Sunday 31 October 2010

The Reality behind Roslund and Hellstrom

I had the recent pleasure of attending Bouchercon, the world Crime, Mystery & Thriller Convention held in San Francisco. Prior to my trip, I had the personal delight with my Shots Colleagues Mike Stotter and Ayo Onatade, to finally meet the Swedish writing duo Roslund and Hellstrom in London, at Quercus Publishing’s launch party for ‘Three Seconds’; during which I recorded a two part feature interview for The Rap Sheet -

Part I

Part II

Then in San Francisco, I moderated a panel with these two crime-writers, during which I discovered that the darkness that they write about, is matched equally by their charming personalities.

I have always believed in the statement by Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke - “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" and I admire journalists who expose the true nature of evil, especially the dangers posed by the political extremes, be they threats to society from the far-right, or the extreme-left.

Anders Roslund like Stieg Larsson is one of those men, fearless in expressing and exposing the truths that lie beneath the evil of extremism, something that he revealed in our interview

Ali Karim: So, I cannot help but ask this: What do you think of the Stieg Larsson global phenomenon?

Anders Roslund : For me he is not global; he is still local to me. This is because my contacts with
Stieg Larsson were--and are--very important to me. I was for a long time publishing investigative journalism about extreme right-wing organizations. At one point I was on top of their “death list” and was physically abused, and was referred to as the “Threatened TV Man” in all the newspapers. I had a bodyguard. I was living in hotels without addresses, and as soon as my new number and address were known, I had to move fast to yet another “safe house.” Then the death threats returned. At that time, I contacted Stieg, since he had the same problem with the extreme right, and he had the knowledge and experience I needed to survive the Nazi threats. We shared the same problem, we worked it out together. I miss him immensely.

I am partway writing up my report about the wonderful time I had in Bouchercon, [with R J Ellory, my friend the award-winning thiller-writer], but with a deal with my wife; I have just returned from a week in France [for allowing to me to escape to the US West Coast for a few days]. During this time in Europe, I noticed another symptom of the economic crisis - the march of the extreme-right in that once bastion of truly liberal values – Sweden. I was pleased to see that Anders Rolsund commented on the situation last week in The Guardian

So, it happens again. A town in flames. A nation changes complexion. A democracy looks for a new direction.

It started in 1991, August; a quiet Stockholm summer evening. The silence is shattered: a man is shot and wounded. For another six months the whole of Swedish society is wounded; fear becomes a part of all of us. One person dies, and others damaged for life. Slowly a pattern emerges: a Swedish citizen who shot with a rifle and laser sights at victims who all had something in common – darker skin, dark hair, or an immigrant background.

I was then the chief reporter for Swedish television
on the story, which was the biggest police operation and trial that Sweden had seen since the 1986 assassination of the prime minister, Olof Palme. I reported from the first shots till the last day of the trial. I saw Sweden changed: Nazi flags were raised; there were riots between demonstrators and counter-demonstrators; young people found their way into extremist groups. And out of that time an anti-immigrant party emerged – called New Democracy – which a few months later gained a popular vote and entered Sweden's parliament.

As a journalist I continued to cover the growth of rightwing extremism and xenophobia in Sweden. Just like my fellow journalist and author Stieg Larsson, death threats were made against me, and I lived in hiding with armed bodyguards.

Then everything changed again. A few years later, democracy and openness had pushed back the fear of foreignness. We could once more be proud of our Sweden. Until now. Until it happened again – but this time the other way round.
This time the anti-immigrant party, the Sweden Democrats, were formed first.
During the autumn's election campaign they ran on one issue only and in September were voted into the Swedish parliament. Xenophobia became established and – I am certain of this – legitimised what we see happening again, this time in Malmö, Sweden's third largest city, situated a long way south, close to the continent, and with a high proportion of immigrants, who, the police believe, are now being targeted by a racially motivated gunman. The latest attack was on an Iranian-born hairdresser on Saturday.

Read More from Anders Roslund on the rise of Swedish Xenophobia here

If you’ve not read Roslund and Hellstrom’s Three Seconds, you will find that their narrative is edged with the darkest edges of reality, and here are my thoughts –

Three Seconds ushers you into the grim, violent world of undercover police and the Polish mafia’s plan to corner the drug market in the prison systems of Sweden, Finland, and Norway. When a clandestine drug operation handled by undercover Swedish agent Piet Hoffmann goes wrong, and a Danish covert operative is murdered, Hoffmann’s handler, Erik Wilson, concocts a scheme that will place his agent in full view of the Polish mafia, to take control of the drug supply at a Swedish penal complex. Sniffing an irregularity in the investigation of the dead Danish agent are Roslund and Hellström’s series cops, Ewert Grens and Sven Sundqvist, who encounter barriers at every turn. Meanwhile, agent Hoffmann infiltrates a maximum-security penitentiary with the idea of assuming dominion there, using the drugs supply as leverage. However, the Polish mafia, in the guise of Wojtek Security, has other ideas.Tense and gripping, with a chilling climax, Three Seconds is not a book to miss if you like your crime fiction edged with the steel blades of reality. Roslund and Hellström pepper their narrative with insider knowledge and perspectives, and their story’s brutal violence pushes this new book firmly into the thriller category.

