Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: Kill Me Twice by Anna Smith

Kill Me Twice by Anna Smith, August 2016, 400 pages, Quercus, ISBN: 1784294799

Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

It is always an immense pleasure to be sent the latest Rosie Gilmour book to review. I love the way this feisty journalist gets her teeth into things and brings people to justice. She cares about more than just the perfect story and because of this people trust her to help them when there is nowhere else to turn.

Her creator, Anna Smith, is an award-winning journalist herself and has worked in many places in the world over the course of her career. KILL ME TWICE is her seventh book to feature Rosie Gilmour.

This time Rosie is caught up in the murky world of heroin addiction as she fights to protect two people who are hiding so that the truth will come out. A stunning young model has thrown herself off the top of a building and the celeb world is in shock at her apparent suicide. Unbeknown to those with the most to hide, this “suicide” is witnessed by another tortured soul: Milly Chambers - a former politician’s wife - who also has plans to end her life that day. She hides unseen as the young woman is brought up onto the hotel roof, fights for her life and is thrown off the building. In terror Milly runs but it is not long before she needs Rosie’s help to stay safe from her husband and others who would wish her harm.

In previous books Rosie has put her own life on the line for her witnesses. It seems as if this book is no exception as she is given a beating or two and threatened for knowing too much. There is also the issue of the secret that connects the heroin addict with the model; a story that could send sales of her paper though the ceiling. Just as long as she survives to tell the tale!

Anna Smith writes nail-biting prose that will keep you up late. It is always impossible to guess the ending and you are never disappointed. If you like feisty female lead characters, then you are going to love Rosie Gilmour. KILL ME TWICE reads well as a stand-alone but is even better if you've read the others in the series first.

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, March 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Review: Buried by Graham Masterton

Buried by Graham Masterton, September 2016, 368 pages, Head of Zeus, ISBN: 1784081396

Reviewed by Susan White.
(Read more of Susan's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Set in Blarney, Cork, this thriller is the sixth in the series featuring Detective Superintendent Katie Maquire.

The story starts when a house renovation reveals the bodies of a family of four. When the skeletons are found to be from many decades previously, the police force consider it to be a lower priority than other more recent cases such as the smuggling and selling of imported cigarettes. However, memories run deep in the community and a possible political motive is put forward for the deaths - or executions - and revenge becomes a possibility.

The tax being lost from the sale of illegally imported goods, particularly cigarettes is bringing pressure on the police to find the distribution source and to stop it. Although local youths selling on the street are often caught, the police and the government want the person organising the scam stopped for good - a known criminal called Bobby Quilty. When one of her police officers is deliberately run down, Katie makes it her personal quest to bring Bobby Quilty to justice. His response is to kidnap Katie's ex-lover, John, and hold him to ransom against her turning a blind eye. Katie now has to plan how to bring Quilty to justice while finding John and rescuing him.

This book has scenes of quite graphic sex and a lot of violence which I found very disturbing and difficult to read. The story highlights the fact that old scores lie deep across both sides of the border and how sometimes old injustices are used by both sides of a continuing conflict.

I found the character of Katie very complex. On one hand she is shown as a strong role model for women in a man's world, overcoming everyday sexism and expectation of what a woman should be and do to achieve a very senior post. On the other hand she is portrayed as a frail woman who allows her emotion to override her good sense and this dichotomy really annoyed me at times.

This is the first book of the series I have read - it intrigued me enough to look out for others.

Susan White, March 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

From my Inbox

A couple of pieces of news from recent emails:

1. From Publishers Lunch, deal news;
Julia Phillips' DISAPPEARING EARTH, about two sisters who go missing on a remote volcanic peninsula in Kamchatka, as clues to the crime lie in the lives -- and stories of violence and loss -- of twelve women in the girls' rural Russian community, to Knopf, in a two-book deal; UK/Commonwealth rights to Scribner UK.
And a new one from Eleanor Catton:
Booker winning author of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton's third novel, BIRNAM WOOD, a psychological thriller, set in a remote area of New Zealand where scores of ultra-rich foreigners are building fortress-like homes in preparation for a coming, following the guerilla gardening outfit Birnam Wood, a ragtag group of leftists who move about the country cultivating other people's land, whose chance encounter with an American billionaire sparks a tragic sequence of events which questions how far each of us would go to ensure our own survival--and at what cost, to Farrar, Straus (US); McClelland & Stewart (Canada); Granta (UK/Australia); and Victoria University Press (NZ).

