Thursday, August 30, 2012

Euro Crime Review Policy - Updated

Here is an update to the review policy at Euro Crime. The main change is to how we receive and request review books (see background info*).

Euro Crime is dedicated to the promotion of British and European crime writers, be it terms of bibliographies and upcoming releases or the weekly review selection.

I do receive emails about books that fall outside the remit of Euro Crime from time to time so I thought I'd try and lay out what is and isn't likely to be reviewed.


1) If the author is British/European (irrespective or where the book is set) eg Lee Child, Ann Cleeves, Martin Edwards, Matt Hilton.

2) If the setting is British/European (irrespective of where the author was born) eg Elizabeth George, Donna Leon

3) If the book is translated (irrespective of whether it's European or not - this category is of particular interest to me as I'm currently one of the judges for the CWA International Dagger.) eg Deon Meyer.

Unabridged talking books and e-books in the above categories can be considered on a case by case basis as not all reviewers have or want the relevant technology.

Doesn't Qualify

1) If both the author and setting is not British/European and is not a translation eg. Daniel Depp, Tess Gerritson

2) True-Crime.

Wiggle Room

Books from the smaller book markets eg Australia, Africa will be considered on a case by case basis. eg Peter Temple, Michael Stanley. Please email me before sending the book: karen at eurocrime dot co dot uk.
Background Info

I would prefer to direct review copies from publishers straight to the review team. However where books come to me first I send out an email, roughly weekly, listing books received and then send on the books requested to the reviewers. This is a bit costly and time-consuming and delays the books getting to the hands of the reviewer, however perhaps with the rise in popularity of e-readers, the availability of e-galleys will increase.

*For the past year I have not been sending out review copies to the review team. I wrote to the publishers and asked them not to send me any books with the exception of translated titles as that gives me a head start in my International Dagger reading. What I do now is this: as publishers' catalogues become available for publications due Jan-June and July-Dec I go through them, list the relevant titles and send this list to the review team. The review team then choose which titles they'd like to review, I allocate them equitably and email the publisher with a list of books and addresses. This approach is working quite well with some publishers and not so well with others which is why some publishers are getting their books reviewed and others are not.

The bottom line is: please do not send me unsolicited books (with the exception of translated titles) as these will not get reviewed however if you drop me an email, it is very likely I can find a reviewer who will be pleased to review it.

Euro Crime tries to review as many books as possible, nine new reviews are uploaded most weekends. Please note that the reviewers are crime fiction enthusiasts offering their honest opinions and that a review cannot be guaranteed. No payment is received for reviews.

I never sell arcs or review copies, any spare finished copies are added to my library's collection or given to charity shops.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CWA Awards Shortlists - Gold, Steel, New Blood 2012

The short-lists for the CWA's Gold, Ian Fleming and John Creasey Daggers were announced whilst I was away:
The short list for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger is as follows:

Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (Headline)
A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash (Transworld/Bantam)
Good People by Ewart Hutton (HarperCollins)
What Dies in Summer by Tom Wright (Canongate)

The short list for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger is as follows:

Dare Me by Megan Abbott (Picador)
A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming (HarperCollins)
The Fear Index by Robert Harris (Hutchinson)
Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Atlantic Books)

The short list for the CWA Gold Dagger is as follows:

Vengeance in Mind by N.J. Cooper (Simon & Schuster)
The Flight by M.R. Hall (Mantle)
The Rage by Gene Kerrigan (Vintage)
Bereft by Chris Womersley (Quercus)

In addition a load of other Dagger shortlists were announced:

TV/Film Daggers:
The cream of acting talent is also recognised at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards with categories for Best UK and International Crime Series, Best Actor, Best Actress in a Crime series and Best Film.
The British public will also have the chance to vote for their favourite detective duo by phone vote. The shortlist is as follows:

  • DCI Banks - DCI Alan Banks & DS Annie Cabbot - Call 090 16 16 14 01
  • Above Suspicion - DC Anna Travis & DCS James Langton - Call 090 16 16 14 02
  • Scott and Bailey- DC Jane Scott & DC Rachel Bailey - Call 090 16 16 14 03
  • Lewis - DI Robbie Lewis & DS James Hathaway - Call 090 16 16 14 04
  • Whitechapel - DI Joseph Chandler & DS Ray Miles - Call 090 16 16 14 05
  • Vera - DCI Vera Stanhope & DS Joe Ashworth - Call 090 16 16 14 06

The vote opens on the 7th September at midday.

