Monday 20 December 2010

Peter James the New Thomas Harris

I was delighted to read renowned US Thriller Critic Patrick Anderson state in his review of the Minotaur Books US release of ‘Dead Like You’ at The Washington Post

Peter James's novels about Detective Superintendent Roy Grace have been bestsellers in England but have had little impact in this country. That could change with the publication here of the sixth in the series, "Dead Like You." It's a remarkably inventive story of sexual obsession, possibly the most engrossing thriller since Thomas Harris's "The Silence of the Lambs."

At its most obvious level, the novel is a realistic police procedural in which Grace heads the investigation of a series of attacks on women in and around Brighton, England. The narrative alternates between past and present, as the younger Grace investigates a series of rapes - and a murder - from a dozen years ago, and also similar attacks in the present that may be the work of the same criminal. As we move between past and present, we also move between Grace and his fellow officers, the rapists (for there prove to be two or more at large) and the victims of the attacks. We see the police frustrated by a lack of clues, even as the criminals methodically stalk their victims.

Read the full review here

I especially enjoyed the closing comments, due to my love of existential themes in crime fiction -
Finally, when all is revealed, he pulls a switcheroo as unsettling as Dennis Lehane's at the end of "Shutter Island."

James also plays games inspired by American crime fiction and movies. One woman, seized by a rapist, recalls the horrors in "The Silence of the Lambs" - and, when she escapes, her captor pursues her while wearing night-vision binoculars, just as Buffalo Bill pursued Clarice Starling in a pitch-black basement. And is it pure coincidence that one of the possible rapists is named Starling? One of them dresses in women's clothing to better stalk his victims, calling to mind Brian De Palma's "Dressed to Kill." Other scenes recall Norman Bates in Hitchcock's "Psycho" and the amusement-park murder in "Strangers on a Train."

The complexity of James's narrative sustains suspense in a long novel, even as his occasional fun and games offer relief from its tensions. As with "The Silence of the Lambs," we sense a formidable intelligence at work, conjuring up a novel that's riveting, perverse and potentially as objectionable to some readers as it will be fascinating to others.

So if you have yet to explore the work of Peter James, Shots Ezine have a feature on how James wrote ‘Dead Like You’ – here, as well as comprehensive interview with him - here

Photo © 2010 Ali Karim “Peter James’ annual Christmas Dinner with UK literary Critics at The Ivy in London”

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Big push for C J Box in the UK

On 10th December 2010 Corvus announced an unprecedented roll-out of twelve new books by the multi award-winning US crime writer C.J. Box in a single year.

Corvus is set to publish one book a month from Box’s New York Times bestselling ‘Joe Pickett’ series in 2011. Together with the paperback publication of the 2009 Edgar award-winning Blue Heaven in January and a new stand-alone novel in August, the ground-breaking venture shows a major commitment by Corvus to publishing C.J. Box in the UK. It will be supported by an intensive year-long publicity and advertising campaign and major book trade promotions.

C.J Box is the winner of the Anthony Award, the Prix Calibre 38, the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award and the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Novel. His novels are US bestsellers and have been translated into 21 languages. Box lives with his family outside of Cheynne, Wyoming. He can be found at

Publisher Nicolas Cheetham says: ‘Every crime writer needs a series character, and Corvus has the great pleasure of introducing Joe Pickett to the growing number of C.J. Box’s British fans. The Joe Pickett books are addictive, each instalment surpasses the last, and that’s saying something when the first book, Open Season, won nearly every crime writing award in the USA. You shouldn’t have to wait for something this good, so we’re publishing the Pickett novels in quick succession. The best way to watch a hit TV series is to buy the box set and watch them all at once… Why shouldn’t it be the same for books? In more ways than one, this is the ultimate Box set.’ Cheetham first introduced C.J. Box to the UK, acquiring three stand alone novels, when he launched the Corvus list in 2009. Box’s use of very normal everyday characters placed in extraordinary situations has already proved a big hit with male and female readers in the US. Now, his captivating, morally complex and exceptionally written series featuring Wyoming game-warden Joe Pickett should find a broad and dedicated fan base – and as Cheetham says ‘should catapult him into the major league of thriller writers in the UK.’

C.J. Box will make his first ever UK tour in July 2011 and will appear at Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate in the run up to the publication of his new stand alone book, Back of Beyond.

A review of his standalone novel Three Weeks to say Goodbye can be found here on the Shotsmag ezine along with the accompanying feature on the book by the author.

January 2011 - Blue Heaven [paperback] £7.99

February 2011 - Open Season [Joe Pickett #1] £7.99

March 2011 - Savage Run [Joe Pickett #2] £7.99

April 2011 - Winterkill [Joe Pickett # 3] £7.99

May 2011 - Trophy Hunt [Joe Pickett #4] £7.99

June 2011 - Out of Range [Joe Pickett #5] £7.99July 2011 -

In Plain Sight [Joe Pickett #6] £7.99

August 2011 - Back of Beyond [hardback] £7.99

August 2011 - Free Fire [Joe Pickett #7] £7.99

September 2011 - Blood Trail [Joe Pickett #8] £7.99

October 2011 - Below Zero [Joe Pickett #9] £7.99

November 2011 - Nowhere to run [Joe Pickett #10] £7.99

December 2011: - Cold Wind [Joe Pickett #11] £12.99

For all media enquiries please contact Annabel Robinson at FMcM Associates on 020 7405 7422 or email

Friday 10 December 2010


Win exclusive MILLENNIUM prizes
You can tell we've gone Christmas mad. We're giving you the chance to win fantastic prizes in conjunction with Quercus Publishers and Momentum Pictures! To help celebrate the phenomenal international success of Stieg Larsson we are offering a top prize of: One LIMITED EDITION Box Set of the Millennium series, DVD (UK and Europe Region) of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and a must for the fashionista inside – an exclusive promotional T Shirt.

