Monday, February 29, 2016

Some 1947 Titles (for Past Offences)

The latest monthly challenge over at Past Offences is to read a book in March, published in 1947. Here are some British/European crime titles to choose from, first published in English in 1947, pulled from my database:

Margery Allingham - The Case Book of Mr Campion
Dorothy Bowers - The Bells at Old Bailey
Agatha Christie - The Labours of Hercules (Short Stories)
Joan Coggin - Dancing with Death
Ernest Dudley - Menace for Dr Morelle
Francis Durbridge - Paul Temple And The Sullivan Mystery
Ngaio Marsh - Final Curtain
Georges Simenon - Maigret in New York's Underworld (apa Maigret in New York/Inspector Maigret in New York's Underworld)
Georges Simenon - Three Beds in Manhattan
Georges Simenon - Act of Passion
Georges Simenon - The Fate of the Malous
Georges Simenon - The Ostenders
Georges Simenon - Maigret in Retirement
Georges Simenon - Maigret's Pipe
Georges Simenon - The Stowaway
Showell Styles - Traitor’s Mountain
Beryl Symons - Jane Carberry's Weekend
Patricia Wentworth - Latter End
Patricia Wentworth - Spotlight (apa Wicked Uncle)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Review Roundup: Connelly, Dalbuono, Downing, Fossum, Nickson, Quinn, Randall, Russell, Seymour, Webster, Wilson

Here are 12 reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, all have appeared on the blog since last time.

You can keep up to date with Euro Crime by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page and follow on Twitter, @eurocrime.

New Reviews

I briefly review Michael Connelly's latest Bosch, The Crossing and float the idea of reading some of his earlier books over the summer;

Susan reviews The Few by Nadia Dalbuono, which introduces Scarmarcio of the Roman police;

Terry reviews David Downing's One Man's Flag and Silesian Station;

I also review Karin Fossum's The Drowned Boy tr. Kari Dickson which sees the return of the empathetic Inspector Sejer;

Michelle reviews Chris Nickson's Two Bronze Pennies, the second in the Tom Parker series set in 1890s Leeds;

Lynn reviews Anthony J Quinn's Silence, the third in the Celcius Daly series set in Northern Ireland;

Amanda reviews Anne Randall's Silenced, the second in the Wheeler and Ross series (the first was Riven written as A J McCreanor);

Amanda also reviews Leigh Russell's Blood Axe, the third in the DS Ian Peterson series;

Terry also reviews Gerald Seymour's No Mortal Thing;

Lynn also reviews A Body in Barcelona by Jason Webster, the fifth in the Max Camara series

and Michelle also reviews The Wrong Girl by Laura Wilson.

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

Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: Two Bronze Pennies by Chris Nickson

Two Bronze Pennies by Chris Nickson, January 2016, 224 pages, Severn House Publishers Ltd, ISBN: 1847516084

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

As with many of Chris Nickson’s books, this one is set in Leeds. It’s the most recent outing in the author's newer series featuring Detective Tom Harper, and is set in 1890. Tom is recently married to Annabelle, who is the landlady of the Victoria Pub, and manages a couple of local bakeries. It’s December, Christmas Eve, and cold, when Harper is called out to the Jewish quarter of the city: the Leylands. The body of a young man, stabbed, with two bronze pennies covering his eyes, is laid out in the street. The young man, only seventeen-years-old, is quickly identified as the rabbi’s nephew, Abraham Levy. Is the murder something to do with the local hatred of the Jews? Was the perpetrator someone involved with a shady group, who meet in pubs and plan violence? Are they working on their own, or is someone organizing their actions?

As well as investigating the murder, Harper has something else to keep him busy, the imminent arrival of a French detective, Bertrand Muyrère who’s coming to try to find out what happened to someone called Louis Le Prince, the inventor of moving pictures. The Frenchman who married a girl from Leeds, invented his camera and disappeared during a visit to France, somewhere between Dijon and Paris. Harper has been asked to help Bertrand interview the family and help him with his investigations.

An interesting mix of stories, and backstories ensues. Sergeant Reed goes undercover to find out more about the group of thugs that might be involved, putting his own life in danger. There is a wealth of interesting detail about the life of the Jews in Leeds, and the various prejudices. The Jews themselves feel threatened, don’t trust the police and have their own vigilante group, the Golem, which tries to protect them from harm. More murders ensue, but slowly and surely Harper discovers the perpetrators. A good mix of characters, and some nice historical detail make this an enjoyable read.