Sometimes the best fiction puts a mirror to reality, even if that reflection is not pleasant.

Photo © 2010 Ali Karim

Saturday 30 October 2010

2010 Galaxy National book Awards shortlists

The 2010 Galaxy National book Awards shortlists have been announced and crime fiction authors have been nominated in a number of categories.

Dead Like You by Peter James (Macmillan) and Worth Dying For by Lee Child (Bantam Press) have been nominated in the Sainsbury’s Popular Fiction Book of the Year category. Rupture (Picador) by Simon Lelic has been nominated in the National Book Token New Writer of the Year.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson (Quercus/MacLehose Press) and Room (Picador) by Emma Donoghue has been nominated in the International Author of the Year category. In the Waterstone's UK Author of the Year category, Kate Atkinson’s Started Early, Took My Dog (Doubleday) has been nominated.

The other categories include –

Non-Fiction Book of the Year,

WH Smith Children's Book of the Year.

Tesco Food & Drink Book of the Year and

Tesco Biography of the Year

More information and the complete short list can be found in the Bookseller.

Thursday 28 October 2010

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

Swedish actress Noomi Rapace signed on in September to play the female lead in Guy Ritchie’s sequel, Sherlock Holmes 2.

While her role as a gypsy (who Rapace describes as “a traveler [who is] cool [but] a bit crazy”) in SH2 will be far less emotionally demanding than her role in Dragon Tattoo, Rapace is already doing lots of research to make sure her character looks and feels authentic.

She says,
“I’m doing a lot of research about gypsies. I’m going to Paris to visit some gypsy camps, and I’m going to Transylvania to actually see how they live. Because the gypsies are so poor, they live pretty much the same as they did then, and they keep in the traditions and all of that, so when you go to Transylvania, for example, they live pretty close to the way they lived hundreds of years ago. So I’m listening to gypsy music and I’m learning to sing and dance.”

Rapace delivered a dramatically intense performance as troubled goth hacker Lisbeth Salander in her native country’s film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy starting with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Which begs the question as to why Hollywood should do a reboot of the series.

Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. on the set of SH2.

Sherlock Holmes was very much an energetic adventure full of exciting set pieces and humour. Rapace has indicated that the sequel will be very much in a similar vein. Rachel MacAdams, who played as Irene Adler, Sherlock Holmes’s tricky love interest in the first film, will be back. Scriptwriters Kieran and Michele Mulroney were hired to pen the script for Sherlock Holmes 2.

The main plot of Sherlock Holmes 2 is still kept secret for now, but according to the rumor, Professor Moriarty, the criminal mastermind in the shadow of the first opus, will be the main villain of the upcoming sequel. The film is due for release December 2011.

Wednesday 27 October 2010


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest continues the story of the brilliant punk-goth-hacker Lisbeth Salander (who will once again be brought to life by the well-cast Swedish actress Noomi Rapace), the mysterious young woman who is otherwise known to the masses as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Director David Fincher has already begun work on his English-language version of Dragon Tattoo, which will feature his Social Network star Rooney Mara as Salander. Rapace is already reaping the benefits from her acclaimed turn as the character and has been cast as the female lead in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes 2.
Check out the international trailer for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest below:

Sunday 24 October 2010

Newsy Stuff

So who is Britain’s most successful woman author aside from J K Rowling? Martina Cole, if you please! Ian Burrell in the Independent outlines the reasons why she consistently writes and sells novels that everyone wants to read.

The Anthony Award winning website Stop you’re Killing Me has created a database rounding up all the mystery awards that have been given over the last 50 years. Perfect for when you are trying to track down information.

Debut author Penny Hancock is to be published by Simon and Schuster after a hotly contested auction. According to book2book the first of the two novels Tideline will be published as a tradepaper back as well as a bespoke limited edition hardback in Spring 2012.

The saga of Steig Larsson appears to be running and running with no end in sight. According to the New York Times, Larsson’s brother Joakim confirmed in an interview on CBS along with his father Erland that there is indeed a fifth book (not a fourth). However, the Larsson’s have also confirmed that they will not allow the book to be published.

Deal news!

