Monday, April 30, 2007

Ridley Scott to direct 'Child 44'.

It's not due out until 2008 but Tom Rob Smith's, 'Child 44', is already set to hit the big screen. 'Child 44' is set in the Soviet Union on the eve of Stalin's death, and based in part on real events. According to cinematical:
Ridley Scott is to direct an adaptation of Child 44, British television writer Tom Rob Smith's debut novel.
Full details of Scott's upcoming projects can be found on the cinematical site.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

New Reviews, final April competition reminder

Latest Reviews:

This week's new reviews are; a second review of Cross by Ken Bruen; Sunnie Gill continues to be pleased with her recent discovery of Ann Cleeves as she reviews Hidden Depths; likewise Karen Chisholm is impressed with Stuart MacBride's Broken Skin and Maxine Clarke reviews the paperback of the haunting Ice Moon by Jan Costin Wagner.

Other Updates:

The News page has been updated with last week's UK newspaper links..

The Authors (now 558 sites) page has been updated.

The New Releases pages have been updated.

In Books there are now bibliographies for 1086 authors - I've added bibliographies for the following: Gerry Byrne, Claude Izner, Ray Loriga, J C Masterman and Jean-Francois Parot and and updated the bibliographies for: Ken Bruen and Lee Child.

a final reminder
of the current competitions, which close at the end of the 30th. NB They are open world-wide:

Win one of three copies of 'Strangers' by Carla Banks

Win one of five copies of 'Relentless' by Simon Kernick

Win a copy of 'Go to Helena Handbasket' by Donna Moore

Win one of three copies of 'What Was Lost' by Catherine O'Flynn

The Oscar Wilde Murders

The Scotsman has an interview with Gyles Brandreth who has just had published, 'Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders'. The interview explains his connection to Oscar Wilde, how he came to write the book and the fact that he intends nine volumes:
There will be nine books in the series Brandreth is planning to write about Wilde, and if they're all as enjoyable as his first, they'll all be surefire best-sellers.

Why? Because although he takes some liberties with Wilde - most obviously by turning him into an equally observant, if even more flamboyant, version of Sherlock Holmes - he doesn't take too many. The master's vintage Champagne wit still sparkles, even when mixed with the more modest Cava of Brandreth's own dialogue. That sumptuous solidity of late Victorian London is conjured up with fabulous effortlessness. The plot races along like a carriage pulled by thoroughbreds, with Oscar at the murder scene - a 16-year-old rentboy, his throat cut from ear to ear - within the space of three paragraphs.

Jeu d'esprit it may be, but the idea has substantial foundations in fact. Introducing Arthur Conan Doyle to the plot might seem far-fetched, but it is not: he and Wilde were friends, and met on several occasions. In Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders, Wilde has his own version of the "Baker Street irregulars" - the street urchins who often provided the clues that helped Holmes crack his cases - in the network of rentboys, waiters and doormen whom Wilde tipped with legendary generosity. So far, so enjoyably plausible.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tom Cain and The Accident Man

Book2Book interview 'Tom Cain' about his sure to be controversial book, 'The Accident Man'.
What's The Accident Man about?

I'm trying to write a story based on a premise, which the whole world understands. The concept is that the hero is the man who killed Princess Diana - how can her killer be a hero?

It's about a man who finds himself unwittingly in a position to do something appalling and then discovers that people are out to get him, but he doesn't know for a while what he has done.

Did you time its publication with the 10-year anniversary of the Princess of Wales's death?

If I could have got the book out sooner I would have done. I had the idea nearly three years ago but I couldn't make it – to make the hero and get the tone of voice and make it work. A year ago all I had to show the publisher was 30,000 words.

The book kicks off after the death of Diana but you barely mention her name...

I don't need to tell the reader who is in the car because you know. I wanted to make it perfectly clear that it is a fictional universe; the book is entirely hypothetical.

There is something grubby about trying to put words into real people's mouths. It is very important people don't think it's an exploitative story. Essentially the only characters named are fictional, which freed me as a writer. Otherwise it would be too close to comfort. Millions of people have speculated and this is a fresh spin.
Read the rest of the interview here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

For once Amazon recommends - gets it right

I was very impressed by 'The Prone Gunman', reviewed here on Euro Crime and I am looking forward to reading Michael Walters' Mongolian series of which, 'The Shadow Walker', is the first. So I was stunned when, read my mind, sort of:
Greetings from
We've noticed that customers who have expressed interest in "Prone Gunman" by Jean-Patrick Manchette have also ordered "The Shadow Walker" by Michael Walters. For this reason, you might like to know that this book will be released on 3 May 2007.
You can read more about Michael Walters and 'The Shadow Walker' on his new(ish) website. He is published by Quercus and you can see from this list of new Autumn titles that the second in the series, 'The Adversary', will be out in October.

