Saturday 27 February 2010

Of sHuTterEd IsLAnDs & Dragon Tattooed Woman

Mark your diaries carefully for March 12th as two favourite novels of Shots Editors Mike Stotter and Ali Karim are revealed on the silver screen on the same day in the UK.

Fortunately Mike Stotter and Ali have already seen ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ at press screenings last year, so we need to organise tickets for Dennis Lehane’s sHuTtEr iSLanD

So have you got your tickets organised?
If not, why?

Wednesday 24 February 2010


For any of you who are interested, here's the UK top best sellers as of 20th February - thanks to the BookSeller.

1.Gone Tomorrow - Child, Lee
2.One Day - Nicholls, David
3.Twenties Girl - Kinsella, Sophie
4.The Lovely Bones (tie-in) - Sebold, Alice
5.The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Larsson, Stieg
6.Friends, Lovers and Other Indiscretions - Neill, Fiona
7.Eclipse - Meyer, Stephenie
8.Mums Know Best - The Hairy Bikers
9.Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Deception - Lustbader, Eric Van
10.The Girl Who Played with Fire - Larsson, Stieg
11.The Fever of the Bone - McDermid, Val
12.Tea Time for the Traditionally Built - McCall Smith, Alexander
13.The Price of Love - Robinson, Peter
14.Breaking Dawn - Meyer, Stephenie
15.The Lovely Bones - Sebold, Alice
16.Don't Tell - Rose, Karen
17.Leaving the World - Kennedy, Douglas
18.Twilight - Meyer, Stephenie
19.Juliet, Naked - Hornby, Nick
20.The Secret Speech Smith, Tom Rob

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Newsy Stuff

2010 is shaping up to be a great year for Val McDermid. Not only is she being awarded the Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers Association but also her novel A Darker Domain is shortlisted in the Mystery/Thriller section of the Los Angeles Book Prizes. A full list of the nominees in the various categories can be found here. The prizes will be awarded in an invitation-only ceremony in connection with the 15th annual L A Times Festival of Books, which takes place April 24-25

In an excellent article in the Irish Independent Declan Burke explains why he believes that unlike in 2009 which was the year of the male Irish crime writer this year he feels that it is the turn of the female Irish crime writer. The full article can be found here.

Jane Wood of Quercus Publishers has brought the rights to the first two books in a 18th Century historical series by debut author Patrick Easter. The first book in the series The Waterman will be published in Spring 2011. More information can be found here.

Karin Slaughter
has written an interesting article in the Huffington Post on whether ebooks will create an elite reading class. The full article can be found here.

The saga of Stieg Larsson rumbles on. Rebecca Cooke of the Observer interviews Eva Gabrielsson's his partner of 32 years who shared his life and is now trying to protect his work amidst a bitter battle with his family. The interview can be found here.

So you think you know the ten rules of writing fiction? Inspired by Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing fiction a number of authors have been asked for their versions. Part one can be found here and part two here.

China MiĆ©ville’s surreal foray into crime fiction with his novel The City and The City has been shortlisted for the Nebula Awards the major American science fiction and fantasy awards. More information can be found in the Guardian article. The winner will be revealed on 15 May.

Nicholas Wroe interviews Henning Mankell in the Guardian about a life in writing.

According to Angelina Jolie is to play Dr Kay Scarpetta the heroine of Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta novels. The latest novel Scarpetta was published in December 2009.,

Saturday 20 February 2010

Newsy Stuff – Award nominations!

The Strand Magazine have announced its nominees for the 2009 Strand Magazine Critics Awards. Recognizing excellence in the field of mystery fiction. They are as follows:-

Best Novel:

Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown and Company)
The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston (Ballantine Books)
Life Sentences by Laura Lippman (William Morrow)
The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker (Dutton)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Riverhead Books)

Best First Novel

Beat the Reaper
by Josh Bazell (Little, Brown and Company)
The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (Penguin Press)
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (Algonquin Books)
Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley (Touchstone)
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (Harper)

The 2009 Agatha Award nominations have also been announced. The nominations are as follows:-

Best Novel
Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews (St. Martin’s Minotaur)
Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett (Berkley Prime Crime)
Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen (Berkley Prime Crime)
A Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan (MIRA)

Best First Novel
For Better For Murder by Lisa Bork (Midnight Ink)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Delacorte Press)
Posed for Murder by Meredith Cole (St. Martin’s Minotaur)
The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth Duncan (St. Martin’s Press)
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur Books)

Best Non-fiction
Duchess of Death by Richard Hack (Phoenix Books)
Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James (Knopf)
Blood on the Stage by 1925-1950 by Amnon Kabatchnik (Scarecrow Press)
Dame Agatha’s Shorts by Elena Santangelo (Bella Rosa Books)
The Talented Miss Highsmith by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin’s Press)

