Monday 30 April 2007

Zodiac 2007

Those wonderful people at Warner Bros (UK) sent Peter Guttridge and I an invite to an advance screening of Zodiac (out in the UK on 18th May). As Mr G is our main media man (you can read his column Screen Crime on the Shots website, I left it to him to write up his views:

The press release for this based-on-true-life movie calls Zodiac the ultimate cold-case. It is certainly up there with the Black Dahlia and Jack the Ripper. In the 1960s and 1970s a serial killer stalked the San Francisco area, murdering his victims in a variety of ways. His signature wasn’t anything he did to the victims, it was the series of letters he sent over decades in his own code to taunt the police, all signed “The Zodiac”.

His killings were the source for “Dirty Harry”. The detective who doggedly investigated the real case was the basis for Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callaghan in that movie, Steve McQueen’s renegade detective in “Bullitt”, and – apparently – Michael Douglas’s detective in the TV series “The Streets of San Francisco”.

That detective is played by Mark Ruffalo in David Fincher’s detailed analysis of the Zodiac killings in this powerful movie. Ruffalo’s character is one of four characters who become obsessed with the case. His sidekick (Anthony Edwards from ER) is the least significant and bails out of the case – though after about a decade(!). A journalist, Paul Avery (brilliantly played by Robert Downey Jnr), kicks the investigation off but then his substance abuse proves a problem. It’s the fourth man, a nerdy political cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal in another great performance) who follows the story through – and who, in real life, came up with what he felt was a solution to the identity of the Zodiac killer.

This is a terrific, albeit long, film. Fincher, best known for Seven, eschews his usual gloom and shade for a brightly lit scenes (shot on HD digital video) which makes the (few) scenes of death even more chilling. The brightly lit scenes in the news rooms of the journalist characters are a clear homage to director Alan J Pakula’s decision in “All The President’s Men” to present journalistic truth in a place with no shadows. (“Journalistic truth” – now there’s a phrase.)

This is like “All The President’s Men” in that it is a fact-based thriller. Fincher and his scriptwriters have been scrupulous in covering all the facts of this case. They have the identity of the killer and the argument is convincing.

The main drawback in the film is that the characterisation doesn’t really exist. Downey Jnr and Ghylenhaal do flesh out their characters (I’ve never rated Ruffalo) but because the film has to get so much detailed information in, characterisation isn’t a priority.

A Fincher film in daylight is a rare and wonderful thing. My admiration.

ZODIAC (2007)
Director: David Fincher
Featuring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jnr, Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox

The Edgars results

Jason Goodwin's The Janissary Tree, a debut set in the declining days of the Ottoman Empire and featuring a eunuch-sleuth has reaped the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel of the year. It was one of a dozen presented in New York by Mystery Writers of America. The Edgars are the US's top honors in the field of crime fiction and nonfiction.
Other finalists for best novel were Louis Bayard's The Pale Blue Eye (HarperCollins), Joanne Harris' Gentlemen & Player (Morrow), Denise Mina's The Dead Hour (Little, Brown), Nancy Pickard's The Virgin of Small Plains (Ballantine) and Olen Steinhauer's Liberation Movements (St. Martin's Minotaur).
The other Edgar winners included:
• Best first novel by an American author: The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson (Random House).
• Best paperback original: Snakeskin Shamisen by Naomi Hirahara (Delta).
• Best fact crime: Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson (Morrow).
• Best critical/biographical: The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear by E.J. Wagner (Wiley).
• Best short story: The Home Front by Charles Ardai, published in the anthology Death Do Us Part (Little Brown). Alvin-based Bill Crider was a nominee in this category for his story Cranked.
• Best juvenile: Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers).
• Best young adult: Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready (Dutton).
• Best motion picture screenplay: The Departed, screenplay by William Monahan (Warner Bros. Pictures).

Friday 27 April 2007

The Battle for Bond

The Battle For Bond will undoubtedly become the most important book ever published about the evolution of Ian Fleming’s James Bond from Fifties’ literary sensation to Sixties’ cinematic icon.

Comments Graham Rye, Editor and Publisher 007 Magazine: “Having read Robert Sellers’ manuscript, The Battle For Bond will undoubtedly become the most important book ever published about the evolution of Ian Fleming’s James Bond from Fifties’ literary sensation to Sixties’ cinematic icon.

