Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - Winner

Announcing the winner for:

The 2017 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year

On 20 May 2017, at the Gala Dinner at CrimeFest, Bristol, Petrona Award judges Barry Forshaw and Sarah Ward announced the winner of the 2017 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

The winner was WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and published by Orenda Books.

The trophy was presented by last year's winner Jørn Lier Horst.

As well as the trophy, Gunnar Staalesen receives a pass to and a guaranteed panel at next year's CrimeFest.

The judges's additional comments on WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE:
Gunnar Staalesen has long been the finest Nordic novelist in the private-eye tradition of the American masters. WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE is both a coruscating and ambitious novel from the veteran writer, and a radical re-working of his customary materials - perhaps the most accomplished entry in the long-running sequence of books about Bergen detective Varg Veum.
The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his generous support of the 2017 Petrona Award.

Watch the live recording of last night's presentation:



Gunnar thanking his translator Don Bartlett:


Barry Foshaw (judge), Gunnar Staalesen, Karen O'Sullivan (publisher), Don Bartlett (translator), Sarah ward (judge), Kat Hall (judge)

Friday, May 19, 2017

CWA International Dagger 2017 - Longlist

The Longlist for the CWA International Dagger 2017 was announced tonight at CrimeFest.

The list includes two Petrona Award winners - Leif GW Persson and Jorn Lier Horst as well as several previous winners of the International Dagger: Andrea Camilleri, Pierre Lemaitre and Fred Vargas.
A Cold Death - Antonio Manzini tr. Antony Shugaar (4th Estate)
A Fine Line - Gianrico Carofiglio tr. Howard Curtis (Bitter Lemon Press)
A Voice In The Night - Andrea Camilleri tr. Stephen Sartarelli (Mantle)
Blackout - Marc Elsberg tr. Marshall Yarbrough (Black Swan)
Blood Wedding - Pierre Lemaitre tr. Frank Wynne (Maclehose Press)
Climate Of Fear - Fred Vargas tr. Siân Reynolds (Harvill Secker)
Death In The Tuscan Hills - Marco Vichi tr. Stephen Sartarelli (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Bastards Of Pizzofalcone - Maurizio De Giovanni tr. Antony Shugaar (Europa Editions)
The Dying Detective - Leif G W Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday)
The Legacy Of The Bones - Dolores Redondo tr. Nick Caister & Lorenza Garcia (Harper Fiction)
When It Grows Dark - Jorn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear

In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear, May 2017, 350 pages, Allison and Busby, ISBN: 0749021802

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Britain is at war. Returned from a dangerous mission onto enemy soil and having encountered an old enemy and the Fuhrer himself along the way, Maisie Dobbs is fully aware of the gravity of the current situation and how her world is on the cusp of great change. One of those changes can be seen in the floods of refugees that are arriving in Britain, desperate for sanctuary from the approaching storm of war. When Maisie stumbles on the deaths of refugees who may have been more than ordinary people, she is drawn into an investigation that requires all her insight and strength.

Running her own private investigation agency, Maisie has plenty of work coming in and is busy with current enquiries when she is approached at her home address by a lady known as Dr Francesca Thomas who explains that she wants to employ Maisie and her firm to try to prevent a murder from happening. Dr Thomas works for the Belgian Government and explains that several thousand refugees fled their country during the Great War and many had settled in the UK, changing their names if appropriate. One Belgian named Frederick Addens, was unfortunately found dead in St Pancras Station in early August, shot in the back of the head.

According to Dr Thomas, Scotland Yard were not too interested in spending a lot of time investigated the death of a foreign national, particularly at a time of heightened security because of the impending war. Dr Thomas said a Detective Inspector Caldwell at Scotland Yard was in charge of the case and Maisie has had dealings with him before. She wants Maisie to look into the case and she will pay all the expenses.

Maisie reluctantly takes up the case and asks her assistants, Billy Beale and Sandra Pickering at her Fitzroy Square, London W1 office address to look into various aspects of it immediately. Using all the skills that she has picked up in over ten years of investigations Maisie soon sets to work in solving this latest case. Maisie also has to look into a couple of other cases which are similarly quite complex but this adds to the enjoyment of this very gripping story.

Jacqueline Winspear is a very gifted author of historical mystery thrillers and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to review her latest work. I have read for review several of her previous books and consequently I appreciate the very detailed research that the author makes when plotting her stories. You really get a good sense of what daily life was like in the 1930s. This is a very high quality story with very good characterisation of Maisie, Billy and the other lesser characters which are so insightful that they just leap off of the page.

I enjoyed reading this story immensely and I do look forward to reading more of the highly intriguing adventures of Maisie from this very idiosyncratic and evocative writer. Extremely well recommended.

Terry Halligan, May 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The CWA & Libraries

I've recently had two press releases from the CWA regarding their connection to libraries. Firstly, the shortlist for the Dagger in the Library has been announced:

The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by a crime writer that users of libraries particularly admire. It is one of the most prestigious crime writing awards in the UK and previous winners include Elly Griffiths, Christopher Fowler, Sharon Bolton, Belinda Bauer, Alexander McCall Smith, Stephen Booth, Peter Robinson and Lindsey Davis.

The CWA, in discussion with its 2017 partners, The Reading Agency, revised the 2017 Dagger in the Library format so that, uniquely among crime-writing awards, only library staff were able to nominate authors. Nominations were received from 175 libraries across the UK and Ireland. The CWA worked with The Reading Agency, local libraries and the Crime Readers’ Association to promote novels from the longlisted authors to reading groups nationwide and feedback received from reading groups via Reading Groups for Everyone was a major factor in the judges’ shortlisting.
Here is the Shortlist:
Kate Ellis

Tana French

Mari Hannah

James Oswald

C J Sansom

Andrew Taylor
For more information about the authors, please visit: http://daggerreads.co.uk/dagger-in-the-library/

The winner will be announced at a short reception to immediately follow the Bodies from the Library event at the British Library on Saturday 17 June, promptly at 5.30pm.

More details about Bodies from the Library and ticket information can be found here: https://bodiesfromthelibrary.com/

And secondly, Ruth Dudley Edwards has been appointed as the CWA's Libraries Champion:
The Crime Writers’ Association has appointed its first Libraries Champion, Ruth Dudley Edwards. Ruth and the CWA will work with libraries nationwide to support the public library network, promote the value of reading for people of all ages and from all backgrounds, and promote crime writing.

Martin Edwards, Chair of the CWA, said, “Ruth Dudley Edwards is the ideal person to lead this exciting initiative. The CWA already has strong links with libraries throughout the country. Our annual Dagger in the Library award has been highly prized for 20 years, and June sees National Crime Writing Month, with crime writers appearing at libraries throughout Britain, as well as our Alibis in the Archive conference at Gladstone’s Library, near Chester.

“Ruth is an award-winning crime novelist and writer of non-fiction, and her fearless journalism commands respect internationally. She will be a passionate and effective advocate for libraries and for the value of books in all communities.”

Ruth Dudley Edwards said: “I’m delighted to have this chance to build on the already close relationship CWA members enjoy with librarians throughout the United Kingdom. I’ve never met a crime writer who didn’t love libraries.”

Neil MacInnes, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, and Strategic Lead on Libraries, Galleries and Culture for Manchester City Council said: “I am delighted to welcome Ruth as the Libraries Champion and look forward to developing opportunities and programmes for SCL & public libraries to work with the CWA to promote reading and libraries.”

Monday, May 15, 2017

Free TV Episodes on Amazon (II)


It's back - Amazon.co.uk are repeating their offer of making the first episode available to "buy" for free, this time in 62 TV series - you can download as well as stream.

The list includes Scandi favourites such as Beck, Borgen, The Bridge, The Legacy, Occupied and additionally 1864, Modus, The Protectors, The Team and Follow the Money. Also included are: French series Braquo ; Israeli series Hostages; Polish series The Border; Belgian series The Outlaws and the Australian series The Code.

British series include Happy Valley, Hinterland, Luther, The Missing (II) and Shetland.

