Monday 31 December 2012

William Ryan in conversation with MJ McGrath

In the second of a series of conversations, author William Ryan talks to author M J McGrath.

© Patricia Grey
MJ McGrath is an award-winning journalist and author of fiction and nonfiction books, based in London.  The first novel in her Edie Kiglatuk mystery series, White Heat, was nominated for the CWA Gold Dagger.  The second, The Boy in the Snow, has just been published.  She is currently working on a third.  The series has been translated into 18 languages and is being developed for TV.  For more information, visit her website -

William Ryan is the Irish author of The Holy Thief (2010).  The Bloody Meadow (2011) and The Twelfth Department (to be published in May 2013), novels set in 1930s Moscow and featuring Captain Alexei Korolev.  William’s novels have been shortlisted for The Theakstons’ Crime Novel of the Year, The CWA New Blood Dagger and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award.  He lives in London with his wife and son and you can find out more about him and the Korolev novels at  

WR Not many detective stories, or novels for that matter, are placed inside the Arctic Circle - what drew you to it as a setting?

MMcG: For me, it was just so obvious.  I have been lucky enough to be able to travel to the Arctic a few times and I really wanted to try to capture its fierce, uncompromising beauty.  The Arctic is rapidly changing and as companies, countries and organised criminals look to the Arctic as an area ripe for natural resource development and exploitation it is becoming the focus of a new kind of Cold War.  At the same time, the human and social problems are more like the kind we associated with inner cities.  In the Canadian Arctic territory of Nunavut, crime has doubled over the last decade.  Homicide is now 1000% of the Canadian average.  Moreover, there is only one investigative police officer covering an area about 25 times the size of Britain.  Which is what keeps my heroine, Edie Kiglatuk, so busy!

WR: I think I understand what you mean by the beauty and the remoteness - I made a brief foray to Greenland a few years back and it felt like being on the very edge of existence.  It is not an environment that feels safe in any way - awe was the emotion I felt most.  Edie strikes me both ruthlessly pragmatic and, at the same, quite emotional – in a very understated way.  Is she a product of the environment in which she lives, do you think?

MMcG: Aren't we all?  The inspiration for Edie came from a woman polar bear hunter I met up in the Arctic but I've often said that in part she's the me I'd be if I thought no one would tell me off.  Though Edie isn't me, obviously.  For starters, my polar bear hunting skills aren't up to much and I won't be trying seal or walrus meat again in a hurry.
But Korolev is shaped by his environment too, no?

WR: Oh - I don't know, I can see you tracking down a polar bear - you have that steely look about you.  I'll let you off eating seal meat however.  But I suppose every character has a little bit of the writer in them - Korolev certainly has elements that seem all too familiar.
But the most interesting thing for me is that his situation inevitably results in his having to compromise to survive - the Soviets had a tendency to criminalise friends and families of perceived enemies, so he walks a very fine line.  The question is how far he’ll go and at what point, he sticks.

Do you think internal conflicts then are something that successful crime characters have to have?  Edie's a character that really resonates with people - is that one of the reasons?  Did she develop during the writing or did she come fully formed?

MMcG: Edie Kiglatuk and Alexei Korolev are both outsiders, wouldn't you say?  It's a very common trope in crime fiction but I think it's sometimes harder to be a female outsider than it is to be a lone wolf kind of a guy.  A female outsider such as Edie is much less likely to be tolerated in her own community.  It's rich territory, and not all that much explored, so I see Edie as a kind of pioneer there.  To make things more complicated, Edie's a maverick in a culture, which is itself outside the mainstream, a culture, which doesn't have much tolerance for independent-minded women.  In traditional Inuit society, oddballs were either classed as shamans or, sometimes, simply killed.  So Edie's both a survivor and a kind of worker of magic.  Not that she sees herself that way.  To Edie, she's just a misfit.

Everyone has internal conflicts about their roles in the family and in society, but also about how to be a good person.  Edie is constantly struggling with that stuff too and, like most people, she doesn't always get it right.  But she does try really, really hard and unlike me, she never lets herself off the hook.  She's a striver and I think readers respond to that.

WR: I think you're right that crime fiction often focuses on individuals who stand outside society - usually for moral reasons of one sort or another.  In fact, as I think we've discussed before, crime fiction is nearly always about morality.  But you've written very successful non-fiction and social history in the past - the best selling Silvertown and Hopping that vividly recreated London's East End and Motel Nirvana, about the New Age Movement in the US, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize.  What drew you to crime fiction?

MMcG: As a writer, crime fiction allows you to do almost anything.  It's such a flexible genre.  It's also one in which, as you pointed out, you can really explore some of the big existential and ethical themes, like what it means to live with the knowledge that you're going to die, and what constitutes good and evil.  I studied philosophy at University and I guess I've always been very taken up with those kind of questions in my writing.  Who was it who said, Goodness writes blank.  There's plenty of goodness in crime fiction but it's always offset by its opposite.  I enjoy surfing the very unruly boundary between the two.

It probably helps having had a petty criminal for a grandfather and having been a witness to an attempted murder.

WR: That's true - crime fiction is often about the interesting grey space between good and evil - the Korolev books are about trying to be a moral person in a society where that's very difficult.  But tell me about your grandfather and this attempted murder?  That sounds pretty - well - interesting.

MMcG: I'm not sure I believe in evil though it's true that some people do very, very bad things!  But I agree with you that it's always much harder to be good in a society or in a community which has the seed of rottenness at its heart, like the Stalinist Russia in which Korolev is operating or even like the current Arctic, beset as it is by social problems, lawlessness and profiteering.

Speaking of grandfather was a ducker and diver in the East End of London.  He operated in precisely that grey space we're talking about.  Black marketeering during and after the war mostly.  By the late 1950s, he had some extremely fancy American cars, a kennel full of racing greyhounds and even, I've heard, a racehorse, much of which he must have come by through dodgy dealing since his only legitimate business was a greasy spoon whose customers were mostly London dockers.  I've heard talk of connections to the notorious East End crooks, the Krays, though I've never quite been able to get to the bottom of that.

The attempted murder happened a couple of years back, in broad daylight, in my street.  An axe attack.  The victim's arm was partially amputated; he received a number of stomach wounds.  The perpetrators' weapon dog chomped off part of his nose.  The whole street was sealed for about 5 hours; we had an armed SWAT team, police helicopters, the lot.  I ended up being one of the principle witnesses, which felt extremely uncomfortable.  I didn't realise just how traumatic the whole thing had been until I was at the docs six months later for a minor complaint and when he asked me how I was feeling, I burst into tears.