Prolific legal thriller author Robert K. Tanenbaum is remaining at Simon & Schuster, signing a new three-book deal for their Galley imprint. The upcoming titles will feature Tanenbaum's best-known characters, district attorney Butch Karp and his wife, Marlene Ciampi. Tanenbaum, a trial lawyer whose background also includes serving as the chief of the homicide bureau for the New York district attorney's office, has written 22 Karp novels as well as two nonfiction works. The deal was for the North American rights.

French thriller writer Franck Thilliez is to be published by Viking in the US in a two-book deal. It will be the first time that the popular French author will be translated into English. Both novels will feature Lucie Hennebelle a middle-aged detective and single mother of two. She will be paired with Franck Sharko of the Paris police. The French title of the first novel is Le Syndrome E but it will be given a different title for the US market. The book moves from the French countryside to Egypt and Quebec.

Mulholland, Little Brown’s new imprint has added Greg Rucka to it’s already impressive lineup. Rucka best known for his Atticus Kodiak and Queen & Country series as well as his numerous comics will begin a new series for Mulholland. The first book in the series Alpha introduces readers to a former Delta Force operator who realises that his allies are not who they appear to be and are pursuing a dark agenda much different from his own. Viking have bought the world rights in a three-book deal.

We blogged here and here about the book trailer contest which had crime as its theme this year.

The winning entry above was a trailer designed by Yasmin Al Naib and Christopher Moon for The Snowman by Jo Nesbo.

Saturday 23 October 2010

More Award Results

The last of the awards that were given out at Bouchercon were the Anthony Awards, the Crimespree Magazine Awards and 2010 Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Derringer Awards.

Anthony Awards

Best novel
Winner The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny [Minotaur Books]

The other nominees were -
The Last Child by John Hart [Minotaur Books]

The Mystic Arts Of Erasing All Signs Of Death by Charlie Huston [Ballantine Books]

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland [Quercus/Knopf]Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan [Minotaur Books]

Best First Novel
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield [Minotaur Books]

The other nominees were -
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieAlan Bradley [Delacorte Press]

Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley [Touchstone]The Twelve/The Ghosts Of Belfast by Stuart Neville [Harvill Secker/Soho Press]

In The Shadow Of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff [Minotaur Books]

Paperback Original
WinnerStarvation Lake by Bryan Gruley [Touchstone]
The other nominees were
-Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott [Simon & Schuster]

Tower by Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman [Busted Flush Press]

Quarry in the Middle by Max Allan Collins [Hard Case Crime]

Death And The Lit Chick by G.M. Malliet [Midnight Ink]

Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan [Mira]

Best Short Story
Winner - “On the House” by Hank Phillippi Ryan, QUARRY: Crime Stories by New England Writers [Level Best Books]

The other nominees were -
Last Fair Deal Gone Down” by Ace Atkins, CROSSROAD BLUES [Busted Flush Press]

Femme Sole” by Dana Cameron, BOSTON NOIR [Akashic Books]

Animal Rescue” by Dennis Lehane, BOSTON NOIR [Akashic Books]“Amapola” by Luis Alberto Urrea, PHOENIX NOIR [Akashic Books]

Best Critical Non-Fiction Work
Winner - Talking about Detective Fiction by P.D. James [Bodleian Library/Knopf]

The Line Up: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their
Greatest Detectives – Otto Penzler, ed. [Little, Brown and Co]

Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak [Thomas Dunne Books]
Dame Agatha’s Shorts: An Agatha Christie Short Story Companion by Elena Santangelo [Bella Rosa Books]

The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by
Joan Schenkar [St. Martin's Press]

Favorite book of 2009-
Winner - The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston
Other nominees -
Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott
Trust No One by Gregg Hurwitz
The Amateurs by Marcus Sakey

Favorite First Book 2009 -

Winner - Even by Andrew Grant
Other nominees -
The Sweetness At The Bottom of The Pie by Alan Bradley
Running From The Devil by Jamie Freveletti
A Bad Day For Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville

Best in an on -going series for 2009 -

Winner - Walking Dead by Greg Rucka
Other nominees -
The Silent Hour by Michael Koryta
Shatter by Michael Robotham
Shanghai Moon by SJ Rozan
Jack Reacher Award-
The Jack Reacher Award is given to an author who is someone we would recommend to everyone we meet and is also great to their fans and gives
back to the mystery community. The 2010 Jack Reacher Award was given to Val McDermid.

