Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wanted! European Ellroy suggestions...

I've had an email asking if I know of a European equivalent to James Ellroy. Specifically authors "that like Ellroy seem to have a real feel for disturbed states of mind".

I've suggested Friedrich Glauser as he spent a lot of his short life in institutions. I'm also wondering if Massimo Carlotto's 'The Goodbye Kiss' would count as the 'hero' believes the world owes him a living and he doesn't see the things he does, to get the good life, as wrong (rape, murder, betrayal etc).

Anyone any other thoughts?

Friday, October 27, 2006

New Reviews on the Euro Crime website

New reviews just added to the Euro Crime website are 'One Good Turn' by Kate Atkinson and 'Silence of the Grave' by Arnaldur Indridason, reviewed by Yvonne Klein and Karen Chisholm respectively.

The update's a bit early this week as I'm away for a few days. Hope to be blogging again Monday or Tuesday :-).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kate Atkinson books competition

I'll be uploading a review of Kate Atkinson's newest book, 'One Good Turn' at the weekend and I stumbled over this competition for both Jackson Brodie books at bookloons.com. Only open to residents of US and Canada (exc. Quebec) and closes on the 31st.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What I'm Reading - The Torso by Helene Tursten

Soho Press bring out natty and classy editions of books by big name authors including Cara Black and Rebecca Pawel who set their stories in France and Spain respectively. They are also responsible for bringing two books (so far) by Swedish author Helene Tursten into English. Tursten's series features Crime Inspector Irene Huss of the Violent Crimes Unit in Gothenburg (I don't know if she's met Eric Winter, from Ake Edwardson's work :-)).

I'm about 1/3rd through 'The Torso' which is the third in the series (I believe) and the second to be translated. The first in the series and to be translated was 'Detective Inspector Huss'. It's a bit graphic in parts but I'm enjoying it enormously . What's quite unusual as Peter on Detectives Beyond Borders mentioned a while ago (apologies if I'm mis-remembering) is that she has a normal homelife. Her husband works evenings as a chef and they share their car, they have well balanced twin daughters and a dog and so far no complaints about her working long hours etc. So far so very good.

Synopsis from Soho Press website: Part of a human torso washes up on a beach near Göteborg, Sweden. It is so mutilated that gender is only established by DNA testing. A similar crime, now several years old, remains unsolved in Denmark. Detective Inspector Irene Huss is dispatched to Copenhagen to liaise with police there in pursuing the killer. Then a third corpse is discovered. This time it’s identified. She is a girl Detective Huss knew; she was asked by the girl’s mother to help her locate her missing daughter. A fourth victim, the son of the woman heading the Copenhagen crime squad, is also known to Huss. She fears the killer is tracking her, killing people with whom she is connected. There is even a chilling suggestion that he or she is one of her colleagues.

(Incidentally mine's a library copy so maybe worth checking with your local library :-))

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bitter Lemon Press

Just had an email from Bitter Lemon Press to say they've revamped their website.

If you've not come across them before BLP are a small publisher of high quality authors, mostly in translation. They aim to bring you "the best crime and roman noirs from faraway places".

Their continental European authors include Gianrico Carofiglio, Friedrich Glauser and Tonino Benacquista and from Cuba, Leonardo Padura.

The website has infomation on all their authors, book extracts as well as reviews (Euro Crime website gets a mention under Involuntary Witness reviews :-)).

Basically if the book's published by BLP you're in for a great read.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Reviews and Updates to Euro Crime Website

The new reviews added to the Euro Crime website are 'The Silver Pigs' (Audio) by Lindsey Davis and 'Hidden' by Katy Gardner.

The 'Authors' (480 sites) page has been updated.

The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.

In 'Books' the bibliographies for: Andrea Camilleri, Judith Cutler, Nicci French, Pavel Kohout, Michael Marshall, Edward Marston and Pat McIntosh have been updated and new bibliographies have been added for: Mikhail Chernenok, Vil Lipatov, Alexei Malashenko, Frank Parrish and Marietta Shaginian.

The 'News' page has been further updated today.

The Act of Roger Murgatroyd

Here's another title which I'm looking forward to getting. The reviewer in today's Scotland on Sunday calls it a 'bally hoot'.

Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "It is Boxing Day circa 1935. The place is a snowed-in manor on the very edge of Dartmoor. It is a Christmas house-party. And overhead, in the attic, the dead body of Raymond Gentry, gossip columnist and blackmailer, shot through the heart. But the attic door is locked from the inside, its sole window is traversed by thick iron bars and, naturally, there is no sign of a murderer or a murder weapon. Fortunately (though, for the murderer, unfortunately), one of the guests is the formidable Evadne Mount, the bestselling author of countless classic whodunits. In fact, were she not its presiding sleuth, "The Act of Roger Murgatroyd" is exactly the type of whodunit she herself might have written."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

'News items' added to Euro Crime website

Links to reviews and articles from this week's UK papers have been added to the 'News' page of the Euro Crime website.

