Thursday 6 December 2007

of Templars and Awards

More on title trends: First came ‘Judas’ now it’s the turn of the ‘Templar’ – no, not Simon but the ancient order of the Knights Templar. Three books in quick succession include the November mass market release of Steve Berry’s The Templar Legacy with a far better cover, followed by Paul Doherty’s new series (does this man ever sleep?) simply called The Templar and from the medieval mystery writer Michael Jecks comes The Templar, The Queen and Her Lover (okay, a little cheat here as it is part of his Templar series but it qualifies). I understand on good authority that the launch party (held tonight 6 Dec) for Doherty’s book will be attended by Mr & Mrs Barry Norman, he of former BBC TV Film Night fame, and she as Ariana Franklin won the Ellis Peters CWA Historical Crime Award only last month for Mistress of the Art of Death. There will be photographic proof over on the website to prove this.

Over in Mike Ripley’s Getting Away With Murder Column #14, he presents his own SHOTS awards and the winners are:
Best Crime Novel: The Chameleon’s Shadow - Minette Walters (Macmillan).
Best Thriller: The One From The Other - Philip Kerr (Quercus).
Best Historical Mystery: Mistress of the Art of Death – Ariana Franklin (Bantam).
Funniest Crime Novel: Don’t Cry For Me Aberystwyth – Malcolm Pryce (Bloomsbury).
Best In Translation: The Pére-Lachaise Mystery – Claude Izner (Gallic).
Best First Novel: Little Moscow – Mick Scully (Tindal Street Press).

Thursday 22 November 2007

Conrad Black coming to London!

I blogged about Conrad Black back in June 22 and it seems that legal complications make it impossible for him to appear in person, but thanks to LongPen™, Conrad Black will autograph his latest book, the critically acclaimed The Invincible Quest: the Life of Richard Milhous Nixon (Quercus) at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, in London on November 28th, 6.30pm, from his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Lord Black, once one of the world’s most powerful press barons, is facing a prison term as he is due to be sentenced on December 10th.

Andrew Roberts, the acclaimed historian, will act as interviewer and host for the evening.

Since its publication in the spring, The Invincible Quest has received international critical acclaim. Almost forty years after he was elected president of the United States, Richard Milhaus Nixon remains one of the most polarizing leaders of the twentieth century. His was a life of contradictions: re-elected by a landslide victory, he left office in disgrace; often awkward and sometimes self-pitying, Nixon captivated legions of ordinary citizens. Yet amidst such controversies as Watergate and the Vietnam War, there were also a number of brilliant domestic and foreign policy successes such as the opening up of U.S. relations with China, the détente between the United States and the Soviet Union, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the completion of school desegregation. Extensively researched and rich in detail, The Invincible Quest sheds new light on an extraordinarily complex man.

Invented by Margaret Atwood, the LongPen™ is the world's first long distance, real-time, real pen and ink autographing device. Representing a giant leap forward in marketing and publicity, it operates over the Internet and incorporates video conferencing, allowing celebrities to meet with fans and to sign autographs for them from anywhere in the world without actually being at the event location. Offering a legal signature to finalize transactions, LongPen™ also facilitates the signing of documents, contracts, treaties, and so on.

Waterstone's is the first UK book retailer to conduct a pilot project with LongPen, following its launch in Canada, and a series of exciting events at literary festivals on either side of the Atlantic.

The first transatlantic public event using Margaret Atwood's LongPen™ invention was unveiled at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, with Andrew O'Hagan in Charlotte Square Gardens talking to legendary US author Norman Mailer from his home in Provincetown. With the use of this extraordinary new technology, Mailer spoke for an hour, answering questions from a capacity audience, and remotely signing a number of books. This was to be Mailer’s final public appearance in the UK.
For further information on the event with Conrad Black at Waterstone’s please contact Anwen Hooson on 020 8996 4355 or

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Tuesday 20 Nov 2008

Sorting out a newly arrived batch of books I think I’ve spotted a new trend. Much like the old adage: you wait for one bus to arrive then two come together. In this case, it’s the use of Judas in the title. In the UK we have The Judas Heart by Ingrid Black and the forthcoming The Judas by Steve Jackson. Steve, by the way, has written an article for us and will appear on the website over the weekend of 25/26 November. Stateside you had The Judas Strain by James Rollins and Cry Judas by Frederick F Meyers and out in 2008 - Judas Horse: An FBI Special Agent Ana Greg Mystery by April Smith.
Any advances?

Friday 16 November 2007

Friday 16 Nov

British writer Martin Edwards now has entered the blogdom with his very own place He reports that his UK publishers Allison & Busby has scheduled for February the paperback edition of The Arsenic Labyrinth, plus the return of Harry Devlin, in Waterloo Sunset, next June. Make sure you check him out.

Rick Mofina’s response to the worldwide draw to have a minor character named after winning entrants in his upcoming standalone thriller, SIX SECONDS, was terrific. Congratulations to the winners, who are:
Karen Dyer, Oakland, CA USA
Moe Holman, Calgary, AB, Canada
Carol Mintz, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Terry M., Hamilton, ON, Canada
Sobil Mounce-Bazley, Bristol, England

Freelance journalist Danuta Kean's recent blog entitled, Dreaming of having your book published? is an eyeopener for all newcomers.

Anyone who believes being an author is a pathway to riches is in for a rude awakening. Though the image of the starving writer scribbling away in their garret is dated, the average writer has seen their income drop from a measly £7,000 a year in 2000 (source: The Society of Authors) to £4,000, according to the latest research from the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). Although news headlines may trumpet six figure advances for debut novelists and high profile politicians, the reality is that most authors’ advances are well below £10,000. read more

My tip for next year is Michael Robotham's SHATTER pubished in UK February 2008 by Sphere. It's gone through a few title changes - Shattered Angels and The Sleep of Reason until settling on, at least in the UK, Shatter (unfortunately this reminds me of the 1974 Hammer Film starring Peter Cushing and Stuart Whitman) I thoroughly enjoyed The Night Ferry but Shatter is far and away his best title to date. I'm over half-way through it at the moment and it's superb, powerful stuff. Here's a taster and if this doesn't grab you, then I don't know what will ....

There is a moment when all hope disappears, all pride is gone, all expectation, all faith, all desire. I own that moment. It belongs to me. That’s when I hear the sound.’
‘What sound?’
‘The sound of a mind breaking. It’s not a loud crack like when bones shatter or a spine fractures or a skull collapses. And it’s not something soft and wet like a heart breaking. It’s a sound that makes you wonder how much pain a person can endure; a sound that shatters memories and lets the past leak into the present; a sound so high that only the hounds of hell can hear it.
‘Can you hear it?’
‘Someone is curled up in a tiny ball crying softly into an endless night.

If you want to read more you can download a sample pdf from Michael's website:

Macmillan calls time on Pan Bookshop & Bond is Back

ONE OF LONDON'S most iconic bookshops, the Pan Bookshop in Fulham Road, is to close in January after 32 years trading. Parent company Macmillan cites “tough market conditions and a decline in the overall trading of independent bookshops”, as well as its position in one of the capital's most expensive high street locations.
Macmillan is in discussions with a potential new tenant and is in consultation with Manager Julian Rafot and his staff of eight full-time booksellers, who are supplemented by seven part-time assistants. One staffer, Kaaron Ramus, has been there for 20 years and Rafot for five years. Veteran bookseller Geoffrey Bailey, who works at the shop part-time and former manager of Crime In Store and Crime On Store, told Publishing News: “It's a great shock to us all. It is going to be particularly devastating for our customers, who are all local regulars and have been coming here for many years.” The shop has several high profile customers, including Jeremy Paxman, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan. Geoffrey can glean some consolation in being appointed an incoming judge for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Awards.

Geoffrey Bailey and literary agent, Jane Conway Gordon

There are rumours going around that Daniel Craig as been seen in London this week, and also at Pinewood Studios, where Bond 22 will be filmed.
According to reports, Craig is there to view screentests of potential actresses who could star opposite him in the 22nd James Bond film, which starts shooting in January. Media in Brazil claim Cleo Pires is the favourite to land the lead female role, but there are reportedly five others in contention, including Israeli actress Moran Atias. Dame Judi Dench (M) and Giancarlo Giannini (Mathis) will also reprise their roles. The screenplay has been written by Paul Haggis, based on a first draft screenplay developed by regular scribes Neal Purvis & Robert Wade. The story will be a direct continuation of the events of Casino Royale. Composer David Arnold is to score again and, if rumours be true, Kylie Minogue will sing the main theme. Craig also admits that he would love to appear on UK TV serial Heartbeat (created by Nicholas Rhea from his Constable series of books), as his Mum loves it and it would be a thrill to do. Heartbeat is set in the 1960s, in the fictional Yorkshire town of Aidensfield. The first seasons focus on the lives of London policeman Nick Rowan, who moves to the village with his doctor wife Kate.