2. A press release from Harvill Secker re Ruth Ware's The Woman in Cabin 10:

CBS Films announced that it has secured the rights to bestselling author Ruth Ware’s latest psychological thriller THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10. Hillary Seitz (Eagle Eye, Insomnia) is set to adapt the novel for the screen with The Gotham Group (The Maze Runner) serving as producers.

Published by Harvill Secker, an imprint of Vintage, THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 follows journalist Lo Blacklock who is given the travel magazine assignment of a lifetime: to spend a week on a boutique ultra-luxury cruise ship with only a handful of unimaginably wealthy travellers. Lo’s dreamlike experience could not be more perfect until late one night she witnesses an unspeakable act culminating with a woman being thrown overboard. The following morning all of the passengers remain accounted for and the ship sails on as if nothing has happened.

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 is a Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and paperback in the UK, a New York Times bestseller for nineteen consecutive weeks, and it is currently enjoying its tenth week at the top of the Canadian bestseller chart. The rights to the book have been acquired by thirty international publishers.

The film rights to Ware’s debut psychological bestseller, In a Dark, Dark Wood, have already been optioned by New Line Cinema and the film is in development with Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Pacific Standard.

The hotly-anticipated new psychological thriller from Ruth Ware – The Lying Game – will be published by Harvill Secker in the UK on 15 June 2017.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

US Cozy Review: another triplet of reviewlets

Welcome to the latest entry in my irregular feature: US cozy review. My latest Cozy reads are more contemporary than in my last roundup:

In reading order:

1. Engaged in Death by Stephanie Blackmoore #1 Wedding Planner Mystery (2016)

I read this ages ages and accidentally missed it off my last roundup. This was my second favourite cozy read of last year. It introduces Mallory Shepard and her sister Rachel and is set in Port Quincy, Pennsylvania.

What I particularly liked about his book is that, usually we meet the heroine when she's moved to her new home to start afresh and then we get the back-story. In this book however we follow Mallory through her problems alongside her: cheating fiance, loss of job etc.

Mallory inherits a crumbling mansion which may have oil in its grounds. This could solve her money worries but she rejects the offer made by the oil company and next thing you know there's a dead man on the front lawn.

This has a complicated plot, cats and a hunky neighbour with a smart teenage daughter. What more could you ask for? I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Murder Wears White.

2. A Most Curious Murder by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli #1 A Little Library Mystery (2016)

I'm going to quote the official blurb on this one:

"Jenny Weston moves home to Bear Falls, Michigan, to nurse her bruised ego back to health after a bitter divorce. But the idyllic vision of her charming hometown crumbles when her mother's Little Library is destroyed.

The next-door neighbor, Zoe Zola, a little person and Lewis Carroll enthusiast, suspects local curmudgeon Adam Cane, but when he's found dead in Zoe's fairy garden, all roads lead back to her. Jenny, however, believes Zoe is innocent, so the two women team up to find the true culprit, investigating the richest family in Bear Falls, interrogating a few odd townspeople, and delving into long, hidden transgressions--until Adam Cane isn't the only body in town, and they have an even bigger mystery to solve.

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli's quaint and compelling series debut A Most Curious Murder will delight cozy mystery readers."

I liked this one enough to get the second, She Stopped for Death, but I did find the Alice in Wonderland theme a bit too hard for me to follow as I can't even remember if I read the original when I was a child (I'm that old sadly). I liked the idea of Jenny returning to her home and catching up with her former friends/enemies in different ways. And an old mystery is solved as well as the current one.

3. A Tine to Live, A Tine To Die by Edith Maxwell #1 Local Foods Mystery (2014)

Regular Euro Crime blog readers will know I'm always looking for vegetarian sleuths - so I thought I'd try this series. Our heroine Cam isn't veggie but she does grown her own food and is ethically conscious.

When programmer Cam loses her job she decides to take over her uncle's Organic Farm in Westbury, Massachusetts. She also inherits a farm-hand, Mike, whom she catches with a pesticide container. Mike is fired and worse than that, for him, is killed on Cam's farm with one of her farm tools. Cam tries to apply computer logic to solving the murder and in the meantime goes about her farm business and going to farmers' markets and suchlike.

