Thursday, June 23, 2016

TV News: Sacrifice on Channel 5


Scheduled at 10pm on Sunday night on Channel 5 is the film version of Sharon (SJ) Bolton's Sacrifice.

Here is the blurb from IMDB:
Sacrifice is the story of consultant surgeon, Tora Hamilton, who moves with her husband, Duncan, to the remote Shetland Islands, 100 miles off the north-east coast of Scotland. Deep in the peat soil around her new home, Tora discovers the body of a young woman with rune marks carved into her skin and a gaping hole where her heart once beat. Ignoring warnings to leave well alone, Tora uncovers terrifying links to a legend that might never have been confined to the pages of the story-books.

The cast includes Radha Mitchell (as Tora) and Rupert Graves (as Duncan).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: Cutting Edge by Bill Daly

Cutting Edge by Bill Daly, April 2016, 320 pages, Old Street Publishing, ISBN: 1910400351

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

CUTTING EDGE is the third Glasgow DCI Charlie Anderson book by Bill Daly and it is really brilliantly gripping. Given the number of police procedurals that are published each year, it is very pleasantly surprising to discover an author who writes in a way that does not conform to a very predictable pattern. His protagonist DCI Charlie Anderson is a policeman of senior years and a veteran of many previous cases. This one opens on an ordinary day in June 2011 when a serial killer sends Charlie a parcel which contains the severed left hand of a victim who turns out to be an elderly gypsy. The parcel, contains a shoe box and in that, together with the severed hand, there is also a playing card. There are no identifying finger prints or DNA left on the parcel which was posted from a large post office in the usual way.

Soon a range of victims are being targeted including a heroin-addicted mercenary and a female accountant and their severed left hands are being removed and posted to Charlie and later the corpse of each victim is discovered. The media are involved and it soon becomes a high-profile case with much pressure from the top brass in the Glasgow police to relieve negative public opinion with a quick resolution. Soon Charlie's own family are being targeted and his wife and daughter have to go into hiding to safeguard them and there are tensions in the team of detectives hunting the deranged killer.

The book, since it contains many gory descriptions is not for the squeamish but I did not think it was unnecessarily violent but others of a more sensitive nature may be offended but I think it is important to emphasise the author is attempting to reproduce an accurate portrayal of daily life in a busy police station.

Could the killer be a recently released prisoner who was jailed as a result of Charlie's evidence? This and many other possible leads are investigated by Charlie and his team of detectives. The locality of Glasgow is well evoked with plenty of references to the Scottish diet and humour as well as street names.

I had the pleasure of reading for review purposes his previous books DOUBLE MORTICE and his debut DCI Charlie Anderson novel BLACK MAIL and his present book is well up to his usual high standard.

I truly loved reading CUTTING EDGE which was immensely enjoyable but at 320 pages I thought too short as I didn't want it to end. I will definitely look out for further books by this greatly talented British author who now lives and works in Montpelier France. Extremely well recommended.

Terry Halligan, June 2016.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Review: City of Jackals by Parker Bilal

City of Jackals by Parker Bilal, June 2016, 464 pages, Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN: 1408864487

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

Cairo, December, 2005
The young brother and sister are awake in the tiny sealed room; dark, it smells of oil and dust and they can hear the sounds of daytime Cairo outside. They had been so close to freedom after their escape from the soldiers and the murders. Travelling with just each other, they had reached shelter only to be snatched into this darkness and fear of death – their only hope of exit a small hatch high up in the wall. Jonah urges his sister to climb up on his back towards it. Voices approach and Beatrice manages to haul herself up but as she turns back to reach for her brother the door bursts open. “Run,” he calls out to her, “Run.”
Makana is watching the sky lighten. After another sleepless night he wonders how much longer he can live on this decrepit houseboat. Every bone aches as he smokes a cigarette and considers his latest case: the apparent disappearance of a young engineering student who has not been in touch with his family for three weeks. His thoughts are interrupted by his landlady's daughter who drags him along the river bank to where a fisherman has hooked a grisly catch, a severed head in a sack. Police Inspector Okasha arrives with his posse of uniforms and brings with him the formidable Chief Forensic Officer, Doctora Siham. She pinpoints a scar pattern on the victim's forehead as belonging to one of Makana's fellow Sudanese, although from the South. Okasha remarks that if the victim is from South Sudan he can't see anyone rushing to solve the mystery, the South Sudanese are not popular in Egypt right now, with their protesters encamped in Maidan Square for months, demanding their right to asylum.
Makana returns to his current investigation and visits the university where the missing youth was studying. There, he begins to experience what will become a familiar pattern in this case – hostility and suspicion of his Sudanese origins. He is used to being an outsider in Egypt but now, with international eyes drawn to Darfur, he finds an extra hostility reserved for his being North Sudanese and an oppressor of the South…