PLUS we are also offering a second prize of the DVD, T-Shirt and the complete paperback Millennium Trilogy. Think that is all? No way.
We have a further three sets of DVD & T-Shirts to give away.

Sound like your perfect prize?
To be in with a chance of winning, just answer one simple question:
In which country does The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo take place?
Enter for FREE now.
Competition ends on Midnight 15 December 2010.
SHOTS’ Online's competition Terms And Conditions apply see below

Terms and conditions
  • Closing date for entries is 15.12.2010
  • All correct entries will be entered into a prize draw and will be picked at random on 16.12.2010
  • The winners will be notified by email within 1 day of the promotion closing date and are required to accept their prize by email or phone call within 3 days of notification.
  • In the event of non-acceptance within the specified period, the promoter reserves the right to reallocate the prize to the next randomly drawn correct and valid entry.
  • No responsibility can be accepted for lost or misplaced entries
  • The prizes are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative
  • Only one entry per person
  • Incorrect or illegible answers or entries received after the entry date will not be entered into the prize draw
  • The judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Robin Jarossi's CRIMINAL ACTS December 2010

Thursday, 16 December, 9pm, BBC Four


Christmas in TV land in not the season for ground-breaking new crime series. But lighter detective fare is allowed, and so this year we have a glut of new Agatha Christie dramas from ITV1 and the BBC’s sprightly Dirk Gently adaptation.

Green Wing’s Stephen Mangan follows in the footsteps of performers such as Harry Enfield (on Radio 4) in playing the holistic sleuth whose MO is to examine evidence in terms of the ‘connectedness of all things’.

And Mangan has the right blend of charlatan and inspired amateur to bring author Douglas Adams’s oddball detective to life – not that he bears much physical relation to the pudgy man with thick metal-rimmed glasses described in the two published books.

But that, and other changes from the novels, should only upset Adams obsessives. This hour-long adaptation is slick, succinct and has a very watchable cast.

Helen Baxendale has a great sitcom track record with Cold Feet and Friends on her CV, as well as straight roles in crime dramas such as Lewis and Marple. She plays Susan, the no-nonsense voice of reason, believing Dirk’s theories to be ‘crap’.

Richard MacDuff, Gently’s old uni friend and Susan’s on-off boyfriend, is played by Darren Boyd (Rev, Whites), while Doreen Mantle is Mrs Jordan, the old dear who gives Dirk his first case.

Finding Henry is the mission – ‘He’s all I have,’ says Mrs J. Henry is, of course, her moggy. How are Henry, Susan and her long-ago boyfriend Gordon, MacDuff and Mrs Jordan all interconnected?

It takes the chaotic, disreputable Gently and his theory that ‘every particle in the universe affects every other particle’ to form the incoherent clues into a case that wouldn’t stand up in a court, but should amuse fans and newcomers to the world of Douglas Adams.

Agatha Christie Galore

No one could say ITV1 hasn’t celebrated 2010’s glut of Agatha Christie anniversaries in style.

To continue Julia McKenzie and David Suchet’s residencies as Marple and Poirot – and bring cheer to the Dame’s huge fanbase on the 120th anniversary of her birth, the 80th anniversary of Marple’s first appearance and the 90th for the Belgian sleuth – the network has three new adaptations in the run-up to Christmas.

The stand-out drama is definitely Murder on the Orient Express, one of Christie’s best-loved mysteries.
(C) ITV Plc.
ITV1 has lavished on it a good production and international cast, including Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) as Edward Masterman, David Morrissey (Thorne, State of Play) as Colonel John Arbuthnott, and Barbara Hershey (Portrait of a Lady) as Mrs Hubbard. Serge Hazanavicius (I’ve Loved You So Long) is Xavier Bouc, Denis Ménochet (Inglourious Basterds) is Pierre Michel, and Dame Eileen Atkins (Cranford) is Princess Dragomiroff.

Suchet, after 22 years in the role, finally gets to play Poirot in his most iconic case. And the actor says, ‘It's an honour to have such a wonderful international cast on board for this world famous murder mystery. Writer Stewart Harcourt, has created an exquisite script. His attention to detail is impeccable.’

And a sign of just how big a deal this is in the Christie firmament comes from the Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd, Mathew Prichard, who says, ‘It’s high time that Agatha Christie fans had another interpretation of my grandmother’s wonderful Murder on the Orient Express to enjoy, and I’m delighted that this one has attracted so many well known names.’

