Saturday 30 November 2013

Criminal Splatterings

Congratulations go to Irish writer Louise Phillips whose second  novel The Doll’s House won the  Ireland AM Crime Fiction Book of the Year at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards.   The award was given out on Wednesday 26 November 2013.

According to The Bookseller Company Pictures have optioned the TV rights to William McIlvanney's Laidlaw trilogy.  McIlvanney, who is often referred to as 'the father of Tartan Noir', was also named writer of the year at the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland awards last night. 

James Carol’s debut novel Broken Dolls  which is due to be published by Faber in January 2014 has according to The Bookseller been optioned by Sprout Pictures an independent film and TV company run by Stephen Fry.

A radio drama from the makers of hit Danish TV series Borgen will be, according to the BBC be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from December.  Borgen: Outside the Castle is set against the backdrop of the first series of the political TV drama, which saw Birgitte Nyborg, played by Sidse Babett Knudsen, become prime minister.

According to the BBC Silent Witness: Legacy won the award for Best TV Drama at The European Science TV and New Media Awards 2013.  The European Science TV and New Media Awards ceremony took place at Lisbon's Pavilion of Knowledge, Ciência Viva on Friday 22 November 2013.  Silent Witness returns early 2014 for its 17th series.

Fans of Breaking Bad who are missing the series would be pleased to learn that a companion book to the series is due to be published.  Entitled  Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Breaking Bad Companion it is to be published by Myrmidon.  More information can be found here.

According to Booktrade info, Little, Brown Book Group is to be the main UK publisher for Patricia Highsmith, author of the iconic novels The Talented Mr Ripley and Strangers on a Train.

The Three by Sarah Lotz has been according to optioned by Company Pictures.  Company Pictures will adapt The Three and its sequel as a sequence of event TV mini-series.

With the list of books to be given away for World Book Night 2014 being announced on 22 November 2014 it is pleasing to see a number of crime books on the list.  The crime books on the list are A Perfect Murder by Peter James, Today Everything Changes by Andy McNab, Theodore Boone by John Grisham, Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith, Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, After the Funeral by Agatha Christie,  Geezer Girls by Dreda Say Mitchell.  The full list can be read here on the press release.

The video for the new Jack Ryan movie has been released.  It can be seen below.

 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is to be directed by Kenneth Branagh (who will also star), Keira Knightly and Kevin Costner.  The film will be released in the UK on 31 January 2014.

According to Digital Spy there could be a Sin City television show coming shortly after the film Sin City: A Dame to Kill For has been released.  The last time this was mentioned was back in 2005.  Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is due for release in the UK on 29 August 2014.  More information can also be found on the blog.

According to Screenrant Ben Affleck and Matt Damon will be collaborating on the film adaptation of another lesser-known DC comic property, SleeperSleeper is a noir fantasy comic book series – written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips and Jim Lee – that was published from 2003-05. The series revolves around Holden Carver, a law enforcement operative who goes undercover in order to infiltrate a dangerous organization, let by the WildC.A.T.s comic book series antagonist, TAO.

Christopher McQuarrie is according to Screenrant to direct Colin Firth in the film adaptation of French author Jean-Patrick Manchette Three to Kill.  Three to Kill revolves around a businessman who finds himself caught in the sights of two ruthless killers after witnessing a murder.

Channel 5 have picked up Played, a. dramatic series about elite undercover cops who pose as drug dealers, paid assassins, gun runners and gangsters to infiltrate criminal worlds and collect evidence. The  13 x 1 hour programmes is said to be a sassy crime procedural drama.

According to the Guardian the RSC’s adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall has already sold out.

Over on the Guardian film blog they have listed ‘their’ top ten noir films.  The list is quite interesting.  There are some films there that even I have not heard of.  Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep takes the top spot with another favourite of mine The Third Man coming in at number 6.

If like me you enjoyed JJ Connolly’s Layer Cake then you will be interested to know that according to the Guardian, Jason Statham is set to take on the role of the unnamed criminal protagonist originally played by Daniel Craig.  Viva La Madness will be based on a screen play of the novel adapted by the author JJ Connolly.

Laura Wilson’s crime fiction review round-up can be found in the Guardian where she reviews  Where the Dead Men Go by Liam McIlvanney, The Black Life by Paul Johnston, The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton, The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by PD Viner and I Was Jack Mortimer by Alexander Lernet-Holenia.

Barry Forshaw in The Independent has listed his crime books of the year.  Good to see Denise Mina’s The Red Road in the list along with Malcolm McKay’s The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter and Terry Haye’s I Am Pilgrim.  Also interesting to note what is not on the list.

Patricia Cornwell is in the news again claiming to have unearthed new evidence to suggest that painter Walter Sickert was in fact Jack the Ripper.  According to the Telegraph the author plans to publish 11 years worth of research which backs up her claims.

Friday 29 November 2013

Books to Look forward to from Vintage and Harvill Secker

Trouble Man is by Tom Benn and is due to be published in January 2014.  It's Manchester, at the close of the millennium, and Henry Bane is now manager of an exclusive nightclub.  He has a beautiful mistress, a teenage son, and is making moves in a violent underworld to which he is increasingly numbed.  When a young girl is found tortured and unwilling to go to the police, Bane offers to help, and finds horror in a feral community with a respectable veneer.  But, by meddling, he ends up endangering those he wants to protect.  Not only that, he also manages to incur the wrath of an ailing ganglord, and soon finds himself tangled in a penthouse robbery and an underground boxing match.  From the casual sexism of Bane's clubland, to the savage misogyny of a killer targeting the young and dispossessed, Trouble Man takes Bane through a hell, perhaps of his own making, where he is pushed to his limit – and the trouble only gets closer to home.