Parker Bilal is the crime pseudonym of British-Sudanese writer Jamal Mahjoub who writes fiction and non-fiction under his own name and whose current project is a contemporary history of the North-South Sudanese conflict. CITY OF JACKALS is the fifth novel in his gripping “Makana Mystery” series, set in Egypt in the years leading up to the Arab Spring and featuring Sudanese exile Makana struggling to make a living as a private investigator and battling his own demons that rise from his haunted and hunted past. The titles in the series often conjure Ancient Egyptian iconography and CITY OF JACKALS introduces us to the realm of Anubis, the dog-headed god who prepares his subjects for the underworld – for the life to come. This is Egypt on the brink of revolt, Mubarak has been elected back into power but protest is in the air. Makana's search for the missing student starts to uncover a life unknown to the rest of the young man's family. But at the same time he cannot forget the murdered Sudanese whose head was found in the river and he works to identify the boy and to find his murderer or murderers. The search takes him into the churches, camps and missions of the Sudanese refugees where he encounters Christian missionary zeal alongside open hostility.

In CITY OF JACKALS Makana seems to be at some kind of exhausted cross-roads himself, the consequence of which is a darker, more conflicted atmosphere. The wit is still there but it is more subdued. The hospitable suppers at his favourite restaurant are less frequent. Makana's journalist friend Sami is also adrift – in his marriage and his job; even Makana's eager young helper, Aziza, now in her teens, seems angry at the hopelessness of her ambitions. However Bilal still conjures the living detail of Cairo, the street scenes, smells, vivid, rounded characters and the layers of a crowded city steeped in human machinations, corruption and hope. Bilal's writing remains sure and Makana's investigation sweeps towards an exciting, physically dramatic conclusion – a trademark Makana finish. You must always hang on to your hat when following the determined Makana's chase to the finish, so press that hat firmly on your head and follow him, you won't regret it.

Lynn Harvey, June 2016.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Awards News: The Dead Good Reader Awards 2016 - Shortlists

From the Dead Good Books website, news of the shortlists. You can vote for your favourites via their website. (I think the translated category is new.):

This year over 2,000 of you nominated your favourite books and authors for the Dead Good Reader Awards. We’re thrilled to now be able to unveil your shortlists.

The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Little Brown)
Die of Shame by Mark Billingham (Little Brown)
In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings (Orenda)
The Missing by C L Taylor (Avon)
Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary (Headline)
Untouchable Things by Tara Guha (Legend Press)

The Tess Gerritsen Award for Best Series
Jack Reacher, Lee Child (Transworld)
Roy Grace, Peter James (Macmillan)
Marnie Rome, Sarah Hilary (Headline)
Logan McRae, Stuart MacBride (Harper Collins)
Ruth Galloway, Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
George Mackenzie, Marnie Riches (Maze)

The Linwood Barclay Award for Most Surprising Twist
Disclaimer by Renee Knight (Transworld)
The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne (Harper Collins)
I let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (Sphere)
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson (Faber & Faber)
Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton (Transworld)
When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen (Transworld)

The Papercut Award for Best Page Turner
Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay (Orion)
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Little Brown)
Follow Me by Angela Clarke (Avon)
The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza (Bookouture)
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (Vintage)
Splinter the Silence by Val McDermid (Little Brown)

The Hotel Chocolat Award for Darkest Moment
Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris (MIRA)
The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood (Sphere)
In the Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride (Harper Collins)
Little Boy Blue by M J Arlidge (Michael Joseph)
The Teacher by Katerina Diamond (Avon)
Viral by Helen Fitzgerald (Faber & Faber)

The Mörda Award for Captivating Crime in Translation
Camille by Pierre Lemaitre (MacLehose Press)
The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund (Vintage)
The Defenceless by Kati Hiekkapelto (Orenda Books)
I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork (Doubleday)
Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson (Orenda Books)
The Undesired by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Hodder & Stoughton)

