Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Euro Crime Favourite Reads of 2012

I've asked the recent contributors to Euro Crime to choose their favourite European reads of 2012 and a total of 71 titles have been submitted. The following favourites come from the lists submitted by: Mark Bailey, Maxine Clarke, Amanda Gillies, JF, Terry Halligan, Lynn Harvey, Sarah Hilary, Geoff Jones, Michelle Peckham, Norman Price, Laura Root and myself. The breakdown by reviewer, with additional recommendations and any additional comments they have made, can be found here. Quotes are taken from the Euro Crime reviews.
The most mentioned titles are:

3 votes:

Last Will by Liza Marklund tr. Neil Smith

Liza Marklund has [] said that it doesn't matter in which order you read her Annika Bengtzon books as she herself doesn't write them in chronological order, having started with the "fourth" in terms of journalist Annika Bengtzon's life and career. LAST WILL is the sixth in the series to be translated into English, this time by the sure skills of Neil Smith. And I say too – read them in whatever order you like, but do read them. Not least this nail-biter, LAST WILL.

2 votes:

The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri tr. Stephen Sartarelli

THE POTTER'S FIELD is an excellent book. All the familiar characters are here, but events have taken a darker turn. Salvo is feeling his age, and with reason is increasingly depressed about the state of his beautiful country and the way in which it is ruined by politicians and gangsters alike. The novel is more than a crime novel - though the plot is very clever and convoluted, because of the way Salvo decides to proceed with it - it is a meditation on getting older, on failing powers, and on the uncertain future we all face.

The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill tr. Laura McGoughlin

THE SUMMER OF DEAD TOYS is the best Spanish crime novel I've read. Structured round a classic police procedural plot, the author exposes some of the baser aspects of human nature as he peels off the layers of respectability of a group of privileged high-society types. At the same time, his protagonist, Inspector H├ęctor Sagaldo, has issues of his own to cope with - issues that result in an atmosphere of vague menace that pervades the book and culminates in a shock ending. All set in the blistering heat of Barcelona, a town that comes alive in this absorbing narrative.

7 Days by Deon Meyer tr. K L Seegers

I always look forward to a new novel by Deon Meyer, and his latest, 7 DAYS, is a perfect example of why he is, in my opinion, one of the very best crime fiction authors in the world today...7 DAYS is a marvellous crime novel which must be a strong contender for best crime novel of 2012.

Another Time, Another Life by Leif G W Persson tr. Paul Norlen

This is a quite remarkable book on several levels. ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER LIFE succeeds as a meticulous police procedural, deftly combining multiple timelines and details of investigations into a coherent whole, written from the point of view of several police officers in a manner reminiscent of Ed McBain or Joseph Wambaugh...I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the darker side of Swedish political and government life in the post-Palme era, or who simply fancies a meatier, skilfully crafted police procedural with political elements. I thoroughly look forward to reading other books by this writer.

Bed of Nails by Antonin Varenne tr. Sian Reynolds

It is a powerful and original debut crime story, definitely one for Vargas fans to try, and I very much hope that there is more Varenne crime fiction to come. I will be waiting, with bated breath, my hands over my eyes and peeking through my fingers, as I watch his next story unfold.

The most mentioned authors (irrespective of title) are:

3 votes:

Liza Marklund
Deon Meyer

2 votes:

Andrea Camilleri
Antonio Hill
Peter May
Jo Nesbo
Leif G W Persson
Antonin Varenne

The most mentioned translators are:

4 votes:

Neil Smith (Mons Kallentoft, Liza Marklund)

3 votes:

Don Bartlett (K O Dahl, Jo Nesbo)
Stephen Sartarelli (Andrea Camilleri, Marco Vichi)
K L Seegers (Deon Meyer)

2 votes:

Laura McGoughlin (Antonio Hill)
Paul Norlen (Leif G W Persson)
Sian Reynolds (Antonin Varenne)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2012 - JF

We've now reached the final instalment of the Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2012. Here are JF's favourite Euro Crime titles:
Three of my favourite Euro crime reads made it into my Top 5 of 2012 at Raven Crime Reads:

Damien Seaman's The Killing of Emma Gross was a brilliant imagining of a real life German serial killer Peter Kurten, with a wonderful attention to historical detail and a pithy wit.

