Thursday 28 January 2010

The Larsson Conspiracy

As the release of the Swedish Version [with English subtitles] of ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ is fast approaching; Stieg Larsson’s name is back in the media spotlight.

I do love a conspiracy theory, and of course the early death by heart-attack of Stieg Larsson has provoked the theory that he was actually killed by Neo-Nazi elements. This theory has been widely refuted, but another conspiracy theory is reported by the BBC today

Kurdo Baksi, who worked with Larsson on the anti-fascist magazine Expo, and who had known him since 1992, has just released a book entitled My Friend Stieg Larsson. His suggestion that Larsson was not a leading light of journalism has proved controversial in Sweden. "Many people are angry," says Baksi. "He is a god in Sweden."

But the controversy over Baksi's book may be dwarfed by the storm generated by another old colleague of Larsson. Anders Hellberg believes there is no way Larsson could have written the prose in the Millennium trilogy.
He worked with Larsson at the TT news agency in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Larsson was a designer. He edited the text that Larsson produced to go alongside graphics and he was not impressed.

"This was not professional writing. Everything was wrong, the order of the words, the syntax - it was not professional language.

"To write is a kind of talent. You can learn up to a certain level to write. Stieg in my view could not have written the novels."

Hellberg, who made his revelations in an article in Sweden's leading newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Friday, does not know for certain who else may have written the novels, but he said it might be plausible to suggest Larsson's partner Ms Gabrielsson, an architect, played a big part.

"Stranger things have happened than two people [where] one does the plot, the research, the story and the other one is writing. She has written a lot in underground papers. She is a very good writer, I've been told."

There is no evidence that Ms Gabrielsson did any of the writing, admits Hellberg. It has been suggested that her contribution to the work was proofreading and assistance on description of architectural detail. But it is not clear why, if Ms Gabrielsson was responsible for more, she would not have already made it clear. Her forthcoming book may make her position on the matter clearer. Ms Gabrielsson was unavailable for comment.

Hellberg has also been on the receiving end of fan ire for his theory.

The reaction from my fellow Swedes and also some others is quite angry. Normal Stieg Larsson readers don't like this. I've committed some kind of crime to raise the question. Some of the mail is not pleasant."

The idea that Larsson couldn't write and therefore is not responsible for the prose in the trilogy is dismissed by others who knew him, like Anna-Lena Lodenius, who worked with him on a book about neo-Nazis in the early 90s. "When we worked together he wasn't that good in the beginning but that was a long time ago," says Lodenius.

"If you read the books you can hear his voice. It is like he is next to you. It is his words, his expression. You can hear it."

She does not think it strange that someone with little track record of writing fiction could suddenly turn out a series of bestsellers. "He read an enormous amount of crime stories and true crime. He was very interested in female writers like Sara Paretsky [who created the character of VI Warshawski].

"I was maybe a little bit surprised that he was able to write this kind of thriller, books that you can't put down. He learnt by reading I think. For me it's quite obvious that he was a good writer."

Read the full piece here

Though the last paragraph is the stuff that fuels conspiratorial thoughts –

“A man, approaching middle age, and with no track record of writing fiction, knocks out a trilogy of thrillers, gets a publishing deal, but dies before being thrust into superstardom.”

Friday 22 January 2010

Newsy stuff

Sherlock Holmes

It appears that the copyright issues surrounding the Sherlock Holmes books of the late Sir Arthur Conan is not that straightforward and there still seems to be some dispute of who actually owns the rights. Two different takes on the issue can be found here and here.

Stieg Larrson

As well as having three books in the best sellers list on both sides of the Atlantic, this year will also see a number of books being published about the late author’s life. Among the boks to be published will one by the crime critic Barry Forshaw (John Blake publishers), and Larsson's own publishers, Quercus. There is also a possibility that his partner Eva Gabrielsson will also be writing about her life with the author. More information may be found here.

The appeal of Nordic crime and Henning Mankell’s Man from Beijing

A rather interesting article in the Independent newspaper about the appeal of crime novels from Nordic writers,a list of Nordic authors to read, and a review of Henning Mankell’s latest book. The article can be found James Patterson Inc

The New York Times reveals how many people it takes to look after the best-selling author James Patterson and his numerous books.