Browse the whole list on Amazon.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review: Fatal Crossing by Lone Theils tr. Charlotte Barslund

Fatal Crossing by Lone Theils translated by Charlotte Barslund, May 2017, 323 pages, Paperback, Arcadia Books, ISBN: 191135003X

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Nora focused on the pictures on the wall behind him. They were copies, blown up to triple size. That in itself wasn’t frightening. What made the hairs on Nora’s arms stand up was that pretty much under every picture, there was a name. And underneath the name, the laconic message: Missing.

A coastal town, southern England.
A middle-aged African school teacher calmly drinks tea as he recounts massacre, rapes and mutilations to Danish foreign correspondent Nora Sand. He explains his part in these horrific acts as: “clearing cockroaches out of the kitchen”. Nora hides her disgust and leaves Pete to take carefully anonymous photographs of the informant. They take the coastal road back to London, stopping at a tiny fishing village for a walk on the beach to drain the poisons of the Rwanda story. In the village Nora spots a leather suitcase in a junk shop window; definitely one for her collection. The shop is open and the deal is done. When she reaches her tiny London flat, Nora dumps the case and drops into bed, exhausted.

The Crayfish, Nora’s boss at the Danish weekly Globalt, has never got to grips with time differences. So when he rings at 6.30 next morning, Nora staggers out of bed and trips over the suitcase in the middle of the floor. It falls open, spilling out a group of Polaroid photos which she hunkers down to examine: teenage girls, all in similar poses, looking straight at the camera, 1980s to 1990s by the fashions. One photo in particular catches her eye: this time two girls stand in front of a wall below a sign in Danish – Car Deck 2.

Nora is working on the Rwanda story when she is interrupted by the entryphone. Her old friend Andreas, now with the Danish police, now in London on a course, is now on her doorstep for their forgotten lunch date. He studies the Polaroid of the two girls, and spots a bracelet of lettered beads. An L? E or I? Over lunch they agree that something bothers both of them about the photo and Nora remembers a TV documentary about two Danish girls who went missing from a passenger ferry in the 1980s. They had been heading to England for a short trip as part of a group of teenagers from a care home. They vanished during the crossing, a backpack on the sun deck the only trace. Neither were seen again and the adults in charge of the group went on trial for negligence.

During Nora’s flying visit to Denmark for a family birthday, The Crayfish surprises her with permission to follow up on the story. She wastes no time in printing out copies of the Polaroid and raiding press archive resources, including re-examining the TV documentary on the missing girls. Andreas’ uncle arranges a meeting with a police colleague who had been part of the original investigation. He in turn is shocked by the Polaroid and immediately takes possession of it for Forensics. In keeping with her research Nora immerses herself in a book about British serial killers on her return flight. A photo halts her, a victim of serial killer William Hickley. A young woman stands against the backdrop of a wall just as in the Polaroids Nora found in the suitcase. The British police found the preserved tongues of at least fifteen victims whom they believed Hickley, or Bill Hix as he liked to call himself, had tortured and killed. Hickley was tried, found guilty and imprisoned, but to this day refuses to reveal the whereabouts of the bodies of his victims...

Danish news correspondent Lone Theils was based in London for 16 years. Now back in Denmark, she has written a debut crime novel that achieves just what she set out to do – combine her love of British crime stories with Nordic Noir. It introduces Danish journalist Nora Sand; her complex family relationships; her passion for investigative journalism and kick-boxing (shared with the author) and her hectic life which in this novel criss-crosses the North Sea between England and Denmark tracking her obsession with the idea that her second-hand suitcase and the photos it contained belonged to a notorious serial killer. En route she encounters police investigators in both countries who are still haunted by disappearances as well as the whereabouts of Hickley’s victims’ bodies. The case leads Nora to Scotland Yard and a list of missing girls from across Europe compiled by profiler Jeff Spencer’s team and then through the gates of a notorious prison and into the presence of the rarely interviewed killer William Hickley.

Translated from the Danish by Charlotte Barslund (translator of Gazan’s THE DINOSAUR FEATHER, Enger’s BURNED and more), FATAL CROSSING's pace quickly takes hold as the plot gains complexity (alongside Nora’s private life) and explores both the troubled past of the children from the care home in Denmark and the sedate and seemingly soft life of English seaside towns. (I did wonder if this complexity allowed a red herring to swim past me – but perhaps that was due to my lack of sleep as I read on through the night). Although lacking some of the objectivity that I like in my favourite Nordic Noirs, this is an accomplished and exciting crime novel. With a second Nora Strand book published in Denmark I hope there will be more from Lone Theils to satisfy those readers who like to travel with their crime-reading as well as those readers who like to stay at home – be they Danish or British.

Lynn Harvey, May 2017

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Review: Death of a Ghost by M C Beaton

Death of a Ghost by M C Beaton, February 2017, Constable, ISBN: 1472117247

I'm a huge fan of M C Beaton's Hamish MacBeth series set in the Highlands of Scotland, which has been running for over thirty years now. Though time stands still in terms of the characters' ages they do move with the times in terms of modern accoutrements such as iPhones.

In this latest outing, DEATH OF A GHOST, Hamish and his latest police sidekick/colleague Charlie are summoned by an ex-police superintendent who has bought a castle in the dismal and remote loch-side village of Drim. The former police bigwig, nicknamed Handy, has been hearing howling, “haunted”, noises from the disused tower attached to his historic home. Hamish and Charlie agree to spend a night in the tower to dispel the myth of a ghost.

What they find however is not an airy-fairy ghost but an honest to goodness dead body.

And so begins an investigation into the residents of Drim and uncovering their secrets and desires and along the way there are more murders.

As well as the murder enquiries, we catch up briefly with all of Hamish's previous colleagues who have spent a short while with him in his police station/home in Lochdubh and his former love-interests Priscilla and Elspeth make brief and slightly longer appearances respectively.

I dive into this series whenever I need a bit of light relief and a trip to beautiful countryside. This one caught me particularly off guard with the identity of the murderer. M C Beaton manages to keep this series fresh, despite it having over thirty entries and I always look forward to the next one. If you like one, you'll like them all.

British cozy crime is having a bit of a resurgence at the moment and if you like that sub-genre then why not start with the very first Hamish, DEATH OF A GOSSIP.

