Saturday 31 December 2016

Books to Look Forward to from Bloomsbury Publishing

January 2017

The River at Night is by Erica Ferencik. A thought came to me that I couldn't force away: What we are wearing is how we'll be identified out in the wilderness.' Win Allen doesn't want an adventure. After a miserable divorce and the death of her beloved brother, she just wants to spend some time with her three best friends, far away from her soul-crushing job. But athletic, energetic Pia has other plans. Plans for an adrenaline-raising, breath-taking, white-water rafting trip in the Maine wilderness. Five thousand square miles of remote countryside. Just mountains, rivers and fresh air. No phone coverage. No people. No help...

February 2017

"Esteban refilled our glasses. 'We have a phrase in Spanish. 'Mil Cortes'. 'A thousand cuts,' I
said, and Esteban nodded. 'Small acts of resistance. We may be few, but together we can change the world. To the 'Mil Cortes'. Salud.'" In a place like Gibraltar, the troubles of the past are never far from the surface. Just one scratch and the old poisons bleed through. What could link a catastrophic dockyard bomb in the Second World War to a series of shocking murders in the present day? Is retribution finally being served? Or is a ruthless killer trying to cover his tracks? When a routine court case takes a sinister turn, defence lawyer Spike Sanguinetti starts asking dangerous questions that nobody seems to want answered. Soon, it's not just the truth that's at stake: it is everything and everyone that Spike holds precious. As the sun beats relentlessly down, crimes of the past and present collide, relationships are tested and long-buried secrets exposed. Who can Spike trust? And where do his own loyalties lie? A Thousand Cuts is by Thomas Mogford.

March 2017

Arthur & Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes is by Michael Sims.  Even the most learned of Baker Street Irregulars will enjoy Sims' look at the making of Sherlock Holmes' Kirkus. As a young medical student at the University of Edinburgh, Arthur Conan Doyle studied under the vigilant eye of Dr Joseph Bell. He observed as Dr Bell identified a patient's occupation, hometown and ailments both imagined and genuine from the smallest details of dress, gait and speech. Although Doyle was training to be a surgeon, he was meanwhile cultivating essential knowledge that would help him to develop and define the art of the detective novel. From Doyle's early days surrounded by poverty and violence, to his escape to University and finally to his first days as a surgeon in his own practice, acclaimed author Michael Sims traces the circuitous yet inevitable development of Arthur Conan Doyle as the father of the modern mystery, whose most famous creation is still the most well-known and well-loved of the canon's many members. Through Sims's deft analysis of Doyle's childhood and adult life, the incomparable Sherlock Holmes emerges as a product of Doyle's varied lessons in the classroom and professional life. Building on the traditions of Edgar Allan Poe, Emile Gaboriau, and even Voltaire, Doyle's new detective is not just a skilful translator of clues, but a veritable superhero of the mind in the tradition of his most esteemed teacher, Dr Joseph Bell. Sims's Arthur is just as vivid Doyle's own Sherlock Holmes in this enthralling biography of the man behind the most famous detective of all time.

April 2017

The Lake is by Lotte Hammer and Søren Hammer.  Everything comes with a price.  The skeleton of a young woman is discovered, tied to a stone, in a lake deep in the Danish countryside. The woman's identity is a mystery; no one matching her description has been reported missing...After months of fruitless investigation by the local police force, a media scandal brings the case to nationwide attention and is quickly handed over to Konrad Simonsen and his team from the Copenhagen Police force. It soon becomes clear that this unknown woman is the key to a sinister world of human trafficking, prostitution and violence. A world where everything comes with a price and no mistake goes unpunished.