Thursday 15 November 2007

3 more Alex Rider books

By Mike Collett-White
LONDON (Reuters) - The author of the hit Alex Rider kids' spy series says there are probably three more books to follow the seventh instalment just published, but hopes of a movie franchise may have been dashed after just one film.
"Snakehead", the latest Alex Rider adventure, follows the 14-year-old super-spy on a treacherous mission to infiltrate ruthless gangs smuggling weapons, drugs and people across Southeast Asia.
In what Anthony Horowitz calls "the most scary chapter I've ever written", Alex is imprisoned at a centre where his body parts are to be removed for transplants.
"What makes it so horrible is the fact that people involved are so charming -- not my usual comical villains, but quite monstrous," Horowitz said in a telephone interview. "It is a very dark chapter."
The 52-year-old said he deliberately wove real elements into his action-packed adventures, which are often compared to those of James Bond minus the sex.
In "Snakehead" there are clear references to the plight of refugees, tsunamis, the recent Live 8 anti-poverty pop concerts and ethnic tensions in Afghanistan.
"The success of the books is connected in part to the fact that they are always dealing with the real, recognisable world."
Horowitz said he would probably wind up the bestselling Rider series at 10 books, meaning three more stories that will take him another five years to complete.
"The big secret is to stop while the books are good," he said. "I dread stopping. I love the books and the books are loved." The series has sold an estimated 11 million copies to date, four million of them in the United States.


Early critical reaction to "Snakehead" has been positive.
"'Snakehead' goes deeper than any previous book, either by Horowitz or his rivals in the spy kids trade, in its vivid portrayal of pure evil," wrote Amanda Craig of the Times.
However, the outlook for big screen adaptations of the popular series is less rosy.
"Stormbreaker", the movie based on the first Alex Rider novel, was released in 2006 amid hopes of a new and lucrative film franchise akin to the blockbuster Harry Potter series that has netted around $4.5 billion (2.2 billion pounds) at the global box office so far.
But the film floundered, earning some $24 million worldwide, and Horowitz blamed distributor the Weinstein Co. for failing to release it widely in the United States.
"Harvey Weinstein decided not to distribute it (in the United States)," Horowitz said. "It is one of the most bizarre and annoying things that the film didn't get given its shot in America. To this day I don't know why."
Horowitz added that he had written a screenplay for the second Alex Rider book, but the project now "hangs completely in the balance.
"There is no certainty at all..." of the film being made, he said. "In fact I would say that the chances are fairly slim."

© Reuters2007All rights reserved.

Wednesday 14 November 2007

RIP Ira Levin & Norman Mailer

Over on Sara Weinman's blog she carries a report on the death of IRA Levin

Also it's sad to report that legendary author Norman Mailer died of renal failure at the weekend. He was 84. Controversial to the end, Mailer's last work, published this summer by Little, Brown, was a fictional exploration of the life of Adolf Hitler, The Castle in the Forest (available in paperback from December). Other Mailer fiction includes the equally controversial The Gospel According to the Son, while highlights of his non-fiction includes the biography of Lee Harvey Oswald, Oswald's Tale. Described in his BBC obituary as 'the bad boy of post-war American literature', Mailer also had the curious distinction of having head-butted a fellow author, Gore Vidal.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Criminal Goings On

John Le Carré’s partly autobiographical story of the life of a British double agent starts this week on a Saturday slot for classic drama.
Watch trailer
"When I first began writing, Ian Fleming was riding high and the picture of the spy was that of a character who could have affairs with women, drive a fast car, who used gadgetry and gimmickry to escape." John Le Carré
Which reminds me, what ever happened to the adaptation of Henry Porter’s A Spy’s Life, which was meant to be a BBC production? I think we should know.

Slick and stylish Trial And Retribution will return to ITV1 next year with eight 2x60min films taking the total to a staggering 16 hours of prime-time television for ITV 1. The emotionally charged films are currently in production and shooting at locations across London. Head of Continuing Drama, Corinne Hollingworth said, “Lynda La Plante's Trial and Retribution has gone from strength to strength during its ten years on ITV, and we're absolutely thrilled to be able to give the audience eight more exciting two part episodes in 2008."
After 10 years of crime fighting, battle weary DCS Walker, DCI Conner and DS Satchell return to solve a series of dark and disturbing cases. David Hayman, Victoria Smurfit and Dorian Lough head up the cast with Kerry Fox (Cold Blood, Shallow Grave) joining the team as DI Moira Lynch and David O’Hara (The Departed, Braveheart) as DI Jack Mullins. Other guest artists include Ben Miles (V for Vendetta, Coupling, After Thomas) Jamie Sives (Hallam Foe, Wedding Belles) Michael Nardone (Rome, Low Winter Sun) Tom Ellis (No Angels, Suburban Shootout) and rising star Kierston Wareing, (critically acclaimed at the Venice Film Festival for her performance in Ken Loach’s film It’s A Free World).
The films will be executive produced by series creator Lynda La Plante and produced by Jolyon Symonds (Hustle, Whatever Love Means), who will be teaming up with the best of British writer and director talent. Writers include; Julie Dixon, Dudi Appleton, Jim Keeble and Christian Spurrier and will be working alongside directors; Alex Pilla (Trial and Retribution XII: Paradise Lost, The Best Man), Paul Wilmhurst (Forgiven), David Moore (Sweeny Todd, Wallis and Edward). Tristram Powell (Foyle’s War, Judge John Deed), Benjamin Ross (The Young Poisoner’s Hand Book, My Little Eye) and Jane Prowse (The Commander, Rocket Man)

Denise Hamilton emailed me about a new Chandler book: “I don’t know if you’re aware of a new book about Raymond Chandler, called “The Long Embrace, Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved” by Judith Freeman but it’s quite interesting. I walked around with the author seeking Chandler’s LA, and here’s the result.
The LA Times Book Review just put the book on their cover Sunday, which is a big deal. I think it’s quite an extraordinary book, part memoir, part biography, partly a search for old LA, and tries to get at the question: was Chandler a repressed homosexual. Lots of interesting stuff. I hope you can get it in the UK or it will appear there soon.” In fact, it was published in the UK on 6th November by Pantheon Books.

The second Féile Fidelma, an international gathering of enthusiasts of the Sister Fidelma Mysteries, will be held in Cashel. Co. Tipperary , Ireland , from September 5 - 7, 2008. Nearly 100 people from 9 different countries attended the first Féile Fidelma gathering in September, 2006, and the organisers expect a larger number next year. The international best-selling Sister Fidelma Mysteries are written by Peter Tremayne, and have sold in 17 languages and sales earlier in 2006 were said to have exceeded three million copies. They have been optioned for developing for television by a Dublin based production company, have already been broadcast as plays on German radio and issued on audio books in several languages. French readers voted them the best mystery series of 2007. They are set in 7th Century Ireland and Cashel, the ancient Irish town, is the central location setting – hailed now as Fidelma’s `hometown’. Registrations for the event have already begun and are accessible via and The registration fee, for three days of lectures and the dinner is US$195 or equivalents. There is a 10% discount for registrations before May 1, 2008.

Those of you who like the true crime genre should read Ben Myer’s Guardian blog entitled Redeeming the true crime memoir. The piece on Noel “Razor” Smith spouting on about his “new mate” disgraced Tory ex-MP, Jonathan Aitken (“a good geezer”)made me smile, as the latter is back in favour with the Conservative party as he took charge of a task force on prison reform within Iain Duncan Smith's Centre for Social Justice to help formulate Conservative policy. Aitken stressed this is not part of a political comeback. Conservative spokesmen pointed out that the task force is independent of the party, even though the organisation is run by Iain Duncan Smith, who is a former Tory leader. What, no Lord Archer as well?

Go behind the scenes on TV’s hottest show with the Official CSI Magazine. Titan Publishing is proud to announce the launch of the brand new Official CSI Magazine, hitting newsstands November 15 2007. Packed with news and interviews from the CSI team, exclusive pictures and behind-the-scenes features, every issue of The Official CSI Magazine will bring you a thrilling insight into the DNA of America’s number one hit drama series.

