Sunday, August 20, 2017

Review: Marked for Life by Emelie Schepp

Marked for Life by Emelie Schepp, June 2017, 384 pages, Paperback, HQ, ISBN: 1848455372

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

The seven-year-old girl sat in the corner. She pulled at her mama’s skirt and put it over her mouth. She imagined that she was at home in her bed, or rocking in a cradle when the ship rolled in the waves.

Norrköping, Sweden.
When Detective Chief Inspector Levin and Detective Mia Bolander arrive at the house in Östanvägen, an ambulance is in the drive and forensics are already working the scene. In the living room lies the body of a man, Hans Juhlén, head of asylum issues at the Migration Board. His wife found him when she returned from her walk. He had been shot. There are no signs of a struggle but Mrs Juhlén says that a window had been open and she had closed it. Whilst Levin continues to ask the weeping woman questions, the forensics officer dusts the window sill for prints and finds two – the hand prints of a child.

Prosecutor Jana Berzelius promptly leaves the courtroom after the trial verdict. As usual she ignores the waiting journalists and makes her way to the garage. Her cell phone vibrates and she answers her father’s call. He asks how the case went and if she will be coming to the family dinner on the first of May. She accepts the invitation; neutral respect is always the tone of Jana’s and her parents’ conversations. However the next call is not from her mother as she expects but from the Chief Public Prosecutor. An important Migration Board official has been murdered and he wants Jana to assist with the investigation. She drives straight to police headquarters and finds the investigating team already gathered in the conference room. It is clear that detective Mia Bolander is not pleased to see that Jana Berzelius is in charge. Mia dislikes and distrusts her, views her as stiff, upper-class, arrogant and with no idea of how to let her hair down. But Mia seems to be alone in her hostility as the team gets down to work and discusses the time line and crime scene: Mrs Juhlén is a person of interest, a pack of threatening blackmail letters was found in the victim’s wardrobe, the murder weapon hasn’t been found, nor are there any children or grandchildren in the family to explain the child’s prints on the window sill.

In another time and place a young girl huddles with her family and others in a crowded metal container which pitches and rolls with the movement of the ship. She plays her fingers along the steel wall, making them gallop like a horse, but this time Mama doesn’t laugh. Lots of people are crammed into this dark, airless, stinking, space. The little girl knows some of them, some of the children especially. Her galloping fingers find a metal plate on the wall. In the darkness she can just make out letters … V … P and what her mother tells her is an X... O and then some numbers. She counts them. Six numbers...

The strength of Emelie Schepp’s dark crime story about people trafficking is its strong plot centred on prosecutor Jana Berzelius, a clever, elegant and successful woman but a woman with a secret, hidden from even herself until the body of a murdered boy is found. A scarred name marks the back of the child’s neck. Jana too has scars on the back of her neck. Soon her ever-present nightmares begin to change, becoming flashbacks which set her in pursuit of the boy’s killer in tandem with the police investigation – but for reasons of her own.

The story of MARKED FOR LIFE is strong and striking and begs to be filmed. Perhaps that’s what its author might have hoped for – for I found the actual writing flawed. Odd turns of phrase and grammar sat badly with me, sometimes even getting in the way of the action. No translator is credited with this English language version. The characterisation is also thin, with the exception of Jana herself and her distorted mirror image, the unlikeable police detective Mia Bolander who looms large. I ended up feeling as though I was viewing a dark and fascinating story through an equally dark glass.

Emelie Schepp’s début novel, MARKED FOR LIFE started out as self-published. It would have been good if a sympathetic editor had taken it under their wing. However it has attracted favourable community reviews and Swedish 2016 Specsavers Crime Time Reader’s Prize. For fans, the good news is that Emelie Schepp has written a further two novels in her Jana Berzelius series which are due to be published over the next two years.

I remain some kind of grouch in saying that, for me, this novel was an uneven read except for its original and absorbing plot.

Lynn Harvey, August 2017

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

Review: The Caller by Chris Carter

The Caller by Chris Carter, July 2017, 496 pages, Simon & Schuster UK, ISBN: 147115632X

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

This is the eighth book in Carter's excellent series featuring LAPD detectives Hunter and Garcia and it is simply fantastic: riddled with tension, plot twists and nastiness, the story is gruesome enough to give you nightmares and addictive enough to keep you up late as you simply must know who did it. Carter takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride and leaves you exhausted at the end.

The story is chilling enough to give Hollywood blockbusters, like Saw, serious competition. It starts with the brutal demise of a decent, sweet, young woman and goes downhill from there. The killer adds a unique twist to his approach as he video calls the close friend or partner of his victim and, after asking questions that give the recipient of the call a fleeting feeling they might be able to save a life, graphically kills their loved one in front of them.

Hunter is completely stuck. He has no real leads, as the killer is extremely good at covering his tracks, and spends many sleepless nights going over things. The killer is also patient and meticulous. Starting with notes made of letters cut from newspapers, he stalks his victims for months, terrifying them, until making his move. One thing is for sure - the killer doesn't waste time and the discovery of a second victim a few nights later takes things up a level. Hunter needs results, especially when the husband of the second victim decides to start an investigation of his own. Hunter has a sharp mind and a keen eye for detail. You really hope he can get to the bottom of this one but, at the same time, really can't see how he can. With his boss anxious for results and the killer upping his game, the pressure is on for Hunter to deliver.

Chris Carter is Brazilian born and writes about cases in America. He qualifies for Euro Crime as he currently lives in London. In his past life he worked in Michigan as part of the District Attorney's Criminal Psychology team. There is no doubt that his experience adds an edge to his work and brings his killers shockingly to life. His opening chapters in this latest novel are first rate and leave you in no doubt that this is going to be an excellent book!

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, August 2017.

Internet Outage

Just a quick note to apologise for the lack of updates this month. I've not had any broadband access for nearly a month. It's finally been resolved, which involved 3 visits from BT. As well as no internet, our local setup meant I couldn't access my files or email, so it's been really frustrating!

I'll be opening up the Petrona Award in September so expect the eligibles list soon.

Many thanks for sticking with Euro Crime.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood

A Meditation on Murder by Robert Thorogood, January 2015, MIRA, ISBN: 1848453566

Death in Paradise is a successful BBC series in which a British police detective inspector has been sent to run the small police department on the Caribbean island of St Marie. Each week there is another baffling murder case to solve and each episode concludes with all the suspects gathered together in true Poirot-style fashion.

I'm a huge fan of this cosy series which will return to the television with a third iteration of the British Inspector, however A MEDITATION ON MURDER returns to the original DI, Richard Poole. Richard is as strait-laced as they come and wears a suit and tie in the oppressive heat and does not enjoy island life at all and especially sharing his beach-side cabin with a lizard, called Harry.

Richard and his team of Camille, Fidel and Dwayne are summoned to The Retreat as the co-owner, the self-styled Spiritual Guru Aslan, has been found dead in the Meditation Space, a Japanese building with thick paper walls. Five of Aslan's students were locked in the building with him and one, Julia, immediately confesses to Aslan's murder.