The Janissary Tree wins an Edgar

Congratulations to Jason Goodwin for his Edgar win for 'Best Novel'. The full list of nominees and awards can be found here.

The sequel to 'The Janissary Tree', 'The Snake Stone', will be in the US in June and the UK in July.

'The Janissary Tree' was one of three recent historical crime novels published by Faber. See my earlier post.

Also, everyone's favourite tv programme - Life on Mars - won an Edgar for 'Best Television Episode Teleplay' for its first episode.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

David Suchet in The Last Confession

David Suchet is taking time away from Poirot to play another sort of detective, this time on the stage. He will play Cardinal Benelli in 'The Last Confession' which is about the death of Pope John Paul I.

The Vatican 1978: a little-known Cardinal from Venice is elected to succeed Pope Paul VI. A compromise candidate, he takes the name Pope John Paul I, and quickly shows himself to be the liberal the reactionaries within the Catholic Church most feared.
Just thirty-three days later, he is dead. No official investigation is conducted, no autopsy is performed, and the Vatican’s press release about the cause of death is later found to be, in large part, false. And just the evening before his death, John Paul had warned three of his most influential but hostile Cardinals that they would be replaced.

His death marks the climax of fifteen troubled years of controversy and machination within the Church; schisms threaten its unity and the shadow of the Mafia hovers over its financial affairs. Only Cardinal Benelli has the power to challenge the dead Pope's enemies.

This incisive new thriller tracks the dramatic tensions, crises of faith and political manoeuvrings inside the Vatican surrounding the death of the man known as ‘the Smiling Pope’.
I can't find a complete tour listing but 'The Last Confession' will be on at the following: Chichester 27 April - 19 May, Malvern 11 - 16 June, Milton Keynes 18 - 23 June and Plymouth 29 May - 2 June.

Wikipedia has a page on conspiracy theories about Pope Jean Paul I.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Return - Hakan Nesser

I'm currently reading a proof copy of the UK edition of 'The Return' which is due out next month. The US edition came out in March.

On the Random House website you can read an extract from Chapter One.

If you live on the West Coast of the US you night like to check out Hakan Nesser's tour schedule which has four events in CA and one in Seattle.

'The Return' is the third in the Van Veeteren series following on from last year's CWA International Dagger nominee, 'Borkmann's Point'.

Forthcoming Quercus Titles

I picked up Quercus' Autumn catalogue at the LBF and some of the highlights by British authors include:


Elena Forbes - Die With Me (see this post)


Philip Kerr - The One From the Other (previously published in the US, the fourth in the Bernie Gunther series)


Nigel McCrery - Still Waters (author of the Sam Ryan/Silent Witness books, this is the first in a new series)


Phil Rickman - The Fabric of Sin (next in the Merrily Watkins series)

Michael Walters - The Adversary (follow-up to 'The Shadow Walker', set in Mongolia)


Colin Cotterill - Thirty-Three Teeth (previously published in the US, second in this series set in Laos. 'The Coroner's Lunch' is out in June.)

Not forgetting new titles from Australian authors - Peter Temple, Matt Rubinstein and Adrian Hyland.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gallic Books redux

Following on from my earlier post, The Rap Sheet wonders if Gallic Books will distribute their books in the US. I commented there and it's worth repeating here that offer free delivery to anywhere in the world. I haven't used them myself (yet) but I've had good feedback from a number of successful purchasers.

More French authors, whose books have been translated into English, can be found on the Euro Crime website.

Listen to Ian Rankin

Thanks to posters on the DorothyL list, who have alerted me to the fact that you can listen to an interview with Ian Rankin and read an excerpt from 'The Naming of the Dead' on the National Public Radio website.

[Read Sunnie Gill's review of The Naming of the Dead on Euro Crime.]

Monday, April 23, 2007

Donna Leon website

An email from Random House has pointed me to Donna Leon's UK website. It's not huge and they only list the books published by Random House eg Acqua Alta isn't on there as it was published by Macmillan.

There is a map under 'Donna's Venice' and you can zoom in and click to read excerpts from her books.

