Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: The Sixth Soul by Mark Roberts

The Sixth Soul by Mark Roberts, October 2013, 368 pages, Corvus, ISBN: 0857897896

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

This book, which is Mark Roberts’ first venture into writing for adults, is absolutely mind blowing and at times downright chilling. It is perfect! However, his plot centres on a very sensitive subject area – the killing of pregnant women and the subsequent harvest of their unborn children – so it won't be suitable for everyone. There is one particularly gruesome murder scene that is so well written it could cause people who like their fiction a little less nasty some distress, but don’t let this put you off.

The book is set in London and the policeman whose unpleasant task it is to catch the latest serial killer is DCI David Rosen. David is a really likeable character and, as the book progresses, you like him more, not less. He is devoted to his wife, and she to him, and they support each other beautifully. Also, she is tolerant and understanding of his working hours, which makes a nice change. The killer, dubbed “Herod”, has killed four pregnant women, and removed their babies, prior to the start of the novel. The story begins with the capture of his fifth victim and then follows what he does to her after that. It soon becomes clear that he has an extremely unpleasant, occult-focused, reason for doing what he is doing and intends to capture a sixth and final woman to complete his plans.

Still very much in the dark and becoming increasingly desperate for clues, as well as under scrutiny from his bosses, who want to take the case away from him, Rosen is contacted by a strange priest, called Father Sebastian Flint, who used to work for the Vatican and claims he has experience of exorcism. Rosen doesn’t really trust Father Sebastian and digs out some very worrying information about him. Meanwhile, victim number five is discovered, dead and mutilated, and the race is on to catch the killer before he abducts his sixth and final victim.

True to form, I found this book entirely absorbing, despite its uncomfortable subject matter, and was on the edge of my seat for most of the two days I took to read it. If you like your crime fiction nasty then this one is for you. I have high hopes that Rosen and his team will come back in another book to make this a trilogy or a series, we will have to see…

Highly recommended.

Read another Euro Crime review of THE SIXTH SOUL.

Amanda Gillies, October 2013.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Broadchurch News

Acclaimed ITV series Broadchurch is to become a book, co-written by the series creator Chris Chibnall and Erin Kelly. From The Independent:
The novel will elaborate on the existing plot and delve deeper into the lives and backstories of the characters. It will also include “previously unseen material”, according to publishers Little, Brown.

The acclaimed drama, written by Law & Order and Doctor Who writer Chibnall, followed a grief-stricken family coming to terms with the mysterious death of their son Tom Latimer.

Chibnall said: “The day after Broadchurch finished, a woman stopped me on West Bay beach and asked me ‘When’s the book coming out?’. Now I have an answer! Even better, we have one of Britain’s best psychological thriller authors at the helm.”

Kelly, whose novels include The Burning Air and The Poison Tree, said she was “thrilled” to be writing the novel alongside Chibnall.

“Like everyone else I know, I was gripped and moved by Broadchurch. I’m utterly thrilled to be writing the novel, not least because it gave me an excuse to watch the whole series again, multiple times,” she said.
“It’s testament to the writing, the performances and the photography that I was spellbound even when I knew the outcome. I can’t wait to delve even deeper into the hearts and thoughts of the characters and to bring the town to life on the page.”

A second series has been commissioned but there are no details at the moment with TV Dagger Awards winners David Tennant and Olivia Colman unconfirmed for the sequel. Meanwhile David Tennant is reprising his role for the US remake.

Review: I Can See in the Dark by Karin Fossum tr. James Anderson

I Can See in the Dark by Karin Fossum translated by James Anderson, July 2013, 256 pages, Harvill Secker, ISBN: 1846556139

I CAN SEE IN THE DARK doesn't feature Karin Fossum's series detective Inspector Sejer but rather is a short book about a dysfunctional character called Riktor.

Riktor, lives on his own, has no friends or family and works in a care home for the elderly where he does nasty things to the residents – pinches them, flushes their medication away and so on. He often sits in a nearby park where he gets acquainted with a down and out alcoholic Arnfinn. Arnfinn begins to come round to Riktor's for a drink until something awful happens.

But then Riktor is arrested for the murder of a resident of the care home, however he isn't guilty of that crime. Will he get convicted, should he be convicted or does he deserve a second chance?

I CAN SEE IN THE DARK falls in the psychological crime genre rather than a whodunnit or police procedural though there is a very determined Inspector who knows Riktor's done something bad. It's an interesting story, musing on justice and the law and even makes the reader, ironically, root for Riktor to escape being wrongly convicted. This is not one of my favourite Fossums but a different reader may get more out of it than I did. If you like her later Sejer books then you will probably enjoy this one.

Read another review of I CAN SEE IN THE DARK.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TV News: Inspector Montalbano & a Voice in the Night

The third episode of the latest series of Inspector Montalbano is A Voice in the Night on Saturday 2nd November at 9pm on BBC Four:
A supermarket controlled by a Mafia family is robbed, setting off a chain of events in which the Mafia's political links start to transpire. Montalbano finds himself having to conduct his investigation using even more unconventional methods and this time he does something he's never done before.
A Voice in the Night is based on Andrea Camilleri's eighteenth Montalbano novel, Una Voce di Notte, which has not yet been translated into English. Though published in Italy in 2012, I believe the story is set a few years earlier.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New Reviews: Brett, Ellis, Hauxwell, Nickson, Persson, Perry, Reichs, Thomas, Wheatley

This week's set of reviews, added to Euro Crime today, is a mixture of new reviews and a catch-up of those posted directly on the blog in the last two weeks, so you may have read some of them before if you're a regular :).

NB. There is also a Euro Crime page on Facebook which you can like and will keep you up to date with the blog (plus occasional extras).