I've seen plenty of violence in my time but never before witnessed two people attacking a third with the absolute intention of killing him.  Or heard the screams of someone who thinks they're about to die.  The energy around that is like nothing else.  And it really informed my writing.  I now have a good sense of the astonishing intensity of the killer impulse and also how powerless, guilty and angry you feel as a witness.  It's a profoundly violating thing.

WR: That sounds terrifying.  I’m not surprised you were affected afterwards.  It’s one of the strange things about a crime – it often has a whole series of unforeseen consequences for people other than the direct victim.  My great aunt was murdered by a burglar when I was 18 and I was, very briefly, a suspect.  I was fingerprinted and questioned and so on - but as I was a hundred miles away at the time, I was off the hook pretty quickly.  My uncles however were given a hard time of it and I think it was tough for them - and probably still is.  Another curious thing about that business was that when the police finally caught up with the murderer, his barrister wanted him to plead insanity but his family didn’t want to have that stigma attached to them.  I never knew people were far less tolerant of mental illness than murder.
Incidentally, what do you think your grandfather would have thought of you writing crime fiction?

MMcG: It's so interesting that you too have some real life experience of violent crime.  I wonder how many crime writers share this?  Quite a few I suspect.  I'm very interested in the ripple effects of serious crime.  The story I'm working on at the moment (another Edie Kiglatuk mystery) centres around the multiple ramifications of a murder.

You’re right about mental illness sometimes being more of a stigma than murder.  I have experience through a friend of serious mental illness and the effects are sometimes not dissimilar to those of murder in the sense that both can blow whole families and communities apart.  There's a character in The Boy in the Snow who suffers from post-natal psychosis with far-reaching consequences.

I can't think my grandfather would have approved of my crime-writing career.  He tried to stop his daughter, my mum, from reading on the grounds that she'd get above herself.  ‘Above him’ was what he really meant of course.

WR: I wonder if, more often than not, murderers aren’t in full possession of their senses when they kill.  Many of the reasons for killing people - fear, intoxication, rage, jealousy, greed and so on – seem almost like temporary forms of mental incapacity that override instinctive revulsion at the act and fear of the consequences.  And then, of course, there are the killers who really are insane.

I’m pretty sure the man who killed my aunt panicked.  She was a Captain with the Eighth Army in the Second World War – running hospitals and so on – and could be quite intimidating.  I believe she threatened to hunt him down which, knowing her, I suspect she probably would have.  So I think it all got too much for him.  I don’t have any sympathy for him– he went out to steal from an occupied house so he is responsible for everything that happens after that point – but I think I understand why things happened the way they did.  And I suppose that kind of understanding is useful for someone who writes about crime.

The story you’re working on at the moment – is that Edie Kiglatuk’s Christmas, which I just read about – or something longer?

MMcG: Edie Kiglatuk’s Christmas is a short and snappy seasonal story with a nice little twist at the end, but I’m actually about to finish another book-length Edie Kiglatuk mystery.  This one is set around SOV PATS or sovereignty patrols, the huge summer exercises carried out by the Canadian Military each year to assert Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic.  Most crime in the Arctic happens over the summer.  NASA discovered that 10% of subjects on Arctic patrol suffer serious psychological problems adapting to Arctic conditions and a third of those go on to develop psychiatric disorders.  So that’s the starting point for a mystery, which begins in the present, and eventually reaches back to the Cold War.  It’ll also be the first Edie Kiglatuk mystery in which Edie takes on a formal law enforcement role and has her first affair with a qalunaat, or white man.

WR: That's something to look forward to and I, for one, will be curious to find out how someone as independent and - well - stubborn as Edie will get on in law enforcement.  It'll be an interesting clash of cultures, I suspect!  Thanks for your time, Melanie, and best of luck with The Boy in the Snow - it's a great read and I hope it does well.

You can currently download MJ McGrath's short story, Edie Kiglatuk's Christmas, for free on Kindle.

White Heat and The Boy in the Snow are published by Viking Penguin in the US and by Mantle in the UK.

Shotsmag review of The Boy in the Snow can be found here.

Sunday 30 December 2012

Books to Look Forward To From Quercus and Maclehose Press

 THE NEW START - Fin Macleod, now head of security on a privately owned Lewis estate, is charged with investigating a spate of illegal game-hunting taking place on the island.  THE OLD FRIEND This mission reunites him with Whistler Macaskill– a local poacher, Fin’s teenage intimate, and possessor of a long-buried secret.  THE FINAL CHAPTER But when this reunion takes a violent, sinister turn and Fin puts together the fractured pieces of the past, he realizes that revealing the truth could destroy the future.  The Chessmen is the final instalment in the trilogy by Peter May, which began with The Blackhouse.  The Chessmen is due to be published in January 2013.

London, 1850s.  After five years in an Australian penal colony, the Artful Dodger returns to London in search of a hidden fortune.  Unaware of the fate that befell Twist, Fagin and Sikes, Dodger revisits the criminal underworld of Dickensian London to seek out his old comrades, any of whom might possess the key to the treasure.  He finds the city a changed place from his youth: with law and order upheld by a new police force, Fagin gone to the gallows, his old gang scattered and danger around every corner. Dodger is by James Benmore and is due to be published in April 2013.

The Devil’s Recruit is by SG Maclean and is due to be published in May 2013.  1635, and Europe is in the grip of the brutal territorial and religious struggle of the Thirty Years' War.  Fear stalks the town of Aberdeen as a ship recruiting for the wars lies at anchor in the river mouth.  A sinister figure watches from the shadows as apprehension grows and culminates in the disappearance of the son of a Highland chief - a student of Alexander Seaton.  When the frozen body of a young woman is found in the garden of a prominent citizen, Alexander becomes more deeply embroiled.  He realises that the figure in the shadows is known to him and has come for him.  He can hide from his past no longer.

Ruth's old friend Dan Golding thinks he has made a discovery that will change archaeology forever - but he needs Ruth's help.  Then, Dan is killed in a fire, leaving Ruth with one clue: the tomb of the Raven King.  DCI Nelson is also rediscovering the past.  He meets his friend Sandy Macleod, now at Blackpool CID, who tells him there are mysterious circumstances surrounding Dan's death.  A Neo-Nazi group at Dan's University has been making threats and could be involved.  Many of Dan's colleagues seem fearful and have secrets to hide.  Ruth is drawn into the mystery, and where she goes, so does her daughter, Kate.  This time, it is not just Ruth's life at risk.  Dying Fall is by Elly Griffiths and is due to be published in February 2013.

