Monday 26 November 2012

Books to Look Forward to from Hodder and Stoughton

When Rink's father is brutally murdered, Joe has to stop his friend rushing headlong for vengeance.  Because Rink's mother witnessed the crime and Yukiko is not telling everything she knows.  Her silence is governed by the Japanese tradition of giri, or moral obligation.  But when there are more vicious deaths - all of them elderly men known to Yukiko - it becomes a matter of honour to uncover the shameful secret that lies behind the murders.  The killer is not playing by the rules.  But some rules are made to be broken and Joe doesn't care what he breaks to ensure Rink gets his revenge.  Rules of Honour is by Matt Hilton and is due to be published in February 2013.
The Kill Room is the tenth novel in the critically acclaimed Lincoln Rhyme series, from author Jeffery Deaver.  Robert Moreno, an American citizen living in South America, is shot in the Bahamas by a sniper.  The killing was commissioned by the U.S. government, who received a tip-off that Moreno was planning a terrorist attack on a U.S. oil company headquarters.  However, this intelligence was fatally incorrect: anti-American Moreno ordered a protest at the oil company, not an attack.  Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are drafted in to investigate.  While Sachs traces Moreno's steps in New York, Rhyme travels to the scene of the crime in Nassau, where he finds himself on a dangerous path trailed by the sniper himself.  As details of the case start to emerge, the pair discover that not all is what it seemed.  Can they achieve justice and escape with their lives intact?  The Kill Room is due to be published in June 2013.

In the history of the United States, there have been over two dozen assassination attempts on the President.  Four have been successful.  Historians have branded the assassins four lone wolves.  But what if they were wrong?  Now there's a killer in Washington DC who's meticulously recreating the crimes of these four men.  And Beecher White has just discovered the truth: over the course of a hundred years, all four assassins were secretly working toward one goal.  How are they connected?  Who do they work for?  And why are they planning to kill the President today?  Beecher's about to find out.  And most terrifying, he's about to come face to face...with the fifth assassin.  The Fifth Assassin is by Brad Meltzer and is due to be published in January 2013.

When her plane is delayed overnight, Gaby Struthers finds herself forced to share a hotel room with a stranger: a terrified young woman named Lauren Cookson - but why is she scared of Gaby in particular?  Lauren will not explain.  Instead, she blurts out something about an innocent man going to prison for a murder he did not commit, and Gaby soon suspects that Lauren's presence on her flight can't be a coincidence.  Because the murder victim is Francine Breary, the wife of the only man Gaby has ever truly loved.  Tim Breary has confessed, and even provided the police with evidence.  The only thing he hasn't given them is a motive.  He claims to have no idea why he murdered his wife ... The Carrier is by Sophie Hannah and is due to be published in August 2013.
I have never written down the answers to the deepest mysteries, nor will I ever...The philosopher Plato wrote these words more than two thousand years ago, following a perilous voyage to Italy -- an experience about which he never spoke again, but from which he emerged the greatest thinker in all of human history.  Today, twelve golden tablets sit in museums around the world, each created by unknown hands and buried in ancient times, and each providing the dead with the route to the afterlife.  Archaeologist Lily Barnes, working on a dig in southern Italy, has just found another.  But this tablet names the location to the mouth of hell itself.  And then Lily vanishes.  Has she walked out on her job, her marriage, and her life -- or has something more sinister happened?  Her husband, Jonah, is desperate to find her.  But no one can help him: not the police and not the secretive foundation that sponsored her dig.  All Jonah has is belief, and a determination to do whatever it takes to get Lily back.  But like Plato before him, Jonah will discover the journey ahead is mysterious, dark, and fraught with danger.  And not everyone who travels to the hidden place where Lily has gone can return.  The Orpheus Descent is by Tom Harper and is due to be published in March 2013.