The Specsavers Bestseller Dagger
  • Stuart MacBride
  • Jo Nesbo
  • Ann Cleeves
  • Kathy Reichs
  • Anthony Horowitz

The Film Dagger
  • DRIVE (Icon)
  • The Dark Knight  Rises (Warner Bros)
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Sony)
  • The Guard (Optimum)
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Studio Canal)

The TV Dagger
  • Appropriate  Adult (ITV Studios/ITV1)
  • Line of Duty (BBC/BBC2)
  • Sherlock: Series 2 (Hartswood Films/BBC1)
  • Wallander (Left Bank Pictures,Yellow Bird/BBC1)
  • Whitechapel: Series 3 (Carnival/ITV1)

The International TV Dagger
  • Boardwalk Empire: Season 2 (HBO/Sky Atlantic)
  • Dexter: Season 6 (Showtime Networks, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company, Clyde Phillips Productions/FX)
  • Homeland (Teakwood Lane Productions, Showtime Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Media Group, Fox 21/Channel 4)
  • The Bridge (Danmarks Radio, Sveriges Television/BBC4)
  • The Killing Ii: Forbrydelsen (Arrow Films/BBC4)

The Best Actress Dagger
  • Brenda Blethyn for Vera (ITV Studios/ITV1)
  • Claire Danes for Homeland (Teakwood Lane Productions, Showtime Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Media Group, Fox 21/Channel 4)
  • Sofie Gråbøl for The Killing II (Arrow Films/BBC4)
  • Sofia Helin for The Bridge (Danmarks Radio, Sveriges Television/BBC4)
  • Maxine Peake for Silk (BBC/BBC1)

The Best Actor Dagger
  • Kenneth Branagh for Wallander (Left Bank Pictures,Yellow Bird/BBC1)
  • Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire (HBO/Sky Atlantic)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch for Sherlock (Hartswood Films/BBC1)
  • Damien Lewis for Homeland (Teakwood Lane Productions, Showtime Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Media Group, Fox 21/Channel 4)
  • Dominic West for Appropriate Adult (ITV Studios/ITV1

The Best Supporting Actress Dagger
  • Frances Barber for Silk (BBC/BBC1)
  • Kelly Macdonald for Boardwalk Empire (HBO/Sky Atlantic)
  • Archie Panjabi for The Good Wife (Scott Free Productions, King Size Productions, Small Wishes, CBS Productions/More 4)
  • Sarah Smart for Wallander (Left Bank Pictures, Yellow Bird/BBC1)
  • Una Stubbs for Sherlock (Hartswood Films/BBC1)

The Best Supporting Actor Dagger
  • Alun Armstrong for Garrow’s Law (Shed Media/BBC1)
  • Alan Cumming for The Good Wife (Scott Free Productions, King Size Productions, Small Wishes, CBS Productions/More 4)
  • Phil Davis for Silk & Whitechapel (Silk: BBC/BBC1)(Whitechapel: Carnival/ITV1)
  • Laurence Fox for Lewis (ITV Studios/ITV1)
  • Martin Freeman for Sherlock (Hartswood Films/BBC1)

The winners of the Awards will be announced at The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards on Thursday 18 October at the Grosvenor House Hotel.  

The voting is open for for the Specsavers Bestseller Dagger at the crime thriller awards website.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The next case for Inspector Montalbano (tv)

The next episode in this second run of Inspector Montalbano, at 9pm on 1 September, is Equal Time, which is not based on any of the books in Camilleri's series but may be based on a Camilleri short story.

When a man is found murdered with a sawn-off shotgun, Vigata police are called upon to extinguish what appears to be the beginnings of a new Mafia war. But Montalbano has his doubts on the exact nature of this particular murder. When he is taken off the case and assigned to investigate the disappearance of a young Ukrainian woman, he gradually uncovers a series of links between the two cases.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Death of a Schoolgirl by Joanna Campbell Slan

Death of a Schoolgirl by Joanna Campbell Slan, August 2012, 339 pages, Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN: 0425247740

1820 Yorkshire and married couple Jane Eyre Rochester and Edward Rochester and their newborn son Ned are living in a ramshackle hunting lodge after the Rochester home has been burnt down. Edward's eyes were damaged in the fire and he is now partially sighted. Edward's ward Adele is down in London at a small and exclusive boarding school however the Rochesters are worried about her as her letters have been short and formal with no mention of the new arrival to the family. Matters come to ahead when a letter from Adele includes a threatening letter against her. Edward is unable to travel for a while, on doctor's orders, so Jane must set off on her own.

Jane's journey to London is not without incident and a robbery leaves her with a bruises and a black-eye. Upon arrival in London she is warmly taken in by an old friend of Edward's, Lucy Brayton.

When Jane goes to visit Adele she is shocked to see a body being removed from the school. Jane is unable to speak to Adele as the poor girl found her classmate dead and has been tranquillised with laudanum. Jane's plain attire leads her to being mistaken for the expected replacement German teacher and as the Bow Street Runners are investigating the suspicious death, Jane agrees to act the part of teacher and protect Adele and the rest of the girls.