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Some 1929 Titles (for Past Offences)

The latest monthly challenge over at Past Offences is to read a book in June, published in 1929. Here are some British/European crime titles to choose from, first published in English in 1929, pulled from my database:

Margery Allingham - The Crime at Black Dudley (apa The Black Dudley Murder)
Anthony Berkeley - The Poisoned Chocolates Case
E M Channon - The Chimney Murder
Agatha Christie - Partners in Crime (Short Stories)
Agatha Christie - The Seven Dials Mystery
Clemence Dane - Enter Sir John (with Helen Simpson)
C H B Kitchin - Death of My Aunt
Beryl Symons - The Leering House
Josephine Tey - The Man in the Queue (apa Killer in the Crowd)
Patricia Wentworth - Fool Errant

My list is rather short but there are longer lists in the comments on the Past Offences page.

Awards News: Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2016 Shortlist & CWA Dagger Longlists

Catching up with recent short- and longlist announcements...

The shortlist for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2016 has been announced.

In addition: "Val McDermid will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, joining past winners Sara Paretsky, Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill."

Time Of Death – Mark Billingham
Career Of Evil – Robert Galbraith
Tell No Tales – Eva Dolan
Disclaimer – Renee Knight
I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh
Rain Dogs – Adrian McKinty

"The overall winner will be decided by a panel of Judges, alongside the public vote. The public vote opens on 1 July and closes 15 July at www.theakstons.co.uk."

Read more about the shortlisted titles at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival website.

At CrimeFest, the longlists for the ten CWA Daggers were announced. I've borrowed this handy summary from Dead Good Books.

The CWA Dagger longlists 2016


Goldsboro Gold Dagger, sponsored by Goldsboro Books:

Dodgers by Bill Beverly (No Exit Press)
Black Widow by Christopher Brookmyre (Little, Brown)
After You Die by Eva Dolan (Harvill Secker)
Real Tigers by Mick Herron (John Murray)
Finders Keepers by Stephen King (Hodder & Stoughton)
Dead Pretty by David Mark (Mulholland Books)
Blood Salt Water by Denise Mina (Orion)
She Died Young by Elizabeth Wilson (Serpent’s Tail)

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications:

The Cartel by Don Winslow (William Heinemann)
The English Spy by Daniel Silva (HarperCollins)
Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay (Corvus)
Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty (Serpent’s Tail)
Real Tigers by Mick Herron (John Murray)
The Hot Countries by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime)
Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Hearberlin (Michael Joseph)
Make Me by Lee Child (Bantam Press)
Spy Games by Adam Brookes (Sphere)
The American by Nadia Dalbuono (Scribe UK)

John Creasey New Blood Dagger:

Fever City by Tim Baker (Faber & Faber)
Dodgers by Bill Beverly (No Exit Press)
Mr Miller by Charles Den Tex (World Editions)
The Teacher by Katerina Diamond (Avon)
Wicked Game by Matt Johnson (Orenda Books)
Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller (HarperCollins)
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (Jonathan Cape)
The Dark Inside by Rod Reynolds (Faber & Faber)
The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle (Viking)

International Dagger:

The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango, trans. by Imogen Taylor (Simon & Schuster)
The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaître, trans. by Frank Wynne (MacLehose Press)
Icarus by Deon Meyer, trans. by by K L Seegers (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Sword of Justice by Leif G.W. Persson, trans. by Neil Smith (Doubleday)
The Murderer in Ruins by Cay Rademacher, trans. by Peter Millar (Arcadia)
The Father by Anton Svensson, tr. Elizabeth Clark Wessel (Sphere)
The Voices Beyond by Johan Theorin, trans. by Marlaine Delargy (Transworld)
Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama, trans. by Jonathan Lloyd-Davis (Quercus)

Non-Fiction Dagger:

The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins)
Sexy Beasts: The Inside Story of the Hatton Garden Mob by Wensley Clarkson (Quercus)
You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life (You Are Raoul Moat) by Andrew Hankinson (Scribe)
A Very Expensive Poison by Luke Harding (Faber & Faber)
Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories by Thomas Grant (John Murray)
John le Carré: The Biography by Adam Sisman (Bloomsbury)