The Prophet is by Michael Koryta and is due to be published in September 2013.  Two brothers with a shared tragic past, caused by a two-second decision that haunts them both.  One decides to avenge it.  The other, to forgive.  Both will pay for their choices - more than they could ever imagine.  .When he was a teenager, Adam Austin made a decision that led to the death of his little sister.  His brother Kent learned to forgive her murderer but he never forgave Adam.  Twenty years later, Kent is the coach of the successful high school football team in Chambers, Ohio and Adam is the town's bail bondsman - someone people turn to when they need help.  When the girlfriend of one of Kent's star players asks Adam to track down her father who has just been released from prison, Adam agrees.  Days later, she is murdered at the address he gave her.  Overwhelmed by guilt in this horrifying echo of the past - Adam is determined to atone for his mistakes.  But this is a game outside of the brothers' control.  Moreover, every decision they make is matter of life and death.

In this new Cotton Malone adventure, the former agent travels to England and finds himself caught up in a dark conspiracy born in the time of Henry VIII - a secret with such explosive implications that it has been protected by a shadowy society of scholars and assassins for nearly 500 years.  Now both the CIA and MI5 seem to be competing to uncover the historical mystery, and for Cotton, supposedly on holiday with his son Gary, it is not just the action, which comes thick and fast.  Racing against time - and a hail of bullets - to work out a puzzle, which takes him from the Middle Temple to the chapel at Windsor Castle, from an Oxford college to the sewers beneath Hampton Court, he finds the drama takes him closer and closer to his own past, and a shocking revelation.  The King’s Deception is by Steve Berry and is due to be published in June 2013.

Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did.  It was a lapse of judgement.  If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.  The MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different.  Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time.  The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on - but when they leave her looking after Sophie's baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest ...  The Burning Air is by Erin Kelly and is due to be published in January 2013.

Flavia Albia is the adopted daughter of a famous investigating family.  In defiance of tradition, she lives alone on the colourful Aventine Hill, and battles out a solo career in a male-dominated world.  As a woman and an outsider, Albia has special insight into the best, and worst, of life in ancient Rome.  A female client dies in mysterious circumstances.  Albia investigates and discovers there have been many other strange deaths all over the city, yet she is warned off by the authorities.  The vigils are incompetent.  The local magistrate is otherwise engaged, organising the Games of Ceres, notorious for its ancient fox-burning ritual.  Even Albia herself is preoccupied with a new love affair: Andronicus, an attractive archivist, offers all that a love-starved young widow can want, even though she knows better than to take him home to meet the parents...As the festival progresses, her neighbourhood descends into mayhem and becomes the heartless killer's territory.  While Albia and her allies search for him, he stalks them through familiar byways and brings murder ever closer to home.  The Ides of April is vintage Lindsey Davis, offering wit, intrigue, action and a brilliant new heroine who promises to be as celebrated as Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina, her fictional predecessors.  The Ides of April is due to be published in April 2013.

Broke is by Mandasue Heller and is due to be published in January 2013.  Amy's marriage to Mark isn't the best - he can't resist the girls, he can't hold down a job.  But she doesn't want to know just how bad things are until his gambling habit brings the debt collector to her door.  He makes it brutally clear how she can pay off Mark's debts ...And Amy's troubles are only beginning.  Someone else wants Mark for herself, and she is ready to steal Amy's man, her self-respect and even her children.  As the stakes rise, Amy will either lose everything, or she'll have to learn how to be as hard and ruthless as her enemies...

Florence, October 1966.  The rain is never-ending.  When a young boy vanishes on his way home from school the police fear the worst, and Inspector Bordelli begins an increasingly desperate investigation.  Then the flood hits.  During the night of 4th November the swollen River Arno, already lapping the arches of the Ponte Vecchio, breaks its banks and overwhelms the city.  Streets become rushing torrents, the force of the water sweeping away cars and trees, doors, shutters and anything else in its wake.  In the aftermath of this unimaginable tragedy, the mystery of the child's disappearance seems destined to go unsolved.  But obstinate as ever, Bordelli is not prepared to give up.  Death in Florence is by Marco Vichi and is due to be published in February 2013.