May 2017

Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love is by James Runcie.  It is May 1971 and the Cambridgeshire countryside is bursting into summer. Archdeacon Sidney Chambers is walking in a bluebell wood with his daughter Anna and their ageing Labrador, Byron, when they stumble upon a body. Thrust into another murder investigation, Sidney discovers a world of hippies, folk music and psychedelic plants, where permissive behaviour seems to hide something darker. This is the first of many disturbing secrets that Sidney unearths beneath the deceptively tranquil surface of the Diocese of Ely: a celebrated photographer is accused of rape; a priceless religious text vanishes from a Cambridge college; the authentication of a lost masterpiece proves a slippery business; and Sidney's own nephew goes missing. Endeavouring to fit his clerical duties in around the demands of sleuthing, Sidney continues to reflect on the divine mysteries of love, life and faith, while wrestling with the earthly problems of parish scandals, an alarmingly progressive new secretary, the challenges of parenthood, and a great loss.

The Violated is by Bill Pronzini. In Echo Park, in the small town of Santa Rita, California, the mutilated body of Martin Torrey is found by two passersby. A registered sex offender, Torrey has been a suspect in a string of recent rapes, and instant suspicion for his murder falls on the relatives and friends of the women attacked. Police chief Griffin Kells and detective Robert Ortiz are under increasing pressure from the public and from a mayor demanding results in a case that has no easy solution. Pronzini cleverly unfolds the case through alternating perspectives--Martin Torrey's wife, caught between her grief and the fear her husband was guilty; the outraged husbands of the women violated; the enterprising editor of the local paper; the mayor concerned most with his own ratings; the detectives, often spinning in circles--until a surprising break leads to a completely unexpected conclusion.

June 2017

Party Girls Die in Pearls is by Plum Sykes.  Brideshead, bon-bons, cucumber sandwiches - and now a murder In the decadent world of Oxford University, c.1985, Pimms, punting and
ball gowns are de rigeur. Ursula Flowerbutton, a studious country girl, arrives for her first term, anticipating nothing more sinister than days spent poring over history books - and, perhaps, an invitation to a ball. But when she discovers a body, Ursula is catapulted into a murder investigation. Determined to bag her first scoop for the famous student newspaper Cherwell, Ursula enlists the help of glamorous American student Nancy Feingold to unravel the case. While navigating a whirl of black-tie parties and secret dining societies, the girls discover a surfeit of suspects. From broken-hearted boyfriends to snobby Sloanes, lovelorn librarians to dishy dons, none can be presumed innocent.

Friday 30 December 2016

Books to Look Forward to from Allison & Busby

January 2017

 Elementary Murder is by A J Wright.  1894, Wigan. Miss Dorothea Gadsworth is interviewed for a teaching vacancy at George Street Elementary, but is ultimately dismissed as a candidate. The following Monday morning, her body is discovered in a locked classroom with a note by her side. DS Michael Brennan is called in to investigate what appears to be a straightforward suicide, but his instincts tell him there is more to this case than meets the eye. With the door locked from the inside, staff members with plenty to hide and a student missing from the school, DS Brennan, aided by the scowling Constable Jaggery, wrestles with one of his most intricate investigations yet.

February 2017

Matt Hunter lost his faith a long time ago. Formerly a minister, now a professor of sociology, he's writing a book that debunks the Christian faith while assisting the police with religiously motivated crimes. On holiday with his family in Oxfordshire, Matt finds himself on edge in a seemingly idyllic village where wooden crosses hang at every turn. The stay becomes more sinister still when a local girl goes missing, followed by further disappearances. Caught up in an investigation that brings memories to the surface that he would prefer stay buried deep, Matt is on the trail of a killer determined to save us all.  Purged is by Peter Laws.

1817. Dawn breaks on a summer's day in Chalk Farm, London, and the scene is set for a duel between a lady's two ardent admirers. Paul Skillen has been teaching Mark Bowerman how to shoot properly, and although he is not sanguine of his chances, stands as his second. Although the duel is broken up, the passions behind the duel seem to spill out into the full light of day when one of the two duellists is found dead, shot between the eyes. Paul and his twin Peter are determined to see justice done and are soon enmeshed in threads of inheritance, treachery and fraud.  Date With the Executioner is by Edward Marston.

