Friday, 28 December 2012

Books to Look Forward to Vintage Publishing

Henry Bane is dead.  Long Live Henry Bane, his son.  It's Manchester, 1998, and the funeral party is interrupted by a woman from Bane's past.  Roisin is back in Manchester and back in Bane's life after an eight-year absence - inconvenient for Jan, his latest flame.  Roisin has brought a wounded boyfriend with her - and a lot more trouble is following them up north.  Meanwhile, a Yardie who goes by the name of 'Hagfish' wants to take over the local gang lords' territory with Mary, his terrifying weapon of choice.  It's Hagfish against Bane in a new turf war: a war that will claim lives and cement vendettas.  Bane tries to honour loyalties, old and new, but this quickly leads to more bloodshed and a full-blown gang war reignites.  It's a conflict steeped in half-forgotten history: a history that Bane and his onetime lover, Roisin, are forever tied to - and which ties them together.  With Chamber Music, Tom Benn has written an electrifying noir novel about lost loves, stolen drugs and dragons - a street soundtrack to Manchester's underworld, where anyone could have a gun with a bullet for Bane in the chamber. Chamber Music is due to be published in January 2013.

The Killing Pool is by Kevin Sampson and is due to be published in March 2013.  Detective Chief Inspector Billy McCartney discovers a headless corpse in the scrubland close to Liverpool docks.  The slaying carries all the hallmarks of a gangland hit - a message from the underworld to snitches, cops and rival gangs.  One mile away, a Liverpool-Somali girl, Misha, staggers into a run-down bar, dazed and confused.  The bar's owner, a career criminal called Shakespeare who dresses like an Edwardian dandy, cannot get a word out of her.  Shakespeare, a chivalrous old Trinidadian who has called Liverpool his home since the '70s, is smitten.  DCI McCartney is all too well aware that the clock is ticking.  The butchered body was one Kalan Rozaki, youngest brother of a notorious Liverpool-Kurdish crime family - except Kalan is no criminal.  For almost a year, his brothers have been under full-time Drug Squad surveillance as McCartney slowly closed the net on the Rozakis' intercontinental heroin trafficking organisation.  McCartney's key witness and chief informant on the case is someone with intimate insider knowledge of the Rozaki clan's operation ...their newly deceased baby brother, Kalan.  McCartney's investigation into Kalan's murder peels back layer after layer of a decades-long dynasty of drug smuggling.  Each revelation plunges Mac further back into the dark heart of an unsolved drug crime that weighs heavy on his soul.  He wants to catch the Rozakis - badly - but he wants the shadowy men behind their drug empire even more.  The closer McCartney gets to Kalan's killer, the closer he comes to facing down a lifetime's torment - and facing up to the possibility, finally, of closure.  There is one solid gold witness to the killing, Kalan's girlfriend, Misha - but Misha has vanished.  Meanwhile a shipload of unadulterated heroin is sailing ever closer to the Port of Liverpool and Mac's key informant is dead.  As dawn breaks on his day of destiny, Mac's priorities have become fatally intertwined: find Kalan's killer, rescue Misha and swoop on the Rozakis - hopefully elbows-deep in heroin.  Then, and only then, can he unmask the demon who has haunted his adult life.

'People will die,' says the panic-stricken woman outside police headquarters.  She has been standing in blazing sunshine for more than an hour, and refuses to speak to anyone besides Commissaire Adamsberg.  Her daughter has seen a vision: ghostly horsemen who target the most nefarious characters in Normandy.  Since the middle ages, there have been stories of murderers, rapists, those with serious crimes on their conscience, meeting a grizzly end following a visitation by the riders.  Soon after the young woman's vision, a notoriously cruel man disappears, and the local police dismiss the matter as superstition.  Although the case is far outside his jurisdiction, Adamsberg agrees to investigate the strange happenings in a village terrorised by wild rumours and ancient feuds.  The Ghost Riders of Ordebec is by Fred Vargas and is due to be published in March 2013.

