Thursday, February 26, 2015

Film News: The Gunman

The Gunman which is released 20 March is based on Jean-Patrick Manchette's The Prone Gunman and stars Sean Penn as Martin Terrier. It's been a while since I read and reviewed the book but I remember it packed a punch.

If you've read it more recently than I, see if you recognise the story in this trailer (the shorter of the two I found):

The film also features Wolf Hall's Mark Rylance - he is in the longer trailer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Sherlock Holmes novels

There are already quite a number of new Sherlock Holmes books so I'm not sure how newsworthy this is except it's got the backing of a big publisher, HarperCollins. From The Bookseller:
HarperCollins has signed two Sherlock Holmes continuation novels by Hollywood screenwriter Bonnie MacBird.

[] the books will be published in both the UK and the US though Harper 360.

Art in the Blood: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure will be published on 10th September 2015. Set in 1888, it will feature the famous detective, originally created by Arthur Conan Doyle, and his partner John Watson, investigating a new crime.

MacBird is a longtime Holmes fan, whose career included writing the original screenplay for the film "Tron", and winning three Emmy Awards.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: The Final Minute by Simon Kernick

The Final Minute by Simon Kernick, January 2015, 400 pages, Century, ISBN: 178089077X

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

Simon Kernick's new thriller is an absolutely spellbinding book that I just could not put down. The plot is breathtaking and was truly gripping and leaves you wanting to race to the end to discover if your suspicions are correct. Mine almost were but I was left fairly stunned at how everything turned out.

Matt Barron is being treated for a loss of memory after a terrible car accident. He is held convalescing, for some months, in an isolated detached house in Wales with a woman who says she is his sister and also with a male nurse. Every few days a hypnotherapist named Dr Bronson comes who is apparently trying to help him recover memories with hypnotism. He is also being given these psychotic drugs, which make him feel wretched and every-time he tries to stop taking them the nurse intervenes and forces him to take them.

His memory is recovering in a piecemeal fashion but it is fragmented and he is extremely confused, as he believes he is not the person who he is being told he is. He feels he must get away from this controlling environment that he is in, to pursue and discover his real "self". Once he is sure that he must abscond, he takes steps to do it and twenty-four hours later his "minders" are dead and he is on the run with two American contract killers in deadly pursuit. Barron has many adventures whilst on the run and all the time he is avoiding both the contract killers and the police and he has to live off the land as he has no money, or transport and doesn't know who to trust.

Tina Boyd, a police detective in previous Kernick books, is no longer with the force but working now as a private detective and she comes in contact with Barron and helps him recover his past and helps him to understand why people want to keep him quiet. DCI Mike Bolt, another character from this author's previous books is also featured and the actual number of people killed is difficult to keep up with.

Despite the length of this book, I just had to find out what happened next which makes Simon Kernick's writing similar to that of Stephen Leather or Frederick Forsyth. You know when you pick up a title by any of these authors that the quality of the background research is first rate and the "hook" to keep one reading is absolutely enthralling. The twists and turns in the plotting keep one guessing right up until the final page and it was nice to have some of the characters from previous books involved once again. I have had the pleasure of reading for review the author's exciting trilogy of books SIEGE, ULTIMATUM and STAY ALIVE which featured Boyd and Bolt.

THE FINAL MINUTE was an absolutely compelling read which once started started was almost impossible to put down. I look forward to reading more titles by this very gifted author. Extremely well recommended.

Terry Halligan, February 2015.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Simenon news x 2

No sooner have ITV released the following news, (link via The Radio Times) that Rowan Atkinson is to play Maigret (filming to begin in September):
ITV has announced a new adaptation of George Simenon's novels about Parisian sleuth Jules Maigret. The books were originally adapted by the BBC in the 1960s, before Michael Gambon stepped into the detective's shoes in an ITV version in 1992.

Atkinson will now play Maigret in two stand-alone, 120-minute films for the channel. Both dramas will be set in 1950s Paris, with screenwriter Stewart Harcourt adapting the books Maigret Sets a Trap and Maigret's Dead Man.
then the New York Times releases an article on the author himself .

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: Betrayal by Will Jordan

Betrayal by Will Jordan, September 2014, 592 pages, Arrow, ISBN: 0099574489

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

This is the third book in the magnificent series by Will Jordan featuring his British CIA operative, Ryan Drake, and it rocks! This book, BETRAYAL, is the best in the series by far and a real page-turner. It is possible to follow it without reading the previous two first but I recommend that you start at the beginning and really enjoy the whole series. BETRAYAL is well written and by someone who is obviously well versed in the art of guns and using them. It is a pleasure to read something authentic but not so over-flowing with information that you are distracted from the story.