Richard is unconvinced that Julia is the guilty party and so the team continue to investigate Aslan and the five guests. Information is slowly uncovered about Aslan and some surprising connections to his guests mean that everyone had a motive to kill him.

As with the tv series, there is lots of recapping – going over “what do we know so far” but we do get to know a little more about Richard and he has a couple of escapades which wouldn't make it to the tv screen in the time limit of a one hour show.

I enjoyed this outing and will read the other two books currently available (with a fourth due in May 2018). I should say that the author, Robert Thorogood, is the creator of the show, so who better to write these unseen episodes. If you enjoy traditional mysteries and haven't seen the show or if you are a fan of the show then give this one a try.

Karen Meek, August 2017.

Friday, August 04, 2017

New Releases - August 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in August 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). August and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Anderson, Lin - Follow the Dead #13 Rhona MacLeod, forensic scientist, Glasgow
• Avdic, Asa - The Dying Game
• Black, Helen - Taking Liberties #7 Lilly Valentine, Family care lawyer
• Bonner, Hilary - Deadly Dance #1 DI David Vogel, Bristol
• Booker, Simon - Kill Me Twice #2 Morgan Vine, Journalist
• Bowen, Rhys - On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service #12 Lady Georgiana Rannoch ('Georgie'), 1930s Britain
• Buckler, James - Last Stop Tokyo
• Callaghan, Tom - A Summer Revenge #3 Inspector Akyl Borubaev
• Camilleri, Andrea - A Nest of Vipers #21 Inspector Montalbano, Sicily, Italy
• Cotterill, Colin - The Rat Catchers' Olympics #12 Dr Siri Paiboun, Laos
• Cross, A J - Something Evil Comes #4 Dr Kate Hanson, forensic psychologist, West Midlands
• Curran, Chris - Her Deadly Secret
• Cutts, Lisa - Buried Secrets
• De Cataldo, Giancarlo - Suburra (written with Carlo Bonini)
• Donoghue, Clare - The Night Stalker #4 DI Mike Lockyer, South-east London
• Douglas, Claire - Last Seen Alive (missed off July's list)
• Garnier, Pascal - Low Heights
• Gregory, Susanna - The Habit of Murder #23 Matthew Bartholomew, 14th Century physician, Cambridge
• Hannah, Sophie - Did You See Melody?
• Hardie, Mark - Truly Evil #2 DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell, Essex Police Major Investigation Team
• Hawkswood, Sarah - Marked to Die #3 Bradecote and Catchpoll, Worcestershire, C12
• Hoeg, Peter - The Susan Effect
• Horowitz, Anthony - The Word is Murder #1 Detective Daniel Hawthorne
• Howells, Debbie - The Death of Her
• Kray, Roberta - Dark Places
• Lelic, Simon - The House
• Lindgren, Minna - The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency: Escape from Sunset Grove #2 Twilight Grove Trilogy
• MacNeal, Susan Elia - The Paris Spy #7 Maggie Hope
• McDermid, Val - Insidious Intent #10 Dr Tony Hill, Psychologist and DCI Carol Jordan, Yorkshire
• McGee, James - The Reckoning #6 Matthew Hawkwood, Bow Street Runner, Regency London
• McPherson, Catriona - The Weight of Angels
• Mitchell, Dreda Say - Blood Daughter #3 Flesh and Blood Trilogy
• Morton, Mandy - The Michaelmas Murders #5 The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency
• Oldfield, Mark - The Dead #3 Vengeance of Memory trilogy
• Petersen, Christoffer - In the Shadow of the Mountain #2 Konstabel Fenna Brongaard, Greenland
• Raabe, Marc - The Shock
• Ramqvist, Karolina - The White City
• Russell, Norman - An Oxford Scandal #3 Inspector Antrobus
• Sutton, William - Lawless and the House of Electricity #3 Campbell Lawless, Victorian Policeman
• Tope, Rebecca - Peril in the Cotswolds #15 Thea Osborne, House Sitter, Cotswolds
• Vargas, Fred - The Accordionist #3 Three Students Trilogy, France
• Webster, Jason - Fatal Sunset #6 Chief Inspector Max Camara, Valencia
• Weeks, Lee - Cold Revenge #6 DC Ebony Willis, London
• Whitaker, Chris - All The Wicked Girls
• White, Neil - From the Shadows #1 Dan Grant, Lawyer
• Wignall, Kevin A Fragile Thing

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Awards News: CWA Daggers 2017 – Shortlists

My internet wasn't actually fixed last Thursday as BT said it was. It took until Monday to be usable and then I was home 2 hours late yesterday due to the trains being off, so finally here are the Dagger 2017 Shortlists as per the press release:


CWA Daggers – Shortlists Announced


The Crime Writers’ Association announced the shortlists for this year’s Dagger awards for crime writing at an at an evening drinks reception held at Waterstones Piccadilly on Wednesday 26 July.

The CWA Daggers, which are the probably the awards crime authors and publishers alike most wish to win, are awarded every year in 10 categories. The Diamond Dagger in 2017 has already been announced as best-selling author Ann Cleeves, for a career’s outstanding contribution to crime fiction, and the Dagger in the Library winner has been announced as the very popular author Mari Hannah.

The shortlists are proudly sponsored by are kindly sponsored by Hazchem Network Ltd, the UK’s only palletised distribution network for Dangerous Goods, and by CrimeFest, the international crime writing convention, which will be held 17-20 May in Bristol in 2018.

Here are the Dagger shortlists for 2017. For brief descriptions of each book, please visit the website: www.thecwa.co.uk/daggers

The CWA Gold Dagger

The Beautiful Dead (Bantam Press) by Belinda Bauer

Dead Man's Blues (Mantle) by Ray Celestin

The Dry (Little, Brown) by Jane Harper

Spook Street (John Murray) by Mick Herron

A Rising Man (Harvill Secker) by Abir Mukherjee

The Girl in Green (Faber & Faber) by Derek B. Miller



The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

You Will Know Me (Picador) by Megan Abbott
The Killing Game (Bookouture) by J S Carol
We Go Around in the Night and Are Consumed by Fire (Myriad Editions) by Jules Grant
Redemption Road (Hodder & Stoughton) by John Hart
Spook Street (John Murray) by Mick Herron
The Constant Soldier (Mantle) by William Ryan



THE JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER
The Pictures (Point Blank) by Guy Bolton

Ragdoll (Trapeze) by Daniel Cole

Distress Signals (Corvus) by Catherine Ryan Howard

Sirens (Doubleday) by Joseph Knox

Good Me, Bad Me (Michael Joseph) by Ali Land

Tall Oaks (Twenty 7) by Chris Whitaker


THE GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION

A Dangerous Place (The History Press) by Simon Farquhar

Close But No Cigar: A True Story of Prison Life in Castro's Cuba (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) by Stephen Purvis

The Scholl Case: The Deadly End of a Marriage (Text Publishing)
by Anja Reich-Osang

The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer
(Bloomsbury Publishing) by Kate Summerscale

A Passing Fury: Searching for Justice at the End of World War II
(Jonathan Cape) by A. T. Williams