The Swedish town of Linkoping is bathed in Spring sunshine and its inhabitants are enjoying the weather as they sit outside the cafes in the town square.  Then, suddenly, a deafening explosion rocks the square, and life in Linkoping will never be the same again.  Inspector Malin Fors is standing by her mother's coffin at the Chapel of Resurrection.  A muffled rumble shatters the silence, and Malin is immediately on her way to Filbyter Square, and the scene that greets her will stay with her forever: shards of glass; crushed flowers and scattered vegetables; a child's shoe; a dove pecking at something red in the deafening silence.  Savage Spring is by Mons Kallentoft and is due to be published in April 2013.

Someone to Watch Over Me is the fifth Thora Gudmundsdottir novel from Yrsa Sigurdardottir.  Berglind hurried to her son and pulled him forcefully from the window.  She held him close and tried at the same time to wipe the windowpane.  But the haze couldn't be wiped away.  It was on the outside of the glass.  Pesi looked up at her.  'Magga's outside.  She can't get in.  She wants to look after me.’  He pointed at the window and frowned.  'She's a little bit angry.’  A young man with Down's Syndrome has been convicted of burning down his care home and killing five people, but a fellow inmate at his secure psychiatric unit has hired Thora to prove Jakob is innocent.  If he didn't do it, who did?  And how is the multiple murder connected to the death of Magga, killed in a hit and run on her way to babysit?  Someone to Watch Over Me is due to be published in May 2013.

Extreme: Night Strike is the second book in the Chris Ryan Extreme series.  Former SAS hero John Bald is a man at war with himself and fighting a losing battle with the bottle.  But then he is reluctantly thrust back into battle...In the race to develop ever more powerful weapons, technology has become the new frontline in global terrorism.  And when one of America's most cutting-edge defence contractors suspects a sleeper cell operating in its midst, the Firm reaches out to its most cold-blooded son.  Bald's mission: kill the sleeper before they can smuggle top-secret weaponry into the hands of the West's deadliest enemies.  But the mission goes sideways, and Bald is the fall guy.  Now he must pursue the sleeper from the ghettos of Florida to the war-torn streets of Tripoli, in a relentless hunt for the technology and the truth.  Shadowed every step of the way by a ruthless CIA hit man, Bald soon finds that the lines between friend and enemy are blurred, and he'll have to call on all his warrior instincts to stay alive...The Chris Ryan Extreme books take you even further into the heart of the mission with even more extreme action, more extreme language and more extreme pace.  Like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor, you'll feel part of the team.  Chris Ryan Extreme: Night Strike has already been published as four separate shorter missions on eBook.  Night Strike is due to be published in January 2013.

The Extremist is by Robert Pearce and is due to be published in June 2013.  In a race down the Thames, Detective Chief Inspector John Kerr is caught in a fight to the death with two gold smugglers.  The American wife of the British Defence Secretary is brutally murdered while walking her dog.  A senior judge is executed in Middle Temple Lane.  Blocked by 'affirmative inaction' at New Scotland Yard and threats from MI6, Kerr deploys a talented female operative undercover to force the truth.  A dirty bomb attack proves the motive is hatred of the United States and the special relationship.  But is this domestic extremism or the work of foreign spies?  As attacks escalate, Kerr confronts treachery and corruption from his own side and resorts to action as extreme as the dark forces turned against him.

Monday 19 November 2012

In Memoriam

Margaret Yorke  
©Curtis Brown
January 1924 to November 2012

Crime writer Margaret Yorke has died at the age of 88. Best known for her standalone novels her first novel Summer Flight was published in 1957.  Her first book in the Dr Patrick Grant series Dead in the Morning was published in 1970 and introduced readers to her Oxford Don investigator.  She went on to write four more books in the series.  The author of over 40 novels she also contributed to over 20 anthologies.  All five books in the Patrick Grant series were re-issued in May 2012.  Her novel The Point of Murder was made into a TV movie Kiss of a Killer in 1993.

During the war, she served in the Woman's Royal Naval Service as a driver.  She then worked in the libraries of two Oxford colleges (Assistant Librarian.  St. Hilda's College, Oxford, 1959-60) and was the first woman ever to work in Christ Church library.  She was also a campaigner for Public Lending Rights for authors in Britain.

Her works are mostly set in small English villages and feature ordinary people caught up in trouble ranging from juvenile delinquency to marital issues to random acts of violence.