Thursday 8 November 2007

ARIANA FRANKLIN wins CWA Ellis Peters Award

On a mild November evening the UK publishing world gathered at Six Fitzroy Square, London W1 to discover who won this year’s CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award. The award is sponsored by the Estate of Ellis Peters and her publishers, the Headline Book Publishing Group and the Little, Brown Book Group. After a brief introduction by David Shelley representing Little, Brown and the Ellis Peters esatate he handed over the proceeding to Janet Laurence. After giving the audience a run down of the entries she announced that the winner, and recipient of the £3000 prize money was ARIANA FRANKLIN for MISTRESS OF DEATH.

The shortlist consisted of Jason Goodwin - THE SNAKE STONE (FABER&FABER);Philip Kerr - THE ONE FROM THE OTHER (Quercus);Andrew Martin - MURDER AT DEVIATION JUNCTION (Faber & Faber);Mark Mills, THE SAVAGE GARDEN, (HarperCollins)and Stef Penney - THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES (Quercus).

Monday 17 September 2007

Awards and EXCLUSIVE Competition

Some great news: Ali Karim, representing SHOTS has been nominated for an Anthony Award, in the Special Services category. The winner will be announced at the upcoming Bouchercon convention which attracts mystery writers, editors and fans alike. The event will take place September 27 - 30 in Anchorage, Alaska. According to, an subsidiary that compiles information about Web site traffic, SHOTS is the second most popular crime and thriller-fiction spot on the Internet. Ali is also a contributing editor at January Magazine & The Rap Sheet and writes for Red Herrings, Deadly Pleasures, Crimespree and Mystery Readers International magazines. Karim has contributed to 'Dissecting Hannibal Lecter' ed. Benjamin Szumskyj due out September 2007 from McFarland Press.

Have you ever been to a convention where authors auction off the chance for you to be a character in their novel? Some spend thousands of dollars for that honour. But at SHOTS, we have a FREE competition in which one lucky winner will be immortalized as a character in the thriller 6 SECONDS by RICK MOFINA.The cut off date is October 20th 2007.
Simply click here to go to the link.

Friday 10 August 2007

of festivals, deaths and crime books ....

Authors appear to fall peculiarly in love with (and sometimes at) the Edinburgh International Book Festival, as do audiences. This is the biggest festival of its kind in the world (more than 700 events in 17 days this summer), fuelled and fed by ardent demand. It more than 215,000 visitors last year. Writers, mighty and modest, fêted and unfamiliar, flock to the festival from all parts of the planet. Although many events are sold out there are hundreds with tickets still available including; seasoned actress Jane Lapotaire, Alexander McCall Smith (on the 15th), Life of Pi author Yann Martel, renowned writers and commentators Ghada Karmi and Ilan Pappe, Raj Persaud, Edmund White, Philip Gourevitch and many more. This year Peter Guttridge is in attendance and will file his film column from there. Also another SHOTS regular, Calum MacLeod, will attend with his journalistic hat on. To read more go to Item in The Times
Spoken word radio station, Oneword, will learn about its future direction in the next few weeks, following Channel 4's award of a major new digital network, comprising 10 national stations on DAB Radio. Meanwhile, Penguin has received a boost by becoming the only book publisher with guaranteed coverage on the new network, with a series of podcasts planned. Discussions are now taking place between Oneword and Channel 4, following the award of the licence from regulatory body Ofcom in July. This will see Channel 4 rival the BBC on radio with a range of news, speech, arts and niche music stations to be launched from next July. Three of the stations will be run by Channel 4, the rest hosted by other parts of the winning consortium including BSkyB and Emap. Channel 4 bought a 51% stake in Oneword in 2005, with the other 49% owned by broadcast company UBC Media. Oneword is not included in the new network, while Channel 4 has recently experimented with a news show on the station, presented by Jon Snow. Hat tip Item in PN
I had the pleasure in meeting Rick at ThrillerFest New York. To say we had a laugh is an understatement. Anyhow, he has sent me news on his thriller A PERFECT GRAVE will be release the week of Sept 2. 2007. It is a mass market pbo, North American release through Kensington's Pinnacle line out of NYC. While it does not have a UK release it will be available via on line sites and some specialty independents. But good news for UK readers is that Rick has been picked up by MIRA UK and they are going to publish him in 2008/2009.
Quercus Publishing is bullish after nearly quadrupling sales to £3 million and doubling losses to £340,000 in the first half year. The PLUS-quoted company, chaired by veteran publisher Anthony Cheetham, achieved interim turnover almost as much as for the whole of 2006. During the first six months of the year, Quercus launched the first six titles of its new mass-market paperback division. One of its titles, Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore, won the 2007 Duncan Lawrie Dagger, the world’s richest crime award. We will be publishing an interview with Peter later this month.
Now this sounds like a plot for a book…
A Polish writer is on trial for murder after writing a crime novel in which he closely detailed the facts of a real-life killing. Investigators claim Krystian Bala, 33, a travel writer, journalist and author, even sent them a copy of his popular novel Amok in which he gives a detailed account of a murder, in order to draw attention to it. But suspicious police thought his account too close to the murder of a man whose body was found near a weir on the river Oder in December 2000. Item in The Guardian You may be interested in reading this follow up post
With a few minutes on his hands after completing his next Getting Away With Murder column, Mike Ripley got a call from the Guardian wanting to pay me money for writing Rodney Wingfield's obit. He mentioned that John Gardner had popped too and promptly got the job to do him as well! So beware, we might have to rename him R.I.P.ster.
My fellow panelist Don Bruns, who writes a mean Florida novel, remembers prolific Florida writer John D. MacDonald.:
Point Crisp Road, according to John D. Macdonald, is a 'spit' of land that runs off of Siesta Key, Florida, and was named after a robber-barron named Crisp who probably won it in a crooked poker game. The house that John D. build and wrote many of his Travis McGee books is almost to the end of that spit of land. On a road where more than half of the houses have been bulldozed and mansions have sprung up where humble ranch style homes once stood, Macdonald's home remains as he left it.
The property is now owned by a doctor and his family, who are proud of the literary history of the home. In a loft that is off the living room and up a small flight of stairs, you can see the open water in front of the house, and in back of the house. Peaceful, serene, a quiet setting that gave the father of the Florida mystery genre the solitude he needed to write his incredible stories.
In the parlor, the doctor will tell you, is where Hemmingway once played chess with the mystery writer, and a slew of famous friends came and visited with John D.
John D. was born July 24th, 1916 in Sharon, Pennsylvania, and while his birthplace is far from the sites he made famous, far from Cedar Key, and the wonderful world he created with his boat, the Busted Flush, I choose to remember Macdonald's home in Sarasota. The one on the spit of lad called Point Crisp. On his birthday, I'd like to be there, and try to soak up some of the brilliance he showed as a writer. On the anniversary of his death, December 28th (1986) I will be there. I'll drive out to the point and watch the water, and maybe take a copy of The Green Ripper, and re-read some of my favorite parts.
For further reading: John D. MacDonald and the Colorful World of Travis McGee by Frank D. Campbell Jr. (1977); A Bibliography of the Published Works of John D. MacDonald by Jena and Walter Shine (1981); John D. MacDonald by David Geherin (1982); A Special Tribute to John D. MacDonald (1987); Meditations on America; John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee Series and Othrer Fiction by Lewis D. Moore (1994); Contemporary Popular Writers, ed. by David Mote (1997); Mystery & Suspense Writers, vol. 1, ed. by Robin W. Winks (1998); The Red Hot Typewriter by Hugh Merril (2000)

Tuesday 7 August 2007

More crime stuff than you shake a stick at

Okay, it's been a fortnight since I got back from New York so why haven't I posted? It's been one hell of a roller coaster ride, I can tell you. Before I went to Thriller Fest 2007, I opted to have laser eye correction surgery. It was fine for a week, then the troubles began: sensitivity to light, an infection followed by a rare occurance where one eye thinks it's long sighted, the other short sighted. The result? Blurred vision. So 80% of the time the whole stay was out of focus. If you really want to find out a version of the trip, then nip over to Ali's three-parter blog at the Rap Sheet. But let me warn you, I do not know all the words to Dick Van Dyke's Chim Chiminee. And just for that, Ali. Here's a picture of you on one of your better days!

If you want an official view, then here is non better than Diane Voight:
Were you with us at ThrillerFest this month? If so, you're already aware of all of the amazing opportunities we presented to ITW members, readers, and industry professionals. If not, let me share a bit . . . .

More than 600 people attended, including more than 440 at the Second Annual Thriller Awards Banquet. Almost 200 ITW members had the chance to meet and mingle with the head mystery/suspense/thriller buyer for Borders, the head mystery/suspense/thriller buyer for Waldenbooks, the Vice President of Corporate Sales for Barnes & Noble, and media professionals from The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal,, the BookBitch, and many more.