Another Day in the Death of America (Guardian Faber Publishing) by Gary Younge



The CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger

The Devil's Feast (Fig Tree) by M. J. Carter

The Ashes of Berlin (No Exit Press) by Luke McCallin

The Long Drop (Harvill Secker) by Denise Mina

A Rising Man (Harvill Secker) by Abir Mukherjee

By Gaslight (Point Blank) by Steven Price

The City in Darkness (Constable) by Michael Russell




The CWA International Dagger


A Cold Death (4th Estate) by Antonio Manzini, Tr Antony Shugaar

A Fine Line (Bitter Lemon Press) by Gianrico Carofiglio, Tr Howard Curtis

Blood Wedding (MacLehose Press) by Pierre Lemaître, Tr Frank Wynne

Climate of Fear (Harvill Secker) by Fred Vargas, Tr Siân Reynolds

The Dying Detective (Doubleday) by Leif G W Persson, Tr Neil Smith

The Legacy of the Bones (HarperCollins) by Delores Redondo, Tr Nick Casiter & Lorenza Garcia



The CWA Short Story Dagger

The Assassination by Leye Adenle in Sunshine Noir (White Sun Books)
Edited by AnnaMaria Alfieri & Michael Stanley

Murder and its Motives by Martin Edwards in Motives for Murder (Sphere)
Edited by Martin Edwards

The Super Recogniser of Vik by Michael Ridpath in Motives for Murder (Sphere) Edited by Martin Edwards

What You Were Fighting For by James Sallis in The Highway Kind (Mulholland Books) Edited by Patrick Millikin

The Trials of Margaret by LC Tyler in Motives for Murder (Sphere)
Edited by Martin Edwards

Snakeskin by Ovidia Yu in Sunshine Noir (White Sun Books) Edited by AnnaMaria Alfieri & Michael Stanley



DEBUT DAGGER
sponsored by Orion Publishing Group
For the opening of a crime novel from a writer with no publishing contract.


Strange Fire Sherry Rankin

The Reincarnation of Himmat Gupte Neeraj Shah

Lost Boys Spike Dawkins

Red Haven Mette McLeod

Broken Victoria Slotover
*

The winners of all the above CWA Daggers will be announced at the glittering Dagger Awards Gala Dinner to be held at the Grange City Hotel, London on 26 October. Ann Cleeves will be awarded the Diamond Dagger at the same occasion and Mari Hannah will be presented with the Dagger in the Library award. The after-dinner speaker will be Robert Thorogood, creator and writer of Death in Paradise, and master of ceremonies will be Barry Forshaw, the acclaimed crime fiction expert. Everyone is welcome to attend. For details and a booking form, please visit www.thecwa.co.uk/dinner or email admin@thecwa.co.uk

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Internet Problems

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. I've been away for a few days and returned to no phone or broadband. It's back now, just in time for me to go back to work!

With the the limited wifi service I could access sporadically, I managed to put a few links on the Facebook page.

I'll be posting the CWA Dagger shortlists,  as soon as I can. Lots to catch up on!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review: Robbing the Dead by Tana Collins

Robbing the Dead by Tana Collins, February 2017, 278 pages, Bloodhound Books, ISBN: 0995692696

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

This nail-biting debut by Tana Collins introduces her detective, DCI Jim Carruthers, and heralds the arrival of another top-notch author of Scottish crime fiction. Set in a small town, called Castletown - that is roughly based on St. Andrews but still has an operational RAF base close by, the novel is a treasure trove of interesting locations that will hook in readers who are past and present residents of this unique university town and keep their attention right to the very last page.

The story starts with a particularly gruesome murder in the town, in a back alley. You are drip fed the fact that the victim is a young Welshman, a member of the RAF and knows his assailant, and also find out about the creepy person watching events unfold. That is all you find out. Even the police don't know much more but very soon this killing is upstaged by a car bomb and what looks like attempted murder. Theories abound but all centre on the fact that somebody doesn't like the intended victim’s opinions of the Welsh, particularly Welsh terrorist groups and those who are fighting for freedom. Carruthers, newly arrived in town, is thought to be out of depth on this case and outside help is drafted in, in the form of terror expert McGhee, who once tried to seduce Carruthers’ now ex-wife. There is no love lost between the men and tensions rise as his eyes fall on Andrea Fletcher; Carruthers’ extremely efficient and capable DS.

In their hunt for the intended victim, who has simply vanished, the would-be murderer, and a motive for this crime, as well as still trying to sort out first murder, Carruthers and Fletcher find themselves face-to-face with the aftermath of Bloody Sunday and have to join the dots to find out how everything is connected. They must hurry if they are to be successful as they are not the only ones looking for answers and, indeed, justice.

I loved this book! The story is captivating, well-written and has an ending that you can't see coming. Jim Carruthers is an extremely likeable cop, with enough personal trauma to make him interesting as well as good at his job. The prospect of more books about him and DS Fletcher, in their fight against crime in not-so-sleepy Castletown, is very exciting. In ROBBING THE DEAD Tana Collins has shown, extremely effectively, that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Extremely highly recommended.

Amanda Gillies, July 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cover Theme - Flowers

A few recent(ish) covers with flowers on the front:



Thursday, July 13, 2017

BBC Radio 4 Drama: Foreign Bodies: Keeping the Wolf Out

I think this is a repeat but I missed it first time around. Listen now or download via the BBC Radio iPlayer app - a three parter called Keeping the Wolf Out. Available for the next 20 days, each episode is 45 minutes long.



Episode One - Behind the Wall

Special Investigator Bertalan Lázár returns in Philip Palmer's crime drama set in communist Hungary in 1963. Fighting the criminals is hard enough but there are other more sinister battles raging in higher places.

Parts two and three are Waiting by the River and Heroes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: The Sixth Victim by Tessa Harris

The Sixth Victim by Tessa Harris, May 2017, 304 pages, Kensington Publishing, ISBN: 1496706544

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

London's East End, 1888: When darkness falls, terror begins...

The foggy streets of London's Whitechapel district have become a nocturnal hunting ground for Jack the Ripper, and no woman is safe. Flower girl Constance Piper is not immune to dread, but she is more preoccupied with her own strange experiences of late.

Clairvoyants seem to be everywhere these days. Constance's mother has found comfort in contacting her late father in a seance. But are such powers real? And could Constance really be possessed of second sight? She longs for the wise counsel of her mentor and champion of the poor, Emily Tindall, but the kind missionary has gone missing.

Following the latest grisly discovery, Constance is contacted by a high-born lady of means who fears the victim may be her missing sister. She implores Constance to use her clairvoyance to help solve the crime, which the press is calling "the Whitechapel Mystery," attributing the murder to the Ripper.

As Constance becomes embroiled in intrigue far more sinister than she could have imagined, assistance comes in a startling manner that profoundly challenges her assumptions about the nature of reality. She'll need all the help she can get--because there may be more than one depraved killer out there...


In 2012, I had the good fortune to read for review one of the author's previous books THE ANATOMIST’S APPRENTICE an historical thriller set in 1780 which was about Dr Thomas Silkstone, an American surgeon from Philadelphia, who brings his skills from the US colonies to London. This was the first in a series of six books about Silkstone.