Chairman of the Crime Writers Association between 1979 and 1980 she was awarded the CWA’s highest award the Cartier Diamond Dagger in 1999 for her outstanding contribution to the genre.  In 1982, she also received the Martin Beck Award from the Swedish Academy of Detection for her novel The Scent of Fear (1980).  In 1993, she was awarded the Golden Handcuffs (now known as the Dagger in the Library) by the CWA.  Her novel The Smooth Face of Evil (1984) was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award.  Well respected and regarded by the crime writing community, she will be sorely missed.

L-R- Peter Lovesey, Lindsey Davis, Margaret Yorke & Aranud Bamberger (May 2011)

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Books to look forward to from Penguin and Michael Joseph

 Two Evils is by P J Tracy and is due to be published in January 2013.  A missing teenage girl lies dead in a parking lot.  Two young immigrants are killed in their apartment.  Three men are found dead in the street nearby.  As the police struggle to establish what's happened, they realise that the deaths may not be as random as they first appear.  As the killings continue, homicide detectives Magozzi and Rolseath turn to maverick computer analyst Grace McBride for help, drawing her into an investigation that will threaten her life.  And as the evidence mounts, it reveals terrifying intent.  Ultimately, it forces the two detectives to make a dreadful choice: down which path does the lesser of two evils lie . . .

The one who got away - is the only one he wants.  It's been seven years since the Seattle Strangler terrorized the city.  His victims were all young, pretty, their lifeless bodies found wrapped in a white dress.  But there was one who miraculously escaped death. . .  Lara Church has only hazy memories of her long-ago attack.  What she does have is a home in Austin, a job, and a chance at a normal life at last.  Then Texas Ranger James Beck arrives on her doorstep with shattering news: The Strangler is back.  And this time, he's in Austin.  The 7th Victim is by Mary Burton and is due to be published in March 2013.
The Bone Prophet is by Ted Kosmataka and is due to be published in April 2013.  'Bone is a text.  It writes its history for those able to read it...'His was the only name on their list.  But for brilliant young anthropologist Paul Carlsson, asked to examine a cache of bones found on a remote island, fascination soon turns to fear.  Waiting for him is evidence of something that shouldn't exist; a revelation that could turn scientific and religious orthodoxy on its head.  If Carlsson discovers the truth, too many powerful interests have too much to lose.  But not every prophet is without honour.  Carlsson, alone and on the run, is determined to reveal the discovery to the world.  A world, which is only 5,800 years old... 

When Grace and her brother Andrew inherit their grandmother's house in Hampstead, they decide to move in together.  It seems the obvious thing to do: they've always got on well, the house is large enough to split down the middle, and neither of them likes partying or loud music.  There's one thing they've forgotten though: what if one of them wants to bring a lover into the house?  When Andrew's partner James moves in, it alters the balance – with almost fatal consequences.  Grace tries to concentrate on writing her thesis, on illegitimacy in English fiction.  During the day, she ponders the fate of Hardy's Tess and the unfortunate Hetty Sorrell.  So she's happy to oblige a friend when he asks her to read an unpublished manuscript about a young unmarried mother in Devon between the wars.  Except the book begins to seem remarkably, and uncomfortably, close to home.  The Child’s Child is by Barbara Vine and is due to be published in March 2013.
If a decade of diplomatic life had taught Toby Bell one thing, it was to treat every crisis as normal and soluble.  2008. A covert counter terror operation codenamed "Wildlife" to be mounted on the Rock of Gibraltar.  This one is right off the books.  The target codenamed "PUNTER".  Our boys on land, the American mercenaries by sea.  Kit Probyn, Foreign Office upright veteran with a safe pair of hands and no previous experience of the dark arts, to be the Minister's eyes and ears on the ground.  His "red telephone".  Toby Bell, rising Foreign Office star and the Minister's Personal Private Secretary, has been kept out of the loop.  Why?  Whispers of private armies, bounty, dicey intelligence, corporate wars.  2011. A disgraced Special Forces Soldier who took part in "Wildlife" delivers a message from the dead.  The worlds of Toby Bell and Kit Probyn collide.  If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, at what point do these two good men become guilty bystanders?  A Delicate Truth is a furiously paced story of moral dilemma, personal guilt, bold action and unexpected love.  A Delicate Truth is by John Le Carré and is due to be published in May 2013.

