Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Simon & Schuster - new titles (July - Dec 2009)

Today I received a copy of the Simon & Schuster (UK) catalogue listing the new titles for July to December 2009. Of interest to the Euro Crime database are:

Mark Gatiss - Black Butterfly (paperback)
Sarah Rayne - Ghost Song (paperback)


Chris Carter - The Crucifix Killer
N J (Natasha) Cooper - No Escape (paperback original)
Neil Cross - Burial (paperback)
Chris Ewan - The Good Thief's Guide to Paris (paperback)
Bernard Knight - Crowner Royal (paperback)


Michael Byrnes - The Sacred Blood (paperback)
Lynda la Plante - new Travis/Langton book


Christian Jacq - The Judgement of the Mummy
Christian Jacq - Tutankhamun: The Last Secret (paperback)


Terence Strong - Stalking Horse (paperback reprint)
More "forthcoming titles" can be found here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Winged With Death - review

To coincide with John Baker's guest spot tomorrow on her blog, It's a Crime! (Or a Mystery...) , crimeficreader has kindly donated her review of his latest book, Winged With Death, to the Euro Crime collection.

Her review can be read here.

And her blog is here.

More Euro Crime crime fiction reviews can be found here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Nicci French's website

Nicci French's website has had an overhaul and has several new features, one of which is a regularly updated blog. The blog posts aren't about their books, just everyday life.

Nicci French's eleventh psychological thriller, What To Do When Someone Dies, came out in early March.

‘This is not my world. Something is wrong, askew. It is a Monday evening in October. I am Ellie Falkner, 34 years old and married to Greg Manning. Although two police officers have just come to my door and told me he is dead . . . ’ It's devastating to hear that your husband has died in a horrific car accident. But to learn that he died with a mystery woman as his passenger is torment. Was Greg having an affair? Drowning in grief, Ellie clings to Greg's innocence, and her determination to prove it to the world at large means she must find out who Milena Livingstone was and what she was doing in Greg's car. But in the process those around her begin to question her sanity ... and her motive. And the louder she shouts that Greg might have been murdered, the more suspicion falls on Ellie herself. Sometimes it's safer to keep silent when someone dies ...
Euro Crime reviewer Maxine Clarke had this to say about the two previous novels:

on Losing You: "I defy anyone to put down LOSING YOU after the first hundred overwhelmingly exciting plot, which delivers on its solution. Ten out of ten."

and on Until It's Over: "the pace of the plot guarantees that you won't want to put this book down until you have finished it".

Nicci French's website is here.

Crime novels storm the ebook chart

I've received a tip-off from Dan Waddell, author of The Blood Detective that his book is top of the ebook chart (across all genres) beating the mighty Stephenie Meyer Twilight series. Three of the top five places are held by crime novels.

Looking at Waterstone's chart, the top 5 are as follows:
1. Dan Waddell - The Blood Detective
2. Mark Pearson - Hard Evidence
3. Stephenie Meyer - Twilight
4. Stephenie Meyer - New Moon
5. James Becker - The First Apostle
Steph at Wheredunnit has just bought a Sony e-reader and makes a plea for authors to try and get their books into e-format.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Reviews: Akunin, Cain, Corley, Griffiths, Hague, Hinchcliffe

This month's competition is open to all. Win a copy of The Black Monastery by Stav Sherez.

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

Fiona Walker highly recommends the Erast Fandorin series by Boris Akunin, including the latest one, The Coronation;

Terry Halligan reviews the second in the 'Accident Man' series by Tom Cain, The Survivor, which is now available in paperback;

Paul Blackburn looks at Elizabeth Corley's newest police procedural, Innocent Blood

Pat Austin is enthusiastic about Elly Griffiths's atmospheric debut The Crossing Places;

Michelle Peckham reviews Steven Hague's debut Justice for All which is the beginning of a series set in America

and Maxine Clarke reviews the psychological thriller Out of a Clear Sky by Sally Hinchcliffe.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

OT: Basking in the sun (cat alert)

A nice sunny day but a bit windy so Fox the cat is sunning himself inside...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cloaked Men in Corridors (Cover theme)

The first three are published later this year. The top two are from the same imprint (Arrow). The last one came out a few days ago but the man's run off.

To be fair, I think the finished cover for Shirley McKay's book will be slightly different to the above. See here.

UPDATE: Mustn't forget this one, though no corridor:

Daphne du Maurier as sleuth

October sees the publication of Joanna Challis's Murder on the Cliffs (US edition) the first in a projected series with Daphne du Maurier as the detective. From Joanna Challis's website:

St Martins Press

A new mystery series set in Cornwall, starring Daphne Du Maurier - THE MANORHOUSE MURDERS…

Each mystery will feature Daphne embroiling herself in a world of intrigue post WW1. She is writing, she loves Cornwall, travel, old houses, historic themes. She’s interested in people, what motivates them as character studies, particularly when there is murder, mystery and mayhem.