Friday, October 20, 2006

CWA Short Story Award 2006 - Winner...

From the CWA website:

"The winner of this year’s CWA Short Story Awards was announced at a dinner as part of the Off The Shelf festival in Sheffield on October 18.

Robert Barnard beat the competition to take the £1500 prize for his story Sins of Scarlet in the CWA anthology edited by Martin Edwards, ID: Crimes of Identity, published by Comma Press. The story was commended by the judges as: “The ultimate in locked room murders, set in the Sistine Chapel during an election of a Pope.”

The shortlisted authors, chosen from more than 100 entries, were Robert Barnard, Ken Bruen, Stuart Pawson and Martyn Waites. The judges were chaired by Peter Lovesey, winner of both the CWA Gold Dagger (twice), the Silver Dagger, and the prestigious CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger. He said that the final list demonstrated that: “The crime short story can still thrill, chill and entertain in a variety of styles and settings.” The other judges were crime fiction reviewers Ayo Onatade and Ali Karim.

Robert Richardson, Chair of the CWA, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the Off The Shelf festival. Many of our events take place in London, so it’s good to come to another city and underline the fact that there are outstanding crime writers working all over Britain.”

Receiving his award, Robert Barnard said: “This is utterly delightful. I’ve had nominations in the US – and won – but they’ve never had any money attached . . . (Sins of Scarlet) was intended as a full-length novel but I don’t like novels that have only one sex in them and thought it came better as a short story.” He also revealed that the story had been turned down by a leading US short story magazine. “They loved it, but wouldn’t publish it - it was too offensive to too many people . . . which was very sad. It’s a very nice story and I did enjoy writing it.”"
Certainly an anthology worth seeking out!

What I've just read...

The other day I finished Paul Magrs - 'Never the Bride', which I mentioned on the blog a couple of weeks ago and I ordered myself a copy. It's more horror than crime as our heroines deal with aliens and demons and a reformed vampire (but he doesn't have a soul unlike Angel), but in a gentle way. I enjoyed it, but it felt like several episodes linked together rather than a seamless story. The ending does leave it open for a follow up and if there was one I'd like to revisit Brenda & Effy, a B & B owner and a junk shop owner respectively as they save the world or at least Whitby. As you can maybe guess there's more than a nod to the Buffy-verse in this book.

Joolz Denby reviewed it in the Guardian last weekend and I agree with most of her summing up:
"Never the Bride should be extensively stocked in Whitby; it's a fun holiday book. There are some poetic descriptions ("the shot silk of the perplexing sea", "a fine clinging mist ... inching its way in thick scarves"), and the damp charms of an English seaside town are nicely evoked. But though the characters are amusing, they're not well constructed enough to be as truly engaging or as darkly terrifying as they should be. The dialogue and storyline are often clunky and the book suffers very badly from repetition, giving the impression of an over-extended, unedited short story; though presumably pitched at adults, it would better suit a younger audience. None the less, Magrs should do an event at the next Whitby goth fest; without doubt, Never the Bride will be a gothic smash."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Non crime - Christine Coleman

We had an author visit today at Mere Green Library. Christine Coleman, who having lived in the area for best part of 30 years, could be called local :-), came and gave a very interesting talk about how she got the idea for her first published book, 'The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society', her struggles on getting it published and finally marketing it. She has sold 2000 copies which she is pleased with, but she only recives 7.5% of the RRP ie about 65p per book.

After trying about 40 publishers, Transita finally agreed to take her on. One of the points that Christine made was about how few books are told from the perspective of an older person in their present time ie not about a flashback. We in crime fiction do have Miss Marple, Miss Silver, Mrs Mallory and others down to Agatha Raisin (whose age I'm not sure of) but I was hard pushed to think of any straight fiction titles. (Suggestions please :-)). Transita however only publishes books with protagonists aged over 45.

Synopsis from amazon.co.uk: "Agnes Borrowdale, seventy-five years old a week on Tuesday, hoisted herself onto the window sill and perched astride it, gripping the wooden frame.’

After her escape from the old people’s home where she has been placed by her son, Jack, and his new partner, Monica, Agnes’s quest to find her grandchildren develops in ways she could never have predicted.