New Reviews

Brother and sister detecting duo Blotto and Twinks are back in Simon Brett's Blotto, Twinks and the Riddle of the Sphinx, reviewed here by Mark Bailey;

Susan White reviews P R Ellis's Painted Ladies which introduces copper turned PI, Jasmine Frame;

Amanda Gillies reviews A Bitter Taste by Annie Hauxwell, the second book in her Catherine Berlin series;

Michelle Peckham reviews Chris Nickson's  Fair and Tender Ladies, the sixth in his Richard Nottingham series set in Leeds;
Laura Root reviews Leif G W Persson's He Who Kills the Dragon, tr. Neil Smith, the second in the Evert Backstrom series;

Terry Halligan reviews the latest in the Thomas Pitt series from Anne Perry, Death on Blackheath;

I review Kathy Reichs's Tempe Brennan short story Bones in Her Pocket;

Lynn Harvey reviews Ostland by David Thomas

and Terry also reviews the reissue of Dennis Wheatley's The Forbidden Territory.

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, October 25, 2013

Awards News: CWA Gold, Steel & Creasey Winners & the TV Dagger Winners

The winners of the CWA Gold, Steel and Creasey Daggers were announced last night along with the TV Dagger winners (full press release below):

Gold Dagger Shortlist

Belinda Bauer for Rubbernecker (Bantam/Transworld)
Lauren Beukes for The Shining Girls (HarperCollins)
Mick Herron for Dead Lions (Soho Crime) - Winner
Becky Masterman for Rage Against the Dying (Orion)

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Shortlist

Roger Hobbs for Ghostman (Transworld) - Winner
Stuart Neville for Ratlines (Random House)
Mark Oldfield for The Sentinel (Head of Zeus)
Robert Wilson for Capital Punishment (Orion)

John Creasey Dagger Shortlist

Hanna Jameson for Something You Are (Head of Zeus)
Malcolm Mackay for The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter (Mantle)
Derek B Miller for Norwegian by Night (Faber and Faber) - Winner
Thomas Mogford for Shadow of the Rock (Bloomsbury)

Press Release
The ceremony will be shown on ITV3 at 9pm on Sunday October 27, and a full list of winners is below

The awards, now in their sixth year, marked the culmination of ITV3’s six-week prime time series, The Crime Thriller Club which included a crime thriller version of the successful TV Book Club.

‘Living legends’ Martina Cole and Wilbur Smith were inducted into the CWA Hall of Fame at the awards ceremony in recognition of their contributions to the genre.

In a brand new award for 2013, The Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read was awarded to Malcolm MacKay for The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter. Chosen as The Crime Thriller Book Club book of the series by a group of independent publishing experts from the Crime Thriller Awards Academy, The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter beat titles by Linwood Barclay, Megan Abbott, Christopher Fowler, Diana Bretherick and Andrew Taylor.

Malcolm MacKay said: “It’s a huge honour and thrill to win. To be included in such a strong list of nominees is a wonderful thing for any young writer.”

This year’s CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year was won by Mick Herron for Dead Lions, a tale of secrets which refuse to die in the shady world of Cold War spooks. Herron’s book fought off intense competition from Belinda Bauer’s Rubbernecker, Lauren Beukes’s The Shining Girls and Becky Masterman’s Rage Against The Dying to take the accolade.

Mick Herron commented: "My shelves are crammed with Gold Dagger-winning novels of the past - The Mermaids Singing, Black and Blue, Bones and Silence. I can't quite believe I get to put my own book next to them."

The CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for Best New Crime Writer of the Year was awarded to Derek B Miller for his debut novel Norwegian by Night. In a boon year for debut crime fiction Norwegian by Night and its 82-year-old ex-Marine protagonist squared up against Hanna Jameson’s Something You Are, Malcolm Mackay’s The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter and Thomas Mogford’s Shadow of the Rock to nab the top spot.

Derek B. Miller said: “My sincere thanks to the judges and the Crime Writers' Association. This award feels less like a victory than a wonderful form of encouragement. And I appreciate that, deeply, because no one has ever encouraged me to write before. Tolerated me writing … sure. But encouraged me? Not as much. So thank you.”

The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year went to Roger Hobbs for Ghostman. This distinctive thriller slugged it out against impressive enemies Stuart Neville for Ratlines, Mark Oldfield for The Sentinel and Robert Wilson for Capital Punishment to secure victory.

Roger Hobbs said: "I'm exceptionally honoured to have won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. It's a dream come true. This award puts me in the company of so many writers I admire, like Steve Hamilton, Gillian Flynn, and Jeffery Deaver. When I was writing this book in the basement of my college library, scrounging off old pizza and bad coffee, I never imagined I'd end up here. I want to offer my sincerest thanks to all the family, friends, and co-workers who helped me make this dream possible."

Amanda Ross, Managing Director of Cactus TV, who created the Awards for ITV3 said: ‘This is one of the most popular genre of fiction on the screen and in books, so it’s wonderful to be able to have this great celebration of talent courtesy of Specsavers.’

Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers founder, said: ‘As a personal fan of a blood curdling read, it’s been a pleasure to be a part of the Crime Thriller Awards for the fifth year running. We’re very proud to be involved in this annual showcase of world class writing, acting and production and would like to congratulate all the winners and nominees.’


● The Film Dagger

● The TV Dagger

● The International TV Dagger
The Killing III

● The Best Supporting Actor Dagger
Andrew Buchan for Broadchurch

● The Best Supporting Actress Dagger
Amelia Bullmore for Scott & Bailey

● The Best Actor Dagger
David Tennant for Broadchurch

● The Best Actress Dagger
Olivia Colman for Broadchurch

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review: The Forbidden Territory by Dennis Wheatley

The Forbidden Territory by Dennis Wheatley, October 2013, 256 pages, Bloomsbury Reader, ISBN: 1448213061

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

This very gripping and thrilling adventure story starts when the Duke De Richleau summons his financier friend Simon Aron to his Mayfair house to advise him over dinner, that their wealthy American friend Rex Van Ryn appears to have entered into Russia but has now disappeared. Richleau has received a letter, written in code, from him and he and Simon easily translate the message to the effect that their mutual friend has entered Russia (then under the control of Joseph Stalin) looking for mineral wealth and had been imprisoned, possibly in Siberia! Richleau and Simon agree to go to Russia, find him and rescue him with all possible speed.