Dog Will Have his Day is the second instalment in the Three Evangelist series by Fred Vargas and is due to be published in April 2014.  How do you solve a murder without a body?  Keeping watch under the windows of the Paris flat belonging to a politician's nephew, ex-cop Louis Kehlweiler catches sight of something odd on the pavement.  A small white object, surrounded by the excrement of local dogs.  A piece of bone.  Human bone, in fact.  Naturally, when Kehlweiler takes his find to the nearest police station, he faces ridicule.  But the tiny fragment obsesses him so much that he stops shadowing suspicious characters in Paris and follows the trail to the tiny Breton fishing village of Port-Nicolas.  Because someone there owns a pit bull terrier.  A dog that would take a bite out of anything.  Even the foot of a corpse.
The Murder of Harriet Krohn is by Karin Fossum and is due to be published in July 2014.  A man is walking through the darkness.  Nobody turns to look.  How little people know.  I'm moving in the midst of them and they walk the streets immersed in their own affairs.  Charles Olav Torp has problems.  He’s grieving for his late wife, he’s lost his job, and gambling debts have alienated him from his teenage daughter.  Desperate, his solution is to rob an elderly woman of her money and silverware.  But Harriet Krohn fights back, and Charlo loses control.  Wracked with guilt, Charlo attempts to rebuild his life and regain his dignity.  However, the police are catching up with him, and Inspector Konrad Sejer has never lost a case yet.  Through the eyes of a killer, The Murder of Harriet Krohn poses the question: how far would you go to turn your life around, and could you live with yourself afterwards?
London is steaming under a summer of filthy heat and sudden storms - and Detective Nick Belsey, of Hampstead CID, is trying to stay out of trouble.  But then somebody sets him a riddle.  How does a man walk into a dead-end alley and never come out?  How does he disappear?  And then reappear - to snatch a girl, to dump a body beneath a London skyscraper, to send Belsey a package of human hair.  The answer lies underground, where the secrets degenerating beneath the city's sickly glitter are about to see the light of day. Deep Shelter is by Oliver Harris and is due to be published in February 2014.
The Soul of Discretion is by Susan Hill and is due to be published in September 2014.  From the outside, the cathedral town of Lafferton seems idyllic, but in many ways, it just like any other place.  It suffers from the same kinds of crime, is subject to the same pressures from a rapidly changing world, has the same hopes and fears as any number of towns up and down the land.  When one day DC Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton’s new Chief Constable, Kieran Bright, he is met by two plainclothes officers.  He is asked to take the principal role in a difficult, potentially dangerous undercover operation and must leave town immediately, without telling anyone – not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him.  Meanwhile, Simon’s sister Cat is facing difficult choices at work, as Lafferton’s hospice closes its bedded units; and at home, as her daughter is presented with a glittering opportunity that they would struggle afford.  Moreover, all is not well with Simon and Cat’s stepmother, Judith, either.  To complete his special op, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal.  This takes its toll on Simon and, as the op unfolds, also on the town and some of its most respected citizens.

The Spy with 29 Names is a gripping account of the exploits of Juan Pujol, the most extraordinary double agent of the Second World War, who was awarded both an Iron Cross by Germany and an MBE by Britain.  After the Spanish Civil War, determined to fight the spread of totalitarianism, Pujol moved to Lisbon with his wife, persuading the German intelligence services to take him on.  But in fact, he was determined all along to work for the British, whom he saw as the exemplar of democracy and freedom.  Seeing the impact of the disinformation this Quixotic freelance agent was feeding to the Germans, MI5 brought him to London, where he created a bizarre fictional network of spies - 29 of them - that misled the entire German high command, including Hitler himself.  Above all, in Operation Fortitude he diverted German Panzer divisions away from Normandy, playing a crucial role in safeguarding D-Day and ending the war, and securing his reputation as the greatest double agent in history.  With his intimate knowledge of Spain, Jason Webster looks in new depth at the character who captured the imagination in Ben Macintyre's Double Cross.  He sheds light on Pujol's charismatic personality, interweaving his bizarre picaresque tale with vivid insights into the shady worlds of Bletchley and MI5, and the British and German soldiers whose lives his fantasies would touch so dramatically.  Meticulously researched, yet told with a novelist's verve, The Spy with 29 Names uncovers the reality - far, far stranger than any fiction - of one of recent history's most important and dramatic events and is due to be published in April 2014.

To the Top of the Mountain is by Arne Dahl and is due to be published in June 2014.  After the disastrous end to their last case, the Intercrime team - a specialist unit created to investigate violent, international crime - has been disbanded, their leader forced into early retirement.  The six officers have been scattered throughout the country.  Detectives Paul Hjelm and Kerstin Holm are investigating the senseless murder of a young footballer supporter in a pub in Stockholm, Arto Soderstedt and Viggo Norlander are working on mundane cases, Gunnar Nyber is tackling child pornography while Jorge Chavez is immersed in research.  However, when a man is blown up in a high-security prison, a major drugs baron comes under attack and a massacre takes place in a dark suburb, the Intercrime team are urgently reconvened.  There is something dangerous approaching Sweden, and they are the only people who can do anything to stop it.