The Striker is the sixth book in the Isaac Bell series by Clive Cussler and is due to be published in March 2013.  Detective Isaac Bell returns in the remarkable new adventure.  It is 1902, and a bright, inexperience’s young man named Isaac Bell, only two years out of his apprenticeship at the Van Dorn Detective Agency, has an urgent message for his boss.  Hired to hunt for radical saboteurs in the coalmines, he is witness to a terrible accident that makes him think that something else is going on, that provocateurs are at work and bigger stakes are in play.  Little does he know just how big they are.  Given exactly one week to prove his case, Bell quickly finds himself pitted against two of the most ruthless opponents he has ever known, men of staggering ambition and cold-bloodedness...

When the brutally beaten dead body of health visitor Ruth Lennox is found at her home in Chalk Farm, her family as well as the police are desperately looking for clues as to who wanted to kill the young woman.  The initial conclusion that everyone makes, is that the murder was an average burglary gone terribly wrong.  But then Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Karlsson and his team discover that the mother of three had secrets of her own which may have lead to her tragic death.  Desperate for all the answers, Karlsson asks psychotherapist Frieda Klein for help, who has barely recovered from the previous case the pair had teamed up on . . . Meanwhile, Frieda has to fight for survival on many other fronts – her own inner demons are haunting her, as well as work rival Hal Bradshaw is all set to destroy her reputation.  And just when she thinks things can't get any worse, the man of her darkest nightmares has got back in contact . . .  Waiting For Wednesday is the third book in the Frida Klein series by Nicci French.

The Tombs is the fourth book in the Fargo Adventures by Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry.  It is due to be published in January 2013.  It's a prize beyond imagination.  When an archaeologist excavating a top-secret historical site realizes the magnitude of his discovery, he requests help from treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo.  And in rushing to join him, the husband and wife team are thrown into their most daring quest to date.  The clues point to the hidden tomb of Attila the Hun, the High King who was reportedly buried with a vast fortune of gold and jewels and plunder, a bounty that has never been found.  But as Sam and Remi piece together the puzzle, the trail takes them through Hungary, Italy, France, Russia, and Kazakhstan and not to a single tomb, but five.  And into the path of deadly danger.  They are not the only ones hunting for the High King's riches.  The Fargos will find themselves pitted against a thieving group of amateur treasure hunters, a cunning Russian businessman, and a ruthless Hungarian who claims direct descent from Attila himself . . . and will stop at nothing to claim the tombs' riches as his own.

Redemption is the third book in the Department Q series by Jussi Adler-Olsen and is due to be published in April 2013.  Two boys, brothers, wake tied and bound in a boathouse by the sea.  Their kidnapper has gone, but soon he will return.  Their bonds are inescapable.  But there is a bottle and tar to seal it.  Paper and a splinter for writing; blood for ink.  A message begging for help.  In Copenhagen's cold cases division Carl Mørck has received a bottle.  It holds an old and decayed message, written in blood.  It is a cry for help from two boys.  Is it real?  Who are they and why weren't they reported missing?  Can they possibly still be alive?

Ten years ago, a serial killer went quiet - now he's back.  Dave Gurney, a retired NYPD homicide detective, agrees to meet a young woman making a documentary on The Good Shepherd.  A decade ago a series of roadside shootings made The Good Shepherd killer headline news.  But then the killings stopped, and nobody could say for sure why.  Finding himself drawn back into the case, Gurney soon discovers new facts the original investigation missed and literally stakes his life on finding The Good Shepherd.  He makes himself a target so that the killer will come for him.  Let The Devil Sleep is by John Verdon and is due to be published in January 2013.