Simon can't go immediately as he needs to make arrangements at his City office for cover in his absence but the Duke is a man of leisure and also speaks fluent Russian and says he will arrange to go immediately and the two friends agree to meet in the middle of Moscow two weeks later.

The friends, also including Richard Eaton, have many exciting adventures through Siberia and across the plains, mountains and forests of Soviet Russia, whilst being hunted by the Russian Secret Police. Ryn in now in prison somewhere within that vast country and the friends must find him without official papers.

This story has a freshness and impact that I found very encouraging in a first novel particularly one that has just been republished but edited with an introduction by his grandson Dominic Wheatley. It was originally first published in 1933 and was an immediate success selling a huge amount of copies and establishing Wheatley as a very popular international adventure author. His writing influenced many writers of today. From there he went on to great financial success from his books and was a prolific author of over sixty published titles. In the 1960s he was selling over a million books a year. He died in 1977. All of his titles will be republished in ebook and paperback in the coming months introducing this very gifted author to many new readers.

I enjoyed THE FORBIDDEN TERRITORY very much and remember reading with equal enjoyment some of his other books back in the 1960s or 1970s. This book did not seem dated at all and was a very suspenseful story told with great panache. Recommended.

Terry Halligan, October 2013.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

TV News: Inspector Montalbano & the Hall of Mirrors

The second episode of the latest series of Inspector Montalbano (with Luca Zingaretti) is Hall of Mirrors on Saturday 26th October at 9pm on BBC Four:
A bomb goes off outside an empty store-room in a quiet Vigata street. Montalbano commences his investigation, but is soon disorientated by a series of disparate events, including the acquaintance of an attractive and mysterious woman
Hall of Mirrors is based on Andrea Camilleri's eighteenth Montalbano novel, Il gioco degli specchi, which has not yet been translated into English. The title comes from the film Lady from Shanghai.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Fair and Tender Ladies by Chris Nickson

Fair and Tender Ladies by Chris Nickson, September 2013, 224 pages, Creme de la Crime, ISBN: 1780290551

Reviewed by Michelle Peckham.
(Read more of Michelle's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

This is the sixth book in a series of historical crime fiction, set in Leeds in the early 1700s. Public order is maintained by the Constable of Leeds, Richard Nottingham, along with his deputy John Sedgwich, and various other of his ‘men’ including Rob Lister, son of the owner of the Leeds Mercury, and who is courting Richard’s sole surviving daughter, Emily.

The story starts with a brother, Jem Carter, looking for his missing sister Jenny, who had come to Leeds to seek her fortune. Of course, it is highly likely that she’s ended up in one of the many brothels, but no-one seems to have seen her, not even the new owners of the late Amos Worthy’s old establishment, Mrs Wade, and her son and two daughters (the ‘fair and tender ladies’ of the title perhaps?). Then, shortly afterwards, Jem’s badly beaten dead body is found. Had he been asking questions in the wrong places? And then a face from the past turns up in Leeds, Tom Finer. A scoundrel that Nottingham thought he was rid of, when he went off to London. What is he doing in Leeds again? What underhand deeds is he planning? Finer claims he is a changed man, but Nottingham doesn’t believe him. And in another strand of the book, we learn about Emily and her charity school for young daughters of the poor. She inherited some money from Amos when he died, which she has used to set up the school. But then the school is attacked, and Nottingham is affected badly. He is worried that someone is targeting another member of his family, and yet again he will lose someone precious to him.

As with the previous books, slowly but surely, Nottingham starts to uncover what is behind the various events, from Jem’s murder, to Jenny’s disappearance, to Tom Finer’s motives and the person or persons behind the attacks on Emily’s school. Mostly through hard slog, and a relentless need to talk to anyone and everyone to find out what people have heard and seen, even the people on the fringes of society. Nothing is too easy, and there is plenty to sadden Nottingham's heart during his attempts to get to the truth. With plenty of side stories, and descriptions of 1730s Leeds to entertain, this book is as good a read as the previous books in the series, and let’s hope its not the last.

Michelle Peckham, October 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: Ostland by David Thomas

Ostland by David Thomas, July 2013, 448 pages, Quercus, ISBN: 1780877366

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

Ludwigsburg, West Germany,1959.
When the police chief is arrested the investigating team are jubilant. There had been opportunities in the past to pin him down but until now he had always slipped through the net. Now they have proved grounds for his arrest. But will the charges stick at the trial itself? It is down to the investigative team to build a watertight case and to prove that this clever and well-respected detective was also a Nazi war-criminal.

Berlin, 1941.
Georg Heuser, in his best suit, starched shirt and polished shoes, is reporting to police headquarters. It is his first day on the job after completing training at the police college. The punctilious and talented Georg is shocked by the Murder Office which turns out to be a squalid dingy room staffed by an untidy secretary. His own boss is dishevelled and unshaven. But then this overworked police team is hunting the notorious “S-Bahn killer”; a beast who has prowled the suburban train routes of blacked-out wartime Berlin and brutally raped, beaten and stabbed numerous women; six dead so far, another six having miraculously escaped death. The team are exhausted and they are about to discover that the killer has claimed a seventh victim. Berlin, indeed The Reich, wants this killer caught and everyone in the police command structure is taking a close interest in the hunt, including their overall chief SS General Reinhard Heydrich...

