Wednesday, March 28, 2012
CARNAGE is a novella length detective story set in New York City by French author Maxime Chattam. The prologue describes the mass-shooting by a student of his fellow pupils at East Harlem Academy.
Enter, Lamar Gallineo, a giant of a man, an African-American who has risen to the rank of Lieutenant. He is called to the scene at the Academy where the shooting has now ceased and the perpetrator, believed dead by suicide. A witness is found who saw the boy kill himself. The tragic case is closed.
However the following week another mass-shooting occurs at a school, outside of Gallineo's jurisdiction this time and then a third, all the shooters are dead. What is going on? Then a link appears between the guns used at the crimes and a deeper evil is revealed. Gallineo uses a combination of intuition and going through files and paperwork to reveal the cause of these shocking events.
Being a short book, there isn't much room for character development but I would love to see more of Gallineo and his diminutive partner Doris in a full-length novel. The author plays fair with the reader, the clues are there to be spotted though there is still room for a twist. Good use is made of the New York setting and wintry weather. Overall, a quick read with intriguing main characters and a good puzzle but with occasionally unpleasant descriptions, especially in the prologue.
Win a copy of Carnage (UK only) closes 31 March 2012.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
As the small town of Vigata prepares for its New Year celebrations, local police inspector Salvo Montalbano is reluctantly making arrangements to travel to Paris with his girlfriend. What he would much rather do, however, is accept a dinner invitation by his cleaner Adelina, who has promised to cook rice croquettes.
A wealthy husband and wife are found dead in what appears to be a car accident, but quickly turns into a murder investigation. And as the circumstances surrounding the death of the couple grow more and more mysterious, clues point to the involvement of Adelina's son Pasquale.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Here's some information from the official website:
Flashbang is a new crime writing contest, sponsored by CrimeFest, who are providing the first prize of two weekend passes, as well as the second prize of DVD boxed sets of The Killing (plus its new novelisation). Hersilia Press is sponsoring the third prize: four of their Italian crime books. Comma Press is kindly providing five copies of MO: Crimes of Practice to runners up.For more information on the rules and prizes go here and the judges (who include some familiar faces) reveal what they are looking for.
As well as terrific prizes, Flashbang is free to enter and gives eight lucky writers the chance to be published on websites read by crime buffs the world over. Deadline is midnight BST Sunday 15 April.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Here are this week's reviews:
Terry Halligan reviews the paperback release of the tenth in David Dickinson's pre WW1 series Death in a Scarlet Coat;Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.
Last week I reviewed Dregs by Jorn Lier Horst, tr. Anne Bruce, an intriguing police-procedural set in a small Norwegian town;
Maxine Clarke reviews the just published Dark Angel by Mari Jungstedt, tr. Tiina Nunnally, the sixth in this Gotland based series, and a very good entry;
Geoff Jones reviews David Mark's debut, The Dark Winter set in Hull which introduces DS McAvoy;
Amanda Gillies reviews Glenn Meade's The Second Messiah which is about the danger of finding a new Dead Sea Scroll;
Lizzie Hayes reviews the first in Linda Regan's new series, Brotherhood of Blades which revolves around the inhabitants of a rundown housing estate
and Susan White reviews the paperback release of Phil Rickman's The Prayer of the Night Shepherd.
Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here and new titles by Elizabeth Darrell, Luke Delaney, P C/Paul Doherty, Elanor Dymott, Howard Linskey, Keith McCarthy, Brian McGilloway, Steve Mosby, Philip Sington, Sally Spencer and M J Trow have been added to these pages this week.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Official Blurb: Now almost exclusively known as the author of the best-selling Trilogy, as a professional journalist Stieg Larsson was an untiring crusader for democracy and equality. As a reporter and editor-in-chief on the journal Expo he researched the extreme right both in Sweden and at an international level. Collected here for the first time are essays and articles on right-wing extremism and racism, on violence against women and women's rights, on homophobia and honour killings. Included also is an account written for Vagabond magazine of his travels aboard the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Beijing.
His most important writings - perceptive, learned and committed texts - illustrate the breadth of his journalistic and political activities in connection with matters that were closest to his heart, and to which he devoted his life.
Despite death threats and financial difficulties, Larsson never ceased to fight for and write about his most firmly held principles; it was his commitment to these which gave his best-selling novels their explosive force.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Browse the full programme and buy tickets from the website and follow them on twitter: @ChipLitFest.