So having an appreciation of her enormous skill as a novelist I was very pleased to read her latest book which is also set in London and is the start of a new series, featuring Constance Piper.

The author has written another highly readable story which has an element of fantasy to entertain the reader and which makes it even more exciting. This was a story which I could not put down until the final conclusion. The author has done considerable detailed research to create a very believable impression of London of 1888, and I was very impressed with this but of course I remember her talent from previous books.

I found the story immensely gripping and fast moving and the pages just shot by in this extremely atmospheric story. Very strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, July 2017

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Website Updates: July 2017

Yesterday, I updated the main files on the Euro Crime website. Euro Crime includes both British and other European crime fiction writers (that have been published in English); non-British/European born crime writers who are strongly associated with British/European crime fiction (eg. Donna Leon), and crime writers in translation from outside of Europe.

Just a couple of reminders regarding the New Releases page:

1. The main by month/by author pages refer to when a book is published (in English) anywhere in the world however the 'by category ie historical, translated etc' is specific to the UK eg Emily Brightwell's Mrs Jeffries series which was published in the US in the 1990s (and on) is only recently published in the UK and so some of her books appear in the 2017 Historical list.*

2. When a book is released "early" in ebook I am taking the publication date as to be when the print edition comes out (this is the rule we use for determining Petrona Award eligibility).

As always, if you spot something wrong or missing, please do let me know.

Here's a summary of the usual updates:

The Author Websites page now lists 1065 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2485 authors (12452 titles of which 3048 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: Tove Alsterdal, Sally Andrews, Asa Avdic, Federico Axat, Xiao Bai, R J Bailey, Simon Berthon, Simon Booker, Oliver Bottini, Benet Brandreth, Alex Caan, Vince Cable, Julia Chapman, Anne Coates, Daniel Cole, Liz Cowley & Donough O'Brien, Luca D'Andrea, Phillip DePoy, Claire Douglas, Alice Feeney, T P Fielden, Helen Fields, Guy Fraser-Sampson, Caz Frear, Jack Grimwood, JM Gulvin, Johana Gustawsson, Nell Hampton, Elodie Harper, Erin Hart, E V Harte, L V Hay, Elizabeth Heathcote, Elisabeth Herrmann, Nir Hezroni, Mark Hill, Jessica Jarlvi, Matt Johnson, Dirk Kurbjuweit, Peter Laws, Anna Legat, Paula Lennon, Jordi Llobregat, TM Logan Christopher Lowery, H B Lyle, Bonnie MacBird, Amneris Magella, & Cocco Giovanni Laura Marshall, Jon Michelet, J S Monroe, Tara Moore, Peter Morfoot, Alan Murray, Kristine Naess, Sarah J Naughton, Annemarie Neary, Carlene O'Connor, Laura Purcell, D M Quincy, Karolina Ramqvist, Amanda Reynolds, Matthew Richardson, Jenny Rogneby, Jean-Christophe Rufin, Mikel Santiago, Holly Seddon, Jan-Philipp Sendker, Abi Silver, Fiona Veitch Smith, Katherine Stansfield, Karen Lee Street, Plum Sykes, Lone Theils, MB Vincent, Lesley Welsh, Matt Wesolowski, Hanna Winter and David Young.

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Jane Adams, Lin Anderson, M J Arlidge, Jo Bannister, Fiona Barton, Quentin Bates, M C Beaton, Simon Beckett, Parker Bilal, Laurent Binet, Harry Bingham, Cara Black, Helen Black, Tony Black, Sara Blaedel, Sam Blake, Sharon Bolton, Hilary Bonner, Stephen Booth, Sam Bourne, Simon Brett, Frances Brody, Adam Brookes, Eric Brown, Fiona Buckley, Steve Burrows, Helen Cadbury, Tom Callaghan, Stella Cameron, Christoffer Carlsson, James Carol, Clare Carson, Alan Carter, Andrea Carter, Chris Carter, Joyce Cato, Steve Cavanagh, Kimberley Chambers, Clare Chase, Lee Child, P F Chisholm, Alys Clare, Tammy Cohen, Sheila Connolly, Julie Corbin, Colin Cotterill, Mason Cross, Sinead Crowley, Lisa Cutts, Annie Dalton, Frederic Dard, Lindsey Davis, Sandrone Dazieri, Maurizio De Giovanni, A A Dhand, Katerina Diamond, David Dickinson, Clare Donoghue, Margaret Duffy, Stella Duffy, Ruth Dugdall, Elizabeth J Duncan, Marjorie Eccles, Kate Ellis, Mark Ellis, Lyndsay Faye, Paul Finch, Nicci French, V M Giambanco, Robert Goddard, Dolores Gordon-Smith, Ann Granger, Clio Gray, Michael Gregorio, Isabelle Grey, Kate Griffin, Elly Griffiths, Patricia Hall, Simon Hall, Adam Hamdy, Kate Hamer, Lotte and Soren Hammer, C S Harris, Cora Harrison, Paula Hawkins, Alis Hawkins, Veronica Heley, Mick Herron, Matt Hilton, Hjorth-Rosenfeldt, Anne Holt, Jorn Lier Horst, Debbie Howells, Andrew Hughes, Graham Hurley, Graham Ison, David Jackson, Peter James, Michael Jecks, Ragnar Jonasson, Mons Kallentoft, M R C Kasasian, Emma Kavanagh, Lesley Kelly, Christobel Kent, Lars Kepler, Alanna Knight, Jens Lapidus, Stephen Leather, Simon Lelic, Pierre Lemaitre, Donna Leon, Minna Lindgren, Howard Linskey, Kate London, M L Longworth, Sheila Lowe, Stuart MacBride, A J MacKenzie, Barry Maitland, Michael J Malone, Henning Mankell, Scott Mariani, Edward Marston, Faith Martin, Colette McBeth, Rob McCarthy, Ken McCoy, Nigel McCrery, Brian McGilloway M J/Mel McGrath, Sophie McKenzie, Russel D McLean, Catriona McPherson, K T/Kate Medina, Elmer Mendoza, Dreda Say Mitchell, Lottie Moggach, Susan Moody, Steve Mosby, T F Muir, Abir Mukherjee, Julie Myerson, Fuminori Nakamura, Hakan Nesser, Chris Nickson, Nick Oldham, Leonardo Padura, Tony Parsons, Ben Pastor, Andrea Penrose, Anne Perry, Chris Petit, Oliver Potzsch, Marc Raabe, Caro Ramsay, Danielle Ramsay, Anne Randall, Matt Benyon Rees, Marnie Riches, Michael Ridpath, Mike Ripley, Mark Roberts, Peter Robinson, Michael Robotham, Pauline Rowson, Priscilla Royal, James Runcie, Leigh Russell, Michael Russell, William Ryan, Simon Scarrow, Mark Sennen, Sara Sheridan, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, J G Sinclair, Anna Smith, Jo Spain, Sally Spencer, Susie Steiner, Viveca Sten, Linda Stratmann, Martin Suter, Andrew/A D Swanston, S D Sykes, C L Taylor, Mike Thomas, E S Thomson, David/D B Thorne, Rebecca Tope, Simon Toyne, M J Trow, Antti Tuomainen, Helene Tursten, L C Tyler, Nicola Upson, Antonin Varenne, Luca Veste, Martin Walker, Alex Walters, Ruth Ware, Tim Weaver, Susan Wilkins, Timothy Williams, Laura Wilson, Robert Wilton, Jacqueline Winspear, Inger Wolf, Tom Wood and Anne Zouroudi.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Review: Earthly Remains by Donna Leon

Earthly Remains by Donna Leon, April 2017, 320 pages, Hardback, William Heinemann, ISBN: 1785151355

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

As the canal narrowed, they saw spoonbills ahead of them, waving their beaks from side to side in the mud as they searched for food. Instinctively the two men pulled in their oars and approached the birds silently, but one of them must have made a motion, for the two birds took wing and were gone in an instant.