A young woman wakes in a strange bed beneath coarse sheets.  The bare walls are a dismal green.  A sickly light filters through a metal grille.  Doctor Maynard Straker steps into the room, and speaks.  'Have no fear, Miss Ashton.  I am entirely at your ser-' But this is not her name.  And she should not be here - in the Asylum.  She is Miss Georgina Ferrars, of Gresham's Yard, London.  And she can prove it - she has Dr Straker telegram her uncle in London.  The reply is swift: Georgina Ferrars here stop your patient must be imposter stop so begins a gothic mystery of intense suspense and terror, as a lone woman, held against her will, is forced to regain her mind, to delve as deeply as she can into the void of her memory to uncover the story that will free her.  She will in the end discover a web of greed and crookedness, madness, murder and heartbreak, as rich and compelling as those in the classics of Wilkie Collins and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The Asylum is by John Harwood and is due to be published in June 2013.
Siphiwe, a nineteen-year-old orphan dreaming of a better life, is haunted by memories of the brutal murder of his elder brother.  When a woman selling mangoes is stabbed on the street in front of him, Siphiwe rushes to her aid, desperate to stop history repeating itself, but in doing so unwittingly crosses the paths of two very dangerous men.  McCarthy Letswe, notorious crime lord, has returned home to Johannesburg after several years in exile, determined to wreak his revenge on Abaju, the Nigerian gangster responsible for Letswe's forced departure, and the man now seen as Johannesburg's king of crime.  Siphiwe's actions have set him on a collision course with both Letswe and Abaju, and as the violence on the streets intensifies, and the danger to those he loves most increases, Siphiwe is soon forced to seek help amongst criminals and police alike.  A story of survival, revenge and ultimately, redemption, told in prose, which is deceptively simple and utterly compelling, "City of Blood" is a gripping coming of age story set against a searing backdrop of violence, heat and colour.  City of Blood is by Martie de Villers and is due to be published in May 2013.

My Criminal World is by Henry Sutton and is due to be published in April 2013.  In awe of his wife, hounded by his agent and ignored by his editor, mild mannered crime novelist David Slavitt finds his life is spiralling out of control.  He needs to do something - but just how far is he prepared to go?  "My Criminal World" introduces us to struggling crime writer, David Slavitt.  Living in constant fear that his editor might drop him in favour of the next new talent, David juggles housework and childcare alongside plot twists and character development.  However, as his wife grows increasingly distant and his agent insists that his new book needs more violence - a lot more violence - David is getting worried.  He needs to do something if he is to save his career, and his marriage.  But just how far is this most mild mannered of crime writers prepared to go?  Moreover, who is the person really pulling the strings in this story?  Interspersed with David's story are extracts from the crime story he is currently writing, which grow increasingly darker as they progress.  Does this change in tone reflect the demands of David's agent or is there something more sinister at work?  In this clever literary crime novel, there is more than one mystery to be solved.

Sent on sick leave after his last case, Max Camara returns to his hometown in the plains of La Mancha - birthplace of Don Quixote and producer of the world's finest saffron.  As he arrives, the police discover the naked body of a young woman on a rubbish tip.  For Camara, it's far too close for comfort to an unsolved case that shocked the city thirty years ago.  It's hard to stay away, though, especially when the local police chief, a childhood friend, is calling on him for help, whispering about an international saffron mafia.  And then there's his eccentric grandfather, Hilario, who appears to be harbouring secrets of his own.  Back in a world he has been avoiding for years, Camara is dogged by questions.  It's time for some difficult choices: leave the police for good, and continue with the only woman who really understands him, or join a murder investigation that will tear open old wounds?  The Anarchist Detective is by Jason Webster and is due to be published in June 2013.

Ratlines is by Stuart Neville and is due to be published in January 2013.  "Right at the end of the war, some Nazis saw it coming.  They knew that even if they escaped, hundreds of others wouldn't.  They needed to set up routes, channels, and ways out for their friends.  Ratlines.”  Ireland, 1963.  As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German is murdered in a seaside guesthouse.  He is the third foreign national to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey is desperate to protect a shameful secret: the dead men were all former Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government.  A note from the killers is found on the corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler's favourite WWII commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe.  It says simply: 'We are coming for you.  Await our call.’  Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate the crimes.  But as he infiltrates Ireland's secret network of former Nazis and collaborators, Ryan must choose between country and conscience.  Why must he protect the very people he fought against twenty years before?  And who are the killers seeking revenge for the horrors of the Second World War?