For crime fans, the main events are on the Sunday:
Crime Writers' Forum - Plot the Perfect Murder
What makes the perfect murder? A fictional one, at least? Come and find out in this session with four of the UK’s most celebrated crime-writers, Mark Billingham, Sophie Hannah, Dan Waddell and S J Bolton.
Chaired by Peter Guttridge
10am, Sunday 22nd April 2012 £12.50 The Theatre, Chipping Norton
An Audience with Colin Dexter
Colin Dexter is the creator of the world’s most famous detectives: the Oxford-based Morse and his side-kick Lewis. Learn about the life behind the fiction, in this fascinating interview.
Interviewed by Peter Guttridge.
12pm, Sunday 22nd April 2012 £12.50 The Theatre Chipping Norton
Jasper Fforde - Publishing Unconventional Novels
Jasper Fforde explains how Jane Eyre can share a novel with Time Travel and Werewolves, and why he believes genre is the measles of the Book world.
2pm, Sunday 21st April 2012 The Chequers Inn £7.50
Crime Writing Workshop with Helen Black
You’ve written a crime story. How do you add suspense? What exactly is pace? How do you turn your idea into a page-turning bestseller? Find out in this hands-on workshop with crime-writer Helen Black
3pm, Sunday 22nd April 2012 £7.50 Jaffé & Neale, Chipping Norton
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
DREGS is the sixth in the Chief Inspector William Wisting series set in the small coastal Norwegian town of Stavern, and the first to be translated into English.
The book opens with the discovery of a left foot washed up by the tide. What is strange is that it is the second left foot to have appeared in recent days. An extensive search has not turned up any right feet. There have been only four people reported missing in the last few months: three old men and one young woman. The men all disappeared within a week of each other and the woman a few days afterwards. No trace of them or reason for their absence has ever been determined. Wisting decides to reinvestigate the disappearances as a key witness was overlooked first time around but then she also disappears.
Meanwhile, Wisting's journalist daughter is back in the area researching a new article on what affect prison has had on criminals and her interview subjects begin to overlap with her father's.
Still more feet keep turning up and then a very large clue is also washed up which allows Wisting to steadily crack this very puzzling mystery.
At the core of DREGS is a very well thought-out plot, which keeps the reader and police baffled until the very end. The widowed Wisting is a steady, thoughtful detective with a wry outlook on life who is ably supported by a small team. I do hope that more of this series is translated as, based on DREGS, it is well worth seeking out.
Monday, March 19, 2012
HarperCollins has signed a three-book crime thriller series written by debut author and former Metropolitan police detective Luke Delaney.
HC will publish the first novel, Senseless, which features DI Sean Corrigan on the case of an unusually vicious murderer, in early 2013.
[HC] said: ..."Luke Delaney has not only written a fabulously gripping and accomplished crime debut, but he also brings a fascinating authenticity to the genre which gives him a genuinely stand-out position in the market."
The seemingly accidental death of a blind man leads Montalbano to an island off the coast of Siciliy. Here the Inspector discovers that both the murder victim and a local fisherman had each deposited huge sums of money in their respective bank accounts. Following the mysterious demise of a second man, who was also blind, the investigation begins to focus on the operations of a charitable foundation which increasingly looks not so charitable after all.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Here are this week's reviews:
Amanda Gillies reviews the paperback release of Karen Campbell's Proof of Life, the fourth in this esteemed series;Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.
Terry Halligan goes globe-trotting in Dean Crawford's Covenant;
Rich Westwood reviews Patrick Easter's second in his historical-naval-crime series, The River of Fire;
Maxine Clarke reviews South African author Jassy Mackenzie's first Jade de Jong thriller, Random Violence;
Earlier this week, I reviewed Jo Nesbo's Phantom, tr. Don Bartlett;
Lynn Harvey reviews Simon Spurrier's A Serpent Uncoiled
and Susan White reviews D J Taylor's 1930s set Secondhand Daylight.
Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here and new titles by Alex Churton, Dick (Felix) Francis, Anton Gill, Susan Hill, Caro Ramsay, Felix Riley, Barbara Vine and Tim Weaver have been added to these pages this week.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Phantom by Jo Nesbo, tr Don Bartlett (March 2012, Harvill Secker, ISBN: 1846555213)
"My name's Harry and I come from Hong Kong. Where is she?"
The man arched an eyebrow. "The Harry?"
"Since it has been one of Norway's least trendy names for the last fifty years, we can probably assume it is."