Police headquarters, Venice.
The interview of a wealthy suspect – whether or not he gave pills to a young girl at a party – is being conducted in stifling heat. The girl subsequently died in hospital but that doesn’t seem to disturb their suspect. Commissario Brunetti hides his growing repugnance but is increasingly aware of officer Pucetti seated next to him, and of his reactions. What happens next is hard to describe but it is a pivotal point, an impetuous action or set of impetuous actions, starting with Brunetti shooting out his arm, groaning and then collapsing to the floor of the interview room.

In hospital later, Brunetti cannot tell whether his action had been a stalling device to protect a young man’s police career or a genuine medical crisis. But there is no doubting its effect on his wife Paola when she arrives at his bedside, leans close and demands, “What have you done now?” As Brunetti explains he comes to a realisation: that he is going to use the incident to step away from his police work and the stress of protecting himself and his staff from its psychological toll. Nevertheless he is uneasy when the hospital doctor agrees that two or three weeks break from his job is necessary. Now Paola and Brunetti must decide where he can obtain isolation and the image of rowing on the Laguna, as he had as a young man, comes to Brunetti. Paola reminds him of her family’s open invitation to stay at a relative’s small villa on the island of Sant ‘Erasmo. No children, no Paola; just Brunetti, the villa, its caretaker family and days of reading, rowing, eating and sleeping. At Police Headquarters, Brunetti’s frequently-used charade of feeble uselessness works well once more on his boss Patta. So, with a rigorously small suitcase packed with T-shirts, old jeans and his beloved Greek and Latin writings, Brunetti takes the ferry to the island of Sant ‘Erasmo where he is met by the caretaker Davide Casati and settled into the villa.

The following days accompanying Casati as he rows amongst the marshy islets and narrow tidal canals of the Laguna to check his beehives bring a kind of peace to Brunetti. They also put him in touch with his own past for Casati had known and rowed with Brunetti’s father. But Brunetti can also see that Casati is worried by something and oppressed by a sense of guilt. One hot day a fierce and sudden storm blows in whilst Brunetti is out cycling. Drenched, he manages to get back to the villa but next morning Casati’s daughter reports that her father did not return from rowing on the Laguna the day before.

An anxious and difficult search ends with finding Davide’s drowned body, floating beneath his upturned boat, his leg wrapped in the anchor rope. The death of this newfound friend haunts Brunetti and he cannot help but be drawn back searching for the truth of Casati’s death and the truth of his past.

With her Commissario Guido Brunetti books, American-born author Donna Leon has created a classic and long-running crime series; one that is not only enduring but is a detailed chronicle of Leon’s beloved Venice and a careful portrait of a marriage between classics-loving policeman Brunetti and his English Literature professor wife Paola. Followers of the series have got to know their two children, to sit at their table, eat their food and drink their wine. Brunetti's colleagues are equally familiar and established. Yet it is always possible to jump into individual books on their own terms. Donna Leon’s fine juggling act with the series’ back story adds richness and familiarity without rendering each novel indecipherable without knowledge of the previous one.

EARTHLY REMAINS itself reads as freshly and thoughtfully about contemporary life in Venice and the lives of its characters as earlier novels in the series. Brunetti has grown older and perhaps darker in his thoughts but Leon takes him away from the tourist-packed bridges and alleys of Venice and out into the city’s own setting, The Laguna. Painstaking pictures of each encounter with people, birds, islands and islets, ruined farm and villa, mirror the breadth and subtlety of Leon’s cool eye – despite writing, one feels, out of a personal passion about an environment and way of life rapidly disappearing. In EARTHLY REMAINS it seems as if this pause for a long cool look is what Brunetti himself may need in order to reconnect with his original passion for justice. Yes, good fortune smiles on him in the form of a wonderful place to recuperate, thanks to his wife’s wealthy family, and the almost supernatural cyber powers of the ever elegant Signorina Elettra coming to the rescue once again during the course of Brunetti’s investigation into Casati’s past. But a little bit of fortuitous escapism is necessary. Something needs to go right amidst a wider world of corruption, pollution, greed and personal tragedy where, as Leon has said of the current American administration vis-à-vis environmental protection – the foxes have been put in the hen coop.

Donna Leon is a marathon runner when it comes to crime series and in EARTHLY REMAINS, the twenty-sixth in her Guido Brunetti series, Donna Leon remains in peak form.

Lynn Harvey, July 2017

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Blog Tour: Martin Edwards & The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books

I'm very pleased to host a guest post from Martin Edwards today, to celebrate the release of his latest reference book on crime fiction. He follows up the hugely acclaimed The Golden Age of Murder (2015) with The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, my new study of crime fiction, is billed as a companion to the British Library’s amazingly popular series of Crime Classics. It’s certainly that, but I hope it’s also something more. The key is that word “story”. This book isn’t meant to be merely a collection of short monographs about interesting novels of the past. It doesn’t even discuss in detail the majority of the books that have been published by the British Library to date. What I set out to do was to explore the way in which the genre developed in the half-century that separates The Hound of the Baskervilles from the appearance of Patricia Highsmith’s brilliant debut Strangers on a Train.

When I published The Golden Age of Murder (Harper Collins) a couple of years back, I wasn’t sure how people would react to my rather elaborate narrative about the extraordinary men and women who created the Detection Club, and the wonderful books they wrote. I avoided an academic approach, partly because I’m not an academic. I’m an enthusiast, and I wanted to share my enthusiasm for the Golden Age detective fiction. So I was determined that there wouldn’t be any footnotes! My chapter end notes were meant to supplement the text and also, in many cases, be entertaining in themselves. Above all, I wanted to employ the techniques of the novelist to tell a story about the Golden Age.

Rather to my surprise, and much to my delight, it turned out that a good many people around the world not only shared my enthusiasm, but also found the approach I’d adopted an enjoyable means of learning about books that, in countless cases, had been long forgotten. The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books is very different from The Golden Age of Murder, but again I’ve tried to make use of my experience as a crime novelist to offer a few unexpected twists along the way as the narrative unfolds.

Because this is a British Library book, naturally the focus is on British books. But Eurocrime fans need not despair! I’m fascinated by the Golden Age detective fiction that was being written in languages other than English at the time when Conan Doyle, Christie, and company were at work. This interest has led to me to put together an anthology of classic crime in translation, Foreign Bodies, which the British Library will publish in the autumn. And my chosen hundred classic crime books include, for instance, Six Dead Men, by the Belgian author Stanislas-Andre Steeman. It’s been out of print for far too long, but it bears some uncanny resemblances to Christie’s And Then There Were None. Most interestingly of all, perhaps, it pre-dates Dame Agatha’s masterpiece by eight years.