Michelle Peckham, February 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rediscovering Michael Connelly - The Crossing

Many years ago I listened to the audio book of City of Bones the eighth in the Harry Bosch series which I liked, but for some reason I never carried on with the series. However, when I saw the latest and twentieth Bosch book The Crossing on the library catalogue I was seized by the impulse to reserve it, and I'm very glad I did.

Michael Connelly was arguably, Maxine's (Petrona) favourite crime writer and I really should have made the effort before to try another of his books.

Over on the Petrona's Crime and Mystery Friends Facebook page I have floated the possibility of reading (some of) the earlier books in a read along/challenge sort of way and maybe posting the (monthly?) results on the Petrona Remembered blog. Does anyone fancy this idea or similar?

As I'm knee-deep in Petrona Award submissions I would like to suggest making this a six months Spring to Autumn challenge leading up to the new book in November: The Wrong Side of Goodbye.

In brief, The Crossing finds Harry Bosch forcibly retired from LAPD and his half brother Mickey “Lincoln Lawyer” Haller asks for his help. He has a client who he is convinced is innocent but there is DNA evidence saying otherwise. Harry doesn't want to be one of those who make the crossing to the dark side ie defence but initially agrees to look at the official case notes.

Of course he can't help himself and comes to think that maybe his brother has a point.

The crossing in the title has several meanings, not just going over to the dark side but also crossing a line and the crossing point for the victim and murderer.

Though the case hasn't yet gone to court, Bosch's investigation is like a cold case investigation – which I believe was his previous job – with him going over the paperwork first and then making site visits and speaking to witnesses.

I enjoyed The Crossing. It smacks of verisimilitude based on the author's experience as a crime reporter and it clips along, in a fairly spare style, as Bosch unravels the mystery. Bosch comes out better in it than Haller – who is in it much less - so it'll definitely be interesting to read one of the 'Lincoln Lawyer' series to see what Haller's really like.

The Crossing was one of my favourite reads of 2015.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Review: Silenced by Anne Randall (A J McCreanor)

Silenced by Anne Randall (A J McCreanor), September 2015, 368 pages, Constable, ISBN: 1472112334

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

Anne Randall is the pseudonym of A J McCreanor, author of the fabulous crime fiction debut novel RIVEN that was published in 2014. RIVEN was the first in Randall’s series to feature her detectives Wheeler and Ross. SILENCED is her second, and is every bit as harrowing as the first.

The story begins when Mark Haedyear, a notorious murderer, escapes from custody after his mother’s funeral. Now he is on the run and the girlfriend of the man believed to have grassed on him to the cops goes missing. Haedyear had murdered his original victim by burying her alive, so it seems as if history is about to repeat itself.

Things begin to get nastier when the body of a homeless man is found dumped amongst rubbish near a park in Glasgow. The only clue to the possible identity of the killer is a small card left near the body. The card comes from the mysterious Letum Institute: an organization interested in the afterlife and contacting the dead. It also funds a homeless hostel in the city and it could be that there is a connection between the hostel and the dead man. Wheeler and Ross are called in to investigate but clues are few and far between, and they feel as if they are getting nowhere fast.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, Fiona Henderson, daughter of Haedyear’s first victim has also gone missing. She turned into a mute recluse after the murder of her mother and spent increasing amounts of time homeless; avoiding her father and sister and trying to come to terms with her loss. With Haedyear’s escape from prison, the pressure is on to find Fiona, in case she becomes a victim too. Wheeler and Ross have their work cut out for them if they are to get to the bottom of their case before more people are killed.

If you enjoy your crime fiction a bit on the dark side, then you are going to love this latest book by Anna Randall. It also has a wonderful twist at the end that you won't see coming. It blows you away and leaves you feeing exhausted by the time you have finished the book.

Overall, a fabulous story by this gifted author that keeps you guessing and captivated, from the first page to the last.

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, February 2016.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cover Theme: Arch

I'm sure there are more covers showing arches but I was struck by the similarity between these two.

The Body on the Doorstep by A J MacKenzie is published in April and is "For fans of Antonia Hodgson's, The Devil in the Marshalsea, and M.J. Carter's, The Strangler Vine":

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: The Wrong Girl by Laura Wilson

The Wrong Girl by Laura Wilson, February 2016, 384 pages, Quercus, ISBN: 1782063129

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

Suzie’s daughter Molly is a ten-year-old girl, who thinks she has been stolen, and that her real parents are the ones looking for their child, a girl called Phoebe who was kidnapped some time ago and never found. Suzie herself was given up for adoption forty-four years ago by her mother, Janice.