A Man Without Breath is by Philip Kerr and is due to be published in June 2013.  It is winter, 1943.  Bernie Gunther has left the Criminal Police and is working for the German War Crimes Bureau based in Berlin.  Reports have been circulating of a mass grave hidden in a wood near Smolensk.  The grave's whereabouts are uncertain until, deep in the Katyn Forest, a wolf digs up some human remains.  Rumour has it that the grave is full of Polish officers murdered by the Russians - a war crime that is perfect propaganda for Germany.  But it needs a detective of subtle skill to investigate this horrific discovery.  Cue Bernie Gunther...

The Garden of Burning Sand is by Corban Addison and is due to be published in March 2013.  On a dark night in Lusaka, Zambia, an adolescent girl is brutally assaulted.  In shock, she cannot speak.  Her identity is a mystery.  Where did she come from?  Was the attack a random street crime or a premeditated act?  The girl's case is taken up by Zoe Fleming, a human rights lawyer working in Africa.  A betrayal in her own past gives the girl's plight a special resonance for Zoe, and she is determined to find the perpetrator and seek justice.  Also investigating on behalf of the Zambian police is Joseph Kabuta.  At first reluctant to work together, they team up.  Yet their progress is thwarted at every turn and it soon becomes clear that their opponents are every bit as powerful and determined as they are corrupt.

A relentless killer scars Rome for two decades, leaving its unique signature on its victims and pursuers.  On 11 July 1982, Elisa Sordi was beautiful.  Commissario Michele Balistreri was fearless.  Italy was victorious.  A killer was waiting...On 9 July 2006, with Sordi's case twenty-four years cold, and Balistreri haunted by guilt and regret, Italian victory returned.  And so did Sordi's killer...But this time Michele Balistreri would be ready.  This time he would fear no evil.  The Deliverance of Evil is by Roberto Constantini and is due to be published in April 2013.
Four marked souls, one silent killer!  Simon and Suzie are two pleasure seekers defined by their flamboyant tattoos.  Peter Tressider is a politician on the fast track to the top.  DS Aector McAvoy is a policeman with scars to his body and career.  Each is marked in their own way.  And soon each will be branded by the same sinister foe.  Original Skin is a crime novel that leaves a permanent impression.  Half serial killer thriller, half gritty police procedural, it examines the imprints that our darkest sins leave upon us, and just how far we will go to keep them covered.  Original Skin is by David Mark and is due to be published in March 2013.

The Missing File is by D A Mishani and is due to be published in May 2013.  A sixteen-year-old boy is missing in a Tel Aviv suburb.  His mother is worried.  Inspector Avraham Avraham is not.  It is unheard of for children to vanish in this city.  'He'll be home in an hour, maybe three hours, tomorrow morning at the latest.  I can assure you.’  But there is a first time for everything.  And, as time begins to pass and the boy is still nowhere to be found, Avraham finds himself facing this horrible truth.  The Missing File presents a seemingly average detective and a seemingly routine investigation, and then shows both to be far from what they seem.  A supremely confident crime thriller, its unexpected resolution will force readers to question all they take for granted about innocence, guilt and the ways in which the truth can evade us.

These stories are linked by common themes of belonging, dislocation and identity, and together they take the pulse of a country in turmoil.  In 'The Opposite of Death' Roberto Saviano writes about a town in southern Italy haunted by the war in Afghanistan, where one by one its sons are dying.  Carlo Lucarelli ('Ferengi') explores the colonial war in Eritrea through the eyes of a maid working for a sick man who begs her to end his suffering.  Piero Colaprico's 'Grade C' is a breathless Milanese crime thriller in miniature, while Valeria Parrella's 'The Prize', set during World War II, reminds us that revenge is a dish best served cold.  Outsiders  contains stories by Roberto Saviano, Carlo Lucarelli, Valeria Parrella, Piero Colaprico, Wu Ming, and Simona Vinci and is due to be published in March 2013.

Killer at the End of The Line is a story based on fact of a brilliant detective in wartime Berlin, who becomes a mass-murderer.  Berlin, 1941: The battered remains of a woman: the seventh victim of a serial killer who has cast a pall of terror over the city.  With SS-General Heydrich demanding immediate results, detective Georg Heuser races to catch the killer before he strikes again.  Minsk, 1942: Thousands of Jews arrive in cattle trucks.  Among the policemen about to commit some of the most terrible crimes is detective Georg Heuser.  Koblenz 1962: One young lawyer closes in on her prey, and wonders – just how bad can a good man become?  Killer at the End of The Line is by David Thomas (aka Tom Cain) and is due to be published in April 2013.

Screams in the Dark is the third book in the Rosie Gilmour series by Anna Smith and it is due to be published in February 2013.  'Get back to wherever you came from,' a skinny woman spat from the crowd.  'These foreigners are gettin' everythin' handed to them on a plate.  But if you're born and bred in Glasgow you just get in the queue behind them.’  Steeped in its own problems, Glasgow's mushrooming underclass is simmering with resentment; and one by one, refugees are disappearing.  The authorities assume the refugees have vanished into the black economy, until the mutilated body of an Albanian man is fished out of the River Clyde.  Asylum seekers and refugees with no roots and no families are easy pickings.  But why is there no urgency from the authorities to find out what's happening?  Rosie Gilmour's instincts tell her there's more to this story, but after six weeks on the frontlines in Kosovo, is her sympathy for the refugees clouding her judgement?  Rosie must decide what is most important to her.  Her work or her life?

The Gift of Darkness is by V.M. Giambanco and is due to be published in June 2013.  Thirteen days to solve a murder.  Thirteen days to question everything.  Thirteen days before darkness descends.  Twenty-five years ago, three boys were kidnapped and taken into the woods; one never came back.  Now, to stop a psychopath, rookie homicide detective Alice Madison must go back into those woods and into the unsolved mystery of the Hoh River Boys.  Madison must forget her training and follow her instinct to the terrifying end as enemies become allies and, in the silent forest, time is running out to save a life.