The Hiding Place is by David Bell and is due to be published in February 2013.  Sometimes it's easier to believe a lie . . . Twenty-five-years ago, the disappearance of four-year-old Justin Manning rocked the small town of Dove Point, Ohio. When his body was found in the woods two months later, the repercussions were felt for years. Janet Manning has been haunted by the murder since the day she lost sight of her brother in the park. The twenty-fifth anniversary of Justin's death looming, a detective and a newspaper reporter have begun asking questions, opening old wounds and raising new suspicions. Could the man jailed for murder be innocent?  And then a stranger appears at Janet's door in the night, claiming to know the truth.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Criminal Acts On the Small Screen

Our intrepid TV reporter, Robin Jarossi had just filed his new Criminal Acts column over at the main website. Check it out here. You can get the low-down on the third, and final, series of THE KILLING. Catch up with Robert Wilson's Javier Falcon character transferred onto the screen by Sky Atlantic HD. Or learn about Southland, State Secret and the up-coming Life of Crime. The choice is all yours.

Friday 9 November 2012

Sam Hawken's Tequila Sunset

Today’s guest blog is by author Sam Hawken.  His first novel The Dead Women of Juárez was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger. Sam Hawken is a former historian and a native of Texas who now lives on the east coast of the United States.  Tequila Sunset is his second novel.

Try to imagine, if you will, a city of 1.3 million people built around a once-thriving industrial sector.  Imagine, however, that the city is plagued with rampant unemployment and, worse yet, an unbelievable murder rate that kills five to ten people a day.  Imagine, too, that these murders have a one percent chance of being resolved by the police.

There’s kidnapping, too.  And drug use.  And thuggish tactics by a heavily armed police force that occupies the city like an army.  Sometimes innocent people come under fire from those cops because the good guys can’t tell the innocents from the crooks.  Imagine a city that’s rotting away from all this crime.  That city is Ciudad Juárez, a border town in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

Directly across the Rio Grande, literally just yards away, is El Paso, Texas.  This city has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.  In fact, it’s been called the safest city in the United States.  Occasionally bullets from Ciudad Juárez will strike buildings (or people) on the American side, but for the most part El Paso represents an entirely different world.

Back in 2011, Serpent’s Tail released a book of mine called The Dead Women of Juárez.  In it, I discussed the ongoing problem of the feminicidios, or female homicides, a phenomenon that has made the city infamous.  I chose not to discuss the outrageous violence rampaging through Juárez’s streets in favor of a more personal story about loss and tragic injustice, but I always knew that eventually I would return to tell a more complete tale.  That idea turned into Tequila Sunset, another Serpent’s Tail release scheduled for November 2012.

Who is responsible for all this violence?  The easy answer is the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels, both of which are locked in a death struggle for domination of the Juárez “plaza,” or smuggling route.  But the masters of these cartels don’t just snap their fingers to make people die.  To execute their orders — and I do mean execute — they have recruited the numbers of various gangs in the city, armed them with high-powered weapons and set them loose on one another.  They go by the names La Línea, Los Artistas Asesinos, Los Mexicles, Barrio Azteca.

Evidence suggests that the Sinaloa Cartel is winning the war in Ciudad Juárez, but despite that fact, the most violent gang in the city operates under the aegis of the Juárez Cartel: Barrio Azteca, or Los Aztecas as they are known in Mexico.  A prison gang formed in Texas in 1986, Barrio Azteca took hold of the drug trade in El Paso and rapidly metastasized into Ciudad Juárez.  At the time when I began writing Tequila Sunset, it was estimated that Barrio Azteca was responsible for 85% of the murders in Juárez.  Try to wrap your head around that statistic.

I wanted to know: how could two cities, El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, be so interdependent and yet so markedly different?  As El Paso grew more peaceful, Juárez grew exponentially more violent.  Police in El Paso cracked down on Barrio Azteca and all but drove them off the streets completely, while Los Aztecas across the border went on a killing rampage unparalleled in criminal history.

To this end I came up with a story with three characters.  One, a cop assigned to the gang unit in El Paso.  A second, a Mexican policeman pursuing Los Aztecas in Juárez.  The third, a Barrio Azteca member dangerously balanced between both worlds and looking for a way out.