Among the new friends she makes on her journey are: Joe, the helpful lorry driver; Molly, the garrulous proprietor of a small, run-down hotel; Gazza, the student whose sprained ankle may have serious consequences for Agnes; and Felix, the retired barrister’s clerk, whom Agnes pulls back from attempted suicide.

Hoping to rekindle his desire to live, she invents the Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society, but soon fears that this falsehood, having acquired a momentum of its own, will end in tragedy.

Meanwhile, Jack, frantically trying to trace his missing mother, spends a night in a police cell on a drunk-driving charge, while an over-zealous young policeman begins to suspect him of a more serious crime. "

I've taken a library copy home and library borrowers have been quite positive about the book. I'll certainly look out for more books from Transita - especially with Christmas presents in mind!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fred Vargas - Wash this Blood Clean from my Hand

Random House are really pushing Dagger winner Vargas' next book, 'Wash this Blood Clean from My Hand', including a promotion through Book2Book.com.

Synopsis from amazon.co.uk:
"Between 1943 and 2003, nine people have been stabbed to death with a most unusual weapon: a trident. In each case, arrests were made, suspects confessed their crime and were sentenced to life in prison. One slightly worrying detail: the presumed murderers lost consciousness during the night of the crime and have no recollection of it. Commissaire Adamsberg is convinced all the murders are the work of one person, the terrifying Judge Fulgence. Years before, Adamsberg's own brother had been the principal suspect in a similar case and avoided prison only thanks to Adamsberg's help. History repeats itself when Adamsberg, who is temporarily based in Quebec for a training mission, is accused of having savagely murdered a young woman he had met. In order to prove his innocence, Adamsberg must go on the run from the Canadian police and find Judge Fulgence."

If you can't wait until 4 Jan 2007, you can try and order an advance reading copy here (UK only) and I'm also hoping to have a competition on the blog/website.

Incidentally the Continental Crimewave site I posted about recently has now been updated.

If you've not come across the fab Fred Vargas before, I've reviewed two of the three titles currently available in English on the Euro Crime website: 'The Three Evangelists' and 'Seeking Whom He May Devour'.

'The Three Evangelists' won the inaugural Duncan Lawrie International Dagger earlier this year.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Freebie from Audible.co.uk

I'm a fairly regular listener to audio books though I'm in the Dark Ages still, relying on tape and cd. Ages ago The Times gave away an mp3 copy of 'Pride and Prejudice' through audible.co.uk and I registered and got my free download and onto the mailing list.

Recently, I downloaded another item, this time a recording of a session from the Bath Literature Festival:
"Bath-based BBC Audiobooks hosted a sell-out event for the Bath Literature Festival. Reading Between the Lines: From Page to Production featured Rula Lenska, Lynne Truss, Sir Derek Jacobi, and Lorelei King in an entertaining and lively discussion about the art of the audiobook. They were joined by Sunday Times audio critic Karen Robinson, BBC Audiobooks' Publishing Director Jan Paterson, and Senior Producer Kate Thomas.

The panel discussed all aspects of what makes a good audiobook. Topics debated ranged from casting, production, recording, accents, pronunciation, translation, and editing. Rula Lenska, Sir Derek Jacobi, and Lorelei King are all highly respected readers having recorded numerous titles for BBC Audiobooks and other publishers. Lynne Truss appears in the audiobook versions of her two best sellers Eats, Shoots and Leaves and Talk to the Hand."
You can listen to a sample and add it to your basket to download for free here.

This week's new reviews & updates on the Euro Crime Website

This week's changes to the Euro Crime website are:

New reviews - 'Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came' by M C Beaton and 'The Art of Drowning' by Frances Fyfield, reviewed by Karen Chisholm.

The 'Authors' (478 sites) page has been updated.

The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.

In 'Books' the bibliographies for: Catherine Aird and Geraldine Evans have been updated and new bibliographies have been added for: William Coffey, Ariana Franklin, Alexander McGregor and Charlie Owen.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Euro Crime Website - 'News' page updated

The 'News' page on the Euro Crime website has been updated with links to interviews and reviews from the last week.

Lynda la Plante's The Red Dahlia is reviewed twice - with slightly differing opinions:

from the Guardian:
"No one does a police procedural as well as La Plante, who orchestrates the suspense and the frenzy of the chase against the clock with as much panache as she elaborates the disarray of the investigators' private lives. It's breathless stuff which ranks impressively against the best of Prime Suspect. Because of her TV fame, La Plante is seriously underrated as a novelist; this should help to change that."

whereas the Telegraph says:
"If you can ignore the predictability in all this, the leaden dialogue, the writing-by-numbers prose, the flat-pack plotting, the implausible character motivation, the absence of verisimilitude, and the utter banality of it all, then this novel, the latest from the writer who brought us Prime Suspect, is just about all right."