Six months ago, Suzie decided to get in contact with her real mother, but the letter was opened by Janice’s brother Dan. One thing led to another, and Suzie went to live with Dan at the Old Rectory in Norfolk. But now Dan, only sixty-six years old has died suddenly, and Suzie has to call Janice to introduce herself for the first time, and to give her the bad news about her brother.

Why would a sixty-six-year-old man apparently die in his sleep: a natural death, or not? How will Janice cope with meeting her daughter for the first time, and her grand daughter Molly? And what is Joe Vincent, the band member that Janice used to hang out with back in the late 60s doing living just down the road from the Rectory?

It’s the start of a long complex unravelling story with a theme of missing young girls. It reaches deep into the past, uncovering the story of the men in the band that Janice used to hang out with back in the 60s. Part of the story telling is driven forward by Molly, who finally decides to ‘escape’ and find her real parents. As Janice and Suzie try to find her, Janice starts to uncover some unexpected links to her own family past, secrets and lies, the truth untold, as she is lifted out of her comfortable existence, and also has to find out how all of this is linked into what happened to Dan.

THE WRONG GIRL is an interesting and well told story, with Janice a rather unlikely heroine, driven forward by circumstances towards a dramatic denouement.

Michelle Peckham, February 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

TV News: Babylon Berlin on Sky (in 2017)

I received this press release earlier today announcing that a tv series is to be made of Volker Kutscher's Gereon Rath books. The first of which, Babylon Berlin, will be published in English by Sandstone Press in May. The tv series will be on Sky in 2017.

Sandstone author Volker Kutscher nets record-budget TV series: Babylon Berlin

ARD and Sky announce two seasons directed by Run, Lola Run Director Tom Tykwer

Sandstone Press author Volker Kutscher will see his bestselling crime novels adapted for television in a 40-million-Euro series produced jointly by German public broadcaster ARD and Sky.

Sandstone will publish the first book in the series, Babylon Berlin, in May, translated into English by Niall Sellar. Kutscher, whose novels have sold over 1 million copies in Germany, joins the Scottish independent’s growing list of crime authors including David McCallum, Jorn Lier Horst, Lesley Kelly and William McIntyre.

Babylon Berlin is set in 20s Berlin, centring on the figure of Inspector Gereon Rath from Cologne. When he arrives in the Berlin of 1920s, the city is the epicentre of political and social change. The series stars ‘two of the most interesting talents on the German acting scene’ (der Spiegel): Volker Bruch who will play Gereon Rath (and who is shortly to appear in HHhH alongside Rosamund Pike and Jack O’Donnell) and Liv Lisa Fries, who will play Rath’s girlfriend Charlotte.

The series will air internationally on Sky in 2017, and on German TV in 2018. German news magazine Der Spiegel commented: ‘Babylon Berlin could be a TV event to rival the golden age of the early 80s when Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz created series that were broadcast all over the world.’

Volker Kutscher says, ‘I am more than happy to know that Gereon Rath and his world are in the hands of X Filme and Tom Tykwer. I appreciate Tykwer's work very much and I know that we both think in the same direction concerning the cinematic adaptation of the material. (…) I look forward to see the world of Gereon Rath being adapted in the tradition of series like The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under and Boardwalk Empire.’

Sandstone Press Managing Director Robert Davidson says, ‘This is thrilling news. The Gereon Rath mysteries by Volker Kutscher have already captured a huge German language readership and we are very proud to bring the first of them, Babylon Berlin, to the entire English speaking world. Scrupulous with historical detail and atmosphere, with two utterly engaging central characters in Gereon Rath and Charlotte (Charly) Ritter, tightly plotted and exciting, I knew I wanted to publish this series as soon as I learned it existed. It has all the material not only for great reading but also for great television and I do believe its impact is going to be huge.’