Why was the corpse of Khalil Ahmad Jaber found in a mound of rubbish?  Why did he disappear weeks before his horrific death?  And who was he?  A journalist begins to piece the truth together by speaking with his widow, a local engineer, a night watchman, the garbage man who discovered him, the doctor who performed the autopsy, and a young militiaman.  Their stories underline the horrors of Lebanon's bloody civil war and its ravaging effects on the psyches of the survivors.  With empathy and candour, Elias Khoury reveals the havoc the war wreaked on Beirut and its inhabitants, as well as their dogged resilience.  White Masks is by Elias Khoury and is due to be published in February 2013.
Alex is by Pierre Lemaître and is due to be published in March 2013.  In kidnapping cases, the first few hours are crucial.  After that, the chances of being found alive go from slim to nearly none.  Alex Prevost - beautiful, resourceful, and tough - may be no ordinary victim, but her time is running out.  Commandant Camille Verhoeven and his detectives have nothing to go on: no suspect, no lead, rapidly diminishing hope.  All they know is that a girl was snatched off the streets of Paris and bundled into a white van.  The enigma that is the fate of Alex will keep Verhoeven guessing until the bitter, bitter end.  And before long, saving her life will be the least of his worries.

High stakes on the high seas – Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini combat Somali pirates in the deadly Gulf of Aden.  A luxury cruise liner, Sultan of the Seas, is hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden; a dangerous shipping route that has earned the nickname ‘Pirate Alley’.  With 490 international passengers and 370 crewmembers on board, a total of 860 lives hang in the balance.  Washington demands the impossible – the Sultan recaptured without the loss of a single life.  And, with the impossible the objective, it turns to Jake Grafton ...  Pirate Alley is by Stephen Coonts and is due to be published in April 2013.

The Low Road is by Chris Wormersley and is due to be published in January 2013.  A suitcase of stolen cash has brought three criminals together.  One has a bullet in his side.  One has blood on his hands.  One has vengeance on his mind.  Each has run from their past.  Each will now fight for their future.  A modern noir thriller, The Low Road highlights our desire to outrun our demons, and the dark consequences we face when we are forced to confront them.

The Cold Nowhere is the sixth book in the Jonathan Stride series by Brian Freeman.  It is due to be published in May 2013.  At six years old, Cat witnessed her father stab her mother forty-one times, and then kill himself.  Now, ten years on, she believes someone is coming for her, and the only person she can trust is Detective Jonathan Stride, who worked on her parents' case.  Determined to make up for past mistakes, Stride decides to trust this abused girl from the streets.  But when a string of murders is linked to Cat, Stride's partner, Maggie Bei, is convinced she is involved and some difficult questions will need to be answered: What is Cat's fascination with knives?  What is she dreaming of when the nightmares come?  What are the secrets she is keeping?

Isle of the Dead is by Alex Connor and is due to be published in April 2013.  In 15th-century Venice, it is a dangerous time to be alive.  A permanent winter has rolled in over the canals and bodies keep washing up on the banks of the city.  These bodies are especially hard to identify, since they have been skinned.  In the present day, a famous portrait by Titian has been discovered.  Its subject: the 15th-century suspected murderer Angelico Vespucci.  The skins of Vespucci's victims were never found, so his guilt was never proven.  Although it is rumoured that when the portrait arises, so will the man.  And when flayed bodies start turning up all over the world, it looks like this is more than just a superstition.  A murderer has been called back to life, and he is hungry for revenge.

Some fairy tales are born of dreams...and some are born of nightmares.  A murderer is on the loose, but the gruesome way in which the bodies are being posed has the police at a loss.  Until, on a hunch, Alice Hyland, an expert in fairy tales is called in.  And it is Alice who finds the connection between the body of Chrissie Farrell and an obscure Italian version of Snow White.  Then, when a second body is found, Alice is dragged further into the investigation - until she herself becomes a suspect.  Now Alice must fight, not just to prove her innocence, but also to protect herself: because it's looking like she might well be next.  Path of Needles is by Alice Littlewood and is due to be published in January 2013.

Steve Range thinks his friend Randy is a corpse in a desert grave - until he reappears in an Al Qaeda video, spitting extremist hate and challenging Range and Blackstone Six to a desert battle that will settle a vicious blood feud.  But Range's attention is drawn to a stray word slipped in to Randy's tirade, and he begins to wonder whether his old comrade-in-arms really has been turned by his captors.  All he knows for sure is that he owes a debt to the man he left for dead.  As Range plunges ever deeper into the dark and chaotic heart of the terrorists’ murderous plot he realises that nothing is what it seems, and that his elite band of warriors are facing a desperate fight like no other.  Killing Range is by Phil Campion and is due to be published in June 2013.
Until the French government declassified documents concerning their ignominious defeat at Dien Bien Phu, Madam Daeng's past had been a well-kept secret.  Now Dr Siri's wife is vulnerable and being stalked by a killer.  But when Dr Siri whisks her away for a romantic working weekend, they encounter an even greater threat.  For Dr Siri falls under the spell of a beautiful witch, they call the Used-To-Be Woman.  The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die is by Colin Cotterill and is due to be published in February 2013.
Jose Pereira heads the police's Organized Crime and Gang Section in Raby, a southern suburb of Stockholm.  Here, juvenile gang crime is a rapidly growing and all-too-real problem.  Blood brothers Leon and Gabriel have spent their young lives establishing a formidable criminal enterprise - known as the Raby Warriors - which is now poised to secure domination in the area.  DCI Ewert Grens is investigating a recent prison break from a maximum-security facility: an incident that is linked to the Raby Warriors - a group Grens knows more about than he first admits.  All four men are on a collision course: heading toward an explosive convergence, and a revelation powerful enough to tear each of them apart.  Two Soldiers is by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellström and is due to be published in May 2013.

At the deathbed of an old Resistance veteran, Bruno finds banknotes from the legendary 1944 train robbery of Neuvic Bruno is dealing with a wave of burglaries, one of which ends in murder.  In the meantime, Jacqueline is investigating the stolen banknotes, and when her home is burgled, suddenly the stakes become much higher and her work, suggests the Major, is political dynamite in France ... The Resistance Man is by Martin Walker and is due to be published in June 2013.

The Investigation is by Philippe Claudel and is due to be published in January 2013. A routine investigation descends into a nightmarish journey into the unknown.  The Investigator is despatched to a provincial town to investigate a disturbing spate of suicides amongst the employees of The Firm.  But from the moment he steps off the train, he finds that everything is against him, from the hostile weather to the town's bewildering inhabitants.  Cold, hungry and humiliated, always one-step behind, he finds himself in a recurring nightmare that waking cannot break.  And yet his resolve never falters: he remains determined to find the only man he can hold to account - The Firm's legendary but elusive founder.

