Monday, November 19, 2018

Website Updates: November 2018

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.

I've also streamlined the site a little by removing several pages which were obsolete and/or out of date: Competition, Links, and News. New entries have been added to the sidebar for the Euro Crime Facebook page and the Petrona Award website.

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 when it's published in the UK.

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 1083 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2696 authors (13532 titles of which 3098 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: G D Abson, Michelle Adams, Claire Askew, Lizzy Barber, Hannah Begbie, Alison Belsham, Rachael Blok, Guy Bolton, Jonas Bonnier, James Brabazon, Simone Buchholz, Laura Carlin, B M Carroll, Holly Cave, Lezanne Clannachan, Louisa de Lange, James Deegan, Angus Donald, Sophie Draper, Charlotte Duckworth Nuala Ellwood, Clare Empson, Mick Finlay, Jack Ford, M J Ford, E C Fremantle, Anthony Good, Emily Gunnis, Bradley Harper, Paul Harrison, James Hazel, Kate Helm, K J Howe Christopher Huang, Stina Jackson, Jo Jakeman, B E Jones, Bill Jones, Sandie Jones, Lesley Kara, Serena Kent, Tony Kent, Merle Kroger, Antoine Laurain, Caroline Lea, Mariette Lindstein, Asia MacKay, Louise Mangos, Kate Mascarenhas, H P Maskew, S R Masters, Sarah Meuleman, Alex Michaelides, Emiliano Monge, Phoebe Morgan, Anthony Mosawi, Niklas Natt och Dag, Alex North, Martin Osterdahl, Darren O'Sullivan, Vikki Patis, S W Perry, Heather Redmond, Rebecca Reid, Ane Riel, Maggie Robinson, Palle Rosenkrantz, Jacob Ross, Emma Rous, Michael Rutger, Joanne Sefton, Victoria Selman, Laura Shepherd-Robinson, John Simpson, C J Skuse, A M Taylor, Michael Theurillat, Rebecca Tinnelly, Alan Trotter, Harriet Tyce, Pål Undall, Jessica Vallance, Holly Watt and Yigal Zur.