All of these “fictional” stories provides inspiration for Daphne’s future works. During Daphne’s journey, she encounters her future husband (whom, for the purpose this series, I have her meet earlier) and the dashing and yes, cynically cheeky Major Browning will show up in each book.
From, the synopsis for Murder on the Cliffs:
The storm led me to Padthaway.

I could never resist the allure of dark swirling clouds, windswept leaves sweeping down cobbled lanes or a view of the sea stirring up its defiant nature. The sea possessed a power all of its own and this part of Cornwall, an isolated stretch of rocky cliff tops and unexplored beaches both enchanted and terrified me.

It is not a lie to say I felt drawn out that day, led to a certain destiny...

So begins this new mystery series featuring young Daphne du Maurier, headstrong, adventurous, and standing at the cusp of greatness.

Walking on the cliffs in Cornwall, she stumbles upon the drowned body of a beautiful woman, dressed only in a nightgown, her hair strewn along the rocks, her eyes gazing up to the heavens. Daphne soon learns that the mysterious woman was engaged to marry Lord Hartley of Padthaway, an Elizabethan mansion full of intriguing secrets.

As the daughter of the famous Sir Gerald du Maurier, Daphne is welcomed into the Hartley home, but when the drowning turns out to be murder, Daphne determines to get to the bottom of the mysteries of Padthaway—in part to find fresh inspiration for her writing, and in part because she cannot resist the allure of grand houses and long buried secrets.

Daphne du Maurier has of course already dabbled in detection in 2008's Daphne by Justine Picardie which is now available in paperback.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

London Book Fair Haul 2009

Yesterday was my third annual visit to the London Book Fair. The two previous years, I'd been on a Monday. Wednesday was much quieter than the two other visits and unfortunately several publishers had run out of catalogues but I suppose they were slightly more willing to give out some display books (Quercus, Allison & Busby),

The haul can be seen below (click on the photo to get a better look):

Last year's stash can be seen here.

I'll be working my way through the catalogues I did get and I expect the future releases pages to be soon bursting with new titles for the latter part of the year.

As well as acquiring all the publications, the trip also allowed me to catch up with the ladies from It's a Crime! and Petrona.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mystery Scandinavian Author - Publishing Deal

From The Bookseller:

Patrick Janson-Smith at HarperCollins imprint Blue Door has bought UK and Commonwealth rights in a hotly tipped Swedish literary thriller, The Hypnotist, paying "a good six-figure sum".

The book is being sold at LBF by Bonnier, which itself acquired the novel just four weeks ago. It is being published under the author name Lars Kepler, although this is understood to be a pseudonym.

"There is speculation that it may be another established author but only one person at Bonnier knows," said Janson-Smith. The Hypnotist tells of a family being brutally murdered, with only the injured son escaping. A hypnotist is brought out of retirement to solve the case.

Janson-Smith added: "Our take on it is that this is the new Stieg Larsson. This book is the first in a projected eight-book sequence and Bonnier is fielding offers from all over the world. When the US deal is completed I expect to co-ordinate publication—it will be quite an event."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Very Persistent Illusion by L C Tyler - extract

I've just finished A Very Persistent Illusion by L C Tyler which is not a crime novel unlike The Herring Seller's Apprentice and its sequel Ten Little Herrings (Aug. 09). It is equally as funny as The Herring Seller's Apprentice but is more of a tragic-comedy. Here are a few paragraphs from the first chapter.

A Long Way from Horsham,
18 April this Year

Women have many different ways of showing disapproval, only some of which are immediately apparent to men. A brief study of my girlfriend, who you will meet shortly, has revealed twenty-three quite distinct gradations of dissatisfaction. I have been obliged to catalogue them all. At some stage in the future, the Sorensen-Birtwistle Revised Scale of Girl-Rage will take its rightful place alongside the Richter Scale, the Beaufort Scale and other internationally recognized measures of danger. While mine lacks the precision of the Beaufort Scale, it has greater relevance for the man who does not get out much in hurricanes.

A Number Five, for example, is defined as a noticeable shaking of indoor items, accompanied by rattling noises, but without significant damage to whatever relationship your girlfriend believes you are in. A Number Four, which I sometimes fancifully visualize as dark cobalt storm clouds with blinding flashes of vermillion lighting, has the power to reduce grown men to jelly and can reputedly kill small mammals asleep in their burrows. And so on.