Monday, May 01, 2017

New Releases - May 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in May 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). May and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Adams, Pete - Ghost and Ragman Roll #4 DCI Jack Austin
• Arlidge, M J - Love Me Not #7 Helen Grace, Southampton Police
• Atherton, Nancy - Aunt Dimity and the Widow's Curse #22 Aunt Dimity
• Atkins, Lucy - The Night Visitor
• Binet, Laurent - The 7th Function of Language
• Brightwell, Emily - Mrs Jeffries Rights a Wrong #35 Mrs Jeffries
• Carol, James - The Quiet Man #4 Jefferson Winter
• Child, Lee - No Middle Name #1 Jack Reacher Short Stories
• Coates, Anne - Death's Silent Judgement #2 Hannah Weybridge, Journalist
• Cotterell, T A - What Alice Knew
• Dalton, Annie - A Study in Gold #3 Anna Hopkins, Oxford
• Dams, Jeanne M - The Missing Masterpiece #19 Dorothy Martin
• Dard, Frederic - The King of Fools
• de la Motte, Anders - Ultimatum (apa The Silenced) #2 David Sarac
• Dennison, Hannah - Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall #4 Kat Stanford
• Duffy, Margaret - Murders.Com #20 Major Patrick Gillard, MI5 & Ingrid Langley, author (ex MI5)
• Dugdall, Ruth - My Sister and Other Liars
• Duncan, Elizabeth J - Murder Is for Keeps #8 Penny Brannigan, Nail salon owner, North Wales
• Eccles, Marjorie - The Property of Lies #4 Detective Inspector Herbert Reardon, 1928
• Ellory, R J - Kings of America
• Fiorato, Marina - Crimson and Bone
• Friis, Agnete - What My Body Remembers
• Gregorio, Michael - Lone Wolf #3 Sebastiano Cangio, Italy
• Gustawsson, Johana - Block 46 #1 Roy & Castells
• Hawkins, Paula - Into the Water
• Henry, James - Frost at Midnight #4 DS Jack Frost, 1980s
• Indridason, Arnaldur - The Shadow District #1 Konrád, a former detective
• James, Peter - Need You Dead #13 Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, Brighton
• Jecks, Michael - A Murder Too Soon #2 Jack Blackjack, Tudor Era
• Kent, Christobel - The Day She Disappeared
• Khan, Vaseem - The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star #3 Inspector Chopra
• Linskey, Howard - The Search #3 DC Ian Bradshaw
• Logan, TM - Lies
• Longworth, M L - The Curse of La Fontaine #6 Verlaque and Bonnet, Aix-en-Provence
• Lyle, H B - The Irregular #1 Wiggins, 1909
• Mariani, Scott - The Babylon Idol #15 Ben Hope, Ex-SAS
• McGilloway, Brian - Bad Blood #4 Detective Sergeant Lucy Black
• Medina, Kate - Scared to Death #2 Dr Jessie Flynn, Psychologist
• Potzsch, Oliver - The Play of Death #6 Hangman's Daughter series
• Ridpath, Michael - Amnesia
• Roberts, Mark - Day of the Dead #3 DCI Eve Clay, Liverpool
• Rufin, Jean-Christophe - Checkpoint
• Runcie, James - Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love #6 The Grantchester Mysteries
• Russell, Leigh - Deadly Alibi #9 DI Geraldine Steel
• Russell, Michael - The City of Lies #4 Garda Detective Stefan Gillespie
• Shaw, William - Sympathy For The Devil #4 DS Breen and WPC Tozer, 1960s
• Shelton, Paige - Of Books and Bagpipes #2 Scottish Bookshop Mystery
• Sten, Viveca - Guiltless #3 Sandhamn Murders
• Theils, Lone - Fatal Crossing #1 Nora Sand, Journalist
• Tope, Rebecca - The Bowness Bequest #6 Persimmon Brown, Florist, Lake District
• Wilson, Andrew - A Talent for Murder
• Young, Felicity - A Donation of Murder (ebook only) #5 Dr Dody McCleland, the first female autopsy surgeon, Victorian London

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Reading Group thoughts on The Theory of Death

The gripping new crime novel in the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series from New York Times bestselling author Faye Kellerman.

It’s been almost a year since Greenbury’s last murder. Detective Peter Decker has been enjoying the slower pace of life in upstate New York … until two kids find a dead body in the woods.

Identifying the body takes Decker and his former partner Tyler McAdams into the cryptic world of mathematics at Kneed Loft College – a sphere of scheming academics, a beguiling student who sets her sights on McAdams, and a dangerous underworld.

It will take all of Decker’s wits and McAdams’s intellect to solve a twisted tale created by depraved masterminds, and then make it out alive…


A while back my F2F reading group won copies from the publisher,  of The Theory of Death by Faye Kellerman.

I enjoyed the book and found it an easy read and rather wish I'd read the previous book in the series which (I think) introduced Decker's (annoying) young partner McAdams. 

Verbal comments from the group included:

Big Bang meets Diagnosis Murder.

Got bored with the maths.

Quite good - I like Faye Kellerman.

Kept you guessing.

Guessed quickly.

Like the small-town feel of the college setting.

Very readable.

[the student] was very irritating - what was Faye Kellerman thinking?

Glad that Peter Decker is still going.

and a handed in written review: Readable, formulaic, overlong. Flagged at times. Characters likeable enough but had no depth. Ending a little disappointing and predictable.

So a mixed response but overall the response was positive.

I'd like to thank the publisher (HarperCollins) for the books and thus the opportunity for the group to all read the same book. Usually, as we're library based, we have to go with a selection of titles to have enough copies to go round.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Review: The Body on the Doorstep by A J Mackenzie

The Body on the Doorstep by A J Mackenzie, August 2016, 288 pages, Zaffre, ISBN: 178576120X

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

The year is 1796. It is midnight on Romney Marsh, Kent, on England's south-east coast in the darkness of a new moon. Smugglers’ boats bring their illicit cargoes of brandy and tobacco from France to land on the beaches of the Channel coast. Suddenly, shots ring out in the night. The rector of St Mary in the Marsh, the Reverend Hardcastle opens his front door to find a young man dying on his doorstep and is lucky to avoid another shot himself.

The young man lives long enough to utter four words. "Tell Peter...mark...trace..."

What do those four words mean? Who is the young man? Where did he come from, and who killed him? Why, five minutes later, was a Customs officer shot and killed out on the Marsh? And who are the mysterious group of smugglers known as the 'Twelve Apostles', and where does their allegiance lie? When the rector investigates, aided by his faithful allies:- Mrs Amelia Chaytor, a local widow, and the young painter William Turner, he quickly finds himself involved in a world of smuggling, espionage...and danger.

This book was absolutely gripping in the historical details which were really fascinating and the one thing I was absolutely amazed about was the huge volume of alcohol that was consumed by the Reverend Hardcastle. He often drank a pint of claret with his breakfast and was sipping port or brandy all day long and getting through several bottles each day!! The joint authors say that people in the eighteenth-century drank, and not tea and coffee, but very large volumes of alcohol. They really drank. Not just trebles all round; beer for breakfast was not unusual among the lower orders, while those who could afford it might start the day with a tankard of claret, or even port. And throughout the remainder of the day, alcohol was consumed in vast quantities at all levels of society.

This was a really exciting and truly atmospheric historical mystery that had me transfixed from page one until the final conclusion. The plot was hugely imaginative and the characters were very believable. Whilst the rector and Mrs Chaynor investigate all the various clues to the mystery that they unearth, the plot twists one way and then goes off in another direction and the reader has no alternative but to read on and I just did not want this book to conclude but unfortunately it did and I only am comforted by the fact that further books are promised by these very talented new authors.

Because of the time that the story was set in when there were great worries that the French might invade and the modern appliances that we take for granted such as the internet, DNA, newspapers, TV and other modern conveniences were refreshingly absent at that time solving a crime was particularly difficult and word of mouth was extremely important. So the Reverend Hardcastle and his allies had great difficulty in their investigations and this made the story so much more interesting. I look forward to reading many more books in the future by this very exciting author.

Strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, April 2017.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: Murderabilia by Craig Robertson

Murderabilia by Craig Robertson, March 2017, 432 pages, Simon & Schuster UK, ISBN: 1471156591

Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Another corker from Craig Robertson and covering a topic that is gruesome to say the very least. The central theme of the novel hovers around the unsavoury habit of collecting artifacts from murders – pieces of clothing, jewellery, hair, weapons. Even bricks from houses where murders took place. The list goes on and the prices paid can be astronomical. Robertson admits to having looked into this murky world as part of the research for his book. It is impossible to imagine what he found or, indeed, why people want to collect such things.

MURDERABILIA continues Robertson’s series featuring crime photographer Tony Winter and his detective girlfriend Rachel Narey. Tony lost his job with the police in the last book and is now trying his hand at journalism. Getting a lead for a good story is not proving to be particularly successful for him and he doesn’t feel cut out for the job. But then, one morning, a body suspended from a bridge in Glasgow city centre shocks the early commuters and the whole city finds itself reeling. The deceased is the son of a high profile politician and Tony’s photograph of the pile of clothes left neatly folded beneath the body proves to be an instant media hit. Narey, now pregnant, is removed from the case and, much to her disgust, made to endure forced bed rest after collapsing at work. She must stay calm at all costs to keep her baby safe but staying out of things proves to be too difficult for her – especially with her nemesis Denny Kelbie brought in to save the day.

Close scrutiny of Tony’s photo soon reveals that not everything is as it should be. Key pieces of clothing are missing from the pile and pretty soon they appear for sale on a somewhat dodgy website. Armed with her laptop and going out of her mind with boredom, Rachel starts to dig and is soon out of her depth in the Dark Web, shocked at what she finds. She sends Tony to do her investigating and both of them are soon caught up in a world where murder is a collectible art and people seem to be willing to pay very high prices for their coveted prize. Rachel, drawn in by the irresistible lure of the objects she finds, is soon buying murderabilia. But her questions have been noticed and it is not long before somebody is watching her closely as well. Can she and Tony solve the case before it is too late or will her fate end up being the same as that of Sharon Tate, who was infamously murdered when pregnant, and is now haunting her dreams?