 A man is burnt alive in a suburban garden shed.  DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are called in from
the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit to investigate the murder.  Their victim is quickly identified as a migrant worker and a man several people might have had good reason to see dead.  A convicted arsonist and member of a far-right movement has just been released from prison, while witnesses claim to have seen the dead man fighting with one of the town's most prominent slum landlords.  Zigic and Ferreira know all too well the problems that come with dealing with a community that has more reason than most not to trust the police, but when another migrant worker is attacked, tensions rapidly begin to rise as they search for their killer.  Long Way Home is the debut novel by Eva Dolan and is due to be published in January 2014.

The Son is by Jo Nesbø and is due to be published in April 2014Sonny is a model prisoner.  He listens to the confessions of other inmates at Oslo jail, and absolves them of their sins.  Some people even whisper that Sonny is serving time for someone else: that he doesn't just listen, he confesses to their crimes.  Inspector Simon Kefas is a dedicated police officer Simon has worked for the Oslo police force for years.  He's just been assigned a new murder investigation and a new partner, all on the same day.  Both of them knew Sonny's father To Sonny he was the man he idolised, to Simon he was his best friend.  Both were left devastated when his corruption was revealed.  But neither of them knew the truth.

Rea Carlisle has inherited a house from an uncle she never knew.  It doesn’t take her long to clear out the dead man’s remaining possessions, but one room remains stubbornly locked.  When Rea finally forces it open, she discovers inside a chair, a table – and a leather-bound book.  Inside its pages are locks of hair, fingernails: a catalogue of victims.  Horrified, Rea wants to go straight to the police but when her family intervene, Rea turns to the only person she can think of: DI Jack Lennon.  However, Lennon is facing his own problems, not least of all his suspension from the police force.  The Final Silence is by Stuart Neville and is due to be published in July 2014.

Blood Med is by Jason Webster and is due to be published in June 2014.  After months away in Madrid, Chief Inspector Max Camara is back in Valencia, with his partner Alicia and his anarchist, marijuana-growing grandfather Hilario.  In the old police headquarters, the mood is tense, as the chief hunts for cuts - who will go, Camara or his friend Torres?  The two men are flung into action on seemingly separate cases, the suicide of an ex bank-clerk and the brutal murder of a young American woman.  Around them, the city is erupting into demonstrations and near riots.  The king is ill, banks are closing, hospitals are in chaos, homes are lost, demonstrators riot and right wing thugs patrol the street.  The tunnels beneath the streets are at once a refuge and a source of anger.  And as the blood flows Camara roars on his motorbike straight into the heart of trouble.

Dear Daughter is the debut novel by Elizabeth Little and is due to be published in July 2014.  LA It girl Jane Jenkins has it all.  The looks, the brains and the connections.  The criminal record.  Ten years ago, in a trial that transfixed America, Jane was convicted of murdering her mother.  Now she’s been released on a technicality, she’s determined to unravel the mystery of her mother’s last words.  Words that send her to a tiny town in the back of beyond.  But with the whole of America’s media on her tail, convince that she literally got away with murder, she has to do everything she can to throw her pursuers off the scent.  She knows she really didn’t like her mother, but could she have killed her?  And if not, who did?

Some cases aren’t as cold as you’d think.  Kurt Wallander’s life looks like it has taken a turn for the better when his offer on a new house is accepted, only for him to uncover something unexpected in the garden – the skeleton of a middle-aged woman.  As police officers comb the property, Wallander attempts to get his new life back on course by finding the woman’s killer with the aid of his daughter, Linda.  But when another discovery is made in the garden, Wallander is forced to delve further back into the area's past.  An Event in Autumn is by Henning Mankell and is due to be published in September 2014.

Also due to be published in August 2014 is Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Books to Look Forward to from Quercus Books

When Detective Sime Mackenzie boards a light aircraft at Montreal’s St. Hubert airfield, he does so without looking back.  For Sime, the 850-mile journey ahead represents an opportunity to escape the bitter blend of loneliness and regret that has come to characterise his life in the city.  Travelling as part of an eight-officer investigation team, Sime’s destination lies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Only two kilometres wide and three long, Entry Island is home to a population of around 130 inhabitants – the wealthiest of which has just been discovered murdered in his home.  The investigation itself appears little more than a formality.  The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit.  But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met.  Haunted by this certainty his insomnia becomes punctuated by dreams of a distant past on a Scottish island 3,000 miles away.  Dreams in which the widow plays a leading role.  Sime’s conviction becomes an obsession.  And in spite of mounting evidence of her guilt, he finds himself convinced of her innocence, leading to a conflict between the professional duty he must fulfil, and the personal destiny that awaits him.  Entry Island is due to be published in January 2014 and is a standalone novel by Peter May.