As Jane investigates she find that the dead girl had many enemies and many mysteries. Can she unearth the real murderer before the wrong one is accused?

DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL is the first in the Jane Eyre Chronicles the story of Jane Eyre, written by her own hand and lost until now. I haven't yet read Jane Eyre (but I have seen two BBC series including the extended 1983 Timothy Dalton/Zelah Clarke version) and I understand it to be much more than just a love story, but also concerning itself with gender and class inequalities, morality and more. DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL continues this approach, with it being more than a crime plot with an already well-known character, as Jane and many of her colleagues at the school rail against what is expected of them because of their gender and position in society. Jane is also quite self-reflective and frequently mentions how she misses Edward and Ned. Edward himself only makes an appearance at each end of the book.

Much of the original Jane Eyre story is woven in as are some of the characters. Being set in a boarding school there are many reflections by Jane on her miserable time at Lowood and how poor its conditions were, compared to the luxury these girls have.

Jane is well placed to be a detective as she is a married to a member of the quality, has her own fortune but can also take up her old profession of governess/teaching; she has a foot in both ends of the class system.

The answer to the whodunnit is hidden in plain sight and to my chagrin, I missed it, which meant I was kept guessing almost to the end as to the motive and person behind the crime.

The book is written in an authentic and easily readable style. It does suffer, at least in my netgalley proof, from a touch of Americanitus with a few gottens, sidewalks and snickers, a normalcy and an appearance by a mockingbird (none of these terms being in my kindle version of Jane Eyre) as well as toward for towards, talk with for talk to and write for write to. I can understand why they are there, as the main readership will be American, but they do stick out like a sore thumb to a British reader.

I greatly enjoyed DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL and I hope there are more chronicles to come and I really must read Jane Eyre!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reacher's Rules

As well as the books, the film and the e-novellas there is:

Reacher's Rules: Life Lessons From Jack Reacher

"Prefaced" by Lee Child and published in November.

My name is Jack Reacher. No middle name, no address.
I've got a rule. People mess with me at their own risk.

Rule 1. If in doubt drink coffee

Rule 2. Never volunteer for anything. Soldier's basic rule.

Rule 3. Don't break the furniture

Rule 4. Only have one woman at a time

Rule 5. Be on your feet and ready

Rule 6. Show them what they're messing with

*Hand-to-hand combat * Travelling light * Cracking codes *Handling weapons * Conquering your deepest fears * Understanding women

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Return of Inspector Montalbano

Yes, next Saturday (25th) sees the return of Inspector Montalbano to BBC4 (at 9pm) with the remaining 12 episodes. I have so far watched eight of the first ten and have saved the last two until more news about the "second series" (I do this with books too) and have loved them.

The first episode of the second batch is Turning Point based on the novel Rounding the Mark the seventh in Andrea Camilleri's series.

One of Montalbano's most difficult cases begins during one of his habitual morning swims, when he finds a decomposed body floating in the water. The investigation leads him to uncover the unsavoury realities of international child trafficking.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

New Reviews: Becker, Carter, Ellis, Fantoni, Jansson, Krajewski, Mogford, Nadel, Upson

Here are 9 new reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website, and they include two related to the 2012 Olympics plus the settings include Gibraltar, Poland, Sweden, USA (twice) as well as London and Devon:
The first of the Olympics related books is James Becker's Echo of the Reich reviewed here by Amanda Gillies;

JF reviews Chris Carter's The Death Sculptor the fourth in the Detective Robert Hunter series set in LA;

Terry Halligan reviews Kate Ellis's The Cadaver Game, the latest in the Wesley Peterson series which is now out in paperback;

Lynn Harvey reviews Barry Fantoni's Harry Lipkin P.I. starring "the world's oldest detective" (set in Florida);

Guest reviewer Bernadette Bean reviews Anna Jansson's Killer Island tr. Enar Henning Koch set on Gotland;

Norman Price reviews Marek Krajewski's The Minotaur's Head, tr. Danusia Stok, the fourth in the Eberhard Mock series;

Maxine Clarke reviews Thomas Mogford's debut, Shadow of the Rock a thriller set in Gibraltar and Tangier;

Susan White reviews the second of the Olympics related books, the first in Barbara Nadel's new series: A Private Business

and I review the audio book release of Nicola Upson's Two For Sorrow the third in the "Josephine Tey" series.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Two For Sorrow by Nicola Upson (audio book)

Two For Sorrow by Nicola Upson read by Sandra Duncan, Whole Story Audiobooks, September 2010, 13 CDs, ISBN: 9781407459271

TWO FOR SORROW is the third book from Nicola Upson to feature real-life crime writer Josephine Tey. Josephine doesn't do any detecting, rather she leaves that to (the fictional) Archie Penrose from Scotland Yard.