An absorbing and engrossing book, this is one of Craig Robertson’s finest works. It has so many twists and turns that you must stay on your toes to keep up but the ever-increasing pace, that winds up slowly then reaches a screaming crescendo, will keep you up at night to find out what happens. I have read all of Craig Robertson’s books and am always delighted to be asked to review another one. He is a talented wordsmith and I am enjoying watching him develop his craft.

Extremely Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, April 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Some New Amateur Sleuths

Here are some British traditional mysteries published this year, that I'm looking forward to reading. The first two are historicals and the last two are modern day and all are first in series (though I'm not sure if A Dangerous Crossing is actually a standalone.).


The Riviera Express by TP Fielden published in February 2017 by HQ.

Gerald Hennessey – silver screen star and much-loved heart-throb – never quite makes it to Temple Regis, the quaint Devonshire seaside town on the English Riviera. Murdered on the 4.30 from Paddington, the loss of this great man throws Temple Regis’ community into disarray.

Not least Miss Judy Dimont –corkscrew-haired reporter for the local rag, The Riviera Express. Investigating Gerald’s death, she’s soon called to the scene of a second murder, and, setting off on her trusty moped, Herbert, finds Arthur Shrimsley in an apparent suicide on the clifftops above the town beach.

Miss Dimont must prevail – for why was a man like Gerald coming to Temple Regis anyway? What is the connection between him and Arthur? And just how will she get any answers whilst under the watchful and mocking eyes of her infamously cantankerous Editor, Rudyard Rhys?

A Dangerous Crossing by (Tamar/Tammy Cohen writing as) Rachel Rhys, published in March 2017 by Doubleday.

1939, Europe on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd leaves England on an ocean liner for Australia, escaping her life of drudgery for new horizons. She is instantly seduced by the world onboard: cocktails, black-tie balls and beautiful sunsets. Suddenly, Lily finds herself mingling with people who would otherwise never give her the time of day.

But soon she realizes her glamorous new friends are not what they seem. The rich and hedonistic Max and Eliza Campbell, mysterious and flirtatious Edward, and fascist George are all running away from tragedy and scandal even greater than her own.

By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and life will never be the same again.

Date with Death by (Julia Stagg writing as) Julia Chapman, also published in March, by Pan.

Samson O'Brien has been dismissed from the police force, and returns to his hometown of Bruncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales to set up the Dales Detective Agency while he fights to clear his name. However, the people of Bruncliffe aren't that welcoming to a man they see as trouble.

Delilah Metcalfe, meanwhile, is struggling to keep her business, the Dales Dating Agency, afloat - as well as trying to control her wayward Weimaraner dog, Tolpuddle. Then when Samson gets his first case, investigating the supposed suicide of a local man, things take an unexpected turn, and soon he discovers a trail of deaths that lead back to the door of Delilah's agency.

With suspicion hanging over someone they both care for, the two feuding neighbours soon realize that they need to work together to solve the mystery of the dating deaths. But working together is easier said than done . . .

The Prime of Ms Dolly Greene by (Daisy Waugh) writing as E V Harte publishing in September by Constable.

In the heart of South West London, just a short stroll from the Thames, lies an enclosed and overgrown bike path and a single row of cottages. Its name is Tinderbox Lane. Foremost among the Lane's hotpotch of loyal residents is professional Tarot reader, Dolly Greene: divorced and permanently broke, she shares her tiny house with her 21-year-old daughter Pippa.

When, one stiflingly hot summer's day, Dolly reads the cards for the voluptuous and highly-sexed Nikki, her usually professional patter is interrupted by a sudden vision - a flash of Nikki's face, covered in blood and bruises. Death hangs over the magnificent Nikki - but there is an etiquette to reading Tarot and Dolly will not talk of murder to her client.

A few days later when the body of a battered woman is washed up by Chiswick Bridge, Dolly is haunted by the belief that Nikki's time may have come. . . but can she be sure? How far is Dolly prepared to go to act on her intuition? And will Sergeant Raff Williams, the officer assigned to investigate the murder, think Dolly's hunch insane?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Awards News: Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2017 - Longlist

It feels like summer's on its way when the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year longlist appears!
From the press release:
Now in its 13th year, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created to celebrate the very best in crime fiction and is open to UK and Irish crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2016 to 30 April 2017.
We are delighted to share with you the 18 titles that have made their way onto this year’s longlist!

Mark Billingham - DIE OF SHAME
Christopher Brookmyre - BLACK WIDOW
Lee Child - NIGHT SCHOOL
Eva Dolan - AFTER YOU DIE
Sabine Durrant - LIE WITH ME
Mick Herron - REAL TIGERS
Sarah Hilary - TASTES LIKE FEAR
Antonia Hodgson - THE LAST CONFESSION OF THOMAS HAWKINS
Val McDermid - OUT OF BOUNDS
Alex Marwood - THE DARKEST SECRET
Peter May - COFFIN ROAD
Stuart Neville - THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND
Ian Rankin - EVEN DOGS IN THE WILD
Craig Robertson - MURDERABILIA
William Shaw - THE BIRDWATCHER
Susie Steiner - MISSING, PRESUMED
Ruth Ware - THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10
David Young - STASI WOLF

The shortlist of six titles will be announced on 20 May, followed by a seven-week promotion in libraries and WHSmith stores nationwide from 1 June.

The overall winner will be decided by the panel of Judges, alongside a public vote. The public vote opens on 1 July and closes 14 July at www.theakstons.co.uk.

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 20 July on the opening night of the 15th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Review: The House With No Rooms by Lesley Thomson

The House With No Rooms by Lesley Thomson, September 2016, 480 pages, Head of Zeus, ISBN: 1784972231

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

In the baking hot summer of 1976 a young girl, Chrissie, is reluctantly having botanical art lessons with Mr Watson who works at Kew Gardens. The lessons have been arranged by her father, a taxi driver, who wants her to have the best chances in life. He enrols her in a private school where she meets new friends, Bella and Emily, and as she tries to equal their backgrounds and lifestyles, she soon finds her stories are growing out of control and pretends that Mr and Mrs Watson are her parents and that she lives in their big house. One day as she waits for her friends, she sees a woman being murdered, but the body disappears.

In November 2014, Stella Darnell owns a very successful cleaning company which has just won the contract to clean at Kew Gardens. Before his death, her father was a senior police detective and Stella and her close friend Jack, have had some success in solving mysteries in their spare time. Jack is a train driver, as well as working as a cleaner for Stella's company. He is also jealous of Detective Superintendent Cashman's close connection with Stella. Cashman was a friend of Stella's father and feels that it is his duty to look after her. Early one morning when cleaning one of the galleries at Kew on her own, Stella finds the body of a man.

The two strands of the story, 1976 and 2014 are told side by side. For most of the book, I felt as if I was reading two separate stories and found the experience annoying. I think that if an author adopts this sort of device then they need to ensure that some of the connections are clear enough to pick up, otherwise it is easy for the reader to lose track of the various strands. For me, the book only came alive, when I started to recognise and understand the connections between the characters and this was quite late in the story. I haven't read this author before, but I will be reading another since I did like the characters and this encourages me to give the author another chance.

Susan White, April 2017

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Review: Dark Asset by Adrian Magson

Dark Asset by Adrian Magson, January 2017, 256 pages, Severn House Publishers Ltd, ISBN: 0727886991

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

This author never ceases to amaze me with the high quality of his writing even though he is currently researching and preparing two main series of books. There is this series with Marc Portman and also the 'Cruxys Solutions Investigations' series the last one named THE BID which was published in paperback in February 2017.

Marc Portman's latest assignment is providing back-up for a French intelligence agent sent to recover a hard drive from one of the most dangerous cities on the planet: Mogadishu in Somalia. What he hasn't been told is that the device records secret negotiations between two leading western nations and a hard-line terrorist organisation responsible for killing thousands of innocent people.

When the decision is taken to abandon the talks, anybody in the know immediately becomes a target to be silenced.

And Portman finds himself at the top of the list...


