Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Blog Tour: Review of A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward

Just under a year ago, I reviewed Sarah Ward's debut, In Bitter Chill, for its blog tour and I was very pleased to be invited back to review book two, A Deadly Thaw.

A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward (30 August (ebook)/1 September (Hardback) 2016, Faber & Faber, ISBN: 057132102X)

I work in a public library which is really strapped for cash so I have been making the (too) few copies we have of IN BITTER CHILL, work as hard as I can. I was rewarded with one of my regular customers responding to my enquiry as to did he like it, by him replying...”It was bloody brilliant!”.

I too really liked IN BITTER CHILL and have been eagerly awaiting the sequel, A DEADLY THAW, also set in Derbyshire's Bampton.

The three detectives from IN BITTER CHILL, DI Sadler and his team DS Palmer and DC Childs (Connie) return and are confronted by a conundrum. Local man, Sadler identifies the newly dead body found in a disused and isolated morgue building as a contemporary of his, Andrew Fisher, however, Andrew's wife Lena has recently completed a long prison sentence for the murder of her husband.... So who was the man she killed, where has Andrew been hiding and why has he been killed now?

As Sadler wasn't very involved in the initial investigation in 2004, his team are tasked with finding out the answers to these questions. The obvious thing is to ask Lena about the dead man found in her bed. She is reluctant to answer and things get more difficult when she disappears. Her sister, Kat, believes it's a voluntary absence but is perplexed when Lena apparently sends her clues via a teenage boy. Whilst the police carry out their investigation, Kat, a therapist, gets help from one of her clients, and tries to find Lena herself.

With chapters left on cliff-hangers, alternating points of view and occasional time shifts, you can't help but race through A DEADLY THAW to get to the bottom of all the mysteries. As well as the crime elements there are developments in the relationships between the team members and already these characters are well established and real and you want to know what's happening to them outside of work. A DEADLY THAW is a darker book than the first, has an even more complicated plot, and looks at policing in the past compared to the more empathetic experience we (particularly women) would hope to get today when reporting a crime.

Roll on the next in the series, A PATIENT FURY...

Karen Meek, August 2016

Yesterday's stop on the blog tour was at Crime Watch and tomorrow's is at Liz Loves Books.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Some 1930 Titles (for Past Offences)

The latest monthly challenge over at Past Offences is to read a book in September, published in 1930. Here are some British/European crime titles to choose from, first published in English in 1930, pulled from my database. This information is correct to the best of my knowledge however please do double check dates before spending any cash!:
Margery Allingham - Mystery Mile
Agatha Christie - The Mysterious Mr Quin
Agatha Christie - The Murder At The Vicarage
Clemence Dane - Printer's Devil (apa Author Unknown) (with Helen Simpson)
C S Forester - Plain Murder
Annie Haynes - The Crystal Beads Murder
Dorothy L Sayers - The Documents in the Case
Dorothy L Sayers - Strong Poison
Patricia Wentworth - Kingdom Lost
Patricia Wentworth - The Coldstone
Patricia Wentworth - Beggar's Choice
There are (many) more suggestions in the comments on the Past Offences page.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Moomin Colouring Books

I haven't yet succumbed to buying one of the "adult" colouring books now available but I did spot this the other day in W H Smiths and it is a little bit tempting:

This stylish and unique Moomin Colouring Book features original artwork from the coveted archive of Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins; one of the most cherished children's book series ever written.

Beautifully conceived and designed, this contemporary colouring book features striking patterns and scenes as well as all your favourite Moomin characters and their most memorable quotes. The perfect gift for Moomin fans.

Or, in November, this pocket-sized edition will be out:

In a new, perfectly pocket-sized format, The Pocket Moomin Colouring Book features original artwork from the coveted archive of Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins; one of the most cherished children's book series ever written.

This smaller edition, perfect for colouring on-the-go, features striking patterns and scenes as well as all your favourite Moomin characters and their most memorable quotes. Including all your favourite scenes from The Moomin Colouring Book.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Birmingham Literature Festival - Euro Pass

The Birmingham Literature Festival is 6-16 October and one of the threads is a selection of events which can be covered by a Euro Pass (£30/£24) (or booked individually):

Walter Presents
Writers from the Ukraine
Cristina Sanchez-Andrade
Diego Marani and Frank Witzel: Europanto, pop, politics and paranoia
Jonas Hassen Khemiri and Elif Shafak
David Lodge and Philippine Hamen
The Bridge to Hinterland: With Hans Rosenfeldt and Ed Thomas
Beyond the Water’s Edge

Here is more information on a couple of the sessions:

Walter Presents
October 7 @ 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm
£10/8, Festival Pass/Euro Pass: FREE WALTER PORTRAIT

Walter Iuzzolino, the man behind Channel 4’s hugely successful Netflix of foreign drama, Walter Presents, watched over 3,500 hours of international television to curate a catalogue of TV and online hits including Deutschland 83, Spin and Blue Eyes.

He believes foreign drama is giving people the greedy fix once provided only by novels: “One episode is just not enough. And that type of fiction, built on cliff-hangers, is Dickens. It’s Balzac…. These TV series are also something that unite people. In the same way as people join book clubs, now they discuss TV series’.

In this very special event, hear from Walter himself about how Walter Presents came to be, and what makes it so compelling for UK audiences.