2010 Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Derringer Awards

Best Flash Story (Up to 1,000 Words): “And Here’s to You, Mrs. Edwardson,” by Hamilton Waymire (from Big Pulp, November 23, 2009)

Best Short Story (1,001 - 4,000 Words): “’Twas the Night,” by Anita Page (from The Gift of Murder,
edited by John M. Floyd; Wolfmont Press)
Best Long Story (4,001-8,000 Words): “Famous Last Words,” by Doug Allyn (EQMM, November 2009)

Best Novelette (8,001-17,500 Words): “Julius Katz,” by Dave Zeltserman (EQMM, September/October 2009)
The Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer For Lifetime Achievement: Lawrence Block

Friday 22 October 2010

No Exit Press scores with 2010 Amercian Book Award winner

According to the Booktrade, independent publishers No Exit Press have snagged the 2010 American Award winner Victor LaValle.

UK and Commonwealth English language rights to 'Big Machine', the second novel by Victor LaValle a 38-year-old New York author, who has already drawn comparisons to Ralph Ellison, Chester Himes and Thomas Pynchon, were bought for an undisclosed sum by No Exit's Publishing Director Ion Mills from agent Abner Stein.

Winner of a coveted Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel of 2009 as well as an American Book Award in 2010, Big Machine tells the story of Ricky Rice, an ex-junkie and survivor of a suicide cult whose life is changed by the arrival of a mysterious letter summoning him to enlist in a band of paranormal investigators comprised of former addicts and petty criminals, all of whom had at some point in their wasted lives heard what may have been the voice of God. The book wowed US critics from coast-to-coast and led influential political magazine, The Nation, to call it 'Most Valuable Fiction Book of 2009.' The sensational multi-prize-winning novel was named one of the best books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune.

Raised in Queens, LaValle is the hotly tipped author of an acclaimed short story collection, Slapboxing with Jesus, and a novel, The Ecstatic. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes including a Whiting Writer's Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the key to Southeast Queens. He is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Dutch Foundation for Literature in Amsterdam.

No Exit's Ion Mills said of the acquisition, 'Big Machine is a truly astonishing and highly original novel by an exciting new author who is being tipped for the top by everybody from the LA Times to US rapper Mos Def. It's a superb book and we are thrilled to be launching it over here.'

Big Machine will be published by No Exit Press in paperback in March 2011.

More information about the book can be found here.

Thursday 21 October 2010

Johnny Depp to remake The Thin Man?

Johnny Depp could take on the role of Nick Charles in Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man if he gets his way. Also bringing on board director Rob Marshall to helm the remake. The actor is looking to develop it via his Infinitum Nihil production company
Dashiell Hammett wrote the detective novel in 1934, which finds heavy-drinking, quick-quipping, private eye Nick Charles giving up his hard-boiled life to settle down into a world of dedicated alcoholism after marrying wealthy socialite Nora. But his old job comes calling when he’s drawn into investigating a murder, with his wife along for the ride.
While the novel itself never generated a sequel, it became the source material for a series of movies from Warners, with William Powell as Nick and Myrna Loy as Nora. And NBC turned it into a short-lived TV show in the 1950s.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Hard Case Crime Crosses the Atlantic

I’m just back from Bouchercon San Francisco; tired after a wonderful long weekend, marred only by the long journey there and back. One of my many memorable meetings, was with novelist Christa Faust, who’s novel ‘Money Shot’ knocked me out a couple of years ago. I was delighted to learn from Christa that she had penned a follow-up for Charles Ardai’s Hardcase Crime publishing company entitled ‘Choke Hold’ and she was hoping to come to the UK in 2011; then I got word about this exciting development form Ardai’s publishing team -

We've got some big news to announce today: After a year's hiatus, Hard Case Crime will be returning to bookstores with new titles in 2011, thanks to a deal we just signed with UK-based Titan Publishing.

Titan is a publisher both of fiction and of gorgeous art books focusing on pop culture such as movie poster art, pin-ups, newspaper comic strips, and Golden Age comic books, and has worked with filmmakers such as J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, and George Lucas. Titan has been around for 30 years, has more than 200 employees, and in addition to publishing books also has a magazine division, a retail division (Titan owns the famous Forbidden Planet bookstore in London, and until recently co-owned the Murder One mystery bookstore with
Maxim Jakubowski), and a merchandise division that produces items such as t-shirts, sculptures, and accessories. We look forward to exploring ways we might develop some cool Hard Case Crime products with them!

But first things first: books.

Hard Case Crime will relaunch in September/October 2011 with four new books, including CHOKE HOLD by Christa Faust (sequel to her Edgar Award-nominated MONEY SHOT), QUARRY'S EX by Max Allan Collins (the latest in the popular series of hit man novels by the author of "Road to Perdition"), and two never-before-published novels by MWA Grand Masters (names to be announced shortly).

Additionally, Titan Publishing plans to acquire all existing stock of Hard Case Crime's backlist from Dorchester Publishing and to resume shipping these titles to booksellers immediately.