There is a leak in Wellington’s army, and suspicion is falling on James Keane . . . The Iberian Peninsula, 1809.  French troops led by one of Napoleon’s best generals are massing on the border.  Wellington’s outnumbered force and his unreliable Spanish allies need to pick off the smaller French units if they are to stand their ground.  For that, they need information: accurate intelligence on numbers, arms and whereabouts.  That’s where Captain Keane and his company of reformed scouting officers are invaluable tools – despite being unpopular with the regular soldiers.  However, it soon becomes apparent that someone high up in Wellington’s headquarters is a spy for the French.  Only someone able to travel widely outside the camp, someone privy to battle plans, could be the double agent – and Keane’s enemies within the army are quick to point the finger.  Keane must defend his crew against their accusers – or root out the traitor himself.  Keane’s Challenge is by Iain Gale and is due to be published in May 2014.

Sorrow Bound is the third book in the DS Aector McAvoy series by David Mark and is due to be published in March 2014.  Philippa Longman will do anything for her family.  Roisin McAvoy will do anything for her friends.  DS Aector McAvoy will do anything for his wife.  Yet each has an unknown enemy - one that will do anything to destroy them.  Sorrow Bound is a powerful police procedural thriller about how those with the biggest hearts make the easiest targets; and how the corrosive venom of evil can dissolve the bonds between good people, until all they are bound by is grief.

An isolated farm in rural post-apartheid South Africa is the scene of a suspicious death that brings a fraught community together in search of the truth.  De Wildt, North West South Africa.  A township is plunged into mourning when its elderly white doctor falls to her death.  The deceased, Ouma, passed her passion for justice to each one of the townspeople: every man and woman, black or white.  However, the apparent accident leaves two people with an inexplicable feeling of suspicion: one a 14-year-old girl with prodigious intuition, the other an ageing police chief.  Life has taught both to trust their instincts, and both have doubt in their gut.  As their fears grow stronger, and begin to filter through the community, a gradual shift takes place; and Ouma’s legacy develops from a town-wide commitment to preserve her memory, to a communal quest to uncover the truth . . .  The Savage Hour is by Elaine Proctor and is due to be published in June 2014.

Cairo is by Chris Womersley and is due to be published in February 2014.  Who wants to be the same as everyone else?  You don't want to be ordinary, do you?  At 18, Tom escapes ordinariness in small town Australia for Melbourne and a flat in a strange block named Cairo.  There he meets the magnetic Max Cheever, and is drawn into his circle of bohemian artists and dreamers.  Liberating him from the bourgeois aspirations of university, they fill his world with affection, passion, opinion and a feeling of belonging he never had before.  But all is not as idyllic as it seems.  Max is prepared to break all the rules to live freely, and soon Tom is ensnared in his plot to steal a million dollar Picasso masterpiece.  Among undependable forgers and violent art dealers, Tom trusts only in Max - even as he falls hopelessly in love with his beautiful wife...For in all the lessons he learns this summer, the greatest one will be to identify what is real - from what is fake.

The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker and it is due to be published in May 2014.  August 30, 1975.  The day of the disappearance.  The day a small New Hampshire town lost its innocence.  That summer Harry Quebert fell in love with fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan.  Thirty-three years later, her body is dug up from his yard along with a manuscript copy of his career-defining novel.  Quebert is the only suspect.  Marcus Goldman - Quebert's most gifted protégé - throws off his writer's block to save his mentor from the electric chair.  Solving the case and penning a new bestseller soon blur together.  As his book begins to take on a life of its own, the nation is gripped by the mystery of 'The Girl Who Touched the Heart of America'.  But with Nola, in death as in life, nothing is ever as it seems.

The Caravaggio Conspiracy is by Alex Connor and is due to be published in January 2014.  1608. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the greatest Italian painter of his day, is expelled from the Order of the Knights of Malta.  Subject to a clandestine hearing, his crime remains a closely guarded secret.  2014. Two bodies are found in a London art gallery - stripped naked, necks bound with wire and legs obscenely contorted.  They are twin brothers - successful art dealers - their brutal murder linked to the mysterious disappearance of two paintings by the master Caravaggio.  Investigators are confounded, and it falls to art expert Gil Eckhart to identify the killer before he slays again.  But as the search for clues takes him from the glamorous skyline of New York to the fetid catacombs of Palermo, Eckhart finds that in the high-stakes world of art, good and evil are often tarred with the same, blood-soaked, brush.

Hong Kong, August 2017.  On the eve of a crisis summit for world economic leaders, two Chinese Methodist ministers are killed in an apparently motiveless execution in Hong Kong's financial district.  Luck makes Detective Alex Soong one of the first officers at the scene.  Yet Soong begins to suspect his involvement to be more than incidental, and the crime itself more than a senseless assassination: an instinct that is proven correct when Soong is contacted by a mysterious figure, and more massacres follow.  With the eyes of the world's media fixed on Hong Kong, Soong must race to intercept his tormentor, and thwart a conspiracy born from one of the bloodiest confrontations of China's past, which now threatens to destroy a fragile world order.  Emperors Once More is by Duncan Jepson and is due to be published in March 2014.

Murder is by Sarah Pinborough and is due to be published in May 2014.  Dr Bond is back . . . and a trail of gruesome murders leads to his front door.  Dr Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon, is still recovering from the events of the previous year when Jack the Ripper haunted the streets of London – and a more malign enemy hid in his shadow.  Bond and the others who worked on the gruesome case are still stalked by its legacies, both psychological and tangible.  But now the bodies of children are being pulled from the Thames . . . and Bond is about to become inextricably linked with an uncanny, undying enemy.