We're back in London, after Cornwall in ANGEL WITH TWO FACES, and Josephine is staying at the women's-only Cowdray Club, run by her old teacher, Celia Bannerman. Josephine is writing a fictional account of the Sach and Walters case (two women who were hanged for “baby farming” ie baby murdering) thirty years before and Celia was one of the warders at the time and knew Amelia Sach.

There is to be a gala ball at the Club and Josephine's friends, the Motley sisters, are creating the gowns. However tragedy strikes when one of their seamstresses, a former prisoner, is sadistically murdered in the Motleys' shop and the woman's father is also found dead, just outside. Archie is called in to investigate.

As Archie digs, his investigation increasingly overlaps with the subject of Josephine's writing until he is forced to keep secrets from her for her own safety...

As well as being on the periphery of the investigation, Josephine's emotions are in turmoil with the reappearance of an old friend who wants more than perhaps Josephine is willing to give.

TWO FOR SORROW is quite long but always interesting. As well as a crime novel it's a fascinating look at the role of women in the 1930s and highlights how things were so much worse for women than men in prison. “Baby farming” is a term I'd only come across recently in a teenage fiction book (VELVET by Mary Hooper) but in this there is a lot of shocking and upsetting detail and Archie goes to some grim places in pursuit of his enquiries.

I do love the showbizzy glamour of the books set in London (see also AN EXPERT IN MURDER) with real-life actors and thinly disguised actors flitting in and out and I have one eye on Google to see who and what is real and who and what's fictional. So little is known of Tey's life that this series is like reading a biography of her, fleshing out the few known facts that there are.

Sandra Duncan gives an outstanding performance with a warm Scottish accented Josephine and clipped, attractive upper-class accent for Archie plus many more different vocalisations for the supporting cast.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2012

The shortlist for the first Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Book of the Year has been announced:

Charles Cumming – A Foreign Country (Harper Collins)
Will Jordan – Redemption (Random House)
Denise Mina – Gods & Beasts (Orion)

The Award seeks to recognise and reward excellence in Scottish crime writing, first published between 1 August 2011 and 31 July 2012. Over 40 books of fiction and non-fiction were submitted by UK publishers. Eligible books were by writers born in Scotland, by writers living in Scotland, or books set in Scotland.

Read more about this new convention, Bloody Scotland, held 14-16 September in Stirling, here.

From my database I can identify the eligible fiction titles based on nationality but I don't record residence(!) or non-fiction titles so I have missed some titles (links are to Euro Crime reviews).

Eligible fiction titles

A. Titles by writers born in Scotland
Lin Anderson - Picture Her Dead
M C Beaton - Death of a Kingfisher
M C Beaton - Agatha Raisin as the Pig Turns
Tony Black - The Storm Without
Tony Black - Murder Mile
Sean Black - Gridlock
P J Brooke - Death's Other Kingdom
Christopher Brookmyre - When the Devil Drives
Julie Corbin - Do Me No Harm
James Craig - Never Apologise, Never Explain
Charles Cumming - A Foreign Country
James Douglas - The Doomsday Testament
Gordon Ferris - Bitter Water
Neil Forsyth - San Carlos
Gillian Galbraith - The Road to Hell
Andrea Gillies - The White Lie
Alex Gray - A Pound Of Flesh
Gerald Hammond - The Unkindest Cut
Ewart Hutton - Good People
Quintin Jardine - As Easy as Murder
Quintin Jardine - Funeral Note
Paul Johnston - The Silver Stain
Doug Johnstone - Hit & Run
William Jordan - Redemption
Philip Kerr – Prague Fatale
Alanna Knight - The Seal King Murders
Alanna Knight - Deadly Legacy
Stuart MacBride - Birthdays for the Dead
Val McDermid - The Retribution
Pat McIntosh - The Fourth Crow
Grant McKenzie - K.A.R.M.A.
Shona Maclean - Crucible of Secrets
Catriona McPherson - Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses
Michael J Malone - Blood Tears
David Mark - The Dark Winter
Peter May – The Lewis Man
Louise Millar - The Playdate
Denise Mina - Gods and Beasts
G J Moffat - Protection
Stef Penney - The Invisible Ones
Danielle Ramsay - Vanishing Point
Ian Rankin - The Impossible Dead
Craig Robertson - Cold Grave
Craig Russell – Dead Men & Broken Hearts
Sara Sheridan - Brighton Belle
Anna Smith - To Tell the Truth
Alexander McCall Smith - The Limpopo Academy Of Private Detection
The Mulgray Twins - Suspects All!
Christopher Wallace - Killing the Messenger

B. Titles by writers living in Scotland (but not born in Scotland!)

Anne Perry - A Sunless Sea
Anne Perry - A Christmas Homecoming
Anne Perry - Dorchester Terrace

More Scottish authors and their titles (with reviews of many) are listed on the Euro Crime website