March 2017

Britain is at war. Returned from a dangerous mission onto enemy soil and having encountered an old enemy and the Fuhrer himself along the way, Maisie Dobbs is fully aware of the gravity of the current situation and how her world is on the cusp of great change. One of those changes can be seen in the floods of refugees that are arriving in Britain, desperate for sanctuary from the approaching storm of war. When Maisie stumbles on the deaths of refugees who may have been more than ordinary people, she is drawn into an investigation that requires all her insight and strength.  In This Grave Hour is by Jacqueline Winspear.

Falling Creatures is by Katherine Stansfield.  Cornwall, 1844. On a lonely moorland farm not far from Jamaica Inn, farmhand Shilly finds love in the arms of Charlotte Dymond. But Charlotte has many secrets, possessing powers that cause both good and ill. When she's found on the moor with her throat cut, Shilly is determined to find out who is responsible, and so is the stranger calling himself Mr Williams who asks for Shilly's help. Mr Williams has secrets too, and Shilly is thrown into the bewildering new world of modern detection.
Usually sharp-witted editor Sam Clair stumbles through her post-launch-party morning with the hangover to end all hangovers. Before the Nurofen has even kicked in, she finds herself entangled in an elaborate saga of missing neighbours, suspected arson and the odd unidentified body. When the grisly news breaks that the fire has claimed a victim, Sam is already in pursuit. Never has comedy been so deadly as Sam faces down a pair from Thugs 'R' Us, aided by nothing more than a CID boyfriend, a stalwart Goth assistant and a seemingly endless supply of purple-sprouting broccoli.  A Cast of Vultures is by Judith Flanders.

April 2017

Out of the blue, private investigator and ex-soldier Lee Arnold receives a visit from an old army mate. Abbas al'Barri worked as a translator with him during the Second Iraq War. Now living in Ilford with his family, Abbas is convinced that he's had a message from his estranged son Fayyaad, who was radicalised and was last thought to be fighting for ISIL in Iraq. Does Fayyaad's message indicate a change of heart? Abbas is desperate for Lee's help in establishing some contact with him, a point with which Lee's Muslim assistant Mumtaz might be able to help. From the bright lights of the Western world, to the murky online recruitment techniques of radical Islamism, Lee and Mumtaz have little to guide them in who to trust as they begin a journey into the belly of the beast.  Bright Shiny Things is by Barbara Nadel.

May 2017

The Bowness Request is by Rebecca Tope.  Winter has arrived in the town of Windermere, and has bought with it the death of Frances Henderson, the best friend of Persimmon 'Simmy' Brown's mother. Having known the Henderson family all of her life, Simmy must cope with the loss of an important figure from her childhood, as well as the confusion at being bequeathed something in Frances's will. When Frances's husband is violently murdered in his home, Simmy must face the fact that the family she was once so close to as a child, holds some dark and sinister secrets. How will Simmy cope with seeing Christopher Henderson, the eldest child of Frances and Kit and her childhood sweetheart, after so long, and are the rumours of Kit's infidelity a clue to who murdered him? Keen to keep out of the investigation, Simmy must not only face these personal dilemmas, but deal with Ben Harkness and Bonnie Lawson's enthusiasm for solving crimes, as well as her father's worsening dementia, and her own mother's grief for her best friend.

Shot in Southwold is by Suzette A Hill.  1960. Lady Fawcett is eager to vet her daughter Amy's current beau, aspiring film director Bartholomew Hackle who is shooting his first major project in Southwold. While Amy is unable to accompany her mother, Rosy Gilchrist is strong-armed into another visit. On the set of The Suffolk Seagull nobody really knows what is going on - least of all Felix Smythe whose bit part is constantly changing thanks to Hackle, much to Felix's chagrin. But the unambiguous death by gunshot of a female cast member brings a drama to proceedings lacking in the film itself, and Lady Fawcett, Rosy, Felix and even Cedric Dillworthy are once again at the centre of a murder mystery in which further victims may face the cut.