Review: A Body in Barcelona by Jason Webster

A Body in Barcelona by Jason Webster, August 2015, 384 pages, Chatto & Windus, ISBN: 0701189398

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

North Africa.
Ex-Spanish Légion commander and Spanish patriot, Colonel José Terreros, makes his way through the streets of the tiny Spanish enclave of Ceuta on the North African coast. As soon as he is at his desk in the Légion's Veterans Welfare Association, the owner of the nearby bar brings him a cup of coffee and waits reverently for the Colonel's pronouncements on the state of the world. Yes, Terreros has heard the news, the border problems and the would-be immigrants' deaths. They drowned in their panic, running into the sea after the border police used rubber bullets. Madrid remains blind to the situation. And not only here in Ceuta. Disintegration threatens the home country itself with the actions of the separatists. The bar owner leaves and the Colonel returns to his computer. He opens some files, his most secret files.

Police inspector Max Cámara is at a police award ceremony in Barcelona, the outcome of a three-week long investigation into the death of a protester, possibly at the hands of the Catalan riot squad. The investigation was conducted by a team drawn from police forces across Spain and Max was picked as the Valencian representative. The riot squad officers were cleared, hence the award ceremony welcoming them back into the fold. Cámara had disagreed and was naturally no longer popular with the Catalan police, so he is glad of the return ticket in his pocket. Turning to leave, he is stopped by Josep Segundo Pont, interior minister with the Catalan government. Max can't help wondering why he is in receipt of such an honour and Pont is eager to thank Cámara for his open stance during the investigation. But Pont also appears more anxious as the conversation continues. He finishes by telling Max that the country “needs men like him”.
In Valencia Max's homecoming is low-key to say the least. His girlfriend Alicia is still traumatised by her experiences at the hands of right-wing extremists during an incident which involved Max. Their relationship suffers equally, the gap between them widening. Max decides to grab a drink in a bar somewhere but changes his mind at the last moment, visiting his old friends Berto and Daniel at the anarchist collective's food bank and shelter. As soon as Max enters he can sense a change. Posters praising “Resistance” and “Struggle” plaster the walls. This is no longer simply a food bank for the nation's new poor – the atmosphere is more politicised. Welcomed and fed, Max is drawn into the discussions and invited to hear their plans, subject to his presence being sanctioned by democratic vote of course.
Next day, Max is back at work at the Jefetura, in the office of his two-man Special Crime Unit. The atmosphere points up the frustration of being a unit without cases to investigate. Their old unit, the Murder squad, is keeping them at arm's length and currently the hours of the Special Crime Unit are being spent in pointless bureaucracy. But the discovery of a young boy's body will soon change all that. The child was the illegitimate son of a Valencian multi-millionaire businessman and it is just such a delicate situation that calls for the skills of the Special Crime Unit ….

A child's death, perhaps a kidnapping gone wrong, leads Cámara into an investigation which starts to strike political undercurrents. With his and Alicia's relationship failing and an approach by a security agent for Max's co-operation in “another area”, Max's life becomes very complicated in this the fifth in Jason Webster's “Max Cámara” series. The story involves its readers in Max's life almost as much as in the crime investigation but such is the quality of Webster's story-telling – the reader can drop into the plot and feel of this latest book whether they have read previous titles or not. This is a style of crime writing not to everyone's taste nor perhaps is Max's political stance. Me? I lap it up. As ever, Max is not very “procedural” about his police work and this, together with political duplicity, psychologically well-rooted characters and an action-packed finish, makes for an exciting crime novel steeped in the politics of contemporary Spain. What will happen to Max next? I don't know but I want to find out.

Lynn Harvey, February 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: No Mortal Thing by Gerald Seymour

No Mortal Thing by Gerald Seymour, January 2016, 416 pages, Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN: 1444758632

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

This is the author's latest book and the seventh that I've read for review, although I have enjoyed reading privately many others of his. The quality of his writing and research has not diminished over the years, in fact it seems to get better. I found this latest one just as exciting and dramatic as ever.

Jago is a kid from a rough part of London who has worked hard to get a job in a bank and is now on a fast-track secondment to the Berlin office.

Marcantonio is one of the new generation in the 'Ndrangheta crime families from Calabria, Southern Italy. He is in Germany to learn how to channel their illicit millions towards legitimate businesses all over Europe.

When Jago witnesses Marcantonio commit a vicious assault and the police seem uninterested, the Englishman refuses to let the matter drop.

After an unhappy meeting in Germany, Jago decides to put his job on hold and follow Marconio to Italy and after a chance meeting with a girl named Consolata, who gives him good advice he decides to observe Marcantonio and his Mafia family from under deep cover and debate how he can invoke justice against the offender. In the interest of reading a good story one has to suspend one's disbelief that a man in a very good and highly paid banking job in Germany would on a whim abandon it and go Italy to hurt in some way a Mafia gangster.