John J Niven's Cold Hands was a visceral thriller combining the filmic genius of Tarantino with the earthy writing of Irvine Welsh and was a read best avoided by the faint-hearted!

Topping my list was Antonin Varenne's Bed of Nails tr. Sian Reynolds, a remarkable French literary thriller that had a lyrical beauty seldom observed in the crime thriller genre, in addition to its taut and utterly compelling plot.

In addition to these three, I would also single out Dan Smith's The Child Thief an intriguing mystery set in the Ukraine and perfect for readers of Tom Rob Smith and William Ryan and my final little gem of the year was Maxime Chattam's Carnage, tr. Isabel Reid and Emily Boyce, a lesson in how to write brilliant crime fiction in a very condensed form.

It's now time for me to combine everyone's lists and see which authors/titles/translators are mentioned the most.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Titles from Headline - Jan-April 2013

Taken from the Headline catalogue, here are new titles for January to April 2013 that are relevant to Euro Crime, plus anything translated or a bit unusual...

January

Backtrack by Jason Dean (#2 James Bishop, Close protection officer, USA)
Deadly Business by Quintin Jardine (#4 Primavera Blackstone)
Funeral Note by Quintin Jardine (#22 Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Skinner, Edinburgh)
Deadline by Barbara Nadel (#15 Cetin Ikmen, Policeman, Istanbul)
The Lies You Told Me - Jessica Ruston

February

Payback Time by Geraint Anderson (paperback)
The Game by A K Shevchenko

March

Tarnished by Julia Crouch
The Final Sacrament by James Forrester (paperback) (#3 Clarenceux, 1560s)
The Persona Protocol by Andy McDermott
Husband, Missing by Polly Williams

April

The Lost by Claire McGowan
Protection by G J Moffat (paperback) (#4 Logan Finch, Lawyer & DC Rebecca Irvine, Glasgow)
The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson
The Hope Factory by Lavanya Sankaran
What Lies Within by Tom Vowler

Monday, January 28, 2013

The name's Bang, Flash Bang

Yes, the second CrimeFest Flashbang competition is now open. You could win tickets to the fabulous CrimeFest (30 May - 2 June 2013) by writing a teensy story...

Here's the rules:
Max 150 words. No minimum. Title not included in word count. One entry per person. £2 entry fee to cover our admin, to be paid via PayPal. No entries from established crime authors, please. No other restrictions apply, but you’ll want to be able to attend CrimeFest in Bristol in the UK if you win (NB: travel and acommodation are not included in the prize).

Entries by midnight BST on 1 March 2013.
For details of how to enter and more on the rules go to the Flashbang website.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Reviews: Bauer, Conrad, Cookman, Harvey, Kelly, Leonard, Littell, Tope, Walker

Here are nine new reviews and a reminder of the competition:
Win the 'Nikki Heat' novels by Richard Castle (UK only) - closes 31 January 2013.

I have been posting the reviewers' favourite reads of 2012 over the last couple of weeks (one more still to go) and then I'll be counting up the votes and announcing the winner(s).

This week's new reviews:
Michelle Peckham calls Belinda Bauer's Rubbernecker "a great book";

Last week I reviewed on the blog, Patrick Conrad's No Sale tr. Jonathan Lynn, an unusual book which film buffs should particularly enjoy;

Geoff Jones reviews the latest in Lesley Cookman's Libby Sarjeant series, Murder in the Monastery set in Kent;

Terry Halligan reviews John Harvey's Good Bait newly released in paperback;

Susan White reviews Erin Kelly's The Burning Air calling it "a compelling read";

Peter Leonard's Back from the Dead is released this month and Lynn Harvey catches up with the first part of Harry Levin's story in the paperback edition of Voices of the Dead;

Laura Root reviews Robert Littell's who "injects fresh life into an oft told tale" in the Young Philby;

Lizzie Hayes reviews Rebecca Tope's The Windermere Witness the first in a new series set in the Lake District and featuring florist Simmy Brown

and Amanda Gillies reviews Martin Walker's The Devil's Cave, the fifth in the Bruno, Chief of Police series set in France.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2012 - Terry

We've now reached the penultimate instalment of the Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2012. Here are Terry Halligan's favourite Euro Crime titles, in the order provided. He says that he "had an extraordinarily difficult time deciding what to keep in and leave out":
Top 5 Historical Mysteries

1. A Lily Of The Field by John Lawton
A stunningly detailed further novel from this very under publicised writer who writes sort of police procedurals in and around the Second World War and should be more widely appreciated.