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Reviews: Bruce, Clark, Haas, Jones, Kallentoft, Niven, O'Connor, Staincliffe

Here are 8 new reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website:
Following on from last week's review of The Calling we have Susan White's review of Alison Bruce's latest, The Silence: "This is the fourth outing for DC Goodhew and his colleagues and it doesn't fail to delight" ;

Terry Halligan reviews Cassandra Clark's A Parliament of Spies the fourth in the Abbess of Meaux series;

I review Wolf Haas's Brenner and God tr. Annie Janusch the first (but not the last thankfully) book by this Austrian author to be translated into English;

Lynn Harvey reviews Chris Morgan Jones' debut An Agent of Deceit now out in paperback. Published in the US as The Silent Oligarch;

Maxine Clarke reviews Mons Kallentoft's Summertime Death tr. Neil Smith;

Michelle Peckham reviews John J Niven's thriller, Cold Hands;

Terry reviews Niamh O'Connor's second Jo Birmingham investigation: Taken set in Dublin, and now out in paperback

and Susan also reviews Cath Staincliffe's Split Second also now out in paperback.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

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

Friday, August 10, 2012

New Titles from Faber

Browsing through the new Faber catalogue for  July-December 2012, these are the titles of "euro crime"  interest:

Peter Leonard - Voices of the Dead (paperback) (#1 Harry Levin)


P D James - Death Comes to Pemberley (paperback)
Thomas Enger - Pierced (#2 Henning Juul, Reporter, Oslo)


Chris Ewan - Safe House


JG Sinclair - Seventy Times Seven
Nicola Upson - Fear in the Sunlight (paperback) (#4 Josephine Tey)


Sam Eastland - Siberian Red (paperback) (#3 Inspector Pekkala, Revolutionary Russia)


Adam Creed - Death in the Sun (paperback) (#4 Detective Inspector Wagstaffe, London)


Thomas Enger - Pierced (paperback) (#2 Henning Juul, Reporter, Oslo)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

New Titles from Allison & Busby

Browsing through the new Allison & Busby catalogue for  July-December 2012, these are the titles of "euro crime"  interest:

Zoe Sharp - Fifth Victim (paperback) (#9 Charlie Fox, ex-Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard)
June Thomson - Holmes and Watson (paperback)
June Thomson - The Secret Notebooks of Sherlock Holmes (paperback)


Anna Dean - A Place of Confinement (#4 Miss Dido Kent, 1800s)
D E Meredith - Devoured (#1 Professor Adolphus Hatton & Albert Roumande, Victorian England)
Jacqueline Winspear - A Lesson in Secrets (paperback) (#8 Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, 1930s London)


Michael Bond - Monsieur Pamplemousse Afloat (#12 M. Pamplemousse and his dog Pommes Frites, France)
Michael Bond - Monsieur Pamplemousse On Vacation (#13 M. Pamplemousse and his dog Pommes Frites, France)

June Thomson - The Secret Journals of Sherlock Holmes (paperback)
Jacqueline Winspear - Elegy for Eddie (#9 Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, 1930s London)


Janie Bolitho - Buried in Cornwall (paperback) (#3 Rose Trevelyan, Photographer, Cornwall)
Janie Bolitho - Killed in Cornwall (paperback) (#6 Rose Trevelyan, Photographer, Cornwall)
Janie Bolitho - Caught Out In Cornwall (paperback) (#7 Rose Trevelyan, Photographer, Cornwall)
Cassandra Clark - A Parliament of Spies (paperback) (#4 Hildegard, Nun, 14thC, Yorkshire)
Laurie R King - Garment of Shadows (#12 Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes)
Edward Marston - A Bespoke Murder (paperback) (#1 Inspector Harvey Marmion and Sergeant Joe Keedy)
Edward Marston - Instrument of Slaughter (#2 Inspector Harvey Marmion and Sergeant Joe Keedy)
M J Trow - Maxwell's Island (paperback) (#16 Peter Maxwell, Teacher)


Ruth Dudley Edwards - Killing the Emperors (#12 Robert Amiss/Baroness Troutbeck)
Aline Templeton - King for Evil (#7 Detective Inspector Marjory Fleming, Scotland)
Rebecca Tope - The Windermere Witness (#1 Persimmon Brown, Florist)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Review: Brenner and God by Wolf Haas

Brenner and God by Wolf Haas translated by Annie Janusch, June 2012, 215 pages, Melville International Crime, ISBN: 978-1612191133

BRENNER AND GOD is the seventh in the Brenner series by Austrian author Wolf Haas but the first to be translated into English.

Former Viennese police officer Simon Brenner has a new job as a chauffeur. His main role is driving Helena, the two-year-old daughter of a successful couple along the autobahn between her mother, running an abortion clinic in Vienna, and her father, an owner of an important construction firm in Munich.