When a rotting torso is discovered in the vault of New Scotland Yard, it doesn't take Dr Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon, long to realise that there is a second killer at work in the city where, only a few days before, Jack the Ripper brutally murdered two women in one night.  Though just as gruesome, this is the hand of a colder killer, one who lacks Jack's emotion.  And, as more headless and limbless torsos find their way into the Thames, Dr Bond becomes obsessed with finding the killer.  As his investigations lead him into an unholy alliance, he starts to wonder: is it a man who has brought mayhem to the streets of London, or a monster?  Mayhem is by Sarah Pinborough and it is due to be published in June 2013.

Saturday 29 December 2012

Books to Look Forward to From Pan Macmillan

The Killing II by David Hewson is due to be published in January 2013.  Thirty-nine steps rose from the busy road of Tuborgvej into Mindelunden, with its quiet graves and abiding bitter memories.  Lennart Brix, head of the Copenhagen homicide team, felt he had been walking them most of his life.  Beneath the entrance arch, sheltering from the icy rain, he couldn't help but recall that first visit almost fifty years before.  A five-year-old boy, clutching the hand of his father, barely able to imagine what he was about see ...The bark of a dog broke his reverie.  Brix looked at the forensic officers, white bunny suits, mob hats, marching grim-faced down the rows of graves, towards the space in the little wood where the rest of the team was gathering ...Three gnarled stakes, replicas now, with the originals in the Frihedsmuseet.  A woman was tied to the centre pole, hands behind her back, bound with heavy rope round her torso.  Blonde hair soaked with rain and worse, head down, chin on chest, crouched awkwardly on her knees.  A gaping wound at her neck like a sick second smile.  She wore a blue dressing gown slashed in places all the way to the waist, flesh and skin visible where the frenzied blade had stabbed at her.  Her face was bruised and dirty.  Blood poured from her nostrils, had dried down each side of her mouth, like makeup on a tragic clown ...It is two years since the notorious Nanna Birk Larsen case.  Two years since Detective Sarah Lund left Copenhagen in disgrace for a remote outpost in northern Denmark.  When the body of a female lawyer is found in macabre circumstances in a military graveyard, there are elements of the crime scene that take Head of Homicide, Lennart Brix, back to an occupied wartime Denmark -- a time its countrymen would wish to forget.  Brix knows that Lund is the one person he can rely on to discover the truth.  Reluctantly she returns to Copenhagen and becomes intrigued with the facts surrounding the case.  As more bodies are found, Lund comes to see a pattern and she realises that the identity of the killer will be known once the truth behind a more recent wartime mission is finally revealed….

The Dance of the Seagull is by Andrea Camilleri and is due to be published in March 2013.  Inspector Montalbano is awake at dawn, sitting on his porch, when his attention is caught by a seagull, which falls from the sky, performing a strange dance, before lying down to die.  Montalbano is perplexed by what he has witnessed and the scene hangs over him like an omen.  About to depart for a holiday with his girlfriend Livia, Montalbano makes a quick trip to the police station to tie up loose ends.  But when his dear colleague Fazio is discovered missing – and it transpires that the policeman has been involved in his own secret investigations – Montalbano instead launches a desperate search for his lost friend, as time begins to run out . . . Navigating a shadowy maze of smuggling, blackmail and the darkest murder, and moving from the docks of Vigata to its deep, dry wells where the Mafia hide their terrible crimes, Inspector Montalbano must have his wits about him to unravel this tangled mystery

Her tattoo wasn't just a mark for life; it marked her for death too.  In New York's East Village, a young girl is brutally raped, tortured and murdered.  Detective Callum Doyle has seen the victim's remains.  He has visited the distraught family.  Now he wants justice.  Doyle is convinced he knows who the killer is.  The problem is he can't prove it.  In addition, the more he pushes his prime suspect, the more he learns that the man is capable of pushing back in ways more devious and twisted than Doyle could ever have imagined.  Add to that the appearance of an old adversary who has a mission for Doyle and won't take no for an answer, and soon Doyle finds himself at risk of losing everything he holds dear.  Including his life.  Marked is by David Jackson and is due to be published in January 2013.
The Betrayed is by David Hosp and is due to be published in January 2013.  When Sydney Chaplin left D.C. nine years ago for college, she vowed never to return.  But when her sister is found brutally murdered, she finds herself drawn once again into the shadowy web of her wealthy, powerful family.  Joined by Washington detectives Jack Cassian and Darius Train, and driven by her need to know the truth about her sister's death, Sydney will risk everything - her life and her family's future - to find the answers.  From the gritty streets and crack dens of the District's inner city, to the smart country clubs and gilded offices of the nation's political elite, Sydney, Cassian, and Train must slip deep into a labyrinth of money, power, and deceit to uncover a decades-old conspiracy that could rock the nation.

The Weeping Girl is by Håkan Nesser and is due to be published in April 2013.  Winnie Maas died because she changed her mind ...A community is left reeling after a teacher -- Arnold Maager -- is convicted of murdering his female pupil Winnie Maas.  It seems the girl had been pregnant with Maager's child.  Years later, on her eighteenth birthday, Maager's daughter Mikaela finally learns the terrible truth about her father.  Desperate for answers, Mikaela travels to the institution at Lejnice, where Maager has been held since his trial.  But soon afterwards, she inexplicably vanishes.  Detective Inspector Ewa Moreno from the Maardam Police is on holiday in the area when she finds herself drawn into Mikaela's disappearance.  But before she can make any headway in the case, Maager himself disappears -- and then a body is found.  It will soon become clear to Ewa that only unravelling the events of the past will unlock this dark mystery...
Dead Water is the fifth book in the Shetland Island series by Anne Cleeves and is due to be published in January 2013.  When the body of journalist Jerry Markham is found in a traditional Shetland boat, outside the house of the Fiscal, down at the Marina, young Detective Inspector Willow Reeves is drafted in to head up the investigation.  Since the death of his fiancée, Inspector Jimmy Perez has been out of the loop, but his interest in this new case is stirred and he decides to help the inquiry.  Markham – originally a Shetlander but who had made a name for himself in London – had left the islands years before.  In his wake, he left a scandal involving a young girl, Evie Watt, who is now engaged to a seaman.  He had few friends in Shetland, so why was he back?  Willow and Jimmy are led to Sullum Voe, the heart of Shetland’s North Sea oil and gas industry.  It soon emerges from their investigation that Markham was chasing a story in his final days.  One that must have been significant enough to warrant his death . . .

