Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Crime fiction news!

December’s Edition of Getting Away With Murder (GAWM) includes: Shots of the Year

And now the moment the world of crime fiction has been waiting for…the awards which come with no ceremony, no prize money, little accolade and no celebration (unless you happen to be in the Four Ale Bar of The Carpenter’s Arms on Tuesday night). The Shots of the Year awards (often misheard) are made based on careful consideration of the 550 or so crime novels and thrillers published for the first time in the UK in 2011 by a panel of at least one democratically-elected judge. (And I use the term ‘democratically’ in its loosest, North Korean sense.)

The categories are for best crime novel (Crime Shot) and best thriller (Thriller Shot), funniest novel (Comic Shot), best crime novel/thriller in translation (Shot In Translation), best first novel (First Shot) and best historical mystery or thriller (Historical Shot).

Crime Shot of the Year, after much deliberation, goes to Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith (Mantle), the new Renko novel which chillingly invokes the underside of modern Moscow and made us all remember what an important figure in crime fiction Renko is and has been for, incredibly, thirty years now.

The Thriller Shot of the Year title goes to South African Deon Meyer for his superb tour-de-force Trackers (Hodder) which combines a spy plot worthy of Le Carre (“spy the beloved country”) with several tense and violent criminal sub-plots and a complex and stunningly impressive narrative structure. All in all, a masterpiece of South African crime writing; which is rapidly proving to be the bench-mark of international crime fiction.

The 2011 Historical Shot goes, without question, to the disgracefully overlooked A Lily of the Field by John Lawton (Grove Atlantic). An immaculately researched thriller set in pre-war Europe and post-war London which takes in the Nazi Holocaust, Russian espionage and the development of the atomic bomb, but at heart it shows off what Lawton does best, which is to cast a worldly-wise, left-leaning, eye of the foibles of English society. This is a wonderful addition to the Detective Inspector Troy canon (Lawton’s Troy family novels have spanned the period 1930s-1960s though not necessarily in chronological order), and Troy, who has been on the scene for 16 years now, is one of the major characters of British crime fiction; and one of the most unsung.

The Shot in Translation goes to a new name in the UK, Domingo Villar for his Death on a Galician Shore (Little, Brown) which introduces a new detective duo, some memorable minor characters and some delightful insights into provincial Spanish life which are worth the price of admission alone. A translated crime novel with warmth and heart? Who’d have thought it?

First Shot, in a year which saw fewer than usual debut novels, has to go to the widely-applauded Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson (Doubleday), which is an outrageous “high concept” thriller brought off with confidence and élan, even if the dramatic conclusion is slightly confusing.

Comic Shot of 2011 is Carl Hiaasen’s Star Island (Sphere). It might not have the frenetic energy and hysterical set-pieces of his early work such as Tourist Season or the blissful Double Whammy, but then what could? Still, this is Hiaasen back on top form and picking his targets (pop stars and, as usual, property developers) with gleeful malice.

Faber and Spitalfields Life mark the bicentenary of the Ratcliffe Highway Murders -

The 7th December marks the bicentenary of the Ratcliffe Highway Murders, documented by P. D. James and T. A. Critchley in The Maul and the Pear Tree. Faber and Faber are working with influential lifestyle blog, Spitalfields Life on a series of events that trace the case as it unfolded between 7th December to 31st December 200 years ago. Please see the attached press release below for details of the events, which conclude with a murder mystery walk around the sites of this notorious case on the 28th December.

This Christmas, Spitalfields Life and Faber and Faber commemorate the bicentenary of the Ratcliffe Highway Murders – Britain’s first murder sensation - as retold by P.D. James in her classic of true crime, The Maul and the Pear Tree.

For release on 6th December 2011

On the 7th December 1811, a young linen draper and his family were cruelly murdered at night in their home at 29 Ratcliffe Highway in Wapping. Twelve days later, a publican and members of his household were slaughtered in similar fashion, just half a mile away.

The slaying of these innocent families created public hysteria amongst Londoners - whipped up by newspapers revelling in the gruesome details of the atrocities. Ill-equipped to investigate, on Christmas Eve the police hastily arrested the first suspect they could find, John Williams, and when he hung himself in prison on Boxing Day, it was taken as confirmation of his guilt.

180,000 people turned out to see Williams’ body paraded through Wapping, before he was buried with a stake through his heart at the crossroads of Cable Street and Cannon Street Road on New Year’s Eve. Yet it is now acknowledged that he was - in all likelihood - an innocent man.

At the birth of the British press, the Ratcliffe Highway Murders case was both the first national crime sensation and an early example of “tabloid justice” - engendering a widespread terror that led subsequently to the formation of the Metropolitan Police.

Between 7th -31st December, East End Culture Blog Spitalfields Life and Faber and Faber are collaborating on a series of events to keep everyone gripped:

MAPPING THE MURDERS and Faber and Faber have commissioned illustrator, Paul Bommer, to create a map of the murders that will update, revealing key events in the case on the exact anniversaries of their occurrence. This beautiful creation can be downloaded as a screensaver or used as a handy guide to set out through the streets of Wapping yourself.