New books will be published in paperback (possibly some in hardcover as well!); ebook editions will also be released across multiple platforms. Titan is distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Random House.

We're very excited about working with Titan (indeed, we had offers from five publishers and chose Titan over several that were much larger and better-known) -- they love pulp fiction as much as we do and appreciate that in books like ours the visual dimension is just as important as the storytelling. It's hard to imagine a better home for Hard Case Crime.

If you not been collecting the Hard Case Crime novels….where you been man?

Photo Credits

Cover of 'Choke Hold' (c) 2010 Hard Case Crime

Christa Faust with Lee Child at Bouchercon San Francisco (c) 2010 Ali Karim

Sunday 17 October 2010

Barry, Macavity, and Shamus Award results

Lots of awards were given out at Bouchercon and the results are below. Thanks to Janet Rudolph and Mystery Fanfare for all the results -

The Macavity Awards

The Macavity Award is nominated and voted upon by members of Mystery Journal International. The awards were given out by Janet Rudolph on Thursday 14 October at Bouchercon the World Mystery convention, held this year in San Francisco.

Best Mystery Novel: Tower by Ken Bruen & Reed Farrel Coleman (Busted Flush Press)
The other nominees were -
Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie (William. Morrow)
Nemesis by Jo Nesbø(translated by Don Bartlett) (HarperCollins)
The Brutal Telling
by Louise Penny(Minotaur)
The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan (Minotaur)

Best First Mystery Novel
: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Delacorte)
The other nominees were:-
Running from the Devil by Jamie Freveletti (William. Morrow)
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (Minotaur)
The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Picador)

Best Mystery Nonfiction
: Talking about Detective Fiction by P.D. James (Alfred A. Knopf)
The other nominees were –
L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City by John Buntin (Random House: Harmony Books)
Rogue Males: Conversations & Confrontations About the Writing Life by Craig McDonald (Bleak House Books)
The Line Up: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives editor Otto Penzler (Little, Brown & Co)
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury & Aly Sujo (Penguin Press)
Dame Agatha's Shorts: An Agatha Christie Short Story Companion
by Elena Santangelo (Bella Rosa Books)

Best Mystery Short Story:Hank Phillippi Ryan: "On the House" (Quarry: Crime Stories by New England Writers, Level Best Books)
The other nominees were –
Last Fair Deal Gone Down by Ace Atkins (Crossroad Blues, Busted Flush Press)
Femme Sole by Dana Cameron (Boston Noir, Akashic Books)
Digby, Attorney at Law by Jim Fusilli: (AHMM, May 2009)
Your Turn by Carolyn Hart (Two of the Deadliest, Harper)
The Desert Here and the Desert Far Away by Marcus Sakey (Thriller 2: Stories You Just Can't Put Down, Mira)
Amapola by Luis Alberto Urrea (Phoenix Noir, Akashic Books)

Sue Feder Historical Mystery
: Rebecca Cantrell: A Trace of Smoke (Forge)
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur)
A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd(William. Morrow)
Serpent in the Thorns by Jeri Westerson (Minotaur)
Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear(Henry Holt)

The Macavity Awards are named after the "mystery cat" of T.S. Eliot.

The Barry Awards

The Barry Awards were presented by George Easter on Friday 15 October. The Barry Awards are nominated and voted upon by readers of Deadly Pleasures Magazine.

Best Novel: The Last Child, by John Hart (Minotaur)
The other nominees were
The Gates by John Connolly,(Atria)
The Hidden Man by David Ellis,(Putnam)
Spade and Archer by Joe Gores, (Knopf)
Locked In by Marcia Muller,(Grand Central)
Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan,(Minotaur)

Best First Novel
: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley (Delacorte)
The other nominees were -
Beat the Repear by Josh Bazell, (Little, Brown)
A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell, (Forge)
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (Minotaur)
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (Harper)
The Ghosts of Belfast (The Twelve) by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime)

Best British Novel
: If the Dead Rise Not, by Philip Kerr (Quercus)
The other nominees were –
Awakening by S. J. Bolton,(Bantam Press)
The Lovers by John Connolly,(Hodder & Stoughton)
Midnight Fugue by Reginald Hill, (HarperCollins)
Still Midnight by Denise Mina,(Orion)
Ignorance of Blood by Robert Wilson, (HarperCollins)

Best Paperback Original
: Starvation Lake, by Bryan Gruley (Touchstone)
The other nominees were -
Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
Quarry in the Middle by Max Allan Collins, (HardCase Crime)
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gutenkauf, (Mira)
Fatal Lies by Frank Tallis, (Random House Mortalis)
The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L. C. Tyler,(Felony & Mayhem)