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jane Adams, Tasha Alexander, Hania Allen, Lin Anderson, M J Arlidge, Jennifer Ashley, R J Bailey, Jackie Baldwin, Fiona Barton, Samuel Bjork, Helen Black, Sara Blaedel, Robin Blake, Hilary Bonner, Oliver Bottini, Rhys Bowen, Alan Bradley, Conor Brady, Gyles Brandreth, Simon Brett, Neil Broadfoot, Frances Brody, Ken Bruen, Steve Burrows, Andrea Camilleri, Sam Carrington, Chris Carter, Will Carver, Steve Cavanagh, Ray Celestin, Kimberley Chambers, Paul Charles, Clare Chase, E O Chirovici, P F Chisholm, Rosie Claverton, Rory Clements, Daniel Cole, John Connolly, Lesley Cookman, Julie Corbin, Jane Corry, Colin Cotterill, James Craig, Mike/M W Craven, Richard Crompton, A J Cross, Bill Daly, Paula Daly, Lindsey Davis, Giancarlo De Cataldo, Maurizio De Giovanni, Anja de Jager, Will Dean, J P Delaney, Hannah Dennison, Katerina Diamond, P C/Paul Doherty, Claire Douglas, David Downing, Teresa Driscoll, Joy Ellis, Thomas Enger, Ramon Diaz Eterovic Jessica Fellowes, T P Fielden, Helen Fields, Paul Finch, Elena Forbes, Frederick Forsyth, Christopher Fowler, Dick Francis, Guy Fraser-Sampson Agnete Friis, Robert Galbraith, Robert Goddard, Dolores Gordon-Smith, Andrew Grant, Alex Gray, Camilla Grebe, Susanna Gregory, J M Gregson, Bear Grylls, Patricia Hall, Adam Hamdy, Peter Hanington, Mari Hannah, Elodie Harper, C S Harris Cora Harrison, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, L V Hay, Elizabeth Haynes, Mandasue Heller, James Henry, Mick/M Herron, Nir Hezroni, Sarah Hilary, Casey Hill, Martin Holmen, Anthony Horowitz, Anna Lee Huber, Graham Ison, Hanna Jameson, Diane Janes, Quintin Jardine, Michael Jecks, Luke Jennings, Philip Gwynne Jones, Emma Kavanagh, Jessie Keane, Erin Kelly, Claire Kendal, Simon Kernick, T E Kinsey, Ali Knight, Renee Knight, Roberta Kray, Snorri Kristjansson, David Lagercrantz, J S Law, Anna Legat, Leena Lehtolainen, Simon Lelic, Donna Leon Catherine Lloyd, Frances Lloyd, H B Lyle, Shona/S G MacLean, Torquil MacLeod, Gilly Macmillan Susan Elia MacNeal, Adrian Magson, Karen Maitland, Michael J Malone, Antonio Manzini, Scott Mariani, David Mark, Edward Marston, Andrew Martin, Faith Martin, Priscilla Masters, Peter May, Nigel McCrery, Andy McDermott, Catriona McPherson, Danny Miller, Caroline Mitchell, Mandy Morton, Peter Murphy, Amy Myers, Jo Nesbo, Hakan Nesser, Vicky Newham, Chris Nickson, John Niven, Ronnie O'Sullivan, James Oswald, Alan Parks, Tony Parsons, Ben Pastor, Anne Perry, Christoffer Petersen, Andreas Pfluger, Henry Porter, Marc Raabe, Cay Rademacher, Deanna Raybourn, Sarah Rayne, Eric Mayer & Mary Reed, Alex Reeve, Rod Reynolds, Matthew Richardson, Phil Rickman, Stella Rimington, Mike Ripley, Peter Robinson, Jenny Rogneby, Jacqui Rose, Emma Rowley James Runcie, Leigh Russell, Simon Scarrow, Jan-Philipp Sendker, Gerald Seymour, Sara Sheridan, Mel Sherratt, Soji Shimada, Jeffrey Siger, Alexander McCall Smith, Anna Smith, Helen Smith, Teresa Solana, Roz Southey, Jo Spain, Michael Stanley Mel/Melvin R Starr, Viveca Sten, Abbie Taylor, Andrew Taylor, Aline Templeton, Sherry Thomas, Will Thomas, E S Thomson, Lesley Thomson, Peter Tickler, M J Tija, Rebecca Tope, Peter Tremayne, S K Tremayne, C J Tudor, Helene Tursten, L C Tyler, Martin Walker, Rachel Ward, Ruth Ware, Douglas Watt, Ashley Weaver, Matt Wesolowski, Neil White, Lucie Whitehouse, Andrew Williams, Andrew Wilson, Jacqueline Winspear, Michael Wood, Tom Wood, Jake Woodhouse and Joakim Zander.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Review: Never Proven by Bill Daly

Never Proven by Bill Daly, November 2018, 320 pages, Old Street Publishing, ISBN: 1910400777

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

This is the fourth book in the Charlie Anderson series by this very talented writer from Glasgow and set in around the town he knows so well.

John Preston an IT consultant is found dead on the streets of Glasgow and DCI Charlie Anderson is very disturbed by the circumstances of the killing which indicate that the victim perhaps knew his assailant. On the same night a local man was attacked in a local pub and had his hand nailed to the floor and it looked like the assailants were connected to the killing but the DCI has a hard case attempting to prove the connection.

As this is the fourth book in the series the detectives in the story become more familiar to the regular reader and their back story provides the author with a rich seam of content to pass on.

As is usual in books of this kind there are many false trails before the ultimate reveal in the final paragraphs.

Bill Daly originally came from Renfrew (near Glasgow). Having spent forty years away from Scotland (living mainly in France) he returned to live in Glasgow in 2015. In 2016, he was awarded The Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Trophy for his novel writing. His first DCI Charlie Anderson thriller BLACK MAIL, published in 2014 became a No 1 Kindle Bestseller in the “Scottish Crime” category.

I always look forward to reading Bill Daly's books as they effortlessly incorporate the seedy nastiness of the tougher parts of Glasgow. They are always very fast moving and evocative and the characters all have a rich credibility. I was, as usual, absolutely gripped until the final dramatic paragraph and look forward to reading more from this very exciting and gifted author.