Fortunately, what is currently being pointed in my direction is only a Number Nineteen: a sort of grey swirling mist of discontent that mendaciously promises, from time to time, to part and reveal its true cause and origin. Not that I actually need the mist to part and reveal anything. The cause of this Number Nineteen is only too apparent (even to me). We are due at her parents’ house, which is still at least an hour’s drive away, at eleven thirty – and it is currently ten fifty-five according to the clock on the tasteful walnut dashboard of my classic sports car. In some way that will be explained to me shortly, this is All My Fault. The car ahead of us edges another couple of inches in the direction of Horsham and I slip smoothly into first gear and edge right along with it. The car ahead stops and I expertly bring the MG to a halt a fingerbreadth from its rear bumper. Handbrake on. A quick flick of the gearstick and we are back in neutral. Job done. I think she’ll be pretty pleased with that.

‘Brilliant,’ she says. ‘Ramming the car in front will save us at least half a second. You know, what I’d really like now is to have to stop and exchange insurance details with an enraged Rolls Royce owner whose car you’ve just run into while trying to gain a fraction of a millimetre in the queue. God, you’re an idiot.’

‘Bentley,’ I say knowingly.


‘It’s a Bentley ahead of us. And I quite deliberately didn’t run into it.’

I give her the knowing smile again. She gives me a quick burst of Number Seven, bordering on a mild Six. (Six is more severe than seven on the Sorensen-Birtwistle Revised, for reasons I’ll come to.) ‘God, you’re a idiot,’ she tells me.

‘I know. You already said. Twice. But thanks for addressing me as God, anyway.’

The traffic starts to move. The back of my hand brushes against her bare leg as I push the custom leather-clad gearstick to the left and forward. She pulls her leg away as if she has been stung, and smoothes her skirt down over it. In spite of the rather good God joke (see above), I am not in favour.

I am therefore unsurprised that there’s one of those funny little lulls in the conversation, as we stop and start and stop and start along East Hill. As we pass Wandsworth Town Hall I say: ‘That snail’s just overtaken us again.’ Then to clarify I add: ‘I said, that snail’s just—’

‘God, you’re an idiot.’

I don’t repeat my God joke because, I feel, if she didn’t find it that funny the first time, then it’s probably not going to do me much good this time either.

‘Looks like a nice day anyway,’ I venture cautiously.

‘For whom?’ My girlfriend is one of the only people I know who can deploy grammar as an offensive weapon.

‘The sun will be out in a moment,’ I say.

‘Lunch will be burnt in a moment too.’

Logically, and I’m sure you will agree with me, this is unlikely. If we are down to eat at twelve thirty (and we always are) it is improbable that her mother would judge things so badly as to have already burned the food by five past eleven. I decide not to point this out. My grandmother always said that it takes two to make a quarrel – but then she never met my girlfriend.

Read more here.

More running men...

I mentioned recently the trend for running men on covers of thrillers. The Rap Sheet has found the same man on six different covers. I've managed to find another man on two different covers (excluding the fact that he's appears on all of Scott Mariani's covers). The Niklas Ekdal book is not available in English.

Monday, April 20, 2009

OT: A Vulcan welcomes you to Euro Crime

Spotted at Shelf Monkey. I chose 'Spock' as I can do the eyebrow thing (a la Roger Moore).

Create Your Own

(NB. When you try and embed your version into your blogger you may need to change a line of code to include slash embed tag).

Shack attack

Before and After (or After and Before) shots...

Dan Brown's new book - The Lost Symbol

Press release:


New novel by the author of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons will have a global English language first print run of 6.5 million copies: the largest first print in the history of Random House worldwide

London, UK (April 20, 2009) – Dan Brown’s new novel, the eagerly awaited follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, his No. 1 international phenomenon with 81 million copies in print worldwide and the UK‘s biggest selling paperback novel of all time, will be published in the UK by Transworld Publishers, a division of The Random House Group, on September 15, 2009.

The Lost Symbol will have a global English language print run of 6.5 million copies, and it will once again feature Dan Brown’s unforgettable protagonist, Robert Langdon.

The announcement was made today by Sonny Mehta, Chairman and Editor in Chief of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in the US and Gail Rebuck, Chair and CEO of The Random House Group in the UK.

“This is a great day for readers and booksellers,” said Mehta. “The Lost Symbol is a brilliant and compelling thriller. Dan Brown’s prodigious talent for storytelling, infused with history, codes and intrigue, is on full display in this new book. This is one of the most anticipated publications in recent history, and it was well worth the wait.”

Rebuck said: “Publishing all of Dan Brown’s books in the UK has been a real privilege. The pure adrenalin thrill of reading his novels, combined with the fascinating insights into what might lie below the surface of our lives and our history, make him unique in the pantheon of contemporary writers. The arrival of this stunning new novel is a publishing event without compare. For us, and for the bookselling community across the world, it is nothing less than the most extraordinary publishing opportunity.”