In this instalment Ryan is back in New York and on his way home from work when he receives a text from an old friend, asking to meet him for a chat. Upon reaching the rendezvous point, he finds himself witness to a sniper attack and the violent deaths of several people. These people are visiting Russian dignitaries and the violence causes a storm of international reaction. Ryan catches sight of the sniper and is horrified to see that it is his old friend Anya, whom he had rescued from Prison and thought he could trust. Convinced that there is more to this than meets the eye, and knowing Anya is a soldier not a cold-blooded killer, Ryan sets off in hot pursuit, to hunt down his friend and get some answers. His chase takes him to Russia and then Chechnya in search of the truth and he is shocked by what he sees his friend doing. As the pressure mounts it looks as if it could be the end of the line for both Ryan and Anya. You are left hanging, wondering what is going to happen next, and, above all, desperate to know just who is betraying who.

I love books written by this excellent Scottish author. I have been eagerly awaiting this, his latest book and, now that I have read it, am impatient to find out what happens next. If you like books full of action, that lead you a merry dance and don’t give the game away, then you are going to love this book.

Highly recommended.

Amanda Gillies, February 2015.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: Death of the Demon by Anne Holt tr. Anne Bruce

Death of the Demon by Anne Holt, tr. Anne Bruce (September 2013, Corvus, ISBN: 0857892274)

DEATH OF THE DEMON is the third book in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series. First published in Norwegian in 1995 it had its English language debut courtesy of Anne Bruce's translation in 2013.

Hanne has been promoted to Chief Inspector in the Oslo police and she has recruited her best friend and former undercover operative, Billy T, to be her right-hand man.

Their first serious case is the murder of the manager of a foster home. She has been stabbed in her office, late at night, and the only real suspects are the staff and the resident children. In addition, the newest arrival at the home, Olav a very troubled twelve-year-old, has run away on the very night of the murder. Is he involved in the murder or did he see something? Either way he has to be found.

Hanne's team of four officers have to investigate the murder whilst other parts of the force try to track down Olav. As well as the police point of view, parts of the story are told from Olav's perspective as well as thoughts from Olav's mum on her son's odd personality.

As well as the murder investigation, Hanne starts to ever so slightly relax her obsessive secrecy over her eighteen year relationship with Cecilie – only two people at work know about it at the beginning of the book.

This is a classic whodunnit with a limited suspect pool and several red herrings. It's a fairly short book, by modern standards, which held my interest throughout. And it has a shocking resolution. It's a shame this series has taken so long to reach English language readers however DEATH OF THE DEMON doesn't feel too dated. Computers are being used and Billy T even has a mobile phone.

I enjoyed DEATH OF THE DEMON and so went straight on to the next and latest book available in English, THE LION'S MOUTH (2014).

Sunday, February 08, 2015

New Reviews: Downie, Fitzgerald, Fredrickson, Lake, Leather, Malone, Molay, Rhodes, Rickman

Here are nine reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, one has appeared on the blog since last time, and eight are completely new.

In recent days, I've put a call out for a couple more UK/Ireland based reviewers and if you like copycat cover posts, here's my non-crime 'handy' display.

NB. You can keep up to date with Euro Crime by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page.

New Reviews

Susan White reviews Ruth Downie's Tabula Rasa which is the sixth in the Roman Britain Ruso series but stands well on its own;

Lynn Harvey reviews Conor Fitzgerald's Bitter Remedy the fifth in the Italy-based Commissario Alec Blume series;

Geoff Jones reviews Jack Fredrickson's Silence the Dead, based on a true murder story in Illinois;

Terry Halligan reviews The Moonlit Door by Deryn Lake, the third in her Reverend Nick Lawrence series;

Terry also reviews Stephen Leather's White Lies which is the latest in the "Spider Shepherd" series, now out in paperback;

Amanda Gillies reviews Michael J Malone's Beyond the Rage;

Michelle Peckham reviews Frederique Molay's The City of Blood tr. Jeffrey Zuckerman the third in the 'Paris Homicide' series;

Michelle also reviews The Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes, the third in the Dr Alice Quentin series

 and Amanda also reviews Phil Rickman's stand alone, Night After Night.

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

Saturday, February 07, 2015

OT: Cover Similarities - Hands (the motherlode)

I put my mild(?) obsession with covers to good use today, with this display for National Libraries Day featuring the familiar 'hands cupped holding something' motif:

Friday, February 06, 2015

Two Podcasts - Sartarelli & Staalesen

Two podcasts to listen to next week on the commute:

Firstly, I'm grateful to Jose Ignacio from The Game's Afoot for posting the following to the wonderful crime and mystery fiction friendfeed group (all are welcome):
Australian radio interview with Stephen Sartarelli, translator of Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series and Marco Vichi's Inspector Bordelli series.

And secondly, I received an email pointing me towards the Yarncast interview with Euro Crime favourite, Norwegian crime writer Gunnar Staalesen:
Norwegian crime writer Gunnar Staalesen, creator of the private detective Varg Veum ( discusses his career, how plots are constructed, and the influence of Norway, and especially his hometown of Bergen, on his brand of 'nordic noir.' With readings by Staalesen from the English-language translations of his Varg Veum novels.

Both interviews can be downloaded and saved as mp3s. (NB. I haven't listened to them yet.)