This book was non-stop action and suspense. Portman has to go into the centre of this highly dangerous city to meet a French agent who is supposed to have a hard drive with highly dangerous data on it. Unfortunately, the rendezvous building he goes to is under siege by very unfriendly people and Portman finds the agent but he has been shot and killed.....

It is a book that once started it is almost impossible to put down and I was up until quite late at night before I finally reached the very gripping conclusion.

The main attraction I have in reading this author's work is that the stories are completely unpredictable, in the middle of this one I remember thinking - what is going to happen next? And having no idea at all except that whatever it is will be highly imaginative and take the story in a fresh direction entirely.

This very exciting and sensationally well plotted creation rushes on to its final dramatic conclusion. I have had the privilege of reviewing many of this author's books and I hope to read yet more of this very gifted author's stories, whether it is in this new series or any of the previous ones or completely in a new direction soon. If you want to start reading an exciting book that is exceedingly difficult to put down once started then buy this one. Very strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, April 2017.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Publishing Deal - Susanne Jansson

[I discovered this a bit belatedly]..from The Bookseller:
In the Mire, the atmospheric Swedish debut which prompted a Europe-wide frenzy for rights at last week's London Book Fair, has been snapped up by Hodder & Stoughton after a three-way auction.

Crime and thriller publisher Ruth Tross bought British and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, as part of a two-book deal and will publish In the Mire by Susanne Jansson on the Mulholland list in early 2019.

[] "eerie" thriller, about two women who are forced to confront “buried horrors of the past” in a mire in rural Sweden []
It's also been snapped up in the US. From Publishers Lunch Weekly [with a bit more about the plot]:
Susanne Jansson debut IN THE MIRE, following a young biologist who returns to the rural town where she grew up in order to make up with her traumatic past, only to get pulled into the hunt for a serial killer who draws inspiration from the Iron Age when people buried their human sacrifices in peat bogs - a natural ecosystem that preserves bodies for thousands of years, to Grand Central.

Monday, April 03, 2017

New Releases - April 2017

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in April 2017 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). April and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.
• Arlen, Tessa - A Death by Any Other Name #3 Lady Montfort, Edwardian Era
• Beck, Haylen - Here and Gone
• Beckett, Simon - The Restless Dead #5 Dr David Hunter
• Bjork, Samuel - The Owl Always Hunts at Night #2 Holger Munch & Mia Kruger, Oslo Police
• Blake, Sam - In Deep Water #2 Detective Garda Cathy Connolly, Dublin
• Bolton, Sharon - Dead Woman Walking
• Brookmyre, Christopher - Want You Gone #8 Jack Parlabane
• Brown, Eric - Murder Take Three #4 Donald Langham, Crime Writer, London, 1955
• Buckley, Fiona - A Deadly Betrothal #15 Ursula Blanchard, an Elizabethan lady
• Bussi, Michel - Don't Let Go
• Chisholm, P F - A Clash of Spheres #8 Sir Robert Carey, 16th Century
• Clare, Alys - The Devil's Cup #17 Abbess Helewise and Sir Josse d'Acquin, 12th Century England.
• Connolly, John - A Game of Ghosts #15 Charlie Parker, PI, Maine
• Corbin, Julie - What Goes Around
• Corbin, Julie - Now That You're Gone
• Cotterell, T A - What Alice Knew
• Cross, Mason - Don't Look For Me #4 Carter Blake, USA
• Dahl, K O - Faithless #7 Gunnarstranda and Frolich, Oslo Police
• Davis, Lindsey - The Third Nero #5 Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco
• Daws, Robert - The Poisoned Rock #2 Detectives Sullivan and Broderick
• de Muriel, Oscar - A Mask of Shadows #3 Frey & McGray, Edinburgh, 1880s
• Finch, Paul - Ashes to Ashes #5 Detective Mark 'Heck' Heckenberg
• Gray, Clio - Burning Secrets #2 Scottish Mysteries
• Grey, Isabelle - The Special Girls #3 Detective Grace Fisher, Essex
• Gulvin, JM - The Contract #2 John Q Mystery
• Gunn, Alastair - The Keeper #3 DCI Antonia Hawkins, London
• Gutfreund, Amir - Last Bullet Calls It
• Hall, Simon - Justice Mirror #8 Detective Chief Inspector Adam Breen & TV Crime reporter Dan Groves, Devon
• Hamalainen, Karo Cruel is the Night
• Hammer, Lotte and Soren - The Lake #4 Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen
• Hampton, Nell - Kale to the Queen #1 Kensington Palace Chef
• Harris, C S - Where the Dead Lie #12 Sebastian St. Cyr, Regency England
• Harrison, Cora Beyond Absolution #3 Reverend Mother Aquinas, Cork, 1920s
• Harrison, Cora - The Cardinal's Court #1 Hugh Mac Egan, Tudor Era
• Hawkins, Alis - None So Blind #1 Harry Probert-Lloyd, 1850s, Wales
• Hayes, Terry - The Year of the Locust
• Hezroni, Nir - Three Envelopes
• Hill, Mark - The Two O'Clock Boy #1 DI Ray Drake
• Hilton, L S - Domina
• Jackson, David - Hope to Die #2 DS Nathan Cody, Liverpool
• James, Ed - What Doesn't Kill You #3 DI Fenchurch, London
• Kavanagh, Emma - The Killer On The Wall
• Kelly, Erin - He Said/She Said
• Kerr, Philip - Prussian Blue #12 Private Detective Bernhard Gunther, 1930s Berlin
• Lapidus, Jens - Stockholm Delete #4 Stockholm Noir
• Legat, Anna - Nothing to Lose #2 DI Gillian Marsh
• Lehtolainen, Leena - Before I Go #7 Detective Maria Kallio, Helsinki
• Leon, Donna - Earthly Remains #26 Commissario Guido Brunetti, Venice
• London, Kate - Death Message #2 DS Sarah Collins
• MacBride, Stuart - A Dark So Deadly
• Malliet, G M - Devil's Breath #6 Max Tudor, Vicar
• Malone, Michael J - Dog Fight
• McIntyre, WHS - Good News, Bad News #2 Best Defense
• Meyrick, Denzil - Well of the Winds #5 DCI Daley
• Minato, Kanae - Penance
• Morfoot, Peter - Fatal Music #2 Captain Darac, Nice, France
• Nadel, Barbara - Bright Shiny Things #5 PI Lee Arnold and his assistant, Mumtaz Hakim. East End London
• Nakamura, Fuminori - The Boy in the Earth
• Nesbo, Jo - The Thirst #11 Detective Harry Hole, Oslo, Norway
• Padura, Leonardo - Heretics #6 Lt Mario Conde, Cuba
• Parsons, Tony - Die Last #4 Detective Max Wolfe of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, London
• Pembrey, Daniel - Night Market #2 Henk van der Pol
• Perry, Anne - An Echo of Murder #23 Inspector Monk
• Randall, Anne - Torn #3 DIs Wheeler and Ross, Glasgow
• Shelton, Paige - Of Books and Bagpipes #2 Scottish Bookshop Mystery
• Smith, Anna - Death Trap #8 Rosie Gilmour, Crime Journalist, 1990s
• Thomson, Lesley - The Dog Walker #5 Stella Darnell

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Win: A Pass to CrimeFest 2017


CrimeFest have kindly donated a pair of weekend passes to the upcoming event in Bristol on 18-21 May 2017.

Each pass includes admittance to all panels and interviews Thursday to Sunday, as well as a delegate goody bag and a programme, and is worth £195.

2017's featured guest authors include Ann Cleeves, Anthony Horowitz and Peter Lovesey.

The competition will close on 14 April 2017 at 11.59pm.
There are no geographical restrictions on entrants.
Only 1 entry per person please.

To enter the competition, please send the answer to the question below, along with your name and address to competition@crimefest.com
Who won the 2016 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year?
The winner of the 2017 Petrona Award will be announced at the Gala Dinner (tickets available separately).

Keep up to date with Euro Crime by liking the Facebook page

Friday, March 31, 2017

Copycat (or at least very similar) Cover

The LHS came out in 2013, the RHS, 2015 (ebook only).