The Dead Women of Juárez took place exclusively in Ciudad Juárez, but Tequila Sunset spends most of its time in El Paso.  It’s naïve to think that crime has truly vanished in that city, especially when it thrives across the border, so I wanted to explore how groups like Barrio Azteca have largely learned to exist underground, still going about their business, but subtly.  It takes a cleverer cop to root out these smarter, cannier gang members, whereas on the Mexican side it requires little more than the application of brute force.

My characters could not just be archetypes, however.  They had to be people.  El Paso and Ciudad Juárez are populated by every sort of person, good and bad and a mixture of both.  They have lives and family and crises that do not just revolve around cops and robbers.  I tried very hard with The Dead Women of Juárez to depict realistically the kind of people who persevere through this kind of existence and I wanted to bring that sensibility to Tequila Sunset.  Whether I succeeded is a matter of conjecture.

As for Ciudad Juárez and El Paso in a civic sense, both cities continue to survive despite of their wildly disparate experiences with crime.  Juárez may be dying, but El Paso thrives.  Which city is feeding off which?  What does it mean if El Paso has truly exported its crime problem to Mexico to let their overwhelmed authorities deal with it?

My work is called crime fiction because it deals with that side of life, but I like to think that I’m writing in a broader sense with crime as the linchpin.  It really is impossible to discuss these two cities and their citizens without addressing the issue of crime in some way or another, but it’s my hope that readers of Tequila Sunset or my earlier book will come to see them as human stories of which crime is a part, but not the whole.  I was called a mystery writer once, but to me the only mystery in my books is how these people handle the intense pressures under which they’re placed.  I know that if I were living in Ciudad Juárez I would be too afraid to set foot outside my doorstep for fear that I would be killed or kidnapped, and yet life continues, even for those whose job it is to step into the line of fire.  In El Paso, where it is so much safer, one’s thoughts must still return to the hell that lurks on the far side of the river.  Maybe you’d try to do something to help.  Maybe you’d turn away.  In either case, you’d be forced to make a decision, like my characters are forced to make decisions.  That’s what Tequila Sunset is all about.  I hope readers feel I’ve done a fair job of it.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Rebus on Radio 4

Tune into BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 11th November 2012 at 15.00 hrs (GMT) and listen to the first epiosde of Ian Rankin's THE BLACK BOOK.

Inspector John Rebus, investigates an unsolved murder with the help of a notebook full of coded clues.

Ron Donachie  Photo: BBC

When DS Brian Holmes is left in a coma after being severely beaten, Rebus discovers his colleague's black notebook contains coded clues on a case involving arson and murder. Five years before, a mysterious fire burned down Edinburgh's seedy Central Hotel. All the staff and customers were accounted for but an unidentified body was found in the rubble. The post mortem revealed the victim had died from a bullet through the heart before the fire broke out.

Dramatised in two parts by Chris Dolan.

DI John Rebus.......Ron Donachie
DC Siobhan Clarke.......Gayanne Potter.
Mickey Rebus.......Steven McNicoll.
DS Brian Holmes.......Sean Biggerstaff.
CS Watson.......Douglas Russell.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Books to look forward to from Mulholland Books

Gun Machine is by Warren Ellis and is due to be published in January 2013.  This morning Detective John Tallow was bored with his job.  Then there was this naked guy with a shotgun, and his partner getting killed, and now Tallow has a real problem: an apartment full of guns.  Old guns.  Modified guns.  Arranged in rows and spirals on the floor and walls.  Hundreds of them.  Each weapon is tied to a single unsolved murder.  Which means Tallow has uncovered two decades' worth of homicides that no one knew to connect and a killer unlike anything that came before.  Tallow's bosses don't want him to solve the case.  The murderer just wants him to die.  But there's a pattern hiding behind the deaths, and if Tallow can figure it out he might even make it out alive.