I found this an interesting read as I was very taken with the details behind organic farming. I would say the pace is fairly steady but it does end with a bang! I've already bought the sequel, 'Til Dirt Do Us Part. The fifth book in the series, Mulch Ado about Murder, is out in May 2017.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - Submitted Entries

The Petrona Award team are meeting in a top secret location tomorrow to determine the shortlist for the Petrona Award 2017 for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. The list below is all the books that were submitted. The shortlist - usually six titles - will be announced shortly after the meeting, and the winner will be announced at the CrimeFest Gala Dinner in Bristol on 20 May 2017.

What do you think should be on the shortlist?

Stefan Ahnhem - Victim Without a Face tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles
Steinar Bragi - The Ice Lands tr. Lorenza Garcia
Christoffer Carlsson - The Falling Detective tr. Michael Gallagher
Torkil Damhaug - Death By Water tr. Robert Ferguson
Torkil Damhaug - Fireraiser tr. Robert Ferguson
Kjell Eriksson - Stone Coffin tr. Ebba Segerberg
Karin Fossum - Hellfire tr. Kari Dickson
Friis & Kaaberbol - The Considerate Killer tr. Elisabeth Dyssegaard
Camilla Grebe - The Ice Beneath Her tr. Elizabeth Clark Wessel
Lotte & Soren Hammer - The Vanished tr. Martin Aitken
Kati Hiekkapelto - The Exiled tr. David Hackston
Johanne Hildebrandt - The Unbroken Line of the Moon tr. Tara F Chace
Martin Holmen - Clinch tr. Henning Koch
Anne Holt - Beyond the Truth tr. Anne Bruce
Anne Holt - No Echo tr. Anne Bruce
Jorn Lier Horst - Ordeal tr. Anne Bruce
Steffen Jacobsen - Retribution tr. Charlotte Barslund
Jari Jarvela - The Girl and the Rat tr. Kristian London
Ragnar Jonasson - Blackout tr. Quentin Bates
Mari Jungstedt & Ruben Eliassen - A Darker Sky tr Paul Norlen
Mari Jungstedt - The Fourth Victim tr. Tiina Nunnally
Mons Kallentoft - Souls of Air tr. Neil Smith
Lars Kepler - Stalker tr. Neil Smith
Katja Kettu - The Midwife tr. David Hackston
Jonas Hassen Khemiri - Everything I Don't Remember tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles
Jesper Bugge Kold - Winter Men tr. K E Semmel
Camilla Lackberg - The Ice Child tr. Tiina Nunnally
Hans Olav Lahlum - Chameleon People tr. Kari Dickson
Leena Lehtolainen - Fatal Headwind tr. Owen F Witesman
Leena Lehtolainen - The Devil's Cubs tr. Jenni Salmi
Minna Lindgren - The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency: Death in Sunset Grove tr. Lola Rogers
Liza Marklund - The Final Word tr. Neil Smith
Simon Pasternak - Death Zones tr. Martin Aitken
Leif GW Persson - The Dying Detective tr. Neil Smith
Leif GW Persson - The Sword of Justice tr. Neil Smith
Agnes Ravatn - The Bird Tribunal tr. Rosie Hedger
Liselotte Roll - Good Girls Don't Tell tr. Ian Giles
Thomas Rydahl - The Hermit tr. K E Semmel
Yrsa Sigurdardottir - Why Did You Lie? tr. Victoria Cribb
Gunnar Staalesen - Where Roses Never Die tr. Don Bartlett
Viveca Sten - Closed Circles tr. Laura A Wideburg
Erik Axl Sund - The Crow Girl tr. Neil Smith
Gard Sveen - The Last Pilgrim tr. Steven T Murray
Antti Tuomainen - The Mine tr. David Hackston
Helene Tursten - Who Watcheth tr. Marlaine Delargy
Carl-Johan Vallgren - The Tunnel tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles
Kjell Westo - The Wednesday Club tr. Neil Smith
Joakim Zander - The Brother (apa The Believer) tr. Elizabeth Clark Wessel

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cover Theme - Underwater Hair

I recently spotted these 3 covers with submerged hair!