There is another website here, which has alternative information including a tour schedule for the US in June.

Gallic Books

I've just read about this new publisher on Susan Hill's blog. Gallic Books is bringing 'the best of French into English'.

From their website:
Gallic Books is a new publishing house dedicated to bringing contemporary French authors to the UK market.

At Gallic we feel there’s a lot of good French writing that deserves a British audience and our aim is to showcase the best.

Our launch list focuses on best-selling historical crime, a very popular genre on both sides of the Channel. The first two titles appearing in May 2007 are "The Chatelet Apprentice" by Jean-François Parot and "Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner. Further crime and mystery follow in the autumn and early next year.

Gallic Books was founded by Managing Director, Jane Aitken, working with Editorial Director, Pilar Webb. Colleagues for many years at Random House UK, they are both committed francophiles.
The following two titles are out on the 15th May:

The brand-new Eiffel Tower is the glory of the 1889 Universal Exposition. But one day a woman collapses and dies on its second floor. Can a bee-sting really be the cause of death? Enter young bookseller, Victor Legris, who is determined to find out what really happened.

Claude Izner is the pseudonym of two sisters, both booksellers on the banks of the Seine, who are experts on nineteenth-century Paris.

Paris, February 1761. A police officer disappears and Nicolas Le Floch, a young Breton police recruit, is instructed to find him. When unidentified human remains are found it becomes a murder investigation. As Paris descends into Carnival debauchery it is Le Floch’s skill, courage and integrity that will help him unravel a mystery which threatens to implicate the highest in the land.

Jean-François Parot is a diplomat and historian who lives in the Loire. The Châtelet Apprentice is his first novel, and the first in a series of Nicolas Le Floch mysteries which have been published to much acclaim in French.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Roberta Kray - The Pact

Roberta Kray is the widow of the notorious gangster, Reggie Kray, whom she married in prison in 1997.

After writing the non fiction, 'Reggie Kray: A Man Apart', she has more recently turned to crime fiction in the Martina Cole vein.

In 2006, 'The Debt' was published, followed up in 2007 by 'The Pact'. The paperback of 'The Pact' came out at the end of March and you can watch a short promotional video of Mrs Kray discussing the book on the Constable and Robinson blog.

Synopsis from Eve, the 34 year old daughter of recently deceased conman Alexander Weston, knows a good deal when she sees it - and this one doesn't even come close. However, with vulnerable brother Terry being beaten in jail, she can't afford to be fussy. She needs to organise protection for him, and fast. The intimidating and powerful con Cavelli seems the perfect solution, but how high a price is he going to exact? She may as well be forming a pact with the Devil. A break-in, followed by a vicious assault, soon makes Eve question the wisdom of her choice. Cavelli is leading her straight into Hell. Suddenly, her own life is in jeopardy; there's a psychopath lurking in the shadows and he's prepared to kill to get what he wants. With two men dead already Eve is forced to turn to the past to find the answers she so desperately needs. There's only one problem. Time is running out.

You can read the first chapter (in pdf format) here.

New Reviews & Updates

Latest Reviews:

This week, Terry Halligan runs out of superlatives for Simon Beckett's The Chemistry of Death. Geoff Jones enjoys Gagged and Bound by Natasha Cooper with just a couple of caveats. My eyes struggled a little with the size of the font but I did enjoy Mark Lalbeharry's The Simian Curve and Maxine Clarke was very impressed with The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney.

Other Updates:

The Authors (now 555 sites) page has been updated.

The New Releases pages have been updated.

In Books there are now bibliographies for 1081 authors - I've added bibliographies for the following: Tapani Bagge, Martin Baker, Jimmy Boyle, Heimo Lampi, Andrei Rubanov, Mauri Sariola, Gerald Seymour, Vladimir Sorokin and Michael White and updated the bibliographies for: Ken Bruen, Clare Curzon, Kjell Eriksson, Gillian Galbraith, Jason Goodwin, Michael Gregorio, Nigel McCrery, Phil Rickman, Stella Rimington, Catherine Shaw and Felicity Young.

and finally
, a reminder of the current competitions and the fact that they are open world-wide:

Win one of three copies of 'Strangers' by Carla Banks

Win one of five copies of 'Relentless' by Simon Kernick

Win a copy of 'Go to Helena Handbasket' by Donna Moore

Win one of three copies of 'What Was Lost' by Catherine O'Flynn

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A few items of interest

From the Jill McGown website:
There will be a celebration of Jill McGown's life at Kettering Crematorium on Wednesday 25th April at 3.45pm. All are welcome.
Also see my previous blog post which has a link to tribute from a fellow author.