Of this adaptation, Suchet adds, ‘We’re not doing it as a remake of the film, Stewart [Harcourt] has approached it from a very interesting and tantalising point of view.

‘This is more of a psychological drama. We are, right from the beginning, faced with Poirot in a different frame of mind to how we’ve ever seen him before.’

Murder on the Orient Express is ITV1’s two-hour blockbuster for Christmas night, going out at 9pm.

And then there are the two Marple mysteries. The first is The Secret of Chimneys (Monday, 27 December, 9pm), with Edward Fox (Lord Caterham), Ruth Jones (Miss Blenkinsopp), Dervla Kirwan (Bundle) and Michelle Collins (Treadwell) among the star-studded suspects.

Chimneys is, of course, a grand house once known for its diplomatic gatherings. Lord Caterham is planning to sell it, but an important guest, Austrian Count Ludwig, is found shot dead. To solve the crime, Miss Marple has to weigh up the dead man’s long affair with a mystery woman at Chimneys and the discovery of the bones of a young servant murdered there two decades before…

Finally, there’s Marple’s investigation of The Blue Geranium case (Wednesday, 29 December, 9pm). Here she needs the help of Sir Henry Clithering (Donald Sinden) to stop a court hearing because she has new evidence about the death of wealthy, unpopular Mary Pritchard, who died when the geraniums in her wallpaper turned blue.

(C) ITV Plc.

At least Julia McKenzie feels she has cracked the mystery of how to play Marple. She says, ‘I feel pleased with the way my Marple has been received. I’m enjoying it immensely. I was rather in shock in the first couple of films because I did take over the role very quickly. I was just so surprised to get the part, added to which was the trepidation of taking over such an iconic role. I feel now that I’m much more secure in the characterisation.

‘Obviously, it was a bit worrying when the first few films came out. I wasn’t sure how they would be received. But now I feel I’ve settled into it and would like to play her for the rest of my working life if there are enough stories to go round.

The Blue Geranium is a short story and it’s the first time anyone has adapted an Agatha Christie short story for television. Stewart Harcourt [the screenwriter] has done it brilliantly. It’s quite an intriguing tale. One of the treats of playing Marple is that you get new inspectors all the time and finding a way through how they accept Marple. And I had a lot of fun with Kevin McNally [Detective Inspector Somerset]. His detective was, as Miss Marple points out, a bit of a drinker and she gets round him that way. She always finds their Achilles heel.’

2011 Will Be Murder

It all gets more edgy once the New Year has been toasted. January promises fewer cosies and laughs, more drama and gore. Here’s a round-up.

Zen – Vendetta
(C) BBC/Left Bank Pictures
(BBC1, first week of January, date and time to be confirmed) is Rufus Sewell’s much-anticipated debut as Michael Dibdin’s Italian detective, Aurelio Zen. Italian actress Caterina Murino is his love interest. In this opener, Zen has to investigate a multiple murder, that of flash millionaire Oscar Faso and his guests.

Forensic drama Silent Witness is back for series 14 (BBC1, again first week of January, but date and time to be confirmed). In a two-part story, A Guilty Mind, three patients die suddenly on the same ward of a London hospital. Emilia Fox, William Gaminara and Tom Ward return.

Hustle, the light-hearted and frothy take on a gang of scamsters who dish out expensive retribution to the corrupt and powerful, also returns (BBC1, first week of January, date and time to be confirmed). This time Albert, played by Sixties smoothy Robert Vaughn, has three new marks for the tricksters – an arrogant aristo, a bent MP, and a shady judge.

Four Weddings actress Andie MacDowell will be Patricia Cornwell’s District Attorney Monique Lamont in a couple of new US dramas on the crime channel Alibi. Patricia Cornwell: At Risk is on Sunday, 2 January at 9pm, and Patricia Cornwell: The Front on Saturday, 8 January, 9pm.

Looking further ahead, the Beeb has announced a new thriller starring Damian Lewis called Stolen. It’s a story of modern child slavery and Lewis, taking a break from his US projects such as the TV series Life, plays Detective Inspector Anthony Carter, who works in the Human Trafficking Unit and tries to save stolen children.

With new ITV crime dramas later in the year, such as Vera and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, 2011 could be a bit special, if bloody.

Happy New Year!

• Robin Jarossi is a TV journalist and the editor of

The Icemen Cometh

In case you missed The Rap Sheet’s alert on two rather interesting TV specials focusing on Scandinavian and Italian Crime Fiction, we have the information for your diaries. We were alerted by critic Barry Forshaw who appears on both shows giving a critical perspective of the importance of translated crime fiction -

BBC4, Dec 20th at 9pm

Draw the curtains and dim the lights for a chilling trip north as Timeshift investigates the success of Scandinavian crime fiction – and why it exerts such a powerful hold on our imagination.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ is a literary blockbuster that has introduced millions of readers to the phenomenon that is Scandinavian crime fiction – yet author Stieg Larsson spent his life in the shadows and didn’t live to see any of his books published. It’s one of the many mysteries this programme investigates as it travels to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in search of the genre’s most acclaimed writers and memorable characters.