Hidden Bodies and Undertow were published in 2016 and Friend Request is due out in July.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Film News: The Girl in the Spider's Web

Press release from MacLehose Press regarding a new Lisbeth Salander film with a new cast:

OCTOBER 5, 2018


Production to Begin in September

Film to Feature a New Cast – Alvarez Meeting with Actresses to Play Lisbeth Salander

CULVER CITY, Calif., March 13, 2017 – Lisbeth Salander, the cult figure and title character of the acclaimed Millennium book series created by Stieg Larsson, will return to the screen in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, a first-time adaptation of the recent global bestseller written by David Lagercrantz.  Fede Alvarez, the director of 2016’s breakout thriller Don’t Breathe, will helm the project from a screenplay by Steven Knight and Fede Alvarez & Jay Basu. Scott Rudin, Søren Stærmose, Ole Søndberg, Amy Pascal, Elizabeth Cantillon, Eli Bush, and Berna Levin will produce; the executive producers are Anni Faurbye Fernandez, Line Winther Skyum Funch, Johannes Jensen, and David Fincher.

The new film will feature an entirely new cast, and the announcement marks the kickoff of a global search for an actress to portray in the iconic role of Lisbeth Salander.  The production will begin principal photography in September of this year with a release date scheduled for October 5, 2018.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web will be the first in the best-selling series to be produced into an English-language film in its initial adaptation.  The previous books in the series have been adapted into Swedish-language films, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a remake of the Swedish film.  It became a global hit for Columbia Pictures, taking in over $230 million worldwide.

The announcement was made today at the London Book Fair during a celebration for the fifth Millennium book launch, also by Lagercrantz.  Sony’s Columbia Pictures retains the rights to all future Millennium Series books.

Sanford Panitch, president of Columbia Pictures, said, “In all of contemporary literature, Lisbeth Salander is completely sui generis – probably one of the greatest female literary characters of all time in my view.  Modern punk defiance personified, she is unforgettable in every incarnation, truly one of the most compelling characters we’ve seen in recent years.  David Lagercrantz’s brilliant work in continuing this remarkable series honors Stieg Larsson’s masterpiece.   We at Sony are so honored to be part of this series with Yellowbird and why we’re so excited to be making an original film of The Girl in the Spider’s Web.  Fede Alvarez is the perfect choice to direct.  Fede is an amazing director with a unique vision of the world in particular his talent and skill in creating psychological intensity will bring Lisbeth Salander back into popular movie culture with a roar.”

Alvarez added, “I’m hugely excited and grateful for this opportunity.  Sony has become family to me and I can’t think of a more thrilling project to celebrate our relationship.  Lisbeth Salander is the kind of character any director dreams of bringing to life.  We’ve got a great script and now comes the most fun part – finding our Lisbeth.”

The Millennium Series is a worldwide bestseller, with the four books selling over 86 million copies since their debut.

MacLehose Press will publish Millennium V (title to be confirmed) on 7th September, 2017.

Review: Ed's Dead by Russel D McLean

Ed's Dead by Russel D McLean, March 2017, 224 pages, Saraband, ISBN: 1910192694

Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

ED'S DEAD is a gripping and darkly humorous tale about a young lady, Jen, who works in a bookshop and likes Prosecco. She has tried, and failed, to write a novel and now seems to be stuck with a dodgy bloke who has an annoying roving eye for pretty women. After one too many sessions of being taken for granted, she tells him to get out. Which he does. Only to come back later, when she is out, to attempt to remove his stash from her cupboard. Returning early, Jen sees the lights are on and in fear for her life, probably due to the amount of books she reads, searches for the unknown intruder in her flat, armed with a large kitchen knife. When he emerges from the cupboard, Jen stabs him in the chest, only to discover it is Ed, her ex-bloke. Ed dies messily on the carpet in front of her and so begins a somewhat crazy period in Jen's life. After deciding not to call the police, she goes on the run - from the police, from a criminal gang who want the stash, and from the media, who soon label her the Most Dangerous Woman in Scotland. Jen keeps escaping from impossible situations. And the body count keeps on growing. Poor Jen. Most of the deaths at her hands are accidental and she has no idea how they happen exactly. She must decide what to do before the police, or the gang, or the media, catch up with her.

This book is fantastic! Fast paced and at times just utter nuts, the killings are so gruesome that they end up incredibly funny. Russel D McLean has written a beautiful masterpiece of modern Scottish Noir that leaves you unsure about whether you should laugh or cry. Jen is a very ordinary, likeable, lass who simply ups her game plan in order to survive when things take an unexpected turn. You want her to escape from her pursuers and end up rather proud of the person she becomes, despite the bloody trail she leaves in her wake. The blurb on the back of the book states that this story "proves, once and for all, the female of the species really is more deadly than the male." I reckon this might just be right!

Very highly recommended.

Amanda Gillies, March 2017.