For a lengthy look, check out the blogosphere:

ThrillerMaster 2007 James Patterson was generous, funny, and a gentleman to one and all during ThrillerFest and when he accepted his lifetime achievement award for contributions to the Thriller genre Saturday night. ThrillerMaster 2006 Clive Cussler was charming, delightful, and gracious to fans of all stripes, but particularly in his presentation of the award to Jim. Of course, the Robert S. Levinson produced Awards Show featuring the Killer Thriller Band and the Killerettes was, well, to die for, as the California-types say. (My favorite part was the total surprise to me when David Morrell sang "Diane -uh." You haven't LIVED until you've been serenaded by Rambo, let me tell you!)

Throughout CraftFest and ThrillerFest, ITW continued its presentation of "firsts" including Spotlight Guest appearances by Lisa Gardner, Vince Flynn, Heather Graham, Clive Cussler, James Patterson and Jeffery Deaver, the most amazing slate anywhere of best selling authors on our CraftFest faculty, and activities such as games, contests, prizes and auctions. Fans were encouraged to talk to authors as they played ITW Author Bingo to qualify for two major prizes: a free admission to ThrillerFest 2008 and a complete autographed set of James Patterson's Alex Cross series. Fans were also eligible to win two Sony e-Readers and an iPod Nano, just to show our appreciation for the readers who support us.

Those present at the Grand Finale Brunch were offered an exclusive opportunity to participate in our Thrilling Titles contest. Winners qualify for a drawing to award free tickets to ThrillerFest 2008. Were you there? If you were, you know the rules. Get your entries in! For information on submissions, check out the ITW web site:

And speaking of amazing opportunities, both the CraftFest auction and the ThrillerMaster auction offered items unavailable anywhere else. The bidding was lively, to say the least. Lucky winning bidders purchased such items as full manuscript critiques from top New York agents, private coffee time with best selling ITW authors, character naming opportunities in upcoming best selling thrillers, and much, much more.

Once again, ThrillerFest was an amazing success thanks in no small part to the generous participation of ITW members, our hard working board, our amazing volunteers, and the outstanding staff at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Most of all, ThrillerFest proved again to be a gathering of extraordinary people who created a special synergy all their own. If you were there, you know what I mean. If you weren't there, well, plan to join us next year and see for yourself!

Anthony Award Nominees

The Anthony Award nominations have been announced with winners to be announced at Bouchercon Alaska - and notice Ali Karim our Assistant Editor has been nominated for an Anthony Award, go on, my son!


ALL MORTAL FLESH, Julia Spencer-Fleming, St. Martins
THE DEAD HOUR, Denise Mina, Little Brown
KIDNAPPED, Jan Burke, Simon & Schuster
NO GOOD DEEDS, Laura Lippman, Harper
THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS, Nancy Pickard, Ballantine


A FIELD OF DARKNESS, Cornelia Read, Mysterious Press
THE HARROWING, Alexandra Sokoloff, St. Martin
HOLMES ON THE RANGE, Steve Hockensmith, St. Martins
THE KING OF LIES, John Hart, St. Martin
STILL LIFE, Louise Penny, St. Martin


ASHES AND BONES, Dana Cameron, Avon
BABY SHARK, Robert Fate, Capital Crime Press
THE CLEANUP, Sean Doolittle, Dell
A DANGEROUS MAN, Charlie Huston, Ballantine
SHOTGUN OPERA, Victor Gischler, Dell
SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN, Naomi Hirahara, Bantam Dell - Delta


After the Fall, Elaine Viets, Alfred Hitchcock Mag
Cranked,Bill Crider, DAMN NEAR DEAD, Busted Flush Press
The Lords of Misrule,Dana Cameron, SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL, Avon
My Father's Secret,Simon Wood, Crime Spree Magazine, Bcon Spec Issue
Policy,Megan Abbott, DAMN NEAR DEAD, Busted Flush Press
Sleeping with the Plush, Toni Kelner, Alfred Hitchcock Mag


THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL, Daniel Stashower, Dutton
DON'T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY, Chris Roerden, Bella Rosa Books
MYSTERY MUSES, Jim Huang/Austin Lugar, Editors, Crum Creek Press
READ 'EM THEIR WRITES, Gary Warren Niebuhr, Libraries Unlimited


Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime
George Easter, Deadly Pleasures
Barbara Franchi & Sharon Wheeler,
Jim Huang, Crum Creek Press and The Mystery Company
Jon & Ruth Jordan, CrimeSpree Magazine
Ali Karim, Shots Magazine
Lynn Kaczmarek & Chris Aldrich, Mystery News
Maddy Van Hertbruggen, 4 Mystery Addicts

Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures

are pleased to announce the 2007 Barry Award nominations. The Barry Awards are named for of one of the most ardent and beloved ambassadors of mystery fiction, Barry Gardner,and are voted on by the readers of Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures.The 11th Annual Barry Awards presentation will take place at Bouchercon in Anchorage, Alaska in late September. The date, time and
location of the awards presentation will be announced later. This is the first year that the Barry Awards are co-sponsored by Mystery News.

Best Novel

White Shadow by Ace Atkins
Oh Danny Boy by Rhys Bowen
The Last Assassin by Barry Eisler
The Prisoner of Guantanamo by Dan Fesperman
City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin
The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos

Best First

The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
The Berlin Conspiracy by Tom Gabbay
The King of Lies by John Hart
Still Life by Louise Penny
A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read

Best British

Priest by Ken Bruen
Dying Light by Stuart MacBride
Sovereign by C.J. Sansom
The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom
Mr. Clarinet by Nick Stone
Red Sky Lament by Edward Wright

Best Thriller

Killer Instinct by Joseph Finder
The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst
Relentless by Simon Kernick
Cold Kill by Stephen Leather
The Messenger by Daniel Silva
Kill Me by Stephen White

Best Paperback Original

Bust by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr
The Last Quarry by Max Allan Collins
The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle
Live Wire by Jay MacLarty
Deadman's Poker by Jim Swain
Crooked by Brian Wiprud

Best Short Story

"Cain was Innocent" by Simon Brett (Thou Shalt Not Kill, published by
Carroll & Graf)
"Shaping the Ends" by Judith Cutler (EQMM May, 2006)
"The Right Call" by Brendan DuBois (EQMM Sept/Oct, 2006)
"A Man of Taste" by Kate Ellis (EQMM Mar/Apr, 2006)
"Rosemary" by Paul Halter (The Night of the Wolf, published by Wildside Press)
"A Case for Inspector Ghote" by June Thomson (The Verdict of Us All,
published by Crippen & Landru)

For more information about the Barry Awards, visit the Mystery News
website at and the Deadly Pleasures website at Questions about the awards and nominations can be directed to or

Congratulations to all of the nominees!

But it's sad to report the deaths of two great crime writers. R. D. Wingfield had already established a successful career in radio drama when he created the character of Inspector Jack Frost in 1972. The dishevelled, disobedient officer was nothing like the traditional crime thriller hero, and did not bring Wingfield critical or commercial success until the end of the 1980s. Although in the next decade David Jason's portrayal on ITV made Frost famous, Wingfield was never comfortable with the television interpretation of his creation.

R. D. Wingfield, author and dramatist, was born on June 6, 1928. He died of cancer on July 31, 2007, aged 79.
Item in The Times

Now follows the death of John Gardner. Author of more than 50 thrillers, including 14 James Bond books, John was a workaholic and recovered alcoholic who even in his 81st year was still writing at all hours. He worked every day - even a little on Christmas Day. "I work because I am scared stiff of losing the ability to put words together," he said. "Touch wood, it's never happened, but I have nightmares that it might."
Obituary in The Independent


San Diego, CA -- Multiple New York Times bestselling author David Morrell, creator of Rambo and father of the modern action novel, was honored with a surprise presentation of the legendary Inkpot Award during Comic-Con 2007. The annual four-day event, hosted by Comic-Con International, is dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms. More than 125,000 people attended this year's sold-out event.

Since 1974, Comic-Con International has bestowed the Inkpot Award annually in recognition for outstanding contribution to comic book, comic strip, animation, science fiction and other popular culture fields.

Co-founder of the International Thriller Writer's organization, Morrell is considered to be the pioneer of the modern action thriller. His award-winning first novel, First Blood, launched the iconic popular culture powerhouse, Rambo. Since then, he has written more than 28 books that have thrilled readers worldwide. Morrell's blockbuster novel Brotherhood of the Rose was developed into a popular NBC mini-series broadcast after the Super-Bowl in 1989. His new six-part comic book series Captain America: The Chosen debuts from Marvel in September 2007.