The story reminded me of his book A DENIABLE DEATH in that both stories employ the protagonist in a surveillance capacity under deep cover for quite long periods of time and the author's skill is deployed in lengthy descriptions of small movements of both the watchers and the targets. This may seem a bit long-winded but with the author's deep understanding of such tactics it becomes very tense. The book moves swiftly on until the explosive ending.

Gerald Seymour has been a full-time writer since 1978. NO MORTAL THING is his thirty-second novel. I hope he writes many more and that I get the chance to read them all as I have never known him to write a dull one. I enjoyed this book tremendously and was thoroughly enthralled until the final page. This story was absolutely gripping and I urge you to read this novel.

Strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, February 2016.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review: Blood Axe by Leigh Russell

Blood Axe by Leigh Russell, November 2015, 320 pages, No Exit Press, ISBN: 1843445433

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

BLOOD AXE is the third Leigh Russell novel to feature her detective DI Ian Peterson and is probably the most chilling one to date. This time the killer is completely insane and believes himself to be a Viking warrior: going out on raids and hacking apparently random targets to death with his axe. He takes his spoils – jewellery and coins - home with him and keeps them in a tin under his bed. The whole of York is in a state of high alert and it seems that no one is safe from this attacker, as he picks anyone who crosses his path when he is out on his raids. The first victim is a teenage girl on her way home from a party, the second a jewellery store manager and the third a well-to-do elderly woman who stops to ask for directions. The killer leaves no clues and it seems that catching him is going to be an impossible task.

DI Ian Peterson is up to the challenge of achieving the impossible. He and his team work late, follow up even the slightest clues and deal with a number of sensitive but annoying teenage girls, who seem to be fabricating evidence and wasting time right left and centre. Ian does his best but, as usual, has his work cut out for him as he also has to fight with himself over feeling guilty for neglecting his demanding wife, Bev, who doesn’t work and moans all the time about being alone. She seems remarkably pleasant in this novel and the reader is instantly suspicious of her motives.

As the body count increases, so does the pressure to find answers and what with the papers calling this man a serial killer, not to mention that the boss is breathing down their necks, time is running out for Ian and his team.

Leigh Russell’s books are simply wonderful. The characters are so real that you feel as if you know them. You either like them enormously and want them to succeed – Ian, for example, who you wish would just get rid of his wife – or dislike them immensely and get extremely annoyed when they interfere.

If you are a fan of books by Peter James, Sophie Hannah and Lynda La Plante then you are going to love books by Leigh Russell too. Her novels are always a relatively quick read, as well as being absorbing and well-written. They also pay a lot of attention to accuracy in terms of procedural details. It is to the author’s credit that she has already won awards for her work. It is high time she was given another one!

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, February 2016.

Monday, February 08, 2016

TV News w/c 7 Feb 2016

Lots of exciting new programmes this week on the BBC (and the return tonight of the X-Files on Channel 5!).

If you missed it last night, you can catch up with Montalbano and Me: Andrea Camilleri on iPlayer.

An intimate portrait of the man behind Inspector Montalbano, as acclaimed Italian novelist Andrea Camilleri gives us access to the man himself, his work and personal history.

Camilleri shares the name and beginning of what will be the final Montalbano novel which he wrote when he was 80 - worried that Alzheimer's would strike. [He is still writing new ones.] The interviewer notes how all the Montalbanos are the same length and Camilleri explains that it is deliberate. There is a brief interview with Luca Zingaretti and how he got the job of playing Montalbano.

Tomorrow night sees the return of Happy Valley at 9pm on BBC One:

Eighteen months have passed, and Catherine is spinning plates at work and at home, where Ryan approaches his tenth birthday. Tommy, serving a life sentence in a high-security prison, finds a way of keeping a watchful eye over Ryan from behind bars, while Catherine becomes a murder suspect after finding a dead body.

and lastly on Saturday, on BBC Four from 9pm, the first two of the ten episodes of Icelandic drama, Trapped:

In a small Icelandic fishing port, a ferry docks. That same day a dismembered body is found in the river, sparking an investigation and a call to Reykjavik for detective reinforcements to assist the small local police force. With the ferry held in dock and a bad snowstorm threatening to cut off the town, chief of police Andri is under pressure to deliver results quickly.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Website Updates: February 2016

I've updated the main files on the Euro Crime website today. Euro Crime includes both British and other European crime fiction writers (that have been published in English); non-British/European born crime writers who are strongly associated with British/European crime fiction (eg. Donna Leon), and crime writers in translation from outside of Europe.