London, November 1968.  Judy Garland is performing drunk at the Palladium.  Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen is working late at Marylebone CID.  Called to a gas explosion in Maida Vale, Breen finds a shock buried beneath the rubble.  Mind-bending paintings by Bridget Riley and Peter Blakes – and the garrotted body of one Jacob Lakin: drug user, and boyfriend to ‘Groovy Bob’ Fraser.  Fraser – Pop Art Gallery owner and friend to the Stones – is a god in a world Breen has never understood.  He tips Breen off to the squat where Lakin’s dealer lives, but Breen’s only chance of infiltrating is WPC Helen Tozer.  She’s working out her notice, and their brief love affair seems to have died.  But she can get the hippies to talk, and one woman – a victim of free love – begins to trust in her.  For even the young and beautiful, have dark secrets.  And on the search for Lakin’s killer, they risk trespassing too far into a new and treacherous world.  House of Flies is by William Shaw and is due to be published in June 2014.

Talking to Ghosts is by Herve Le Corre and is due to be published in February 2014.  Police Inspector Vilar is a broken man.  His son was snatched away at the school gate and his marriage collapsed soon after.  Now he keeps watch outside the school every morning, his 9mm pistol resting on the passenger seat.  A case comes his way - Victor, a troubled teenager, returns home from school to find his mother's lifeless body, savagely beaten, almost unrecognisable.  As Victor is sent first to a care home, then to a foster family, Vilar hits a familiar brick wall: nothing stolen, no fingerprints, no D.N.A.  Finally the case begins to develop, but in an altogether more sinister direction.  A stalker is watching Victor from the shadows, while Vilar receives increasingly threatening phone calls about his son.  The hunter has become the hunted, and Vilar begins to realise that this investigation will strike very close to home.

When nightfall’s, fear spreads...The Lake District: a wild landscape, rife with stories.  Detectives Zoe Barnes and Sam Taylor are called to investigate the disappearance of two children.  But they quickly realise they have been drawn into a complex and unnerving case that hides a much darker intent: as they dig deeper, whispers grow of a community hiding a deadly secret - and talk of witches, the like of which hasn't been heard since the seventeenth century, is spreading.  Zoe and Sam will have to work fast to save lives; but in this atmosphere of fear and mistrust, can they even rely on each other?  A Cry in the Night is by Tom Grieves and is due to be published in January 2014.

The Last Patient is the first in a crime series about the new, disillusioned Robin Hood of Skid Row, Los Angeles.  Dr Adam Knox returns from the war in Afghanistan a little rougher, a little wiser and a lot more inclined to kick it to the ones at the top.  He sets up a clinic in Los Angeles’ most notorious district, tending to the vagrant and the vulnerable.  A Romanian woman and her son are on the run from traffickers; but their freedom comes at a price – too high, or too deadly – to pay.  Knox thinks he can help.  But he’s also got a private commission from a richer patient – a dubious businessman willing to spend extra for his discretion.  Playing one team against another, gangsters and traffickers, Knox must keep his wits scalpel–sharp.  The Last Patient is by Peter Spiegelman and is due to be published in May 2014.

The Outcast Dead is by Elly Griffiths and is due to be published in January 2014.  Forensic
archaeologist Ruth Galloway has excavated a body from the grounds of Norwich Castle, a forbidding edifice that was once a prison.  She believes the body may be that of infamous Victorian murderess Jemima Green.  Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children in her care.  DCI Harry Nelson has no time for long-dead killers.  Immersed in the case of three infants found dead, one after the other, in their King's Lynn home, he's convinced that a family member is responsible, though others on his team think differently.  Then a child goes missing.  Could the abduction be linked to the long-dead Mother Hook?  Ruth is pulled into the case, and back towards Nelson.

Two months after the suspicious and much-publicized death of his father on the island of Martha's Vineyard, it is taking all of Adam Blaine's character to suture the deep wounds - both within his family and himself - torn open by the tragedy.  Moreover, as the court inquest into Benjamin Blaine's death continues, it is taking all of Adam's cunning to protect
those closest to him from figures who still suspect that Adam's father was murdered by one of his kin.  But the sternest test of all is Adam's proximity to Carla Pacelli - his late father's mistress; and a woman who, despite being pivotal to his family's plight, Adam finds himself increasingly drawn to.  The closer he gets to this beautiful, mysterious woman, the further Adam feels from his troubles.  Yet the closer he also comes to revealing the secrets he's strived to conceal, and condemning the people he's so hard fought to protect.  Eden in Winter is by Richard North Patterson and is due to be published in March 2014.

Into A Raging Blaze is the debut novel by Andreas Norman and is due to be published in February 2014.  Carina Dymek is on a fast track for promotion at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when she is approached by a stranger and given a USB stick containing a report to circulate in her department.  Unwittingly, she delivers a time bomb of classified information that destroys her career and puts her on the radar of the security service, SAPO.  Tasked with discovering how Dymek gained access to the confidential report, the formidable Bente Jensen of SAPO begins investigating her background and finds that Dymek's boyfriend Jamal is an Egyptian Swedish national.  But British MI6 have a vested interest in the leak, and they're quick to muscle in.  When they uncover evidence that links Jamal's family to an extreme faction within the Muslim Brotherhood, SAPO is forced to bow to their command to track him down.  As Bente liaises with the ruthless MI6, she becomes closer to the secretive plans contained in that leaked report: plans for a Europe-wide Intelligence Service.  She begins to understand that Dymek is a red herring in a far more complex plot: one of surveillance corruption, national security and global anti-terrorism.

