Sunday, May 31, 2015

New Reviews: Billingham, Franklin & Norman, Jungstedt, O'Byrne, Spencer, Wilkinson

Here are six reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, two have appeared on the blog since last time, and four are completely new.

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

New Reviews

Craig Sisterson reviews Mark Billingham's Rush of Blood, a stand-alone from a couple of years ago;

Terry Halligan reviews Winter Siege, begun by Ariana Franklin and completed by her daughter Samantha Norman, which is now out in paperback;

Michelle Peckham reviews Mari Jungstedt's The Dangerous Game tr. Tiina Nunnally;

Amanda Gillies reviews The Crime Writer's Guide to Police Practice and Procedure, Second Edition by Michael O'Byrne;

Rich Westwood reviews I Nearly Died by Charles Spencer

and Susan White reviews Kerry Wilkinson's Scarred for Life, the latest in the Jessica Daniel series.

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

Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: The Crime Writer's Guide to Police Practice and Procedure, Second Edition by Michael O'Byrne

The Crime Writer's Guide to Police Practice and Procedure, Second Edition* by Michael O'Byrne, March 2015, 192 pages, Robert Hale Ltd, ISBN: 0719816629

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

This fascinating, information-packed book is a must-have for anyone wanting to write crime fiction. It is more of a reference book than something to read from cover-to-cover and contains everything that crime writers might want to include in their police procedurals. The book is indexed, referenced, has a comprehensive listing of contents and a very useful acronym glossary at the back. There are no longer any excuses for crime writers who make mistakes through not doing their research before writing their books!

I was particularly interested in the forensics and DNA analysis section. Coming from a molecular biology background, a sure-fire way to put me off a book is to have wildly inaccurate DNA work in it. This particular chapter was first rate! The other chapters include topics such as: how the investigation begins in reality; profiling; the tools available to the police (like HOLMES); catching serial killers and what exactly is ‘use of reasonable force’.

Although I am not considering turning my hand to writing a book any time soon, I really enjoyed reading this Writer’s Guide. Its author, Michael O’Byrne, is himself a former policeman and his last position before retiring was Chief Constable in Bedfordshire, so he most definitely knows what he is talking about!

This book should be an essential on the bookshelf of every crime writer and is most definitely worth delving into for general interest’s sake as well. If you like finding out how things work, just for the pleasure of knowing, then this book is for you!

Highly recommended.

Amanda Gillies, May 2015

*The First Edition was reviewed in 2009.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: I Nearly Died by Charles Spencer

I Nearly Died by Charles Spencer, January 2015, 252 pages, Bello

Reviewed by Rich Westwood.
(Read more of Rich's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

I NEARLY DIED is the first of three crime novels by the recently retired Daily Telegraph critic Charles Spencer, now brought back into print by Bello and available in ebook or hard copy.

Will Benson (who I think must be a fictional version of Spencer) has graduated from local journalism to a staff post at Theatre World. He is an ordinary sort of guy, unambitious but dissatisfied with his life, drinks too much, running to fat, an unlikely fan of the works of Noel Streatfeild.

He opens the book on an apparent drive to make enemies. Attending a terrible production of Romeo and Juliet, he pans it in a review but finishes with a final-paragraph tribute to the genuinely brilliant Juliet. His review is cut for space and leaves out the praise.
Next he interviews Joe Johnson, a thinly veiled version of a particular British nightclub comic:

Dressed in baggy khaki shorts, a scarlet Hawaiian shirt crawling with green parrots, and with a plastic policeman's helmet perched on his head […] the whole house was indeed helpless with laughter. But it was a laughter of hate and ugliness and fear.

Joe turns up to his interview steaming drunk and makes some career-ruining admissions to Will, all of which go onto tape. Joe’s agent, the tough-as-nails Harry Meadows threatens Will if his revelations get into the papers.

So when Will starts getting death threats, there is no shortage of suspects.

This is an enjoyable book, deftly satirical (‘Prejudice and schmaltz, the twin pillars of light entertainment’), unafraid to mock real-life stars (Andrew Lloyd Webber is described as having an ‘I’ve just won the prep school scripture prize’ expression). The author's familiarity with the world he is describing lends the story realism and a great sense of atmosphere. The mystery element is none too strong, but this is more than compensated for by the sense of humour, a bit of romance between Will and his colleague Kim, and a likeable narrative style. I enjoyed hanging out with Will and look forward to sharing more of his adventures.

Rich Westwood, May 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Film News: The New Girlfriend

A new French film, The New Girlfriend, is based on a Ruth Rendell short story of the same name from 1978. I'm not including the trailer as apparently it gives too much away.

IMDB keeps it short and sweet: "A young woman makes a surprising discovery about the husband of her late best friend."

Nice to see the poster name-checking Ruth Rendell.

Monday, May 25, 2015

New Reviews: Brett, Dugdall, Jaquiery, Kavanagh, Miske, Thorne, Vallgren, Wilson

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

Plus, in case you missed them, here are a few recent links that might be of interest:
The winner of The Petrona Award & the announcement in pictures

Lee Child interviews Maj Sjowall

CrimeFest panel writeups: Euro Noir & Nordic Noir

The International Dagger 2015 shortlist

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

New Reviews

A collection of mini reviews (by me) of recent Scandi-crime novels;

Mark Bailey reviews Simon Brett's Mrs Pargeter's Principle, the eponymous lady returns after a 17 year gap;

Susan White reviews Ruth Dugdall's Humber Boy B;

Terry Halligan reviews Anna Jaquiery's Death in the Rainy Season, set in Cambodia;

Michelle Peckham reviews Emma Kavanagh's Hidden, which revolves around a shooting in a hospital;

Lynn Harvey reviews Karim Miske's Arab Jazz tr. Sam Gordon, which has been shortlisted for the International Dagger;

Amanda Gillies reviews Nothing Sacred by David Thorne, which is the second in the Essex-based Daniel Connell series;

I also review Carl-Johan Vallgren's The Boy in the Shadows tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles

and Terry also reviews the reissue of The Mystery of Tunnel 51 by Alexander  Wilson.