2. The Final Sacrament by James Forrester
The final book of the Clarenceux trilogy set in Tudor England after the dissolution

3. Dorchester Terrace by Anne Perry
The 27th story in the Inspector Pitt Victorian mysteries and the quality is still as high here as in her first.

4. The Piccadilly Plot by Susanna Gregory
The seventh Thomas Chaloner murder mystery set in Restoration London, involving threats of assassination, a stolen corpse and a scheme to frame the Queen for treason.

5. Tom-All-Alone's by Lynn Shepherd
Takes place in the 'space between' two masterpieces of mid-Victorian fiction: Bleak House and The Woman in White.

Top 5 Non-Historical Mysteries

1. A Question Of Inheritance by Josephine Bell
A cot death--unexpected and shocking. Especially for the mother,who has to start a subterfuge which lasts until 22 years later when an unexpected death starts a series of difficult questions

2. Who Pays The Piper by Mackenzie Smith
Incredible military mystery that occurs in Sierra Leone in 1999 that is authentic, gritty and almost unputdownable.

3. Siege by Simon Kernick
A gritty and violent thriller about a West End of London hotel attacked by Al-Qaeda

4. The Dying Minutes by Martin O'Brien
Exciting police procedural set in Marseilles, France about a gold bullion robbery in 1972.

5. False Friends by Stephen Leather
Following the death of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, Leathers protagonist Dan 'Spider' Shepherd is protecting the students who provided the details to MI5 of Osama's location but there are those who want to kill them.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2012 - Sarah

Continuing the series of Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2012 here are Sarah Hilary's favourite Euro Crime titles:
1. The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
2. Finders Keepers by Belinda Bauer
3. To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey
4. What Lies Within by Tom Vowler (released Apr. 13)
5. Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: No Sale by Patrick Conrad

No Sale by Patrick Conrad translated by Jonathan Lynn, June 2012, 270 pages, Bitter Lemon Press, ISBN: 1904738974

NO SALE which was published in English in 2012, was originally published in Dutch in 2007, and is set a few years before that.

Victor Cox, professor of film history in Antwerp has reported his wife missing. The police investigation is run by Luyckx aka 'The Sponge' and his assistant Lannoy. When Cox's wife is found dead in the water adjacent to the Docklands area, Cox is questioned again. The police are suspicious of him as he shows little emotion and writes his statement rather than give it verbally. Luckxy says:

Either the man is absolutely crazy and is living in a dream that is closer to the fantasy world of cinema than reality, or this is a diabolical plan, long in the making, to eliminate his wife.

What it does reveals is that Cox is a man who sees life in terms of old films. Appearances, actions can all be linked to Hollywood.

The police release Cox and time passes he forms a relationship with a film student who looks like silent movie stars Clara Bow and/or Louise Brooks and then another death occurs: a woman is killed by a knife in the shower in a motel room. There have been other unsolved murders but Luckyx is stumped. Is there a serial killer on the loose? Why is Professor Cox always connected somehow to the dead women?

NO SALE is not a police procedural, though the police duo feature, most prominently at the beginning and end; it's about Victor Cox, and his life-long obsession with movies. Is he sane? Is he a killer? Is he innocent? It's told in fairly short chapters, each one titled with the name of a character, either a fictional one or a real actor. I found it a fascinating read as I'm interested in films and movie-stars, and some of the old scandals are mentioned as well as lots of film names. By coincidence I'd just watched a BBC4 Arena programme about 'Screen Goddesses' so the names Clara Bow and Louise Brooks meant something to me. The storyline itself is also intriguing as it's not clear how much is the truth and how much is a dream. It's neatly plotted and if I don't think the ending quite lived up to what came before it then that's a minor quibble really for such an interesting reading experience.