June 2017

The Circus Train Conspiracy is by Edward Marston.  Following a string of successful performances along the west coast, the Moscardi Circus is travelling by train to Hexham on the Newcastle to Carlisle Railway for their next show. Yet a collision on the track with a couple of sleepers causes pandemonium: passengers thrown about and animals escaping into the night. When the headless body of a woman is discovered in nearby woodland, Inspector Colbeck is desperate to lend assistance, believing the two incidents to be connected, however a reluctant Superintendent Tallis forbids him from doing so. Torn between his desire to detect and his duty as a father, Colbeck agrees, until contact from an old friend is made and Tallis relents. With the performers pointing fingers at both the competition and each other, the interference of locals concerned about the show's morality, and a planned takeover bid of the NCR, Colbeck has his work cut out trying to untangle the thread of events.

Thursday 29 December 2016

The Power of Secrets by Kimberly Belle

When I began writing The Marriage Lie, I knew right away it would be different than my first two books. My first two novels were women’s fiction with a dash of suspense and some romance, but this story—a husband dying under mysterious circumstances, a wife determined to dig up the truth about the man she loves—could only be a suspense. There was really no other way to write it.

I set out to write the type of story that I love to read, one with a strong, likeable woman in the lead role and enough plot twists to keep the reader guessing. My heroine Iris is not a spy. She’s not a private detective or a trained killer. She’s an ordinary woman living an ordinary life…until something extraordinary happens: a plane crash steals her husband of seven years, but with a twist—it’s a plane she didn’t know he would be on. This is the event that flips her life upside down and sets the story in motion.

Any story’s motor is a question, planted in the reader’s mind early on. In The Marriage Lie, there are multiple. Why was Iris’s husband on that plane? Why did he lie? What was he trying to hide? And then a bit later, was he really even on that plane, and why would he want to fake his death? All of these questions point back to a central story secret.

Secrets are a great device to drive a plot. They provide tension. They motivate lies and murders and blackmail. They bring out the worst in your characters and cloud the story up for your readers. They make a character compelling and unpredictable. What has he done that’s so terrible, he’ll do anything to keep it hidden? The reader will want to know.

In The Marriage Lie, the secret belonged to Iris’s husband. Iris knows he’s hiding something pretty quickly after the crash, only she doesn’t know what. His is a secret that stems from his past, from the time before he met Iris. These are in my opinion the best kinds of secrets, the ones that involve something from a character’s backstory. What horrible, awful, terrible thing is he trying to hide? How did this thing change him, and why? Secrets are like Christmas presents, ones your reader will be dying to rip open.

One of the most powerful ways an author can use a secret to move a plot forward is to surprise the reader with it, to give the reader a secret they didn’t see coming, one that makes them gasp out loud when they come to it. I used this technique in The Marriage Lie, and it is hands-down the one I hear about most from readers. To be effective, these surprises can’t come out of the blue. For mine, I worked backwards, building in hints that made sense to the story at the time, but that (I hoped) didn’t tip the reader that a surprise is coming. It’s kind of tricky, working in a surprise or secret that changes the reader’s perception of the story that came before, but when you do it right, readers love it.

People often ask me why I chose to write a story about a marriage in crisis when my own is so stable. The easy answer is that I write fiction, and my brain is trained to make things up for a living. But we authors also write what we know, and I used my own life as a guide. I know what it’s like to love someone, to believe with everything inside that they are good and true and that they love you back. It’s a part of me that I made a part of Iris, as well, only I gave her husband one whopper of secret.

Ultimately, writing a good suspense story is about managing the flow of information to the reader. Information that is released too soon kills suspense, while information withheld for too long can lead to frustration and confusion. The trick is in finding a happy balance. Offer readers questions. Hint at characters’ secrets. Dole out partial answers in juicy tidbits that elicit even more questions, and do it in a way that works for your story. We humans are curious creatures, hardwired to want answers. Give readers a story that keeps them guessing, and they’ll keep reading until the end.

