Sunday, February 07, 2016

Website Updates: February 2016

I've updated the main files on the Euro Crime website today. Euro Crime includes both British and other European crime fiction writers (that have been published in English); non-British/European born crime writers who are strongly associated with British/European crime fiction (eg. Donna Leon), and crime writers in translation from outside of Europe.

Just a couple of reminders regarding the New Releases page:

1. The main by month/by author pages refer to when a book is published (in English) anywhere in the world however the 'by category ie historical, translated etc' is specific to the UK eg Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy series which was published in the US in the 2000s (and on) is only recently published in the UK and so some of her books appear in the 2015 Historical list.

2. When a book is released "early" in ebook I am taking the publication date as to be when the print edition comes out (this is the rule we use for determining Petrona Award eligibility).

As always, if you spot something wrong or missing, please do let me know.

Here's a summary of the usual updates:

The Author Websites page now lists 1047 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2278 authors (11496 titles of which 2995 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: Sascha Arango, Fiona Barton, Tom Callaghan, Barney Campbell, Clare Carson, M J Carter, Piero Chiara, Elliott Colla, Annie Dalton, Bram Dehouck, N J/Nev Fountain, Michael Genelin, Phyllis Gobbell, Martin Granger, Indrek Hargla, Tetsuya Honda, Jogvan Isaksen, Vaseem Khan, Volker Kutscher, Aga Lesiewicz, Davide Longo, Brooke Magnanti, David McCallum, Kate McQuaile, Cal Moriarty, Mandy Morton, Hassouna Mosbahi, Abir Mukherjee, Shichiri Nakayama, Hisashi Nozawa, Melanie Raabe, Cay Rademacher, Anne Randall, Jo Spain, Jon Stenhugg, Nick Sweet, Mike Thomas, Gaku Yakumaru and Hideo Yokoyama.

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Bernhard Aichner, M J Arlidge, Jo Bannister, Stephanie Barron, Quentin Bates, Mark Billingham, Sean Black, Benjamin Black, Sara Blaedel, S J/Sharon Bolton, Eric Brown, Alison Bruce, Ken Bruen, Gianrico Carofiglio, Tania Carver, Steve Cavanagh, Ben Cheetham, Lee Child, Barbara Cleverly, Tammy Cohen, John Connolly, Lindsey Davis, Giancarlo De Cataldo, Oscar de Muriel, Clare Donoghue, Louise Doughty, David Downing, Sam Eastland, Kate Ellis, Roger Jon/R J Ellory, Chris Ewan, Jasper Fforde, Charles Finch, Sebastian Fitzek, Helen FitzGerald, Karin Fossum, Friis & Kaaberbol, V M Giambanco, Alan Glynn, Ann Granger, Andrew Grant, Alex Gray, Isabelle Grey, Lotte and Soren Hammer, Cora Harrison, Sam Hayes, Terry Hayes, Mick/M Herron, David Hodges, Jorn Lier Horst, Bogdan Hrib, Phillip Hunter, Steffen Jacobsen, Peter James, Quintin Jardine, Paul Johnston, Will Jordan, Mons Kallentoft, Emma Kavanagh, Christobel Kent, Lars Kepler, Simon Kernick, Philip Kerr, Bill Kitson, Kazuhiro Kiuchi, John Lawton, Donna Leon, Sheila Lowe, Stuart/Stuart B MacBride, Torquil MacLeod, Gilly Macmillan, Barry Maitland, Michael J Malone, Antonio Manzini, David Mark, Liza Marklund, Andrew Martin, Alex Marwood, Priscilla Masters, Seicho Matsumoto, Peter May, K T McCaffrey, A P McCoy, Claire McGowan, Adrian McKinty, Catriona McPherson, D A Mishani, Susan Moody, Frank/T F Muir, Stuart Neville, James Oswald, Caro Peacock, Leif GW Persson, Anthony Quinn, Caro Ramsay, Danielle Ramsay, Peter Robinson, Roslund & Hellstrom, James Runcie, Leigh Russell, Chris Simms, Gillian Slovo, Anna Smith, Cath Staincliffe, Viveca Sten, Dominique Sylvain, Lesley Thomson, Robert Thorogood, Valerio Varesi, Ruth Ware, Lee Weeks, Jan Merete Weiss, Kjell Westo, Kevin Wignall, Kerry Wilkinson, Jacqueline Winspear and Felicity Young.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Review: The Few by Nadia Dalbuono

The Few by Nadia Dalbuono, November 2014, 368 pages, Scribe Publications, ISBN: 1922247677

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

THE FEW is an interesting book. Based in Rome, it deals very much with the underlying corruption in the Italian political system and the power of the Mafia. The leading character, Scarmarcio isn't very sympathetic or likeable, and it is difficult not to draw comparisons and links with Montalbano either, but there is a vulnerability and complexity in him that I found appealing.