Best Thriller: Running from the Devil, by Jamie Freveletti(Morrow)
The other nominees were-
No Survivors (The Survivor) by Tom Cain,(Viking)
The Gray Man by Mark Greaney,(Jove)
Columbus: a Silver Bear Thriller by Derek Haas,(Pegasus)
House Secrets by Mike Lawson,(Atlantic Monthly)
Walking Dead by Greg Rucka,(Bantam)

Mystery/Crime Novel of the Decade
: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson (Knopf)
The other nominees were –
The Guards by Ken Bruen, (St. Martin's Minotaur)
The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly, (Little, Brown)
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane, (Morrow)
Still Life by Louise Penny, (St. Martin's Minotaur)
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, (Penguin Press)

Best Short Story: “The High House Writer,” by Brendan DuBois (AHMM, July-August 2009)
The other nominees were -
My Mother's Keeper by Barbara Callahan (EQMM June 2009)
Erin's Journal by David Dean (EQMM December 2009)
Real Men Die by John H. Dirckx, (AHMM September 2009)
The High House Writer by Brendan DuBois (AHMM July-August 2009)
A Hollywood Ending by Melodie Johnson Howe, (EQMM July 2009)
Hard Blows by Morley Swingle (THE PROSECUTION RESTS)

Don Sandstrom Award for Literary Achievement in Mystery Fandom
: Len & June Moffatt; Captain Bob Napier

The Shamus Awards -

The 2010 Shamus Awards, were presented on Saturday 16 October by the Private Eye Writers of America in recognition of the private eye genre and its writers.

Best Hardcover P.I. Novel: Locked In, by Marcia Muller (Grand Central)
Other nominees were –
The Silent Hour by Michael Koryta (Minotaur/St. Martin's)
Where the Dead Lay by David Levien (Doubleday)
Schemers by Bill Pronzini (Forge)
My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (William Morrow)

Best First P.I. Novel: Faces of the Gone, by Brad Parks (Minotaur)
Other nominees were -
Loser’s Town by Daniel Depp (Simon & Schuster)
The Last Gig by Norman Green (Minotaur/St. Martin's)
The Good Son by Russel D. McLean (Minotaur/St. Martin's)
Chinatown Angel by A.E. Roman(Minotaur/St. Martin's)

Best Paperback Original P.I. Novel
: Sinner’s Ball, by Ira Berkowitz (Three Rivers Press)

The other nominees were -
Dark Side of the Morgue by Raymond Benson (Leisure Books)
Red Blooded Murder by Laura Caldwell(Mira)
Vengeance Road by Rick Mofina (Mira)
Body Blows by Marc Strange(Dundurn)

Best P.I. Short Story
: Julius Katz by Dave Zeltserman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, September/October 2009)
The other nominees were –
The Dark Island by Brendan DuBois, (Boston Noir (Akashic))
Deadline Edition by S.L. Franklin, (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, April 2009)
Blazin' on Broadway by Gary Phillips, (Phoenix Noir (Akashic))
Suicide Bonds by Tim L. Williams, (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March/April 2009)

Two other awards were also given out that of -
Best P.I. Character went to Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone and the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Robert Crais

Friday 15 October 2010

House of Ghosts – Inspector Morse Mystery Play

Looking for a mystery play to go and see? Why not go and see the new Inspector Morse mystery play, House of Ghosts! House of Ghosts stars former Dr Who Colin Baker as Morse.

The play is having a limited run at the Cliffs Pavillion Theatre.

Dates and times of the show can be found here.

A review can be found here.

Thursday 14 October 2010



The winners will be announced on November 4 at 6.30pm during a splendid event held at Little, Brown Book Group, 100 Victoria Embankment, London. The winner of the £3000 award prize will take their place amongst an illustrious list of fellow historical authors including Philip Kerr, Laura Wilson, Ariana Franklin, Andrew Taylor and Lindsey Davis.
Started in 1999 in memory of Ellis Peters, author of the medieval Brother Cadfael series, this award has been presented to a novel with a crime theme and a historical background of any period up to the 1960s." (As of 2010, it includes any period up to the 1970s.) Today it is sponsored by the Estate of Ellis Peters, Headline Book Publishing Company and Little, Brown Book Group.

The nominees are (and alphabetically by book title):


Massive, colourful and ambitious, this is a double mystery for Sansom’s wily lawyer Mathew Shardlake. The background of Tudor England - with Henry’s ill-advised foreign wars having modern resonances - is a stunning backdrop.
Publisher: Mantle

S. J. Parris HERESY

An astonishingly accomplished first outing for Giordano Bruno, monk, poet and sleuth, investigating skulduggery in Elizabethan Oxford. Parris has resurrected an undeservedly forgotten figure and her depiction of a society riven by religious intolerance is timely.