My thanks are due to Karen Meek for hosting this guest post. Over the course of the next few days, I’ll be travelling around the blogosphere, talking about different aspects of the book, and of classic crime. Here’s a list of all the stops on my blog tour – and in the final post, I’ll list the top 30 bestsellers in the Classic Crime series over the past twelve months:

Wed 28 June – Lesa’ Book Critiques - https://lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com
Thurs 29 June – The Rap Sheet - http://therapsheet.blogspot.com
Fri 30 June – Pretty Sinister Books - http://prettysinister.blogspot.com
Sat 1 Jul – Confessions of a Mystery Novelist (interview) - https://margotkinberg.wordpress.com
Sun 2 Jul –Euro Crime - http://eurocrime.blogspot.co.uk
Mon 3 Jul – Tipping My Fedora - https://bloodymurder.wordpress.com
Tue 4 Jul – Desperate Reader - http://desperatereader.blogspot.co.uk
Wed 5 Jul –Clothes in Books - http://clothesinbooks.blogspot.co.uk
Thu 6 Jul – Emma’s Bookish Corner - https://emmasbookishcorner.wordpress.com
Fri 7 Jul - Random Jottings - http://randomjottings.typepad.com

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books is published in the UK on 7 July by the British Library, and in the US on 1 August by Poisoned Pen Press.

Many thanks to Martin and The British Library for this post.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

New Releases - July 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in July 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). July and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Beck, Haylen - Here and Gone
• Berthon, Simon - Woman of State
• Bilal, Parker - Dark Water #6 Makana, former police inspector, Cairo
• Booth, Stephen - Dead in the Dark #17 Detectives Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, Peak District
• Bourne, Sam - To Kill the President
• Brett, Simon - Blotto, Twinks and the Stars of the Silver Screen #8 Brother and sister sleuths, Blotto and Twinks
• Brookes, Adam - The Spy's Daughter #3 Philip Mangan, Journalist
• Burrows, Steve - A Shimmer of Hummingbirds #4 Inspector Domenic Jejeune, Saltmarsh, Norfolk
• Cohen, Tammy - They All Fall Down
• Corby, Gary - Death on Delos #7 Nicolaos, the ambitious son of a minor sculptor, Ancient Greece
• Dahl, Arne - Watching You #1 Detective Sam Berger
• De Giovanni, Maurizio - Glass Souls #8 Commissario Ricciardi, Naples, 1930s
• Dhand, A A - Girl Zero #2 Detective Harry Virdee, Bradford
• Duffy, Stella - The Hidden Room
• Fields, Helen - Perfect Prey #2 DI Luc Callanach, Edinburgh
• French, Nicci - Sunday Morning Coming Down #7 Frieda Klein, Psychotherapist
• Gordon-Smith, Dolores - The Price of Silence
• Griffin, Kate - Kitty Peck and the Daughter of Sorrow #3 Kitty Peck, Victorian London
• Hay, L V - The Other Twin
• Heley, Veronica - Murder for Nothing #18 Ellie Quicke, widow, London suburbs
• Leather, Stephen - Light Touch #14 Dan Shepherd, SAS trooper turned undercover cop
• Lemaitre, Pierre - Three Days and a Life
• MacBird, Bonnie - Unquiet Spirits #2 Sherlock Holmes Adventure
• Marshall, Laura - Friend Request
• Martin, Andrew - Soot
• McCoy, Ken - A Long Way Down #2 DI Sep Black
• McGrath, Mel - Give Me the Child
• McPherson, Catriona - Dandy Gilver and a Spot of Toil and Trouble #12 Dandy Gilver, Society Sleuth, 1920s Scotland
• Moggach, Lottie - Under the Sun
• Moody, Susan - Quick on the Draw #3 Alex Quick
• Neary, Annemarie - The Orphans
• Oldham, Nick - Headhunter #3 Steve Flynn
• Quincy, D M - Murder in Mayfair #1 Atlas Catesby, Regency London
• Rees, Matt Benyon - The 7th Threat #2 Dominic Verrazzano
• Reynolds, Amanda - Close to Me
• Richardson, Matthew - My Name Is Nobody #1 Wilde and Vine
• Ripley, Mike - Mr Campion's Abdication #4 Albert Campion
• Robinson, Peter - Sleeping in the Ground #24 Insp. Alan Banks, Yorkshire
• Robotham, Michael - The Secrets She Keeps
• Roslund & Hellstrom - Three Minutes #7 Detective Inspector Ewert Grens
• Rowson, Pauline - Lost Voyage #3 Former Royal Marine Commando, Special Boat Services Officer, Art Marvik
• Scarrow, Simon - Playing With Death (with Lee Francis)
• Seddon, Holly - Don't Close Your Eyes
• Sheridan, Sara - Russian Roulette #6 Mirabelle Bevan (retired Secret Service), 1950s
• Silver, Abi - The Pinocchio Brief
• Sinclair, J G - Walk in Silence
• Svensson, Anton - Made In Sweden Part 2: The Sons
• Sykes, S D - City of Masks #3 Oswald de Lacy, 14C Kent
• Thomas, Mike - Splinter #2 DC Will MacReady, Cardiff
• Weaver, Tim - I Am Missing #8 David Raker, Missing Persons Investigator
• Welsh, Louise - No Dominion #3 Plague Times Trilogy

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Scandi books to look out for

Here are a couple of books with Scandinavian settings which, won't get flagged in my next Petrona Award eligibles list, as either not in translation (1) or not yet published in the UK (2):

1. When I Wake Up by Jessica Jarlvi, available in ebook at the moment with a hardback release scheduled for September. Jessica Jarlvi is Swedish but is writing straight into English.

When Anna, a much-loved teacher and mother of two, is left savagely beaten and in a coma, a police investigation is launched. News of the attack sends shock waves through her family and their small Swedish community. Anna seems to have had no enemies, so who wanted her dead?

As loved-ones wait anxiously by her bedside, her husband Erik is determined to get to the bottom of the attack, and soon begins uncovering his wife's secret life, and a small town riven with desire, betrayal and jealousy.

As the list of suspects grows longer, it soon becomes clear that only one person can reveal the truth, and she's lying silent in a hospital bed...