This is an unusual crime novel, and worth seeking out; the latter is something I could write about every Bitter Lemon Press novel I've read so far.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2012 - Mark

Continuing the series of Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2012 here are Mark Bailey's favourite Euro Crime and/or translated titles:
Of the new releases in 2012 (either in paperback or hardback), I would strongly recommend (in alphabetical order by author as I don’t want to choose an order):
Fowler, Christopher – BRYANT & MAY AND THE INVISIBLE CODE (10th novel about Arthur Bryant, John May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit - another strong Bryant & May novel with a very intricate plot with lots of twists and turns; some new characters (some of which are almost fantastical) are introduced to set up for the future which he has got a 2 book deal for starting with BRYANT & MAY AND THE BLEEDING HEART).
James, Peter - NOT DEAD YET  (8th Detective Superintendent Roy Grace novel)

Nesbo, Jo – THE BAT tr. Don Bartlett (the 1st Harry Hole novel chronologically – it was nice to see the back plot to the later novels explored in more depth.

Rankin, Ian - STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN'S GRAVE (Rebus is back – I read it in a day and loved it)

Robinson, Peter – BEFORE THE POISON (not a DCI Banks book but it takes the well-used idea of somebody becoming obsessed with solving a decades-old murder and executes it very well)
Other 2012 releases that had good points were:
  • McKinty, Adrian - THE COLD COLD GROUND (the 1st Sean Duffy novel set in 1980s Northern Ireland; yes I am biased as I go past most of the places in this novel on my train to work every day but this is an assured police procedural in the main - the next book (I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET) is just out as I write and if it is just a tad better then that is one of my 2013 best reads sorted)
  • Staincliffe, Cath - DEAD TO ME (the 1st Scott and Bailey tie-in novel by Cath Staincliffe; yes this is a tv tie-on but it captures the characters and is compellingly written)
  • Tursten, Helene - NIGHT ROUNDS tr. Laura A Wideburg (the 4th Irene Huss novel; this is a good novel but I have seen the first 6 Swedish TV movie adaptions so I spoilt it for myself).
  • Wanner, Len - THE CRIME INTERVIEWS VOLUMES ONE AND TWO (These are available most easily for Kindles but if you like tartan noir, they are a good insight into how authors minds work as they have interviews with 19 crime writers between the two volumes)

‘Blasts from the past’ series reread or read for the first time in 2012 are:
  • Crispin, Edmund - the Gervase Fen series (I re-read these in the Summer. They are whodunit novels with complex plots written in a humorous, literary style with references to English literature, poetry, and music; my favourites are THE MOVING TOYSHOP (1946) and FREQUENT HEARSES (1950) – it is a crying shame that Crispin went 25 years between the penultimate and the last novel in the series).
  • Burley, W J – the Wycliffe series (I remember the tv series with Jack Shepherd well and recently bought them on DVD but had never read the books; yes they are dated and even the later ones read like those written in the 1970s (they were 22 written from 1968 to 2000) but they are also tightly plotted concisely written books with a great sense of place and a complex main character)
  • Edwards, Martin – the Lake District Mystery series (these were a new read for me and as said elsewhere on the website these are very classy page turners with a good sense of history and the area it is set in – the English Lake District)
  • Harvey. John – the Charlie Resnick series (I am just over halfway through re-reading this quality police procedural series set in Nottingham in the late 1980s and 1990s in the main – the last one was published a decade later in 2008)
Again, they reflect in the main my liking for police procedurals.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2012 - Amanda

Continuing the series of Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2012 here are Amanda Gillies's favourite Euro Crime and/or translated titles:

"Another year chock full of fantastic books! Once again it has been hard to narrow down my long list of favourites to a top 5 but here it is. The list is in order of preference. Some books just grab you and don’t let go. These five are all guilty of messing with my head and I still think of HIT AND RUN when walking through Holyrood Park. Fabulous".

Monday, January 21, 2013

DVD News: Unit One

Almost six years to the day that I first blogged about it, there is now a UK release of Danish thriller series Unit One. Whether this is due to the success of The Killing et al or the praise star Mads Mikkleson's recently received for films A Royal Affair and The Hunt it is welcome news even if the show is a decade old.

Unit One, Series One, is released today on DVD.

Unit One is a long-standing Nordic Noir thriller series that tells the story of a group of staunch crime experts from an elite unit within the Danish police force. We follow their fascinating yet frightening work in the Danish underworld and witness their unflinching commitment and affectionate solidarity when pitted against horrifying, yet all-too-real, examples of the extremes of human nature they face in the line of duty. Unit One is based on true criminal cases through the last 10 years.

