Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Millennium 4 : The Girl in the Spider's Web

Released on 27 August 2015, part four of Stieg Larsson's Millennium series: The Girl in the Spider's Web written by David Lagercrantz:

More in The Guardian.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell, March 2015, 448 pages, Simon & Schuster UK, ISBN: 1471111024

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

To put it simply, this is one of the best books that I have ever read. I loved it and was so sad when I came to the end. So exquisitely well-written that I took a week to read it, THE FIFTH GOSPEL is well worth the ten years that it took to research and write. So richly full of detail that the characters start to feel like friends almost immediately and so easy to get caught up in that at times it had me weeping.

The story is about two brothers, Simon and Alex. Both men are Catholic priests and live in the Vatican. Alex is a Greek Catholic and has a small son, while Simon is a Roman Catholic and destined for high places. The story begins with a phone call. Simon, who is currently stationed overseas, is coming home but phones Alex needing his help. Hearing the panic in his brother’s voice, Alex dashes out to his aid and discovers him crouching over the dead body of Ugo; their friend and the curator/designer of a mysterious exhibition that is due to open in the next couple of days. Ugo has been shot. The police are called and an investigation begins but it is no ordinary investigation. Simon is arrested, under suspicion of the murder of his friend, but the trial is set to take place in a Catholic court in the Vatican, not a court of Law. The system is very different and Alex, frustrated at what he sees and frantic for justice to be served – both for his brother and his friend - starts to take matters into his own hands.

Ugo’s planned exhibition is a controversial one and it is obvious that someone has killed him because of his discoveries in the course of preparing his work. He has spent a couple of years researching the origins and authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, in an attempt to explain where it really came from and whether or not it was the fake that carbon-dating had shown it to be. During the course of his research, Ugo had found an ancient manuscript, called the Diatessaron, or Fifth Gospel. It is a mix together of all four other Gospels, in an attempt to make sense of the discrepancies between them. Ugo works hard at unravelling the truth behind the Shroud and scours the Diatessaron for clues. What he finds has the potential to rock the very foundation of the Catholic church. And someone clearly wants him silenced before he tells the world his news.

Alex is pushed to his limits trying to find the evidence he needs. Gutted that his friend is dead and determined to prove that his brother is innocent, he has to push aside his own breaking heart and get to the truth before it is too late. Then he discovers that he too has become one of the hunted.

If you love religious crime fiction and cherish well-written prose as much as I do then you are going to adore this book. It deserves to be at least as successful as Caldwell’s earlier work. I will be watching its progress with great interest.

Extremely Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, March 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Petrona Award 2015 - the Shortlist

As you may know, I met up recently with the Petrona Award judges to discuss the 2015 Petrona Award and I can now reveal which titles are on the shortlist.

From the press release:

Quality crime fiction from across Scandinavia is shortlisted for the 2015 Petrona Award

Six high-quality crime novels from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have made the shortlist for the 2015 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, which is announced today.

They are:
THE HUMMINGBIRD by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Arcadia Books; Finland)

THE HUNTING DOGS by Jørn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press; Norway)

REYKJAVIK NIGHTS by Arnaldur Indriðason tr. Victoria Cribb (Harvill Secker; Iceland)

THE HUMAN FLIES by Hans Olav Lahlum tr. Kari Dickson (Mantle; Norway)

FALLING FREELY, AS IF IN A DREAM by Leif G W Persson tr. Paul Norlen (Doubleday; Sweden)

THE SILENCE OF THE SEA by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton; Iceland)

The winning title will be announced at the annual international crime fiction event CrimeFest, held in Bristol 14-17 May 2015. The award will be presented by the Godmother of modern Scandinavian crime fiction, Maj Sjöwall, co-author with Per Wahlöö of the Martin Beck series.

The award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia and published in the UK in the previous calendar year.

Leading Scandinavian crime fiction expert Barry Forshaw said “The Petrona Award goes from strength to strength, with both winners and shortlisted authors representing the very finest in the Nordic Noir genre; I’m pleased to be involved.”

More information about the judges and the judges' comments on why these books were chosen can be found on the Petrona Award website.

The judges (& me) after arriving at the shortlist:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid

The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid, March 2015, 464 pages, Sphere, ISBN: 0751551287

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

In an old abandoned building in Edinburgh, a surveyor struggles with his fear of heights to check the state of the roof. He is horrified when he finds the skeleton of a man hidden in a turret at one of the corners. The small Cold Case specialist unit is called in to investigate. When the death is found to be the result of a gunshot eight years previously, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie and her assistant DC Jason Murray, must first identity the body before starting to get to grips with finding the murderer.

Meanwhile in Oxford, Professor Maggie Blake is reluctantly celebrating her fiftieth birthday. She has a long and successful career in the subject of Geopolitics, particularly of the countries of the former Yugoslavia but her personal relationships leave a lot to desire after the love of her life, Dimitar Petrovic, walked out of her life without a backward glance.

Some lawyers who are working for the International Criminal Tribunal to bring war criminals from the former Yugolavia to trial have been tasked with finding the individual who is killing the very people they are working to bring to justice. Their search leads them to Edinburgh and to Karen and Jason's investigations. Meanwhile the police evidence leads Karen and Jason's search to Oxford, Maggie and the missing Dimitar.