The Inkpot Award was presented to Morrell during Max Allan Collins' Spotlight Interview with the author. "During the interview, a Comic-Con representative came into the room/" Morrell said, "when Max stopped the interview, gave me a big smile and a wink, and said, ˜You're going to like this!". It was an utter surprise, as well as an exceptional honor."

Recipients of the Inkpot Award include Collins (Dick Tracy, Road to Perdition), Ray Bradbury, Chuck Jones, George Lucas, Frank Miller, Steven Spielberg, Harlan Ellison, Matt Groening, Gahan Wilson, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Francis Ford Coppola, Mickey Spillane, Rod Serling and more.

Morrell is also a three-time recipient of the prestigious Bram Stoker award, most recently for his 2005 novel Creepers. You can visit the author at

He was the king of the thriller, the master of conspiracy, and the creator of a superspy to rival Bond. But how has Robert Ludlum managed to write no fewer than 12 new bestsellers in the six years since his death? Rob Sharp takes up the trail. More in The Independent

Piatkus Books have bought British Commonwealth rights in six new suspense titles from New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan, three paperback originals and three hardcovers.The deal was done via Lara Allen at Trident Media. Piatkus will publish the first three books – Killing Fear, Silent Scream and Dying Breath in March, August and October 2008, with the second series to be published simultaneously with the U.S. in 2009. Killing Fear is the story of former stripper, Sydney Dahl, whose testimony helped put a serial killer on death row. Only now the killer has escaped and is determined to get vengeance on those who put him behind bars. Gillian Green, Fiction Editorial Director, says: ‘Allison Brennan’s writing is an addictive blend of hard-edged suspense with a romance element with wonderfully gutsy heroines. Her success in the US has been phenomenal and we believe she’s going to appeal to fans of Tami Hoag, Tess Gerritsen and Lisa Gardner.’

Century Editorial Director, Hannah Black has acquired the next three books of the Liebermann series by Frank Tallis in a three book deal from agent Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander Associates Limited. Set in fin-de-siecle Vienna, Frank Tallis - author and Harley Street psychologist - vividly brings to life Freud's world of coffee shops and salons abuzz with intellectual debate and cultural ferment. The first three books in the stylish and atmospheric psychoanalytic detective series (Mortal Mischief, Vienna Blood and Fatal Lies - published next January 2008) featuring Dr Max Liebermann, received wide critical acclaim. The Times: 'Tallis's writing and feel for the period are top class'; And the Literary Review: 'smart detection and a mouth-watering view of Viennese café society...good prospects for the Liebermann series..." Translation rights have been sold into 11 languages to date. MORTAL MISCHIEF and VIENNA BLOOD have already achieved bestseller status in France.The BBC has bought the TV rights to the Liebermann series to transmit in 2009. Hannah Black says,'As is borne out by the acclaim of readers and critics alike, Frank Tallis is a brilliantly smart author and a skilful storyteller. We're delighted to be publishing the next three books and look forward to his continued success. Frank is set to be a major player in crime fiction.' The first in this next series, THE KABBALIST, will be published by Century in January 2009 and in Arrow paperback in July 2009.

Mystery Women is 10 years old!!!

August 2007 will mark the tenth anniversary of Mystery Women and it would be lovely to celebrate the occasion. The group as many of you know was founded at St Hilda’s
Crime and Mystery Conference in August 1997 with the first meeting taking place on 31 August 1997.

Richard Reynolds of Heffers bookshop in Cambridge where we have held many events over the last ten years has always been a staunch supporter of the group. He has very kindly agreed to host a Mystery Women evening on 15 August to celebrate our anniversary. This would be a marvellous opportunity for a massive get together of Mystery Women members and I would urge all Mystery Women to come along and support the event.

The event will also be open to the public in support of the aims of the group – the promotion of crime fiction and in particular female writers that remains unchanged.
Please let us know (Lizzie or myself) whether or not you are planning on attending. If you are an author, please also let us know so that we can ensure that your books will be in stock at Heffers.

So far, some of the authors that have agreed to attend include Natasha Cooper, Adrian Magson, Mary Clarke. If you wish to attend, contact Ayo at Mystery Women.

Thursday 5 July 2007

Newsy stuff

This will be the last blog I will file before heading off to New York for the second Internationl Thriller Writers convention, aka ThrillerFest. Of course, I'll be going with Ali "Snapper" Karim, and it's strange that we both hadn't been to the Big Apple for almost thirty years. I'm looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. I will be moderating a panel on the Saturday afternoon featuring Jeremiah Healy, Justin Scott, Don Bruns, Tina Wainscott and Rick Mofina on the subject of STRANGERS IN PARADISE: TOTING GUNS AND SUNBLOCK. Hmmm, and the UK has just had the worst weather for June since records started.

The film rights to John Burdett's BANGKOK 8 and his two subsequent police thrillers set in Bangkok, featuring Buddhist police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, in a new option to Millennium Films, with James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) directing. The books are published in the UK by Transworld.

Our old chum Simon Kernick has sold two new thrillers, the first featuring a kidnap-attempt gone badly wrong, to another of our old chums, Selina Walker at Transworld. By the time the new book comes out, he would be riding high on the success of the Richard and Judy Summer Read promotion. And he will be next year's Chairperson for the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Festival to boot.

Michael Cordy's thriller THE SOURCE, about the surprise deciphering of the elusive Voynich manuscript at Yale's Beinecke Library by a young female professor, leading to the discovery of what seems to be a Garden of Eden deep in the jungles of Peru --and a fight between the Vatican and various scholars for possession of the secrets which the garden contains, has been picked up by Bantam UK.

We should pay crime writers more respect

The subject of book awards has always been a sore subject one for crime writers, many of whom have long nursed grudges against the bigger literary prizes. PD James and Ian Rankin have both complained that crime - not to mention other genre writing - is unfavourably overlooked in these matters. When he picked up his Nibby from Richard and Judy earlier this year, winning in the crime thriller category, Ian Rankin couldn't help but bring the issue up again. Look at the article and already the writer is alienating his audience in calling Rankin et al "crime writers". How would he categorise Salmun Rushdie or even Charles Dickens?

Guardian Blog
It is especially poignant on the day of the Duncan Lawrie Crime Writers' Association Daggers.The winners will be revealed tonight (5 July) at a black tie dinner at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel on Park Lane in London. The event will begin with a drinks reception at 6:30pm, followed by dinner in the ballroom at 7:45pm. Guest of honour will be Bob Marshall-Andrews, QC, MP. The winners will be announced after the dinner. It should be on the wire from 2300hrs tonight. And we will carry our usual photo shoot report.

But going back to the argument, it's hard to say just who is to blame. Elitism by the readers, publishers focusing their attention on the genre much in the same way that the UK library system categorise their books? Who knows? Does it really matter? Obviously it does to some people.

A few years back when Henning Mankell's Sidetracked won the Gold Dagger (as it was in old money), it started a simliar argument over translated books. Many author's had their noses put out of joint and created such a hue and cry that now the CWA has a separate award for a book in translation aka The Duncan Lawrie International Dagger.

In my opinion, a good book is a good book. Full stop.

Friday 22 June 2007

Something for the weekend?

Books fly off the shelves after getting picked for the Summer Read for the Richard and Judy Book Club, with some titles experiencing a 3000% increase in sales. They have announced the following titles as their summer reads
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Relentless by Simon Kernick
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon
Richard Madeley said: "A cracking read can be the ultimate antidote for a summer's day, and Summer Read hands viewers eight engaging and exciting books on a plate.

RendezVous Crime announced that Barbara Fradkin has just won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel 2007 for her novel Honour Among Men. Her achievement is all the more remarkable because it is the first time than an author has won for two consecutive books. Barbara also won the same award in 2005 for her previous novel, Fifth Son. The Arthur Ellis Awards are sponsored by the Crime Writers of Canada and represent the best in Canadian crime writing.

Quercus’ biography of Richard Nixon, Richard Milhous Nixon; The Invincible Quest, was reviewed early in the Evening Standard by Tom Bower, who is, of course, the author of the hostile biography of Conrad Black and his wife, Barbara Amiel, (Outrageous Fortune: The Rise and Ruin of Conrad and Lady Black ) which may result in legal action if Black is acquitted of fraud in the next couple of weeks. Tom Bower is married to Veronica Wadley, the editor of the Evening Standard.

Every festival needs a fringe and what organisers claim is the capital's first ever literary festival is no exception. While Nobel laureates and children's laureates gather at the South Bank Centre next week for the official London literary festival, an underground literary adventure is under way, courtesy of an enterprising collective of London bloggers.