Rory Clements REVENGER

This second novel to feature the Elizabethan ‘intelligencer’ John Shakespeare captures all the danger but also all the excitement of living in capricious times when a wrong word can get you sent to the Tower. An exuberant novel that revels in the sights and smells of Tudor England

Publisher: John Murray


This is Andrew Taylor at his considerable best; a wonderfully atmospheric - and labyrinthine -- mystery set in a period Cambridge evoked with all the skill that Taylor is famous for.

Publisher: Michael Joseph, Penguin Books

Andrew Williams TO KILL A TSAR

Compromised characters with difficult moral choices are at the centre of To Kill a Tsar. Set in a strongly realised nineteenth-century St Petersburg and dealing with the first significant terrorist cell of the modern era, this is bravura storytelling.

Publisher John Murray


This novel shows that your allies can do you as much harm as your enemies as MI6 agent Peter Cotton gets caught up in diplomatic intrigue in Washington. Monroe conjures up a world of murder and double dealing in beautifully lyrical prose.

Publisher John Murray

Eileen Roberts (Chair) - Originator and organiser of St Hilda’s annual crime symposium in Oxford, mystery and crime enthusiast
Geoffrey Bailey - Bookseller specialising in crime
Barry Forshaw - Edits Crime Time and is a talking head for the ITV Crime Thriller author profiles and BBC TV documentaries. A prolific writer, he has been Vice Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association.
Sir Bernard Ingham - Press Secretary to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and crime fiction fan
Jake Kerridge - the crime fiction critic of the Daily Telegraph

Sunday 10 October 2010

My Last Talk with Thomas H. Cook

The release of a novel by Thomas H. Cook is always a major event for me. It means I clear a gap at the very top of my reviewing pile for his work, and this month, crime / thriller readers have a treat in-store as Cook releases his latest, and possibly his most disturbing, ‘The Last Talk with Lola Faye’ from Quercus Publishing. This melancholic work hits the bookstores in the UK this week. My copy is packed for my upcoming trip to Bouchercon 2010 San Francisco, to help me cope with the long journey to the US West Coast.

Cook’s latest mines the darkest edges of human experience, looking at the sharp bends that pepper his protagonist’s lives -

Thomas H. Cook returns to his home territory in this Southern Gothic mystery set in Alabama. Luke Paige, historian and writer, is signing his latest work in a bookstore when in the queue he spots a woman he hoped never to see again. Lola Faye was once his father's secret lover, the destroyer of his childhood. For her husband shot Luke's father dead, and his mother died soon after. Lola Faye wants to talk - and talk - over a drink, that becomes dinner, and then another drink. Slowly, painfully, Luke and Lola revisit the terrible events that have shaped their lives. The story they reveal is one of the timeless struggle between fathers and sons; of longed-for passion; of hopes and dreams thwarted by fate and circumstances. This is Southern Gothic at its most compelling.

I have been fortunate to have bumped into Tom Cook several times following his UK trips to the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, as well as in the US at Bouchercon 2009 in Indianapolis. I am always perplexed that despite being highly rated by the leading critics, and literary judges internationally, he remains a cult writer. I would have thought Cook and his work would have broken through into the international bestseller lists a long time ago. That was the theme when I interviewed Cook for January Magazine

And you’ve become quite prolific since. So why -- despite your having received awards and critical acclaim -- do you remain a secret to many readers?

I truly don’t know the answer to that question, but the experience can be very disheartening, let me tell you. I think many readers just want a fast read. Which is fine. They have that right. But I don’t write fast reads. I think mystery readers in particular are quite demarcated in their reading habits. People who read puzzle mysteries don’t read thrillers, and people who read thrillers don’t read puzzle novels, and so on down thorough several subgenres. I write a combination mystery-mainstream novel, and that is a big problem, I think, in that mainstream readers very often never give mysteries a chance. I fall through a lot of cracks, and so far, despite wonderful reviews over a period of 20 years, I am still one of the best-known unknown writers out there.

Oddly enough, I have absolutely broken through in France and Japan, and seem close to doing it in England. The U.S., however, has not yet fallen under my spell. But I’m still working on it.

Read the full feature here

So if you’ve not experienced Cook’s work, ‘The Last Talk With Lola Faye’ looks like a good place to start; but I must warn you that when you crack the spine of a Thomas H. Cook novel, you’ll find reality crumble as you become lost in the lives of his characters who have to tackle the darker side of the human condition.