"With many unpublished facts and information drawn firsthand from correspondence between Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory, and the other protagonists involved at the inception of Agent 007 becoming a screen hero, Sellers’ book is a ‘must read’ for anyone who consider themselves either a Bond aficionado or a serious student of the history of cinema.”

To read exclusive extracts from THE BATTLE FOR BOND please visit:

Publishing Date UK: June 2007
Includes 100 rare and never-before-seen illustrations and photographs!
Although it is almost a year to publication date of the especially commissioned new James Bond book, there is quite a buzz going on as to who the writer is. Obviously, Peter Guttridge got the first look in, but he has now categorically denied that it is him. So, let's set our sites to others. I believe they will stick with tradition and go with a British author. And it isn't Lee Child. One name that comes to my mind is Anthony Horowitz. Why? Think about it. He has the credentials: he is a high profile figure, known to younger readers for the Alex Ryder books, renown for his TV work. Makes a lot of sense, what do you think?

Thursday 26 April 2007

The London launch of Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert took place on Thursday 19 April 2007 at the fashionable Alfred Dunhill shop along Jermyn Street in London.

As launches go, this one had that certain difference. A large group of friends, well-wishers and staff from Transworld Publishers joined Natasha in this elegant shop surrounded by expensive leather goods, clothing and other goodies to launch her novel, Season of the Witch.

Season of the Witch marks her fourth novel. Part thriller, fantasy, love story and mystery, it is the tale of Gabriel Blackstone an information thief who finds himself involved with the Monk sisters who are solar witches as he attempts to find out what has happened to the step-son of an ex-lover. As he falls in love with one of the Monk sisters, he also has to contend with the fact that the woman he loves might be a murderer.

With discrete music playing in the background, those of us in attendance were in due course feted with champagne and the most gorgeous mouth watering chocolates by Sir Hans Sloane Chocolatier. This may have been one of the most unusual places to hold a book launch but without a doubt, it was most certainly one of the best.

Ayo Onatade

Bantam Press, April 2007 £12.99 hbk

Criminal Goings On At SHOTS

In conjunction with Network DVD, SHOTS offers you the chance to win a copy of the Special 9 Disc box set of The Best of Ruth Rendell Mysteries
Our Big Breadwinner Hog DVD Competition winners were:
Jim Roe
Elaine Finnerty
Ken Pickering

In the Ezine
Ali Karim has his yearly Q&A with Robert Crais, who talks about his new novel THE WATCHMAN
American author and “retired” marketing expert, Marshall Karp, has recently had his first novel The Rabbit Factory, published by Allison & Busby to much acclaim. Here, the author speaks with Chris High.
Mike Ripley infamous column GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER has been updated with the latest news and views and the occasion juicy piece of gossip.

CRIME REPORTS pages has been updated with the following;
New Reviews 231/04/07
Chris Mooney
Kitty Sewell
Lee Martin
Ken Bruen
Sean Chercover
Lee Child

Friday 20 April 2007


The Shots Editors Celebrate

It’s been very busy of late with myself blogging at Shots Confidential and Ali at The Rap Sheet, so it was decided to kick back with a few beers with one of our favourite thriller writers, Mike Marshall [Smith] at the launch party for his latest left of field work THE INTRUDERS.

It was a held at a secret basement bistro and its dark lighting made it perfect as a setting for Mike Marshall as his work is Noir!

The bar was excellent with an abundance of finger nibbles followed throughout the night. Gathered to celebrate with Mike Marshall were the whole HarperCollins crew, editors, publishers all lead by HarperCollins’ energetic Publicity and PR Manager, Fiona McIntosh.

We had a long chat with Michael and were amused to learn that he has another pen-name for a book he plans to release in 2008 under the name M.M. Smith, so there you go!

Joining him were authors, Paul McAuley, Maxim Jakubowski, Laura Wilson, Kim Newman, Stephen Jones, and Natasha Cooper. It was also good chatting to Malcom Edwards and Jon Wood of Orion, who was very excited about the new James Lee Burke he had been reading in manuscript, as well as Lucy Ramsey of Quercus, Barry Forshaw of Crime Time, Paul Blezard of Oneword Radio.