On one such trip Brenner has to refuel the car and leaves Helena in the car alone for a few minutes whilst he buys coffee for himself and a forbidden chocolate bar for her; he returns to the vehicle to find her gone. As well as being questioned by the police he is also fired from his job. But Brenner decides to get to the bottom of the kidnapping. Both parents have their detractors particularly Helena's mum whose clinic has protesters outside it every day whilst her father is about to build the controversial Megaland, and yet there doesn't seem to be a ransom demand. Brenner gets involved in the complex intertwined world of construction, banking and local government before the truth is revealed as to the whereabouts of Helena.

BRENNER AND GOD is a pacey and gripping read with a complicated plot and yet is only a shade over 200 pages. Being the seventh in the series, it does leave the reader missing some of the back-story as to what has made Brenner become a civilian and why he is on medication. However it doesn't reduce the enjoyment of the story, with its very unusual narrative style. Told from a humorous third-person point of view which frequently tells the reader to “pay attention” and offers its own commentary on events:

And there you have it, once again, the best proof that there's nothing in the world that doesn't have its good side. Because your average Viennese citizen might find it depressing that a new off-track betting parlor opens up every day, but purely for detective street practices, it's convenient when you can wait in the entrance of the next betting parlor for your shadower.

I recommend this quirky tale and look forward to the next one which will be the second in the series, THE BONE MAN, which has been made into a film.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

An Interview with Jefferson Bass

The latest book by American author Jefferson Bass (also known as Jon Jefferson and Dr Bill Bass) is set in France and so Euro Crime, in the shape of Amanda Gillies, took the opportunity to ask him/them some questions.

Amanda's review of Jefferson Bass's The Bones of Avignon and Sue Armstrong's A Matter of Life and Death.

Jefferson Bass's website.
Jefferson Bass's Facebook page.
Jon Jefferson's blog.

The trailer for The Bones of Avalon/The Inquisitor’s Key:

After reading about the Body Farm in Sue Armstrong’s A Matter of Life and Death last year, it gives Euro Crime great pleasure to ask you a few questions about yourselves and your latest book, The Bones of Avignon.

EC: For those of us that don’t know you, can you both tell us a little bit about your background.

Jefferson: I’m an English literature major who’s gone over to the dark side. I’ve worked as a freelance journalist and television documentary writer/producer before turning to crime … er, to crime-writing.

Bass: I’m a forensic anthropologist. I taught for 11 years at the University of Kansas and then for about 25 years at the University of Tennessee, where I was head of the Anthropology Department. Early in my career there, realizing the need for a better understanding of postmortem human decomposition, I created the Anthropology Research Facility – better known as the Body Farm.

EC: You’ve been writing together for quite a few years now. How did you two meet in the first place?

Jefferson: We met in 2001, when I was writing and producing a documentary about the Body Farm for National Geographic. I called up Bill Bass out of the blue, told him who I was and what I wanted to do, and he gave the project his blessing. One of my favorite stories about our early acquaintance took place at a Knoxville restaurant. We were discussing the case of a young woman who had been stabbed to death, and suddenly, to illustrate a point, Bill reached across the table, snatched away my plate, and began stabbing my lunch with a steak knife. People at the nearby tables looked shocked for a moment, then – when they recognized the guy with the knife in his hand – they smiled, nodded, and went back to eating.

EC:. Both already accomplished professionals in very different fields, what was it that gave you the inspiration to start writing crime fiction together?

Bass: For years, people had been asking me to write a book about my career, but I’m not good at writing anything but scientific articles. While Jon was working on the National Geographic documentary, he wrote a magazine article about the Body Farm, and it was very good. So I asked him if he’d work with me on a book, and he said yes. Our first book together was a nonfiction memoir, Death’s Acre, was a lot of fun to do. We spent two mornings a week going over my case files and my life, and the book got excellent reviews in both the U.S. and the U.K. After that, Jon suggested doing a series of crime novels. I was a little dubious about whether anyone would buy the books, but I was willing to let Jon give it a try. Turns out he was right.

EC: One of the best parts of your book is the fact that your descriptions of procedures and bodies are, with very good reason, extremely accurate and realistic. Are any of the descriptions you use based on your personal experiences of bodies and cases?

Bass: Absolutely. For example, in the first novel in the series, Carved in Bone, the plot revolves around a body that’s found in a cave. It’s the body of a young woman, and she’s been there for 30 years. During that time, the damp environment of the cave has chemically transformed her soft tissue into a substance called adipocere (the word literally means “grave wax”), and her features have been remarkably preserved. During my career, I’ve worked on several cases involving adipocere, and one of those – a man – was instantly recognizable.

EC: Do you find people have a macabre interest in your books because of the body farm? Have donations to your research gone up or down as a result of your books?