On a happier note, those of us who had read with distress that the next Jack Taylor book from Ken Bruen, 'Benediction', was going to be the last in that series, can rest easy. There are now plans for another outing, called 'Amen'.

From Val McDermid's newsletter:
Val will be participating on BBC's Radio 4 Current Affairs programme 'Broadcasting House' this Sunday (22 April) at 9am BST.

If you usually have a lie-in on Sundays and miss the 9am start, or you can't listen via your radio where you are, you can always catch the programme later via the BBC's listen again feature -

Friday's strip from the ever excellent 'Unshelved' made me chuckle.

And finally, something completely OT and cute! When a cat and a rat become friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

News page updated on Euro Crime

I've now updated the News page, over on the Euro Crime website, with links to recent reviews and articles in the UK papers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Recent Publishing Deals

Today's Publishers Lunch roundup contained a few deals for British authors:
Elena Forbes' DIE WITH ME (the opening chapter of which was shortlisted for the 2005 Debut Dagger Award), the first in a series introducing Detective Mark Tartaglia and the rest of Homicide West Team Five as they investigate a rash of apparent suicides involving young girls plunging to their deaths from church naves around London, to David Adams at MacAdam/Cage, in a two-book deal, by David Forrer at Inkwell Management, on behalf of Sarah Lutyens at Luytens & Rubinstein (US).
NB. In the UK, 'Die With Me' will be out in July, published by Quercus.
Tom Rob Smith's debut thriller CHILD 44 and a second novel, to Mitch Hoffman at Grand Central, in a pre-empt, by Jim Rutman at Sterling Lord Literistic on behalf of James Gill at PFD.
Teacher of classical history at Lincoln College, Oxford Harry Sidebottom's FIRE IN THE EAST, KINGS OF KINGS and LION OF THE SUN, a trilogy of adventure novels of ancient Rome pitched as in the tradition of Mary Renault and Patrick O'Brian, featuring espionage, treachery and desperate, last-gasp, bloody warfare, and centering around a soldier who has risen to be a Roman General despite his northern barbarian origins, sent to the Eastern edge of the Empire to defend against the looming Persian threat, to Alex Clarke at Michael Joseph, for publication in summer 2008, by James Gill at PFD.
Journalist and former investment editor at the International Herald Tribune Martin Baker's MELTDOWN, with creative input (and contract negotiation) from his wife, City fund manager Nicola Horlick, a thriller set in Paris dealing with high finance, murder, jurisprudence, sex and politics and the biggest conspiracy theory imaginable, to Jeremy Trevathan at Pan Macmillan, in a pre-empt, for publication in January 2008 (world).
Martin Baker's website is here.

Spanish blog - The Skull Under the Skin

Many thanks for the lovely comments on Euro Crime making it onto the Library Journal's blog list. While I'm in trumpet blowing mode, I'll mention that a few days ago I discovered a reference to this blog on (which according to Babel Fish is "The skull under the skin") and in a post about Rebus, ( it mentions "el estupendo blog Euro Crime" :-) (estupendo translates as 'wonderful' but I prefer the original!).

I'm very humbled that there are so many people who can read blogs in other languages and that some of them pop over to mine.

Any Spanish speakers/readers do drop in to the blog which looks fascinating. The current post is about Massimo Carlotto.

(Do let me know if the translated blog name is wrong and/or I've got the language completely wrong!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thanks Library Journal!

Yesterday was a full day, setting off at the crack of dawn to get to London to have a peek at the London Book Fair for my first time. I left the show several hours later laden with catalogues and a few proofs. I'd bumped into Ali Karim (Rapsheet, Shots etc) in the 'Noir' seminar which featured John Banville aka Benjamin Black.

I met up with Petrona at the British Library for a drink before we repaired to the nearby Pizza Express which was out of both asparagus and fudge pieces. The company more than made up for these disappointments.