Brown’s longterm US editor, Jason Kaufman, Vice President and Executive Editor at Random House Inc imprint Doubleday, said: “Nothing ever is as it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. This book’s narrative takes place in a 12-hour period, and from the first page, Dan’s readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape. The Lost Symbol is full of surprises."

“This novel has been a strange and wonderful journey,” said Brown. “Weaving five years of research into the story’s 12-hour timeframe was an exhilarating challenge. Robert Langdon’s life clearly moves a lot faster than mine.”

The Da Vinci Code’s UK paperback edition (published in March 2004) spent more than two years (120 weeks) in the Sunday Times Top 10 bestsellers list with 68 weeks spent at No.1 and is the UK’s bestselling paperback novel of all time.* The novel has been translated into 51 languages.

The film of The Da Vinci Code was a No. 1 box office smash when it was released by Columbia Pictures in May 2006 with Ron Howard directing and Tom Hanks starring as Robert Langdon. Box office receipts were $758 million. The same team will release Angels & Demons on May 15, 2009. To coincide with the new film, Transworld will publish the Angels & Demons Illustrated Movie Book and a new paperback edition of the novel featuring Tom Hanks on the cover.

Following the publication of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s earlier novels Angels & Demons, Deception Point and Digital Fortress have all gone on to become multi-million copy international bestsellers, and rank as the UK’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th bestselling adult paperback novels of all time.* The Random House Group in the UK has published all of Dan Brown’s novels, which were acquired and published by Bill Scott-Kerr of Transworld Publishers.

Dan Brown is represented by Heide Lange at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, Inc. Transworld Publishers is a division of UK-based The Random House Group, part of Random House, Inc. whose parent company is Bertelsmann AG. The Lost Symbol will be published in North America by Doubleday, an imprint of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"News" page experiment in FriendFeed

Up until recently I maintained the "news" page on Euro Crime fairly faithfully but it does take quite a lot of time. I have just been dabbling with setting up a page ("room") on FriendFeed to do the same thing. It's much quicker for me to update and it allows readers to comment in that room on the articles. Another difference is that the articles won't particularly be listed in date order. You don't need to be a member of FriendFeed to view the links, only if you want to comment. (Joining is not onerous.)

Maxine at Petrona has set up a Crime and Mystery Room in FriendFeed which has proven popular and addictive.

So please have a look at the options and let me know in the comments which is preferable, or whether it's even needed at all...

Existing Option (bit out of date)
Test Friend Feed Group (April's reviews from Guardian & Independent)

New Reviews: Alvtegen, Beaton, McGilloway, Magson, Walters, Wilson

This month's competition is open to all. Win a copy of The Black Monastery by Stav Sherez.

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

Maxine Clarke has high praise for Karin Alvtegen's Missing;

I review the latest in the Hamish Macbeth series from M C Beaton: Death of a Witch;

Maxine also reviews the third in the 'Borderlands' series from Brian McGilloway - Bleed a River Deep

Terry Halligan enjoys Adrian Magson's latest Gavin/Palmer outing: No Kiss for the Devil

Norman Price reviews the "impressive beginning" to Michael Walters' Mongolian series - The Shadow Walker

and Mike Ripley reviews War Damage by Elizabeth Wilson, which is set just after World War Two in London, and tips it as a strong contender for the Ellis Peters award.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A new Scandinavian author in translation

A long wait until August 2010 for Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder. The original Swedish version was released this Spring according to her agent's page. This is her debut novel.

Synopsis: With her obvious talent for telling a captivating story, with her fine style of writing and psychological insight, Camilla Ceder skilfully involves the reader and builds unbearable suspense around the mysterious violence taking place in rural, muddy settings in the not so fancy countryside outside of Gothenburg, contrasting these raw events with the sensitive and tender portraits of her characters.

A series of brutal murders, all committed in similar ways, puzzles the staff of the local police, as there seems to be no link whatsoever between them.

The intricately and elegantly constructed intrigue is studded with flashbacks to fatal events in the past, leaving police inspector Christian Tell and his colleagues to cope with their enigmatic impact on the present.

His infatuation with Seja, a witness who has lied to him about her presence on the first murder scene, strikes him as unprofessional and yet he finds it impossible to give her up. The fragile feeling of trust between them is easily upset and needs to be handled with care, but their mutual attraction also carries the hope of a new start for both of them. Readers can look forward to following how their relationship develops through the series!

A sample translation by Marlaine Delargy can be opened here

Friday, April 17, 2009

Greece is the word

There're quite a few crime novels being published (or re-issued) this year set in Greece including Euro Crime's current competition prize, The Black Monastery by Stav Sherez (competition is open world-wide).