Left Coast Crime Nominations

The nominations for Left Coast Crime have been announced and they are as follows:-

The Lefty Award for Humorous Mystery:

Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews
Living With Your Kids Is Murder by Mike Befeler
Strangle a Loaf of Italian Bread by Denise Dietz
Getting Old Is a Disaster by Rita Lakin
High Crimes on the Magical Plane by Kris Neri

The Bruce Alexander Award for Historical Mystery:

Tears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander
In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen
Freedom’s Fight by Gary Phillips
A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell
Serpent in the Thorns by Jeri Westerson

The Panik Award for LA Noir (in honor of the late Paul Anik, Chair of LCC20, to be given this year only):

Cemetery Road by Gar Anthony Haywood
Trust No One by Gregg Hurwitz
Death Was in the Picture by Linda Richards
Boulevard by Stephen J. Schwartz

The awards will be given out at Left Coast Crime which is due to be held between 11 and 14 March in Los Angeles. Congratulations to all the nominees.

Thursday 21 January 2010

Robert B Parker (1932-2010) R.I.P (Part 2)

There is an excellent obituary by Michael Carlson on Robert B Parker in the Guardian for Wednesday 20 January 2010. The article can be found here

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Newsy Stuff – Award nominations!

The Season of award nominations is here! Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce on the 201st anniversary of the birth of Edgar AllanPoe, its nominees for the 2010 Edgar® Awards which honour the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television published or produced in 2009.

Some of the nominees are as follows:-

The Missing by Tim Gautreaux (Random House - Alfred A. Knopf)
The Odds by Kathleen George (Minotaur Books)
The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books)
Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston (Random House - Ballantine Books)
Nemesis by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett (HarperCollins)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)


The Girl She Used to Be
by David Cristofano (Grand Central Publishing)
Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley (Simon & Schuster - Touchstone)
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf (MIRA Books)
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (Minotaur Books – Thomas Dunne Books)
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (HarperCollins)
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur Books)

Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano (Akashic Books)
The Lord God Bird by Russell Hill (Pleasure Boat Studio – Caravel Books)
Body Blows by Marc Strange (Dundurn Press – Castle Street Mysteries)
The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L.C. Tyler (Felony & Mayhem Press)

Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James (Random House - Alfred A. Knopf)
The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest
edited by Otto Penzler (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak (Thomas Dunne Books)
The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin’s Press)
The Stephen King Illustrated Companion by Bev Vincent (Fall River Press)


"Last Fair Deal Gone Down" – Crossroad Blues by Ace Atkins (Busted Flush Press)
"Femme Sole" – Boston Noir by Dana Cameron (Akashic Books)
"Digby, Attorney at Law" – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Jim Fusilli (Dell Magazines)
"Animal Rescue" – Boston Noir by Dennis Lehane (Akashic Books)
"Amapola" – Phoenix Noir by Luis Alberto Urrea (Akashic Books)

A full list of the nominations can be found here The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at the 64th Gala Banquet, April 29, 2010 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

The nominations for the Dilys Awards have also been announced. The Dilys Awards are named after Dilys Winn who was the founder of the first specialty bookseller of
mystery books in the United States and are given annually by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association to the mystery title of the year which the member booksellers have most enjoyed selling.
The nominations are:-
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellroy
The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan
The Dilys Award will be given out at the at the Left Coast Crime mystery convention that is due to be held in Los Angeles, California, March 11-14, 2010.
Congratulations to all the nominees.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Robert B Parker (1932-2010) R.I.P

Quercus his publishers in the United Kingdom and Putnam who were his US publishers. Putnam are due to publish a statement.

Parker’s first novel The Godwulf Manuscript was published in 1973 and introduced readers to his most enduring hero the wisecracking, street-smart Boston private detective Spenser. Parker wrote over 35 novels featuring Spenser and his sidekick Hawk. A number of the Spenser books were made into television films amongst them The Judas Goat and A Savage Place. In 1976 the novel Promised Land won the Best Novel Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. This novel also introduced his sidekick Hawk. Spenser’s long-term girlfriend Susan Silverman first came to readers attention in the novel God Save the Child. In 1989 Parker completed Raymond Chandler’s last uncompleted Philip Marlowe novel Poodle Springs. It was subsequently turned into a film. He went on to write a sequel to Chandler’s The Big Sleep under the title Perchance to Dream in 1994.

In 1997 with the novel Night Passage he started a new series featuring Jesse Stone a former Los Angeles police detective who had a drink problem. A number of books in this series have been turned into successful television films featuring Tom Selleck in the title role. These include the first book in the series Night Passage, Death in Paradise and Stone Cold. The third series that he created featured Sunny Randall a female private eye. The first book in the series was Blue Screen. In 2007 the fictional world of his two characters Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone came together in the novel High Profile. Parker also started a western series known as the Appalossa series in 2005 with the aptly named title Appalossa. This was subsequently turned into a film featuring Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen and Jeremy Irons. Parker also wrote two books with his wife Joan H Parker. These were Three Weeks in Spring in 1982 and A Year at the Races in 1990.