Checking my blog this morning I'm very chuffed to see that Euro Crime has been named one of Library Journal's top eight mystery blogs. See the full list here!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

New reviews this week & mid month competition reminder

A reminder of the current competitions and the fact that they are open world-wide:

Win one of three copies of 'Strangers' by Carla Banks

Win one of five copies of 'Relentless' by Simon Kernick

Win a copy of 'Go to Helena Handbasket' by Donna Moore

Win one of three copies of 'What Was Lost' by Catherine O'Flynn

Latest Reviews:

Maxine of Petrona fame enjoyed the new Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child, 'Bad Luck and Trouble'. Robert Goddard's 'Never Go Back' dealt with a similar theme (members of old army units being bumped off) but Pat Austin was not terribly impressed. Terry relished Seth Garner's 'Broken Surface' and I was captivated as usual by Tim Goodman's narration of the Bryant and May series by Christopher Fowler. This time he read, 'The Seventy-Seven Clocks'.

Donna Leon at Waterstone's Piccadilly

You can catch Donna Leon at Waterstone's Piccadilly on Tuesday 17th April 2007 at 7:00pm:
Join crime writer Donna Leon for a thrilling talk about her latest mystery 'Suffer the Little Children'

Tickets £3 available from store and redeemable against the purchase of the book on the night

Waterstone's 203/206 Piccadilly, London, SW1Y 6WW, (020 7851 2400)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Jill McGown RIP

It's not been a good week. Sadly the Jill McGown newsletter reports the following:
Sadly, after a long period of illness which she handled with unfailing good humour and fortitude, Jill died on Friday April 6.

We are in discussion with Una Adams, Jill’s sister, regarding the future of the site, and over the next few weeks we hope to let you know where we are going with this. In the meantime no doubt your thoughts will be with Jill’s family at this sad time.
Jill McGown was the author of the Lloyd and Hill police procedural series set around a fictionalised Corby. There was a one-off tv show starring Life on Mars' Philip Glenister as Lloyd a few years ago on ITV.

There's lots of information about her books and settings on her website, hopefully this will be maintained for a while.

UPDATE: Read Julia Buckley's tribute to Jill McGown.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Soho Crime newsletter

The latest crime newsletter from Soho Press has just been released and you can read the .pdf here.

The main focus is on Helene Tursten's latest book featuring Detective Irene Huss, 'The Glass Devil', and there's also details of her tour of the US with several other Swedish crime writers.

Peter at Detectives Beyond Borders has recently reviewed The Glass Devil and I reviewed The Torso for Euro Crime last year.

The UK edition of 'The Glass Devil' will be available in May.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Donna Leon on Radio 4

Last night's Front Row programme on Radio 4 contained an interview with Donna Leon amongst other entertainments matters.

Listen to the whole programme here for the next 6 days (you get the end of The Archers as well).

(Donna Leon is an American author who lives in Venice and writes the Commissario Brunetti series set there. There is a website here.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Puss in Bus

It sounds like an April 1st story but in today's Daily Mail:
Bus drivers have nicknamed a white cat Macavity after it has started using the No 331 several mornings a week.

The feline, which has a purple collar, gets onto the busy Walsall to Wolverhampton bus at the same stop most mornings - he then jumps off at the next stop 400m down the road, near a fish and chip shop.

Full article and photos here!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

BBC1's George Gently

I've recorded tonight's George Gently which starred regular authoritative figure Martin Shaw. I've mentioned this show on the blog a couple of times.

The BBC has an interview with Martin Shaw about playing George Gently. There are several other links off that page about the filming, cast etc.

I'm not sure which, if any, book the pilot is based on but Alan Hunter did write 46 novels so plenty more to have a go at. The full list is here.

I'd heard some rumours that it was very slow but perhaps anyone who's seen it, would leave a comment on how good it was.

Easter Sunday Updates to the website

A reminder that the current competitions are open world-wide:

Win one of three copies of 'Strangers' by Carla Banks

Win one of five copies of 'Relentless' by Simon Kernick

Win a copy of 'Go to Helena Handbasket' by Donna Moore

Win one of three copies of 'What Was Lost' by Catherine O'Flynn

Latest Reviews:

Euro Crime's first review of last month's prize, Cross by Ken Bruen, comes from Karen Chisholm (look out for more reviews over the next few weeks). Also uploaded this week are The Scent of the Night by Andrea Camilleri reviewed by me, The Murder Bird by Joanna Hines, reviewed by Geoff Jones and lastly, an author who's getting a lot of praise at the moment for his debut novel, Borderlands by Brian McGilloway, reviewed by Lady Petrona (Maxine Clarke).

Other Updates:

The Authors page of author websites has been updated.

The New Releases pages have been updated.