January saw the publication of Jeffrey Siger's Murder in Mykonos:

Synopsis: A young woman on holiday to Mykonos, the most famous of Greece's Aegean Cycladic islands, simply disappears off the face of the earth. And no one notices.

That is, until a body turns up on a pile of bones under the floor of a remote mountain church. Then the island's new police chief - the young, politically incorrect, former Athens homicide detective Andreas Kaldis - starts finding bodies, bones, and suspects almost everywhere he looks.

Teamed with the canny, nearly-retired local homicide chief, Andreas tries to find the killer before the media can destroy the island's fabled reputation with a barrage of world-wide attention on a mystery that's haunted Mykonos undetected for decades.

Just when it seems things can't get any worse, another young woman disappears and political niceties no longer matter. With the investigation now a rescue operation, Andreas finds himself plunging into ancient myths and forgotten island places, racing against a killer intent on claiming a new victim who is herself determined to outstep him.

Yesterday saw the re-issue by MIRA of the Alex Mavros trilogy by Paul Johnston. NB. The first book in the series has been retitled to Crying Blue Murder (formally A Deeper Shade of Blue).

Synopsis: Murder in paradise. American tourist Rosa Ozal has disappeared from an idyllic Greek island and investigator Alec Mavros is hired to trace her. Half-Greek, half-Scots, Mavros is in the perfect position to play the innocent holidaymaker.Mavros soon discovers there's more going on than meets the eye. Two young islanders have ended up in the nets of a local fishing boat; a British journalist has left the island without warning and the resident millionaire and museum owner seems to be very ill at ease. In a race to stop a terrible crime being repeated, Mavros must break through the whitewashed walls of silence to uncover the secrets and lies at the heart of this island paradise.

At the end of the month, Frances Lloyd's first crime novel, Nemesis of the Dead will be published by Robert Hale.

Synopsis: Ten holidaymakers are bound for Katastrophos, a tiny Greek Island steeped in superstition and ancient myth. Ten people whose lives are about to change forever, because one of them is planning a ruthless murder. Detective Inspector Jack Dawes of the Murder Squad is working undercover to prevent it, and takes his wife, Corrie, to the island, ostensibly on a belated honeymoon. Mayhem ensues when a storm destroys the island's primitive communications, cutting it off from civilisation. This, and a bizarre island ritual, provide the murderer with a perfect opportunity - but fate intervenes. Finally, time runs out and a deadly battle of wits develops between policeman and killer. It is Nemesis, dark-faced goddess of justice, who ends it with her powerful spirit of vengeance and retribution. Of the ten who arrive on Katastrophos, not all will return home.

July sees the third in the Greek Detective series from Anne Zouroudi, The Doctor of Thessaly.

Synopsis: A jilted bride weeps on an empty beach, a local doctor is attacked in an isolated churchyard - trouble’s come at a bad time to the backwatered village of Morfi, just as the community is making headlines with a visit from a national government minister. Fortunately, where there’s trouble there’s Hermes Diaktoros, the mysterious fat man whose tennis shoes are always pristine and whose investigative methods are always unorthodox.

In the latest instalment of the Mysteries of the Greek Detective, Hermes must solve a brutal crime that the victim does not seem to want solving, thwart the petty machinations of the town’s ex-mayor and his cronies and pour oil on the troubled waters of a sisters’ relationship.

And on 27 August, Arcadia is due to release Basic Shareholder by Petros Markaris the third in the Haritos series.

Synopsis: It's a very hot June when Commissar Kostas Haritos suddenly receives terrible news: the boat on which his daughter Katerina was travelling has been sequestrated by a terrorist commando. Moreover, his has to investigate the murder of an advertising model. Commissor Haritos must now keep cool to battle on two different fronts - the world of advertising and that of international terrorism.

Do let me know of any more new crime novels set in Greece, via the comments.

A Final Rumpole

A brief snippet from the Bookseller:
At Viking, Tony Lacey has bought a last novel from John Mortimer. Rumpole at Christmas, acquired from Carol MacArthur at United Agents, will be published in October 2010.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Releases pages updated

Just a brief note to say that the new releases by date and by author pages on the website have just been refreshed. I've added quite a few new titles today. More website updates will follow and new reviews should appear on Sunday.

Publishing Deals - Butcher & Turow

Having enjoyed the tv show, The Dresden Files and having owned several Jim Butcher books for many years - I really must get round to reading them. They feature Harry Dresden, a PI with a difference - he is a wizard.