Maxim was happy to talk about the forthcoming Crime Scene Festival being held in the UK this September and the possibility of having Al Pacino as main Guest of Honour. The funding for the event has increased being associated again with TCM and also The Times newspaper who will be giving away a free paperback to coincide.

So after thanking Michael Marshall and Fiona McIntosh for their hospitality, it was time to retreat to a local Italian restaurant for a meal and catch-up.

More information on Mike Marshall’s THE INTRUDERS :-

The photos to the evening will be up on the website next week.

It could only happen in Hollywood

Here it is - a Top Twenty of Hollywood cliches - think about them, they are all true:

1] During all police investigations it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.
2] If being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St.Patrick's Day Parade (at any time of the year)
3] The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building you want.
4] If you need to reload your gun, you will always have more ammo, even if you haven't been carrying any.
5] A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious of beatings but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.
6] If a large pane of glass is visible, someone sometime, will be thrown through it
7] The Chief of Police is always black.
8] The same Chief of Police will always suspend his star detective or give him 48 hours to crack the case
9] Cars, boats and trucks that crash will inevitably burst into flames.
10] All bombs are fitted with an electronic timing device with large, easy to read readouts - just in case the hero can't see properly
11] A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty (see No.8)
12] Heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts? No worries, your attackers will only come at you one at a time, after dancing around for a few steps
13] A person who has been knocked unconscious by a blow to the head will never suffer brain damage or concussion (just the screenplay writer)
14] No one involved in a car chase, hi-jacking, explosion or volcanic eruption will ever go into shock
15] Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite (The Lethal Weapon Syndrome)
16] A credit card, hair pin or paper clip can pick a lock in second - unless there is a burning child in the building
17] The average hotel pool is deep enough for you to survive a fall from any floor
18] An Asian crime lord is bound to have a daughter named Jade or Lotus Blossom
19] When faced with an enemy armed with an automatic weapon, he'll fire at least a clip's worth at the hero and miss, hitting anything else: lamposts, the ground or windows. Or hero will return fire with his .45 and kill the gunman in only two shots.
20] When all foreign villains are alone they prefer to speak English to each other.

Tuesday 17 April 2007

Unable to attend this year’s London Book Festival, I managed to scrape news together from Ali Karim, who is still over the moon in “talking” to Dean Koontz over the Internet, after meeting Margaret Attwood along the way; surviving the Harrogate Crime Festival Launch and drinking with Mike Ripley! He’ll be sending in a full report with photos.

Julia Wisdom of HarperCollins has bought UK/Commonwealth rights to Victory Square, the final thriller in the Cold War cycle by Olen Steinhauer - the series covers the period from the close of World War Two to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The latest in the series, Istanbul Variations, scheduled for July in the UK, has been shortlisted for an Edgar Award.

SCEPTRE PUBLISHER CAROLE Welch has acquired the latest book by Michael Chabon, Gentlemen of the Road, which will be published in November. It tells the story of a pair of wandering adventurers - “swords-for-hire, con artists, unlikely soul-mates” - who get caught up in the schemes and battles that follow a bloody coup in the medieval Jewish empire of the Khazars. The novel is currently being serialised by the New York Times Magazine and will be published in the States by Del Rey, a Ballantine imprint.

In other news ….

The Pulitzer Board has just released the winners of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. In the Letters category, it was a big year for Knopf, whose authors took three of the five book awards. It's been an especially big year for Cormac McCarthy, whose The Road was just named an Oprah pick; the Pulitzer win will ensure even greater sales for the novel, just released on paper by Vintage.

Thanks to those who entered our last competitions. The winners were

David Morell Scavenger Competition

Sanjay Srinivas
Kathleen Anderson
Gaynor Coules
Peter Wilton
Catherine Desmond

Hell Drivers DVD Competition

Heidi Carter
Bengt Heurlin
Christy Hawkes

We are now running another DVD competition. This time around it’s a 5 disc box set of TV’s BIG BREADWINNER HOG + SPINDOE. Again, we have 3 Region 2 sets to give away in a simple competition:
Deadline is midnight Monday 23rd April 2007.