Just a couple of reminders regarding the New Releases page:

1. The main by month/by author pages refer to when a book is published (in English) anywhere in the world however the 'by category ie historical, translated etc' is specific to the UK eg Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy series which was published in the US in the 2000s (and on) is only recently published in the UK and so some of her books appear in the 2015 Historical list.

2. When a book is released "early" in ebook I am taking the publication date as to be when the print edition comes out (this is the rule we use for determining Petrona Award eligibility).

As always, if you spot something wrong or missing, please do let me know.

Here's a summary of the usual updates:

The Author Websites page now lists 1047 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2278 authors (11496 titles of which 2995 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: Sascha Arango, Fiona Barton, Tom Callaghan, Barney Campbell, Clare Carson, M J Carter, Piero Chiara, Elliott Colla, Annie Dalton, Bram Dehouck, N J/Nev Fountain, Michael Genelin, Phyllis Gobbell, Martin Granger, Indrek Hargla, Tetsuya Honda, Jogvan Isaksen, Vaseem Khan, Volker Kutscher, Aga Lesiewicz, Davide Longo, Brooke Magnanti, David McCallum, Kate McQuaile, Cal Moriarty, Mandy Morton, Hassouna Mosbahi, Abir Mukherjee, Shichiri Nakayama, Hisashi Nozawa, Melanie Raabe, Cay Rademacher, Anne Randall, Jo Spain, Jon Stenhugg, Nick Sweet, Mike Thomas, Gaku Yakumaru and Hideo Yokoyama.

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Bernhard Aichner, M J Arlidge, Jo Bannister, Stephanie Barron, Quentin Bates, Mark Billingham, Sean Black, Benjamin Black, Sara Blaedel, S J/Sharon Bolton, Eric Brown, Alison Bruce, Ken Bruen, Gianrico Carofiglio, Tania Carver, Steve Cavanagh, Ben Cheetham, Lee Child, Barbara Cleverly, Tammy Cohen, John Connolly, Lindsey Davis, Giancarlo De Cataldo, Oscar de Muriel, Clare Donoghue, Louise Doughty, David Downing, Sam Eastland, Kate Ellis, Roger Jon/R J Ellory, Chris Ewan, Jasper Fforde, Charles Finch, Sebastian Fitzek, Helen FitzGerald, Karin Fossum, Friis & Kaaberbol, V M Giambanco, Alan Glynn, Ann Granger, Andrew Grant, Alex Gray, Isabelle Grey, Lotte and Soren Hammer, Cora Harrison, Sam Hayes, Terry Hayes, Mick/M Herron, David Hodges, Jorn Lier Horst, Bogdan Hrib, Phillip Hunter, Steffen Jacobsen, Peter James, Quintin Jardine, Paul Johnston, Will Jordan, Mons Kallentoft, Emma Kavanagh, Christobel Kent, Lars Kepler, Simon Kernick, Philip Kerr, Bill Kitson, Kazuhiro Kiuchi, John Lawton, Donna Leon, Sheila Lowe, Stuart/Stuart B MacBride, Torquil MacLeod, Gilly Macmillan, Barry Maitland, Michael J Malone, Antonio Manzini, David Mark, Liza Marklund, Andrew Martin, Alex Marwood, Priscilla Masters, Seicho Matsumoto, Peter May, K T McCaffrey, A P McCoy, Claire McGowan, Adrian McKinty, Catriona McPherson, D A Mishani, Susan Moody, Frank/T F Muir, Stuart Neville, James Oswald, Caro Peacock, Leif GW Persson, Anthony Quinn, Caro Ramsay, Danielle Ramsay, Peter Robinson, Roslund & Hellstrom, James Runcie, Leigh Russell, Chris Simms, Gillian Slovo, Anna Smith, Cath Staincliffe, Viveca Sten, Dominique Sylvain, Lesley Thomson, Robert Thorogood, Valerio Varesi, Ruth Ware, Lee Weeks, Jan Merete Weiss, Kjell Westo, Kevin Wignall, Kerry Wilkinson, Jacqueline Winspear and Felicity Young.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Review: The Few by Nadia Dalbuono

The Few by Nadia Dalbuono, November 2014, 368 pages, Scribe Publications, ISBN: 1922247677

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

THE FEW is an interesting book. Based in Rome, it deals very much with the underlying corruption in the Italian political system and the power of the Mafia. The leading character, Scarmarcio isn't very sympathetic or likeable, and it is difficult not to draw comparisons and links with Montalbano either, but there is a vulnerability and complexity in him that I found appealing.