Bass: Donations have definitely gone up. We now have about sixteen hundred people on what I call our “waiting list” – people who have filled out the paperwork to donate their bodies.

Jefferson: ! The number of donations per year has roughly tripled since the National Geographic documentary and the books. In fact, for awhile, every time the documentary was broadcast, there’d be a spike in the number of people calling to ask how to donate their bodies. The books have continued that trend. At one of our book signings, a woman handed us the book to sign, then she handed us her body-donation form, and asked to serve as the two legal witnesses who are required to co-sign the form. That was a first!

EC: So, The Bones of Avignon is your 6th book about dynamic Body Farm manager Dr. Bill Brockton and there is a 7th one already released in the USA. What do you have planned for next him, as well as yourselves?

JB: Actually, novel #7 in the U.S. – called The Inquisitor’s Key – is actually the same book as The Bones of Avignon, just differently titled. Our U.S. publisher was afraid that American readers would be less familiar with Avignon, and its important role in European history, than British readers, so we came up with a different title. They both work, in different ways. What’s next? We’re considering a story involving a serial killer – one who seems to be particularly impressed by, and obsessed with, Dr. Brockton.

EC: You don’t just write fiction together, do you? Can you tell us something about the other stuff that you have written together?

Jefferson: Here’s a story-behind-the-story about our first book, the non-fiction memoir Death’s Acre. That one almost had a premature and very unhappy ending, one that would have scotched the whole series of crime novels.

Bass: Shortly after we signed the contract for the book, I was on my way home from Nashville, where I’d given a talk. My wife and I stopped at a restaurant for lunch, and while we were sitting there, I blacked out and slumped over, with no pulse. Luckily, one of the other people eating lunch there was the local medical examiner, who got me on an ambulance very quickly. A few days later I left the hospital – with a new pacemaker installed to keep my heart from stopping again.

EC: What sort of books do you prefer to read yourselves? Which authors inspire you the most?

Bass: I like non-fiction best – biography and history. Especially the American historian Stephen Ambrose, who wrote excellent books about World War II and about the explorers Lewis and Clark.

Jefferson: I bounce back and forth between fiction and non-fiction. I’m a huge fan of the American novelist Cormac McCarthy, whose work is often quite dark and violent but whose language is astonishingly beautiful. One of the current crime writers I admire a lot is Michael Connelly, whose Los Angeles homicide detective Harry Bosch is a great character. Another favorite is Dennis Lehane, whose novel Mystic River is a fine, fine piece of work.

EC: How hard was it to find a publisher for your books? Did you find that it was easier than usual, given your own, already considerable, reputations or did that make it harder?

JB: Our non-fiction book, Death’s Acre, was miraculously easy. When we finished the book proposal, we sent it to a literary agent who’d expressed a lot of interest in the project. Even before he shared it with a single publishing house, he got a call from an editor who’d gotten wind of it, begging to see it. The editor loved it and quickly offered us a contract. The fiction deal wasn’t quite that easy, but nearly so. Our first editor decided not to buy the fiction, but the next one we approached snapped it up. Interestingly, she’d grown up in Tennessee, and had heard Bill lecture in one of her classes when she was in high school, so she already knew quite a bit about the Body Farm, and was delighted to buy a fiction series that was based there. We’ve been very, very fortunate.

EC: Any UK signings planned?

JB: We don’t currently have anything scheduled, but will hope for a chance at some point!

EC: And finally, do you still get a buzz when a new book comes out or does the excitement start to wear off after the first couple of years?

JB: It’s always exciting when it finally turns into a real book. You spend months and months working on something, send it in, and – even though we’ve published a fair number of books by now – there’s always a sneaking suspicion that it’s all a joke or a hoax, that the manuscript has just disappeared into a black hole. Then one day, almost as if by magic, a printed copy arrives by overnight courier: one special, sacred copy. A few days later, there are thousands and thousands of them. It’s especially fun when someone traveling abroad – in London or Dublin or Germany or Japan – sends a photo of the books lined up on the shelves of a bookshop overseas. That’s when it finally seems real, that yes, they really did print this, and people really are buying and reading it. So yes, it’s exciting every time!

Many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, gentlemen. All the best with your UK launch of The Bones of Avignon. We hope it is as successful here as it is in the US.

Many thanks to Quercus for arranging this interview and providing a review copy of The Bones of Avalon.