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle is out 29th December (HQ, £7.99)

Keep up with Kimberly on Facebook (, Twitter (@KimberlySBelle), Instagram (@KimberlySBelle) or via her website at

Call for Papers:- Hardboiled History


University of Warwick, 19th May 2017
Confirmed Speaker: Warren Pleece, comic artist and graphic novelist (more to be announced)

Abstracts are invited for a one-day interdisciplinary conference at the University of Warwick, supported by the Department of History, the Humanities Research Centre and the British Association of American Studies. Hardboiled History seeks to bring together scholars interested in the ways contemporary media represents and reinterprets history, by exploring how and why “noir” resurfaces in depictions of America’s past across a variety of mediums.

Since the 1940s, when critics began to recognise Hollywood was producing of a new “cycle” of films distinct in their visual style and cynical worldview, a wealth of scholarship has explored film noir as a genre (or “mood”, “phenomenon”), its ties to hardboiled literature, the industrial conditions that fostered it, and the tropes it codified. With their inherent darkness and existentialist explorations, the film noirs of this ‘classic’ period have come to be popularly understood as the productions that best explored and represented contemporary social anxieties in America around gender, race, wartime demobilisation, modernisation, and urbanisation.

Numerous successful films and television series continue to this day to be described according to their noir-like qualities. Yet, with noir novels, videogames, radio dramas, and graphic novels, noir needs to be conceptualised as a much wider phenomenon. This conference seeks to bring together scholars and practitioners interested in exploring the ways contemporary visual media and literature – in all its forms –  continues to utilise, reshape or subvert preconceived notions of noir, often as a method for exploring and/or representing both the ‘classic’ noir period in America’s past, as well as more recent historical moments.

Proposals are welcomed from a variety of cross-disciplinary methodological perspectives. Papers can explore texts across mediums (e.g. film, television, videogames, graphic novels/literature, art, theatre, etc.). Industry practitioners or practice-based researchers who can offer reflections on these themes are actively welcomed. We also encourage papers that seek to challenge the delineation of noir – and its engagement with history – as a purely American phenomenon, offering international perspectives.

Please submit abstracts of around 250 words and a short biographical statement to, by 16 January, 2017. Suggested themes include, but are not limited to:

·    How noir codified its association with particular historical moments and worldviews
·       How artists use “noir” to explore the past and/or challenge history
·       Space and place; alternate settings; international perspectives
·       Noir codes/conventions used in other forms/genres; new sub-genres
·       Character archetypes (subversions to or recreations of)
·       Technical or production perspectives
·       Notable actors/directors/writers/artists
·       Reception/audience/fan studies

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Books to Look Forward to from Atlantic Books & Corvus.

January 2017

You went to bed at home, just like every other night. You woke up in the back of a taxi, 300 miles away. You have no memory of the last ten hours. You have a suicide note in your coat pocket, in your own writing. You know you weren't planning to kill yourself. Your family and friends think you are lying. Someone knows exactly what happened to you. But they're not telling.  Everything You Told Me is by Lucy Dawson.

All of a Winter’s Night is by Phil Rickman.  When Aidan Lloyd's bleak funeral is followed by a nocturnal ritual in the fog, it becomes all too clear that Aidan, son of a wealthy farmer, will not be resting in peace. Aidan's hidden history has reignited an old feud, and a rural tradition begins to display its sinister side. It's already a fraught time for Merrily Watkins, her future threatened by a bishop committed to restricting her role as diocesan exorcist for Hereford. Suddenly there are events she can't talk about as she and her daughter Jane find themselves potentially on the wrong side of the law. In the city of Hereford, DI Frannie Bliss, investigating a shooting, must confront the apparent growth of organised crime, also contaminating the countryside. On the Welsh border, the old ways are at war with the modern world. As the days shorten and the fog gives way to ice and snow, a savage killing draws Merrily Watkins into a conflict centred on one of Britain's most famous medieval churches, its walls laden with ancient symbolism. 