In 2002 Parker was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America and in 2007 he was awarded the Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award.

Quercus his publishers in the UK are due to publish a number of his novels in 2010 including the new Jesse Stone novel Split Image in March (February in the US) and Painted Ladies the new Spenser novel in November (September in the US). In the US a new Appaloosa novel Blue-eyed Devil will be released in May. Parker also wrote a number of other novels including Edenville Owls in 2007 a young adult novel.

More information about his death and tributes can be found here:
New York Times, Mystery Ink,, and

Friday 15 January 2010


Photo (c) 2004 Ali Karim 'The Straw Men' > Mike Marshall [Smith] with Paul McAuley

I’m getting really excited for the World Horror Convention in Brighton, and have been speaking to Stephen Jones, Mike Marshall [Smith] and the hard working Amanda Foubister in fact the WHC 2010 committee is tremendous in getting the event into the UK.

A short update – and if you haven’t organized your place, I’d move fast as the hotels are booking up fast. Many Crime / Thriller fans / writers are also Horror Fans / Writers, so I hope to see a number of Shots readers in Brighton.

Regrettably, Mort Castle has had to withdraw from World Horror Convention 2010 and sends his sincere apologies to everyone who signed up for his Creative Writing Workshops.

However, we are delighted to announce that acclaimed British author PAUL MCAULEY has agreed to take over the CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS on the Friday and Saturday afternoons.

"McAuley is one of the best" —THE INDEPENDENT.

"McAuley matches the best of his American rivals for zest and scope" —THE GUARDIAN

"A crafty and inventive writer" —LOCUS

"McAuley is part of a spearhead of writers who, for pure imagination, hipness, vision and fun, have made Britain the Memphis Sun Records of SF" —Mark Thomas, MAIL ON SUNDAY

"Usually you get ideas or voice. With McAuley you get both – in spades. Without question, the most exciting of Britain’s new-edge writers." —Michael Marshall Smith

"Paul McAuley’s balanced grasp of science and literature, always a rare attribute in the writer of prose fiction, is combined with the equally rare ability to look at today’s problems and know which are really problems, and what can be done about them." —William Gibson

Paul McAuley has been writing for most of his life. He worked as a research biologist in various universities, including Oxford and UCLA, and is now a full-time writer and has published seventeen science fiction, thriller and crime novels. His first novel, FOUR HUNDRED BILLION STARS, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award; his fifth, FAIRYLAND, won the Arthur C. Clarke and John W. Campbell Awards. His other titles include SECRET HARMONIES, RED DUST, PASQUALE’S ANGEL (winner of the Sidewise Award), the three books of Confluence (CHILD OF THE RIVER, ANCIENTS OF DAYS, AND SHRINE OF STARS), THE SECRET OF LIFE, WHOLE WIDE WORLD, WHITE DEVILS, MIND’S EYE, PLAYERS, THE QUIET WAR and GARDENS OF THE SUN.

He has also published a DOCTOR WHO novella, THE EYE OF THE TYGER, and over seventy science-fiction and horror short stories, as well as editing the anthology IN DREAMS with Kim Newman. His reviews and articles have appeared in numerous periodicals, including INTERZONE, CRIME TIME, THE GUARDIAN, THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY, T3 and WIRED UK.

Paul McAuley has given talks about creative writing and the freelance writing career at a number of universities, and teaches a short workshop course on science fiction and fantasy writing at London’s Kingston University that accommodates everyone from beginners to devotees of the genres. During the two sessions at WHC 2010, he will lead class discussions and exercises about good work habits, getting from idea to story, research and plausibility, world-building, interactions between character and narrative, and revision and preparation for publication.

To find out more about Paul McAuley, you can visit his blog -

Places are strictly limited to 15 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration is only £30 per person for the four-hour seminar. Just pay in advance via PayPal.

Although JO FLETCHER’s PUBLISHING & EDITING WORKSHOP is now completely SOLD OUT, she still has some MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUES available. Please go to to sign up.

Also, there are still a few spaces left in NANCY KILPATRICK’s VAMPIRE WRITING WORKSHOP and MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUES. These have also proved extremely popular, so you should sign up now if you want to participate.
Please go to for more information.

Please note: You must be a current member of World Horror Convention 2010 to participate in Workshop events. Due to the nature of this event, if you cancel or fail to attend any of the seminars, you will not receive a refund.