Anyone read anything by her? I've not even seen Prime Suspect.

Andrea Camilleri

Today's Guardian has an article on Sicilian author, Andrea Camilleri and his Inspector Montalbano series.
Full article here...

The article concludes with:
Five of the Montalbano mysteries, all expertly translated by Sartarelli, are available from Picador. They deserve to be read in the sequence they were written: The Shape of Water, The Terracotta Dog, The Snack Thief, The Voice of the Violin and Excursion to Tindari, which has just been published. The Scent of the Night (that "scent", Sartarelli insists, ought to be "smell"), Rounding the Mark and The Patience of the Spider will appear next year. Camilleri has his detractors, but they tend to be the kind of people who rate plot above characterisation and prefer suspense to what one might call human interest. The real Sicily lives in his pages - its smells, its tastes (I have already cooked a couple of the dishes Montalbano enjoys most) and, above all, its language. Sicily, in turn, is proud of him. His birthplace of Porto Empedocle, on which Vigàta is based, has changed its name to Vigàta. I should like to think that this honour pleases him as much, if not more, than his astonishing sales figures.

May I interrupt this blog with real life?

Sorry it's (and I) have been a bit quiet over the last few days. I've been preparing for an interview, which I had yesterday, Friday 13th...I'm pleased to announce that I've been offered a part-time library assistant post at Mere Green Library (north Birmingham). Naturally I'm over the moon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Free Martina Cole book at Woolies (UK)

Not everyone's cup of char but extremely popular at the library - now you can have your very own copy of Martina Cole's Faceless by printing off this .pdf voucher and handing it in at your nearest Woolworths.

From amazon.co.uk: "Eleven years ago Marie Carter was convicted of killing her two best friends. And she's paid the price. Now she is being released from prison. It's time to go home. But time has stood still for Marie, and she has nowhere to go. Her parents have disowned her; her friends have abandoned her; even her kids don't want to know. But some people out there do care - particularly when they know that Marie Carter is out for revenge..."

[Source - Martin's Money Tips].

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

CWA Debut Dagger competition 2007

More from the CWA!
"The next Debut Dagger Competition will run from 8th January – 14th April 2007. Go on, take a stab at it, send us the opening chapter(s) – up to 3000 words – and a short synopsis of your proposed crime novel, and you could be a published crime writer.

Winning the Debut Dagger doesn’t guarantee you’ll get published. But it does mean your work will be seen by leading agents and top editors, who have signed up over a dozen winners as well as shortlisted Debut Dagger competitors.

The Debut Dagger is open to anyone who has not yet had a novel published commercially. First prize is £500 plus two free tickets to the prestigious CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger Awards and night’s stay for two in a top London hotel. All shortlisted entrants will receive a generous selection of crime novels and professional assessments of their entries, and will also be invited to the Dagger Awards Dinner."
More information can be found on the CWA Debut Dagger page.

CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award - winner...

...is Edward Wright for RED SKY LAMENT

the other nominees were:

Louis Bayard - THE PALE BLUE EYE

More on the award and Edward Wright at the CWA's website.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Literature Matters

The Spring edition of 'Literature Matters' a magazine produced by the British Arts Council focused exclusively on crime.
"To celebrate the diversity, quality, breadth and energy of British crime fiction, this issue of Literature Matters plays homage to the genre and features articles by a wide range of critics, novelists, booksellers and publishers, discussing the strengths, weaknesses and quirks within the genre. Issues around translation and crime fiction are huge right now, and Maxim Jakubowski and Christopher MacLehose discuss this with eloquence and passion. Denise Mina explores the complicated and emotive subject of the status of crime writing while Simon Brett and Nicholas Blincoe both offer insights into how crime fiction came to be both revered as serious literary fiction and dismissed as light genre fare. Carla Banks and Margaret Murphy offer a splendid overview of the current greats and the newbies of the crime fiction world. And as far as everything else goes, the regular features are with us too – Writers Talk Books, Writers Abroad and Plat du Jour."
Other contributors include P D James and Natasha Cooper. You can read all the articles here.

More on Massimo Carlotto

I posted about him a couple of weeks ago here and I've just come across the part of his website which is in English. From there you can download the first chapter of 'The Goodbye Kiss'.

'The Goodbye Kiss' did receive a UK distribution and may also be available in local libraries. Birmingham Library service certainly bought copies.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Euro Crime Website - new reviews & updates

This week's new reviews are - a second review of 'Punishment' by Anne Holt, reviewed by Karen Chisholm and a review of 'The Field of Blood' by Denise Mina.

The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.