The programme looks at Henning Mankell’s brooding Wallander series, with actor Krister Henriksson describing the challenge of bringing the character to the screen, and it asks why so many stories have a political subtext. Nordic Noir finds out how Stieg Larsson based the bestselling ‘Millennium’ trilogy on his work as an investigative journalist and it reveals the unlikely source of inspiration for his most striking character, Lisbeth Salander. The programme also meets Jo Nesbo, the Norwegian rock star turned writer tipped to inherit Larsson’s mantle, and Karin Fossum, an author whose personal experience of murder has had a profound effect on her writing.
Producer/Director: ROBERT MURPHY

BBC4, Dec 27th at 9.30pm

Timeshift profiles a new wave of Italian crime fiction that has emerged to challenge the conventions of the detective novel. There are no happy endings in these noir tales only revelations about Italy’s dark heart – a world of corruption, unsolved murders and the mafia.

Italian Noir features exclusive interviews with the leading writers from this new wave of noir including Andrea Camilleri (Inspector Montablano Mysteries) and serving Judge Giancarlo De Cataldo (Romanzo Criminale) who explains how his work as a real life investigating judge inspired his work. From the other side of the law, Massimo Carlotto talks about how his novels were shaped by his wrongful conviction for murder and years spent on the run from the police.
The film also looks at the roots of this new wave. First Carlo Emilio Gadda (That Awful Mess) used the detective novel to expose the corruption that existed during Mussolini’s fascist regime and then after the Second World War Leonardo Sciascia’s crime novels (The Day of The Owl) tackled the rise of the Sicilian mafia. They established the rules of a new kind of noir that draws on real events and offers no neat endings.

Shot on location in Rome, Bologna and Florence, the film also features Italian writers Carlo Lucarelli and Barbara Baraldi and uses rarely seen archive from Italian television.
Produced and Directed by Francis Welch

Photo © 2009 Ali Karim “Hakan Nasser, Eva Gedin [Stieg Larsson’s Editor], Mark Lawson, Barry Forshaw and Lynda La Plante at The Swedish Embassy London

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Mulholland Books UK Publishing Schedule 2011

I really enjoy the output of Mulholland Books and their US website / Blog; which for a publisher is excellent. Instead of a hard-sell of their own published authors, they feature interesting articles from many writers from other houses. Recently we’ve seen posts from Michael Marshall [Smith], Roger [R.J.] Ellory, Joe Lansdale, Maxim Jakubowski, Mike Robotham, Lawrence Block and many others, which you can access here – this resource is regularly updated thanks to the work of Mulholland’s hard working Miriam Parker. I would urge you to bookmark this superb site if you like crime and thrillers.

We are also delighted to see Mulholland cross the Atlantic joining forces with Britain’s Hodder and Stoughton with an exciting series of novels. Though we have to also report that Mulholland Editor Anne Clarke leaves at the end of the year for pastures new, as Editorial Director of Orbit, the SF Imprint. Ruth Tross takes over duties as Editor of the Mulholland UK imprint and has her work cut out with a new list for a new year.

And finally we have the Mulholland UK publishing schedule which features some very interesting books -

The first release from Mulholland UK is Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark who will be coming to the UK in May for the release.

Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city’s most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can’t stop herself from digging deeper into Jake’s death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation–and her life–to find the truth.

MARCIA CLARK is a former Los Angeles deputy district attorney who was the lead prosecutor on the O.J. Simpson murder case. She co-wrote a bestselling non-fiction books about the trial, Without a Doubt, and is a frequent media commentator and columnist on legal issues. She lives in Los Angeles.

Next up on the list is Fun and Games by Duane Swierczynski, in which Charlie Hardie, ex-cop-turned-house-sitter, is about to have the worst day ever. His new job comes with a B-movie actress squatter who thinks that people are trying to kill her… unfortunately for Charlie, she’s right. We’re publishing Fun and Games in June, with its sequels following in August and September. Once you’ve read the first one, you’ll understand why we couldn’t make anyone wait for too long to find out what happened next! It’s a real rollercoaster ride of a novel.

Triple Crossing, by Sebastian Rotella, is out in August – it’s a gritty, fast-paced thriller set on the US-Mexico border. Undercover cop Valentine Pescatore, US agent Isabel Puente and Mexican police chief Leo Mendez have the same aim: to bring down the drug cartels. But in a world built on lies and corruption, how do you know who you can trust? As Pescatore gets drawn ever deeper into the criminal underworld, the stage is set for an explosive showdown.

And last but by no means least, The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen is scheduled for November. Leo, a disgraced former spy, and Tasha, a lawyer grieving for a brother killed in Iraq in mysterious circumstances, don’t realise the impact their actions will have on the world, but the man known as Zed does. He’s been sent back from a future utopia with a single mission: to ensure that a cataclysmic event takes place which will ensure never-ending peace in his own time. But there may be things Zed’s superiors haven’t told him… Recalling dystopian classics like 1984, The Revisionists is a page-turning, mind-bending read.

Mark your 2011 diaries accordingly

Enjoying the High Life

I was first introduced to Ryan David Jahn thanks to both Roger R.J. Ellory and my Welsh colleague – The Crime Fiction Reader. They both raved about his debut novel ‘Acts of Violence’ with Roger providing a blurb for Jahn. I was fortunate to meet Jahn earlier this year at the CWA Dagger Awards, and over a flute of champagne we discussed Harlan Ellison’s The Whimper of Whipped Dogs, which also used the Kitty Genovese case as the backdrop.