In another writing life journalist David Thomas publishes successful thrillers under the pen name Tom Cain. OSTLAND is Thomas's second book under his own name, the first being BLOOD RELATIVE. Based on historical facts and characters, much of OSTLAND is written as the first person narrative of police inspector Georg Heuser and tells his story from his first criminal investigation in 1941 Berlin to his later activities in the killing fields of Minsk (in present day Belarus) before the area fell to the Soviets in 1944. It is the story of Heuser's transformation from good civil detective to a Nazi war-criminal. “Ostland” was the name given to the Baltic States by the Nazis during the years of their occupation. It was an area which became the horrific setting for Reinhard Heydrich's “Final Solution” with many German and Austrian Jews, for instance, being transported to Minsk for “processing”. Heuser's story is interspersed with that of the German post-war investigative team, and Heuser's subsequent 1960s trial for presiding over and participating in the mass execution of Russian, German and Austrian Jews in the Minsk ghetto and its surrounding villages. In this way not only does Thomas try to get to grips with Heuser's transformation from good detective to mass-executioner, but with the consequences of the fact that he returned to Germany and eventually to a respected career with the West German police.

Aside from the 1960s investigation, I found Heuser's story fell into two parts: the police hunt for the man behind the S-Bahn murders in which Heuser plays a part; and the calculated horrors of the extermination “actions” of Ostland – in which Heuser also plays a part. I found the beginning of the book slightly clunky, perhaps brought about by too blunt an injection of historical facts and by an uncertain feel to Heuser's “voice”. But the “S-Bahn Killer” episode becomes truly gripping as a crime story in its own right. And in the later part of the book – where Heuser is transformed by his Ostland experiences – the writing seems more integrated and the voice of Heuser more sure and believable.

This is a harrowing book, laying out as it does the brutal precision of The Holocaust. How successful Thomas has been in depicting Heuser's inner world and his transformation I am unsure. But it was a huge undertaking and the book remains a revelation of the breadth of the plan to liquidate a people, the unforgiving brutalities of war and racial hatred and their effect upon victim and perpetrator alike – and the ambiguous nature of “the good servant”.

Lynn Harvey, October 2013.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mini Review: Bones in Her Pocket by Kathy Reichs

Bones in Her Pocket by Kathy Reichs, ebook, July 2013, Cornerstone Digital

Though I have been a great fan of Bones the tv series (until the latest series where I gave up) I have never read any of Kathy Reichs's books. So when this short story was offered on Netgalley I decided here was my way in to the Temperance Brennan series which now numbers sixteen.

Bones in Her Pocket is set in North Carolina and Dr Temperance Brennan is called in when some bones are found washed up on a lakeside. This is the second discovery of bones in this area and could be related to the disappearance of a female student. It is Brennan's job to determine cause of death and an identity of the owner of the bones. Also near the lake are a power station, an environmental activist and a bird rescue centre all of which play a part in solving the murder enquiry which ensues.

This is a short story, hard to say exactly how many pages (I read it on a Kindle) but at least 50, and so it is a proper tale with several characters, some interrogations and a dramatic reveal at the end. I enjoyed it once I got used to the author's very clipped style. And in fact I've downloaded the latest book in the series, Bones of the Lost. I would recommend Bones in Her Pocket as a good way to sample the Brennan series.

Monday, October 14, 2013

TV News: Ol' Salvo's back in Town (ie the return of Inspector Montalbano)

Inspector Montalbano (with Luca Zingaretti) returns to BBC Four on Saturday 19th October at 9pm with the first of four episodes (from 2013):
Angelica's Smile
A series of burglaries takes place at the houses of wealthy Vigata residents. One of the victims is a beguiling young bank manager called Angelica, to whom Salvo finds he is soon attracted. As the investigation progresses, Montalbano starts to suspect that the burglaries might be a cover for something rather more sinister.
Angelica's Smile is based on Andrea Camilleri's seventeenth Montalbano novel, Il sorriso di Angelica, which is the next book to appear in English in June 2014 in both the US and the UK. At the rate I'm watching these I will have read the book first! But as the saying goes, one can never be too rich, too thin ... or have too much Montalbano (whatever his age).

Sunday, October 13, 2013

New Reviews: Bonner, Chase, Colfer, Forsyth, Jones, McIntosh, Masterton, Sundstol, Zouroudi

This week's set of reviews, added to Euro Crime today, is a mixture of new reviews and a catch-up of those posted directly on the blog in the last two weeks, so you may have read some of them before if you're a regular :).

Useful Information:
I've now set up the 2014 International Dagger Eligibles post so you can see which 76 (so far) titles are  published in the qualifying period.
There is a similar post for the 2014 Petrona Award Eligibles.
There is also a Euro Crime page on Facebook which you can like and will keep you up to date with the blog (plus occasional extras).

New Reviews

It's been a 9 year gap between books but Hilary Bonner is back with The Cruellest Game reviewed here by Susan White;

Michelle Peckham reviews  Wicked Game, the first in a new series by E V Seymour writing as Adam Chase, starring assassin for hire, Hex;
Lynn Harvey reviews Eoin Colfer's Screwed, the sequel to Plugged, which is now out in paperback;

Terry Halligan reviews Frederick Forsyth's The Kill List;
Geoff Jones reviews J Sydney Jones's Ruin Value set in Nuremberg at the time of the trials;

Terry also reviews The Fourth Crow by Pat McIntosh, the ninth in the Gil Cunningham series set in medieval Glasgow;
Rich Westwood reviews Graham Masterton's Broken Angels, the second in the Superintendent Katie Maguire series set in Cork, and warns it has some strong content;

Laura Root reviews Vidar Sundstol's The Land of Dreams, tr. Tiina Nunnally, the first part in his "Minnesota Trilogy"

and Amanda Gillies reviews the seventh in the Greek Hermes Diaktoros series from Anne Zouroudi: The Feast of Artemis.

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

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

Saturday, October 12, 2013

TV News: The Tunnel on Sky Atlantic

As well as Talking to the Dead, Sky is also showing next week, the first episode of The Tunnel based on the Swedish/Danish The Bridge and not surprisingly features a body in the Channel Tunnel.