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

Thursday, May 21, 2015

CrimeFest 2015: Lee Child Interviews Maj Sjöwall

Lee Child interviews Maj Sjöwall.

[Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö wrote the highly influential ten book Martin Beck series (published in English 1965-1975).]

LC read the books in the '70s and hoped he wouldn't come over too fanboy-y in his interview.

Does she mind talking about a ten year period which happened about 50 years ago? Not at all as in this situation she is crime writer.

She was aged between 4 and 9 during WW2, everything stopped during the war. Jazz smuggled in, in '40s' and rock and roll in '50s, smuggled in via England, eg Cliff Richard and then the Beatles.

LC: Image of Sweden at the time as a paradise, all the girls were pretty and would sleep with you! What was wrong with Sweden?

MS: You're right about the girls!

Sweden was turning from social democratic country to a more right wing country. They wrote books during the time the Vietnam war was on. Olav Palme – a great pr man, painted picture of idealistic society but we didn't see that – country more and more right wing and capitalistic. Police were portrayed as more militaristic than civil.

Met Per, both working in same publishing house and MS needed a translator of two Father Brown stories and was introduced to Per. Met again and again.

Per had written 3 political novels (inc 1 about football) and wanted to write something entertaining and bake into it what they wanted to talk about. At the time there were no police novels in Sweden.

Both fond of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Simenon. But didn't want to write like someone else. It was hard to get information about the police then. Our idea was to have not just a single hero but a team.

LC: Introduction to Roseanna is pages of admin about organising the dredger – radically different approach.

MS: Crime novels in Sweden were very bourgeois, wanted it to be realistic – people say their books are slow – but it is realistic. Started series before they had read Ed McBain even though they are often compared and went on to bring McBain books to Sweden.

Book 1 did ok, not fantastic, got good reviews, after books 2 and 3 young people began to react.

Martin Beck is a typical civil servant, rather boring, dutiful, has empathy (Lee Child said he is lovely).

LC: Is she pissed off that people are doing the same as what they did?

MS: Not pissed off that people are doing the same but can't they find some other way to write about society? Books are now half about romance and private life and this stems from Martin Beck as he had a private life - MS said we didn't mean to do it! They won an Edgar for book 3 – only non anglo-saxons to win an Edgar.

Every year there are 10 new Swedish authors...publishers buy at Frankfurt because it's Swedish, Scandinavian noir. Has no explanation for's not that fantastic is it?

They decided on a ten book series, no more no less. One novel, split into ten: Novel of a crime. Wouldn't have carried on for anything.

LC: Here you have integrity on legs.

PW: Per was to planning to write next about modern warships.

Didn't want to write 300 pages on own – too lonely so wrote short things, poetry.

Sat face to face with Per working over a table. Talked a lot about the story and the language and for the first book – the characters.

In Roseanna, a US character was not chosen to open up another market but just to show how Swedish, Swedish police were, and how they could hardly communicate with the US.

They did the voyage through Sweden for fun and there was a beautiful American woman on the trip, Per was watching her, so I said we'll kill her!

Books don't change the world very much but can change thinking. S & W opened the market – half the population writes crime fiction now! Doesn't read much but likes Leif GW Persson who sticks close to real life.

When asked about the Matthau film - said we needed the money!.

Her favourite is The Locked Room.

Doesn't do much writing for publication, though will write for friends, as publishing means things like CrimeFest – ok in England but not in Sweden. Doesn't want to talk about self, or be looked at.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review: Arab Jazz by Karim Miské tr. Sam Gordon

Arab Jazz by Karim Miské translated by Sam Gordon, February 2015, 304 pages, MacLehose Press, ISBN: 0857053116

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

"....So, to recap: we've got three Salafists, one Hasidic Jew and a family of Jehovah's Witnesses... That is one holy hornet's nest!"

Paris, 19th Arrondissement.
Ahmed the Dreamer is on the balcony of his tiny apartment, watching the clouds. Dreaming. Poetry. Books. The second-hand, English-language thrillers stacked four deep around the walls of his room. Dreaming. The mountains, rocks, water and sand of his ancestors. He glides above their land, a man-vulture, suddenly plunging down towards a dark and terrible shape. His fellow vultures force him up and away. Banished. Ahmed feels the first drop of blood on his upturned face. He opens his eyes and looks upward, sees the foot of his neighbour Laura hanging from her balcony, blood gathering on the toes. Ahmed has crashed to earth.

9.15 pm. With keys to Laura's flat, for Ahmed looks after her orchids while the young air hostess is away, he goes upstairs. But her door is ajar, the window wide open. A bottle of wine on a table, two glasses and – on a white platter – an uncooked joint of pork bathed in blood and stabbed with a kitchen knife. The horror is out on the balcony. Laura, bound and gagged, T-shirt crimson, one enormous gash from the belly down. Ahmed returns to his flat, changes his stained djellaba and gets back into bed. Sleep. Dream.