Running through the book are the horrific events in the conflicts leading up to the break up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s including the siege and almost destruction of Dubrovnik. When reading this, I could not help but think of the similar events happening in the world today, the atrocities, destruction and deaths.

THE SKELETON ROAD is a very sad book but a good read as always offered by this author. This is a stand-alone book rather than a continuation of a series.

Susan White, March 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Reviews: Alaux & Balen, Bauer, Bilal, Fowler, Hannah, Judd, Shepherd, Todd, Whitney

Here are nine reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, four have appeared on the blog since last time, and five are completely new.

Please welcome new reviewer Ewa Sherman who makes her debut today.

A reminder that FriendFeed is being withdrawn on 9 April, so our crime and mystery group has new home on Facebook - Petrona's Crime and Mystery Friends. It's a closed group but there are admins in all time zones so you won't have to wait long to be approved. Do join us - new members are very welcome!

NB. You can keep up to date with Euro Crime by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page.

New Reviews

Laura Root reviews Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noel Balen's Deadly Tasting tr. Sally Pane the fourth in their cozy Winemaker series;

Michelle Peckham reviews Belinda Bauer's The Shut Eye;

Lynn Harvey reviews Parker Bilal's The Burning Gates, the fourth in his Makana series set in Egypt;

Mark Bailey reviews Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May - The Burning Man, the twelfth in this series which features London's Peculiar Crimes Unit;

Amanda Gillies reviews Mari Hannah's Killing for Keeps the fifth in the Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels series;

Ewa Sherman reviews Alan Judd's Inside Enemy which is the fourth in the Charles Thoroughgood series;

Terry Halligan reviews Lynn Shepherd's The Pierced Heart, the fourth in the Charles Maddox series;

Terry also reviews Charles Todd's A Fine Summer's Day a prequel in the Inspector Rutledge series

and Susan White reviews Rebecca Whitney's debut, The Liar's Chair.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here along with releases by year.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review: The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer

The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer, March 2015, 304 pages, Bantam Press, ISBN: 0593072871

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

Detective Chief Inspector John Marvel is on his way home to Debbie, when he spots a woman on a ledge, about to jump off onto the rails in front of a train. He tells her a small white lie, that the trains are now longer running as it's after 8pm, and saves her life. The woman is Anna Buck, married to the car mechanic, James Buck, and they both live next door to the garage where he works. Sadly, outside their house, in the cement of the garage forecourt are five small footsteps preserved in cement, the footsteps of her missing four year old boy, Daniel. Anna is badly affected by his disappearance, cleaning the flat with bleach on a daily basis, and looking after a baby that is just a doll. But then she finds a flyer for a meeting in a church featuring the TV psychic, Richard Latham, and she takes the first steps to change, by leaving her house properly for the first time. She goes to the meeting to see what Latham can tell her, because she knows Daniel is not dead. Can she afford to pay him for a consultation? Can he help her find Daniel?

As a foil perhaps to this sadness, the superintendent takes Marvel off his current case (finding a missing girl called Edie) and tells him to find out what has happened to his wife's dog Mitzi (a poodle). Sandra, the wife, is also using Latham to try to find out where Mitzi is, but is refused help. At the meeting, Anna and Sandra connect and Anna takes a photo of Sandra and the poodle away with her. But in a surprising development, Anna has an odd reaction to the photograph, and suddenly has a vision that she can't interpret. Is she getting visions like Richard Latham? Like a 'shut eye'? Could she help to find the dog? What do the visions mean?

A quirky, intriguing story, set in the year 2000, but with the feel of 50 years earlier, particularly in the character of John Marvel, a brilliant but idiosyncratic detective. Anna is a fragile, yet strong-minded character, and the story is focused on her determination and obsession with finding her lost child. Bauer very cleverly builds up the tension precisely and carefully, drawing on our sympathy and engagement with the two main characters. And despite its gentleness, the story slows builds to a dramatic conclusion, as the stories of the lost children (and dogs) are played out. I very much enjoyed this book, and thoroughly recommend it.

Michelle Peckham, March 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pushkin's Vertigo Imprint

From Shelf Awareness, news of Pushkin Press's International Crime Imprint, Vertigo:
In September, in the U.K. and North America, Pushkin Press is launching Pushkin Vertigo, an imprint that will feature crime classics from around the world by international masters from the 1920s to the 1970s. The authors are well known in their original countries, and some have been translated into English previously. The company noted the popularity of international crime on TV and in books and said its Pushkin Vertigo titles have been "carefully selected by Pushkin's editors to feed the needs of those addicted to crime literature--the 'binge' readers."

Pushkin Vertigo is releasing six titles this year:

Vertigo by Boileau-Narcejac, the pen name of Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (the book was the basis for Hitchcock's movie--and the name of the new imprint)
She Who Was No More by Boileau-Narcejac
The Disappearance of Signora Giulia by Piero Chiara
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada
Master of the Day of Judgment by Leo Perutz
I Was Jack Mortimer by Alexander Lernet-Holenia

Another 14 titles will be published next year.