Bruno, chef de police in the French town of St Denis, receives a call from an undercover cop only hours before his body is discovered.  But Bruno’s sometime boss and rival, the Brigadier, doesn’t see this as a priority – there are bigger issues at stake.  Meanwhile, a Muslim youth named Sami turns up at a French army base in Afghanistan hoping to get to St Denis, and an American woman appears in the town with a warrant for Sami’s extradition.  Bruno must unravel these mysteries and find his own way to protect his town and its people.  Children of War is by Peter Walker and is due to be published in June 2014.

The Second Deadly Sin is by Åsa Larsson and is due to be published in January 2014.  At the end of a deadly bear hunt across the wilderness of Northern Sweden, the successful hunters are shaken by a horrifying discovery.  Across in Kurravaara, a woman is murdered with horrific brutality: crude abuse scrawled above her bloodied bed, her young grandson nowhere to be found.  Only Rebecka Martinsson sees a connection.  Dropped from the case thanks to a jealous rival, she now stands alone against a killer who brings death to young and old, spawned by a horrifying crime that festers after one hundred years on ice.
For Commandant Verhoeven life is beautiful: he is happily married, expecting his first child with the lovely Irene.  However, his blissful existence is punctured by a murder of unprecedented savagery.  Worse still, the press seem to have it in for him - his every move is headline news.  When he discovers that the killer has killed before - that each murder is a homage to a classic crime novel - the fourth estate are quick to coin a nickname...The Novelist...With both men in the public eye, the case develops into a personal duel, each hell-bent on outsmarting the other.  There can only be one winner - whoever has the least to lose... Irène is by Pierre Lemaitre and is due to be published in February 2014.

Judges is three crime stories by Italy’s most renowned crime writers Camilleri, best known for the Inspector Montalbano series, weaves a tale of a Turin judge who moves to a small Sicilian town, and tackles both entrenched mafia corruption and a string of culinary delicacies.  Lucarelli brings us a far darker tale.  “La Bambina” is a beautiful young judge, whose attempts to expose the complicity of the secret service in money laundering lead to multiple attempts on her life, and a desperate struggle for justice.  De Cataldo, a judge himself, tells a tale of an unending feud between a prosecutor and a mayor, set against the background of murder, sleaze and impenetrable bureaucracy.  Judges is due to be published in May 2014.

In Killing Well by Marco Malvaldi Italy’s first celebrity chef turns detective to save the life of a Tuscan aristocrat.  The nineteenth century is drawing to a close.  Pellegrino Artusi has travelled the length and breadth of Italy compiling his masterpiece, The Science of Cooking and The Art of Eating Well.  When Baron Romualdo Bonaiuti invites him to his Tuscan home to compare notes with his kitchen staff, he’s quite looking forward to a break.  On arrival, he finds everything one might expect: a dramatic Tuscan castle, eccentric aristocrats, spinster aunts and a mysterious guest.  Not to mention a murdered butler.  Faced with a menagerie of suspects, the local constabulary are baffled.  But when the Baron himself is the target of a second murder attempt, Pellegrino realises he may need to put his celebrated culinary skills to use to find the killer.  Killing Well  is due to be published in June 2014.

Dodger of the Dials is by James Benmore and is due to be published in May 2014.  Two years on from the events of Dodger, Jack Dawkins is back as top-sawyer with his own gang of petty thieves from Seven Dials.  But crime in London has become a serious business – and when Jack needs protection, he soon finds himself out of his depth and facing the gallows for murder.  The evidence against him seems insurmountable, until a young reporter by the name of Oliver Twist takes up his cause.  After freeing Jack from gaol, the pair must bury their past differences and join forces to hunt down the men who framed Jack and stole that which he treasures most.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Swedish Crime Fiction Awards

The Swedish Crime Academy (Svenska Deckarakademin) have recently announced a number of crime fiction awards:

Best Swedish Crime Novel Award: Den osynlige mannen fran Salem (The Invisible Man from Salem) by Christoffer Carlsson.  He was up against a number of well-known authors  Arne Dahl, Hakan Nesser, Johan Theorin and Katarina Wennstam.

Martin Beck Award for Best Translated Crime Novel: The Missing File (published in Sweden as Utsuddade spar by D.A. Mishani (Israel) (translated by Nils Larsson).  The Missing File  was shortlisted for the 2013 CWA International Dagger.

Best Debut Novel: Väster om friheten  (West of Liberty) by Thomas Engström


Saturday 23 November 2013

Michael Connelly, The Gods of Guilt and Bosch.

© Ayo Onatade
Sold Out! That was the situation on Friday 22 November 2013 for many a fan that turned up hoping to get a last minute ticket for the Michael Connelly event that took place at Waterstones Piccadilly in London.  Even with the event not due to start until 6:30pm queues had started to form from around 5:30pm.  There were over 100 people in the audience for what was shaping up to be one of the most anticipated events in the crime fiction calendar. 

Michael had flown in early on Friday morning hot foot from wrapping up the filming for the television pilot Bosch in Los Angeles.  Before the Waterstones Piccadilly event in the evening he had already done a signing at Waterstones Leadenhall Market where fans formed a long queue waiting patiently to get their books signed.