Crime Reports has been updated with reviews of
New Reviews 131/04/07
Marshall Karp
Richard Stark
Stuart MacBride
David Lawrence
Caro Ramsay
Michele Giuttari
Robert Crais
Tim Dorsey
Karen Rose
New Reviews 17/03/07
Kathryn Fox
Asa Larsson
Clio Gray
Andrew Britton
Patrick Lennon
R. N. Morris

June 2007
Caro Ramsay
Dick Francis
Michele Giuttari

May 2007
Stuart MacBride

Monday 16 April 2007

Criminal goings on...

The cinemas are full of turkeys yet that brilliant novel you read three years ago has never been made into a film. Danuta Kean in The Independent descends into development hell and finds out why so many authors get trapped there.

I’ve previously blogged on graphic novels and their influence on film makers. Frank Miller’s influence seems to be overwhelming the genre at the moment. There's a neat article by Patrick Oliver which expands on this.

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again', the opening of Rebecca, is Daphne du Maurier's most quoted line, writes Kate Kellaway. And from 10 May, the centenary of her birth, we should all be prepared to revisit Manderley repeatedly, as in a recurring dream. For du Maurier is about to be comprehensively celebrated.
The BBC plans a double helping: a new drama, Daphne, by Amy Jenkins and a documentary by Rick Stein, The Road to Manderley. In Fowey, Cornwall, where she spent most of her writing life, there will be a Daphne du Maurier festival between 10 and 19 May that will include talks, concerts and guided walks. There will also be a literary conference in which her son, Kits Browning, will take part. Justine Picardie has chosen this moment to reconstitute du Maurier in fiction, as a detective in her thriller Daphne, and Virago is about to publish The Daphne du Maurier Companion.

“Death was an occupational hazard for every hooker who worked Dallas's depressed south side. That's why police weren't surprised to find the body of prostitute Mary Lou Pratt shot to death in December of 1990...until the discovery that sickened even the seasoned coroner: the young woman's eyes had been cut out.” I was intrigued enough to read more, are you?

In the UK, former Harper editor Trevor Dolby will establish and run his own imprint at Random House UK, reporting to managing director Richard Cable. The new line will aim to publish about 15 titles a year, covering Dolby's range of interests--including popular culture and popular science, biography, lifestyle, travel, reference and gift books, but also fiction. Launching in spring 2008, Dolby will hire a fiction publisher and a few others to work alongside him.

Heading in a different direction, Orion editor-in-chief Jane Wood will join Quercus in the summer as publisher. She will be working on general fiction and women’s fiction. Bets are on for the first "big" Orion author to jump ship to Quercus.

Wednesday 4 April 2007

Coben is after your ATM Cash

Orion Books is taking a filmic approach as it becomes the first publisher to advertise a new book using the ATM:ad medium, which enables third parties to run campaigns using cash machines.

The Orion campaign, which goes live on April 2nd, will promote "Promise Me" the new title from renowned thriller writer, Harlan Coben. As part of the massive marketing campaign for the paperback, Orion conducted market research. From the findings, it became apparent that the highly charged suspense of Coben's books, makes reading them much like watching an 'edge of your seat Hollywood Blockbuster'. In response, Orion decided to take the marketing to a new level and promote the new book by using a short film ad. This will be represented on the ATM:ad campaign.

Whilst trying to remember your PIN number the ads will run for four weeks across 28 London-based ATM cash machines, including London Underground sites, railway stations, shopping malls and selected venues, such as the Royal Festival Hall. During the four week run, the ad is expected to deliver 240,000 one-to-one transactions, and 60,000 cash machine receipts, which will also feature a reminder of the campaign, further strengthening the promotional message.

Julie MacBrayne, Marketing Executive at Orion Books, said: "We wanted to increase the profile of the marketing campaign, so we decided to use the film as a way of advertising on ATM cash machines. We are the first publisher to do this, and we believe ATM:ad is an incredibly exciting, new way of grabbing the attention of consumers whilst also capturing the imagination of retailers and the in-house sales force. "

Harlan also has his hardback THE WOODS out at the same time.


