of police, Ubbo Heide, is enjoying a peaceful seaside retirement - until a gruesome package containing a severed head turns up on his doorstep and catapults him back into a world he left behind. When a torso is found on the local beach, it's assumed it's from the same victim. That is until a second head turns up. As the investigation reaches fever pitch, Chief Inspector Ann Kathrin Klaasen, now assigned to the case, realises that the two victims are connected. Soon it's clear that this quiet coastal community is facing a brutal serial killer. One who is taking justice into his own hands.

March 2020 
You don't know who they are. You don't know why they're hunting her. But you know she's in danger. What do you do? When teacher Jenni Wales sees 15-year-old Destiny's black eye, she's immediately worried. Destiny isn't your average student: she's smart, genius IQ smart, and she's in care. But concern turns to fear when Jenni witnesses an attempt to abduct Jenni from school. Who are these men and what can Destiny know to make them hunt her? With those around her not taking the threat seriously, Jenni does the only thing she can think of to keep Destiny safe: she takes her.  To Keep You Safe is by Kate Bradley.

April 2020
DC Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie have just moved to London to start a new life together. Though charming, Jack can't seem to find his place in the world - until he's drawn into an investigation that turns his life upside down. In the aftermath of a fire at an isolated cottage, a badly charred body is discovered, along with the burnt remains of millions of stolen, untraceable bank notes. Jack's search leads him deep into a murky criminal underworld - a world he finds himself surprisingly good at navigating. But as the line of the law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers - and what will it cost him!  Buried is by Lynda La Plante.

No Going Back is by Sheena Kamal.  Nora Watts is being hunted . . . When Nora Watts is approached by a man claiming to know her late father, she is thrown into turmoil. Struggling with the imminent death, from cancer, of her friend and mentor Sebastian Crow, she is unprepared for the memories that this encounter brings back. What happened to her father that made him kill himself and abandon Nora and her sister? Heading to Detroit to try and find some answers about his life there, Nora expects to discover a reason behind his suicide. Instead, she finds more questions than answers. But trouble always follows Nora, and it's found her in Detroit, a city that is as broken as she is.

The Call of the Raven  is by Wilbur Smith and Corban Addision.  'The right of the cat over the mouse, of the strong over the weak. The natural law of existence.' Mungo St John, A Falcon Flies The son of a wealthy plantation owner and a doting mother, Mungo St John is accustomed to the wealth and luxuries his privilege has afforded him. That is until he returns from university to discover his family ruined, his inheritance stolen and his childhood sweetheart, Camilla, taken by the conniving Chester Marion. Fuelled by anger, and love, Mungo swears vengeance and devotes his life to saving Camilla - and destroying Chester. Camilla, trapped in New Orleans, powerless to her position as a kept slave and suffering at the hands of Chester's brutish behaviour, must learn to do whatever it takes to survive. As Mungo battles his own fate and misfortune to achieve the revenge that drives him, and regain his power in the world, he must question what it takes for a man to survive when he has nothing, and what he is willing to do in order to get what he wants.

We Begin at the End is by Chris Whitaker and is a powerful novel about absolute love and the lengths we will go to keep our family safe. This is a story about good and evil and how life is lived somewhere in between. 'You can't save someone that doesn't want to be saved . . .' For some people, trouble just finds them. Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer. Now, he's been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed. Duchess Radley, Star's thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin - and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town. Murder, revenge, retribution. How far can we run from the past when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?

May 2020
Seven housemates. Seven lies. Would you join . . . The House Share? Immi thought she had found the perfect new home in central London: a shared warehouse with luxury accommodation, a rooftop terrace and daily yoga, all with a surprisingly affordable price tag. The Dye Factory is a 'co-living' community, designed to combat the loneliness of big city life. But soon after she moves into her new haven, Immi realises that it's not quite as idyllic as it appears. No one seems to know who is behind this multi-million pound urban experiment. And her housemates may be hiding a dangerous secret . . . Then, as a series of pranks escalates into something much darker, Immi is left questioning whether, in this group of strangers, she can ever really be safe. And when you're sharing a house, you can't always lock the danger out.   The House Share is by Kate Helm.

June 2020
The Catch is by T M Logan.  He is not what he seems . . . Ed is delighted to meet his twenty-three year old daughter's fiance for the first time. Abbey is head-over-heels in love with her new man. Smart, successful and handsome, Ryan appears to be the perfect future son-in-law. There's just one problem. There's something off about Ryan. Something hidden in the shadows behind his eyes. And it seems that only Ed can see it. Terrified that his daughter is being drawn in by a psychopath, Ed sets out to uncover her fiance's dark past - while keeping his own concealed. But no-one believes him. And the more he digs, the more he alienates her and the rest of the family who are convinced that Ryan is 'the one'. Ed knows different. For reasons of his own, he knows a monster when he sees one...

The Return is by Harry Sidebottom.  He came home a hero. But death isn't finished with him yet . . . 145BC - CALABRIA, ANCIENT ROME. Gaius Furius Paullus has returned home after years of spilling blood for Rome. One of the lucky few to survive a lifetime of brutal battle, he intends to spend his remaining days working quietly on the family farm. But it seems death has stalked Paullus from the battlefield. Just days after his arrival, bodies start appearing - murdered and mutilated. And as the deaths stack up, and panic spreads, the war hero becomes the prime suspect. After all, Paullus has killed countless enemies on the battlefield - could he have brought his habit home with him? With the psychological effects of combat clouding every thought, Paullus must use all his soldier's instincts to hunt the real killer. Because if they are not brought to justice soon, he may become the next victim. 

Rogue is by James Swallow.  All spooks know that, in modern espionage, every action has a reaction. One wrong move could sink an entire region into turmoil - even war. Former MI6 operative Marc Dane understands this better than anyone. Dedicating your life to protecting the country means collecting enemies, and a lot of them. But for those hellbent on bringing the West to its knees, each failed plot has one thing in common: private intelligence agency The Rubicon Group, and Dane's employer. Only if Rubicon crumbles will their path truly be clear. With the clock ticking, Dane must unpick a monstrous and deadly conspiracy that stretches from the corridors of Westminster to the mountains of Mozambique. One that threatens not only Rubicon, but the lives of millions of civilians. And time is fast running out.

Someone Knows the Truth (Shed No Tears) is by Caz Frear. Four victims. Killer caught. Case closed . . . Or is it? Christopher Masters, known as 'The Roommate Killer', strangled three women over a two-week period in a London house in November 2012. Holly Kemp, his fourth victim, was never found. Until now. Her remains have been unearthed in a field in Cambridgeshire and DC Cat Kinsella and the major investigation team are called in, but immediately there are questions surrounding the manner of her death. And with Masters now dead, no one to answer them. DCI Tessa Dyer, the lead on the 2012 case, lends the team a hand, as does DCI Steele's old boss and mentor, the now retired Detective Chief Superintendent Oliver Cairns. With Masters dead, Cat and the team have to investigate every lead again. But if you’d got away with murder, what would you do when the case is re-opened?