Set primarily in Folkestone and Calais where detectives Karl Roebuck and Elise Wassermann are called to investigate the death of a French politician. When a shocking discovery is made at the crime scene, the pair is forced into an uneasy partnership as they seek out a politically-motivated serial killer who draws them into his own personal agenda.

The Tunnel begins on Wednesday at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

(I still haven't watched The Bridge though I really want to. Should I watch The Tunnel first or stick it on the HD as well and watch it after The Bridge, or not bother at all? )

Friday, October 11, 2013

Review: Wicked Game by Adam Chase

Wicked Game by Adam Chase, September 2013, 320 pages, Cutting Edge Press, ISBN: 9781908122605

Reviewed by Michelle Peckham.
(Read more of Michelle's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

A new author to me, and the first book from this author*, this is a book about the underworld of professional assassins and general bad dealings. The book begins with the attempted murder of a microbiologist, Dr Mary Wilding by a man known as ‘Hex’ (real name: Joshua Thane). However, when Hex sneaks into her bedroom to kill her, he finds the deed has already been done, the hard drive he has been tasked with acquiring, is missing, and, horror of horrors, he bumps into Mary’s seventeen-year-old son Jake. Instead of killing him (as he should have done), he spares him and runs away. Now, his reputation is in tatters, there is a strong possibility that Jake will be able to identify him, and his paymaster will want to know what went wrong, and what Hex plans to do about it. Moreover, it seems that Mary Wilding’s research was highly secretive, morally suspect and highly dangerous, and of great interest to Mossad, the CIA and MI5.

Hex sets off on a quest to try to find out who really killed Mary and why, what happened to the hard drive, and why everyone is so keen to find it. He uses his wide range of nefarious contacts to try to get to the truth, but everyone seems to have something to hide. He forms an uneasy alliance with a female MI5 agent about halfway through the book, and they each use each other to uncover the truth, and prevent the release of the data on the missing hard drive. During Hex’s search, we gradually find out a bit about his sad past, and why he has turned into an assassin for hire, in an attempt to elicit some sympathy for the main character who seems to be turning from a hard boiled efficient assassin into a somewhat decent sort of man after all.

It all ends in the sort of high impact showdown one might expect from this type of book, and I’m sure the book could easily be turned into an action movie, with a chisel jawed lead actor, and a pretty but tough female sidekick. Written reasonably efficiently, not too emotionally draining, this is a good action yarn, somewhat reminiscent of  Matt Hilton's Joe Hunter books in some ways. The main character Hex is a bit two-dimensional, but perhaps with further outings may become a bit more interesting as the character is fleshed out. The plot is fairly logical, but mainly consists of the major players being eliminated one by one, until the true culprits are the only ones left. Hex seems a bit slow to pick up on some very obvious clues. But overall, a promising first outing.

Michelle Peckham, October 2013

*Update: It has now been revealed that Adam Chase is author E V Seymour.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

TV News: Talking to the Dead

Sky Living are showing a two-part adaptation of Harry Bingham's Talking to the Dead as part of their Drama Matters season.

The first part is on Tuesday 15th October at 9pm on Sky Living, the second part is on Thursday, 17th October at 9pm.

Sophie Rundle plays a young rookie cop with a brilliant mind, a mysterious past and a deep empathy with the dead. The drama also features Russell Tovey, Keith Allen and Michael Smiley.

Watch a clip at the Sky website.

DC Fiona Griffiths reappears in Love Story, With Murders which came out in June.

Publishing Deal - Joakim Zander

Head of Zeus will be publishing Swedish author Joakim Zander's The Swimmer next year. (I'm not sure who is translating yet). From The Bookseller:
Head of Zeus has acquired Swedish “fast-paced thriller” d├ębut The Swimmer by Joakim Zander after a heated auction.

The book about a father searching for his daughter was recently sold at auction in 18 countries including HarperCollins US, which bought the book for a seven-figure sum.

Head of Zeus will publish in hardback and e-book in July 2014.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Review: Ruin Value by J Sydney Jones

Ruin Value by J Sydney Jones, October 2013, 293 pages, Road, ISBN: 1480426911

Reviewed by Geoff Jones.
(Read more of Geoff's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Nuremberg, Germany, November 1945 and the trials are about to begin. The allies are here in force, the judges, lawyers, stenographers, journalists and the various armies. The German people are the vanquished, many living rough and suffering food shortages.

An American soldier is murdered and because he is in possession of stolen food, it is believed that it is a "black market" murder. The local Kripo chief inspector, Reinhard Manhof, believes this is so. When a second murder happens, this time a Russian soldier, the American Colonel Adams in charge of security fears the worst. Then when a French soldier is murdered he knows they need help.

Captain Nathan Morgan is recommended, he's ex-OSS and has also been a cop in the USA. He does not believe the Kripo are taking the murders seriously, and arranges for a disgraced ex-German policeman named Beck to get out of prison. Before the war Beck's reputation for tracking murderers was exemplary.

Morgan gets romantically involved with an American journalist called Kate Wallace whose father is a Senator, but can he trust her? When further murders are committed and not involving the armed forces, Morgan and Beck are desperate for leads, who is the murderer and why? Colonel Adams is desperate that nothing will deflect attention away from the trials.

J Sydney Jones is an author new to me; an American based in California but has lived in Vienna for some years and he based a mystery series in this city. RUIN VALUE kept my interest throughout and is well researched. The book title is apparently an architectural concept much admired by the Nazis. I enjoyed the detail about one of Hitler's favourite author’s - Karl May.


Geoff Jones, September 2013

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

TV News: Young Montalbano Ep.6 Seven Mondays

The final part of the six-episode run of Young Montalbano - Seven Mondays - is on Saturday 12 October at 9pm on BBC Four.

As Livia and Salvo prepare to go on their first holiday together, Vigata is shaken by the murder of a rich old man. Meanwhile, a series of strange occurrences takes place involving the shooting of a number of animals at the hands of an elusive gunman. With little evidence to go on, Montalbano and his team struggle to understand the logic behind the animal killings and fear that the worst may be yet to come.

