Lynn Harvey's Favourite Discoveries of 2011
It goes without saying that a Scandi-Noir fan like I thinks first of The Killing (original Danish version), because I was indeed hooked and transfixed by it, as was almost everybody. If I could, I would mention the other Scandi-series that had me glued to my telly chair this year: BBC4's showing of that most excellent Icelandic comedy of dysfunction, The Night Shift. But it has to be said that apart from petty pilfering and the violent onslaughts that the increasingly unhinged shift manager inflicts upon staff and customers alike, The Night Shift isn't really a crime story.
So it is with some surprise that I find that my most joyous crime-reading discovery of 2011 is set all the way over in South East Asia with the slightly off the wall crime novels of Colin Cotterill.
I reviewed Killed at the Whim of a Hat for Euro Crime. This is Cotterill's first outing with a new heroine, the woman journalist Jimm Juree, and is set in Thailand. But never having read any of Colin Cotterill's books before and in order to do my homework, I read one of his books set in Laos and featuring pathologist and reluctant shaman, Dr Siri Paiboun. The book that I chose was Curse of the Pogo Stick; foreign setting, social observation, a sense of the absurd, dark reality, black humour, and a helping of the paranormal - just my cup of tea. Although the title does make me wince a little, I love an imagination that can provide the visions of long-suffering shaman Dr Siri Paiboun's regular bruisings at the hands of a pair of tough guy skeletons in the Other Realm. Perhaps it is because I am also a fan of comics and graphic novels that this kind of visual imagination - Colin Cotterill is also a cartoonist - appeals to me. The book also describes the darker reality of life for a minority cultural group amidst the state and politics of 1970s Laos - so not all laughs then. Cotterill's writing is a truly happy discovery for me. So thank you, Euro Crime.
The Killing Series 1 & 2 will be available as a combined box-set from 19 December on R2 DVD, just in time for Christmas, or as individual series box-sets.
You can read Lynn's Euro Crime reviews here by searching for her name.
Colin Cotterill's books with reviews are listed here on the Euro Crime website.