The opinions expressed in these workshops and meetings are purely subjective and based on the experience of the tutor. Other people’s opinions may differ.

* * *

Celebrating its Twentieth Anniversary, The World Horror Convention will be held over March 25-28, 2010 in the historic Regency seaside city of Brighton, on the picturesque south coast of England. This is the first time that the event has been away from the North American continent.

The theme is BRIGHTON SHOCK! – A CELEBRATION OF THE EUROPEAN HORROR TRADITION FROM VICTORIAN TIMES TO THE PRESENT DAY, and the convention will host numerous panels, talks, presentations, readings, workshops and displays devoted to horror, macabre, mystery and thriller fiction and art in all its varied and fearsome forms.

The venue will be the historic Royal Albion Hotel, which is more than 180 years old, and is situated directly opposite the iconic Brighton Pier and a stone’s throw from the beach. There are plenty of alternative hotels and Bed & Breakfasts in the immediate surroundings, catering for all budgets, and Brighton is filled with restaurants, wine bars and clubs. Antiquarian shopping precinct The Lanes, the Sea Life Centre and the world-famous Royal Pavilion are also within easy walking distance.

Brighton has direct transport links from Gatwick International Airport and the centre of London, and is easily accessible for overseas visitors, especially those from mainland Europe. And if you want to extend your stay, then Britain’s annual National Science Fiction Convention, Odyssey 2010, is being organised near to Heathrow airport the following weekend. Come for World Horror and stay for Eastercon!

Author Guests of Honour are TANITH LEE and DAVID CASE, Artist Guests of Honour are LES EDWARDS and DAVE CARSON, and Editor Guest of Honour is HUGH LAMB. Best-selling author JAMES HERBERT is the Special Guest of Honour, INGRID PITT is Special Media Guest, and Mistress of Ceremonies is JO FLETCHER.

Other writers, artists, agents, editors and publishers already registered as attending World Horror Convention 2010 include: ABADDON BOOKS (UK), John Joseph Adams, ANGRY ROBOT BOOKS (UK), Kelley Armstrong, Mike Ashley, ASH-TREE PRESS (Canada), ATOMIC FEZ PUBLISHING (Canada), Anne Billson, Randy Broecker, Edward W. Bryant Jr., BURNING EFFIGY PRESS (Canada), Pat Cadigan, Ramsey Campbell, CENTIPEDE PRESS (USA), Mort Castle, CHIZINE PUBLICATIONS (Canada), Vincent Chong, Simon Clark, Lawrence C. Connolly, Storm Constantine, Basil Copper, Paul Cornell, Steve Crisp, Peter Crowther, DARK ARTS BOOKS (USA), Ellen Datlow, Scott Edelman, Bob Eggleton, Steven Erikson, Gemma Files, Paul Finch, Christopher Fowler, Jane Frank, W. Paul Ganley, GOLLANCZ/ORION PUBLISHING GROUP (UK), Simon R. Green, Heather Graham, IMMANION PRESS (UK), John Jarrold, JEMMA PRESS (Greece), Stephen Jones, Graham Joyce, Paul Kane, Nancy Kilpatrick, Robert S. Knowlton (Bob Hadji), Allen Koszowski, Joel Lane, Tim Lebbon, Samantha Lee, D.F. Lewis, John Ajvide Lindqvist, LITTLE, BROWN (UK), Brian Lumley, Dorothy Lumley, Kristina Lloyd, Patrick Marcel (France), Tony Masero, Graham Masterton, L.H. Maynard & M.P.N. Sims, Paul McAuley, Gary McMahon, Farah Mendlesohn, MORRIGAN BOOKS (Sweden), MORTBURY PRESS (UK), Mark Morris, Lisa Morton, Yvonne Navarro, Adam L.G. Nevill, NEWCON PRESS (UK), Kim Newman, NIGHTJAR PRESS, NIGHT SHADE BOOKS (USA), Reggie Oliver, Weston Ochse, Michel Parry, Stephen W. Parsons, PENDRAGON PRESS (UK), Sarah Pinborough, David Pirie, John L. Probert, PS PUBLISHING (UK), QUERCUS BOOKS (UK), Tina Rath, REBEL E PUBLISHERS (South Africa), Tony Richards, David A. Riley, Barbara & Christopher Roden, Nicholas Royle, Lynda E. Rucker, Mark Samuels, SCI FI WIRE, SCREAMING DREAMS (UK), Steven Savile, Robert Shearman, Douglas Smith, Guy N. Smith, Michael Marshall Smith, SNOWBOOKS (UK), Alexandra Sokoloff, David A. Sutton, TARTARUS PRESS (UK), TELOS PUBLISHING (UK), Melanie Tem, Steve Rasnic Tem, TRANSWORLD (UK), Lisa Tuttle, Stephen Volk, Ian Watson, Conrad Williams, F. Paul Wilson, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and ZENO AGENCY LTD. (UK), amongst many others.