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - the Shortlist

From the press release which was embargoed until 7.30am today:

Outstanding crime fiction from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden shortlisted for the 2017 Petrona Award


Six outstanding crime novels from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have made the shortlist for the 2017 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, which is announced today.

They are:
THE EXILED by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

THE DYING DETECTIVE by Leif G.W. Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday; Sweden)

THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books, Norway)

WHY DID YOU LIE? by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton, Iceland)

WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books, Norway)

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB by Kjell Westö tr. Neil Smith (MacLehose Press, Finland)

The winning title will be announced at the Gala Dinner on 20 May during the annual international crime fiction event CrimeFest, held in Bristol 18-21 May 2017.

The award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia and published in the UK in the previous calendar year.

The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his generous support of the 2017 Petrona Award.

The judges’ comments on the shortlist and the shortlisted titles:

“It was difficult to choose just six crime novels for the Petrona Award shortlist this year, given the number of truly excellent submissions from around the Scandinavian world. Our 2017 Petrona Award shortlist testifies to the extremely high quality of translated Scandi crime, with authors from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden making expert use of police investigations, psychological thrillers, private eye novels and historical crime fiction both to entertain and to explore pertinent social, political and historical issues. We are extremely grateful to the translators for their skill and expertise in bringing us these outstanding examples of Scandinavian crime fiction.”


THE EXILED by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

Finnish police detective Anna Fekete returns to the Serbian village of her birth for a holiday, but is pulled into an investigation that throws up questions about her own father’s death decades earlier. As well as exploring the complexities of Fekete’s identity as a Hungarian Serb who has made her life in Finland, this accomplished novel looks with insight and compassion at the discrimination faced by Roma people, and the lot of refugees migrating through Europe.

THE DYING DETECTIVE by Leif G.W. Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday; Sweden)

Lars Martin Johansson, a retired Swedish Police Chief, suffers a stroke after a lifetime of unhealthy excess. Frustrated by his physical limitations and slow recovery, he is drawn into investigating a cold case, the murder of nine-year-old Yasmine Ermegan in 1985. Expertly plotted and highly gripping, The Dying Detective features characters from a number of other crime novels by the author, but succeeds brilliantly as a standalone in its own right.

THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books, Norway)

Former TV presenter Allis takes up the post of housekeeper and gardener at a house on a remote fjord. But her employer is not the old man she was expecting, and the whereabouts of his wife are tantalisingly unclear. Isolated from other villagers, Allis and Sigurd’s relationship becomes progressively more claustrophobic and tense. A haunting psychological thriller and study in obsession that is perfectly complemented by the author’s beautiful, spare prose.

WHY DID YOU LIE? by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton, Iceland)

Yrsa Sigurđardóttir is as adroit a manufacturer of suspense as any writer in the Nordic Noir genre, as this standalone thriller comprehensively proves. Why Did You Lie? skilfully interweaves the stories of a policewoman whose husband has committed suicide, a work group stranded by hostile weather on a remote lighthouse, and a family whose American guests go missing. A compelling exploration of guilt and retribution, which builds to a nerve-jangling finale.

WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books, Norway)

Grieving private detective Varg Veum is pushed to his limits when he takes on a cold case involving the disappearance of a small girl in 1977. As the legal expiry date for the crime draws near, Veum’s investigation uncovers intriguing suburban secrets. In what may well be the most accomplished novel in a remarkable series, the author continues to work in a traditional US-style genre, but with abrasive Scandi-crime social commentary very much in evidence.

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB by Kjell Westö tr. Neil Smith (MacLehose Press, Finland)

This multilayered novel tells the story of how a crime is triggered following the chance meeting of two people in a lawyer’s office. While the narrative can be seen as a tragic individual story, it also takes on larger historical dimensions as it unfolds. Set in Helsinki in 1938, on the eve of the Second World War, The Wednesday Club offers an insightful exploration into the legacy of the Finnish Civil War, and the rise of German and Finnish fascism in the present.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - Update

The Petrona Award team met recently to discuss the shortlist for the 2017 Award and the results of the discussion will be revealed tomorrow (30 March 2017).

The winner will be announced on 20 May 2017 at the Gala Dinner at CrimeFest in Bristol.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: Kill Me Twice by Anna Smith

Kill Me Twice by Anna Smith, August 2016, 400 pages, Quercus, ISBN: 1784294799

Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

It is always an immense pleasure to be sent the latest Rosie Gilmour book to review. I love the way this feisty journalist gets her teeth into things and brings people to justice. She cares about more than just the perfect story and because of this people trust her to help them when there is nowhere else to turn.

Her creator, Anna Smith, is an award-winning journalist herself and has worked in many places in the world over the course of her career. KILL ME TWICE is her seventh book to feature Rosie Gilmour.

This time Rosie is caught up in the murky world of heroin addiction as she fights to protect two people who are hiding so that the truth will come out. A stunning young model has thrown herself off the top of a building and the celeb world is in shock at her apparent suicide. Unbeknown to those with the most to hide, this “suicide” is witnessed by another tortured soul: Milly Chambers - a former politician’s wife - who also has plans to end her life that day. She hides unseen as the young woman is brought up onto the hotel roof, fights for her life and is thrown off the building. In terror Milly runs but it is not long before she needs Rosie’s help to stay safe from her husband and others who would wish her harm.

In previous books Rosie has put her own life on the line for her witnesses. It seems as if this book is no exception as she is given a beating or two and threatened for knowing too much. There is also the issue of the secret that connects the heroin addict with the model; a story that could send sales of her paper though the ceiling. Just as long as she survives to tell the tale!

Anna Smith writes nail-biting prose that will keep you up late. It is always impossible to guess the ending and you are never disappointed. If you like feisty female lead characters, then you are going to love Rosie Gilmour. KILL ME TWICE reads well as a stand-alone but is even better if you've read the others in the series first.

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, March 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Review: Buried by Graham Masterton

Buried by Graham Masterton, September 2016, 368 pages, Head of Zeus, ISBN: 1784081396

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

Set in Blarney, Cork, this thriller is the sixth in the series featuring Detective Superintendent Katie Maquire.

The story starts when a house renovation reveals the bodies of a family of four. When the skeletons are found to be from many decades previously, the police force consider it to be a lower priority than other more recent cases such as the smuggling and selling of imported cigarettes. However, memories run deep in the community and a possible political motive is put forward for the deaths - or executions - and revenge becomes a possibility.

The tax being lost from the sale of illegally imported goods, particularly cigarettes is bringing pressure on the police to find the distribution source and to stop it. Although local youths selling on the street are often caught, the police and the government want the person organising the scam stopped for good - a known criminal called Bobby Quilty. When one of her police officers is deliberately run down, Katie makes it her personal quest to bring Bobby Quilty to justice. His response is to kidnap Katie's ex-lover, John, and hold him to ransom against her turning a blind eye. Katie now has to plan how to bring Quilty to justice while finding John and rescuing him.

This book has scenes of quite graphic sex and a lot of violence which I found very disturbing and difficult to read. The story highlights the fact that old scores lie deep across both sides of the border and how sometimes old injustices are used by both sides of a continuing conflict.

I found the character of Katie very complex. On one hand she is shown as a strong role model for women in a man's world, overcoming everyday sexism and expectation of what a woman should be and do to achieve a very senior post. On the other hand she is portrayed as a frail woman who allows her emotion to override her good sense and this dichotomy really annoyed me at times.

This is the first book of the series I have read - it intrigued me enough to look out for others.

Susan White, March 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

From my Inbox

A couple of pieces of news from recent emails:

1. From Publishers Lunch, deal news;
Julia Phillips' DISAPPEARING EARTH, about two sisters who go missing on a remote volcanic peninsula in Kamchatka, as clues to the crime lie in the lives -- and stories of violence and loss -- of twelve women in the girls' rural Russian community, to Knopf, in a two-book deal; UK/Commonwealth rights to Scribner UK.
And a new one from Eleanor Catton:
Booker winning author of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton's third novel, BIRNAM WOOD, a psychological thriller, set in a remote area of New Zealand where scores of ultra-rich foreigners are building fortress-like homes in preparation for a coming, following the guerilla gardening outfit Birnam Wood, a ragtag group of leftists who move about the country cultivating other people's land, whose chance encounter with an American billionaire sparks a tragic sequence of events which questions how far each of us would go to ensure our own survival--and at what cost, to Farrar, Straus (US); McClelland & Stewart (Canada); Granta (UK/Australia); and Victoria University Press (NZ).