An extract from The Maul and the Pear Tree, the definitive account of the murders, by bestselling crime writer P. D. James and her former Home office colleague T. A Critchley, will be published on Faber and Faber’s blog, whilst will be reporting these momentous events day by day.


Spitalfields Life will be hosting a dusk walk on Wednesday 28th December at 3pm from St Georges in the East, visiting the key locations and telling the bone-chilling story of Britain's first crime sensation. The walk will take approximately an hour and a half and conclude at the historic riverside pub The Prospect of Whitby. Please email to sign up. Tickets are £10.

For further information please contact:

The Gentle Author, Spitalfields Life:

Joanna Ellis, Faber and Faber:

Orion sculpts 20th anniversary releases -
According to Charlotte Williams at Book2Book, Orion will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012, marking the milestone by re-releasing 20 of its most distinctive titles with a united cover look using specially commissioned sculptures.

The books will be released on 20th February 2012, priced between £4.99 and £9.99. The 20 titles are:

The Copper Beach by Maeve Binchy,

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser,
The Black Ice by Michael Connelly,

Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon,

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder,

Black and Blue by Ian Rankin,

The Reader by Benhard Schlink,

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer,

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds,
Tell No One by Harlan Coben,

Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore,

The Shadow of the Wind by ­Carlos Ruiz Zafón,

Himalaya by Michael Palin,

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver,

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse,

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday,

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay,
DeadUntil Dark by Charlaine Harris,

Life by Keith Richards, and

The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht.

The publisher took inspiration from china, which is the traditional 20th anniversary gift, with the team—including designer Loulou Clark and creative director Lucie Stericker—working with sculptor Ben Twiston-Davies to create physical sculptures of a central motif or character for each of the titles. Each sculpture was then photographed to provide the cover image for the books. Stand-out covers include sculptures of an open copy of War and Peace, with real German text inscribed into it, for Schlink's title; a jumping salmon for Paul Torday's novel; and a topographically accurate mountain for Palin's Himalaya. The Roman numerals XX will be embossed on the inside front covers, alongside the cover images from the entire 20 titles.

Orion m.d. Susan Lamb promised the titles would be collectable, and said of the list: "It had to be quite balanced, but it was the books we think defined this company over 20 years, whether they've been with us since their first publication, like Maeve Binchy and Antonia Fraser, or not. The Tiger's Wife, which was only published this year, was very defining for us, because we hadn't had an Orange Prize winner before."

As impressive as this list is and one is quite pleased to see a number of crime writers on the list as well, could someone please explain why George Pelecanos and James Lee Burke are not on the list?

The Random House Group UK is delighted to announce the publication of Jo Nesbø's eagerly-awaited sequel to his #1 bestseller The Leopard. Phantom will be published in English on 15th March 2012. The Norwegian edition went straight to the top of the bestseller list in Norway and was shortlisted for the 2011 Norwegian Booksellers' Prize.

In 2011 Jo Nesbø was one of the UK's biggest selling fiction authors of the year. The Leopard was a #1 Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and spent eight weeks in the top ten. The Harry Hole novels have sold over 11 million copies worldwide, 2.4 million of those in the UK. They are published in many countries.

Jo Nesbø's The Snowman is being made into a major film directed by Martin Scorsese and produced by Working Title. The Snowman, published by Harvill Secker in 2010, went to number 2 in the Sunday Times paperback charts, and was a top ten New York Times hardcover bestseller.

For more information please contact:
Bethan Jones at Harvill Secker
Tel: 020 7840 8543 / email:

According to book2book Little, Brown Book Group are growing their Sphere fiction commissioning team with the appointment of Jade Chandler from Orion. Chandler joins Sphere as Commissioning Editor focussing on crime and thriller fiction and will also take a lead in backlist reissues for the imprint. She will report to Editorial Director, Catherine Burke. Chandler said, 'Working at Orion has been a brilliant experience and while I will be sad to leave an excellent and supportive group of colleagues, the opportunity to take on a new commissioning role at Little, Brown was just too tempting to pass up. I am really thrilled to be joining the Sphere team in the New Year and can't wait to get involved in building on their first-rate crime and thriller list.'

Caffeine Nights Publishing have announced their title list for 2012.

The titles will be released from March 2012 and include a strong line-up of crime fiction titles including the second in the series of books by Nick Quantrill. The Late Greats follows his debut novel in the Joe Geraghty series, Broken Dreams. Quantrill's books follow private eye Joe Geraghty in a series of tough crime fiction stories set in Quantrill's home town of Hull.

Another series title is Consequences by RC Bridgestock, following 'Deadly Focus’ the first DI Jack Dylan novel. RC Bridgestock is the pen name for Yorkshire born but Isle of Wight based husband and wife writing team Bob and Carol Bridgestock. The Bridgestock's bring 47 years of crime fighting experience to the page, with both having served with West Yorkshire police. Bob retired as Detective Superintendent of the squad.