A body is found in the woods . . . A Dreadful Murder is by Minette Walters and is based on the true story of the shocking murder of Mrs Caroline Luard, which took place in Kent in August 1908.  Caroline Luard is shot dead in broad daylight in the grounds of a large country estate.  With few clues available, her husband soon becomes the suspect . . . But is he guilty?  Bringing to life the people involved in this terrible crime, in A Dreadful Murder bestselling author Minette Walters uses modern detective skills to attempt to solve a 100-year-old crime.  A Dreadful Murder is due to be published in February 2013.

When the body of his daughter’s friend is brought to his autopsy table, Quirke is plunged into a world of corruption that takes him to the darkest corners of religion.  “At first they thought it was the body of a child.  Then they noticed the pubic hair and the nicotine stains on the fingers”  So begins the latest Quirke case, a story set in Dublin at a moment when newspapers are censored, social conventions are strictly defined, and appalling crimes are hushed up.  Why?  Because in post-war Ireland the Catholic Church controls the lives of nearly everyone.  But when his daughter, Phoebe loses her close friend Jimmy Minor to murder, Quirke can no longer play by the Church’s rules.  Along with Inspector Hackett, his sometime partner, Quirke investigates Jimmy’s death and learns just how far the Church will go to protect its own.  Holy Orders is by Benjamin Black and is due to be published in June 2013.
When Oscar Amalfitano begins an impulsive affair with one of his students at the University of Barcelona, he has no idea where it will lead.  More than his turbulent revolutionary past, or the death of his beautiful wife, the scandalous exposure of this relationship will change him forever.  Forced to flee with his seventeen-year-old daughter, Amalfitano finds himself in Santa Teresa, a sprawling town on the US--Mexico border.  Haunted by dark tales of murdered women, this mythical place is populated by mysterious characters.  We meet Castillo, who makes his living selling his forgeries of Larry Rivers paintings to wealthy Texans; Pancho Monje, a son born of six generations of foundlings; and Arcimboldi, a magician and writer whose work has been important to Amalfitano for some time, but whose return to prominence is just beginning.  Woes of the True Policeman is an exciting, kaleidoscopic novel, lyrical and intense yet darkly humorous.  Exploring the limits of memory and the power of art, it returns to the world and characters of Bolano's masterpiece, 2666.  Woes of the True Policeman is by Roberto Bolaño and is due to be published in January 2013.

Returning from Death Benefit, embattled medical student Pia Grazdani decides to take a year off from her studies and escape New York City.  Intrigued by the promise of the burgeoning field of medical technology, Pia takes a job at Nano, LLC, and a lavishly funded, security-conscious nanotechnology institute in the picturesque foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  Nano, LLC is ahead of the curve in the competitive world of molecular manufacturing, including the construction of microbivores, tiny nano-robots with the ability to gobble up viruses and bacteria.  But the corporate campus is a place of secrets.  When Pia encounters a fellow employee on a corporate jogging path suffering the effects of a seizure, she soon realizes she may have literally stumbled upon one of Nano, LLC's human guinea pigs.  Is the tech giant on the cusp of one of the biggest medical discoveries of the twenty-first century -- a treatment option for millions -- or have they already sold out to the highest bidder?  Nano is by Robin Cook and is due to be published in February 2013. 

The Twelfth Department is by William Ryan and is due to be published in May 2013.  This is the third Captain Korolev mystery set in 1930s Stalinist Russia, from the celebrated author of The Holy Thief and The Bloody Meadow.  Moscow, 1937.  Captain Korolev, a police investigator, is enjoying a long-overdue visit from his young son Yuri when an eminent scientist is shot dead within sight of the Kremlin and Korolev is ordered to find the killer.  It soon emerges that the victim, a man who it appears would stop at nothing to fulfil his ambitions, was engaged in research of great interest to those at the very top ranks of Soviet power.  When another scientist is brutally murdered, and evidence of the professors' dark experiments is hastily removed, Korolev begins to realise that, along with having a difficult case to solve, he's caught in a dangerous battle between two warring factions of the NKVD.  Then his son Yuri goes missing ...A desperate race against time, set against a city gripped by Stalin's Great Terror and teeming with spies, street children and Thieves.

Pure evil wears many disguises . . . Four am on a wet stretch of the A1 and a driver skids out of control.  Quick on the scene, Senior Investigating Officer Kate Daniels and partner DS Hank Gormley are presented with a horrifying image of carnage and mayhem that quickly becomes one of the worst road traffic accidents in Northumberland’s history.  However, as the casualties mount up, they soon realise that not all deaths were as a result of the accident . . .  On the other side of town a house goes up in flames, turning its two inhabitants into charred corpses.  Seemingly unconnected with the traffic accident, Kate sets about investigating both incidences separately.  However, it soon becomes apparent that all is not what it seems, and Kate and her colleagues are one always step behind a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to get what they want.  Deadly Deceit is by Mari Hannah and is due to be published in February 2013.

Coroner Jenny Cooper investigates ...An unlikely suicide or a deadly conspiracy?  When Bristol Coroner Jenny Cooper investigates the fatal plunge of a man from a motorway bridge, she little suspects that it has any connection with the sudden death of a friend's thirteen-year-old daughter from a deadly strain of meningitis.  But as Jenny pieces together the dead man's last days, she's drawn into a mystery whose dark ripples stretch across continents and back through decades.  In an investigation which will take her into the sinister realms of unbridled human ambition and corrupt scientific endeavour, Jenny is soon forced to risk the love and lives of those closest to her, as a deadly race to uncover the truth begins ... The Chosen Death is by M R Hall and is due to be published in January 2013.
Also due to be published in June 2013 is the new Roy Grace by Peter James entitled Dead Man’s Time.
A twenty-nine-year-old man lives alone in his Glasgow flat.  The telephone rings; a casual conversation, but behind this a job offer.  The clues are there if you know to look for them.  He is an expert.  A loner.  Freelance.  Another job is another job, but what if this organisation wants more?  A meeting at a club.  An offer.  A brief.  A target: Lewis Winter.  It is hard to kill a man well.  People who do it well know this.  People who do it badly find out the hard way.  The hard way has consequences.  An arresting, gripping novel of dark relationships and even darker moralities, The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter is by Malcolm Mackay and is due to be published in January 2013.