The series is co-written by Andrea Camilleri and Francesco Bruni with the stories drawn from several short story collections.

According to Wikipedia a second series will begin shooting in late 2013.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Publishing Deal: Jo Nesbo

From Facebook (the Jo Nesbo page run by his UK publisher), details of a new venture:
Exciting news for Jo's fans! Jo's UK publisher Harvill Secker today announced the acquisition of TWO NEW NOVELS from Jo, writing under the pen name Tom Johansen. The first book from Jo writing as Tom Johansen, Blood on Snow, will be published in the UK & Commonwealth in autumn 2014 with the second book to follow in spring 2015.
Thanks to Neil Smith for the tip-off.

International Dagger Speculation (2014)

It's time to consider the titles eligible for the 2014 CWA International Dagger.

Here's the list so far of translated crime novels published between June 2013 and May 2014 ie the period of eligibility. There's 88* so far (cf 75 last year). NB. Only 1 book per author can be submitted for consideration.

For ease of purchase/library reservation here they are listed by UK month of publication:

In addition to the list I have set up a Good Reads widget on the right-hand side of the blog. This allows the covers to be visible plus you can add them to your wish-list on Good Reads. Should you wish to, you can subscribe to this list through RSS. I've added as many as I can find though I have used the original covers if the English one isn't on Good Reads yet.

In the list below I've also included the country of birth and gender of the author(s) plus the translator's name (where I can find it) and the publisher.

*this total includes titles published by Amazon Crossing, which I have flagged. I am not sure if these count as UK publications however I imagine people interested in this list will also be interested in these books. Also listed but not eligible are ebook only publications and short story collections. I have left them in for the same reason.

June 2013

Cedric Bannel - The Mandrake File (France, M) (tr. Polly McLean, Scribe)
Ioanna Bourazopoulou - What Lot's Wife Saw (Greece, F) (tr. Yannis Panas, Black & White Publishing)
Maurizio De Giovanni - The Crocodile (Italy, M) (tr. Antony Shugaar, Abacus (Little Brown))
Lotte and Soren Hammer - The Hanging (Denmark, B) (tr. Ebba Segerberg, Bloomsbury)
Antonio Hill - The Good Suicides (Spain, M) (tr. Laura McGloughlin, Transworld)
Pekka Hiltunen - Cold Courage (Finland, M) (tr. Owen Witesman, Hesperus Press Ltd)
Max Landorff - Tretjak (Germany, M) (tr. Baida Dar, Haus Publishing)
Claudia Pineiro - A Crack in the Wall (Argentina, F) (tr. Miranda France, Bitter Lemon Press)
Simon Urban - Plan D (Germany, M) (tr. Katy Derbyshire, Harvill Secker)
Gunnar Staalesen - Cold Hearts (Norway, M) (tr. Don Bartlett, Arcadia)

July 2013

Jussi Adler-Olsen - Redemption (apa A Conspiracy of Faith) (Denmark, M) (tr. Martin Aitken, Penguin)
Sara Blaedel - Blue Blood (apa Call Me Princess) (Denmark, F) (tr. Erik J Macki & Tara F Chace, Little, Bown (Sphere))
Arne Dahl - Bad Blood (Sweden, M) (tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles, Harvill Secker)
Elsebeth Egholm - Three Dog Night (Denmark, F) (tr. Chalotte Barslund & Don Bartlett, Headline)
Caryl Ferey - Mapuche (France, M) (tr. Steven Randall, Europa Editions)
Karin Fossum - I Can See in the Dark (Norway, F) (tr. James Anderson, Harvill Secker)
Philippe Georget - Summertime All the Cats are Bored (France, M) (tr. Steven Rendall, Europa Editions)
Michele Giuttari - The Dark Heart of Florence (Italy, M) (tr. Howard Curtis & Isabelle Kaufeler, Little Brown)
Grebe & Traff - More Bitter Than Death (Sweden, F) (tr. Tara F Chace, Simon & Schuster)
Mari Jungstedt - The Double Silence (Sweden, F) (tr. Tiina Nunnally Doubleday)
Lars Kepler - The Fire Witness (Sweden, B) (tr. Laura A Wideburg, Blue Door)
Nele Neuhaus - Snow White Must Die (Germany, F) (tr. Steven T Murray, Pan Macmillan)
Simone van der Vlugt - Safe as Houses (Holland, F) (tr. Michele Hutchinson, Canongate)
Marco Vichi - Death in Florence (Italy, M) (tr. Stephen Sartarelli, Hodder)

August 2013

Jakob Arjouni - Brother Kemal (Germany, M) (tr. Anthea Bell, No Exit Press)
Pascal Garnier - Moon in a Dead Eye (France, M) (tr. Emily Boyce, Gallic Books)
Arnaldur Indridason - Strange Shores (Iceland, M) (tr. Victoria Cribb, Harvill Secker)
Bernard Minier - The Frozen Dead (France, M) (tr. Alison Anderson, Mulholland Books)
Kristina Ohlsson - The Disappeared (Sweden, F) (tr. Marlaine Delargy, Simon & Schuster)
Arturo Perez-Reverte - The Siege (Spain, M) (tr. Frank Wynne, Orion)
Christoph Spielberg - 101 Nights (Germany, M) (tr. Christoph Spielberg & Christina Henry de Tessan, AmazonCrossing*)
Jan Costin Wagner - Light in a Dark House (Germany, M) (tr. Anthea Bell, Harvill Secker)