The Bridge to Hinterland
October 8 @ 7:30 am - 8:45 pm
£10/£8, Festival Pass/Euro Pass: FREE

Bilingual, border-town crime drama, The Bridge, set the bar for Nordic Noir. Season 3 attracted over 2 million viewers in the UK and Swedish detective Saga Noren became something of a national treasure. A fourth series is due to be filmed later this year.

Award-winning Welsh crime drama Hinterland was originally broadcast in English and Welsh, a first for BBC television drama.

The first two series have been screened internationally via Netflix. Filming of a third series began earlier this year.

Tonight, for the first time, we bring together the writer-creators of both series, Hans Rosenfeldt and Ed Thomas, to talk about making compelling bilingual TV drama. This is a unique opportunity to hear from the writers behind some of the most talked-about dramas to hit our TV screens in recent years.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

TV News: Ängelby on ITV Encore

Swedish series Ängleby starts next week on ITV Encore. Episode 1 (of twelve) is on 31 August at 10pm.

A brief description from the ITV Press Centre of Episode 1:
Vera Fors, a mother of two, loses her job and her husband at the same time. The only work she can find is in a small community she’s never heard of, yet she gathers her belongings and the kids and drives off to start fresh in Ängelby. Right before she enters the town, she seemingly hits a boy with her car. In complete shock she concludes the boy is dead. But was it really Vera who killed him?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: Rough Cut by Anna Smith

Rough Cut by Anna Smith, January 2016, 416 pages, Quercus, ISBN: 184866432X

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

The long-awaited sixth book in Anna Smith’s fabulous series featuring feisty journalist Rosie Gilmour is with us, and it is every bit as fabulous as the previous books about her. Smith writes books that consume you. Her protagonist constantly finds herself up to her eyes in all sorts of trouble in her quest for the truth and takes you with her every step of the way. I love Rosie’s drive and ambition. I also love the way these books are written. They hold you captive and keep you guessing but are also a relatively quick read, so possible to whizz through in a couple of days – leaving you an exhausted heap by the time you have finished.

The novel opens with the gruesome scene of a prostitute with a dead punter at her feet. She has accidentally killed him in an erotic game that has gone terribly wrong and is left wondering what to do. She calls her friend, and fellow prostitute, for advice and the two of them are soon making their get-away; taking the punter’s mysterious briefcase with them. The contents of the briefcase turns out to be a pile of fake passports and a large number of rough diamonds. This discovery opens a whole can of worms and before too long there are threats being made on the girls’ lives by less than savoury men who want the case returned as soon as possible. Not knowing what to do, the girls turn to Rosie for help and she sets out to get to the bottom of the trouble.

As usual, Rosie doesn’t make things easy for herself and is looking into the apparent suicide of a young Pakistani bride at the same time as helping the prostitutes. What she finds out takes her to Pakistan, to rescue another young girl who suddenly disappears. What Rosie discovers shocks her to the core and soon she is once again running for her life. With diplomatic aid to help her escape, it seems as if Rosie might be safe this time, but you do start to wonder how long her luck will last.

One of the best things about Rosie is her sense of justice. Being a journalist, her purpose and passion is to seek out the perfect story. However, she also has an overpowering desire for fair-play and honesty. She keeps the police informed as much as she can and does her utmost to help those who ask her to. Only one thing is missing – TJ, her love. She misses him constantly and you, the reader, are also caught up in the loneliness she feels when she thinks about him. You have your fingers crossed that she will be reunited with her love but are not quite sure if she will ever see him again.

If you like a good plot that keeps you guessing and covers a current, controversial topic with sensitivity and tact, then you are going to love this book. It is not necessary to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one but it makes it much more interesting if you do.

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, August 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review: Hard Cover by Adrian Magson

Hard Cover by Adrian Magson, March 2016, 256 pages, Severn House Publishers Ltd, ISBN: 072788607X

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

I have read many books by Adrian Magson and there has not been a bad one yet and he has done it yet again with this latest Marc Portman thriller, the third one in this series.

Marc (codename Watchman) is working, as he usually does as a private contractor for the CIA/MI6 and has been sent into Russia to provide hidden, black ops, back-up for a wealthy Russian businessman who has lived in the UK for many years. Leonid Tzorekov was a former KGB officer but is now sympathetic to the West and is thought to be in Russia now with the object of meeting his old friend President Vladamir Putin to persuade him to be more sympathetic and moderate towards the West.

There are many, however, who do not want Leonid Tzorekov to meet with Putin and will do anything possible to stop him. Portman goes into Russia in disguise and under cover of darkness and puts an electronic beeper under the bumper of the Russian's car. He hopes this will aid him in following the target less overtly then without it. However, there are others who are considering the same tactic, but for more aggressive purposes.

This very exciting, tense adventure kept me guessing right up until the final sentence. I have had the privilege of reading the author's two earlier Marc Portman stories CLOSE QUARTERS and WATCHMAN; I have also read his NO KISS FOR THE DEVIL in his Riley Gavin series and two of his Lucas Rocco stories set in provincial France during the 1960s: DEATH ON THE MARAIS and DEATH ON THE RIVE NORD.

Adrian Magson is a very experienced author and when you open one of his titles you know that the book in question will provide a really interesting and tense plot, and thoughtful, well-described characters. He researches his plots in a thorough and painstaking manner in a similar way to fellow authors such as Stephen Leather and Simon Kernick. The reader can always expect a real sense of tense, nail-biting action and dramatic, page-turning suspense.

I look forward to reading any further adventures of Marc Portman and in fact any new books by this very talented and exciting author. Very strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, August 2016.