Friday 28 December 2012

Books to Look Forward to Vintage Publishing

Henry Bane is dead.  Long Live Henry Bane, his son.  It's Manchester, 1998, and the funeral party is interrupted by a woman from Bane's past.  Roisin is back in Manchester and back in Bane's life after an eight-year absence - inconvenient for Jan, his latest flame.  Roisin has brought a wounded boyfriend with her - and a lot more trouble is following them up north.  Meanwhile, a Yardie who goes by the name of 'Hagfish' wants to take over the local gang lords' territory with Mary, his terrifying weapon of choice.  It's Hagfish against Bane in a new turf war: a war that will claim lives and cement vendettas.  Bane tries to honour loyalties, old and new, but this quickly leads to more bloodshed and a full-blown gang war reignites.  It's a conflict steeped in half-forgotten history: a history that Bane and his onetime lover, Roisin, are forever tied to - and which ties them together.  With Chamber Music, Tom Benn has written an electrifying noir novel about lost loves, stolen drugs and dragons - a street soundtrack to Manchester's underworld, where anyone could have a gun with a bullet for Bane in the chamber. Chamber Music is due to be published in January 2013.

The Killing Pool is by Kevin Sampson and is due to be published in March 2013.  Detective Chief Inspector Billy McCartney discovers a headless corpse in the scrubland close to Liverpool docks.  The slaying carries all the hallmarks of a gangland hit - a message from the underworld to snitches, cops and rival gangs.  One mile away, a Liverpool-Somali girl, Misha, staggers into a run-down bar, dazed and confused.  The bar's owner, a career criminal called Shakespeare who dresses like an Edwardian dandy, cannot get a word out of her.  Shakespeare, a chivalrous old Trinidadian who has called Liverpool his home since the '70s, is smitten.  DCI McCartney is all too well aware that the clock is ticking.  The butchered body was one Kalan Rozaki, youngest brother of a notorious Liverpool-Kurdish crime family - except Kalan is no criminal.  For almost a year, his brothers have been under full-time Drug Squad surveillance as McCartney slowly closed the net on the Rozakis' intercontinental heroin trafficking organisation.  McCartney's key witness and chief informant on the case is someone with intimate insider knowledge of the Rozaki clan's operation ...their newly deceased baby brother, Kalan.  McCartney's investigation into Kalan's murder peels back layer after layer of a decades-long dynasty of drug smuggling.  Each revelation plunges Mac further back into the dark heart of an unsolved drug crime that weighs heavy on his soul.  He wants to catch the Rozakis - badly - but he wants the shadowy men behind their drug empire even more.  The closer McCartney gets to Kalan's killer, the closer he comes to facing down a lifetime's torment - and facing up to the possibility, finally, of closure.  There is one solid gold witness to the killing, Kalan's girlfriend, Misha - but Misha has vanished.  Meanwhile a shipload of unadulterated heroin is sailing ever closer to the Port of Liverpool and Mac's key informant is dead.  As dawn breaks on his day of destiny, Mac's priorities have become fatally intertwined: find Kalan's killer, rescue Misha and swoop on the Rozakis - hopefully elbows-deep in heroin.  Then, and only then, can he unmask the demon who has haunted his adult life.

'People will die,' says the panic-stricken woman outside police headquarters.  She has been standing in blazing sunshine for more than an hour, and refuses to speak to anyone besides Commissaire Adamsberg.  Her daughter has seen a vision: ghostly horsemen who target the most nefarious characters in Normandy.  Since the middle ages, there have been stories of murderers, rapists, those with serious crimes on their conscience, meeting a grizzly end following a visitation by the riders.  Soon after the young woman's vision, a notoriously cruel man disappears, and the local police dismiss the matter as superstition.  Although the case is far outside his jurisdiction, Adamsberg agrees to investigate the strange happenings in a village terrorised by wild rumours and ancient feuds.  The Ghost Riders of Ordebec is by Fred Vargas and is due to be published in March 2013.

A young woman wakes in a strange bed beneath coarse sheets.  The bare walls are a dismal green.  A sickly light filters through a metal grille.  Doctor Maynard Straker steps into the room, and speaks.  'Have no fear, Miss Ashton.  I am entirely at your ser-' But this is not her name.  And she should not be here - in the Asylum.  She is Miss Georgina Ferrars, of Gresham's Yard, London.  And she can prove it - she has Dr Straker telegram her uncle in London.  The reply is swift: Georgina Ferrars here stop your patient must be imposter stop so begins a gothic mystery of intense suspense and terror, as a lone woman, held against her will, is forced to regain her mind, to delve as deeply as she can into the void of her memory to uncover the story that will free her.  She will in the end discover a web of greed and crookedness, madness, murder and heartbreak, as rich and compelling as those in the classics of Wilkie Collins and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The Asylum is by John Harwood and is due to be published in June 2013.
Siphiwe, a nineteen-year-old orphan dreaming of a better life, is haunted by memories of the brutal murder of his elder brother.  When a woman selling mangoes is stabbed on the street in front of him, Siphiwe rushes to her aid, desperate to stop history repeating itself, but in doing so unwittingly crosses the paths of two very dangerous men.  McCarthy Letswe, notorious crime lord, has returned home to Johannesburg after several years in exile, determined to wreak his revenge on Abaju, the Nigerian gangster responsible for Letswe's forced departure, and the man now seen as Johannesburg's king of crime.  Siphiwe's actions have set him on a collision course with both Letswe and Abaju, and as the violence on the streets intensifies, and the danger to those he loves most increases, Siphiwe is soon forced to seek help amongst criminals and police alike.  A story of survival, revenge and ultimately, redemption, told in prose, which is deceptively simple and utterly compelling, "City of Blood" is a gripping coming of age story set against a searing backdrop of violence, heat and colour.  City of Blood is by Martie de Villers and is due to be published in May 2013.