Two other spring releases dominate Caffeine Nights planned books for 2012.

Frank's Wild Years by Nick Triplow is already being hailed as a crime classic.

Mike Hodges director of the urban classic gangster movie 'Get Carter' describes Frank's Wild Years as ''An urban masterpiece; riveting from first to last. Nick Triplow is the true successor to Ted Lewis."

Set in south London 'Frank' is a story of betrayal and last chances at the frayed and fading edges of the south London underworld.

Abide with Me by Ian Ayris is already setting the chat rooms and fan forums of West Ham supporters alight with his debut novel. Set against the backdrop of West Ham winning the FA Cup in 1975, the story follows two boys growing up in a tough East End environment where love and pain are often blurred by poverty and confusion. Abide With Me is a powerful and moving tale with more heart than transplant bank and butchers window put together.

For more information contact Darren on 07777 640795

According to the Bookseller, the CWA are to launch a reader’s initiative under the guise of the Crime Readers Association (CRA). The full Press Release can be read below -


Date: 7.12.2o11

CWA launches two major new initiatives to connect writers with readers

The Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) has announced two major new initiatives, an association to put readers in touch with writers and the expansion of the successful Crime Writing Week to an entire month next year.

Due to launch in February 2012 with a new website, the Crime Readers’ Association (CRA) will offer readers information about forthcoming books, exclusive interviews, and articles from CWA member authors. Readers will be invited to sign up to receive regular enewsletters featuring events, exclusive content, and news. In future, it’s planned that the CWA will also organise events for readers to meet authors.

National Crime Writing Week, which has run for two years, has seen members of the CWA taking part in readings, discussions, readers’ group events and workshops in bookshops, libraries, arts centres and other venues all over the country. The CWA has now decided to expand it to Crime Writing Month, beginning at the Crimefest event which runs between May 24-27 in Bristol and features some of the planet’s most successful crime writers. In a new initiative, Crime Month will wrap up with a black-tie event, where the CWA Dagger Awards will be announced. The event will incorporate all of the CWA’s non-TV awards, including for the first time the Diamond Dagger and Ellis Peters Award for historical crime.

CWA Chair Peter James said: “We’re very excited about launching these new initiatives. The idea behind the CRA is to bring readers and writers closer together. The CRA will create a bond between fans and writers and promote further the crime writing genre.

“In an age when crime writing is so popular it made sense to find a way of helping writers and readers connect. Authors could not survive without readers and the CRA acknowledges the fact and celebrates the role of the reader in the burgeoning success of the genre. The CWA has showcased members’ events and books on our website for several years now– wee see the CRA is an extension of this and we hope it will help our members to grow their careers.

“Crime Writing Month further underlines the point. Running it over a month will allow members to take part in more events than ever, getting out to meet their readers and support their local libraries. The CWA has long been concerned about the threat to libraries and Crime Writing Month will allow us to champion them as they face cutbacks. The month should be a really exciting event.”

More details of both initiatives will be announced over the coming months.

Bestselling crime author Peter James is the current Chair of the CWA. Peter James is available for quotes and interview. Please contact Claire McGowan on 07792 214508 or for more information, or visit

Congratulations also go to Canadian author Louise Penny whose novel Bury Your Dead was awarded the Nero Award on Saturday 3 December 2012. The award was presented by the Wolfe Pack at the Black Orchid Banquet in New York.

The other nominees were -

Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen

The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds

The Midnight Show Murders by Al Roker
Think of a Number by John Verdon

The "Nero" is an annual award presented to an author for literary excellence in the mystery genre

Crime Time Best Crime Novel of the Year
According to Barry Forshaw the editor of Crime Time, Crime Time is running a seasonal Best Crime Books of 2011 feature, and he would be delighted if authors would care to contribute – with an opportunity to mention your latest book. He does not need an essay; in fact his plan is to drag CT kicking and screaming into the 21st century so is aiming for Twitter sized soundbites (tweets?) -- 140 characters or less. You can pick one book, or as many as you’d care to fit into that count.

At present Crime Time reaches around 45,000 dedicated crime fiction enthusiasts a year at, so this is a chance for authors to promote yourselves (and your books!) by adding your selection for Best Crime Book of 2011.

Go to the Crime Time website: and just fill in the form on the right. Note that your email will not be visible to anyone on the site. The ISBN is optional – don’t worry about this unless you have it.
And don’t forget to mention your latest book under ‘shameless plug’!

Those of you that are looking forward to the Hollywood remake of the Steig Larsson book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will not be surprised to learn that rather unfortunately the embargo has been broken by the New Yorker film critic David Denby. The film that gets its world premiere in London on Monday 12 December 2012 features Daniel Craig in the role of investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist.

A new eight minute trailer has been released.

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