In Books there are now bibliographies for 1072 authors. I've added bibliographies for the following: Daniel Boyle, Ottavio Cappellani, Gillian Galbraith, Frode Grytten, W F Hermans, Elfriede Jelinek, Damien Lewis, Francisco Garcia Pavon, Owen Sheers and Andrzej Stasiuk and updated the bibliographies for: Maxine Barry, Robert Goddard, Clio Gray, Andrew Holmes, Mari Jungstedt, Alex Scarrow, Nick Stone and James Twining.

Upgrade or die...

It seems I finally had no choice but to upgrade to beta blogger. In my tired state last night I couldn't work out why it wouldn't let me login. Anyway this morning I've taken tentative steps to move with the times. I would like to change the look slightly but it informs me I'd lose all my changes and I'm a bit woried about that so will stay with the classic look for a while longer.

What I tried to sign in to post last night, is that I've updated the News page on Euro Crime with links to the last few days' crime fiction related items in the UK papers. The regular new reviews update will follow later on today.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Another Spanish crime writer

I've stumbled over another Spanish crime writer to add to my database - Francisco García Pavon. According to 'G J Demko's Landscapes of Crime':
In the 1950s and 60s Francisco Garcia Pavon wrote a number of mysteries that featured Chief of Munincipal Guard Manual Gonzalez "Plinio". The "Plinio" books were very popular and won a number of prizes and even some acclaim abroad ( see Los Liberales — in English- Barcelona, Ediciones Destino,1971). Plinio is a very non-heroic detective working in a small city who’s premonitions and hunches are more important than scientific and logical deduction. Pavon has been referred to as the Spanish Proust of the common people.
The only crime book of his translated into English and vaguely in print is, 'The Crimson Twins', published by Allison & Busby in 2000.

Synopsis from

The Pelaez sisters, both spinsters in their 60s, disappear following a telephone call. Chief of the local police force, Plinio, finds bizarre clues in the sister's flat - a foetus in a specimen jar, a room full of dolls - and realises there is more to the case than meets the eye.

Is it me or is this one creepy cover....

More Spanish authors translated into English are listed here on Euro Crime.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Michael Dibdin RIP

I'm shocked and saddened to learn that the talented writer Michael Dibdin has died aged 60. The Telegraph's obituary sums up his life and his Aurelio Zen books. I remember seeing him on the tv as one of the pundits on the programme announcing the Booker prize awards - someone whose name I recognised and had read. I haven't yet read his Zen books but I do recommend 'A Rich Full Death'. The final (presumably) Zen book is due out in July, aptly called 'End Games'.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Winners of Euro Crime's March Competitions

Here are the winners of March's Euro Crime competitions (and the correct answers):

1. Haggard Hawk by Marcus Barr

Midsomer Murders are based on the books of which author:
c)Caroline Graham

Chris Connor
Harold Jones
Margaret Payne
Helen Thurston
Denise Whiteside

2. Cross by Ken Bruen

Which one of the following books was not written by Ken Bruen:
b) Darkhouse

Alan Bailey
Garry Chambers
William Plimley
Pat Reid, USA
Fred Zackel, USA

3. A Greater Evil/Evil is Done by Natasha Cooper

Which Festival is Natasha chairing this year?
b) Harrogate Crime Writing Festival

Winners (A Greater Evil):
Julie Clark
Rhiannon Harrison
Sharon Lake
Rachel Ringwood
Caroline Stanley

Winners (Evil is Done):
Sarah Bewley, FL
Eleanor Flatley, CA
Carol Hutton, MD
Emelia Parker, Michigan
B. J. Simon, TX

4. Wire in the Blood DVDs

Which one of the following books is not part of the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series:
a) The Distant Echo

Sarah Bewley, FL
Julie Campbell, MI

Enter this month's competitions here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

All Hail Spartapuss!

I have one of our younger borrowers (at the library) to thank for my recent discovery, as she ordered in all three books in this hitherto unknown series to me. The books are aimed at 8+ and may also appeal to cat lovers a few decades older than that. I haven't read them yet but I'm keen to try one.

From the publisher's website (Mogzilla, I kid you not):
The Spartapuss novels are a unique series of books set in an ancient Rome ruled entirely by cats. The plots are based partly on historical events as recorded by the great classical writers Tacitus and Suetonius. Each short but perfectly formed book is crammed with silliness. Kids and critics are warming to the cleverly drawn characters, accurate historical description (as far as you can be given the cat aspect) and most importantly, page turning plots that can inspire the most reluctant of readers to finish a book.