Just when you thought that all the controversy over Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was over more than a year after its premiere, the film version is being investigated by Italian state attorneys on the grounds that it is "obscene" from a religious perspective. Earlier this year, a complaint against the film was filed by a group of clergy near the Italian village of Civitavecchia, where the state prosecutor said it would open a criminal investigation into the film. The complaint says the film violates Article 528 of Italy's Penal Code.

The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Crime
shortlist announced

The 6 strong shortlist was voted for by the public and is as follows:
Christopher Brookmyre - All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye (Little, Brown)
Stuart MacBride - Cold Granite (HarperCollins)
Stephen Booth - The Dead Place (HarperCollins)
Allan Guthrie - Two Way Split (Birlinn),
Graham Hurley - Blood and Honey (Orion)
Michael Jecks - The Death Ship of Dartmouth (Headline).
The winner will be announced Thursday 19th July on the opening night of the festival and will receive £3,000 and a beer barrel from sponsors Theakstons Old Peculier.

Friday 15 June 2007

R.I.P. Jill McGowan

Jill McGowan (9 August 1947- 6 April 2007)

Scottish born Jill McGowan was the author of the police procedural series featuring Chief Inspector Daniel Lloyd and Inspector Judy Hill. McGowan wrote 13 books in the series featuring the duo; the first book was A Perfect Match back in 1983 the most recent was Unlucky for Some. Lloyd and Hill subsequently become a married couple and in the last book, we see them coping with a pressurised marriage, a daughter and the fact the Lloyd’s mother was living with them. The Lloyd and Hill series were intelligently and dramatically written books, which crackled with energy and pace. One of the books, A Shred of Evidence was dramatised for television but it did not fare very well.

She also wrote a number of standalone novels one of which The Stalking Horse (1987) was a novel of revenge featuring a character that plots and systematically reeks vengeance on those responsible for him being incarcerated for a decade and a half for two murders that he was not responsible for. It was a masterful and suspenseful tale.

Under the name Elizabeth Chaplin, she also wrote a first-rate psychological novel called Hostage to Fortune. Only one of her books was set in Scotland where she was born and that was Murder Movie and it was set not unsurprisingly on the Mull of Kintyre where she spent her youth. The background of the book was set amidst where a film was being shot.

Her writing consistently elicited appreciative reviews from crime fiction reviewers and were always smart and intricately plotted.

Ayo Onatade

Thursday 14 June 2007

Ian Rankin Investigates: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde – Saturday 16 June, 9.55pm, BBC Four
A notorious Edinburgh warlock, who led a double life as a pillar of the community, was a prototype Jekyll and Hyde, according to a new documentary, Ian Rankin Investigates: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde from BBC Scotland. The documentary, presented by Ian Rankin, reveals the author Robert Louis Stevenson was horrified as a child by tales of Scotland's most notorious wizard Major Thomas Weir.

Seemingly an upstanding preacher and Captain of the Town Guard, Major Weir shocked his flock when at the age of 70 he revealed he had for decades practised incest, bestiality and sorcery. Together with his sister Jean, he was sentenced to be strangled and burned at the stake in a trial that shocked the Edinburgh of 1670.

According to local lore, his walking stick had a life of its own and when thrown onto the funeral pyre, burned only with great difficulty. Local legend also has it that his ghost haunts the West Bow area of Edinburgh, where he lived. Ian Rankin Investigates: Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde reveals Robert Louis Stevenson had nightmares in the wake of tales about the Major told by his nanny, who he called Cummy.

Rankin says: "Stevenson had always suffered from nightmares – they began as a child growing up in Heriot Row, Edinburgh. What made Cummy's bedtime stories for young Louis so terrifying was that they really happened – just outside his bedroom window on the haunted streets of Edinburgh. One of Cummy's favourite bedtime stories was about Edinburgh's most famous witch Thomas Weir. As covenantors, Thomas and his sister Jean made a great show of piety and godliness and excelled at prayer. In time, they even became the unofficial leaders of one group who called themselves 'The Saints'. But Thomas and Jean had a secret. When both Thomas and his sister Jean confessed to a string of sexual offences, the outraged congregation reported the pair to the authorities."

Weir, born near Carluke in Lanarkshire, was reputed to have said on the day of his execution, when he was burned at the stake: "Let me alone. I have lived as a beast and I must die as a beast."

The documentary goes out on Saturday 16 June at 9.55pm on BBC Four, immediately after the first episode of BBC One's new drama Jekyll, starring James Nesbitt. Over and above Cummy's tales, which it is believed included other infamous Edinburgh characters such as grave robbers Burke and Hare and Deacon Brodie, Edinburgh itself is also credited as being very much part and parcel of Stevenson's inspiration for his creation. The "two sides" of the city with the New and Old Town – where Stevenson consorted with prostitutes – also fuelled his imagination and helped create the Jekyll and Hyde legend.

Rankin says: "It wasn't just Edinburgh characters like Major Weir who led double lives, the city itself has a split personality." But the city lost out as the location for the tale because Stevenson thought the home of a famous anatomist, who lived in London, was a great setting. "In the story, Stevenson describes Dr Jeykll as having bought his house 'from the heirs of a celebrated surgeon'", says Rankin.
"In the book, Stevenson gives a detailed description of the layout of Dr Jekyll's home. It is identical to John Hunter's."

Hunter, who was originally from Glasgow, had a beautiful town house on one street, where he welcomed his clients, which connected through to an anatomy theatre which then connected to another building in a separate street on the other side, through which it is reckoned thousands of cadavers were delivered for dissection.

Rankin adds: "Like Dr Jekyll in his quest to push scientific boundaries, Hunter was completely driven. Hunter's obsession with cutting up everything and anything he could lay his hands on gave him the skills that earned his famous nickname – The Knife Man – but he was also one of London's most sought after doctors and was appointed Surgeon Extraordinary to King George III. Despite his fame and respectability, Hunter still demanded a constant supply of cadavers for his growing anatomy collection and teaching. Naturally Hunter's new home, in Leicester Square, was purpose-built for a surgeon's double life."

Ali Karim talks to author of The Accident Man, Tom Cain

According to Ali Karim, Shots' Assistant Editor, he is expecting great things of Tom Cain's The Accident Man, citing it as one of his best reads of 2007. Tom Cain could be known as David Thomas but he's not confirming the fact. In the first of a slew of books being published about the conspiracies behind the death of Diana, Princess of Wales The Accident Man introduces us to a new James Bond style hero in Samuel Carver. At an unknown location, and behind closed doors, Ali and Tom spoke about the book and the dark world of conspiracy theories.

Wednesday 13 June 2007

Shamus Award Winner Edward Wright's new crime book is called DAMNATION FALLS, in which a disgraced Chicago newspaper columnist agrees to ghost write a biography of his childhood friend and former Tennessee governor, but instead finds himself investigating a series of ghastly murders and a town legend from the Civil War in the Tennessee hills.

On Saturday 23rd June from 2pm Dean Koontz will be signing copies of ‘The Good Guy’ published by HarperCollins in hardback, priced £17.99 from his home in Newport Beach , California for customers at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, (203-206 Piccadilly, London W1V 9LE). The signing will start at 2pm GMT.
The LongPen TM – the world’s first long distance, pen-and-ink signing device is the invention of Margaret Atwood. Carbon neutral, and one of the most exciting developments in the literary world, it enables booklovers from around the world to have contact with authors they would never otherwise meet. LongPen TM operates over the Internet, incorporating video conferencing to facilitate trans-Atlantic conversations between writers and their fans.
Not only is this the commercial launch of LongPen TM to the UK public, but the first time that this hugely prolific writer has undertaken a signing event for UK fans: a genuinely groundbreaking moment. But we know that our man, Ali Karim had the benefit of being one of the first people at this year’s London Book Fair to use the LongPen, and had Koontz ‘sign’ his copy of The Good Guy.