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2012 - Geoff

Continuing the series of Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2012 here are Geoff Jones's favourite Euro Crime and/or translated titles, in the order he listed them:

Proof of Life by Karen Campbell
Bitter Water by Gordon Ferris
Fault Line by Robert Goddard
Scratch Deeper by Chris Simms
Never Apologise, Never Explain by James Craig

"Just missing the top 5 were Denise Mina, Jim Kelly, David Mark and Jason Webster".

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2012 - Norman

Continuing the series of Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2012 here are Norman Price's favourite Euro Crime and/or translated titles, in the order he listed them:

The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri tr. Stephen Sartarelli

At last the old maestro win the CWA International Dagger with his usual mixture of mafia, sex, humour and intrigue.

Another Time, Another Life by Leif G W Persson tr. Paul Norlen

Another veteran crime writer with the second book in a trilogy that covers 25 years full of events, from the seizing of the West German Embassy in 1975 by terrorists, to a murder in 1989 after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of the Stasi records, to a reopening of the case in 1999/2000. Facts,satire, humour, mystery and some strong female characters to go along with Persson's usually obnoxious policemen.

The Blind Goddess by Anne Holt tr. Tom Geddes

My discovery of the year, the Hanne Wilhelmsen series.

Last Will
by Liza Marklund tr. Neil Smith

Annika Bengtzon, the most popular and attractive journalist in Scandinavia continues the struggle to balance her career and family. In this brilliant book the reader learns about Alfred Nobel, his prize, how a media outlet is organised, and tales of scientific rivalry. No wonder Liza Marklund was one of Maxine's favourite authors.

Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst

One of Furst's other wartime thrillers, Spies of Warsaw, is being televised at the moment, starring David Tennant.

Spies of the Balkans is a superbly crafted story of Costa Zannis, a detective in Salonika who deals with political cases, in late 1940. It is the story of a society under tremendous pressure, war , intrigue, Nazis, spies, coup d'etats and escaping Jews all blended in with some historical information and a love story. At the very end of the novel Alan Furst puts in a lovely little unexpected twist, which can almost, but not quite make you forget what really happened to Salonika's ancient Jewish population during the war.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Europa Editions - World Noir

Just received the following press release from Europa Editions [including some more books to add to the wish-list]:

Europa Launches World Noir Series

Europa Editions, known primarily for its celebrated literary fiction, also publishes critically acclaimed crime novels. During the Summer 2013 season, Europa will publish and reissue fifteen new and established noir novels from across the globe, each featuring a uniform Europa World Noir design.

“Europa Editions is good news if you’re a lover of crime novels.” – NPR
 
The new releases include Massimo Carlotto’s At the End of a Dull Day (Italy), Stav Sherez’s A Dark Redemption (England), Caryl Ferey’s Mapuche (France/Argentina), and Philippe Georget’s Summertime All the Cats are Bored (France).

 
The reissues include two notable and widely praised series. The Marseilles Trilogy (Total Chaos, Chourmo, Solea) by Jean-Claude Izzo, is a classic of European crime fiction.  Its publication was the catalyst for an entire literary movement, Mediterranean noir.  Carlo Lucarelli’s De Luca Trilogy (Carte Blanche, The Damned Season, Via delle Oche) will be published in a single omnibus edition for the first time.

Also available is Gene Kerrigan’s thematically-matched and much-heralded crime novels set in Dublin: Little Criminals, The Midnight Choir, and The Rage. The Rage recently won the coveted Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year.
To compliment and introduce the collection of World Noir novels, Europa has assembled a tribute to international crime fiction in the form of a 230-page reader, available as a bound edition and as an e-book (upon request).  The essays, interviews, and excerpts that make up its pages constitute an informative and engaging assessment of the writers who have established a scintillating new genre.

Included in the reader are a tribute to Jean-Claude Izzo by bestselling mystery author Andrea Camilleri, Carl Bromley’s insightful overview of contemporary Italian crime writers that was originally published in The Nation, and an excerpt from the reissue of Minotaur, by the Israeli writer, diplomat, and artist Benjamin Tammuz.  In keeping with the international flavor, the reader concludes with a collection of dossiers on the world’s most storied crime cities, assembling population statistics, murder rate, and the “perfect protagonist” for cities around the globe.