The Horror Writers Association’s prestigious annual Bram Stoker Awards for excellence in horror and fantasy fiction will be presented at a gala Fish & Chips Banquet on the evening of Saturday, March 27. This event will be one of the highlights of the convention, and will include past Stoker Award winners and our Guests of Honour as award presenters.

All information about the convention, hotel and location is available on our website:, including an easy to use PayPal Registration Form (which will automatically convert your payment at the current exchange rate). Or you can print off the form and send it with a cheque (sterling only) to: World Horror Convention, PO Box 64317, London NW6 9LL, England.

With numerous writers, artists, editors, publishers and booksellers expected to attend from all over the world, this is the one event that the dedicated horror fan, professional, collector or dealer cannot afford to miss!

Wish you were here? Well, now you can be . . .
MARCH 25-28, 2010.

Monday 11 January 2010

Peter James International Competition

Shots and Peter James are delighted to provide 3 lucky readers the chance to own a signed copy of DEAD TOMORROW by Peter James, one of the UK’s biggest selling books of 2009 and still in the charts.

Click Here to Enter

And to learn about the dark world of Peter James thriller series featuring Roy Grace – Click Here

There are no geographical restrictions to the competition

Thursday 7 January 2010

More Newsy Stuff

Sara Paretsky will be appearing at the Southbank Centre in a rare visit to the UK to promote her latest VI Warshawski novel Hardball. The event will be held in the Purcell Room at 7:45pm. More information about the event and how to obtain tickets can be found here.

Debut novelist James McCreet whose first book The Incendiary's Trail, is a Victorian detective thriller influenced by the early works of Edgar Allan Poe gives his top ten picks of Victorian detective novels in the Guardian. The list can be found here.

An article in The Guardian as to why Henning Mankell will no longer be writing any more books featuring his Swedish detective Kurt Wallander. The article can be found here.The next book in the series to be released in the UK in February will be The Man From Beijing. The most recent book to be released in Sweden (and the last) is called The Worried man.

There is also an excellent interview in The Times with Henning Mankell by Marcel Berlins. The whole interview can be read here.

Channel 4’s TV book club have released their inaugural list. The 10 part series is produced by Cactus TV whose Managing Director is Amanda Ross. Cactus TV are the team behind the Richard & Judy Book Club. The full list can be found here and includes Blacklands a debut crime novel by Belinda Bauer, The Rapture by Liz Jensen an apocalyptic thriller set in the near future, with eco-disaster looming and George Pelecanos’s excellent 2009 novel The Way home. The first programme will be shown on the 17 January.

For those of you that heard P.D James rake the BBC’s Director General Mark Thompson over the coals on Radio 4’s Today programme will enjoy the article in The Times which can be found here.

Slightly late but still worth reading The Daily Telegraph have listed their thrillers of the year. Not surprisingly Dan Brown does not make the cut.

Saturday 2 January 2010

Newsy Stuff - Things to look forward to?

Now that The Wire has sadly finished what have we got to look forward to? The BBC have a new cop shop called Luther which features Idris Elba (aka Stringer Bell) from The Wire. Elba stars as a cop with his own problems and the propensity to get into trouble. We know who commits the murders but it is seeing how Luther works it out. There is also Vexed which stars former Bond villan Toby Stephens as a police officer who along with his partner both have problems in their personal and professional lives.

More4 have Southland which is an LA cop show along the line of The Shield. It stars Ben McKenzie (better known as Ryan Atwood for those of you that watched the OC) as a rookie law enforcer.

As far as films go we can look forward to Cop Out which not only features Bruce Willis but also Jason Lee of My Name is Earl fame. Nic Cage is also featuring in the Werner Herzog remake Bad Lieutenant, which will actually be known as The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans It also stars Eva Mendes and Val Kilmer.

Another film to look out for is Brooklyn's Finest which stars a raft of well-known actors including Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes and Ethan Hawke.

There is also Un Prophète (A Prophet) which is a tough French prison drama. A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin. It won the Grand Prix at Cannes and the Best Film at the London Film Festival. It has also won the National Board of Review Award for Best Foreign Language Film and has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Independent Spirit Award. It is also France's official submission to 82nd Academy Award's Foreign Language in 2010.