After the serial killer books, THE SNOWMAN and THE LEOPARD, with their gruesome scenes of murder, comes PHANTOM a quieter book which returns to the more mundane but still devastating world of drugs. Oslo, in Harry Hole's world at least, has the most drug-deaths in a capital city in all of Europe. A new drug, less fatal but more addictive and pricey than heroin has swept over Oslo: "violin". One of the youngsters caught up in its strings is Oleg, to whom Harry was a father figure when Harry was with Rakel, Oleg's mother and the love of Harry's life.
The arrest of Oleg for the murder of Gusto, Oleg's best friend and partner in crime, is what brings Harry back from a three-year exile in Hong Kong. Harry has cleaned-up - off the booze and drugs - and looks well. Though he is no longer a policeman, it doesn't stop him setting out to discover who did kill Gusto. Harry has to unravel the current drug-scene to find out who the lads were working for, the so-called Phantom. A man whom no-one has seen, who's said to haunt Oslo at night. His investigation reveals police and local-government corruption and becomes increasingly more dangerous, with an escalation in the methods used to try and kill him and Harry's previously good health deteriorates in parallel.
Running alongside Harry's actions is a narrative told by the dying Gusto to the father he never knew and so the reader is privy to more information than Harry but is equally ignorant of who did shoot Gusto. This is probably the weakest part of PHANTOM as Gusto seems to live for quite a long time after his shooting, to tell his lengthy tale.
Whereas THE LEOPARD was about Harry being a son, PHANTOM has Harry in the role of father and he will do anything for Oleg and Rakel and gets help where he can. He even ropes in Oleg's upright solicitor for a bit of illegal grave-digging...
Familiar faces from THE LEOPARD reappear in the shape of fellow police officers Bellman and his sidekick "Beavis", and Beate Lonn provides forensic support to her old friend.
Though PHANTOM is quite a sombre read, set as it is against a backdrop of so many damaged young people and greedy criminals, it is not without Harry's trademark wit. The plotting is incredibly thorough, you know that anything that gets mentioned will have a use later and yet there are still clues that can be overlooked, such as a one line reference to a man which proves significant later, and there is a fantastic set-piece when Harry confronts the Phantom in his lair. Due to the compelling nature of Harry's character and life, PHANTOM is difficult to put down, though the last couple of chapters are, emotionally, quite difficult to read.
I've been a big fan of Harry Hole since reading THE REDBREAST in 2007 (and there is a circular link to that book in PHANTOM). PHANTOM deliberately leaves some significant loose ends and I really don't know where Harry's going to go from here, but I'll be there.
Here are Jo Nesbo's books in order.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
An Icelandic crime thriller with the gloss stripped away - leaving a bleak, sad and despairing narrative - director Oskar Jonasson's Reykjavik-Rotterdam hones in on a down-and-outer at the very end of his rope. For Kristofer (Baltasar Kormakur) life has been little more than a never ending series of failures and disappointments. Among other things, he made the colossal mistake of smuggling alcohol during his tenure as a shipworker - a little stunt that promptly landed him behind bars. Now, following release, he struggles to pull his life together while working as a security guard and continually attempts to support his family. Then the opportunity arises for Kristofer to do one final tour on a freighter running from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Rotterdam, Holland. Kristofer initially embraces the opportunity to work with his old friends once again - little foreseeing the malestorm of crime into which this move will plunge him.
Chris Farraday long ago abandoned his life of crime, but after his brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), botches a drug deal for his ruthless boss, Tim Briggs, Chris is forced back into doing what he does best-running contraband-to settle Andy's debt. Chris is a legendary smuggler and quickly assembles a crew with the help of his best friend, Sebastian, to head to Panama and return with millions in counterfeit bills.
Things quickly fall apart and with only hours to reach the cash, Chris must use his rusty skills to successfully navigate a treacherous criminal network of brutal drug lords, cops and hit men before his wife, Kate, and sons become their target.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Goldsmith Alberto Larussa appears to have committed suicide by turning his wheelchair into an electric chair. But Inspector Montalbano discovers that the dead man's will, which leaves everything to his brother Giacomo, was forged. Giacomo is arrested, but he maintains that he did not kill Alberto. Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector Mimi' Augello is working on the case of a mysteriously-murdered electrician.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Shaun Evans will return to the role of Endeavour Morse for four 120-minute episodes, to be filmed on location in Oxford later this year. Joining him will be Roger Allam as senior partner Inspector Fred Thursday and James Bradshaw as Dr Max Debryn, while John Thaw's daughter will make further guest appearances.
