Thursday, 11 December 2008

Crime Awards and news roundup

I am pleased to announce that Nick Stone (of Mr Clarinet & King of Swords fame) is to become SHOTS’ new media reporter. He takes over the position from John Foster whose workload as film lecturer and director forced him to step down. Nick’s first column will appear later this month. I’ve read an example of a film review, and let’s say that Nick doesn’t take prisoners!


Mike Ripley announces his SHOTS OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2008 in his latest GAWM column. I recommend you look in on what the Ripster has to say but here are the “winners”.

Crime Shot of the Year: When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday), a pyrotechnic shaking up of the genre if ever there was one.

Thriller of the Year: A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr (Quercus), the fifth Bernie Gunther novel, set in post-war (if not post-Nazi) Argentina.

Historical Shot of the Year: The Death Maze by Ariana Franklin (Bantam), the second outing for Adelia Aguilar in this engaging and well-researched ‘CSI Medieval’ series, giving us a worthy heir to Brother Cadfael.

Shot in Translation: from the German, Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek (Pan) who cleverly offers to pull the wool over our eyes and we let him.

First Shot: (for a debut novel) The Maze of Cadiz by Aly Monroe (John Murray), historical espionage again, this time in Franco’s Spain in 1944, but so densely textured and convincingly done that I had serious trouble believing it was a first novel.

Those who have followed these awards over the years will have instantly spotted that I have not chosen a Comic Shot this year for comedy crime. This is not something I do lightly, but in 2008, two of my favourite authors in the comedy field were playing it rather straight for a change: Colin Bateman with Orpheus Rising and Douglas Lindsey with Lost In Juarez. Both excellent novels but (deliberately) low on the belly-laughs we’ve come to expect.
Craig Russell, author of the Jan Fabel detective series for Hutchinson, has joined Quercus for a concurrent series set in Glasgow in the 1950s. The series will star Lennox, a private detective whose clients are not always on the right side of the law.Jane Wood and Ron Beard bought UK and Canadian rights in three novels, starting with Lennox in 2009, through Carole Blake of Blake Friedmann. Wood said: "At Quercus we’re all fans of the Fabel novels and we couldn’t be happier that Craig Russell has joined us. The Lennox books are very different in tone and confirm Craig’s amazing range and skill as a crime writer."
David Shelley (über editor at Little, Brown’s Sphere imprint) has not only captured Val McDermid from HarperCollins after 17 years and his second coup is signing up Carl Hiaasen but by way of a tease, will announce another major signing in January. Who will it be? Watch this space.

Simon Winder, Publishing Director at Penguin Press, has bought five "remarkable and prescient" Eric Ambler thrillers, to be republished and upgraded from the old Pan Classic Crime to Penguin Modern Classics in May 2009 for Ambler’s centenary. The titles are Journey into Fear, introduction by Norman Stone, Epitaph for a Spy, introduction by James Fenton, The Mask of Dimitrios, introduction by Mark Mazower, Cause for Alarm, introduction by John Preston, and Uncommon Danger, which is introduced by Thomas Jones. The covers are pretty good being atmospheric in black and white.

Three titles are in contention in the Literature category of the South Bank Show Awards, to be announced on 20 January 2009 and broadcast on 28 January 2009. They are The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale (Bloomsbury), Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Simon & Schuster), and The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant (Virago). Summerscale is already winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize, while Smith was on the Man Booker longlist and Grant was on the Booker shortlist.

Stef Penney's Costa Award-winning novel The Tenderness Of Wolves (Quercus) has been optioned to Film 4 and Target Entertainment. Shooting is planned for 2009, under the direction of Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl).
Dame Stella Rimington, the former director general of MI5 was surprised when her criticisms of the television series SPOOKS led to the makers offering her a position as their official consultant. "I have always made it clear that I felt the programme had little to do with real life," she told Mandrake at the Cartoon Art Trust awards. "Now I have had an approach from the programme makers asking if I would like to advise them. Presumably, they feel I could make Spooks more realistic. As things stand, just three people seem to save the world in each episode." A spokesman for the producers, Kudos, confirms: "We have held early discussions about a possible consultancy role if an eighth series of Spooks goes ahead."

COMPETITIONS are running amok over on the website. Currently you can win signed copies of The Business by Martina Cole, Bait by Nick Brownlee, The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe and coming up: Quiver by Peter Leonard, Dead Man’s Footsteps by Peter James, Afraid by Jack Kilborn.

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