Taken from Publisher's Lunch:
Jim Butcher's untitled Dresden Files short story collection, collecting earlier short stories featuring characters from the Dresden Files series and including some never-before-seen stories, to Anne Sowards at Penguin, for publication in Fall 2010, by Jennifer Jackson at Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Scott Turow's INNOCENT, a sequel to the bestseller Presumed Innocent, as Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto are, once again, pitted against each other in a riveting psychological match after the mysterious death of Rusty's wife, to Deb Futter at Grand Central, for publication in May 2010, by Gail Hochman at Brandt & Hochman (NA).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Eye of Jade

Diane Wei Liang's The Eye of Jade, the first of two (so far) books to feature Beijing private eye Wang Mei, has just been published in paperback in the US. From my review of the UK paperback:
I thoroughly enjoyed THE EYE OF JADE as it brings the reader directly into a fairly recent China, revealing how people live and work today as well as the turmoil of those families impacted by the Cultural Revolution. The author's affection for Beijing comes through and it feels more like a town than a city with more than ten million inhabitants.

The mystery side is a way of revealing Mei's and China's past and indeed the investigation hinges mainly on luck and coincidence to get the desired information and you never feel that Mei is in any danger in spite of the shady places and people she visits.

THE EYE OF JADE has been compared with the THE NO.1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY and I can see some similarities. Both authors write with a love for the country the books are set in, despite any faults. There is a cosy feel to each book and the importance of family and the kindness of strangers are important themes in both.


In the corner of an office in an old-­fashioned building in Beijing's Chongyang District, the fan was humming loudly, like an elderly man angry at his own impotence. Mei and Mr. Shao sat across a desk from each other. Both were perspiring heavily. Outside, the sun shone, baking the air into a solid block of heat.

Mr. Shao wiped his forehead with a handkerchief. He had refused to remove his suit jacket. "Money's not a problem." He cleared his throat. "But you must get on it right away."

"I'm working on other cases at the moment."

"Do you want me to pay extra, is that it? You want a deposit? I can give you one thousand yuan right now." Mr. Shao reached for his wallet. "They come up with the fakes faster than I can produce the real thing, and they sell them at under half my price. I've spent ten years building up my name, ten years of blood and sweat. But I don't­ want you talking to your old friends at the Ministry, you understand? I want no police in this."

"You are not doing anything illegal, are you?" Mei wondered why he was so keen to pay her a deposit. That was most unusual, especially for a businessman as shrewd as Mr. Shao.

"Please, Miss Wang. What's legal and what's not these days? You know what people say: 'The Party has strategies, and the people have counterstrategies.'" Mr. Shao stared at Mei with his narrow eyes. "Chinese medicine is like magic. Regulations are for products that don't­ work. Mine cure. That's why people buy them."

He gave a small laugh. It didn't­ ease the tension. Mei couldn't­ decide whether he was a clever businessman or a crook.

Read more of the extract on the Simon & Schuster website.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Audio Book Interruptus

It's taken me a couple of cds to get into listening to S J Bolton's Sacrifice. But I'm hooked now and was merrily proceeding onto disk 5 (out of 12) when my cd player refused to recognise the disk. In vain, I tried it on a couple of other devices but it seems that the cd is defunct. I have the only book on cd version in Birmingham libraries and of course all the copies of the book are out on loan at the moment so it will be a few days before I can read the 30 or so pages covered on that disk.

So I'm not quite sure what to listen to next as I'll probably 'abandon' that one for a bit whilst I finish off Sacrifice. The choices are: P D James - The Private Patient (12 cds), Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker (8 cds) or I have some Doctor Who books to listen to (1-2 cds each) or the first part of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (4 cds) which I bought a while ago but have been saving for the 'right' moment.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Matt Hilton

You may remember Matt Hilton from the press coverage last year after he received a publishing deal of £800,000 for five books. The first book, Dead Men's Dust, will be out next month and as the covers below show, the target audience is probably the fan-base of Lee Child.

A new website has recently been set up which includes a trailer and a 'shooting' game. The author's website is at

Synopsis for Dead Men's Dust: ‘Some may call me a vigilante. I think I’ve just got problems to fix.’

Right now, Joe Hunter’s big problem is a missing little brother, last seen fleeing the site of a gruesome killing. Hunter needs the help of an old army buddy, a whole lot of hardware and a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas, to fix this particular problem.

A brutal encounter with some very nasty criminals leaves Hunter fighting for his life. And that’s before he comes up against America’s most feared serial killer, ‘The Harvestman’, and his grisly souvenirs of death.

But blood is thicker than water. And a lot of blood will be spilt . . .

DEAD MEN'S DUST introduces Joe Hunter, an all action hero with a strong moral code. Like the gunslingers of the Wild West, Hunter is not afraid to use his weapons and his fists – but only to save the victims from the bad guys.