3.45 am. Lieutenants Kupferstein and Hamelot, back at headquarters after having examined the murder scene, written their reports, eaten sushi and drunk beer – now sit apart, in their own worlds, distancing themselves from the savagery.

5.25 am. Ahmed gathers his blood-stained clothes and jogs along the canal for the first time in three years. In the undergrowth he burns the clothes. He feels again, he is alive. Back at his flat, carrying morning croissants and baguette, Ahmed finds two police officers. They tell him that his neighbour has been murdered. This time he allows himself to feel the shock. And invites them in. There are questions and it seems that for now detectives Kupferstein and Hamelot tacitly agree that Ahmed is not their man. Do you have a job, Monsieur Taroudant? Sick leave? For what? Depression? Before that, your job? Night-watchman. Thank you. Here are our contact details. Do not leave the arrondissement. But Ahmed never does. He closes the door behind the detectives and later, listening to the iPod that Laura gave him, loaded with her favourite music, he weeps. He will find the killer.

Meanwhile the detectives exit the lift and come face to face with the concierge. who tells them about Laura: her unrequited love for Ahmed, her three girlfriends – Bintou, Aicha and Rebecca. Rebecca is no longer in the neighbourhood but the other girls live around the corner. You can find them every evening at Onur's, the kebab place. Laura's parents? She wouldn't talk about them....

Karim Miské is a Franco-Mauritanian writer and documentary film-maker born in Abidjan but raised in France. ARAB JAZZ is his first novel, winning the 2012 French Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. Its title is a tribute to James Ellroy's WHITE JAZZ and its translator, Sam Gordon has made a vivid, natural telling in his own first novel-length translation.

Central to ARAB JAZZ is Ahmed, the son of a woman confined to a psychiatric hospital and himself a depressive undergoing psychoanalysis. (Or is he some kind of displaced shamanic dreamer?) Ahmed lives in the same arrondissement as Miské himself at the time of writing ARAB JAZZ. The 19th – a quarter made notorious by the Charlie Hebdo killings earlier this year. It is a setting used by other French writers and I think back to the books of Daniel Pennac with the 1980s-90s Belleville of his "Malaussène" series with its lively hotchpotch of immigrant cultures. But the warmth and diversity of Pennac's Belleville has taken a colder, darker turn by the time of Miské's "19th". The neighbourhood's religions still co-exist but each is moving towards born-again extremes. Miské started writing this novel around 2005 after having made a documentary about Judaism and Islam. He was aware of the growing extremism amongst some of these local communities but the Kouachi killings of January 2015 still shocked him. In a "Reader Dad" blog interview he says of his own feelings:

"I had been reading about the trial of the survivors of this [earlier] jihadi group in 2008 …. and the self-proclaimed imam of that group inspired one of the characters of the book. It was this imam who recruited one of the Kouachi brothers. When the Charlie Hebdo attack happened, I was, like everybody, horrified by the murders but also really disturbed by the way reality had re-entered my novel."

With two strong police characters, Kupferstein and Hamelot, a psychotic murderer, brutal corruption and the advent of a little blue pill that delivers a messianic high – we have a very potent brew and a plot that spans the Atlantic, Paris to New York. If you love the distinct flavour of French crime-writing and can take the misogynistic crime (and let's face it there is plenty of misogynistic crime in thrillers) this is a gripping, rich and wonderful book. With the writer's plan to develop a trilogy... start now with ARAB JAZZ.

Lynn Harvey, May 2015.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Petrona Award 2015 Announcement in Pictures

Last night at CrimeFest.

The three Petrona Judges: Sarah Ward, Dr Kat Hall and Barry Forshaw who asks Maj Sjowall up to the stage.

Concentration as the shortlist is read out and Kat clutches the trophy in its box.

Sarah announces the winner....

and Yrsa makes her way to the stage.

and gives her speech thanking firstly her translator Victoria Cribb.

Petrona Award 2015: Winner Announced

Last night at CrimeFest, Petrona Award judges Barry Forshaw, Dr Katharina Hall and Sarah Ward announced the winner of the 2015 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

And the winner is Yrsa Sigurdadottir for THE SILENCE OF THE SEA translated by Victoria Cribb and published by Hodder and Stoughton.

The trophy was presented by the Godmother of modern Scandinavian crime fiction, Maj Sjöwall, co-author with Per Wahlöö of the Martin Beck series.

As well as the trophy, Yrsa Sigurdardottr will also receive a pass to and panel at next year's CrimeFest.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

CrimeFest 2015: Euro Noir

Moderator: Barry Forshaw
Panel: Roberto Costantini, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael Ridpath, Jorn Lier Horst

RC: an engineer, Italians surprised that an engineer can write. Used skills to plot. Big diagrams on the wall.

GS: Bergen people quite satisfied with themselves so when they got a successful detective they were quick to put a statue up.

JLH: Wisting pronounced Visting named after a hero who went to South Pole. No plans to stop writing after ten books.

GS: First book tried to do a typical PI in Norway in '70s in the model of Ross MacDonald, Chandler. Didn't really work so second book was different.

RC: Series character Michele is awkward, conflicted so half the audience won't like him, other half love him. Michele is a policeman who acts as a PI which you can do in Italy.

MR: Learned a lot about writing not just Iceland in writing about something new.

GS made Varg Veum quite different to himself but sees him as a best friend, knows him well after 17 books.