Most people in Freehold Township know David M. Salkin as a member of the Township Committee and owner of the Jewel Case, a jewelry store in the South Freehold Shopping Center.

Now, however, Salkin's claim to fame may be his new role as a published author. Salkin, a lifelong resident of the community, has sold two books to the Berkeley division of Penguin Books, with the first one expected on shelves at the beginning of April. His first book, a military thriller titled "Crescent Fire," took about a year to write and, according to Salkin, it was a chance conversation with an editor at Penguin that got him his first break. "Through total fate I met Doug Whiteman from Penguin," Salkin said. "I was talking to him and at the end of our conversation I just said, 'Look, I know everybody probably tells you this, but I'm writing a book. Would you mind just taking a look at it?' Eventually they called me and said, 'Can we make a deal?,' and I nearly had a heart attack. They made me an offer, I signed on the dotted line and I still pinch myself saying, 'Holy cow.'

Don't you just love looking at old pulp covers? Well, there is now a site called Crime Boss dedicated to those of the 40's and 50's - which doesn't mean to say you should be old enough to remember them! Worthwhile checking it out.

Black Horse Westerns on crime/western authors
Keith Chapman alias Chap O'Keefe's article DETECTIVES IN COWBOY BOOTS talks in length about British and American crime authors who've also written westerns (or vice versa). It's very interesting and gives background on British paperback and pulp authors. There are also other articles of interest after Chapman's piece.

MATT HELM Creator Donald Hamilton Has Passed Away


Earlier today I learned that Donald Hamilton has died.

Don was 90 years old. Though his name may be little remembered today, in the 1960s and 70s he was well known as the best-selling author of the "Matt Helm" novels, a series of well-written and popular stories about a ruthless agent of the U.S. government who fought evil in the Cold War world (and eventually - briefly - the post-Cold War world). Helm starred in 27 novels between 1960's DEATH OF A CITIZEN and 1993's THE DAMAGERS; he was also featured in several movies starring Dean Martin, as well as a short-lived TV series starring Anthony Franciosa that reimagined the character as a private eye. More recently, Dreamworks optioned the rights to all the Helm novels for feature film development. A final Matt Helm novel exists but has never been published.

Don also wrote a dozen non-Helm novels, including several popular Westerns (including THE BIG COUNTRY, which became the Gregory Peck movie, and SMOKY VALLEY, which was filmed as "The Violent Men" starring Glenn Ford). And he wrote several outstanding noir crime novels, including one - NIGHT WALKER - which we're proud to have reprinted last year in the Hard Case Crime series.

In the last decade of his life, Don moved back to Sweden, where he'd been born, and lived there with his son, Gordon. He died peacefully, in his sleep, this past November. Gordon kept the fact of his death private until today, when he confirmed it in a phone conversation with me.

We've lost a number of giants of the mystery field over the past few years - Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, and Richard S. Prather, among others - and Donald Hamilton is very much of that caliber. He sold more than 20 million books during his lifetime. But unlike Spillane, McBain and Prather, all of whom were widely remembered at the time of their death, Don's passing has sadly gone unremarked.

I thought you might be interested to know about it, and that perhaps you would have an opportunity to let other people know as well. If you would like additional information, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Charles Adari

Crime novelist Dibdin dies at 60

Sad news in today, British author Michael Dibdin, known for his Italian detective Aurelio Zen, has died aged 60, his publisher says. The Wolverhampton-born novelist published his first book, The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, in 1978.

His first Zen novel, Ratking, was inspired by four years spent teaching English in Italy. It won the Gold Dagger award for crime fiction in 1988.

He is survived by third wife, Katherine Beck, a daughter from each of his first two marriages and three stepchildren.

Dibdin's family moved extensively around the UK while he was a child.

He went to school in Northern Ireland and later studied English Literature at Sussex University before travelling to Canada to take a master's degree at the University of Edmonton.


Dibdin was passionate about crime fiction. His first novel was an affectionate parody of the Sherlock Holmes stories, which took the form of a confessional manuscript by the detective's long-suffering sidekick, Dr Watson.

It was not the only time Dibdin paid tribute to his predecessors. The Dying Of The Light, published in 1993, was an homage to Agatha Christie's country hotel murder mysteries.