Read More about Cook’s writing his latest novel here

Thursday 7 October 2010

Specsavers ITV3 Thriller Awards Results

The Specsavers Thriller Awards took place on Friday 8th October 2010 at the Grosvenor Park Hotel, Park Lane, London. It is the third year that the event has taken place and the second year that it has been sponsored by Specsavers in conjunction with the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain (CWA). The awards ceremony was hosted by Marcus Brigstocke and took place in the ballroom of the Grosvenor Park Hotel in the presence of a number of crime writers and actors including Philip Glenister, Nathaniel Parker, Rupert Penry Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch, Julia McKenzie, Colin Dexter, Amanda Redman and Dennis Waterman to name a few. CWA members that were present included Edwin Thomas (the current Chair of the CWA) Marry Forshaw, Mike Stotter, Michelle Spring, Margaret Murphy, Phillip Gooden, Mark Billingham, Margaret Kinsman and David Headley.

The CWA Awards that were given are as follows –

The CWA Gold Dagger was awarded to Belinda Bauer and was presented by Amanda Redman.

The shortlist consisted of
Blacklands by Belinda Bauer Corgi/Transworld
Blood Harvest by S J Bolton Bantam Press/Transworld
Shadowplay by Karen Campbell Hodder & Stoughton
The Way Home by George Pelecanos Orion

The CWA Ian Fleming Steel
Dagger (sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd) went to Simon Conway and was presented to him by Alex Norton and Blythe Duff of the Bill.

The shortlist consisted of -
A Loyal Spy by Simon Conway Hodder & Stoughton
Innocent by Scott Turow Mantle
The Dying Light by Henry Porter Orion
The Gentlemen's Hour by Don Winslow Heinemann/Random House

The CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger was awarded to Ryan David Jahn and was presented to him by Ray Mears .

The shortlist was made up of -
Acts of Violence by Ryan David Jahn Macmillan New Writing
Rupture by Simon Lelic Picador
The Holy Thief by William Ryan Mantle
The Pull of the Moon by Diane Janes Constable & Robinson

A number of awards were also presented in the film and acting category

The winner of the Film Dagger was Inception and was presented by Nathaniel Parker.

The complete shortlist was as follows:-
District 9 (Sony Pictures)
Inception (Warner Bros)
Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Momentum Pictures)

The winner of the TV Dagger was Sherlock Holmes and the award was presented to Benedict Cumberbatch by Harriet Walter and Laila Russo.

The complete shortlist for the TV Daggers were -
Ashes to Ashes (Series 3) (Kudos)
Luther (BBC)
Sherlock (BBC)
Wallander (Series 2) (Left Bank Pictures)

The winner of the International TV Dagger was Wallender and the award was presented by Matt di Angelo and Kelly Adams from the Hustle.

The shortlist was as follows:-
Damages (Season 3) (Sony Pictures)
The Good Wife (Season 1) (CBS)
Wallander (Series 2) (Yellow Bird Films)

The Best Actress Dagger was won by Maxine Peake and was presented to her by Denis Lawson

The Shortlist for the Best Actress Dagger consisted of -
Glenn Close (Damages)
Hermione Norris (Spooks)
Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes & Identity)
Maxine Peake (Criminal Justice)
Sue Johnston (Waking the Dead)

The Best Actor Dagger was awarded to Benedict Cumberbatch and was presented to him by Emilia Fox

The Best Actor Dagger shortlist consisted of -
Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock)
Idris Elba (Luther)
Kenneth Branagh (Wallander)
Philip Glenister (Ashes to Ashes)

The winner of the Best Supporting Actress Dagger was Dervla Kirwan who received her award from Philip Glenister and Mark Warren.

Those on the shortlist were -
Dervla Kirwan (The Silence)
Gina McKee (The Silence)
Saskia Reeves (Luther)
Sophie Okonedo (Criminal Justice)

The Best Supporting Actor Dagger went to Matthew MacFadyen who presented with his award by Katy Brand

The short list consisted of -
Laurence Fox (Lewis)
Matthew Macfadyen (Criminal Justice)
Rupert Graves (Sherlock)
Tom Hiddleston (Wallander)

The winner of the public's People's detective vote was Christopher Foyle. The award was presented by Hugh Bonniville and Joan Froggett.

The short list consisted of -
Tom Barnaby
Christopher Foyle
Jack Frost
Sherlock Holmes
Robbie Lewis
Miss Jane Marple
Endeavour Morse
Hercule Poirot
John Rebus
Jane Tennison
Reg Wexford
Charles Wycliffe

George Pelecanos and Frederick Forsyth was inducted into the Hall of Fame as well. Pelecanos in his acceptance speech said that he was proud to be a crime writer and one of "us"

The television programme The Bill was presented with a special recognition award.

Congratulations to all the winners and the nominees. The ceremony will be transmitted on ITV3 on October 12.