I just heard that Pan Macmillan has bought three novels by Ryan David Jahn, winner of this year’s CWA New Blood Dagger.

Will Atkins, Editorial Director for fiction, has acquired world rights in three new novels direct from US crime writer Ryan David Jahn, in a six-figure deal. Jahn won this year’s CWA New Blood (John Creasey) Dagger for his Macmillan New Writing debut, Acts of Violence.

Atkins described his new novel, The Dispatcher (July 2011), as ‘one of the most exhilarating, original and exquisitely written thrillers I’ve read in years.’ The first book in the new contract is scheduled for 2012.

Ryan David Jahn grew up in Arizona, Texas and California. He left school at sixteen to work in a record store and subsequently joined the army. Since 2004 he has worked in television and film. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Photo (c) 2010 Ali Karim

Monday 6 December 2010

Book Launch of Tom Clancy's Dead or Alive

At the Tower of London today a spectacular book launch took place. It was the launch of Tom Clancy’s new book Dead or Alive. On hand to make it an exciting promotion were Yeomen from the Tower along with some Red Devil Paratroopers.

As his publishers (Michael Joseph) stated a crack team of Red Devil paratroopers stormed the Tower of London today to launch the long-awaited new thriller by best-selling author Tom Clancy.

Four members of the world-famous Parachute Regiment display team have performed the dangerous stunt to deliver the first copies of the book, Dead or Alive, to Yeoman Warders at the Tower, where they will be guarded in the Yeoman Gaoler’s office overnight prior to its official release on Tuesday, 7th December, tomorrow.

Lance Corporal Jimmy Graham, of the Red Devils, said: “We are thrilled to have the rare opportunity to jump into one of our greatest historical landmarks, something which has not been attempted for many years. As fans of Tom Clancy, the Red Devils Freefall Team are honoured to be involved in the launch of Dead or Alive.” Unfortunately due to the severe weather conditions they were unable to parachute in, however, made an impressive entrance through clouds of orange smoke in the moat of the Tower.

The armed paratroops have carried the first four copies of the novel, which have been signed by Tom Clancy and will become part of four special military editions with items chosen by the Red Devils.

Enclosed in an aluminium case, given to the Yeoman for safe keeping, was a copy of Dead or Alive signed by Tom Clancy, a Victorinox Swiss Army knife, an engraved silver bullet and customised Army dog tags. Each will be auctioned online in order to raise money for the Parachute Regiment charity. To make a bid please click here.

Publishers claim the book is one of the most heavily embargoed titles of all time, with its launch occurring simultaneously in Britain and the US on 7th December.

Today marks the live thrilling conclusion of an adrenaline-fuelled online video trailer and television advert. This features members of the Red Devils team as Parachute Regiment soldiers on a mission to deliver the books. The trailer for the book is below.

Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy is published by Michael Joseph, £20.

Penguin will be donating 500 copies of Dead or Alive to the Parachute Regiment currently serving in Afghanistan as an early Christmas present. Tom Clancy is well known for his admiration and respect for the military forces, whom he holds in the highest esteem. Donating copies of his new thriller to Parachute Regiment soldiers is a way to pay tribute to the men and women serving their country away from home.

Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy will be published in hardback by Penguin Books in the UK and its territories (Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and Europe) and simultaneously by Penguin Books in the US.

(photographs © Ayo Onatade)

The video of the Red Devil Parachute Regiment exciting entrance can be seen in the video. Despite the cold weather it was a fantastic launch.

The 2010 “Notables” in Publishing

PW has issued its 2010 ‘Notables List’ and is certainly interesting as it mentions The IPAD as one 2010’s notables –

It may seem surprising to name a device among our publishing people of the year, but this has been a surprising year, especially where devices and their impact on publishing are concerned. The iPad has had a colossal impact on the book business in 2010, both in terms of what's already happened because of it, and the promise it holds for the future of books. Everybody wants to be on the iPad, and, for the most part, everybody is: the iPad lets users read books from not just iBooks but from all the e-book stores—Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and, soon, Sony—via each company's apps. And then there's the App Store itself, which is brimming with stand-alone enhanced e-book apps as well as games and utilities based on books. Plus, all kinds of straight-to-iPad publications are debuting all the time: we can only assume we'll see more and more built-for-tablet books. And with Google in the e-book game, forget about it—it'll be all about the iPad.Of course, iPad won't be the only tablet in town come 2011, but it has set the bar: every other tablet that hits the streets will be an iPad competitor, though almost certainly not an iPad killer. Whether or not E-Ink e-readers survive the tablet revolution remains to be seen, but you hardly hear anyone talking about the Kindle these days without comparing it to the iPad.