But it was the escapades of Inspector Aurelio Zen that brought the author his greatest fame.

Dibdin's first novel was a pastiche of the Sherlock Holmes stories
After the success of Ratking, he wrote a further 10 novels starring the world-weary detective, including his most recently-completed story, End Games, which will be published posthumously.

The series often paints an unflattering portrait of modern Italy, as Zen is confronted with political cover-ups, petty bureaucracy and Mafia murders.

The books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, although Dibdin admitted they did not sell well in Italy.

"Italians take a very elitist approach to anything that could be labelled as a genre or crime fiction or mysteries," he told January magazine in 1999.

"There's only one publisher that does them and in fact they're sold at newsagents rather than in book shops. But it's the same thing for anyone. That's just the way it is over there."


The author continued to write novels outside the Zen series, winning accolades for 1991's Dirty Tricks, a story of greed and betrayal in Thatcherite Britain.

He also reviewed regularly for The Independent newspaper, and edited two collections of crime fiction in the 1990s.

Dibdin met third wife Beck, herself a mystery writer who uses the pen name KK Beck, at a writers' conference in Spain in 1993.

Having spent much of his writing career in Oxford, he moved to live with her in Seattle, Washington - which provided the setting for his first American-based novel, Dark Spectre in 1995.

He died in the US on 30 March after a short illness.

Hat tip: BBC News

Are you ready to meet the King of Swords?

Penguin UK Editor, Bev Cousins is very entusiastic about Nick Stone's KING OF SWORDS. Here she explains why:
Every so often a book comes along that is really special, a book on which the word gets out and everyone wants to read the manuscript or the advance proofs. In some cases it's the next big blockbuster and in others it will be a book that quietly and surely stands out from the crowd. In this regular series we'll hear from editors, publicists and various people from different parts of the company about the books that they are working on at the moment that they feel passionately about.

Last year, there was one novel that I simply couldn't stop talking about - Nick Stone's debut thriller Mr Clarinet, which I'm pleased to say, went on to become a bestseller in paperback and won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller of 2006.

I thought it would be hard for Nick to top that novel. But with his second, King of Swords, he's not only topped it, he's delivered a real tour de force. No hyperbole there - it is a masterpiece of crime fiction, rivalling some of the greats of the genre for my favourite thriller of all time.

King of Swords is a prequel to Mr Clarinet and describes the first terrifying encounter between Miami detective Max Mingus and his nemesis Solomon Boukman, a man few have seen but who all fear. Beginning with the discovery of a torn-up tarot card in a murder victim's stomach, the novel takes Max and his partner Joe into a nightmarish world of black magic, murder, police corruption and voodoo sacrifices.

What makes this novel so special? Firstly it is Nick's effortless prose which recreates scenes so vividly - and often viscerally - it's like a film running in your head. Secondly it is his rich, energetic and detailed evocation of violent and crime-ridden Miami in the early eighties. And finally it is in an electrifying cast of original, multi-dimensional characters, from the menacing forked tongued Solomon, to the sinister Eva Desamours, a six-stone fortune teller who could give Hannibal Lecter a run for his money.

To my mind, Nick Stone is the most exciting and talented thriller writer to emerge on the scene since Jeffery Deaver. Few writers can shock you to the core, tug at your heart strings and make you laugh out loud all on the same page - but that's Nick Stone's specialty!

Tuesday 3 April 2007

Pinewood Launches Official Website To Announce The Reopening Of The 007 Stage

The Pinewood Studios Group will launch today April 4th, the official website for the revitalized 007 Stage to mark the practical reopening of Europe’s largest sound stage, it was announced by Nick Smith, Sales and Marketing Director.

Said Nick Smith, “It’s fantastic news that our largest stage is back up and running. The 007 Stage and Pinewood are such an integral part of the British film industry. This official website gives both professionals and the public alike a chance to discover for themselves the rebuilt stage and its new features. The website not only covers the practical information about the stage but also the rich filmmaking history associated with it.”

The stage which has been rebuilt following a fire in July 2006 is currently the largest stage in Europe with an internal area of 59,000 sq ft and an immense tank capable of holding 5.25 million litres. A number of features that have been incorporated to enable filmmakers to get the most out of the stage include a vehicle access ramp directly into the tank, aircraft hangar style loading doors and improved sound proofing. The stage is perfect for film, TV and events and now has a capacity of 2000 people.