Scarmarcio was brought up in a powerful Mafia family but has turned his back on them to join the police force. Not all his colleagues believe in his change of heart and many distrust him. His superior hands him a politically sensitive case involving an important member of the government who is being blackmailed. An added complication is that the case is to be treated very sensitively and also very secretly. No-one but his boss and someone very senior knows or should know how the case is proceeding. Scarmarcio suspects that he has been selected to investigate because he is expendable. Meanwhile, on Elba, an American child disappears from the beach while her parents are sun-bathing nearby. The two cases draw closer and closer together and some very important people's reputations are put at risk.

There is a second voice in the book - identified as Pino - with a seemingly parallel narrative and eventually the links between the two strands are resolved satisfactorily. The character of the Prime Minister in the book seemed, to me, very much based on the ex-Italian Prime Minister, Berlusconi, albeit a gentler, more pleasant individual.

One weakness in the book was the references to Scarmarcio's back story. This was lightly touched on but not in enough detail to satisfy me as a reader. Although I enjoyed the book, and I expect the next book will set this out in more detail, I found it irritating and dissatisfying and I was left with many questions. The writing has none of the lightness of touch, and humour of the Montalbano books but I feel that fans of that series one will enjoy this one.

Susan White, February 2016

Monday, February 01, 2016

New Releases - February 2016

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in February 2016 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). January 2016 and also future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.

• Barron, Stephanie - Jane and the Waterloo Map #13 Jane Austen
• Beaton, M C - Death of a Nurse #32 PC Hamish Macbeth, Lochdubh, Scotland
• Benedict, A K - Jonathan Dark or The Evidence Of Ghosts
• Black, Sean - C is for Coochy Coo (with Rebecca Cantrell) (ebook only) #3 Sofia Salgado, Malibu
• Blaedel, Sara - The Killing Forest #8 Detective Inspector Louise Rick
• Brown, Eric - Murder at the Loch #3 Donald Langham, Crime Writer, London, 1955
• Bruce, Alison - The Promise #6 DC Gary Goodhew, Cambridge
• Camilleri, Andrea - Montalbano's First Case and Other Stories
• Dalton, Annie - Written in Red #2 Anna Hopkins, Oxford
• de Muriel, Oscar - A Fever of the Blood #2 Frey & McGray, Edinburgh, 1880s
• Ellis, Kate - The House of Eyes #20 Wesley Peterson (policeman) and Neil Watson (archaeologist), Tradmouth, Devon
• FitzGerald, Helen - Viral
• Fountain, N J - Painkiller
• Hannah, Sophie - The Narrow Bed #10 DC Simon Waterhouse and DS Charlie Zailer
• Herron, M - Real Tigers #3 Slough House
• Higashino, Keigo - A Midsummer's Equation #3 Detective Galileo
• Hill, Suzette - A The Primrose Pursuit #1 Primrose Oughterard
• Jacobsen, Steffen - Retribution
• Kiuchi, Kazuhiro - Shield of Straw
• Leather, Stephen - First Response
• Magnanti, Brooke - The Turning Tide
• Marston, Edward - Steps to the Gallows #2 Bow Street Rivals
• Masters, Priscilla - Dangerous Minds #1 Dr Claire Roget, Forensic Psychiatrist
• Oswald, James - The Damage Done #6 Detective Inspector McLean, Edinburgh
• Russell, Leigh - Journey to Death #1 Lucy Hall
• Tyler, L C - Cat Among the Herrings #6 Ethelred Tressider, author & Elsie Thirkettle, agent
• Varesi, Valerio - A Woman Much Missed #5 Commissario Soneri, Italy
• Vichi, Marco - Death in the Tuscan Hills #5 Inspector Bordelli, Florence, 1960s
• Wilkinson, Kerry - For Richer, For Poorer #10 DS Jessica Daniel, Manchester
• Young, Felicity - Flare-up (ebook only) #2 Cam Fraser, Australia

Friday, January 29, 2016

Some 1933 Titles (for Past Offences)

The latest monthly challenge over at Past Offences is to read a book in February, published in 1933. Here are some British/European (& E S Gardner) crime titles to choose from, first published in English in 1933, pulled from my database:

Margery Allingham - The Mystery Man of Soho
Margery Allingham - Other Man's Danger (apa The Man of Dangerous Secrets) (as Maxwell March)
Margery Allingham - Sweet Danger (apa Kingdom of Death/The Fear Sign)
Agatha Christie - Lord Edgware Dies (apa Thirteen at Dinner)
Agatha Christie - The Hound of Death And Other Stories
Erle Stanley Gardner - The Case of the Velvet Claws
Erle Stanley Gardner - The Case of the Sulky Girl
Georgette Heyer - Why Shoot a Butler?
Romilly & Katherine John - Death by Request
J C Masterman - An Oxford Tragedy
Dorothy L Sayers - Murder Must Advertise
Dorothy L Sayers - Hangman's Holiday
Georges Simenon - The House by the Canal
Georges Simenon - The Lock at Charenton (apa Maigret Sits it Out)
Georges Simenon - Tropic Moon
Georges Simenon - The Night Club
Georges Simenon - The Window over the Way
Georges Simenon - The Woman of the Grey House
Georges Simenon - Newhaven-Dieppe
Georges Simenon - Mr Hire's Engagment (apa The Engagement)
Beryl Symons - Blind Justice
Patricia Wentworth - Walk with Care
Patricia Wentworth - Seven Green Stones (apa Outrageous Fortune)
Dennis Wheatley - The Forbidden Territory

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Review: The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum tr. Kari Dickson

The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum, tr. Kari Dickson (June 2015, 256 pages, Harvill Secker, ISBN: 1846558549)

Book ten in Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer series, THE CALLER, was published four years ago and though we've been treated to a new Fossum every year since, (books one and seven in the series plus a standalone), it's only now that we get to book eleven in the series and discover what ails our sympathetic and empathetic lead detective.

Before that however, Sejer's sidekick the younger and devout Skarre is called out to a drowning incident. The victim, Tommy, is a sixteen-month-old baby with Down's Syndrome. His mother, the very young and beautiful Carmen, says that she left Tommy alone for a few minutes in the house and when she came back he had wandered out, across the garden and into the pond opposite. She went in after him but all efforts to revive Tommy by her and her husband Nicolai and subsequently the emergency services failed.

Skarre feels there's something odd about the situation and calls Sejer and asks him to come out to the scene of the accident. There is no evidence of foul play, however the couple are interviewed separately and Carmen's story is a bit confused.

Sejer and Skarre must wait for the autopsy results to see if there is any reason to doubt Carmen's story.

Much of the subsequent book is given over to how the young couple are coping with the death of their only child. Carmen is strong and wants to start anew with a new baby and new baby furniture whereas Nicolai is heartbroken and sinks into a deep depression.

Like Sejer, the reader is itching to know what really happened to Tommy. Was it an accident or something more sinister? Carmen is not a very likeable person but would she really kill her own child?

Fossum's intelligent writing touches on all aspects of having a disabled child, and uses her atheist and believer pair of detectives to discuss religion and faith. This is a particularly sad entry in her series, infused with grief and to a lesser degree, Sejer's fear that he is seriously ill. This is not a book to enjoy in the traditional sense but there is much to admire and ponder on. I'm pleased to see that book twelve, HELL FIRE, is scheduled for June 2016.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Euro Crime Favourite Reads of 2015

I've asked the recent contributors to Euro Crime to choose their favourite European reads of 2015 and a total of 61 titles have been submitted. The following favourites come from the lists submitted by: Mark Bailey, Amanda Gillies, Terry Halligan, Lynn Harvey, Geoff Jones, Michelle Peckham, Norman Price, Laura Root, Ewa Sherman, Susan White and myself. The breakdown by reviewer, with additional recommendations and any additional comments they have made, can be found here.

Of the 61, 33% were in translation and 33% were by female authors.

The most mentioned titles are:

2 votes:

Kati Hiekkapelto – The Hummingbird tr. David Hackston

Arnaldur Indridason - Oblivion  tr. Victoria Cribb

Ragnar Jonasson - Snowblind  tr. Quentin Bates

Anya Lipska - A Devil Under the Skin

The most mentioned authors (irrespective of title) are:

3 votes:

Kati Hiekkapelto
Arnaldur Indridason

2 votes:

Ragnar Jonasson
Anya Lipska

The most mentioned translator is:

4 votes:

Victoria Cribb (Arnaldur Indridason, Yrsa Sigurdardottir)

All the titles mentioned in the best of lists:

Adrian McKinty – Gun Street Girl
Alex Howard – Cold Revenge
Alex Marwood - The Darkest Secret
Antonia Hodgson – The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins
Anya Lipska - A Devil Under the Skin
Anya Lipska - A Devil Under the Skin
Arnaldur Indridason – Oblivion tr. Victoria Cribb
Arnaldur Indridason – Reykjavik Nights tr. Victoria Cribb
Ausma Zehanat Khan - The Unquiet Dead
Belinda Bauer - The Shut Eye
Brian McGilloway - Preserve the Dead
Charles Belfoure - The Paris Architect
Christianna Brand - Green for Danger
Craig Russell – The Ghosts of Altona
David Downing – One Man's Flag
Denise Mina - Blood Salt Water
Deon Meyer – Icarus tr. K L Seegers
Doug Johnstone – The Jump
Gunnar Staalesen – We Shall Inherit the Wind tr. Don Bartlett
Hania Allen – Double Tap
Hans Olav Lalhum - Satellite People - tr. Kari Dickson
Henning Mankell – An Event in Autumn tr. Laurie Thompson
Ian Caldwell – The Fifth Gospel
Jake Woodhouse - Into the Night
John Harvey - Darkness Darkness
Jorn Lier Horst - The Hunting Dogs tr. Anne Bruce
Joseph Kanon – Leaving Berlin
Jussi Adler-Olsen - The Marco Effect/Buried tr. Martin Aitken
Karim Miske – Arab Jazz tr Sam Gordon
Kati Hiekkapelto – The Defenceless tr. David Hackston
Kati Hiekkapelto – The Hummingbird tr. David Hackston
Keigo Higashino - Malice - tr. Alexander O Smith
Leigh Russell – Blood Axe
Luca Veste - The Dying Place
M H Baylis – Black Day at the Bosphorus Cafe
M J Arlidge – Eeny Meeny
M J Carter – The Infidel Strain
M R C Kasasian - Death Descends on Saturn Villa
Maurizio De Giovanni – Viper tr. Anthony Shugar
Michael J Malone – Beyond the Rage
Mick Herron – Nobody Walks
Paul Johnston - Heads or Hearts
Philip Kerr – The Lady from Zagreb
Pierre Lemaitre - Camille tr. Frank Wynne
Rachel Abbott – Stranger Child
Ragnar Jonasson – Snowblind tr. Quentin Bates
Rebecca Whitney – Liar's Chair
Robert Karjel - My Name is N tr. Nancy Pick & Robert Karjel 
Ruth Downie – Tabula Rasa
Ruth Dugdall – Humber Boy B
S J Deas – the Protector
Sarah Ward - In Bitter Chill
Steve Cavanagh – The Defence
Stuart Neville – Those We Left Behind
Tim Weaver – Fall From Grace
William Shaw – The Book of Scars
Yrsa Sigurdardottir - The Silence of the Sea tr. Victoria Cribb
Zygmunt Miloszewski – Entanglement tr. Antonia Lloyd-Jones

Friday, January 22, 2016

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2015 - Karen

The Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2015 - individual posts - concludes today with my own offering. I will be doing a post revealing the overall Euro Crime favourite authors, titles and translators of 2015 - I've not compiled the list yet but this year it feels like there is less of a consensus compared to previous years.

My favourite reads of 2015

On Good Reads I have awarded 5 stars to three books this year and in author order they are:

M R C Kasasian - Death Descends on Saturn Villa
I read this during a difficult time for me and thankfully the latter didn't reduce my enjoyment of this third entry in the Gower Street Detective series.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir - The Silence of the Sea tr. Victoria Cribb
This was the very epitome of a page-turner. I could not put it down. A very worthy winner of the Petrona Award 2015 for best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.
A yacht returns to Reykjavik with no-one on board though a family and a crew were on it when it left Portugal. Thora is hired by the grand-parents of the surviving child who did not go on the ill-fated trip to prove that the parents are dead. The narrative is split between Thora's investigations and a recounting of what happened aboard the yacht and is an extremely tense and compulsive read.

Sarah Ward - In Bitter Chill
A very atmospheric rural-noir crime novel which has both believable characters and a good plot. My review is here.

I have given 4 stars to more than two books and it's quite difficult to separate them however I'm going to plump for:

Jorn Lier Horst - The Hunting Dogs tr. Anne Bruce
This entry sees Wisting suspended and suspected of falsifying evidence. Wisting is a likeable, empathetic character who has an awkward relationship with his daughter Line a journalist. Line often ends up, though in a naturalistic way, running a parallel investigation into Wisting's cases from a “news” point of view.

Robert Karjel - My Name is N tr. Nancy Pick & Robert Karjel 
Here is part of the official blurb: "Ernst Grip of the Swedish security police has no idea why he is being summoned to the U.S. When he lands at a remote military base in the Indian Ocean, his escort, FBI agent Shauna Friedman, asks him to determine whether a prisoner who has been tortured by the CIA is a Swedish citizen.
At the military base, the prisoner, known only as N., refuses to talk. It appears he was involved in an Islamist-inspired terror attack in Topeka, Kansas. The attack was real, but the motivations behind it are not so simple. Evidence points to a group of desperate souls who survived the 2004 Thailand tsunami: a ruthless American arms dealer, a Czech hit man, a mysterious nurse from Kansas, a heartbreakingly na├»ve Pakistani – and a Swede."
An interesting book which is a bit different, and a thriller on a global stage.