The new series will be produced by Dan McCulloch and executive produced by Mammoth Screen’s joint managing directors, Michele Buck and Damien Timmer.
“We’re delighted to be making a series of Endeavour and have been overwhelmed by the reaction to the first film,” said McCulloch. “Russell Lewis has some bold plans to further enrich the mythology of Morse, introducing some significant new characters, and re-establishing some old favourites, all of whom are destined to have a massive impact on the future inspector's life.”
Novelist Colin Dextor, whose first Morse story Last Bus to Woodstock was published in 1975, will act as consultant for the series.
Michele Buck and Damien Timmer also oversee Lewis in conjunction with ITV Studios and the broadcaster also reports that new episodes of the drama are set to air in May.
Four x 120-minute films have been produced with Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in the lead roles of Inspector Robbie Lewis and DS James Hathaway with Clare Holman also returns as Dr Laura Hobson and Rebecca Front as Chief Superintendent Innocent.
So what are your thoughts on the US (LHS) and UK (RHS) covers and titles? Which would entice you to pick the book up if you were not familiar with the books of Mark Billingham? One has a quote from Lee Child, the other from the Daily Mail.
If you have read it, how well do the covers/titles match the story?
Read the Euro Crime review by Geoff of Good as Dead.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Here are this week's reviews, with two set in Italy, two with missing children themes, plus non Euro settings including Cairo, Russia and the USA:
Lynn Harvey strongly recommends Parker Bilal's The Golden Scales, which introduces Makana, a Sudanese exile who's fetched up in Cairo, now working as a PI;Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.
There are more literary capers from Gyles Brandreth in his Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders, out in paperback this week, and reviewed here by Terry Halligan;
Michelle Peckham suspends disbelief and rather enjoys Philip Carter's globe-trotting Altar of Bones now out in paperback;
Maxine Clarke reviews one of an increasing number of titles from Italian authors being translated into English, with Maurizio de Giovanni's I Will Have Vengeance, tr. Anne Milano Appel the first in the Commissario Ricciardi series;
Lizzie Hayes reviews Claire McGowan's debut novel, The Fall set in London and calls it "an amazing first book"
and Susan White reviews Anna Smith's second Rosie Gilmour book, To Tell the Truth which she found slightly uncomfortable reading due to its similarity to the 'Maddy' case.
Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here and new titles by Janet Laurence, James Runcie, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Anne Zouroudi have been added to these pages this week.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Official synopsis: American Ursula Grandison accompanies Belle Seldon to visit her sister, Helen, Countess of Mountstanton, commissioned by their father, multi-millionaire Chauncey Seldon, to discover what is wrong with Helen's marriage and what has happened to her dowry. At decaying stately Mountstanton House, Ursula finds the Earl is a cold fish, the Dowager Countess of Mounstanton the mother-in-law from hell, and Helen has not forgiven her for stealing her great love. Ursula discovers the drowned body of Polly, the nursemaid, thought to have deserted the household. Neither the Earl's brother, Colonel Charles Stanhope, nor Ursula believes Polly's death was an accident. Investigating against the Earl's wishes, they uncover a tangle of deception reaching into the past that threatens the reputation of the house of Mountstanton. After another death, Ursula fights to reveal the truth, to save Belle from dreadful scandal, and to fulfil Mr Seldon's commission, with a final shocking denouement.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
A young Don Juan is found murdered in front of his apartment building and an elderly couple are reported missing after an excursion to the ancient site of Tindari. Inspector Montalbano tries to solve these two seemingly unrelated cases amid the daily complications of life at Vigata police station. But when he discovers that the couple and the murdered young man lived in the same building, his investigation stumbles onto Sicily's brutal 'New Mafia' and leads him down a path more twisted and far-reaching than any he has ever been down before.
Monday, March 05, 2012
Trapero's sixth feature is a knife-edge thriller set in the murky legal quagmire of accident insurance scams. Sosa (Ricardo Darín) is an unlicensed lawyer who chases down road accident victims, representing them against insurance companies, but knowing that his clients will receive only a fraction of the financial reward. When he meets Luján (Martina Gusman), a paramedic, he sees in her hope of a new life. But to escape, he must cross his ruthless boss.
For some splendid Argentinian crime fiction, I recommend Ernesto Mallo's Needle in a Haystack and Sweet Money and Claudia Pineiro's less crime, more satire Thursday Night Widows.
Sunday, March 04, 2012
Win Carnage by Maxim Chattam (UK only).
