Wednesday 30 December 2015

The Richard and Judy Book Club Spring 2016

The list of books for the Richard and Judy Book Club have been announced. The eight books are as follows –

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton
In a Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
The Samaritan by Mason Cross
Moving by Jenny Éclair
A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
Our Endless Numbered Days by Clair Fuller
The Bones of You by Debbie Howells.

Congratulations to all nominated authors

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Criminal Snippets

Megan Abbott has written an excellent article in the Guardian about the success of novels such as Gone Girl and Girl on the Train and the fact that there is a desire amongst female readers to read stories that speak more of their own experiences.  The whole article can be read here.

A really brilliant piece in The Independent about The Silent Room Mari Hannah’s new book and new protagonist.  The article can be read here.  Also in The Independent a review of A J Quinn’s latest novel Silence by Barry Forshaw who states that it captures the spirit of Belfast.

If you by any chance managed to miss the news of Peter Dickinson’s sad death then his obituary in The Independent can be read here.  Both a crime writer and a children’s writer Dickinson’s debut novel Skin Deep (aka The Glass-Sided Ant’s Nest (US)) won the CWA Gold Dagger.  So did his second novel A Pride of Heroes (The Old English Peep-Show (US)).  More Obituaries can be found from the Bookseller, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Dulwich Bookshop is launching a series of live events in 2016.  The whole list can be found here and there is of course a number of “Deadly in Dulwich” crime fiction events taking place. The first takes place on 21 January and features debut author Fiona Barton and Ann Morgan.  On 9th March Alex Marwood will be joined by Erin Kelly, Jane Casey and Claire McGowan. An Irish Crime Fiction special of Deadly in Dulwich will take place on 26th April featuring Sinead Cowley, Jo Spain and Kate McQuaid.

According to ABC Sunshine Coast news American crime writer James Patterson appears to be expanding his stable of collaborations.  This time round he will be collaborating with Australian crime writer Candice Fox whose novels Hades and Eden have won Ned Kelly Awards.  The full article can be read here.  You can also listen to an interview with Candice Fox done with ABC Sunshine Coast News (Via Soundcloud) as she talks about collaborating with James Patterson.

Over on the lovely Declan Burke's blog Crime Always Pays there is a round up of crime fiction books by Irish crime writers that are due out in 2016.  The list includes John Connolly, Steve Cavanagh, Tana French and Adrian McKinty to name a few.

Quite a number of books are being adapted for movies next year.  The ones that crime fiction readers no doubt will be interested in include Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins, Inferno by Dan Brown, The November Criminals by Sam Munson.

Sunday 27 December 2015

CSI Portsmouth 2016

Regular attendees at CSI Portsmouth will be pleased to know that the event will take place in 2016 on Saturday 5th March as part of the Portsmouth Book Festival. The event will take place at The Plaza, Pyramids Centre, Southsea.

CSI Portsmouth founder Pauline Rowson will be joined by crime writers Elly Griffiths, Will Sutton, J S Law and Diana Bretherick as well crime expert Simon Mound, a crime scene investigator with Hampshire Police’s Scientific Services Department and Jonathan Smith a forensic scientist.

Tickets cost £15:00 for the day and can be bought from the Box Office, any Portsmouth Library and on online via Eventbrite with effect from 4 January 2016.

Follow CSI Portsmouth on Twitter @CSIPortsmouth

Wednesday 23 December 2015

How Crime Fiction Reflects Society: Where To Turn The Mirror Next

‘                             Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this
                              special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature:
                               for any thing so o'erdone is from the purpose of playing, whose
                               end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold as 'twere the
                               mirror up to nature: to show virtue her feature, scorn her own
                               image, and the very age and body of the time his form and

we will always have her work to remind us that crime fiction at its best holds a mirror up to society, showing us that dark corners exist everywhere and within us all.’

Ian Rankin on Ruth Rendell (New Statesman, 16th October 2015)

© Tim Wheeler
Fog clung in skirts around the city’s buildings, and November’s sunlight was reduced to a splutter, when I attended Reading Crime Festival in 2011. At the time I was writing a humorous account of working in the fashion industry, comfortable in my tongue-in-cheek style, I was there only as a keen reader of the darker genre. My sister-in-law and I juggled our three-month-old niece between us, and joked she was the youngest crime fan in attendance.