GS - Don Bartlett is a great translator; GS read a couple of chapters of new book and recognised his own jokes!

JLH: Translator Anne Bruce has been over to Wisting's town

RC: Books translated into both English and separately into American. Latter was 50 pages shorter.

Friday, May 15, 2015

International Dagger 2015 - Shortlist

Tonight at CrimeFest, the shortlist for the International Dagger was announced. From the CWA's website - with links to Euro Crime reviews:

The International Dagger

Falling Freely, As If In A Dream by Leif GW Persson (tr Paul Norlen)
Camille by Pierre Lemaitre (tr Frank Wynne)
Cobra by Deon Meyer (tr K.L Seegers)
Arab Jazz by Karim Miské (tr Sam Gordon)
The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo (tr Isabelle Kaufeler)
Into a Raging Blaze by Andreas Norman (tr Ian Giles)

The CWA Dagger Awards will be presented on 30th June, to mark the end of Crime Reading Month (, at a gala dinner in central London.

CrimeFest 2015: Nordic Noir: Borders

Nordic Noir Panel: Crime at the Borders of the Arctic

Moderator: Quentin Bates

KH's The Hummingbird is set in a northern, unnamed, Finnish town which doesn't exist. It has sea, mosquitoes, cold in winter.

GS: Bergen is a noir place - rains 250 days a year! Weather is very important to Norwegians - in their genes from being fisherman, peasants.

CC: Wrote from memory, Orkney Twilight is set in 1984 summer when the sun doesn't go down. Going back soon with daughters, daughters are the age she was when she was there. Orkney is a mysterious place full of secrets. She started writing it when she was in the US, longing for home and cool.

CR: Had no intention of writing in Nordic tradition – original plot had a body washed up and it was a girl from Tallyn – but Peter Robinson beat him too it. So had to find another place. Faroe has 300 days of rain. In an  day research trip, stopped raining twice snow. Wind can prevent driving – lift up car if on high points.

GS: Dark winter, light summer so plot during dark winters, write it in summer, publish in autumn. KH agreed.
West Norway has north sea climate like part of UK.

Varg Veum actor speaks with Eastern dialect though book Varg Veum has a western dialect – GS says it is very hard to act naturally with such a different dialect. Varg Veum can keep going past 70.

CC: Next book is set in southern England. Might go back to Orkney. Originally intended to be a one off but publisher wanted a sequel.

CR: Next book is in lower nordic region…Glasgow.
No muder in Faroes for 26 years until half way through writing The Last Refuge when there was a murder. No body has ever been found – Serbian husband convicted of killing his wife on evidence of a frying pan with her blood on it.

KH: Fekete means black in Hungarian. Next book The Defenceless is set in spring and is about drugs and immigrant gangs.

CC: Wove Norse mythology though the story.

GS: Crime just a way of writing about our times in a popular way. Bergen is very safe. The new book about a wind farm. The latest four Varg Veum books are translated in order and all by Don Bartlett.

KH: The village where she lives – she doesn't lock doors, car doors or lock up bike.

KH: Finland is a very racist country. She is the only crime writer writing about immigration. Policy: don't let immigrants come, don't give them houses, jobs etc.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review: Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall

Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall, April 2015, 304 pages, Legend Press Ltd, ISBN: 1910394599

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

A ten-year-old boy, Noah, falls from the Humber Bridge while out with his friends. His friend, another ten-year-old boy, is found guilty of his murder. Eight years later Humber Boy B, or Ben as he is called now, is paroled from prison and relocated to Ipswich. For his own safety he is told that he is not allowed back to Humberside or to be in contact with his own family and the Noah's family. Cate is the probation officer assigned to the task of re-introducing him to society. Ben is very ill-prepared for life on the outside after spending so long institutionalised, and Cate seems to be the only person who senses the lonely and confused child within the young man.

Meanwhile Jessica, Noah's Mother, has set up a Facebook page asking for people's support in finding her son's killer and a follower on the page, Silent Friend, is determined to help her get justice.

The author has worked with young children that have been committed to prison for similar crimes that form the basis for this story and this experience shows through in the writing. The boy at the centre of the story comes from such an emotional and physically deprived environment that, while making no attempt to provide excuses for Ben, the author manages to generate a degree of sympathy for him, that took me by surprise.

As the story of Ben's life is disclosed, we learn more about the circumstances leading up to the dreadful event and also more about the missed opportunities by various adults who could have intervened and prevented the death.

HUMBER BOY B is a very sad, disturbing read that raises some really uncomfortable truths about the impact on children raised in poverty with parents who cannot or will not care for them and also the difficulty for prisoners of any age who have been jailed for a long time, to assimilate into society without being taught up to date life-skills and receiving massive support.

The subject and the writer's treatment of it reminds me to a degree of Sophie Hannah. Recommended as a thought provoking and good read. This is only the third novel by this author and I will be looking out for more in the future.

Susan White, May 2015

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Awards News: Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 - Longlist

The press release revealing the longlist for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year 2015 (with links to Euro Crime reviews):


Giants of the genre are pitted against a clutch of new voices in one of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country.

The longlist for the 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award sees stalwarts Ian Rankin, Lee Child and John Harvey in the running.

Rankin and Child battle it out, each with their 19th novels in the iconic Rebus and Reacher series. Lee Child’s number one global bestseller Personal takes on Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible, which brought Rebus back from retirement.

John Harvey’s Darkness, Darkness could be a swan song for the gong with Resnick’s last case, 25 years after the Detective Inspector’s first appearance.