It's two days before Christmas and Helsinki is battling ruthless climate catastrophe: subway tunnels are flooded; abandoned vehicles are burning in the streets.  People are fleeing to the far north where conditions are still tolerable.  Social order is crumbling and private security firms have undermined the police force.  Tapani Lehtinen, a struggling poet, is among the few still willing to live in the city.  When Tapani's wife Johanna, a journalist, goes missing, he embarks on a frantic hunt for her.  Johanna's disappearance seems to be connected to a story she was researching about a serial killer known as 'The Healer'.  Determined to find Johanna, Tapani's search leads him to uncover secrets from her past: secrets that connect her to the very murders she was investigating...Atmospheric and moving, "The Healer" is a story of survival, loyalty and determination.  Even when the world is coming to an end, love and hope endure.  The Healer is by Antti Tuomainen and is due to be published in February 2013.

Plan D is by Simon Urban and is due to be published in June 2013.  October 2011.  While West Berlin enjoys all the trappings of capitalism, on the crowded, polluted, Eastern side of the Wall, the GDR is facing bankruptcy.  The ailing government's only hope lies in economic talks with the West, but then an ally of the GDR's chairman is found murdered - and all the clues suggest that his killer came from within the Stasi.  Detective Martin Wegener is assigned to the case, but with the future of East Germany hanging over him, Wegener must work with the West German police if he is to find the killer, even if it means investigating the Stasi themselves.  It is a journey that will take him from Stasi meeting rooms to secret prisons as he begins to unravel the identity of both victim and killer, and the meaning of the mysterious Plan D.

This is the first book in "The Brinkmann Trilogy".  Hector: Lover.  Killer.  Crime lord.  Lars: Stalker.  Policeman.  Addict.  Jen: Ex-lover.  Arms dealer.  Hero?  Sophie: Nurse.  Mother.  Victim?  Living a quiet life in the suburbs, Sophie Brinkmann is captivated by the handsome and sophisticated Hector Guzman.  She has no idea that beneath Hector's charm lies something far more dangerous.  Hector is the head of an international crime syndicate.  He is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants now is the total annihilation of his rivals.  Before she can fully grasp the extent of Hector's world, Sophie is trapped within it.  Her house is under surveillance, her family is at risk.  Hector is at war - with Russian hit men, South American drug traffickers, and German gangsters - and now Sophie is too.  But who can she trust when even the people who have sworn to uphold the law are as dangerous as those dedicated to breaking it?  If Sophie is to get out alive, and with her integrity intact, she will have to summon everything within her to navigate this intricate web of moral ambiguity, deadly obsession and ruthless killers.  The Andalucían Friend is by Alexander Soderberg and is due to be published in March 2013.

The Score is by Howard Marks and is due to be published in April 2013.  DS Catrin Price is on administrative duty recovering from the trauma of her last case, when she receives a series of cryptic messages from an old school friend.  She tracks him down to an isolated town in the wilds of the Brecon Beacons.  There she finds him destroyed by fear for his missing daughter and living in terror of a shadowy figure he refuses to name.  The girl is a promising singer, and all Cat has to go on is a haunting video of her performing in a local talent competition.  Other girls in the area have been going missing, and when one of them is found dead in an abandoned mine shaft, Cat fears the worst.  She embarks on a journey that leads to one of London's most notorious drug gangs and into the darkest corners of her mind.  Cat will stop at nothing to uncover the truth, but there are people who will do anything to keep it hidden - and they are watching her every move.
R is the other woman.  Labelled simply with one initial, her identity in the famous 1940s novel that recounts the damage she did to her lover's family remains shrouded in mystery.  The novelist who carried out an illicit relationship with her, and then used her as material for his work, became a celebrated writer.  But R never had the chance to put her side of the story.  Tamaki is determined to find out who R really was.  A writer herself, she is working on a book about R and begins to uncover clues about the real story behind the novel - and the great tragedy of the novelist's life.  While she throws herself into her research, she's aware that her own imperfect relationships are also up for scrutiny.  Her ex-lover, Seiji, is gravely ill in hospital and her reminiscences about their long affair strike echoes with the subject of her work.  In is by Natsuo Kirino and is due to be published in June 2013.  In explores the themes of love and death, and the significance of fiction.

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