The visual language of design - the ability to communicate what the book is about, who it is for - is something publishers are all too aware of, as they watch their books do battle on increasingly cluttered bookshop (and supermarket) shelves, competing for our attention and, let's face it, our money. Images and typography play as great a part in the mind of a potential book buyer than do endorsements on the jackets, be they blurbs from fellow writers, or a sticker from Richard and Judy.
Item in The Guardian

Bestselling author John Grisham will publish a new novel this autumn about an American football player in Italy, it was announced today. The book, entitled Playing for Pizza, will be published simultaneously by Doubleday in the US and Century in the UK.
Playing for Pizza is a short novel about a fallen American football star who can no longer get work in the National Football League and whose agent, as a last resort, signs a deal for him to play for the Parma Panthers, in Parma, Italy. The quarterback’s move to a small city in a foreign land leads to a series of cultural misadventures. The idea for the novel grew out of time Grisham spent in Italy researching his last novel, The Broker, which was set in Bologna.
“I was pleasantly surprised to find real American football in Italy,” says Grisham, “and as I dug deeper a novel came together. The research was tough – food, wine, opera, football, Italian culture – but someone had to do it.”
John Grisham is the author of 18 novels and the recent bestselling work of non fiction, The Innocent Man. Arrow will publish The Innocent Man in paperback on 15th November, Century will publish Grisham’s next legal thriller in spring 2008.
Playing for Pizza will be published as a Century hardback on September 25th with an Arrow paperback the following year.

Wednesday 6 June 2007


Last night (5th June)The Crime Writers’ Association announced the shortlists for this year’s Daggers - the prestigious awards that celebrate the very best in crime and thriller writing in 2007. This is the second year of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger - formerly the CWA Gold Dagger for Fiction - with a prize of £20,000. This is now the largest award for crime fiction in the world. Duncan Lawrie Private Bank also sponsor the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger for the best crime novel translated into English, with £5000 going to the author and £1000 to the translator.

The results will be announced on Thursday, July 5 2007

The shortlists, by category, in alphabetical order, are as follows:

£20,000 prize money, sponsored by Duncan Lawrie Private Bank

Giles Blunt - FIELDS OF GRIEF - HarperCollins
Judges’ comments: ‘This is a novel with a great sense of place that intertwines what are apparently disparate plot lines into an unexpected resolution.’

James Lee Burke - PEGASUS DESCENDING - Orion
Judges’ comments: ‘Burke is a master of crackling dialogue and exploration into New Orleans lowlife and corrupt politics, and in the Police Department he creates a steamy world of violence and intrigue. His is unforgiving territory he knows so well in which alcoholic ex-cop, Dave Robicheaux, is drawn inexorably into another tangled story of broken families and revenge.’

Gillian Flynn - SHARP OBJECTS - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Judges’ comments: ‘Flynn’s novel is a study of evil at the heart of the family set against a background of southern gothic American life. The reader is drawn into the macabre relationship of mother and daughter resulting in physical self harming.’

Craig Russell - BROTHER GRIMM - Hutchinson
Judges’ comments: ‘A compelling police procedural set in Hamburg, Russell’s novel is a horrific modern twist on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. A vividly drawn and believable set of characters.’

C.J. Sansom - SOVEREIGN - Macmillan
Judges’ comments: ‘An historical thriller that brings together and original and multi-layered plot with a rich story set against a royal progress by Henry VIII to York and his dissolution of his marriage to Catherine Howard. Sansom is a masterly story teller and natural plotter.’

Peter Temple - THE BROKEN SHORE - Quercus
Judges’ comments: ‘This is a well written crime novel with excellent characterisation mingled with a subtle exploration of contemporary Australian landscape and mores. This is a first class read with a sympathetic engrossing police protagonist.’

Judging Panel
Geoff Bradley (Chair) - editor of Crime And Detective Stories (CADS) magazine
Lyn Brown MP - committee member on the London Libraries service
Steve Craggs - crime reviewer for The Northern Echo
Heather O'Donoghue - academic, linguist, crime fiction reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement, and keen reader of all crime fiction
Barry Forshaw - reviewer and editor of Crime Time magazine
Elinor Goodman - former political editor for Channel Four
Frances Gray - academic who writes about and teaches courses on modern crime fiction
Margaret Kinsman - senior lecturer in English Studies at London South Bank University
James Naughtie - BBC journalist and Radio Four Today programme presenter

£5000 prize money for the author and £1000 for the translator, sponsored by Duncan Lawrie Private Bank
For crime, thriller, suspense novels or spy fiction which have been translated into English from their original language, for UK publication.

Karin Alvtegan (Sweden) - SHAME - Canongate translated by Steven T. Murray
Judges' comments: ‘A clever psychological study of a small group of people brought together by shared experiences of abuse which they must now, finally, confront.’

Christian Jungersen (Denmark) - THE EXCEPTION - Weidenfeld & Nicolson translated by Anna Paterson
Judges' comments: ‘Something completely out of the ordinary: a thought-provoking novel in which workers in a centre monitoring human rights abuses slide into bullying office politics.’

Yasmina Khadra (Algeria) - THE ATTACK - William Heinemann translated by John Cullen
Judges’ comments: ‘A harrowing psychological novel which explores the motivations of a suicide bomber, and lifts the conventions of the whydunnit.’

Åsa Larsson (Sweden) - THE SAVAGE ALTAR - Viking translated by Marlaine Delargy
Judges' comment: ‘A fine sense of Northern Sweden with a story of mayhem in a small religious community.’

Jo Nesbø (Norway) - THE REDBREAST - Harvill Secker translated by Don Bartlett
Judges' comments: ‘Secrets from Norway’s discreditable wartime past resurface when a lone terrorist threatens an assassination.’

Fred Vargas (France) - WASH THIS BLOOD CLEAN FROM MY HAND - Harvill Secker translated by Sîan Reynolds
Judges' comments: ‘A stylish return to the shortlist for last year’s inventive winner with another unconventional police procedural.’

Judging Panel:
Adrian Muller (non-voting Chair) - freelance journalist and an events organiser specialising in crime fiction
Peter Guttridge - crime writer and the crime fiction reviewer for the Observer
Ruth Morse - has written about post-colonial crime fiction, and is a reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement
Susanna Yager - the crime fiction reviewer for The Sunday Telegraph

£2000 prize money, sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd

‘Out of the many exciting submissions received this year, from established names and newcomers alike, the judges were particularly pleased to see some powerful fresh explorations of the genre. Themes ran from present day spies and terrorism to a focus on psychological edge, and we read explosive storylines alongside those with harrowing personal repercussions for the protagonists. The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger judges are looking for the best in any of these fields.’

Alex Berenson - THE FAITHFUL SPY - Random House
Judges’ comments: ‘A very assured first novel, exciting, well-informed and engrossing with the most mature take on the threat of terrorism from Al Qaeda in this year's crop of thrillers. An excellent read.’

Harlan Coben - THE WOODS - Orion
Judges’ comments: ‘Gripping. This departure from his usual series crackles along with excellent dialogue and fast-paced plot. A really good blend of past intrigue and present dangers.’

R.J. Ellory - CITY OF LIES - Orion
Judges’ comments: ‘Told in a unique style, peopled with highly believable characters with dialogue that is evocative of 1940s’ classic noir. New York City lives and breathes in this distinctive thriller.’

Gillian Flynn - SHARP OBJECTS - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Judges’ comments: ‘A very good debut, atmospheric and creepy, with a complex and convincingly drawn female protagonist. The claustrophobia of small-town America in the south is portrayed exceptionally well in this dark psychological thriller.’

Michael Marshall - THE INTRUDERS - HarperCollins
Judges’ comments: ‘A book that is impossible to put down. It has pace, a marvellously believable lead character, and a plot that grips all the way through to a surprising conclusion.’

Michael Robotham - THE NIGHT FERRY - Little, Brown
Judges’ comments: ‘Very involving and accomplished, especially in the portrayal of the female Sikh lead character. Robotham handles his subject with great deftness and perception in this modern take on people smuggling.’

Karin Slaughter - TRIPTYCH - Random House
Judges’ comments: ‘Compulsive reading. Slaughter has moved away from her series to produce a skilfully and confidently written analysis of a killer and how his crimes over time have affected him and those around him. Utterly convincing and hideously believable.’

Judging Panel
Corrine Turner (Chair) - Managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications
Seraphina Granelli - head of retail with Millivres Prowler, Europe’s biggest gay and lesbian publisher and retailer, and former manager of Waterstone’s, Piccadilly
Mike Jecks - founder member of Medieval Murderers, author of the Templar series, former Chair of the CWA.
Mike Stotter - editor of Shots e-zine, award-winning children’s author
Zoë Watkins - Publishing Manager of Ian Fleming Publications
Gordon Wise - former bookseller and publisher with Pan Macmillan and John Murray, now a literary agent

For first books by previously unpublished writers, sponsored by BBC Audio Books. Formerly the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger
£1000 prize money

The judges remarked on the interesting, well written novels they had read. ‘There was a great deal to enjoy on the list.’

C.J. Emerson - OBJECTS OF DESIRE - Allison & Busby
Judges’ comments: ‘This is a tale of lost children, child murder and change of identity with wonderfully tense scenes.’