Scarmarcio was brought up in a powerful Mafia family but has turned his back on them to join the police force. Not all his colleagues believe in his change of heart and many distrust him. His superior hands him a politically sensitive case involving an important member of the government who is being blackmailed. An added complication is that the case is to be treated very sensitively and also very secretly. No-one but his boss and someone very senior knows or should know how the case is proceeding. Scarmarcio suspects that he has been selected to investigate because he is expendable. Meanwhile, on Elba, an American child disappears from the beach while her parents are sun-bathing nearby. The two cases draw closer and closer together and some very important people's reputations are put at risk.

There is a second voice in the book - identified as Pino - with a seemingly parallel narrative and eventually the links between the two strands are resolved satisfactorily. The character of the Prime Minister in the book seemed, to me, very much based on the ex-Italian Prime Minister, Berlusconi, albeit a gentler, more pleasant individual.

One weakness in the book was the references to Scarmarcio's back story. This was lightly touched on but not in enough detail to satisfy me as a reader. Although I enjoyed the book, and I expect the next book will set this out in more detail, I found it irritating and dissatisfying and I was left with many questions. The writing has none of the lightness of touch, and humour of the Montalbano books but I feel that fans of that series one will enjoy this one.

Susan White, February 2016

Monday, February 01, 2016

New Releases - February 2016

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in February 2016 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). January 2016 and also future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything do please leave a comment.

• Barron, Stephanie - Jane and the Waterloo Map #13 Jane Austen
• Beaton, M C - Death of a Nurse #32 PC Hamish Macbeth, Lochdubh, Scotland
• Benedict, A K - Jonathan Dark or The Evidence Of Ghosts
• Black, Sean - C is for Coochy Coo (with Rebecca Cantrell) (ebook only) #3 Sofia Salgado, Malibu
• Blaedel, Sara - The Killing Forest #8 Detective Inspector Louise Rick
• Brown, Eric - Murder at the Loch #3 Donald Langham, Crime Writer, London, 1955
• Bruce, Alison - The Promise #6 DC Gary Goodhew, Cambridge
• Camilleri, Andrea - Montalbano's First Case and Other Stories
• Dalton, Annie - Written in Red #2 Anna Hopkins, Oxford
• de Muriel, Oscar - A Fever of the Blood #2 Frey & McGray, Edinburgh, 1880s
• Ellis, Kate - The House of Eyes #20 Wesley Peterson (policeman) and Neil Watson (archaeologist), Tradmouth, Devon
• FitzGerald, Helen - Viral
• Fountain, N J - Painkiller
• Hannah, Sophie - The Narrow Bed #10 DC Simon Waterhouse and DS Charlie Zailer
• Herron, M - Real Tigers #3 Slough House
• Higashino, Keigo - A Midsummer's Equation #3 Detective Galileo
• Hill, Suzette - A The Primrose Pursuit #1 Primrose Oughterard
• Jacobsen, Steffen - Retribution
• Kiuchi, Kazuhiro - Shield of Straw
• Leather, Stephen - First Response
• Magnanti, Brooke - The Turning Tide
• Marston, Edward - Steps to the Gallows #2 Bow Street Rivals
• Masters, Priscilla - Dangerous Minds #1 Dr Claire Roget, Forensic Psychiatrist
• Oswald, James - The Damage Done #6 Detective Inspector McLean, Edinburgh
• Russell, Leigh - Journey to Death #1 Lucy Hall
• Tyler, L C - Cat Among the Herrings #6 Ethelred Tressider, author & Elsie Thirkettle, agent
• Varesi, Valerio - A Woman Much Missed #5 Commissario Soneri, Italy
• Vichi, Marco - Death in the Tuscan Hills #5 Inspector Bordelli, Florence, 1960s
• Wilkinson, Kerry - For Richer, For Poorer #10 DS Jessica Daniel, Manchester
• Young, Felicity - Flare-up (ebook only) #2 Cam Fraser, Australia