September 2013

Andrea Camilleri - The Treasure Hunt (Italy, M) (tr. Stephen Sartarelli, Mantle)
Gianrico Carofiglio - The Silence of the Wave (Italy, M) (tr. Howard Curtis, Bitter Lemon Press)
Anne Holt - Death of the Demon (Norway, F) (tr. Anne Bruce, Atlantic)
Steffen Jacobsen - When the Dead Awaken (Denmark, M) (tr. Charlotte Barslund, Quercus)
Charlotte Link - The Watcher (Germany, F) (tr. Stefan Tobler, Orion)
Liza Marklund - The Long Shadow (Sweden, F) (tr. Neil Smith, Corgi)
Jo Nesbo - Police (Norway, M) (tr. Don Bartlett, Harvill Secker)
Hakan Nesser - The Strangler's Honeymoon (Sweden, M) (tr. Laurie Thompson, Mantle)
Kyotaro Nishimura - The Isle of South Kamui and Other Stories (Japan, M) (tr. Ginny Tapley Takemori,  Thames River Press)
Katsuhiko Takahashi - The Case of the Sharaku Murders (Japan, M) (tr. Ian MacDonald; Thames River Press)
Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Marina (Spain, M) (tr. Lucia Graves, Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

October 2013

Bernard Besson - The Greenland Breach (ebook only?) (France, M) (tr. Julie Rose, Le French Book)
Jorn Lier Horst - Closed for Winter (Norway, M) (tr. Anne Bruce, Sandstone)
Martin Jensen - The King's Hounds (Denmark, M) (tr. Tara Chace, AmazonCrossing*)
Leif GW Persson - He Who Kills the Dragon (Sweden, M) (tr. Neil Smith, Doubleday)

November 2013

Rolf Bauerdick - The Madonna on the Moon (Germany, M) (tr. David Dollenmayer, Atlantic Books)
Leena Lehtolainen - Copper Heart (Finland, F) (tr. Owen Witesman, AmazonCrossing*)
Diego Marani - God's Dog (Italy, M) (tr. Judith Landry, Dedalus Ltd)
Maurizio De Giovanni - Everyone in Their Place (Italy, M) (tr. tbc, Europa Editions)
Valerio Varesi - Gold, Frankincense and Dust (Italy, M) (tr. Joseph Farrell, MacLehose Press)
Jens Lapidus  - Never Screw Up (apa Never F*ck Up) (Sweden, M) (tr. Astri von Arbin Ahlander,  Macmillan)
Jo Nesbo - Cockroaches (Norway, M) (tr. Don Bartlett, Harvill Secker)
Frank Schatzing - Limit (Germany, M) (tr. Samuel Willcocks & Shaun Whiteside & Jamie Searle, Jo Fletcher Books)
Andrea Maria Schenkel - Finsterau (Germany, F) (tr. Anthea Bell, Quercus) tbc

December 2013

Anders de la Motte - Game (Sweden, M) (tr. Neil Smith Blue Door)
Anders de la Motte - Bubble (Sweden, M) (tr. Neil Smith Blue Door)
Anders de la Motte - Buzz (Sweden, M) (tr. Neil Smith Blue Door)
Dominique Sylvain - The Dark Angel (France, F) (tr. Nick Caistor, Quercus)

January 2014

Sara Blaedel - Only One Life (Denmark, F) (tr. Erik J Macki & Tara F Chace Sphere)
Jorgen Brekke - Where Evil Lies (apa Where Monsters Dwell) (Norway, M) (tr. Steven T Murray, Pan)
Hans Koppel - You're Mine Now (Sweden, M) (tr. Kari Dickson, Sphere)
Asa Larsson - The Second Deadly Sin (Sweden, F) (tr. Laurie Thompson, MacLehose Press)
Marc Pastor - Barcelona Shadows (Spain, M) (tr. Mara Faye Lethem, Pushkin Press)

February 2014

Jussi Adler-Olsen - Guilt (Denmark, M) (tr. tbc, Penguin)
Thomas Enger - Scarred (Norway, M) (tr. tbc, Faber)
Sophie Loubiere - The Stone Boy (France, F) (Nora Mahony, Trapdoor, Little Brown)
Liza Marklund - Borderline (Sweden, F) (tr. Neil Smith, Corgi) moved to October 2014
Yrsa Sigurdardottir - The Silence of the Sea (Iceland, F) (tr. tbc, Hodder & Stoughton)

March 2014

Frei Betto - Hotel Brasil: The Mystery of the Severed Heads (Brazil, M) (tr. Jethro Soutar, Bitter Lemon Press)
Cilla & Rolf Borjlind - Spring Tide (Sweden, B) (tr. Rod Bradbury, Hesperus Press)
Pascal Garnier - The Front Seat Passenger (France, M) (tr. Jane Aitken, Gallic Press)
Martin Jensen - Oathbreaker (Denmark, M) (tr. Tara Chace, AmazonCrossing*)
Mari Jungstedt - The Dangerous Game (Sweden, F) (tr. tbc, Doubleday)
Jung-myung Lee - The Investigation (Korea, M) (tr.  Chi-Young Kim, Mantle) (not on GR)
Shuichi Yoshida - Parade (Japan, M) (tr. tbc, Harvill Secker)

April 2014

Jean-Luc Bannalec - Death in Pont-Aven (France? Germany?, M?) (tr. Sorcha McDonagh)
Carin Gerhardsen - Cinderella Girl (Sweden, F) (tr. tbc)
Mons Kallentoft - The Fifth Season (Sweden, M) (tr. Neil Smith, Hodder) moved to September 2014
Camilla Lackberg - Buried Angels (Sweden, F) (tr. tbc, HarperCollins)
Pierre Lemaitre - Irene (France, M) (tr. Frank Wynne, Maclehose Press)
Jo Nesbo - The Son (Norway, M) (tr. tbc, Harvill Secker)
Olivier Truc -  Forty Days Without Shadow (France, M) (tr. Louise Lalaurie, Trapdoor, Little Brown)
Fred Vargas - Dog Will Have His Day (France, F) (tr. Sian Reynolds, Harvill Secker)