Dagger in the Library:

RC Bridgestock, published by Caffeine Nights
Tony Black, published by Black & White
Alison Bruce, published by Constable & Robinson
Angela Clarke, published by Avon
Charlie Flowers, published by Endeavour Press
Elly Griffiths, published by Quercus
Keith Houghton, published by Thomas & Mercer
Quintin Jardine, published by Headline
Louise Phillips, published by Hachette
Joe Stein, published by Ward Wood

Short Story Dagger:

‘As Alice Did’ from Montalbano’s First Case and Other Stories by Andrea Camilleri (Pan Macmillan)
‘On the Anatomization of an Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier’ from Nocturnes 2: Night Music by John Connolly (Hodder and Stoughton)
‘Holmes on the Range: A Tale of the Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository’ from Nocturnes 2: Night Music by John Connolly (Hodder and Stoughton)
‘Bryant & May and the Nameless Woman’ from London’s Glory by Christopher Fowler (Bantam)
‘Stray Bullets’ from Crimes by Alberto Barrera Tyszka (MacLehose Press)
‘Rosenlaui’ by Conrad Williams from The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty, ed. by Maxim Jakubowski (Constable & Robinson)

Debut Dagger:

Dark Valley by John Kennedy
Death by Dangerous by Oliver Jarvis
The Devil’s Dice by Roz Watkins
Hardways by Catherine Hendricks
Let’s Pretend by Sue Williams
Misconception by Jack Burns
A Reconstructed Man by Graham Brack
A State of Grace by Rita Catching
The Tattoo Killer by Joe West
Wimmera by Mark Brandi

Endeavour Historical Dagger, sponsored by Endeavour Press:

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby (Pan Books)
A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody (Piatkus)
A Man of Some Repute and A Question of Inheritance by Elizabeth Edmondson (Thomas & Mercer)
Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
The Last Confessions of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Other Side of Silence by Philip Kerr (Quercus)
A Book of Scars by William Shaw (Quercus)
The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith (Lion Fiction)
Striking Murder by A. J. Wright (Allison & Busby)
Stasi Child by David Young (Twenty7Books)

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

New Releases - June 2016

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in June 2016 (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.

• Bolton, S J - Daisy in Chains
• Booth, Stephen - Secrets of Death #16 Detectives Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, Peak District
• Bussi, Michel - Black Water Lilies
• Callaghan, Helen - Dear Amy
• Carson, Clare - The Salt Marsh #2 Sam
• Carter, Andrea - Treacherous Strand #2 Benedicta 'Ben' O'Keeffe, Solicitor, Inishowen peninsula in County Donegal, Ireland.
• Clements, Rory - Corpus #1 Thomas Wilde, 1930s
• Cookman, Lesley - Murder in the Blood #15 Libby Sarjeant, middle aged actress/investigator, Kent
• Doughty, Louise - Black Water
• Eastland, Sam - Berlin Red #7 Inspector Pekkala, Revolutionary Russia
• Fossum, Karin - Hell Fire #12 Inspector Konrad Sejer, Norway
• French, Nicci - Saturday Requiem #6 Frieda Klein, Psychotherapist
• Gardner, Frank - Crisis #1 Luke Carlton, Ex-Special Boat Service commando
• Glynn, Alan - Paradime
• Granger, Ann - The Dead Woman of Deptford #6 Lizzie Martin, Lady's companion and Inspector Ben Ross, Victorian Era
• Grecian, Alex - Lost and Gone Forever #5 Murder Squad of Scotland Yard, Victorian London
• Gregory, Susanna - A Grave Concern #22 Matthew Bartholomew, 14th Century physician, Cambridge
• Hjorth-Rosenfeldt - The Man Who Wasn't There #3 Sebastian Bergman, Psychological profiler
• Holmen, Martin - Clinch #1 Harry Kvist, a bi-sexual former boxer and debt collector, 1930s Stockholm
• Hunt, Arlene - Last To Die
• Jones, Chris Morgan - The Searcher #3 Ben Webster
• Jungstedt, Mari - A Darker Sky (with Ruben Eliassen) #1 The Canary Island Series
• Kasasian, M R C - The Secrets of Gaslight Lane #4 The Gower St Detective, Victorian era
• Khemiri, Jonas Hassen - Everything I Don't Remember
• Kitson, Bill - The Haunted Lady #5 The Eden House Mysteries
• Linskey, Howard - Behind Dead Eyes #2 DC Ian Bradshaw
• Marklund, Liza - The Final Word #11 Annika Bengtzon, Journalist, Sweden
• Matsumoto, Seicho - A Quiet Place
• Mishani, D A - The Man Who Wanted to Know #3 Inspector Avi Avraham, Israel
• Perry, Karen - Girl Unknown
• Persson, Leif GW - The Dying Detective
• Runcie, James - Sidney Chambers and The Dangers of Temptation #5 The Grantchester Mysteries
• Staalesen, Gunnar - Where Roses Never Die #17 Varg Veum, PI in Bergen, Norway
• Swallow, James - Nomad
• Sylvain, Dominique - Sun and Shadows #3 Lola Jost and Ingrid Diesel, Paris
• Walker, Martin - Fatal Pursuit #9 Bruno, Chief of Police, France
• Ware, Ruth - The Woman in Cabin 10