2. A press release from Harvill Secker re Ruth Ware's The Woman in Cabin 10:

CBS Films announced that it has secured the rights to bestselling author Ruth Ware’s latest psychological thriller THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10. Hillary Seitz (Eagle Eye, Insomnia) is set to adapt the novel for the screen with The Gotham Group (The Maze Runner) serving as producers.

Published by Harvill Secker, an imprint of Vintage, THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 follows journalist Lo Blacklock who is given the travel magazine assignment of a lifetime: to spend a week on a boutique ultra-luxury cruise ship with only a handful of unimaginably wealthy travellers. Lo’s dreamlike experience could not be more perfect until late one night she witnesses an unspeakable act culminating with a woman being thrown overboard. The following morning all of the passengers remain accounted for and the ship sails on as if nothing has happened.

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 is a Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and paperback in the UK, a New York Times bestseller for nineteen consecutive weeks, and it is currently enjoying its tenth week at the top of the Canadian bestseller chart. The rights to the book have been acquired by thirty international publishers.

The film rights to Ware’s debut psychological bestseller, In a Dark, Dark Wood, have already been optioned by New Line Cinema and the film is in development with Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Pacific Standard.

The hotly-anticipated new psychological thriller from Ruth Ware – The Lying Game – will be published by Harvill Secker in the UK on 15 June 2017.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

US Cozy Review: another triplet of reviewlets

Welcome to the latest entry in my irregular feature: US cozy review. My latest Cozy reads are more contemporary than in my last roundup:

In reading order:

1. Engaged in Death by Stephanie Blackmoore #1 Wedding Planner Mystery (2016)

I read this ages ages and accidentally missed it off my last roundup. This was my second favourite cozy read of last year. It introduces Mallory Shepard and her sister Rachel and is set in Port Quincy, Pennsylvania.

What I particularly liked about his book is that, usually we meet the heroine when she's moved to her new home to start afresh and then we get the back-story. In this book however we follow Mallory through her problems alongside her: cheating fiance, loss of job etc.

Mallory inherits a crumbling mansion which may have oil in its grounds. This could solve her money worries but she rejects the offer made by the oil company and next thing you know there's a dead man on the front lawn.

This has a complicated plot, cats and a hunky neighbour with a smart teenage daughter. What more could you ask for? I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Murder Wears White.

2. A Most Curious Murder by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli #1 A Little Library Mystery (2016)

I'm going to quote the official blurb on this one:

"Jenny Weston moves home to Bear Falls, Michigan, to nurse her bruised ego back to health after a bitter divorce. But the idyllic vision of her charming hometown crumbles when her mother's Little Library is destroyed.

The next-door neighbor, Zoe Zola, a little person and Lewis Carroll enthusiast, suspects local curmudgeon Adam Cane, but when he's found dead in Zoe's fairy garden, all roads lead back to her. Jenny, however, believes Zoe is innocent, so the two women team up to find the true culprit, investigating the richest family in Bear Falls, interrogating a few odd townspeople, and delving into long, hidden transgressions--until Adam Cane isn't the only body in town, and they have an even bigger mystery to solve.

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli's quaint and compelling series debut A Most Curious Murder will delight cozy mystery readers."

I liked this one enough to get the second, She Stopped for Death, but I did find the Alice in Wonderland theme a bit too hard for me to follow as I can't even remember if I read the original when I was a child (I'm that old sadly). I liked the idea of Jenny returning to her home and catching up with her former friends/enemies in different ways. And an old mystery is solved as well as the current one.

3. A Tine to Live, A Tine To Die by Edith Maxwell #1 Local Foods Mystery (2014)

Regular Euro Crime blog readers will know I'm always looking for vegetarian sleuths - so I thought I'd try this series. Our heroine Cam isn't veggie but she does grown her own food and is ethically conscious.

When programmer Cam loses her job she decides to take over her uncle's Organic Farm in Westbury, Massachusetts. She also inherits a farm-hand, Mike, whom she catches with a pesticide container. Mike is fired and worse than that, for him, is killed on Cam's farm with one of her farm tools. Cam tries to apply computer logic to solving the murder and in the meantime goes about her farm business and going to farmers' markets and suchlike.

I found this an interesting read as I was very taken with the details behind organic farming. I would say the pace is fairly steady but it does end with a bang! I've already bought the sequel, 'Til Dirt Do Us Part. The fifth book in the series, Mulch Ado about Murder, is out in May 2017.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - Submitted Entries

The Petrona Award team are meeting in a top secret location tomorrow to determine the shortlist for the Petrona Award 2017 for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. The list below is all the books that were submitted. The shortlist - usually six titles - will be announced shortly after the meeting, and the winner will be announced at the CrimeFest Gala Dinner in Bristol on 20 May 2017.

What do you think should be on the shortlist?

Stefan Ahnhem - Victim Without a Face tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles
Steinar Bragi - The Ice Lands tr. Lorenza Garcia
Christoffer Carlsson - The Falling Detective tr. Michael Gallagher
Torkil Damhaug - Death By Water tr. Robert Ferguson
Torkil Damhaug - Fireraiser tr. Robert Ferguson
Kjell Eriksson - Stone Coffin tr. Ebba Segerberg
Karin Fossum - Hellfire tr. Kari Dickson
Friis & Kaaberbol - The Considerate Killer tr. Elisabeth Dyssegaard
Camilla Grebe - The Ice Beneath Her tr. Elizabeth Clark Wessel
Lotte & Soren Hammer - The Vanished tr. Martin Aitken
Kati Hiekkapelto - The Exiled tr. David Hackston
Johanne Hildebrandt - The Unbroken Line of the Moon tr. Tara F Chace
Martin Holmen - Clinch tr. Henning Koch
Anne Holt - Beyond the Truth tr. Anne Bruce
Anne Holt - No Echo tr. Anne Bruce
Jorn Lier Horst - Ordeal tr. Anne Bruce
Steffen Jacobsen - Retribution tr. Charlotte Barslund
Jari Jarvela - The Girl and the Rat tr. Kristian London
Ragnar Jonasson - Blackout tr. Quentin Bates
Mari Jungstedt & Ruben Eliassen - A Darker Sky tr Paul Norlen
Mari Jungstedt - The Fourth Victim tr. Tiina Nunnally
Mons Kallentoft - Souls of Air tr. Neil Smith
Lars Kepler - Stalker tr. Neil Smith
Katja Kettu - The Midwife tr. David Hackston
Jonas Hassen Khemiri - Everything I Don't Remember tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles
Jesper Bugge Kold - Winter Men tr. K E Semmel
Camilla Lackberg - The Ice Child tr. Tiina Nunnally
Hans Olav Lahlum - Chameleon People tr. Kari Dickson
Leena Lehtolainen - Fatal Headwind tr. Owen F Witesman
Leena Lehtolainen - The Devil's Cubs tr. Jenni Salmi
Minna Lindgren - The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency: Death in Sunset Grove tr. Lola Rogers
Liza Marklund - The Final Word tr. Neil Smith
Simon Pasternak - Death Zones tr. Martin Aitken
Leif GW Persson - The Dying Detective tr. Neil Smith
Leif GW Persson - The Sword of Justice tr. Neil Smith
Agnes Ravatn - The Bird Tribunal tr. Rosie Hedger
Liselotte Roll - Good Girls Don't Tell tr. Ian Giles
Thomas Rydahl - The Hermit tr. K E Semmel
Yrsa Sigurdardottir - Why Did You Lie? tr. Victoria Cribb
Gunnar Staalesen - Where Roses Never Die tr. Don Bartlett
Viveca Sten - Closed Circles tr. Laura A Wideburg
Erik Axl Sund - The Crow Girl tr. Neil Smith
Gard Sveen - The Last Pilgrim tr. Steven T Murray
Antti Tuomainen - The Mine tr. David Hackston
Helene Tursten - Who Watcheth tr. Marlaine Delargy
Carl-Johan Vallgren - The Tunnel tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles
Kjell Westo - The Wednesday Club tr. Neil Smith
Joakim Zander - The Brother (apa The Believer) tr. Elizabeth Clark Wessel

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cover Theme - Underwater Hair

I recently spotted these 3 covers with submerged hair!