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2012 - Laura

Continuing the series of Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2012 here are Laura Root's favourite Euro Crime and/or translated titles, in the order she listed them:
I would like to dedicate my top 5 of 2012 to Maxine, as without Maxine's gentle encouragement I would never have had the confidence to review for Euro Crime.

Ashes by Sergios Gakas tr Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife
The Hour of the Wolf by Hakan Nesser tr Laurie Thompson
The Nameless Dead by Brian McGilloway
The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill tr Laura McGoughlin
The Eyes of Lira Kazan by Eva Joly & Judith Perrignon tr Emily Read

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2012 - Michelle

Continuing the series of Euro Crime reviewers' favourite reads of 2012 here are Michelle Peckham's favourite Euro Crime and/or translated titles, in the order she listed them:
Last Will by Liza Marklund tr. Neil Smith
Interesting link to Nobel Prizes, and biological scientists at the Karolinska Institute. A book that actually manages to depict science relatively accurately.

Temporary Perfections by Gianrico Carofiglio tr. Antony Shugaar
A favourite author of mine, his books feature the lawyer Guido Guerrieri, and in this one, he is set to work as an investigator, to find out what happened to a missing girl. The investigation plays a minor role, compared to his descriptions of discussions with friends, his response to the temptation of a pretty girl and general musings on his life.

The Chessmen by Peter May
Final book in a trilogy, Finn Macleod is living on Lewis, with a few last secrets to uncover from his childhood days there.

Deon Meyer (Blood Safari, 7 Days, Devil’s Peak, Trackers, Dead at Daybreak, Dead before Dying and Thirteen Hours). All different, all set in South Africa and all very satisfying reads - when I pushed her to choose one for my compilation list, Michelle replied: A hard choice, but I think probably Blood Safari (tr. K L Seegers), with the interesting bodyguard character (Lemmer) protecting Emma le Roux from some unknown potential danger, while she tries to find her missing brother, taking them all the way out to Limpopo, and against a background of corruption and poaching.

The Garnethill Trilogy by Denise Mina
An unlikely heroine, Maureen wakes up after a drunken night out to discover her boyfriend, dead in the flat with his throat cut. This starts a series of 3 books that follow up on Maureen’s determination to get to the bottom of stuff, and a great Glasgow setting

Ghostheart by R J Ellory
Despite the bad press for Ellory, I really like his novels, and this one was no exception. Features Annie, who runs a bookshop, and her discovery of the life she never knew.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Favourite Euro Crime Reads of 2012 - Maxine

I wanted to include Maxine's favourite reads in the Euro Crime compilation of favourite reads of 2012. Fortunately, she filled in a star rating on her Goodreads account and on her blog. There is a slight difference between the two sources but I've gone with the GR rating. I accept between 5 and 10 books per reviewer as their top reads. These are only Euro Crime/translation related titles. Four of the seven are Scandinavian titles and six of the seven are in translation. Links are to her reviews on Euro Crime or Petrona.

Maxine's Favourite Reads of 2012 (Five Stars on Goodreads)


Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Reviews: Carrisi, Durbridge, McCreet, Mackay, Sharp, Zouroudi

Here are six new reviews and a reminder of the competition:
Win the 'Nikki Heat' novels by Richard Castle (UK only).

Here are the new reviews:
Lizzie Hayes reviews Donato Carrisi's follow-up to The Whisperer - The Lost Girls of Rome tr. Howard Curtis;

Geoff Jones reviews Francis Durbridge's A Game of Murder which is now available as an ebook;

Amanda Gillies reviews James McCreet's third Newsome novel, The Thieves' Labyrinth set in Victorian London;

Susan White reviews Malcolm Mackay's debut, The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter;

Terry Halligan reviews the paperback release of Zoe Sharp's Fifth Victim

and Lynn Harvey reviews Anne Zouroudi's The Whispers of Nemesis which is also now out in paperback.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

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

Saturday, January 12, 2013

TV News: Father Brown on BBC1

A ten-part series of Father Brown begins on Monday on BBC1 at 2.10pm (daily Mon-Fri) with Mark Williams as G K Chesterton's priestly detective.

Euro Crime reviewer Rich Westwood interviews the producer over at Past Offences.

Episode 1 is The Hammer of God:
Father Brown (Mark Williams) attends a tea party to celebrate a new church clock tower, presided over by his friend Reverend Bohun (Adam Astill).