At launch, the 007 stage website will feature exclusive content on the stage’s state of the art redevelopment, including never before seen images of the fire in July 2006 and custom made video, animation and interactive elements detailing its impressive grand redesign. Professionals and consumers alike will be able to register to receive monthly newsletters containing updates on the studios by email.

The world famous 007 stage at Pinewood was built in 1976 for the Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me and has since housed some of the most spectacular sets in cinema history. Cambodian Temples for Lara Croft Tomb Raider, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon for Alexander, The Louvre Gallery for The Da Vinci Code and The Chocolate River for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to name but a few. More recently, Pinewood Studios’ 007 Stage was home to several spectacular scenes from Casino Royale.

COLIN BATEMAN has written the first TV screenplay for the new series of REBUS. But according to his editor at Headline they have other plans for him starting with the release of his new book I PREDICT A RIOT:
Colin Bateman is one of our favourite authors at Headline: booksellers rave about him; the critics laud him. So we have decided to put him centre stage.Say goodbye to ‘Colin’; we now know him as ‘Bateman’. Clean, simple and direct. His latest novel and two backlist titles, BELFAST CONFIDENTIAL and MURPHY’S REVENGE, now have thoroughly contemporary, streetsmart jackets: iconic, instantly recognisable and with a touch of humour.It’s a whole new look for Bateman – a new tag and a radical paint job to take him to the top of the bestseller lists.

Norfolk actor Martin Shaw stars as George Gently.


During his lifetime, popular Norwich bookseller turned author Alan Hunter dreamed of seeing his creation appear on television.
And at last his dream is to become a reality - albeit two years after his death.
Millions will be watching this Easter as Norfolk-based actor Martin Shaw stars as George Gently, the policeman created by Alan Hunter in the back of his bookshop near the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich. He wrote his first Gentle thriller in 1955 and wrote another 47 books about the mild-mannered lawman before he died in 2005. Today, his daughter Helen Hunter, from Brundall, said: “Dad would have been so proud. It is a shame he will not be able to see the programme, but we shall be watching.”
The book has been adapted for television by Our Friends in the North writer Peter Flannery, who said: “About four years ago I was rummaging in a dusty old bookshop when my hand fell on a paperback called Gently Through The Mill by Alan Hunter.”
He had never heard of the detective series but handed over a couple of pounds and entered the world of George Gently.
“Gently seemed attractively old-fashioned, not just in his methods and his mindset, but in his values. He is a creation that deserves to become the nation's favourite detective,” he added.

Alan Hunter was born in 1922 in Hoveton St John, near Wroxham, on the River Bure and grew up on the Broads. He decided to set the action in the early to mid-60s and turn the story into a television programme.
“When I first met Martin Shaw to discuss the role, I had a strong sense that he would fit the character, and the character him. He turned out to be terrific at measuring out for us the awful grief that Gentle endures in the story after the murder of his wife in the opening sequence,” he said.

Former Evening News writer Mr Hunter, who lived in Norfolk all his life and spent many years at Brundall, died in his early 80s, leaving his wife Adelaide - who once ran a city antique shop - and daughter Helen.
Just before his death Mr Hunter, who devoted his life to writing thrillers about Gently, told the Evening News: “It would have been good to have seen him on television. You never know, he could have become another Morse.”

Alan Hunter: a short biography

Alan Hunter was born in 1922 in Hoveton St John, near Wroxham, on the River Bure and grew up on the Broads.
He started writing poetry and short stories as well as natural history notes for the Evening News.
He was a country boy who loved the city and, in 1944, while serving in the RAF, he published The Norwich Poems.
Alan went on to write plays in the early 1950s performed by the Conesford Players and the Hellesdon WI Drama Group.
During the 1950s he was running a busy bookshop near The Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich and when he wasn't selling books, he would nip into the back and write about Gently.
The first book was published in 1955. Six years later he sold the shop and became a full-time writer. He moved to Brundall where he wrote a Gentle adventure every year.
In the fast and fickle world of crime-writing, he built up a small army of armchair fans hooked on the Gentle yarns.No explicit sex or violence, just cracking good thrillers and a hero you'd lend your last penny to.