Monday, August 06, 2012

New Titles from Simon & Schuster

Browsing through the new Simon & Schuster catalogue for  July-December 2012, these are the titles of "euro crime"  interest:


N J Cooper - Vengeance in Mind (paperback) (#4 Karen Taylor, Psychologist)
Camilla Grebe & Asa Traff - Some Kind of Peace
The Medieval Murderers - The First Murder


Chris Carter - The Death Sculptor (#4 Homicide Detective Robert Hunter, LA)
Michael Dobbs - A Sentimental Traitor (paperback) (#5 Harry Jones)
Casey Hill - Torn (#2 Riley Steel, Forensic Investigator, Dublin)
A J Kazinski - The Last Good Man (paperback)
Kristina Ohlsson - Silenced (#2 Inspector Alex Recht & team)


Bruno Hare - The Wreck
Lynda La Plante - Prime Suspect (paperback reissue)
Kevin Power - What Richard Did (film tie-in edition of Bad Day in Black Rock)


Lynda La Plante - She's Out (paperback reissue) (non crime)
Jack Steel - The Ripper Secret


Dean Crawford - Continuum (#3 Ethan Warner)

Lynda La Plante - The Legacy (paperback reissue)


Lee Weeks - Dead of Winter (#1 DC Ebony Willis, London)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

New Reviews: Anderson, Black, Blake, Bruce, Gerhardsen, Jardine, Lackberg, Peacock, Wood

Here are this week's 9 new reviews which have now been added to the Euro Crime website:
Lynn Harvey reviews Just Business by Geraint Anderson, who has written "a fully-fledged thriller around the Cityboy character of Steve Jones";

Mark Bailey reviews Tony Black's Murder Mile the second in the DI Rob Brennan series set in Edinburgh;

Terry Halligan reviews the first of Nicholas Blake's Nigel Strangeways books, A Question of Proof which has been recently been republished by Vintage;

Michelle Peckham reviews Alison Bruce's The Calling the third in the DC Goodhew, Cambridge-based series which is now out in paperback;

I review Carin Gerhardsen's The Gingerbread House, tr. Paul Norlen the first in the Hammarby (police) series set in Stockholm;

Susan White reviews Quintin Jardine's Grievous Angel in which Bob Skinner looks back at his early career;

Maxine Clarke reviews Camilla Lackberg's The Drowning, tr. Tiina Nunnally which is now out in paperback;

Lizzie Hayes reviews Caro Peacock's fifth Liberty Lane mystery, Keeping Bad Company set in 1840

and Terry also reviews Tom Wood's The Enemy the second in the Victor hitman series.
Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

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

Friday, August 03, 2012

Sneak Peek at Broken Harbour

Tana French's Broken Harbour has recently been published. You can read the first 20 pages here (a pdf hosted on the Euro Crime website and provided by the publishers).

Maxine has already reviewed it for Petrona.

Official synopsis: In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin - half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned - two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder squad's star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once. Scorcher's personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she's resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk ...

Thursday, August 02, 2012

On Your Knees - Copycat Covers

Both covers appeared in 2010.

Mark Timlin's Guns of Brixton is 85p on Kindle UK at the moment and Geoff Jones has reviewed it for Euro Crime.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Review: The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen

The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen translated by Paul Norlen, April 2012, 254 pages, Stockholm Text, ISBN: 9187173239

THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE is the first in the Hammarby (Stockholm) series and features DCI Conny Sjoberg and his team.

The book opens with a scene from nearly forty years earlier involving a six-year-old boy, Thomas, being bullied terribly by his classmates. Thirty-eight years later Thomas is living a quiet and friendless life when he spots the chief culprit in the bullying, Hans, and follows him to his home and then on to a deserted house.

Sjoberg is called in when the home-owner returns from a long stay in hospital to find a dead man in her kitchen. The man is soon identified as Hans and the police investigation begins its thorough look at Hans's life. The reader knows more than Sjoberg and that this is only the first of the murders and soon more forty-four-year-olds are dying unpleasantly but their geographical distance apart means that the trend is not picked up until very near the end.

As well as the main murder enquiry, one of Sjoberg's team, Police Assistant Petra Westerman is carrying out her own investigation into a personal matter - after she wakes up in an unknown bed after a drinking session.

In addition to the two police cases, there are chapters from Thomas and from the 'Diary of a Murderer'.

THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE is an intriguing police procedural which also looks at the issue of childhood bullying and the long-lasting impact it has. The outcome to the story is somewhat unexpected and the author does well with her misdirection of the reader. Sjoberg, with his loving wife and large brood of children (including two adopted twins) reminded me somewhat of Dell Shannon's Lt. Mendoza and makes a refreshing change to the often troubled/alcoholic/divorced protagonist. I look forward to reading more about the Hammarby detectives especially as Petra's mystery looks set to continue into the next book.

The translation into American English is by Paul Norlen (who is currently translating Leif G W Persson's trilogy). I did raise my eyebrows when something cost "ten bucks" rather than ten krona however this may not be in the final version.

THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE is available in both print and electronic (Epub, Kindle* and Nook) versions and is one of several new and welcome releases from Stockholm Text.

Read another review of THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE.

*The Kindle version has (temporarily I presume?) disappeared from but is still on It is also available as an Epub from Waterstones and Nook from Barnes & Noble.