My Criminal World is by Henry Sutton and is due to be published in April 2013.  In awe of his wife, hounded by his agent and ignored by his editor, mild mannered crime novelist David Slavitt finds his life is spiralling out of control.  He needs to do something - but just how far is he prepared to go?  "My Criminal World" introduces us to struggling crime writer, David Slavitt.  Living in constant fear that his editor might drop him in favour of the next new talent, David juggles housework and childcare alongside plot twists and character development.  However, as his wife grows increasingly distant and his agent insists that his new book needs more violence - a lot more violence - David is getting worried.  He needs to do something if he is to save his career, and his marriage.  But just how far is this most mild mannered of crime writers prepared to go?  Moreover, who is the person really pulling the strings in this story?  Interspersed with David's story are extracts from the crime story he is currently writing, which grow increasingly darker as they progress.  Does this change in tone reflect the demands of David's agent or is there something more sinister at work?  In this clever literary crime novel, there is more than one mystery to be solved.

Sent on sick leave after his last case, Max Camara returns to his hometown in the plains of La Mancha - birthplace of Don Quixote and producer of the world's finest saffron.  As he arrives, the police discover the naked body of a young woman on a rubbish tip.  For Camara, it's far too close for comfort to an unsolved case that shocked the city thirty years ago.  It's hard to stay away, though, especially when the local police chief, a childhood friend, is calling on him for help, whispering about an international saffron mafia.  And then there's his eccentric grandfather, Hilario, who appears to be harbouring secrets of his own.  Back in a world he has been avoiding for years, Camara is dogged by questions.  It's time for some difficult choices: leave the police for good, and continue with the only woman who really understands him, or join a murder investigation that will tear open old wounds?  The Anarchist Detective is by Jason Webster and is due to be published in June 2013.

Ratlines is by Stuart Neville and is due to be published in January 2013.  "Right at the end of the war, some Nazis saw it coming.  They knew that even if they escaped, hundreds of others wouldn't.  They needed to set up routes, channels, and ways out for their friends.  Ratlines.”  Ireland, 1963.  As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German is murdered in a seaside guesthouse.  He is the third foreign national to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey is desperate to protect a shameful secret: the dead men were all former Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government.  A note from the killers is found on the corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler's favourite WWII commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe.  It says simply: 'We are coming for you.  Await our call.’  Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate the crimes.  But as he infiltrates Ireland's secret network of former Nazis and collaborators, Ryan must choose between country and conscience.  Why must he protect the very people he fought against twenty years before?  And who are the killers seeking revenge for the horrors of the Second World War?

It's two days before Christmas and Helsinki is battling ruthless climate catastrophe: subway tunnels are flooded; abandoned vehicles are burning in the streets.  People are fleeing to the far north where conditions are still tolerable.  Social order is crumbling and private security firms have undermined the police force.  Tapani Lehtinen, a struggling poet, is among the few still willing to live in the city.  When Tapani's wife Johanna, a journalist, goes missing, he embarks on a frantic hunt for her.  Johanna's disappearance seems to be connected to a story she was researching about a serial killer known as 'The Healer'.  Determined to find Johanna, Tapani's search leads him to uncover secrets from her past: secrets that connect her to the very murders she was investigating...Atmospheric and moving, "The Healer" is a story of survival, loyalty and determination.  Even when the world is coming to an end, love and hope endure.  The Healer is by Antti Tuomainen and is due to be published in February 2013.

Plan D is by Simon Urban and is due to be published in June 2013.  October 2011.  While West Berlin enjoys all the trappings of capitalism, on the crowded, polluted, Eastern side of the Wall, the GDR is facing bankruptcy.  The ailing government's only hope lies in economic talks with the West, but then an ally of the GDR's chairman is found murdered - and all the clues suggest that his killer came from within the Stasi.  Detective Martin Wegener is assigned to the case, but with the future of East Germany hanging over him, Wegener must work with the West German police if he is to find the killer, even if it means investigating the Stasi themselves.  It is a journey that will take him from Stasi meeting rooms to secret prisons as he begins to unravel the identity of both victim and killer, and the meaning of the mysterious Plan D.

This is the first book in "The Brinkmann Trilogy".  Hector: Lover.  Killer.  Crime lord.  Lars: Stalker.  Policeman.  Addict.  Jen: Ex-lover.  Arms dealer.  Hero?  Sophie: Nurse.  Mother.  Victim?  Living a quiet life in the suburbs, Sophie Brinkmann is captivated by the handsome and sophisticated Hector Guzman.  She has no idea that beneath Hector's charm lies something far more dangerous.  Hector is the head of an international crime syndicate.  He is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants now is the total annihilation of his rivals.  Before she can fully grasp the extent of Hector's world, Sophie is trapped within it.  Her house is under surveillance, her family is at risk.  Hector is at war - with Russian hit men, South American drug traffickers, and German gangsters - and now Sophie is too.  But who can she trust when even the people who have sworn to uphold the law are as dangerous as those dedicated to breaking it?  If Sophie is to get out alive, and with her integrity intact, she will have to summon everything within her to navigate this intricate web of moral ambiguity, deadly obsession and ruthless killers.  The Andalucían Friend is by Alexander Soderberg and is due to be published in March 2013.

The Score is by Howard Marks and is due to be published in April 2013.  DS Catrin Price is on administrative duty recovering from the trauma of her last case, when she receives a series of cryptic messages from an old school friend.  She tracks him down to an isolated town in the wilds of the Brecon Beacons.  There she finds him destroyed by fear for his missing daughter and living in terror of a shadowy figure he refuses to name.  The girl is a promising singer, and all Cat has to go on is a haunting video of her performing in a local talent competition.  Other girls in the area have been going missing, and when one of them is found dead in an abandoned mine shaft, Cat fears the worst.  She embarks on a journey that leads to one of London's most notorious drug gangs and into the darkest corners of her mind.  Cat will stop at nothing to uncover the truth, but there are people who will do anything to keep it hidden - and they are watching her every move.
R is the other woman.  Labelled simply with one initial, her identity in the famous 1940s novel that recounts the damage she did to her lover's family remains shrouded in mystery.  The novelist who carried out an illicit relationship with her, and then used her as material for his work, became a celebrated writer.  But R never had the chance to put her side of the story.  Tamaki is determined to find out who R really was.  A writer herself, she is working on a book about R and begins to uncover clues about the real story behind the novel - and the great tragedy of the novelist's life.  While she throws herself into her research, she's aware that her own imperfect relationships are also up for scrutiny.  Her ex-lover, Seiji, is gravely ill in hospital and her reminiscences about their long affair strike echoes with the subject of her work.  In is by Natsuo Kirino and is due to be published in June 2013.  In explores the themes of love and death, and the significance of fiction.