2014 winner Belinda Bauer is back on the list with The Facts of Life and Death, a chilling story where lone women are terrorised in a game where only one player knows the rules.

Taking on the old guard is the debut that threatens to be “as big as Jo Nesbo”. The electrifying serial killer thriller, Eeny Meeny from M.J. Arlidge features the tough, determined and damaged DI Helen Grace.

Other debuts include the TV and film scriptwriter Ray Celestin’s The Axeman's Jazz, a stunning atmospheric crime thriller set in 1919 New Orleans, inspired by a real life serial killer, and Sarah Hilary’s compelling first thriller, Someone Else's Skin, which received critical acclaim for being superbly disturbing, twisty and tricksy.

Disappeared is Irish journalist Anthony Quinn’s first novel, set in a dark corner of Northern Ireland where the Troubles have never ended. And Antonia Hodgson’s debut, The Devil in the Marshalsea also makes the list with her medieval murder mystery.

Child 44 author Tom Rob Smith appears with his fourth novel, Number One bestseller The Farm, an utterly riveting and hypnotic psychological thriller part-set in Sweden. Scottish author Louise Welsh delivers with her first apocalyptic thriller in her Plague Times trilogy, A Lovely Way to Burn.

Now in its eleventh year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created to celebrate the very best in British and Irish crime writing and is open to crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2015. The 2015 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and Radio Times.

The long list, comprising 18 titles, is selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd and WHSmith.

The longlist in full:

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge, Michael Joseph
The Facts Of Life And Death by Belinda Bauer, Black Swan
The Ghost Runner by Parker Bilal, Bloomsbury
The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter, Fig Tree
The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin, Mantle
Personal by Lee Child, Bantam
The Killing Season by Mason Cross, Orion Fiction
Bryant & May - The Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler, Bantam
The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths, Quercus
The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah, Hodder & Stoughton
Darkness, Darkness by John Harvey, Arrow
Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary, Headline
The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson, Hodder & Stoughton
Entry Island by Peter May, Quercus
Disappeared by Anthony Quinn, Head of Zeus
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin, Orion Fiction
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith, Simon & Schuster
A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh, John Murray Publishers

From 21 May to 17 June, longlisted titles will feature in a four-week campaign across all 600 WHSmith stores and 80 library services, representing a total of 1645 library branches. The longlist will be whittled down to a shortlist of six titles which will be announced on 15 June. The overall winner will be decided by the panel of Judges, which this year comprises of Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd. and title sponsor Simon Theakston, Festival Chair Ann Cleeves, Radio Times’ TV Editor Alison Graham, Head of Fiction at WHSmith, Sandra Bradley and Producer of the Radio 2 Book Club, Joe Haddow, as well as members of the public.

The public vote opens on 1 July and closes 13 July at

Previous winners of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award include Denise Mina, Lee Child, Val McDermid, and Mark Billingham.

The winner of the prize will be announced by title sponsor Simon Theakston at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster and Festival regular Mark Lawson on 16 July on the opening night of the 13th annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Some Mini Scandi Reviews

Over the last few months I've read several Scandi books that I haven't had time to review. So to give myself a tabula rasa here are my brief thoughts on them:

Camilla Lackberg's last two books, THE LOST BOY and BURIED ANGELS (both tr.
Tiina Nunnally) have both revolved around an island. I always enjoy Lackberg's books to a certain extent, which varies on the amount of soap-opera activities of the main characters Erica (novelist) and Patrick (police officer) and their expanding family, and the antics of Patrick's fellow police officers. Whilst THE LOST BOY was an ok read, I did guess one of the twists; the better of the two books I think, is BURIED ANGELS with its cold case locked-island mystery involving the disappearance of all but one member of a family.

I hope Jorn Lier Horst will forgive me not doing his books justice will full reviews.
In my defence I am one of the team who put CLOSED FOR WINTER and THE HUNTING DOGS (both tr. Anne Bruce) on the Petrona Award shortlists for 2014 and 2015 respectively. The Petrona Award recognises the best Scandinavian crime fiction in translation. CLOSED FOR WINTER revolves around a murder in a holiday cottage and it takes its main character Chief Inspector Wisting to Lithuania, and THE HUNTING DOGS sees Wisting suspended and suspected of falsifying evidence. Wisting is a likeable, empathetic character who has an awkward relationship with his daughter Line a journalist. Line often ends up, though in a naturalistic way, running a parallel investigation into Wisting's cases from a “news” point of view.

Kati Hiekkapelto's striking debut, THE HUMMINGBIRD (tr. David Hackston), which introduces Anna Fekete, an immigrant to Finland from the Baltic states, catapulted its way on to this year's Petrona Award shortlist. Anna has to put up with extreme prejudice from her new police colleague as they try and catch a serial killer.

The gang's all here in Arne Dahl's TO THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN (tr. Alice
Menzies), well after a bit. The Intercrime group, having no serious crime to deal with have been disbanded and their leader retired off. Slowly however the team finds that the investigations they're involved in separately, have a connection. I enjoyed the previous two books in the series greatly but I struggled with this one and I lost interest in the second half. I wouldn't recommend starting the series with this one but I would recommend the series overall.

Having enjoyed Anne Holt's DEATH OF A DEMON I went straight on to THE LION'S MOUTH (both tr. Anne Bruce). Regular lead, Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen, is more of a bystander in this one as she's out of the country initially. However the murder of the Prime Minister in her office - a closed room mystery - brings Hanne home to provide unofficial support to her colleague Billy T. I love books set in the world of politics so I lapped this one up. My only reservation was the ending but I cannot expand on that!