May 2014

Kjell Eriksson - Black Lies, Red Blood (Sweden, M) (tr. Ebba Segerberg, Allison & Busby)
Keigo Higashino - Journey Under the Midnight Sun (Japan, M) (tr. tbc, Little Brown)
Natsuo Kirino - In (Japan, F) (tr. Philip Gabriel, Harvill Secker) moved to August 2014
Deon Meyer - Cobra (South Africa, M) (tr. K L Seegers?, Hodder) (not on GR)
Ursula Poznanski - Five (Austria, F) (tr. Jamie Lee Searle, Vintage)
Marco Vichi - Death in the Tuscan Hills (Italy, M) (tr. Stephen Sartarelli, Hodder)
Juli Zeh - Decompression (Germany, F) (tr. John Cullen, Harvill Secker)

Update: here's the official list of entries as supplied by the CWA.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Publishing Deal - L C Tyler

I was very pleased to read the news that L C Tyler has signed up with Constable & Robinson for a new historical series. The news was announced on the Bookseller website:

Constable & Robinson has acquired a new historical crime series by L C Tyler.

Set in the time of Cromwell’s Protectorate, the first book, A Cruel Necessity, will be published in hardback in November 2014.

L C Tyler has previously written four books in the comedic Herring Seller series.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Review: The Feast of Artemis by Anne Zouroudi

The Feast of Artemis by Anne Zouroudi, June 2013, 288 pages, Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN: 140883751X

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

THE FEAST OF ARTEMIS is the seventh book in Anne Zouroudi’s very lovely series featuring her mysterious, overweight detective Hermes Diaktoros and his pristine white tennis shoes. As with her earlier books, Hermes appears in the right place at the right time and gets to the very heart of the matter that is troubling the community with relative ease. Again he is affectionately referred to as “the fat man” throughout the book but this is the first time we see him feeling uncomfortable about his size – and he has to make a trip to the tailors to have his trousers taken out a bit, much to his disappointment. One of the many likeable things about our Greek hero is that he never says precisely who his employer is. He says that he works for “A Higher Authority”, not the police, and doesn’t necessarily see arrest and punishment as appropriate in every case he deals with. I hope we are never told more about this, as I love the air of mystery about him.

In this particular tale, Hermes bumps into his wayward brother and goes to a Greek town called Dendra in time for a feast at the end of the olive harvest. Instead of the good cheer he is expecting, he witnesses a bad accident as a young man falls whilst leaping over a bonfire in a contest. He lands in the fire and ends up badly burned. Very disturbed by what he has seen, and not sure it was an entirely innocent accident, Hermes books into a hotel, to stay longer than he had intended, and starts to investigate. He soon discovers a long-running bitter feud between two neighbouring olive growers. The feud has been the cause of much bad feeling between the families and has resulted in the loss of crops, ruined feasts and injuries over the years. Things come to a head when the patriarch of one of these families dies and it looks as if it is in retribution for the “accident” in the bonfire contest. Hermes continues to dig and the truth that he discovers is enough to shock everyone – including the reader.

Anne Zouroudi is a very gifted writer and her penmanship makes Dendra and its problems seem very real. I love her descriptions of Hermes, especially when he bends down to clean his white shoes, and was saddened by his frustration at his increasing girth. I hope he is back to his usual cheery self in his next outing and am already looking forward to reading it.

Very Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, October 2013.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Publishing News: Swedish Crime Short Story Collection

From the press release at Booktrade, details of an upcoming Swedish short story collection which includes an entry from Stieg Larsson:
Head of Zeus announced that they will be the UK publishers of the much-talked about anthology of Swedish crime stories, A Darker Shade, edited by John-Henri Holmberg.

A landmark anthology, this will be the first collection of Swedish crime stories translated into English. It features unpublished fiction from international phenomenon Stieg Larsson and his long-term partner Eva Gabrielson as well as bestsellers Henning Mankell, Per Wahloo, Maj Sjowall and more.

Editor Holmberg is a writer, editor and translator and was a close personal friend of Larsson whom he met through their shared love of science fiction and crime fiction.

Editorial Director Laura Palmer said 'This is a truly exciting project. Not only is it the first English anthology of the hugely popular genre of Nordic Noir but it contains never-before-published stories from Henning Mankell, Per Wahloo and – the cherry on the cake – Stieg Larsson.'

Head of Zeus will publish on 7th January 2013 as part of the worldwide release. The book will be strictly embargoed until publication.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Review: The Cruellest Game by Hilary Bonner

The Cruellest Game by Hilary Bonner, September 2013, 400 pages, Pan, ISBN: 1447218736

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

The story is based in Dartmoor and concerns a woman whose small family, one teenage son and her husband, are her whole life. They live in a beautiful house on the edge of a small village, their life is very contained and, to an extent, they are complacent with their good fortune. One day Marion returns home from her part-time teaching job to find the house very quiet and wonders why her son, who she left revising, hasn't responded to her calls. She takes him a cup of tea and finds him hanging from a beam in his room. Her life continues to fall apart as she finds that her husband is not who she thought he was.

Her only friend is Bella, a fellow dog walker that she met on the beach. But even Bella isn't everything she seems to be. A series of incidents beginning with a burglary and ending with a child abduction makes this a roller-coaster of a read. The evidence seems stacked against Marion, proving her an unstable, paranoid grieving mother in the eyes of the police.

The story reminds me of Barbara Vine and Sophie Hannah, concerned as it is with physiological torture and destruction. There are difficult themes: the death of one child, the abduction of another and the difficulty of making people listen when all the evidence points in one direction

I personally found Marion and her husband quite unsympathetic. My only sympathy for anyone in the family being with Robbie, the son, so distressed with life to take his own life. I think the lack of sympathy is generated by the total insulation and self satisfaction of Marion, who distances herself even from her own father, ignoring his needs for support and care in his grief.

Because of my lack of involvement in the main character, I didn't really enjoy THE CRUELLEST GAME, however, I can recommend it as an interesting and a very good read.

Susan White, October 2013