In 'Books' the bibliographies for: Paul Doherty, Rosemary Rowe and Lyndon Stacey have been updated.

The contact email has been updated to karen@eurocrime.co.uk.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Agatha Raisin again

After reading 'The Goodbye Kiss' by Massimo Carlotto, I needed something a bit more upbeat where evil doesn't prevail. As it's very hard to stop with just one Agatha Raisin I'd ordered the next one at the library and as I'm holding it up for the next person in the list I thought I'd better crack on with it.

Synopsis from amazon.co.uk:
"Two drowned brides distract Agatha from her marriage...Abandoned by James, Agatha hops on a plane to the South Pacific. There she meets a honeymooning couple but tragically, the new bride accidentally drowns. Returning home to Carsely, Agatha finds herself involved in a strangely similar situation - a woman, dressed in a wedding gown, is found floating in a river. The police say suicide, but Agatha, spurred on by memories of her disastrous marriage, sets out to prove them wrong."

I'm enjoying this one, as usual, but what's been most exciting is a reference to Redditch, which is where I live. This is the first time I've come across a book that has mentioned Redditch - one of the characters has been taken to the Alexander Hospital - It's a new town with nothing much to recommend it except for the stunning scenery to the south. I should mention the series is set in the Cotswolds and a lot of the action in this one is in Evesham which is 15 miles or so south of here.

'Agatha Raisin and the Day the Flood Came' by M C Beaton came out in UK paperback in August and yes I've put a reservation on the next one!

Gunnar Staalesen's Varg Veum novels to be filmed

Varg Veum appears to be a Norwegian Philip Marlowe, currently 3 are available in English:

Yours Until Death
At Night All Wolves are Grey
The Writing on the Wall

I haven't tried any of them yet but..one day...

From european-films.net:
"Trond Espen Seim, the Norwegian actor who portrayed the angelic nurse from Erik Poppe's gripping 2004 drama Hawaii, Oslo, will star as the title character in a series based on Gunnar Staalesen's bestselling Varg Veum novels. The 84 million Kroner (about €10.5 million) project encompasses a total of six adventures of the private eye, two produced for the cinema and four for television. Pre-production on the feature project has been underway for a month, with shooting scheduled to start in the Norwegian town of Bergen (Veum's home town) in October. The first feature film to be shot will be based on Staalesen's Bitre blomster (Bitter Flowers), which will be released theatrically."
I don't suppose we'll ever get to see the series in the UK, but maybe the film will be available in 'art house' cinemas.

Friday, October 06, 2006

'News' page updated on website

I've added a few links to the 'News' page of the Euro Crime website.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Another crime blog (with knitting too!)

I'm still behind and apologise to those awaiting replies to comments and emails. When my SO is on earlies I don't get much pc time as my clacking away at the keyboard keeps him awake!

Must mention a friend's blog which she told me about at last night's book club. It's about crime writing and knitting and very wittily named Mysterious Yarns :-).

Pick the new 'Young Bond' title

On the Young Bond website you can vote for your choice of title for #3 in the series by Charlie Higson.

The choices are:-

The Deadlock Cipher
Double or Die

Has anyone or anyone's offspring tried this series?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Random House - Continental Crimewave website

I seem to be playing catch up at the moment but I hope things will calm down soon. I've just received an arc of the new Fred Vargas - 'Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand' - which is due out in January. I spotted a web address on the back cover - http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/continentalcrimewave - for continental crime. It's a bit out of date but if you're new to translated European crime writing then it gives a few ideas. Just click on the 'blueish' countries for a list of books.

Monday, October 02, 2006

New Joan Smith novel - thriller?

From Book 2 Book website: Arcadia have acquired the latest book by Joan Smith

About the novel:

"July 1997: Lebanon makes a rare appearance in the British headlines when an Englishwoman dies in a land mine accident near the town of Nebatiyeh. The dead woman is a minor celebrity, a model with a Egyptian mother visiting the Middle East for the first time. Reporters descend on her Somerset home, liking her death with Pricess Diana's high-profile campaign for a ban on land mines.

When a young feature writer is sent to Beirut to write a human interest story about Aisha's death, she finds a city only just recovering from more than a decade of civil war. Lebanon is still occupied by Israel in the south, prompting a bloody conflict with the Syrian-backed terrorist organisation Hezbollah, and Amanda realises that thousands or ordinary Lebanese are trapped between these two ruthless enemies.

She begins to suspect that Aisha may have been another victim of this forgotten war. But with a wayward princess and a charismatic new prime minister making headlines at home, how can she make sure that justice is done for Aisha - and for Lebanon?

Full article here

In addition Arcadia have their own eurocrime imprint.