What Dark Clouds Hide is by Anne Holt. On a summer's day, Johanne Vik arrives at the home of her friends Jon and Ellen Mohr and was greeted by a scene of devastation: their young son, left unattended, has tragically fallen to his death. Meanwhile, Oslo is under attack. An explosion has torn the city apart and newly qualified police officer Henrik Holme is the only one available to attend the Mohr household. As Holme investigates, he casts doubt on the claim that the death was a tragic accident and calls upon Johanne's profiling expertise to understand what really happened. But neither realise that those involved are determined to hide the truth - no matter what. Before the summer is over, more shocking deaths will occur...

February 2017

It's been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend,
Corinne, disappeared without trace. Then a letter from her father arrives - 'I need to talk to you. That girl. I saw that girl.' Has her father's dementia worsened, or has he really seen Corinne? Returning home, Nicolette must finally face what happened on that terrible night all those years ago. Then, another young woman goes missing, almost to the day of the anniversary of when Corinne vanished. And like ten years ago, the whole town is a suspect. Told backwards - Day 15 to Day 1 - Nicolette works to unravel the truth, revealing shocking secrets about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne.  All the Missing Girls is by Megan Miranda

Offline is by Anne Holt.  It has been eleven years since Hanne Wilhelmsen's life was forever changed by an assault that left her wheelchair bound. Now, Hanne's self-imposed exile is nearing its end. When Oslo comes under attack from Islamic extremists in a series of explosions, the city is left reeling. A militant group claim responsibility, but the Norwegian police force doubt on the authenticity of the declaration, and the group's very existence. The unfolding drama is brought to Hanne's door by her former partner Billy T., who is convinced that his son, Linus, is involved in the recent events. He begs Hanne for help. But Hanne soon learns that she cannot protect Linus, Billy T. or the people of Oslo. Those bent of destruction are one step ahead, and many lives will be lost before the truth is revealed.

October 1987: the morning after the Great Storm. Fifteen-year-old Tania Mills walks out her front door and disappears. Twenty-seven years later her mother still prays for her return. DS Sarah Collins in the Met's Homicide Command is determined to find out what happened, but is soon pulled into a shocking new case and must once again work with a troubled young police officer from her past, Lizzie Griffiths. PC Lizzie Griffiths, now a training detective, is working in the Domestic Violence Unit, known by cops as the 'murder prevention squad'. Called to an incident of domestic violence, she encounters a vicious, volatile man - and a woman too frightened to ask for help. Soon Lizzie finds herself drawn into the centre of the investigation as she fights to protect a mother and daughter in peril. As both cases unfold, Sarah and Lizzie must survive the dangerous territory where love and violence meet.  Death Message is by Kate London.

March 2017

Tess is visiting friends in rural Vermont when she is driving alone at night and sees a young,
half-dressed toddler in the middle of the road, who then runs into the woods like a frightened deer. The entire town begins searching for the little girl. But there are no sightings, no other witnesses, no reports of missing children. As local police point out, Tess's imagination has played her false before. And yet Tess is compelled to keep looking, in a desperate effort to save the little girl she can't forget.  Where I lost Her is by T Greenwood.

Every Man a Menace, is by Patrick Hoffman and is the inside story of an increasingly ruthless ecstasy-smuggling ring. San Francisco is about to receive the biggest delivery of MDMA to hit the West Coast in years. Raymond Gaspar, just out of prison, is sent to the city by his boss - still locked up on the inside - to check in on the increasingly erratic dealer expected to take care of distribution. In Miami, meanwhile, the man responsible for shipping the drugs from Southeast Asia to the Bay Area has just met the girl of his dreams - a woman who can't seem to keep her story straight. And thousands of miles away, in Bangkok, someone farther up the supply chain, a former conscript of the Israeli army, is about to make a phonecall that will put all their lives at risk. Stretching from the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia to the Golden Gate of San Francisco, Every Man a Menace offers an unflinching account of the making, moving and selling of the drug known as Molly - pure happiness sold by the brick, brought to market by bloodshed and betrayal.