Freeman Wills Crofts - question

Unfortunately I haven't read much classic crime fiction other than Dame Agatha so cannot answer the question posed to me by a student about Freeman Wills Croft. She asks:
...have you read a lot of this author, which stories or novels you consider the best, what is the most special about his fiction?
Please do chip in with opinions and suggestions in the comments.

Switch and other running men

Grant McKenzie has let me know that the UK publication date for Switch has been moved to July. Switch was published in Australia in December 2008. Grant McKenzie was born in Scotland and now lives in Canada.

Synopsis: How far would you go to save the ones you love? Would you run five traffic lights in a row? Would you rob a store at gunpoint? Would you commit murder? Security guard Sam White's life falls apart when he arrives home to find his house a burnt-out shell with the bodies of his wife and daughter inside. Then he receives a phone call from a man who claims that his wife and child are alive and Sam can still save them. But first, he must complete a few simple tasks. Sam joins forces with Zack Parker whose life has also been ripped apart by the same sadistic kidnapper. Together they plunge into the dark, labyrinthine underworld of Portland, Oregon. And into a race against time to discover the identity of the kidnapper and save their families before it's too late.

The figure of the 'running man' on Switch's cover is a popular motif on covers of thrillers. Here are just a few examples:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

OT: Doctor Who Scarf

I managed to make my scarf a decent length for today's Doctor Who event (modelled by Nimes the elder states-cat):

Ruth Rendell - Publishing Deal

This will come as no surprise to anyone, especially as this has been listed on for a while...From BookBrunch:
To Hutchinson, MONSTER IN THE BOX (October 09), a 22nd Inspector Wexford novel by Ruth Rendell. The novel is set in the past and the present day: in the past, Wexford is involved in a fruitless murder investigation; in the present, the person he had suspected as the murderer returns to Kingsmarkham.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New Peter Wimsey novel

Jill Paton Walsh mentioned to this at last year's Harrogate Crime Writer's Festival - that she was working on a third Wimsey novel. The news is confirmed today at BookBrunch, though the finished result won't be available until autumn 2010:
Hodder has bought THE ATTENBURY EMERALDS, Jill Paton Walsh’s third Lord Peter Wimsey novel, from Bruce Hunter of David Higham Associates on behalf of the estate of Dorothy L Sayers. The story is set after World War II, but its roots go back to 1921 and Lord Peter Wimsey’s first case, in which the Attenbury Emeralds were stolen – a mystery alluded to by Sayers in a number of novels but never resolved.

The Sayers’ trustees asked Paton Walsh, who was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for her novel Knowledge of Angels, to complete an unfinished Sayers’ story, Thrones, Dominations, which had been found in the offices of her agent. It was published in 1998 to considerable acclaim, and was a Sunday Times bestseller. Like that novel, The Attenbury Emeralds will follow closely Sayers’ own writing about Lord Peter Wimsey, as told in her 11 novels and five collections of short stories. Publication is scheduled for autumn 2010.
As well as completing Thrones, Dominations, Walsh also wrote A Presumption of Death which was based on Dorothy L Sayers' letters.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

New Reviews: Davis, Hughes, Joss, Krajewski & New Competition

There's a brand new competition for April, which is open to all. Win a copy of The Black Monastery by Stav Sherez.

The following reviews have been added to the review archive over on the main Euro Crime website:
New Reviews:

Pat Austin is disappointed with the latest Falco novel from Lindsey Davis, Alexandria;

Michelle Peckham advises readers to pay close attention when tackling the multi-stranded All The Dead Voices by Declan Hughes;

Maxine Clarke reviews the CWA Silver Dagger Winner (2003) - Half Broken Things by Morag Joss which she compares favourably with Ruth Rendell's psychological novels

and Fiona Walker reviews Marek Krajewski's End of the World in Breslau which is her favourite translated crime novel of 2009 (so far).
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive and forthcoming titles can be found here.

OT: Fox in a Box!

Unfortunately the weekly reviews are running late but here's something you can't yet buy from amazon!

OT: Freema Agyeman interview at Digital Spy

Digital Spy interviews Freema Agyeman mainly about Law & Order but also slips in a question about Doctor Who:
Are you looking forward to returning to Doctor Who?
"You leapt in there with that one! Well, actually, I'm on my way to do a voiceover for a Doctor Who audio book! You never quite leave when you're in that – the connection maintains all the way through. But in terms of when I'm going back to Cardiff - it might be thirty years time! I don't know when that's going to be."
I'm assuming the audio book in question is The Story of Martha which is to be released on 4 June. She has previously recorded The Pirate Loop, Wetworld and The Last Dodo.

I have an amazon list of audio books released since 2008 for (new) Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Through the Arched Window...

I haven't done one of these cover similarity posts for a while. These aren't crime novels but I was struck by the similarity...

(This one's more of a newly made doorway.)