The first book is 'I am Spartapuss'. All synopses are from the publisher's website:

"Spartapuss' diary tells of how a Kiton slave became a prisoner, the prisoner became a gladiator. But will the gladiator become history?

Rome AD 36. The mighty Feline Empire rules the world. A ginger cat is comfortable managing Rome’s finest Bath and Spa complex. But Fortune has other plans for him. There’s a nasty incident in the Vomitarium. He’s arrested and imprisoned by Catligula, the Emperor’s heir and favourite. Released into a school for gladiators, our Fraidipuss hero must fight and win his freedom in the Arena - before his opponents make mouse-meat of him."

The second book is 'Catligula':

"In the second book in the Spartapuss series, history takes a terrible turn for the worse as Catligula takes control. Rome’s new ruler toys with his empire like a captured mouse. He’s mad, bad and dangerous to stroke.

When Spartapuss starts a new job at the Imperial Palace, Catligula wants him as his new best friend. The Spraetorian Guard plot to tame the power-crazed puss before he ruins the empire. But will Spartapuss play ball?"

The third and latest book is 'Die Clawdius':

"The most gripping adventure yet in the acclaimed Spartapuss series... Clawdius, the least likely Emperor in Roman history, needs to show his enemies who’s boss. So he decides to invade Spartapuss’ home – The Land of the Kitons. As battle lines are drawn, Spartapuss must take sides. Can the magic of the Mewids help him to make the right choice?"

The first chapter of each book can be downloaded at the website.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

New Reviews and New Competitions (no kidding)

Firstly, April's competitions have been uploaded. All four competitions are open world-wide:

Win one of three copies of 'Strangers' by Carla Banks

Win one of five copies of 'Relentless' by Simon Kernick

Win a copy of 'Go to Helena Handbasket' by Donna Moore

Win one of three copies of 'What Was Lost' by Catherine O'Flynn

(The winners of March's competitions will be announced tomorrow.)

This week's new reviews are linked to the competitions. Carla Banks' latest book 'Strangers' is one of this month's prizes and Terry Halligan has just reviewed her previous title, 'The Forest of Souls' which left him keen to read more.

Last month's prize, 'Haggard Hawk' by Marcus Barr has been reviewed by Geoff Jones and Petrona's Maxine Clarke. One of them liked it more than the other, but I'm not telling which :-).

Finally, Mike Ripley's March round-up reviews another of last month's prizes, 'Cross' by Ken Bruen as well as 'The Death of Dalziel' by Reginald Hill and 'The Accidental American' by Alex Carr (Jenny Siler).

Other Updates:

The 'Authors' (537 sites) page has been updated.

The 'New Releases' pages have been updated.

In 'Books' - I've added bibliographies for the following: Sara Banerji and Tom Rob Smith and updated the bibliographies for: Gianrico Carofiglio, Susan Hill, John Lawton, Perihan Magden, Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Scarlett Thomas.

The 'News' page has been updated.

Rebus's last case?

The Evening News ran an interview with Ian Rankin on Friday. Some hints about where Rebus is going are forthcoming:

But for now, Rankin is firmly in the present, having just finished the first draft of his final Rebus novel. So is this the last for Inspector Rebus?

"Yes. Well, no. Well, yes. It's the last novel of him as a serving police officer," he teases.

"It would have been horrible to have killed him off. I've lived with this guy for 20 years and it would be an injustice too far - he's been beaten up, he's lost friends and family. I spoke to Colin Dexter and asked him why he killed off Morse, which was because he was bored of writing the books.

"I'm not saying this is the final Rebus book, but he does retire at the end of this book. Siobhan could take over and Rebus could continue privately, but, to be honest, I've not really thought about it. I wasn't tired of him but I'd got myself in the situation where he lived in real time. I suddenly couldn't not make him age."


Rankin's publishers have also signed him up to write two new books, but he's adamant he's taking a long overdue rest in 2008.

"I've published around 24 books in 20-odd years, sometimes two a year. I just need a break, to recharge the batteries."

But for Rankin fans, there will be a novel published in 2008. "In January, I wrote a novella about a heist in Edinburgh for the New York Times - I wanted to call it Ocean's Terminal 11 - but they didn't see the joke. It was great fun - a new character, lighter crime. Luckily this novella can be published in the UK next year so I'll flesh it out and publish it then."

Read the full article here.