Here are this week's reviews:
Maxine Clarke reviews the new Joe Clayton thriller from Tom Bale, Blood Falls, now out in paperback;Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.
Terry Halligan reviews the twentieth appearance by Daisy Dalrymple in Carola Dunn's Gone West;
Coroner Jenny Cooper is back in M R Hall's The Flight reviewed here by Sarah Hilary;
Susan White reviews Quintin Jardine's new Primavera Blackstone adventure, As Easy as Murder;
Lynn Harvey supplies the third glowing review on Euro Crime for Michael Ridpath's 66 Degrees North the second in this series set in Iceland, now out in paperback
and fans of Alexander McCall Smith's Mma (Precious) Ramtoswe won't want to miss her first case Precious and the Monkeys which I reviewed last week on the blog.
Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here and new titles by David Belbin, Fiona Buckley, N J Cooper, David Downing, Gillian Galbraith, Dolores Gordon-Smith, Tessa Harris, Cora Harrison, Veronica Heley, Diane Janes, Meurig Jones, Margaret Mayhew, Susanna Quinn, Jean Rowden, EV Seymour, John Gordon Sinclair and Simon Toyne have been added to these pages this week.
To enter the draw, just answer the question and include your details in the form below.
This competition is open to residents of the UK only and will close on 31 March 2012.
Only 1 entry per person/per household please.
(All entries will be deleted once the winners have been notified.)
When a massacre takes place in a Harlem school, Lamar, A New York detective for twelve years, is called to the scene. A student, aged seventeen, has shot everyone in his path before shooting himself. Having collected all the evidence, Lamar reconstructs the blood-soaked morning of the killer.
Ten days later, a second massacre occurs at a school in Queens. Once more, a student kills multiple victims before turning the gun on himself.
A new massacre occurs elsewhere. Three sets of killings in three weeks, all the same with the perpetrators committing suicide. It isn't just a coincidence.
Friday, March 02, 2012
"...I've had the end in sight since the third novel (The Redbreast). I know how it's going to end. But I'm not going to say when and how. All I can promise is that he will not resurrect."
I've just started Phantom, the ninth in the series and I'll report back on it soon. Already published down under, it's released in the UK on 15 March.
Visit Jo Nesbo's bibliography with reviews over on the Euro Crime website
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Geraint Anderson's Just Business
Simon Brett's Bones Under the Beach Hut
Frances Brody's Murder in the Afternoon
Chris Carter's The Night Stalker
Tarquin Hall's The Case of the Man who Died Laughing
John Lawton's A Lily of the Field
Donna Leon's Drawing Conclusions
Andrew Pepper's Bloody Winter
Craig Russell's A Fear of Dark Water
Alexander McCall Smith's The Saturday Big Tent Wedding
Cath Staincliffe's Scott and Bailey: Dead to Me
Christopher Wakling's The Devil's Mask
Jason Webster's Or The Bull Kills You
Evonne Wareham's Never Coming Home
Quentin Bates's Cold Comfort
Mark Billingham's Good as Dead
Alan Bradley's A Red Herring Without Mustard
Neil Cross's Luther: The Calling
Mo Hayder's The Hanging Hill
Camilla Lackberg's The Stranger (apa The Gallows Bird)
Karen Maitland's The Gallows Curse
William Ryan's The Bloody Meadow
Jack Steel's The Titanic Secret
William Seil's The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Titanic Tragedy
Jacqueline Winspear's The Mapping of Love and Death
Kimberley Chambers's The Schemer
Colin Cotterill's Slash and Burn
Conor Fitzgerald's The Fatal Touch
Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood
Dan James's Unsinkable
Imogen Robertson's Island of Bones
Jacqui Rose's Taken
Mary Burton's Merciless (15th)
Marcia Clark's Guilt by Association (15th)
Robert Crais's The Sentry (15th)
Charlaine Harri's Real Murders (8th)
James Hayman's The Chill of the Night (29th)
Laura Kasischke's The Raising (1st)
Alex Kava's Hotwire (29th)
John Lutz's Mister X (1st)
James Patterson & Maxine Paetro's 10th Anniversary (1st)
J D Robb's New York to Dallas (15th)
Erica Spindler's Watch Me Die (1st)
A list of "Euro-Crime" books that are being published for the first time in March can be found on the New Releases page on the website. This is a first publication anywhere in the world, rather than UK specific.
For titles that are published in the UK during 2012, there is a separate list here. This is also available for the following sub-categories: Translated, Historical, First Novel (Debut) and Anthology.