However, the serene atmosphere is shattered when his caddish brother Norman (Sam Hoare) arrives, riling most of the guests. Just after the bells sound for the first time Norman’s body is found behind the church, the back of his head hit by a hammer found lying nearby. The local blacksmith Simeon (Barry Sloane) is immediately suspected but his wife Elizabeth, (Bryony Afferson) guilty about having relations with Norman, confesses to the crime and is arrested by Inspector Valentine (Hugo Speer). Reverend Bohun implores Father Brown to find out the truth. At the police station Elizabeth confesses that she’s innocent, however until the real culprit is caught, she won’t speak up. Father Brown must find the killer before an innocent woman is sent to the gallows…

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Favourite Reads of 2012

I continue to read mostly international crime fiction, so again most of my favourite reads of 2012 are in translation. The standout book for me was the CWA International Dagger Award-winning The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri tr. Stephen Sartarelli.


My favourite reads of 2012

Andrea Camilleri - The Potter's Field  tr. Stephen Sartarelli
K O Dahl - Lethal Investments tr. Don Bartlett
Andrea Gillies - The White Lie
Antonio Hill - The Summer of Dead Toys tr. Laura McGoughlin
Mons Kallentoft - Midwinter Sacrifice tr. Neil Smith
Deon Meyer - 7 Days tr K L Seegers
Jo Nesbo - Phantom tr. Don Bartlett
Johan Theorin - The Quarry tr.  Marlaine Delargy

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Favourite Discoveries 2012 (10)

The final instalment of favourite discoveries of 2012 comes from me and is one of the books in my top 5 reads of 2012.

Karen Meek's Favourite Discovery of 2012

Antonio Hill's The Summer of Dead Toys, translated by Laura McGouchlin was one of my favourite reads of 2012. Set in a steamy Barcelona it introduces Argentinian police inspector Hector Sagaldo who whilst on suspension for attacking a suspect is asked, as a favour, to investigate what appears to be a routine suicide.

Of course it's anything but and Salgado finds himself uncovering secrets, mixing with the higher echelons and dealing with new colleagues.

This was one of those books I could not put down and I then foisted it on Maxine who wrote in her review that it, "is the best Spanish crime novel I've read" and concludes "I highly recommend this very assured debut novel. It ticks all the boxes for a perfect crime-fiction experience".

Meanwhile Lynn concludes her review: "I really hope that this is the start of a series that will see Salgado and his Barcelona compete with Brunetti's Venice, Montalbano's Sicily and Ikmen's Istanbul. Crime in a warm climate. Travelling can't get much more thrilling than this".

So if you haven't read it yet, there's three recommendations.

The sequel, The Good Suicides, is out in June.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Favourite Discoveries 2012 (9)

Today's instalment of favourite discoveries of 2012 comes from Terry Halligan.

Terry Halligan's Favourite Discoveries of 2012



My favourite TV discovery of 2012 was Inspector Montalbano, which has been highlighted several times on this blog as being shown on BBC4. As I generally don't watch much TV apart from news bulletins, I neglected to watch it until one Saturday evening a couple of months ago when I saw it for the first time and I was totally blown away. It was brilliant, but also amusing and well plotted and it reminded me of Inspector Morse, but in Italian. It was half-way through the third series that I started watching, and after the series finished I viewed a few further programmes that were on the BBC iPlayer but then all of the remaining programmes were removed I suppose to make space for The Killing. So to get more fixes of Inspector Montalbano, before any more are shown in the future on BBC4, I've bought the box set of Series 1, which I'm currently viewing and enjoying immensely now. Hopefully, I'll be able to buy more DVDs in the January Sales.

Looking over the list of books that I've read during 2012, two American authors that I read as alternates to Euro Crime books stand out. The first is Brian Haig who is the son of Gen Alexander Haig who served as US Secretary Of State under President Ronald Reagan. Brian Haig was also in the US military and when he left he became a full time thriller writer and many of his books involve a Special Forces officer turned Army JAG lawyer Major/Lieutenant Colonel Sean Drummond. His books are very fast and fun and I see that I've read four this year starting with Private Sector (2005).

Another American author that I discovered this year is John J Nance who wrote the book Pandora's Clock (1995). Nance is an American pilot who served as an international airline pilot and knows what he is writing about when you read one of his thrillers as they always happen mainly aboard air-planes. Pandora's Clock is the first thriller by him that I read and it is about a 747 crossing the Atlantic to Europe but not being allowed to land as someone on board has a deadly virus!