Another 2015 Petrona Award shortlistee is REYKJAVIK NIGHTS by Arnaldur Indridason (tr. Victoria Cribb) which is a prequel to his established series and introduces the young Erlendur in his first few years at the police. He is on traffic duty and on the night shift. He investigates the death of a tramp and in addition we get to see how he meets his future wife. It should appeal to existing and new fans alike.

As with Jorn Lier Horst, I've been party to both of Yrsa Sigurdardottir's previous
two books being shortlisted for the Petrona Award: SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME (tr. Philip Roughton) for 2014 and THE SILENCE OF THE SEA (tr. Victoria Cribb) for this year. In SOMEONE series character, lawyer Thora takes on the case of a young man with Down's syndrome who is accused of burning down a care home and killing five people and it is set against the backdrop of the financial crash. SILENCE has a slightly different structure  with Thora not being in the book as much as usual. A yacht returns to Reykjavik with no-one on board though a family and a crew were on it when it left Portugal. Thora is hired by the grand-parents of the surviving child who did not go on the ill-fated trip to prove that the parents are dead. The narrative is split between Thora's investigations and a recounting of what happened aboard the yacht and is an extremely tense and compulsive read.

Kristina Ohlsson's THE DISAPPEARED (tr. Marlaine Delargy) the latest book in the Alex Recht/Fredrika Bergman series continues to mix the personal with the professional in a similar way to Camilla Lackberg. All the main characters go through personal trauma whilst looking into the cold case of a missing student whose body has just been found. I enjoyed this very much.

Hans Olav Lahlum's THE HUMAN FLIES (tr. Kari Dickson), also shortlisted for the 2015 Petrona Award, introduces the nice but dim Norwegian policeman K2 and his brilliant civilian sidekick Patricia who is confined to a wheelchair and rarely leaves her home. Set in Oslo in 1968, they have a locked room mystery to solve where the murderer must surely be one of the apartment block's residents, all of whom seem to have a connection to the legendary war hero victim... FLIES melds an intriguing mystery with a look into recent Norwegian history.

Finally, staying in Norway, ages ago I read COLD HEARTS by Gunnar Staalesen (tr. Don Bartlett). I do enjoy this series, set in Bergen, so I can't wait for the next three books in the series which are due from Orenda Press and will also be translated by Don Bartlett.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Also Published As (revisited)

A few years ago I published a list of alternative titles for recent books. I've now increased the age range to books in the last ten years which have alternative titles. Usually the UK title is first with the US title in brackets, but not always.