2. Alexandra Dahl, born in Oslo, is half Norwegian, half American and currently lives between London and Sandefjord. Her novel, The Boy at the Door, set in Sandefjord, has been bought by Berkley in a two-book deal. Described thus: ... a respectable mother's encounter with a strange child who appears from nowhere throws her peaceful Scandinavian suburb where nothing bad ever happens into a dense and shocking web of lies (Publishers Lunch). Berkley is a US publisher but fingers crossed for a UK release.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TV News: Dicte's back

The second series of Dicte will start on More 4 at 9pm on 7 July. The DVD will be available 7 August.
From amazon.co.uk:

Divorced crime reporter Dicte Svendsen (Iben Hjejle, High Fidelity) has returned with daughter Rose to her hometown of Aarhus where she is trying to escape the past and build a new future. Contacted by her father who hasn't spoken to her in years, a sudden and tragic turn of events finds her investigating a prostitution ring, diamond smuggling and a hit-and-run that not only links them all but will bring the unknown, the unpredictable and the deadly into the lives of both Dicte and police investigator John Wagner. Football hooliganism and match-fixing, sado-masochism and murder, missing children and a mother's lost love, Dicte is not afraid of taking risks, sometimes straying on the wrong side of the law and often risking every relationship in her life to get to the truth. These five gripping tales told over ten episodes are drawn from the crime novels of bestselling Danish author Elsebeth Egholm. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

US Cozy Review: Death Crashes the Party by Vickie Fee

Welcome to another entry in my irregular feature: US cozy review.

Death Crashes the Party by Vickie Fee, January 2016, Kensington Publishing ISBN: 1496700627

Death Crashes the Party is the first book in the Liv and Di series set in Dixie, Tennessee. Liv is a party planner, and her friend Di is a postal worker.

Liv is planing an anniversary party for a difficult client and when she goes into their garage to inspect the freezer she finds not one but two bodies! The bodies are brothers, one of whom worked for Liv's husband's haulage firm.

With the various police agencies putting pressure on her husband and her father-in-law regarding possible smuggling activities, Liv decides she need to help clear the family name.

What I particularly like about this new series is that Liv and Di actually do some real life investigating. They follows suspects and even break and enter to steal surveillance footage and a diary (in two separate instances). The story is well paced with plenty of activity in its sub 300 pages and the main characters are likeable. There are even a few party planning tips at the end of the book. I was possibly slightly predisposed to like this book as I'm slowly working my way through the engaging Hart of Dixie tv series but I think I would have liked it anyway! It reminded me of the cozies I used to read a few years ago where the main characters actually did detecting rather than waiting for information to come to them.

There are currently two available sequels, It's Your Party, Die If You Want To and One Fete in the Grave, which I very much look forward to reading.

Karen Meek, June 2017.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Awards News: Dagger in the Library Winner; McIlvanney Prize Longlist

The winner of the Dagger in the Library was announced on Saturday, From the press release.
The winner of the CWA 2017 Dagger in the Library has been revealed: Mari Hannah.

The winner was declared at a reception at the British Library on Saturday 17 June by Martin Edwards, Chair of the CWA. Martin said: ‘At a time when the CWA is expanding its support for public and independent libraries, I am delighted to congratulate Mari. Her DCI Kate Daniels books, set in the North East, are tremendously popular and we know they’re eagerly devoured by library goers and book groups. Congratulations also to the quintet of superb shortlisted authors: Kate Ellis, James Oswald, Tara French, CJ Sansom and Andrew Taylor on reaching the shortlist stage of what is a highly competitive award.’

The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by a crime writer that users of libraries particularly admire. In 2017 the CWA worked alongside The Reading Agency to involve book clubs and reading groups, via Reading Groups for Everyone, in reaching the shortlist and winner stages. However, the Dagger in the Library is unique among crime-writing awards in that only library staff are able to make the original author nominations.

Mari will also be honoured at the CWA Dagger Awards Dinner in London on October 26 – tickets are now available from admin@thecwa.co.uk.
The McIlvanney Prize longlist has just been announced:
LONGLIST ANNOUNCED FOR THE McILVANNEY PRIZE
SCOTTISH CRIME BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2017

‘In what is shaping up to be a record-breaking year at Bloody Scotland (we sold twice as many tickets on our first day as last year), I’m pleased to see so many of the highlights of the 2017 programme featured on this longlist. It’s also brilliant to see a few debut novels on there slugging it out with the more established names. I certainly don’t envy our judges the task of picking a winner from this excellent crop of crime novels’
Bob McDevitt, Director of Bloody Scotland, June 2017

‘I went to Bloody Scotland and I was just knocked out....this event was so friendly, so supportive I was honestly overwhelmed’
William McIlvanney – speaking on BBC Scotland, 2012

Last year the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award was renamed the McIlvanney Prize in memory of William McIlvanney who established the tradition of Scottish detective fiction. His brother Hugh McIlvanney OBE, came to Stirling to present the prize to Chris Brookmyre who won it for Black Widow. The book went on to be shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and is currently on the shortlist for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Prize to be announced at the Harrogate Festival next month.

Ever a step ahead, Bloody Scotland today announce the longlist for this year’s McIlvanney Prize. The winner will be announced at the opening reception at Stirling Castle on Friday 8 September (6.30-8.30pm) and followed by a torchlight procession – open to the public - led by Ian Rankin on his way down to his event celebrating 30 years of Rebus. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

The longlist which has been chosen by an independent panel of readers and features 6 male and 6 female writers, established authors and debut writers, small Scottish publishers and large London houses, is released today:

Lin Anderson – None But the Dead (Macmillan)
Chris Brookmyre – Want You Gone (Little, Brown)
Ann Cleeves – Cold Earth (Macmillan)
Helen Fields – Perfect Remains (Harper Collins)
Val McDermid – Out of Bounds (Little, Brown)
Claire MacLeary – Cross Purpose (Contraband)
Denise Mina – The Long Drop (Random House)
Owen Mullen – Games People Play (Bloodhound)
Ian Rankin – Rather Be the Devil (Orion)
Craig Robertson – Murderabilia (Simon and Schuster)
Craig Russell – The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid (Quercus)
Jay Stringer – How to Kill Friends & Implicate People (Thomas & Mercer)

The judges will be chaired by Director of Granite Noir, Lee Randall, comedian and crime fiction fan, Susan Calman and journalist, Craig Sisterson who between them cover three continents. The finalists will be revealed at the beginning of September and the winner kept under wraps until the ceremony itself.

Previous winners are Chris Brookmyre with Black Widow 2016, Craig Russell with The Ghosts of Altona in 2015, Peter May with Entry Island in 2014, Malcolm Mackay with How A Gunman Says Goodbye in 2013 and Charles Cumming with A Foreign Country in 2012.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Free Kindle Book - Under a Black Sky by Inger Wolf

Under a Black Sky by Danish author, Inger Wolf and translated by Mark Kline, is currently free on UK and US Kindle.

I believe this to be the sixth book in the Daniel Trokic series however it is currently the only one available in English. Back in 2012, the previous book, Evil Water, was made available as an ebook but I cannot find it available now.

Anchorage, Alaska: A prominent Danish volcano scientist, Asger Vad and his wife and son, are found shot on the outskirts of the city.

The killer has placed the victims around a table on which there is a doll house with four small dolls and a pile of volcano ashes. However, one person is missing at the table.

The Family’s 11-year-old daughter has disappeared from the house, and a massive search starts. Has she run away, or did the killer take her? Also, what secrets do the family keep?

Inspector Daniel Trokic is sent to Alaska to participate in the investigation. He teams up with the half native detective Angie Johnson, and their hunt for an insane killer and the missing daughter begins.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - the Trophy is Home

Only a few weeks ago, at CrimeFest, Gunnar Staalesen was announced as the winner of the 2017 Petrona Award for WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and published by Orenda Books.