Ultimatum by Matthew Glass

Ultimatum is to be published in the US next week and here in the UK in July. It's a debut thriller from British author Matthew Glass (though this is a pseudonym) which opens in 2032...

Synopsis: Joe Benton has just been elected the forty-eighth president of the United States. Only days after winning, Benton learns from his predecessor that previous estimates regarding the effect of global warming on rising sea levels have been grossly underestimated. With the world frighteningly close to catastrophe, Benton must save the United States from environmental devastation. He resumes secret bilateral negotiations with the Chinese - now the world's worst polluter - and as the two superpowers lock horns, the ensuing battle of wits becomes a race against time. With tension escalating on almost every page and building to an astonishing climax, Matthew Glass' visionary and deeply unsettling thriller steers us into the dark heart of political intrigue and a future that is all too terrifyingly believable.

You can read a few pages via this "Browse Inside" widget:

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Scandinavian Misanthropy

"Scandinavian Misanthropy" is a trilogy written by Norwegian author Matias Faldbakken. As is becoming familiar to readers of translated crime fiction, the third part of the trilogy, Unfun, is coming in English before the rest, From Publishing News archive:
James Garbutt of Harvill Secker and Beth Coates of Vintage have bought UK/Commonwealth rights to a novel that has caused a good deal of controversy in Norway, where it was published by Cappelen. Unfun is “the challenging story of the violent online slasher game 'Deathbox' and follows Lucy, 'the final girl', as she exacts revenge on her boyfriend Slaktus, a self-styled violent intellectual and the game's creator”. Garbutt believes the novel is “potent and exhilarating”. The author is Matias Faldbakken, whose work has earned comparisons with Brett Easton Ellis and Michel Houellebecq.
From the Salomonsson Agency, the synopsis for Unfun:
Five years after Macht und Rebel, Matias Faldbakken returns with Unfun - Scandinavian Misanthropy III, drawing his Scandinavian Misanthropy trilogy to an explosive close through a discussion on violence and its utmost consequence – death. Using the dramaturgy of the rape/revenge flicks of the Seventies as a framework for his narrative, Faldbakken cooks up a grotesquely hilarious and challenging story about the crew around the online slasher game ”Deathbox”, at the center of which are the ’violence intellectual’ Slaktus and his former girlfriend and victim Lucy, an anarchist who embodies the horror film’s Final Girl trope. Problematizing concepts of oppression, freedom, and power in different contexts, Faldbakken lets Lucy meet out revenge on her oppressors in a narrative littered with references to popular culture, which bears Faldbakken’s trademark of being at once seriously disturbing and highly entertaining.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ashes to Ashes series 2 - ever closer

No exact date yet for the new series of Ashes to Ashes but it looks to be around the middle of the month. The BBC have placed a trailer on their otherwise blank Ashes to Ashes website. There is a lot more information in the recent press pack though.

Win: The Black Monastery by Stav Sherez

There are no geographical restrictions on entrants to the first of this month's competitions (there may be more competitions to come, so watch this space) in which you can win a copy of The Black Monastery by Stav Sherez which was released today in hardback.

The details on how to win a copy can be found on the Euro Crime website.

Here's an extract from The Black Monastery:

The boy lies staked to the altar. His white skin reflects the sun as if it were made of marble. The altar is made of stone. There are carvings on it, but no one can say what they mean. Experts from Athens and the British Museum spent years trying to decode them but the islanders knew it was pointless. There’s only one meaning to an altar.

Nikos scans the ground, the surrounding trees, anything to put off the moment he’ll have to look down at the body. He stares up at the sky as if looking for an answer, but it is only the sky. He stopped believing in God a long time ago. The altar is covered in orange markings, fresh and wet, daubed on the ancient stone. The skull of a cow lies on the ground next to it. Red ants and grey spiders crawl through the hatch-work of bone and tooth. Nikos’s toes curl up inside his shoes. His breath turns short and shallow. The air feels raw against his skin.

He takes a deep breath. Waits until his heart slows down. Plants his feet deep into the soft earth beneath him. There’s a trick to this, he knows. A way of cutting off everything but what’s in front of you.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Who writes like Mo Hayder?

I've had a plea for help - authors who write like Mo Hayder please. The only Hayder I've read is Pig Island but my initial suggestions are Val McDermid (Tony Hill series) and based on what I've listened to so far - Sacrifice by S J Bolton.

So learned blog readers, who else do you suggest?

Publishing Deal - Sara Poole

Probably not crime fiction but interesting - from Publishers Lunch:
NYT bestselling author Sara Poole's POISON, the first of three historical novels set in Renaissance Italy during the reign of the Borgias, featuring the daughter of the official court poisoner, to Charles Spicer at St. Martin's.