Journalist Michael Carlson started the event off with a brief introduction about Michael Connelly and his work and how well regarded he was within the crime fiction community.  He explained that they would be talking about his new Mickey Haller book The Gods of Guilt and the proposed new television series Bosch

Michael Connelly © Ayo Onatade
At the beginning of the event Michael Connelly explained that The Gods of Guilt is as much a Mickey Haller legal thriller as it is a detective novel.  He found it nice to hear people say that it is a good legal thriller but he considers it to be more than that. The latest novel presents a much more rounded Haller as it is essentially a low point in his life with all his relationships especially his relationship with his daughter which is at a all time low.  He indicated that he wanted to connect all the books together.  The film the Lincoln Lawyer was a success in the States but not so much in the UK. As a result of the success of the film in the States he now had lawyers coming up to him.  It inspired  him to write a scene in his current book on the film.

Michael Carlson pointed out that one of the issues that he had with the film was the fact that they failed to show what was inside the trunk of his car.

Michael Carlson & Michael Connelly © Ayo Onatade
Asked about his other books that had been made into films Michael Connelly stated that Blood Work had been the first and that it had been made into a film but that he felt that the movie had not turned out well. But despite that it had made the book into a bestseller. One of the criticisms that had been made was the character played by Jeff Daniels.  It was too obvious. As he pointed out, every connection with Hollywood has its pitfalls both critically and financially. 

Michael Connelly explained that he had also worked on a series called Level 9 which was the first of its kind.  However the show debuted against CSI and only lasted six episodes.   Level 9 had been his idea but he gave it to others who took it in a direction he would not have.  In contrast to this, he is very heavily involved with Bosch. He stated that writers in Hollywood do not have as much veto as he has on the show. He is immersed in it because he wanted it to be done right. He would not have agreed to do it with people who have not read the books.  Amazon heard of the project and came to him. Currently there is nothing on the show that he does not agree with. Bosch is being played by character actor Titus Welliver.  They went through a whole series of casting and they had to use a lot of caution. He pointed out that Homicide and The Wire were two other programmes that he had worked on.  

With regard to the filming of Bosch the first season is due to be based on City of Bones.  The

Audience © Ayo Onatade
challenge that they have with Bosch is the fact that he is an internal thinker but that they had to get the essence of him in the script.  The show is called Bosch because it is about him.  Michael was asked if there was a Harry Bosch play list for the show but he explained that whilst music is very important the music being played in the show is not all jazz but a variety.  The most thrilling moment of the filming was not a speaking part but when some music was just being played as it was felt to be right out from the book.  Bosch's house is a very important location in the scenes and during the filming where they were filming was just like in the books. He was asked how was Harry's house recreated for the show.  The show was filmed on a different street because it worked better.  If the show does get picked up then they will have to properly recreate the house.  This time they borrowed a house.  Whilst they were filming a real life coyote wanded on to the film set.  The books have aged in time and during this period he has had several different partners and supervisors.  With the show they have brought in people who came before and after the City of Bones.  The backstory in the TV series is that Bosch was in the 1st Gulf War as opposed to the Vietnam War.  Both the Vietnam War and the 1st Gulf War had tunnel rats.  There are similarities and differences.   Harvey Pounds plays  the Head of a Task Force as opposed to Bosch's supervisor.  There is also a lot of the Concrete Blonde in the show.   They have 3 LA Police Detectives as consultants on the show. The show will be up on the Amazon website in March.  The show is very much like the book hence the reason why he likes the way Amazon have done it. Asked if the show would affect his writing, Michael Connelly explained that it would not.  

Michael Connelly (signing my book) © Ayo Onatade
He is currently working on a new Harry Bosch novel at the moment for next year.   He is 100 pages into the new book. He stopped writing on 1st October when he became a lot more heavily involved with the project.  However as soon as his tour in the UK is over then he will be back to writing the book.  He explained that he is the harshest critic of his own work and that if he felt that it was no longer working then there would not be anymore Harry Bosch books.

Michael was asked if he was going to throw out any more pitches? He said that he would like to do the L A Dodgers as he is a fan.  There is a scene in the show were Bosch is following a man and he has to change his disguise.  They wanted to use a Dodgers cap but unfortunately they were not allowed to do so.  Therefore in the show you will see him wearing a plain cap.

Asked if there was anything he had learnt since he had started writing, he stated that he had learnt and kept a strong work ethic.  It helped him to write a book a year and was why he was currently feeling ansty about not writing.

Los Angeles being such a huge part of Harry Bosch, Michael was asked whether it was a big wrench when he left. Michael explained that he lived in LA for 15 years and moved 7 years ago to Florida.  He had reached the point where he needed to see LA from afar.  He pointed out that James Ellroy had done the same thing. 

If the television series takes off he may have to leave Florida and move back to LA.  Not
Michael Connelly & Ayo Onatade © Ayo Onatade
living in LA reamped his desire to get it right.  Now he goes to every physical location in the books to get it right.   He feels that the books that he has written since he moved to Florida  seem to be a lot more accurate.  However, seeing the way in which the locations were being scouted for the show made him realise that he does not do as much scouting as he thought.  He also pointed out that he had already started to plant seeds in his various books for the future. He could also go back in time and talk about early Harry Bosch.  He explained that he did see an end to Bosch in contemporary LA.