Read More

While Sonny Mehta of Random House US has benefited from spotting the potential of Stieg Larsson Trilogy making him once again listed as a 2010 ‘notable’ at PW -

Today Random House is predicting that Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, launched with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, will sell 15 million copies in all formats in 2010 alone. Larsson has become an American publishing phenomenon, and it's largely thanks to Sonny Mehta.Mehta, who's been at Knopf since 1987, is certainly no stranger to big authors, big books, and big deals. Although Larsson came to U.S. shores with a track record—when I spoke to Mehta in 2008 Knopf said Larsson had sold over two million copies in his native Sweden alone—there's no telling what would have happened if his books had landed in the hands of a different publisher. For Mehta, it was all about Larsson's punk hacker-with-a-heart, Lisbeth Salander. "I knew [the books'] potential success rested squarely on Lisbeth's shoulders and was banking on American readers being as captivated by her as I was," Mehta says in an e-mail last week. (In a letter by Mehta inserted in ARCs for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he called Salander "one of the most original heroines to come along in years.")

Incidentally, the Larsson novels are the most downloaded ebooks currently, and were the first to break the 1,000,000 download barrier.

Christopher Fowler’s Paperboy Recognized

One of my favourite horror / thriller writers is Christopher Fowler, now renowned for his surreal Bryant and May Detective series. So I was delighted to learn that his superb memoir has won the Green Carnation Award

The Guardian reports –

Fowler's memoir recounts the tale of a suburban London boy who divides his time between the cinema and the library, devouring stories and taking refuge from a tense family environment in the world of words. The prize panel called the book "beautifully written", and "a rich and astute evocation of a time and a place", recalling a childhood "at once eccentric and endearingly ordinary." Chair of the judges, novelist Paul Magrs, said Paperboy was "about the forming of a gay sensibility – but more than that, it's about the growth of a reader and a wonderfully generous and inventive writer".

Magrs, who is also a lecturer on the Manchester Metropolitan University's creative writing MA, helped set up the Green Carnation prize earlier this year after realising there was no literary award for gay men's books in the UK. He described the lack of such a prize as "scandalous", saying: "There ought to be something that celebrates and publicises the breadth and variety of their work. Writing by gay men can be funny, exciting, harrowing, uplifting and challenging – and it can range right across the genres. It can also be created by men from all classes and races."

Read more from The Guardian Here and from Chris Fowler’s Blog Here while here’s a short clip of Chris Fowler speaking at Frightfest 4 about ‘Paperboy’

Friday 3 December 2010

Newsy Stuff - Lee Child: Adventures of an over-reacher

An excellent interview in the Independent with Lee Child by Andy Martin who teaches French at Cambridge University; his latest book is 'Beware Invisible Cows' (Simon & Schuster). Andy Martin talks to Lee Child about his roots in Birmingham and his character Jack Reacher. The interview is below and the link to the interview is here ----

It was a classic Lee Child moment. A yellow cab is parked one fine night on Broadway and 19th. The cab driver is a small Sikh guy and his passenger is a big drunk fratboy who is bad mouthing the driver, refusing to pay, and at the same time sticking like glue to his seat. Our hero marches across the street, yanks open the door, and orders the unruly passenger out. No ifs or buts. Fratboy meekly obeys and staggers off down the street.

No, this was not Jack Reacher, the unreasonably well-built and overwhelmingly powerful protagonist of Lee Child's novels, but the author himself – the UK's No 1 bestselling hardback novelist of 2010, with not just one but two new books this year, 61 Hours (Bantam, £7.99) and Worth Dying For (Bantam, £18.99. Both were also No 1 hits in the US).

Another time, 1.30am in Manchester, he stops at a cash machine, withdraws £100 and turns around. Suddenly there is a semi-circle of three likely lads in front of him. Child fixes his gaze on the ringleader – the one in the middle – and shoots him down, verbally: "You have got to be fucking joking!" They part, like the Red Sea, and let him pass. It's true that Reacher is capable, in one recent novel, of cowing a throng of approximately 100 bad guys, like Jesus quelling the storm, but this was close.

"It's all down to confidence," says Child. "That, and being brought up in a rough neighbourhood of Birmingham and having to go home in my grammar school blazer. Violence was the default setting." Child is close to Reacher in height: 6ft 4in to Reacher's 6ft 5in. But he is no hulking 250lbs and doesn't wear cheap shirts and chinos from the local hardware store. "Male authors always take care to make their heroes at least one inch taller than they are, and considerably more muscular," he says. "Just as female authors give their heroines better hair and slimmer thighs."

Lee Child and I are having coffee at his hotel in London (if you have the finely-honed intuitions of Jack Reacher, you should be able to look at a map and pin him down to within a block). Or rather he is knocking back a jug of black coffee, just like the highly caffeinated Reacher, while I am sipping a latte. He considers this to be "suspect", but agrees not to beat me to a pulp for the time being.

Child famously re-invented himself after he was sacked from Granada Television, aged 39. And rebranded himself. The origin of his name goes back to a mid-1970s train ride in the US. He and his wife fell into conversation with an American who told them that he owned a "European" car. It turned out to be a Renault 5, marketed in the US – to give it a certain Parisian chic – as "Le Car". But the friendly American said: "Lee Car". After that, "Lee" became their surrogate definite article: "Can you pass lee butter, please," and so on. When he and his wife had a baby, the kid was inevitably nicknamed "Lee Child". "I was looking for a name that was short, crisp and memorable," he says. Lee Child (Snr) was born.