Gillian Flynn - SHARP OBJECTS - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Judges’ comments: ‘This was a novel characterised by its vivid and poetic writing. A superb sense of character with an imaginative treatment of the reasons for and the problems of self-harm.’

Declan Hughes - THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD - John Murray
Judges’ comments: ‘This fast pacy novel portrayed a family of convoluted relationships with a secret at its heart. Evocative of Dublin, the novel showed great splashes of humour.’

Brian McGilloway - BORDERLANDS - Macmillan New Publishing
Judges’ comments: ‘A wonderfully written novel with rhythmic prose. An easy and fluent style which suits the format of a fast moving crime thriller. It portrays scenes of violence among outsiders in society and reveals the seamier side of the detective’s private life which intrudes on his work.’

Andrew Pepper - LAST DAYS OF NEWGATE - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Judges’ comments: ‘A pre-Victorian bow-street runner hunts the killer of a young family. This was a novel of complex characters and sweeping themes of both persecution and religion which are as true to contemporary life as they were then.’

Camilla Way - DEAD OF SUMMER - HarperCollins
Judges’ comments: ‘A lean, pacy novel, simply but powerfully written which saw crime from the point of view of an adolescent. An excellent portrayal of a charismatic leader.’

Judging Panel
Marion Arnott (Chair) - short story writer, winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger, 2001 and shortlisted twice
Dreda Say Mitchell - winner of the 2005 CWA John Creasey Dagger
Peter Walker - who also writes as Nicholas Rhea, author of the ‘Heartbeat’ series

Nominated and judged by librarians and awarded to an author for a body of work, not one single title.
£1500 prize money, sponsored by the Random House Group

Kate Atkinson
Judges’ comments: ‘With her offbeat and eccentric stories, Kate Atkinson is taking the crime genre in a new direction. Jackson Brodie is a fine addition to the league of flawed but successful detectives. We can’t wait to read more.’

Susan Hill
Judges’ comments: ‘Her novels leave a deep impression on our readers, as sinister events seep into everyday life. Simon Serrailler is a cultured detective in the Adam Dalgleish mould, and the supporting characters are equally well drawn. But be warned, there are a few shocks along the way.’

Stuart MacBride
Judges’ comments: ‘His books tell of life in all its grim reality, but this only adds to the appeal of this truly impressive new author … the grimmest of subjects, but leavened (thankfully) with dashes of humour. He’s bad news for the Aberdeen tourist industry, but great news for crime readers.”

Barbara Nadel
Judges’ comments: ‘Well researched and with lots of added extras, plus some wonderful imagery … Sympathetic heroes, and a whole new world is exposed through her descriptions of life in Istanbul. All human life is there!’

Courttia Newland
Judges’ comments: ‘Well crafted stories and an immersion into inner-city London life … There are no certainties here, no absolute rights or wrongs, we found his books riveting and would love to read more - if you’re fond of cosy reading these aren’t for you, but this is definitely an author to push further into the limelight.’

C.J. Sansom
Judges’ comments: ‘Brilliantly researched stories about turbulent Tudor England, we like his hero Matthew Shardlake - he’s an impressive sleuth and a good man, a thoroughly likeable character. Authentic settings, entertaining and enjoyable stories - they satisfy on so many levels.’

Judging Panel
Will Cooban (Chair) - Bexley Libraries
Mark Benjamin - Northumberland Libraries
Miriam Bennett - Liverpool Library
Jonathan Gibbs - City of London Libraries
Muriel Waldt - Bedfordshire Libraries
Kim Wallis - Leicestershire Libraries

£500 prize money, sponsored by Orion
For unpublished novels by unpublished authors.

Martin Brackstone (UK) - MALESTKI’S MOTIVE
Synopsis: Emotionally fragile homicide cop Larry Kurtin and his alluring new partner Louisa Silver investigate a bizarre, seemingly motiveless murder during San Francisco’s morning commute.

Synopsis: Flavia is barely eleven, but her passion for poisons would make Lucrezia Borgia cringe.

Nesta Brzozowski (UK) - WITH A VIEW TO DEATH
Synopsis: With a View to Death is set in the Lake District and introduces DCS Jack Runcie. New to the area, Runcie heads a small team investigating a lakeside murder which has been linked to a terror campaign, waged against holiday-home owners and tourists, which threatens to destroy the local economy. Runcie is under pressure to solve this case quickly but is not helped by the tensions and conflicts within his investigating team, nor by his own position as ‘offcomer’.

Fay Cunningham (UK) - CRY BABY

Synopsis: Gina Cross is a forensic artist with a special talent, she can see the faces of the dead. Pregnant teenagers are being targeted by an agency selling babies abroad, one young girl has already been found dead just after giving birth, and now a friend’s teenage sister has gone missing.

Synopsis: Rome Was Never Like This explores two fundamental issues: What is the role of the individual in a society - our society - in which civil liberties are increasingly threatened? And in such a society, how far must a man go to get the attention of a government that has murdered his child?

Synopsis: When he finds himself on the run from a phoney murder rap, Gouvernor Ness, a young, street-smart thief, is cast down a path that will lead him from the dark corners of skid row to the shiny marble halls of power, a journey that will force him to confront not only a desperate killer but the painful secrets that lie buried in his past.

David Jackson (UK) - PARIAH
Synopsis: Where do you turn when your very presence is the kiss of death to those around you? Detective Cal Doyle is about to discover just how low he is prepared to sink.

D.J. McIntosh (Canada) - THE WITCH OF BABYLON
Synopsis: As John Madison sets out on a search to recover stolen Iraqi antiquities, an even darker secret casts a long shadow over his quest.

Gerard O’Donovan (UK) - WHITE LION
Synopsis: White Lion is a novel about lust, murder and bad, bad timing in a tight-knit Suffolk community. It is a story of wholly different lives that collide for only an instant - but with horrific consequences.

James Oswald (UK) - NATURAL CAUSES
Synopsis: Someone is killing Edinburgh’s elder statesmen, cutting them open and removing bits, and it is up to Detective Inspector Anthony McLean to find whoever is responsible. But how are these deaths linked to the remains of a young girl, ritually murdered and walled up in a long-forgotten basement? And what has that to do with a series of violent suicides across the city?

Peter James Peacock (UK) - TOWERS OF LONDON
Synopsis: Two ambitious East Enders take on gangland London as they strive to rebuild their shattered city after the war.

Martie de Villiers (UK) - SOLITAIRE
Synopsis: Two women, Ingrid, a diamond thief hoping to make a fresh start, and Amanda, a cop determined to make her pay for her crimes are thrown together in a chase through the Namib desert as they attempt to escape an armed gang after 10 million dollar's worth of diamonds that Ingrid has hidden and fully intends to keep.

Judging Panel:
Philip Gooden (Chair) - author of historical mysteries and reference books on the English language, and Chair of the CWA
Emma Hargrave - Managing Editor, Tindal Street Press
Bill Massey - Editorial Director, Orion
Sara Menguc - Literary Agent
Keshini Naidoo - Assistant Editor, HarperCollins (Avon)
Sarah Turner - Senior Commissioning Editor, Transworld Publishers

THE CWA SHORT STORY AWARD - to be presented at a later date
Formerly the CWA Short Story Dagger
£1500 prize money

‘The judges debated this list with great enthusiasm, finding all four stories worthy of high commendation.’

J.A. Konrath - EPITAPH
From ‘Thriller’ edited by James Patterson, Mira UK
Judge’s comments: ‘A terminally ill hit man takes revenge in a brutal act of violence. A story with a dash of the macabre, as well as humour. Good characterisation, and good fun.’

Peter Lovesey - NEEDLEMATCH
From 'Best British Mysteries' edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Allison & Busby
Judges’ comments: ‘Set during the Wimbledon fortnight in 1981, with the Cold War raging, and a Russian tennis player's mysterious death leading to potentially global consequences. Excellent writing, evocative setting.’

James Siegel - EMPATHY
From 'Thriller' edited James Patterson, Mira UK
Judges’ comments: ‘A clever story featuring an ex-police officer, a seductive woman and a murder. Brilliantly unpredictable and original.’

From 'Best British Mysteries' edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Allison & Busby
Judges’ comments: ‘A wartime photographer takes the last photograph of his career in Palestine, and uses it to save his own life. Raises issues of media responsibility in times of war. A thoughtful, character-driven story.’

Judging Panel:
Ayo Onatade (Chair) - reviewer
Ali Karim - reviewer
Jerry Sykes - novelist and short story writer

The Ellis Peters Historical Dagger - now the Ellis Peters Award - will be announced and presented later in the year.