For Euro Crime a favourite author that I discovered is Anne Perry who has written over 40 historical mystery books under that name and I read and I reviewed Dorchester Terrace, which is in her Inspector Pitt series. Whilst researching her books, I discovered that she was born in England but had a troubled childhood as her parents were always moving but she changed her name to the present one and after spending some time in the USA, moved to Scotland where she now lives as a very successful author. Since doing my review I have obtained her first four 'Inspector Pitt' books which start with The Cater Street Hangman. Her books are characterised by well observed period detail and very good plots. I hope to read more of them.

Read Terry's Euro Crime reviews here.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Favourite Discoveries 2012 (8)

Today's instalment of favourite discoveries of 2012 comes from Sarah Hilary who blogs at Crawl Space as well as reviewing for Euro Crime. Sarah has chosen two tv series which are now available on DVD.

Sarah Hilary's Favourite Discoveries of 2012


My favourite discovery of 2012 was Good Cop with Warren Brown on the BBC. I thought this four part drama was exceptional, multi-layered, superbly acted and beautifully filmed. Most notable for making Liverpool look gorgeous, and for showcasing the range of the frankly astonishing Warren Brown.

A close second was The Bletchley Circle on ITV1, terrific cast, period detail to die for and the promise of a second series in the offing.


Read Sarah's Euro Crime reviews here.

Monday, January 07, 2013

New Reviews: Barr, Finnis, King, McDermott, May, Rees & a New Competition

Euro Crime returns with six new reviews and a brand-new competition:

Win the 'Nikki Heat' novels by Richard Castle (UK only).

Here are the new reviews:
Michelle Peckham reviews Emily Barr's Stranded;

Susan White reviews Jane Finnis's Shadows in the Night set in Roman Britain, which gets a long-awaited UK release;

Amanda Gillies samples Sherlock Holmes in Laurie R King's O Jerusalem;

Terry Halligan reviews the action-packed thriller Temple of the Gods by Andy McDermott;

The late Maxine Clarke reviews Peter May's The Chessmen, the final book in the Lewis trilogy

and Lynn Harvey reviews Matt Rees's A Name in Blood which is about the painter Caravaggio.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

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

Favourite Discoveries 2012 (7)

After a short break, as promised I have a few more favourite discoveries of 2012 to reveal plus the favourite Euro Crime reads of 2012 will follow soon.

Today's instalment of favourite discoveries of 2012 comes from JF who blogs at Raven Crime Reads as well as reviewing for Euro Crime.

JF's Favourite Discovery of 2012

My favourite discovery of 2012 is Italian crime fiction writer, Marco Vichi. I became instantly hooked on his 'Inspector Bordelli' series this year, beginning with Death in August. Comparisons with Andrea Camilleri are unavoidable, but I actually find the more dark, sombre style of Vichi a big draw, and although not suffused by wit like the 'Montalbano' series, the deft light touches when they arrive are perfectly placed. I have now read the first three in the series and am looking forward to the fourth very much!

Read JF's Euro Crime reviews here.

Macho Vichi's Euro Crime bibliography (with reviews) is here.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Win: the Nikki Heat novels by Richard Castle (UK only)

The tv series Castle is one of my guilty pleasures so I was very pleased to be offered the opportunity to host a competition this month.

So, thanks to Titan Books, Euro Crime has one set of the Nikki Heat novels to giveaway.

To enter the draw, just answer the question and include your details in the form below.

This competition is open to UK residents only and will close on 31 January 2013.
Only 1 entry per person/per household please.
(All entries will be deleted once the winners have been notified.)






The explosive and exciting Nikki Heat novels are penned in the fictional world of Richard Castle, the successful crime novelist and investigator of the hugely successful TV show, Castle. Castle’s novels see Heat investigating terrifyingly mysterious cases in a whirlwind of secrets, celebrities, shamed politicians, mobsters, murdered real estate tycoons and vicious drug lords. Not entirely alone, Heat unravels her cases with the help of the handsome and unshakeable journalist, Jameson Rook. Whether on the back streets of Manhattan, or searching the murky waters of her own past, Nikki Heat brings crime and mystery to life.