 To escape her awful life, Luz plans carefully. She quits the drugs. She pretends everything is normal. She takes only the clothes on her back, a gun and the money in her husband's safe. The corpses in the hallway weren't part of the plan. Luz needs to find the daughter she left behind years ago, but she knows she may die trying. Her husband, El Principe, is a key player in a drug cartel, and betrayal will not go unpunished. In this powerful story of revenge and redemption, one woman's desperate break for freedom will change the lives of criminals and cops on both sides of the border.  Angel Baby is by Richard Lange and is due to be published in May 2013

Lexicon is by Max Barry and is due to be published in June 2013. Two years ago, something terrible was unleashed in an Australian mining town called Broken Hill. Thousands died. Few people know what really happened. Emily Rikkard is one of them. She belongs to an elite organisation of 'poets': masters of manipulation who use language to warp others to their will. She was one of their most promising recruits until she made a catastrophic mistake: she fell in love. Wil Jamieson knows the truth too, only he doesn't remember it. And he doesn't know why he's immune to the poets' powers. But he knows he needs to run. As their stories converge, the past is revealed, and the race is on for a deadly weapon: a word. Because the poets know that words can kill...
A series of attacks all over the globe are linked by a single, deadly intent: someone is gathering everything they need to make a dirty bomb.  The terrorists behind it are shadows; their targets unknown.  Navy SEAL Commander Thomas Crocker and his elite team need answers.  They need to go to the source: to track down the material the terrorists are searching for, and stop it falling into the wrong hands.  The hunt takes them through the Yemen, to a hijacked boat off the Somali coast, and into the chaos of post-revolutionary Libya...where their mission becomes terrifyingly personal.  Hunt the Scorpion is by Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo and is due to be published in February 2013.  It combines his real-life insight with pulse-pounding action and non-stop thrills.
At Black Arts, everyone lives and breathes video games.  Including Douglas, who doesn't have much else to talk about.  Then he gets promoted to creative lead on Black Arts's flagship franchise, Realms of Gold, a convoluted fantasy game, and things start going wrong.  Is it corporate espionage?  Internal sabotage?  Can there really be a ghost in the machine?  Douglas has only ever had to worry about on screen danger before, but that is about to change.  You is by Austin Grossman and is due to be published in March 2013.

 This morning, I found a body.  Soon the police will arrest me for murder.  And after that, my life will fall apart.  Who can I trust? Who can I believe? How can I make them see I’m innocent?   Gaby Mortimer is the woman who has it all. But everything changes when she finds a body on the common near her home. Because the evidence keeps leading back to her. And the police seem sure she's guilty...Under Your Skin is an unpredictable, exquisitely twisty story, which proves that there are only three rules in life that mean anything: Assume nothing Believe no one Check everything. Under Your Skin is by Sabine Durrant and is due to be published in April 2013.

Murder As A Fine Art is by David Morrell and is due to be published in May 2013.  43 years after the Ratcliffe Highway murders brought London to a panic in 1811, Thomas De Quincey, the infamous author of Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, wrote a notorious essay about the murders.  That much is historical record.  In the brilliantly suspenseful Murder As A Fine Art De Quincey's essay becomes the blueprint for a new killer's "masterpiece.”  Newly arrived in London, the author becomes the prime suspect.  Soon, however, it becomes clear that De Quincey himself is the murderer's ultimate target.  Aided by his daughter and a young Scotland Yard detective, De Quincey must learn the killer's identity to save them all from a horrible fate.

Killer Ambition is by Marcia Clark and is due to be published in June 2013.  Would you kill to protect your career? Los Angeles DA Rachel Knight is about to find out just how far - and how deadly - Hollywood ambition will go in her latest harrowing case. When the daughter of big-time producer Russell Antonovich is kidnapped and later killed, Rachel is pitted against Hollywood's biggest power players as well as her own boss, who is desperate to stay on the industry's good side. Killer Ambition takes us on a thrilling ride through the darker side of Hollywood and into a court case that could make or break Rachel's career.

The Saint is back! Between January and August 2013 Mulholland Books will be republishing all thirty-five books starring the debonair outlaw.  Simon Templar is the Saint – daring, dazzling, and just a little bit disreputable.  On the side of the law, buts standing just outside it, he dispenses his own brand of justice one criminal at a time, standing up against crooks, swindlers, arms dealers and anyone he considers a worthy opponent…… The Saint books will come with new introductions and extra content.