Published from 2006 to date

Will Adams - The Exodus Quest (apa The Moses Quest) 2008
Jussi Adler-Olsen - Mercy (apa The Keeper of Lost Causes) 2011
Jussi Adler-Olsen - Disgrace (apa The Absent One) 2012
Jussi Adler-Olsen - Guilt (apa The Purity of Vengeance) 2013
Jussi Adler-Olsen - Redemption (apa A Conspiracy of Faith) 2013
Jussi Adler-Olsen - Buried (apa The Marco Effect) 2015
Boris Akunin - Pelagia and the White Bulldog (apa Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog) 2006
Karin Alvtegen - Shame (apa Sacrifice) 2006
Niccolo Ammaniti - The Crossroads (apa As God Commands) 2009
Sam Baker - This Year's Model (apa Deadly Beautiful) 2008
Ray Banks - Donkey Punch (apa Sucker Punch) 2007
Jean-Luc Bannalec - Death in Pont-Aven (apa Death in Brittany) 2014
Sam Barone - Quest for Honour (apa Conflict of Empires) 2010
Jefferson Bass - The Bones of Avignon (apa The Inquisitor's Key) 2012
Quentin Bates - Frozen Out (apa Frozen Assets) 2011
M C Beaton - Love, Lies and Liquor (apa Agatha Raisin and Love, Lies and Liquor) 2006
M C Beaton - Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison (apa A Spoonful of Poison) 2008
M C Beaton - Death of a Chimney Sweep (apa Death of a Sweep) 2011
M C Beaton - The Blood of an Englishman (apa Agatha Raisin and the Blood of an Englishman) 2014
Tonino Benacquista - Badfellas (apa Malavita) 2010
Mark Billingham - Good as Dead (apa The Demands) 2011
Sara Blaedel - Call Me Princess (apa Blue Blood) 2011
Robin Blake - The Scrivener (apa The Hidden Man) 2015
Anna Blundy - Neat Vodka (apa Vodka Neat) 2006
Anna Blundy - Double Shot (apa Breaking Faith) 2008
Sharon Bolton - Like This, For Ever (apa Lost) 2013
Gyles Brandreth - Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders (apa Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance) 2007
Gyles Brandreth - Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death (apa Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder) 2008
Gyles Brandreth - Oscar Wilde and the Nest of Vipers (apa Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders) 2010
Jorgen Brekke - Where Evil Lies (apa Where Monsters Dwell) 2014
Andrew Britton - Heart of Betrayal (apa The American) 2006
Nick Brownlee - Burn (apa Blood and Fire) 2009
Tom Cain - The Survivor (apa No Survivors) 2008
Karen Charlton - The Missing Heiress (apa The Heiress of Linn Hagh) 2012
Michael Collins - The Secret Life of E.Robert Pendleton (apa Death of a Writer) 2006
Alex Connor - The Rembrandt Secret (apa The Other Rembrandt) 2011
Alex Connor - Legacy of Blood (apa The Hogarth Conspiracy) 2012
N J Cooper - A Greater Evil (apa Evil is Done) 2007
James Craig - Never Apologise, Never Explain (apa Time of Death) 2012
James Craig - The Circus (apa The Criminals We Deserve) 2013
Richard Crompton - The Honey Guide (apa Hour of the Red God) 2013
Howard Cunnell - The Sea on Fire (apa Marine Boy) 2012
Arne Dahl - Misterioso (apa The Blinded Man) 2011
Anna Dean - A Moment of Silence (apa Bellfield Hall) 2008
Ruth/R S Downie - Medicus and the Disappearing Dancing Girls (apa Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls & Medicus) 2006
Ruth/R S Downie - Ruso and the Demented Doctor (apa Terra Incognita) 2008
Ruth/R S Downie - Ruso and the Root of All Evils (apa Persona Non Grata) 2009
Ruth/R S Downie - Ruso and the River of Darkness (apa Caveat Emptor) 2010
Matthew Dunn - Spartan (apa The Spycatcher) 2011
Jeremy Duns - Free Country (apa Song of Treason) 2010
Sam Eastland - The Red Coffin (apa Shadow Pass) 2011
Sam Eastland - Siberian Red (apa Archive 17) 2012
Gordon Ferris - An Unquiet Heart (apa The Unquiet Heart) 2008
Jasper Fforde - First Among Sequels (apa Thursday Next: First Among Sequels) 2007
Conor Fitzgerald - The Memory Key (apa The Memory Theatre) 2013
Judith Flanders - Writers' Block (apa A Murder of Magpies) 2014
Karin Fossum - In the Darkness (apa Eva's Eye) 2012
Ariana Franklin - The Serpent's Tale (apa The Death Maze (UK)) 2008
Ariana Franklin - Grave Goods (apa Relics of the Dead (UK)) 2009
Ariana Franklin - A Murderous Procession (apa The Assassin's Prayer (UK)) 2010
Nicci French - Complicit (apa The Other Side of the Door) 2010
Christopher Galt - Biblical (apa The Third Testament) 2014
Brent Ghelfi - Volk's Shadow (apa Shadow of the Wolf) 2008
David Gibbins - The Lost Tomb (apa The Last Gospel) 2008
Juan Gomez-Jurado - Contract with God (apa The Moses Expedition) 2009
J G Goodhind - Menu for Murder (apa Killing Jane Austen) 2009
Christopher/C W) Gortner - The Tudor Secret (apa The Secret Lion) 2011
Ann Granger - A Rare Interest in Corpses (apa The Companion) 2006
Allan Guthrie - Hard Man (apa Bad Men) 2007
Penny Hancock - Tideline (apa Kept in the Dark) 2012
Sophie Hannah - Hurting Distance (apa The Truth-Teller's Lie) 2007
Sophie Hannah - The Point of Rescue (apa The Wrong Mother) 2008
Sophie Hannah - The Other Half Lives (apa The Dead Lie Down) 2009
Sophie Hannah - A Room Swept White (apa The Cradle in the Grave) 2010
Sophie Hannah - Lasting Damage (apa The Other Woman's House) 2011
Robert Harris - The Ghost (apa The Ghost Writer) 2007
Cora Harrison - Michaelmas Tribute (apa A Secret and Unlawful Killing) 2008
Reginald Hill - The Death of Dalziel (apa Death Comes for the Fat Man) 2007
Reginald Hill - A Cure for All Diseases (apa The Price of Butcher's Meat) 2008
Casey Hill - Torn (apa Inferno) 2012
Hjorth-Rosenfeldt - Sebastian Bergman (apa Dark Secrets) 2012
Hazel Holt - A Death in the Family (apa Mrs Malory and a Death in the Family) 2006
Anne Holt - Punishment (apa What Is Mine) 2006