Best Short Story:
Femme Sole” by Dana Cameron, Boston Noir (Akashic Books)
Handbaskets, Drawers and a Killer Cold” by Kaye George, Crooked ezine
The Worst Noel” by Barb Goffman, The Gift of Murder (Wolfmont Press)
On the House” by Hank Phillippi Ryan, Quarry (Level Best Books)
Death Will Trim Your Tree” by Elizabeth Zelvin, The Gift of Murder (Wolfmont Press)

Best Children's/Young Adult
The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford (Viking Juvenile)
The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein (Random House)
The Case of the Poisoned Pig
by Lewis B. Montgomery (Kane Press)
The Other Side of Blue by Valerie O. Patterson (Clarion Books)
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (Philomel)

The Agatha Awards honor the "traditional mystery." That is to say, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie as well as others. For our purposes, the genre is loosely defined as mysteries that:

•contain no explicit sex
•contain no excessive gore or gratuitous violence
Materials generally classified as "hard-boiled" are not appropriate.

A ballot listing each category's nominees will be given to all attendees of Malice Domestic 22, which will be held April 30 - May 2, 2010. Attendees will vote by secret ballot, the ballots will be tabulated and the winners will be announced at the 2009 Agatha Awards banquet to be held on Saturday, May 1, 2010.

Congratulations to all the nominees for the Strand Magazine Critics Awards and the Agatha Awards.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Newsy Stuff

According to the Bookseller Harper Collins have bought the book that inspired Agatha Christie to write her best-selling play The Mousetrap. The book Someone to Love Us by Terence O’Neill was picked up from Harper Collins writer website authonomy. More information can be found here.

Not content with being a best selling author James Patterson is now branching out into comics. According to Patterson first up for release will be a five-part comic series based on the writer's best-selling young-adult novel Witch & Wizard. More information can be found here. Patterson has gone into partnership to create comic books and graphic novels with IDW Publishing.

With fans and fellow writers still mourning the death of Dick Francis, Penguin (via The Bookseller) have indicated that they will be celebrating the life of the author with the publication of his latest book Crossfire in September.

Sunday 14 February 2010

Dick Francis Obituary

Dick Francis the author of over 42 novels set in the racing industry has died at his home in the Grand Cayman. A former jockey who rode 8 times in the Grand National including for the late Queen Mother in 1956. His latest novel Even Money was published in 2009 along with his son Felix. He also published his along previous two Dead Heat (2007) and Silks (2008).

His first book was his autobiography The Sport of Queens (1957) that led to him becoming the racing correspondent for the London Sunday Express, a position he held for 16 years. Dick Francis won the Edgar Award for best novel three times for the novels winning for Forfeit in 1970, Whip Hand in 1981, and Come To Grief in 1996. The books Odds Against, Flying Finish and Blood Sport were also nominated. In 1979 he was awarded the CWA’s Gold Dagger Award for his novel Whip Hand and 10 years later in 1989 he was awarded the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award. He was the fourth recipient of the award. The Mystery Writers Association awarded him the Grand Master Award in 1996 the highest honour bestowed by the MWA. He was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000. In 2003 he was further honoured by being awarded the Gumshoe Award’s Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award. In The Times list of 50 greatest crime writers that was published in 2008 Dick Francis was listed at number 40.

Further information about his death can be found here and here on the BBC website and in the Daily Telegraph.

Thursday 11 February 2010

Newsy Stuff

Alexander McCall Smith has written a prequel to his successful Mma Ramotswe series. Entitled Precious and the Puggies it tells the story as Mma Ramotswe as she undertakes her first case as a child. However, it will be at least a year before it will be available in English, as the prequel has been written in the Scots language. More information can be found here.

Depending on which fan you talk to it may or may not be good news that Katherine Heigel has signed up to play the lead character in Janet Evanovich’s widely successful Stephanie Plum series. Her devoted and loyal fans have their own views on whom they consider the best actress to play Stephanie Plum.

More information about the latest news on the Stephanie Plum film which will be “One for the Money” (the first book in the series) can be found here. Personally I would like to see Queen Latifah play Lula!

The winners of the 3rd Black Quill Awards have been announced. The editor’s choice for Dark Genre Novel of the Year was awarded to Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places whilst the reader’s vote went to Drood by Dan Simmons. The full list can be found here.