I was attracted to a panel discussion between NJ Cooper, Denise Mina, Ronnie Thompson, David Wilson and Dreda Say Mitchell, which posed the question: Crime and Society: How is crime, fact and fiction, influenced by the society in which it occurs? I wanted to understand why crime fiction, above other genres, is so readily cast as Hamlet’s players: tasked with holding up a mirror to nature.

For crime thrillers are revered for their ability to reflect society. Authors are praised for unearthing truths about humanity. What is it about these tales of dark shadows, of the grubby underbelly, of desperate acts, of criminality, of death, that we so strongly and readily relate to? In writing about crime, authors show the worst of us. Our grim urges and impulses laid bare when decency and law collapse. As economies go into recession, government cuts begin to bite, and life gets that little bit harder for the many, UK sales of crime fiction hold strong and steady. When even militant extremists release choreographed videos in carefully coordinated PR campaigns, and our everyday life is reset through a more flattering filter online, our cynical side knee-jerk reacts against the air-brushed, candy-floss rebrands of our own hopes and dreams pitched at us by globalisation’s uber brands. We’re savvy. We know there’s no pearl if there’s no grit in the oyster.

Society, as so readily reflected in crime fiction, is often shaped by geography. Our communities defined by location. You’re a Londoner. A Northerner. Urban. Suburban. Provincial. We group together for support, understanding, growth, protection. We carve ourselves up. Draw boundaries. Raise walls. Are you one of us? The police utilise independent mediators (religious leaders, advocates, voluntary sector workers), to reach those in specific communities. The dark morally complex Scandinavian Noir, mirrors the twenty-four-hour darkness of their winter. Morse has Oxford, Rebus has Edinburgh, the cities almost characters in their own right. And we’re back to the spotlight crime fiction shines on our communities.

In the last decade we’ve seen the growth of new communities: those online. Beyond groups  which have collected around shared interests - Marvel comics, make up tutorials, fanaticism – huge swathes of the population have joined social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Blogger, have become part of our daily lives. Part of our language. With fifteen million users in the UK, Twitter must be the biggest single community to form in the last decade. What dark corners lay hidden within this community?

Four years after I questioned why crime fiction does it best, I found myself writing about a killer who tweets clues about their next victim. A killer whose tweets are shared, replied to, liked, followed. I’m turning the mirror to face society, I’m turning the mirror to face social media.

Follow Me (HarperCollins) by Angela Clarke is out in e-book on 3rd December 2015 and in print on 31st December 2015.

You can find more information about Angela Clarke on her website.  You can also follow her on Twitter @TheAngelaClarke and on Facebook.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Criminal Snippets

© The Guardian
Excellent interview with Sophie Hannah in the Guardian.   It can be read here.  One of the most important points she makes and something that has constantly annoyed me is the fact that many people think that crime fiction can’t be literature.  I often wonder what books they have been reading.

According to the Bookseller Michael Fassbender is to star in the film adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s bestselling novel The Snowman. Filming starts in the middle of January 2016 and is currently set for release in the cinema in October 2017.

Alison Flood in the Guardian interviews author Paula Hawkins on becoming a literary sensation with her novel Girl on the Train.

According to Cinemablend xXx: The Return of Xander Cage will see the return of a major character.  More information can be found here.

Sherlock fans might be interested in the short trailer for BBC’s Christmas special The Abominable Bride.  It can be seen below.

Fans of Ann Cleeves Shetland series will be pleased to note that a six part series is due to start on BBC One on 15 January 2016.  More information can be found here.

Look out for Deutschland 83 which is an 8 part Cold War Spy thriller set amidst a divided Germany.  It is to be shown on Channel 4 starting on 3 January 2016.  More information can be found here.

Interested in knowing what are the world’s greatest spy films? If so then in the run up to the launch of Deutschland 83 Channel 4 are counting down the ten most thrilling spy movies as chosen by “real spies” and spy masters.  More information can be found here.  The programme is due to be shown on 2nd January 2016 on Channel 4 at 21:00.

Remember the Robert Rodriguez film From Dusk to Dawn? Well the series is due to launch on Spike at 9:00pm on 4 January 2016.  More information about the series can be found here.

Publishers Weekly have issued their list of best mysteries of 2015.  The full list can be found here and includes The Cartel by Don Winslow, James Lee Burke’s House of the Rising Sun and Charles McCarry’s The Mulberry Bush to name a few.

Whilst not strictly crime fiction – fans of actor Idris Elba who plays Luther may be interested to know that he will be sharing his favourite music on BBC Radio 6 on Sunday 27 December 2015 between 1:00pm and 2:00pm.