Child reckons you only need two qualifications to write a decent book. First, "you must have had word-games in the family when you were growing up." Second, "you have to have read a few books beforehand." One of the first books he read at the public library, aged only four or five, was the beginning of his "love-affair with the US". The 12-page board book was called My Home in America. Its last page showed an apple-cheeked boy looking out of his apartment building across the Manhattan skyline. "It was a revelation," Child says. "Just as Jan Morris used to say she was 'a woman trapped inside a man's body', so I had this feeling – I knew – that I was this New York boy trapped inside a boy living in Birmingham, England."

He went to Sheffield University, married a visiting American student and fully expected to decamp to the US on graduation. "But she turned out to be an Anglophile, and I had to wait another 20 years." Now he lives in an apartment across from the Flatiron Building in New York, with a view out over the Manhattan skyline, and supports the Yankees (while following the fortunes of Aston Villa from afar).

All of which might help to explain why it is that Jack Reacher is a fairly complex figure. He is to muscles what Bill Gates is to money. But he is also a liberal-minded guardian angel trapped inside the almighty body of a US army MP (rtd) turned lone-wolf drifter. He really hates bad guys – that is for damn sure, to use one of his catchphrases. And he tends to make mincemeat out of them in unarmed combat.

Beloved of paratroopers and GIs, he is the hard man's hard man, a monster of machismo. But when he gets tired of kicking teeth in, he is quite capable of quoting Nietzsche and coming up with the etymology of "Xerox" and "vagrant". And his mother is French, so he has the outsider's sensitivity to the infra-ordinary details that the natives are liable to miss. "He is like a gorilla that can paint," says Child.

Child reckons he may have been inspired by certain hypertrophic rugby players who are meek and mild when not in shorts. There is no comparison with James Bond. "Bond is not enough of a maverick – he is employed, he has an office and a secretary." Child sees Reacher's precursors stretching back into our mythic past, to the knight errant, the grail quest, and the saviour. He certainly saved Child's bacon, just when he was running out of redundancy money. "The thriller is not a recent invention," he says. "It probably goes back to the dawn of storytelling."

The point about Reacher (evoked in the novels' recurrent refrain, "back in the day") is that he is a Rousseau-esque noble savage, a hunter-gatherer wild man who happens to have wandered into town. He only wants coffee and a square meal, but he can get riled. All conflicts arise out of the collision between the rootless nomad and the settled community. Or, as Child puts it, "it's a naked exploitation of people's frustrations". Reacher appeals to women readers as much as to men. "They love the idea of walking out of the door and not looking back."

The high body-count is balanced by a seductive minimalism of style. In Reacher's latest outing, Worth Dying For (his 15th), a villain comes through the door armed with a belt-sander, "already loaded with a fresh loop of coarse-grain abrasive". Child has applied something similar to the pulp vernacular. The Philip Marlowe wisecrack has got the chop. The hard-boiled has been boiled down to "a sullen, sardonic humour". The most frequent sentence is "Reacher said nothing". Amid this zero-degree discourse, a little can count for a lot. "In Without Fail the vital clue was a hyphen" Child recalls. In Killing Floor (the first novel), it's a possessive apostrophe.

Despite being handy with all sorts of weapons as well as his bare fists, Reacher is not the pin-up boy of the National Rifle Association. They suspect him of being a closet leftie. Child stirred up a "shit storm" in the US with Nothing To Lose, which brings the fallout from Iraq to the foreground. When Reacher discovers the escape route of American deserters, he turns a comradely and sympathetic blind eye. Child was able to point out that everything Reacher says that is critical of the American military was lifted direct from all the emails sent him by serving soldiers.

Child's grandfather was wounded at Gallipoli and his father fought his way across Europe in the Second World War. "But I started out knowing no more about military life than anyone else," he says. Now he has become a "conduit" for the innermost thoughts of frontline troops. "They can't tell their superior officers and they can't tell their families either. So they tell me."

Child recently found himself sitting next to Martin Amis at an awards ceremony. It was a showdown between popular fiction and literary fiction. In a straight fight I would bet on Child to knock out Amis in the first round. "He is ferociously intelligent, of course," says Child, benevolently. "Classic academic." Child likes to write "spontaneously, without prior thought, blindly". Ironically, he is now an honorary doctor of letters and a visiting professor at Sheffield but, he insists, "only in exchange for the usual old boy donation" (He generously funded 52 "Jack Reacher scholarships" – the only requirement is that you have to take on six heavy hombres in a bar.)

I first came across Reacher in a seemingly innocent bookstore in Pasadena. Now I'm hooked and one day my habit of snarling, "You can walk out – or they can carry you out in a bucket!" is going to get me into trouble. Other addicts will be relieved to know that rumours of Reacher's imminent demise are premature. "It's not in my hands," says Child. "So long as readers keep reading and my publishers keep publishing, I plan to keep on writing. I'd have to be an idiot to be burnt-out in this job."

But even if he is not about to have Reacher go over some American Reichenbach Falls, where Arthur Conan Doyle pushed Sherlock Holmes, Child has a cardinal rule: "You mustn't fall in love with your own hero." He feels it has happened to certain writers with disastrous consequences. Child tries to keep his alter ego at arm's length. "I never succumb to the temptation to stop Reacher doing something unpleasant."