Talking about Mickey Haller he explained that he had originally intended it to be only one book but he ended up liking the character and therefore wanted to return to him.  He also said that he was not yet done with Jack McEvoy who will at some stage be back.  Asked if he took notes Michael explained that he rarely took notes as he wanted people to talk freely.  What he does do is send notes to himself on his phone.  His research is normally done on a social level.  He takes cops out to breakfast.   He said that was how he managed to get the first line of the Lincoln Lawyer which he wrote on his cocktail napkin. 

After the event Michael patiently signed books and had his photograph taken for over an hour for all those who queued up.   The event itself was a huge success and it was brilliant to listen to Michael talk about his work specifically The Gods of Guilt, the new series Bosch and his work in general.

More information about Michael Connelly and his work can be found on his website.  He also has a Facebook page and can be found at MichaelConnellyBooks.  You can also follow him on Twitter @Connellybooks.

The video for The Gods of Guilt can be seen below.

Friday 22 November 2013

A Penny for your Thoughts

Best-selling and Multiple Award-Winning Canadian Mystery Writer Louise Penny made a special visit to Heffers Bookstore in Cambridge to talk about her writing. This was the only UK event she is appearing at this year, due to deadline pressures on her current work in progress.

The event was organised by one of the most knowledgeable booksellers we know, Richard Reynolds, who is also the Chair of The Crime Writers Association [CWA] Gold Dagger Award.  Though the historic Heffers Bookstore is now part of the Blackwell Books Chain, but retains its independent feel, with Richard maintaining one of the best selections of Crime, Mystery and Thrillers in the UK. Richard Reynolds also runs some very interesting events for the crime, mystery reader, click here for a listing of future events

I was delighted to meet Louise Penny again. Joining me were Chris Simmons of Crimesquad and The Talented Mr Ripley, critic, crime writer and raconteur at Shots and Deadly Pleasures Magazine - Getting Away With Murder column, and many others.

I recall Louise Penny being a runner-up for the CWA Debut Dagger Award in 2004. Her entry ‘Still Life’ was highly commended and missed taking the Debut Dagger ‘by only a whisker.' This resulted in her getting ‘Still Life’ into print. I first met Louise at the launch of Still Life at the Canadian Embassy in London on the 7th February 2005. Her generous nature is well known as in 2009 she personally sponsored the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. The Crime Writers' Association Chair [at that time], Margaret Murphy, said: "We are delighted that Louise has agreed to sponsor this award. I know that she valued the help that the award gave to her writing career. It is a tremendous gesture and one that is deeply appreciated by the CWA."

We highly recommend the work of Louise Penny, if you like your mystery fiction with compassion and dark insight into the psychological – then Penny’s work will enthrall, and her latest ‘How The Light Gets In’ is no exception

 “There is a crack in everything. 
    That’s how the light gets in.” 
Leonard Cohen from his Poem / Song Anthem

Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him.

When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna's reluctance to reveal her friend's name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.

As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines. Increasingly, he is not only investigating the disappearance of Myrna’s friend but also seeking a safe place for himself and his still-loyal colleagues. Is there peace to be found even in Three Pines, and at what cost to Gamache and the people he holds dear?

How the Light Gets In is the ninth Chief Inspector Gamache Novel from Louise Penny.

One of Publishers Weekly's Best Mystery/Thriller Books of 2013 and a  #1 New York Times Best Seller

For Shots Readers, we have some video footage from the Heffers’ event for those who have not explored the mysterious world of Louise Penny -

Bibliography –  all of Louise Penny’s work is available from the Shots Online Bookstore, with discounts HERE

Time to start saving your pennies, because if you’ve not experienced Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, it’s time you did.

Still Life [2005].
Winner of the New Blood Dagger award in the United Kingdom, the Arthur Ellis Award in Canada for best first crime novel, the Dilys Award, the 2007 Anthony Award and the Barry Award for best first novel in the United States.

A Fatal Grace [2007] Alternate title: "Dead Cold" 
Winner of the Agatha Award for best novel of 2007

Winner of the Agatha Award for best novel of 2008, Nominated for the 2009 Anthony, the Macavity and the Barry awards for best novel of 2008.

The Murder Stone [2009] Alternative title “A Rule Against Murder”
A New York Times bestseller and nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award in the category of best novel

The Brutal Telling [2009]
Winner of the Agatha Award for best novel of 2009, as well as the 2010 Anthony Award for best crime novel in the U.S.

Bury your Dead [2010]
Winner of the Agatha Award for best novel of 2010, the 2011 Anthony and Macavity Award for best crime novel in the U.S., the 2011 Arthur Ellis Award best crime novel in Canada, and the 2011 Nero Award.

A Trick of the Light [2011]
Named one of the best crime novels of 2011 by The Globe & Mail and The New York Times

The Beautiful Mystery [2012]
Macavity and Anthony Award for best crime novel in the U.S

How the Light Gets In [2013]
New York Times #1 bestseller.

More Information on the work of Louise Penny is available here

As a long-time follower of the Canadian Poet Leonard Cohen, I was very impressed that when Louise Penny approached Mr Cohen about the use of the famous existential lyric [from his song / poem ANTHEM] for her latest novel, Leonard graciously agreed, and refused any payment for its use -

Photos (c) 2010-2013 Ali Karim
Cover Photos (c) Headline Publishing and (C) Little Brown UK