Hidden Bodies and Undertow were published in 2016 and Friend Request is due out in July.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Film News: The Girl in the Spider's Web

Press release from MacLehose Press regarding a new Lisbeth Salander film with a new cast:

LISBETH SALANDER TO RETURN TO THE SCREEN
IN SONY PICTURES’ “THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB”
OCTOBER 5, 2018

FEDE ALVAREZ TO DIRECT ADAPTATION OF WORLDWIDE BESTSELLER

Production to Begin in September

Film to Feature a New Cast – Alvarez Meeting with Actresses to Play Lisbeth Salander

CULVER CITY, Calif., March 13, 2017 – Lisbeth Salander, the cult figure and title character of the acclaimed Millennium book series created by Stieg Larsson, will return to the screen in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, a first-time adaptation of the recent global bestseller written by David Lagercrantz.  Fede Alvarez, the director of 2016’s breakout thriller Don’t Breathe, will helm the project from a screenplay by Steven Knight and Fede Alvarez & Jay Basu. Scott Rudin, Søren Stærmose, Ole Søndberg, Amy Pascal, Elizabeth Cantillon, Eli Bush, and Berna Levin will produce; the executive producers are Anni Faurbye Fernandez, Line Winther Skyum Funch, Johannes Jensen, and David Fincher.

The new film will feature an entirely new cast, and the announcement marks the kickoff of a global search for an actress to portray in the iconic role of Lisbeth Salander.  The production will begin principal photography in September of this year with a release date scheduled for October 5, 2018.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web will be the first in the best-selling series to be produced into an English-language film in its initial adaptation.  The previous books in the series have been adapted into Swedish-language films, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a remake of the Swedish film.  It became a global hit for Columbia Pictures, taking in over $230 million worldwide.

The announcement was made today at the London Book Fair during a celebration for the fifth Millennium book launch, also by Lagercrantz.  Sony’s Columbia Pictures retains the rights to all future Millennium Series books.

Sanford Panitch, president of Columbia Pictures, said, “In all of contemporary literature, Lisbeth Salander is completely sui generis – probably one of the greatest female literary characters of all time in my view.  Modern punk defiance personified, she is unforgettable in every incarnation, truly one of the most compelling characters we’ve seen in recent years.  David Lagercrantz’s brilliant work in continuing this remarkable series honors Stieg Larsson’s masterpiece.   We at Sony are so honored to be part of this series with Yellowbird and why we’re so excited to be making an original film of The Girl in the Spider’s Web.  Fede Alvarez is the perfect choice to direct.  Fede is an amazing director with a unique vision of the world in particular his talent and skill in creating psychological intensity will bring Lisbeth Salander back into popular movie culture with a roar.”

Alvarez added, “I’m hugely excited and grateful for this opportunity.  Sony has become family to me and I can’t think of a more thrilling project to celebrate our relationship.  Lisbeth Salander is the kind of character any director dreams of bringing to life.  We’ve got a great script and now comes the most fun part – finding our Lisbeth.”

The Millennium Series is a worldwide bestseller, with the four books selling over 86 million copies since their debut.

MacLehose Press will publish Millennium V (title to be confirmed) on 7th September, 2017.

Review: Ed's Dead by Russel D McLean

Ed's Dead by Russel D McLean, March 2017, 224 pages, Saraband, ISBN: 1910192694

Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

ED'S DEAD is a gripping and darkly humorous tale about a young lady, Jen, who works in a bookshop and likes Prosecco. She has tried, and failed, to write a novel and now seems to be stuck with a dodgy bloke who has an annoying roving eye for pretty women. After one too many sessions of being taken for granted, she tells him to get out. Which he does. Only to come back later, when she is out, to attempt to remove his stash from her cupboard. Returning early, Jen sees the lights are on and in fear for her life, probably due to the amount of books she reads, searches for the unknown intruder in her flat, armed with a large kitchen knife. When he emerges from the cupboard, Jen stabs him in the chest, only to discover it is Ed, her ex-bloke. Ed dies messily on the carpet in front of her and so begins a somewhat crazy period in Jen's life. After deciding not to call the police, she goes on the run - from the police, from a criminal gang who want the stash, and from the media, who soon label her the Most Dangerous Woman in Scotland. Jen keeps escaping from impossible situations. And the body count keeps on growing. Poor Jen. Most of the deaths at her hands are accidental and she has no idea how they happen exactly. She must decide what to do before the police, or the gang, or the media, catch up with her.

This book is fantastic! Fast paced and at times just utter nuts, the killings are so gruesome that they end up incredibly funny. Russel D McLean has written a beautiful masterpiece of modern Scottish Noir that leaves you unsure about whether you should laugh or cry. Jen is a very ordinary, likeable, lass who simply ups her game plan in order to survive when things take an unexpected turn. You want her to escape from her pursuers and end up rather proud of the person she becomes, despite the bloody trail she leaves in her wake. The blurb on the back of the book states that this story "proves, once and for all, the female of the species really is more deadly than the male." I reckon this might just be right!

Very highly recommended.

Amanda Gillies, March 2017.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Review: A Place to Bury Strangers by Grant Nicol

A Place to Bury Strangers by Grant Nicol, November 2016, 262 pages, Fahrenheit Press, ISBN: 1539980693

Reviewed by Ewa Sherman.

Detective Grímur Karlsson’s life isn’t a barrel of laughs. Ageing, depressed, dissatisfied with his professional life, he has become known for not solving crimes, and failing to secure arrests and convictions in his two last major cases. His world-weary cynicism has contributed to people losing lives. Occasionally he still fights his own unwillingness and loneliness to concentrate on the job. When he reluctantly starts to investigate the disappearance of Svandis, a run-away girl from a ‘good home’ and a seriously desperate heroin addict, it’s obvious that nobody believes in his abilities, including her family and her hapless boyfriend. Very soon the National Commissioner gets involved and orders Grímur to be taken off the case, though Svandis and her habit funded by prostitution don’t seem to warrant such a strong opposition from the establishment, as she is just one of many ‘sex workers’ who will agree to do anything to survive. Until of course some insignificant clues begin to appear to be pointing in the direction of certain powerful men. Yet it will be a while before the depressed policeman realises what is really going on: shortly after his superiors’ decision he became a target of a violent shooting when following another young woman who had seemed to be in danger.

As he lies in an induced coma in a hospital his boss Ævar and a colleague Eygló are called to a gruesome crime scene at a deserted building site. A charred body is found in a barrel; behind it on a wall an enigmatic message in Norwegian written in a black paint. The police establish that the corpse was of a drug dealer, low in the pecking order, and want to resolve the matter quickly, especially as there might be a perfect villain on the loose, searching for an ex-girlfriend in dodgy clubs in Reykjavik: the notorious Knut Vigeland. The Norwegian despises Iceland yet makes frequent business trips to the country: and so far his activities under the official radar had only damaged the local drug barons. Ævar is determined to tie him to both crimes.

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS is New Zealander Grant Nicol’s third book set in Iceland. The author’s passion for the country doesn’t mean that the story revolves around picturesque landscapes and tourist attractions. Although some well-known landmarks are mentioned, for example the famous Perlan building, they become points of focus for the plot which mostly moves between the police station, various unsavoury places in the capital, and then further away in the suburbs where nothing good ever happens to the main characters. The use of the Icelandic setting helps to shed light on some perilous issues and deeply unhappy types, as the central drug problem is closely linked to the abuse of women. The narration jumps time-wise and adds to the clever confusion which keeps it interesting. This piece of writing isn’t for those who want things cosy and pretty. But if you are not afraid of getting to know the brutal underbelly of this island, then read about a gritty and violent place to (apparently) bury strangers.

Ewa Sherman, March 2017