Before Lee Child was Lee Child, when he was growing up in Birmingham, it was still a manufacturing city, full of small artisanal workshops with a lathe and a drill. "They did it all by eye then. But they still managed to make things to a fantastically high degree of precision. They did their job with a certain pride but also modesty." Child sees himself as carrying on that almost forgotten tradition. "I'm an artisan," he says. "I'm making useful things. With a degree of pride." It might also explain why there are so many tools in his books, lathes, drills, screwdrivers, wrenches and cutting equipment. Child reckons he should have gone to technical college, not grammar school. A fine-tuned sense of mechanical precision permeates his writing, where you can hear the hum of engines and the grinding of gears, and bodies can be expertly taken apart. And Reacher always knows the time, without reference to clock or watch. "I could have made head of engineering at London Underground, given the chance," Child sighs. "I would have been happy with that."

Tom Clancy Dead or Alive Book Trailer

With the forthcoming Tom Clancy book launch due to take place on Monday 6 December 2010 at Tower Bridge in London have a look at the video book trailer!

Red Devils’ novel stunt for UK launch of latest Tom Clancy thriller

Time and date: 12 noon on Monday, 6th December, 2010

Place: The Tower of London

A crack team of Red Devils paratroopers will skydive into the Tower of London for the first time ever next week (Monday, December 6) to launch the long-awaited new thriller by best-selling author Tom Clancy. Four members of the world-famous Parachute Regiment display team will perform the dangerous stunt to deliver the first copies of the book, Dead or Alive, to Yeoman Warders at the Tower, where it will be guarded in the Yeoman Gaoler's office overnight prior to its official release on Tuesday, 7th December.
Lance Corporal Jimmy Graham, of the Red Devils, said: "We are thrilled to have the rare opportunity to jump into one of our greatest historical landmarks, something which has not been attempted for many years. As fans of Tom Clancy, the Red Devils Freefall Team are honoured to be involved in the launch of Dead or Alive."

The paratroops will carry the first four copies of the novel which have been signed by Tom Clancy and will become part of four special military editions with items chosen by the Red Devils. Each Red Devil member, armed and in full military uniform, will carry a canister of green smoke and carry a 200ft flag as they descend from the sky into the Tower's dry moat.
Enclosed in an aluminium case will be a copy of Dead or Alive signed by Tom Clancy, a Victorinox Swiss Army knife, an engraved silver bullet and customised Army dog tags. Each will be auctioned online in order to raise money for the Parachute Regiment charity.

The Press release is below -

No 1 international bestselling author

Bestselling videogame presenter

One of the pre-eminent and most prescient storytellers of our time

Tom Clancy’s modern-day techno-thriller is like nothing he has ever done before…

For the first time ever, Clancy brings together 26 years of unforgettable characters, including Jack Ryan, Jack Ryan, Jr., John Clark, Ding Chavez, and Mary Pat Foley to jointly face their most difficult challenge yet: modern-day terrorism.

Tom Clancy’s latest novel, Dead or Alive, sees a team of his greatest characters waging an unofficial and highly effective campaign against the terrorists who threaten Western civilization. Working at the Campus, a secret U.S. counter-terrorism organization, Jack Ryan, Jr., John Clark, Ding Chavez and latest recruits, twin brothers Dominick and Brian Caruso, are on the trail of The Emir, a sadistic terrorist who has masterminded many of the world’s most vicious attacks. So far The Emir has eluded capture by the world’s armed forces and law enforcement agencies. With those at the Campus determined to catch The Emir, there is every hope that he will be brought in…dead or alive.

Clancy has created some of the best known characters in contemporary fiction and mesmerized tens of millions of readers worldwide with his frighteningly real scenarios. Dead or Alive is sure to enthral fans and new readers alike with its thrill and pace.

Tom Clancy has written thirteen Number 1 New York Times bestselling novels including Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and Rainbow Six. Clancy’s New York Times bestselling non-fiction books include Into the Storm: A Study in Command and Battle Ready.

Co-writer Grant Blackwood is a U.S. Navy veteran, who spent three years aboard a guided missile frigate as operations specialist and pilot rescue swimmer. He is the author of the Briggs Tanner series and co-author of Spartan Gold and Lost Empire with Clive Cussler.

For more information please contact

Jo Wickham - / 020 7010 3259

Thursday 2 December 2010

SHOTS of the Year announced

SHOTS Magazine – the UK’s leading e-zine dedicated to crime, mystery and thriller fiction – has announced its SHOTS of the Year awards for 2010 in the December issue of the Getting Away With Murder column.

The awards for books published in the UK in calendar year 2010 are as follows:

*Crime Shot of the Year: Started Early, Took My Dog

by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday).

*Thriller Shot of the Year: Our Kind of Traitor

by John le Carre (Viking/Penguin).

*Historical Shot: Spies of the Balkans

by Alan Furst (Weidenfeld).

*Shot In Translation: Thirteen Hours

by Deon Meyer (Hodder)

{translated from the Afrikaans by K.L. Seegers}.

*First Shot (debut novel): Eye of the Red Tsar

by Sam Eastland (Faber).

*Comic Shot: Dr Yes

by Colin Bateman (Headline)