Anne Holt - The Final Murder (apa What Never Happens) 2007
Hazel Holt - Time to Die (apa Mrs Malory and A Time To Die) 2008
Hazel Holt - Any Man's Death (apa Mrs Malory and Any Man's Death) 2009
Anne Holt - Blind Goddess (apa The Blind Goddess) 2012
Hazel Holt - A Necessary End (apa Mrs Malory and a Necessary End) 2012
William Horwood & Helen Rappaport - Dark Hearts of Chicago (apa City of Dark Hearts by James Conan) 2007
Declan Hughes - The Color of Blood (apa The Colour of Blood) 2007
Declan Hughes - The Price of Blood (apa The Dying Breed) 2008
Claude Izner - The Pere-Lachaise Mystery (apa The Disappearance at Pere-Lachaise) 2007
Claude Izner - The Marais Assassin (apa The Assassin in the Marais) 2009
Diane Janes - Why Don't You Come for Me? (apa Why Didn't You Come For Me?) 2011
Chris Morgan Jones - An Agent of Deceit (apa The Silent Oligarch) 2011
Mari Jungstedt - The Inner Circle (apa Unknown) 2008
J G Jurado - The Tipping Point (apa Point of Balance) 2014
Mons Kallentoft - Midwinter Sacrifice (apa Midwinter Blood) 2011
Mons Kallentoft - Summertime Death (apa Summer Death) 2012
Robert Karjel - My name is N (apa The Swede) 2015
Emma Kavanagh - Falling (apa After We Fall (US)) 2014
Erin Kelly - The Sick Rose (apa The Dark Rose) 2011
Christobel Kent - A Time of Mourning (apa The Drowning River) 2009
Christobel Kent - A Fine and Private Place (apa Murder in Tuscany) 2010
Tom Knox - Bible of the Dead (apa The Lost Goddess) 2011
Camilla Lackberg - The Gallows Bird (apa The Stranger) 2011
Jens Lapidus - Never F*ck Up (apa Never Screw Up) 2013
Asa Larsson - Sun Storm (apa The Savage Altar) 2006
Simon Lelic - Rupture (apa A Thousand Cuts) 2010
Giulio Leoni - The Third Heaven Conspiracy (apa The Mosaic Crimes) 2007
Stuart MacBride - Broken Skin (apa Bloodshot) 2007
Scott Mariani - The Fulcanelli Manuscript (apa The Alchemist's Secret) 2007
Scott Mariani - The Doomsday Prophecy (apa The Hope Vendetta) 2009
Nigel McCrery - Still Waters (apa Core of Evil) 2007
James McGee - Ratcatcher (apa Hawkwood) 2006
Brian McGilloway - Hurt (apa Someone You Know) 2013
Hope McIntyre - How to Cook for a Ghost (apa Killer Date) 2008
Sophie McKenzie - Trust in Me (apa You Can Trust Me) 2014
The Medieval Murderers - Sword of Shame (apa The Sword of Shame) 2006
Mark Mills - House of the Hanged (apa House of the Hunted) 2011
Denise Mina - The Last Breath (apa Slip of the Knife) 2007
Graham Moore - The Sherlockian (apa The Holmes Affair) 2010
R N Morris - A Gentle Axe (apa The Gentle Axe) 2007
John Mortimer - The Anti-Social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole (apa Rumpole Misbehaves) 2007
Hakan Nesser - Mind's Eye (apa The Mind's Eye) 2008
Hakan Nesser - The Unlucky Lottery (apa Munster's Case) 2011
Nele Neuhaus - Bad Wolf (apa Big Bad Wolf) 2014
Stuart Neville - The Twelve (apa The Ghosts of Belfast) 2009
Andrew Nugent - Second Burial for a Black Prince (apa Second Burial) 2006
Caro Peacock - Death at Dawn (apa A Foreign Affair) 2007
Caro Peacock - Death of a Dancer (apa A Dangerous Affair) 2008
Caro Peacock-  A Corpse in Shining Armour (apa A Family Affair) 2009
Anne Perry - Betrayal at Lisson Grove (apa Treason at Lisson Grove) 2010
Karen Perry - The Boy That Never Was (apa The Innocent Sleep) 2014
Leif GW Persson - Falling Freely, As If In a Dream (apa Free Falling, As If In a Dream) 2014
Matt Benyon Rees - The Collaborator of Bethlehem (apa The Bethlehem Murders) 2007
Matt Benyon Rees - A Grave in Gaza (apa The Saladin Murders) 2008
Ruth Rendell - The St Zita Society (apa The Saint Zita Society) 2012
Michael Ridpath - 66 Degrees North (apa Far North) 2011
Luis Miguel Rocha - The Holy Bullet (apa The Holy Assassin) 2009
Roslund & Hellstrom - The Vault (apa Box 21) 2008
William Ryan - The Bloody Meadow (apa The Darkening Field) 2011
Ian Sansom - The Mobile Library : The Delegates' Choice (apa The Book Stops Here) 2008
Manda Scott - The Crystal Skull (apa 2012 The Crystal Skull) 2008
Manda Scott - The Fire of Rome (apa The Emperor's Spy) 2010
William Shaw - A Song from Dead Lips (apa She's Leaving Home) 2013
Lynn Shepherd - Tom-All-Alone's (apa The Solitary House) 2012
Lynn Shepherd - A Treacherous Likeness (apa A Fatal Likeness) 2013
Jeffrey Siger - Prey on Patmos (apa An Aegean Prophecy) 2011
Alexander McCall Smith - The Comfort of Saturdays (apa The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday) 2008
Alexander McCall Smith - Precious and the Monkeys (apa The Great Cake Mystery) 2011
Mehmet Murat Somer - The Serenity Murders (apa The Wig Murders) 2012
Lyndon Stacey - Six to One Against (apa Time to Pay) 2006
Michael Stanley - A Deadly Trade (apa The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu) 2010
Sara Stockbridge - Hammer (apa The Fortunes of Grace Hammer) 2009
William Sutton - The Worms of Euston Square (apa Lawless & the Devil of Euston Square (2013)) 2006
Andrew Swanston - The King's Spy (apa The King's Codebreaker as Andrew Douglas in 2010) 2012
Frank Tallis - Darkness Rising (apa Vienna Secrets) 2009
Frank Tallis - Deadly Communion (apa Vienna Twilight) 2010
Brian Thompson - The Captain's Table (apa The Sailor's Ransom) 2009
Simon Toyne - Solomon Creed (apa The Searcher) 2015
Martin Walker - Children of War (apa The Children Return) 2014
Kit Whitfield - Bareback (apa Benighted) 2006
Laura Wilson - Stratton's War (apa The Innocent Spy) 2008
Robert Wilton - The Emperor's Gold (apa Treason's Tide) 2011
Patrick Woodhead - The Cloud Maker (apa The Forbidden Temple) 2009
Felicity Young - A Dissection of Murder (apa The Anatomy of Death) 2012
Juli Zeh - Dark Matter (apa In Free Fall) 2010