As the Dude is up for a long overdue Oscar, just a reminder of how great an actor he has been in a number of crime and mystery movies quite apart from his other great performance. First there is that homo-erotic relationship with Clint Eastwood in "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" (1974) (Jeff in a frock and wig). Then "Winter Kills" (1979), a cult movie if there ever was, in which he plays the nephew of an assassinated president (Kennedy in all but name) uncovering a conspiracy in an all-star cast. "Cutter's Way" (1981) (aka "Cutter and Bone") is simply a masterpiece of paranoid crime fiction - and Bridges shows his acting chops sparking off the great John Heard. "Against All Odds" (1984) is an unnecessary remake of the noir classic "Out of The Past" but worth buying the DVD just for the commentary track in which co-star James Woods and Bridges have a great time.
In 1985 Bridges turned to the dark side as the psychopath in "Jagged Edge" trying to con then kill Glenn Close (sadly for filmgoers everywhere he failed in the latter attempt). He played Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder in 8 Million Ways to Die, a film that should have/could have been great - Andy Garcia and Roseanne Arquette co-star and it was directed by the great Hal Ashby - but I think I'm right in saying Ashby was dying so the film is (understandably) all over the place. He fared better in a tight little thriller, "The Morning After" (1986), although it was really a vehicle for Jane Fonda, who was riding high at the time. His slack-jawed serial killer in the unnecessary re-make of the Dutch film "The Vanishing" (1993) is best passed over and "Blown Away" (1994) suffers from an over-the-top Tommy Lee Jones performance as an unhinged bomber. "Arlington Road" (1999) though is a neat thriller with Bridges up against a creepy Tim Robbins.
A year earlier, of course, he had defined the hippy slacker as The Dude in "The Big Lebowski", the weirdest crime film you'll ever see. He himself looks pretty weird bald as the villain in "Iron Man" (2008) but is back with the pony tail in "The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009).
Then there's the path less travelled - the films he might have been in had he not turned them down. It's well known he was a contender to play Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver and turned down Indiana Jones. But he was also considered for Don Johnson's part in "Miami Vice", Nick Nolte's part in "48 Hours", Michael Douglas's part in "Fatal Attraction" [told you he should have killed Glenn Close in "Jagged Edge"], Martin Sheen's part in "Apocalypse Now", Bruce Willis's part in "Twelve Monkeys" and the part of John Rambo in "First Blood".
Keanu Reeves's part in "Speed" was actually written with Bridges in mind and he and Nick Nolte were contenders for good guy/bad guy in Michael Mann's "Heat". Back in 1988 he and Nolte were cast in "Tequila Sunrise" but Nolte dropped out so Jeff did too. (Mel Gibson and Kurt Russell took the parts.)
In short: The Dude Abideth.
Thanks to Peter Guttridge for this insight.

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Newsy Stuff

Waterstone’s found themselves in an awkward position recently when they suggested that Sawbones a thriller by Stuart MacBride would be suitable for children with reading difficulties. As explained in The Times article they had made a terrible mistake.

Simon Beckett may not be on the radar of casual crime fiction readers, (those in the know have been reading his work for ages) and he is certainly not as well known as he should be in the UK but on the other hand he is certainly better known in Europe and as indicated in a recent article he is constantly mobbed elsewhere in Europe.

The long-awaited film of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief is due to be released on February 12. The film is (hopefully) the first of many is based on a series of books involving Greek mythology written by crime writer Rick Riordan for his son Haley. In an interview in the Guardian Rick Riordan explains how it all started. Riordan is the author of the P. I. Tres Navarre series. The first book in the series is The Big Red Tequila.

So which crime books do you think would be on your list of crime books of the decade? Crime fiction experts Barry Forshaw and Laura Wilson have drawn up their list of books and they can be found here and here and finally here Would any of them make your list?

According to Booktrade Pauline Rowson’s 2nd novel in her marine mystery series Deadly Waters featuring Inspector Andy Horton has been selected as one of ten titles to be featured in a special promotion in the UK throughout February aimed at promoting new and burgeoning talent.

The International Association of Crime Writers have announced the 2010 Hammett Prize nominees. They are:-
Megan Abbott, Bury Me Deep (Simon & Schuster)
Ace Atkins, Devil's Garden (Putnam)
Jedediah Berry, The Manual Of Detection (The Penguin Press)
Walter Mosley, The Long Fall (Riverhead)
George Pelecanos, The Way Home (Little, Brown)
The Hammett Prize is given for literary excellence in crime writing and will be awarded at the Bloody Words Conference (which this year is celebrating its tenth anniversary) which is due to be held in Toronto from 28 to 30 May 2010. This is an extremely strong and varied list and congratulations to all the nominees.

Rather late than never but still worth reporting. According to the Daily Mirror former Drop the Dead Donkey and Ballykissangel star Stephen Tompkinson is due to star as Chief Inspector Banks in the televison adaptation of Peter Robinson’s Aftermath.