Monday, May 30, 2016

Review: No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd

No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd, March 2016, 352 pages, William Morrow, ISBN: 0062386182

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

It is Autumn 1920 in a village near Padstow in Cornwall and four middle class young ladies who have been spending the weekend together, decide to go out in a rowing boat on the river Heyl, but unfortunately they have an accident. After being out for some time they see a young man of their acquaintance, in another rowing boat, rapidly sink, and as the water is quite deep, he manages to struggle across to their boat. They really have great difficulty in trying to pull him onto their boat as his waterlogged clothing makes him very heavy, one of the girls brings an oar towards him with the hope that he should grab it but the effort for her is too much and she accidentally drops it and it appears to strike his head. A man on the riverbank sees the struggle that the girls are having and swims out to them and clambers aboard and tries artificial respiration on the victim but he still appears unconscious.

The man on the riverbank accuses the girls of attempting to kill the victim and the police are forced, because of adverse local public opinion, to arrest the girls for attempted murder. The girls spend a night in a local jail but as the facilities are very poor they are placed under house arrest at the house of a local magistrate who happens to be the father of one of the girls. Similarly, as the crime is outside the experience of the local constabulary, Scotland Yard are requested to send a detective to investigate. An Inspector Barrington was sent down initially but unfortunately on the first day of his investigation he suffered a fatal heart attack and died. Because of this, Inspector Ian Rutledge is ordered by his Superintendent to replace Barrington and start a fresh investigation.

Rutledge had only just returned from Derbyshire on a previous investigation and was not expecting to be reassigned so quickly, he follows orders, however, and drives down to Cornwall. Rutledge was an officer on the Somme, during the Great War and was forced to shoot a Scottish soldier Hamish MacLeod for directly refusing an order. As a result of this Rutledge is haunted by the inner voice of Hamish constantly pointing out negative possibilities for almost all of his actions. Little was known at that time of post traumatic stress disorder. When Rutledge reaches Heyl village he starts his investigation but is hampered by not being able to locate any of the case notes that his predecessor, Inspector Barrington had made. Accordingly, he feels obliged to start investigating completely from the beginning.

Although 1920 almost seems within living memory, of course it is almost historic in that many of the furnishings and appliances that we take for granted were completely absent. Thus, interviews with all the persons involved was very important to build a picture of the background. As there were very few telephones available to the public Rutledge could not telephone Scotland Yard to report in, he could only send telegrams but that presented problems of confidentiality, as he could not be sure who may read it during transit and therefore had to be very circumspect in his approach. A national telephone service was not available until the mid 1920s.

"Charles Todd" is the pen name of the American authors Caroline and Charles Todd. This mother-and-son writing partnership live in the Eastern USA in adjoining states and have used their writing partnership to co-write more than twenty-five historical mysteries. They have two main series: the Detective Inspector Ian Rutledge one and separately the Sister Bess Crawford books about a First World War nursing sister who gets involved in several mysteries.

This book is extremely well researched for the period and is a testament to the authors' frequent research trips to the UK. I read for review purposes, A FINE SUMMER'S DAY, as well as many of the other books privately and I really enjoy their highly imaginative and well researched plots enormously and always look forward to reading their stories as I know from previous experience that I will be gripped until the last page is closed. Extremely well recommended.

Terry Halligan, May 2016.