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Review: Beyond the Rage by Michael J Malone

Beyond the Rage by Michael J Malone, February 2015, 330 pages, Saraband, ISBN: 1908643706

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

Another corker of a tale from the pen of the talented Michael J Malone, BEYOND THE RAGE is very different to what we have seen before from this author but only goes to show his ability to produce different writing styles – and all to equally high levels of brilliance.

BEYOND THE RAGE is about Kenny O’Neill. Kenny is a career criminal, albeit a loveable one, and a close friend of DI Ray McBain, the protagonist in two of Malone’s earlier novels. We have already seen him save McBain’s skin and now it is his turn to get into a spot of bother. McBain does feature in this novel, but takes only a very minor role - to satisfy those of us that are impatiently waiting for him to make a reappearance in a plot of his own.

Kenny had a troubled childhood. His mum committed suicide when he was a young lad and his dad ran off pretty soon afterwards, leaving him stuck with his aunt and uncle. Now, on his thirtieth birthday, Aunt Vi hands him a collection of letters from his dad and the contents turn his world upside down. Determined to trace the whereabouts of his dad, and discover the truth of his mum’s suicide, Kenny starts to make enquiries. He gets a bit side-tracked, though, when his girlfriend is badly beaten and he wants to help her out as well. In the process of sorting through the mess, Kenny finds out some truths that he rather wishes he hadn’t and the twist at the end leaves him, as well as the reader, gasping in surprise and disbelief.

All in all, this is a superb story and nothing short of the standard we are coming to expect from this talented new voice in Scottish crime fiction. If you’ve yet to read anything by Michael J Malone, then I suggest that you rectify that situation as soon as possible!

Extremely Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, February 2015

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Fancy reviewing for Euro Crime?

Here is a repeat of my occasional request for new reviewers. Life does get in the way of reviewing sometimes so I could do with a few more more reviewers to help out.
I'm particularly after reviewers who enjoy: the Martina Cole type of book, thrillers, books with serial killers and the noir/grittier end of the crime spectrum.

New reviewers to the team must be happy with reviewing ebooks as well as print books, as more and more publishers are using e-galleys via Netgalley, BookBridgr, Edelweiss.

New reviewers should be well read in the crime field and be able to write reviews of 300+ words.

New reviewers should be aiming to submit at least one review per month.

So if you're in the UK/Ireland and fancy reviewing for Euro Crime, do pop over to the website, have a look round (especially at the reviews page) and if so inclined, drop me an email with a sample review. (NB. Euro Crime covers British and European crime fiction and all crime fiction in translation - you can read the review policy here.)

Monday, February 02, 2015

Some 1955 Titles (for Past Offences)

The latest monthly challenge over at Past Offences is to read a book in February, published in 1955. Here are a few classic crime titles to choose from, first published in English in 1955, pulled from my database:
Margery Allingham - The Beckoning Lady (apa The Estate of the Beckoning Lady)
Margot Bennett - The Man Who Didn't Fly
Boileau & Narcejac - Faces in the Dark
Agatha Christie - Hickory Dickory Dock (apa Hickory Dickory Death)
Ian Fleming - Moonraker
Erle Stanley Gardner - T.C.O.T. Sunbather's Diary
Erle Stanley Gardner - T.C.O.T. Glamorous Ghost
Erle Stanley Gardner - T.C.O.T. Cautious Coquette
Alan Hunter - Gently Does It
M M Kaye - Death in Berlin (revised 1985) (originally published as Death Walked in Berlin)
Austin Lee - Sheep's Clothing
Ngaio Marsh - Scales of Justice
Osmington Mills - Unlucky Break
Georges Simenon - The Witnesses
Georges Simenon - Maigret Sets a Trap
Georges Simenon - Maigret and the Headless Corpse
Clark Smith - The Speaking Eye
Patricia Wentworth - Poison in the Pen
Patricia Wentworth - The Listening Eye

Flashbang entries are free this week

It's not too late to enter the Flashbang contest to win tickets to next year's CrimeFest, and for this week only, the entry fee is being waived. Read all about the contest on the Flashbang website.

Max 150 words. No minimum. Title not included in word count. One entry per person. *£2 entry fee* to cover our admin, to be paid via PayPal. No entries from established crime authors, please. No other restrictions apply, but you’ll want to be able to attend CrimeFest in Bristol in the UK in May 2016 if you win (NB: travel and accommodation are not included in the prize).
Entries by midnight BST on 3 March 2015.

1st prize is two weekend passes to CrimeFest 2016 (access to all interviews, panels and receptions, exc. accommodation, dinner, travel)
2nd prize is one weekend pass to CrimeFest 2016
3rd prize A special CrimeFest delegate bag with books and other goodies
In addition to the above, all those on the shortlist will be invited to attend the Crime Writing Day on Friday 15 May 2015, when the winners will be announced.
*waived between 31 JANUARY and MIDNIGHT on 7 FEBRUARY 2015.