The Trophy itself was subsequently shipped to Mr Staalesen's home in Norway and I'm pleased to announce that it has just arrived. Here are a couple of photos of the author with his prize, plus its resting place in a central position in his living room. As well as the Trophy, Mr Staalesen also won a complimentary pass from the organisers of CrimeFest for next year's event, which he will be taking up.






Thursday, June 01, 2017

New Releases - June 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in June 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). June and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Barton, Fiona - The Child
• Billingham, Mark - Love Like Blood #14 DI Tom Thorne, London
• Bingham, Harry - The Deepest Grave #6 DC Fiona Griffiths
• Black, Benjamin - Prague Nights
• Black, Cara - Murder in Saint Germain #17 Aimee Leduc, Paris
• Bonda, Katarzyna - Girl at Midnight
• Burke, Stephen - The Reluctant Contact
• Carlsson, Christoffer - Master, Liar, Traitor, Friend #3 Leo Junker, Police Officer
• Carson, Clare - The Dark Isle #3 Sam
• Carter, Alan - Marlborough Man #1 Nick Chester, New Zealand
• Clements, Rory - Corpus #1 Thomas Wilde, 1930s
• Crowley, Sinead - One Bad Turn #3 Sergeant Claire Boyle, Dublin
• Drinkwater, Carol - The Lost Girl
• Fraser, Hugh - Malice #3 Rina Walker, 1960s
• Giambanco, V M - Sweet After Death #4 Detective Alice Madison, Seattle
• Granger, Ann - Rooted In Evil #5 Inspector Jess Campbell & Superintendent Ian Carter, Cotswolds
• Harper, Elodie - The Binding Song
• Hjorth-Rosenfeldt - The Silent Girl #4 Sebastian Bergman, Psychological profiler
• Holt, Anne - Offline (apa Odd Numbers) #9 Hanne Wilhelmsen
• Hurley, Graham - Aurore #2 Wars Within
• Jarlvi, Jessica - When I Wake Up
• Kasasian, M R C - Dark Dawn over Steep House #5 The Gower St Detective, Victorian era
• Kelly, Lesley - The Health of Strangers
• Li, Winnie M - Dark Chapter
• Marston, Edward - The Circus Train Conspiracy #14 Det. Insp Colbeck, Scotland Yard, mid 19th Century
• McBeth, Colette - An Act of Silence
• Meyer, Deon - Fever
• Mouron, Quentin - Three Drops of Blood and A Cloud of Cocaine
• Muir, T F - The Killing Connection #7 DI Andy Gilchrist & team, St. Andrews
• Mukherjee, Abir - A Necessary Evil #2 Captain Sam Wyndham, Calcutta, 1919
• Naess, Kristine - Only Human
• Ohlsson, Kristina - Buried Lies
• Penrose, Andrea - Murder on Black Swan Lane
• Ramsay, Danielle - The Last Cut #1 DS Harri Jacobs, Newcastle
• Sennen, Mark - The Boneyard #6 DI Charlotte Savage
• Seskis, Tina - The Honeymoon
• Staalesen, Gunnar - Wolves in the Dark #18 Varg Veum, PI in Bergen, Norway
• Steiner, Susie - Persons Unknown #2 Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw, Cambridgeshire
• Swallow, James - Exile #2 Marc Dane
• Sykes, Plum - Party Girls Die in Pearls #1 Oxford Girl Mystery
• Thorne, D B - Troll
• Toyne, Simon - The Boy Who Saw #2 Solomon Creed
• Tremayne, Peter - Night of the Lightbringer #26 Sister Fidelma
• Tyler, L C - Herring in the Smoke #7 Ethelred Tressider, author & Elsie Thirkettle, agent
• Walker, Martin - Templars' Last Secret #10 Bruno, Chief of Police, France
• Ware, Ruth - The Lying Game
• Welsh, Kaite - The Wages of Sin #1 Sarah Gilchrist, Victorian Era, Scotland
• Wood, Tom - The Final Hour #7 Victor, Assassin

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review: Bad Blood by Brian McGilloway

Bad Blood by Brian McGilloway, May 2017, 336 pages, Corsair, ISBN: 1472151305

Reviewed by Michelle Peckham.
(Read more of Michelle's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

A complex mixture of homophobia and racism in the Greenaway Estate, somewhere in Northern Ireland, provides the story for this fourth book from McGilloway, featuring DS Lucy Black. The book starts with a sermon from Pastor Nixon railing against homosexuality, and suggesting that homosexuals should be stoned, and is swiftly followed by the discovery of a body of a man, with his head bashed in by a rock, who turns out to have been homosexual. Alongside this, DS Black and her partner Tom Fleming, are called to the house of the Lupei family, Romanian immigrants, who have had the sign ‘Romans out’ painted on the side of the house. While they are there, Mrs Lupei gives them a leaflet that is being handed out on the Greenway Estate, which refers to Brexit, the chance to get rid of immigrants, and the statement ‘local housing for local people’. Clearly this is a family under threat, and Lucy is worried about potential escalation. Sprinkled into the mix are ‘legal highs’, drugs being sold by someone, with the claim that someone in the Lupei family is involved in selling drugs, strongly denied by Mr and Mrs Lupei. And of course, in the background is the ever-present history of Northern Ireland and the ‘troubles’.

It’s an interesting complex story, characterised by the reluctance of almost everyone involved refusing to talk, or give any information out that might help the police, which makes life difficult for Lucy and Tom, and this reluctance leads to further violence. There are the usual few blind alleys and then an eventual resolution that brings all the threads together, without too many surprises.

The backstory, is that Lucy’s mother is a senior police office, who left her with her father when she was just 8 years old, but as Lucy’s mother uses her maiden name, very few people actually know that the two are related, and Lucy wants to keep it that way. She blames her mother for the family breakup, and remains fiercely loyal to her father, who is now in a care home, suffering from dementia. Lucy is living in her father’s house, and has a lodger called Grace, a street girl that she offered a home to, at the end of the previous book, and is finally coming to terms with her father’s disease. Gradually throughout this story, there is also a softening in relations between Lucy and her mother, which is interesting to watch. However, apart from this, there is almost no other personal backstory of any kind, in contrast to earlier books in the series, and I found this a little disappointing.

The main focus of the book is then directly on Lucy and Tom and their efforts to uncover who is behind the killing of the (initially) unidentified man, and those behind the targeted attacks on the Lupei family. Without giving too much away, there is somewhat of a mixed message about ‘Brexit’, immigrants, and possible links to drugs, which I found somewhat uncomfortable. However, Lucy is strong in her support of the Lupei family, making efforts to help them get rehoused away from the Greenway Estate, where they will be safe. There are sympathetic noises towards the homosexual issue, where it seems particularly difficult for members of the ‘macho’ male community, to openly admit that they are gay, and Lucy determinedly challenges Pastor Nixon on his homophobia. Lucy is a strong, likeable, detective and Tom works well as a sensible, level headed foil to her more headstrong approach. Overall, the book has strong lead characters, a complex story with some surprises, and an interesting mix of prejudices that drive the plot.

Michelle Peckham, May 2017