George Gently will be on BBC1 on Sunday, April 8 at 9pm.

Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday Reginald Hill, the creator of that crime fighting duo Dalziel and Pascoe. Reginald was born in Hartlepool, 3rd April 1936.

Monday 2 April 2007


It's competition time again over at SHOTS. This time we are giving away 5 hardback copies of David Morrell's SCAVENGERS and 3 copies of the 2 Disc Special DVD of HELL DRIVERS. Just answer the easy questions.

Sebastian Fitzek writes thrillers that expose reality as an illusion. Fitzek has worked as editor-in-chief and director of programming for various radio stations. Born in 1972, he trained as a lawyer and is now a managing director and partner at Germany’s largest business consultancy for the radio industry. He has also written for countless radio programmes and TV shows. After the overwhelming success Sebastian Fitzek started with his debut novel Therapy, the author now presents his second psychothriller Playing Amok --- Therapy sold since July 06 more than 180.000 copies, and foreign rights were licensed already to 11 countries.

MURDER, polis! According to John Gibson in you can't move in Edinburgh, it seems, without bumping into a plain-clothes cop. And it's not just road-tax dodgers or binbag louts he's after. There's every chance he is on the trail of a really nasty piece of work. Killer, rapist or whatever. Detectives keep spilling from the pages of novels penned by local authors, and here comes another. But hold on, this one is a woman. And, good on yer, she is doing her damnedest to solve a string of grisly murders in the New Town.
Meet DS Alice Rice, the creation of Gillian Galbraith, an Edinburgh advocate turned author at 50. A career switch that's proving worthwhile. Already she has clinched a two-book deal.
The debut novel, Blood in the Water, has just been published and the follow-up, tentatively titled Web of Fire and chronicling the further exploits of DS Rice, is coming in the autumn. Galbraith scoffs at any suggestion of sexism when she made her central character female.

The Sunday Telegraph has a lengthy interview with Lee Child plus a spotlight on six top thriller writers in the UK, but the most intriguing part of the piece had to do with the bylined journalist in question, David Thomas: I love thrillers. In fact, I love them so much, I wrote one. Like so many thriller writers, including Child, James Patterson and Joseph Kanon, and even Dan Brown, I came to thriller writing in middle-age. It seems to be a job that calls for experience. But it's the best mid-life pick-me-up one can imagine. My book comes out this summer. Sadly, I can't reveal what it's called or what it's about, or even the name which I've written it. My publishers have forbidden me. The whole thing has to stay under wraps until the marketing campaign the posters, the miles of supermarket book shelves, the full media blitz - gets under way in June.

Tom Cain is the pseudonym of an award-winning journalist with twenty-five years' experience working at Fleet Street newspapers, as well as for major magazines in Britain and the US. Although he has edited four magazines, published over a dozen books, written film-scripts and been translated into some twenty languages, THE ACCIDENT MAN is his first thriller. Published this coming July in the UK by Bantam Press is has been sold to USA, Canada, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Russia, Film rights sold to Paramount. This is the first novel in an exciting new series introducing Daniel Carver, the man who makes accidents happen to bad people. To him and those who control him, his targets are all legitimate - dmg dealers, terrorists and other scumbags. It's a necessary job, more valid perhaps than the death he was responsible for in the Special Forces.

Over on Ed Gorman's blog, he talks about one of the writers he admired (and imitated shamelessly) the last throes of the true Gold Medal days (which ended, as I recall, sometime around 1975) was Charles Runyon. His Gold Medals usually featured small town working class protagonists who'd run afoul of local law. The stories were drenched with the drugs and crazies of the Sixties and were often driven by tangled often dark romances. A good deal of his material reminded me of the famous Joe Esterhaus (when he was a journalist and a damned good one) Rolling Stone piece about a Viet Nam vet returning to his small town home and finding a nightmare there that rivaled his time in Nam. Runyon got the era down very very well.

Crime writer Ian Rankin has been named as the first winner of the Edinburgh Award. It's in recognition of the positive impact the Rebus author's work has made on the city.