Very strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, November 2018.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Review: Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett

Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen translated by Don Bartlett, June 2018, 271 pages, Orenda Books, ISBN: 9781912374199

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

Norway, Bergen, Spring 2003
Moving out of his office whilst the owners redevelop the building has been unsettling enough for private investigator Varg Veum. But now he is back behind his desk and the woman sitting across from him is telling him that she is his sister. Varg tells her that he found a birth certificate and adoption papers amongst his mother’s things but he admits that he had been reluctant to look for her. His sister in turn had visited their mother back in 1975, to find out who her father was. However big sister Norma Johanne can’t tell Varg anything about the yellowed newspaper cutting he also found amongst their mother’s papers, an article about a jazz band called The Hurrycanes. In fact Norma has really come to Varg to ask him to find her god-daughter Emma, a 19-year-old trainee nurse who disappeared several weeks ago. Her Bergen landlord and flatmates say that she packed up and moved out but they don’t know where to and she isn’t answering her phone. Emma’s father happens to live in Bergen but he left the family under a cloud when Emma was only two years old. Norma Johanne has tried the police but they think she has just taken off somewhere and aren’t interested in pursuing an investigation. So she has come to Varg. Explaining that only the police can check Emma’s bank cards and phone, Varg agrees to investigate.

Varg's first try is Emma’s last known address starting with the landlord's flat on the top floor of the building. There is not much there for him except the landlord’s wife who is drunk and available, her husband being away on business. Varg makes his way downstairs to Emma’s apartment where he speaks to one of the flat mates. She seems disinterested and vague, explaining that they hadn’t really known Emma, she had simply answered their advert for a housemate. But she does remember her once talking about trying to see her father. Emma’s father must be Varg’s next step. There he is greeted by the father’s second wife, Emma’s stepmother, dressed in a tracksuit and impatient to get out on her twice daily run. She dismisses any talk about “that hysterical daughter”. There is a sizeable motorbike chained in the carport and Emma’s father, dressed in leather and denim, is hostile too. He doesn’t want anything to do with Emma. He doesn’t care what, if anything, has happened to her. He never really knew her anyway. Varg continues his search: Emma’s schoolfriend, now studying in Berlin; Emma’s college; her fellow students. But he draws a blank and his impression is that nobody cares much about the girl except perhaps her friend in Berlin.

The past begins to haunt both Emma’s story and that of Varg as he and his new sister make their tentative first steps in connection. Shadowy motives and past traumas begin to emerge alongside connections to a biker gang. Another death closer to home ensnares Varg into real physical danger but still the mystery of Emma refuses to yield its answers until the end of this surprisingly poignant story.

BIG SISTER is the first novel that I have read in Staalesen’s mammoth, established and prize-winning Varg Veum series. I can only hang my head in shame that it has taken so long for me to arrive here. But this also means that there is one thing I can vouch for: Staalesen weaves Veum’s past into the narrative so deftly that the reader can pick up the thread of his life, in as much as it relates to the story, seamlessly. Neither too much is explained nor too little. My hat is doffed. This is the ninth of the UK published Varg Veum series and reads easily and fluently in this translation by Don Bartlett, veteran translator of Nesbo and Knausgaard.
Bartlett himself once described Staalesen’s crime writing as “soft hard-boiled crime”. I suspect Staalesen pays homage to Raymond Chandler and his American West Coast creation Philip Marlowe in its details: the bottle of spirit in the office desk drawer; Norma Johanne Bakkevik – does that ring a bell for Norma Jean Baker/Marilyn Monroe? Even the title of this novel recalls Chandler’s own titled work “The Little Sister”. But perhaps I’m getting carried away.

In BIG SISTER, Staalesen has written a densely interwoven mystery and it's down to Varg Veum to pick apart the strands; a solidly satisfying private eye tale crafted with detailed storytelling, pace, wit and a compassionate eye.
A definite recommend.

Lynn Harvey, November 2018

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

TV News: The Brokenwood Mysteries Series 5


New Zealand's equivalent to Midsomer Murders, The Brokenwood Mysteries, returns to tv channel Drama on 23 November. This is the fifth series, and I believe, like the others is four episodes long.

You can watch previous episodes via the Drama homepage. If you want to watch them in HD - the Drama channel is SD only - then HD copies can be purchased via Amazon Prime Video. They are currently £8.99 a series. This price does fluctuate - I bought series 4 a few days ago at £4.99.

From the Drama website:
On the face of it, Brokenwood is another quiet, country town in New Zealand, the kind you might find just a few hours drive from any city. The people are pleasant and there's a strong sense of community. It has a golf club, regular wine shows, everything you would expect... and a few things you wouldn't, like buried secrets, treacherous lies and fiendish murders. DI Mike Shepherd (Neill Rea) and DC Kristin Simms (Fern Sutherland) are on hand to investigate these small-town crimes in big-sky country. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: No Time to Cry by James Oswald

No Time to Cry by James Oswald, November 2018, 336 pages, Wildfire, ISBN: 1472249895

Reviewed by Geoff Jones.

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

Detective Constable Constance Fairchild has a major problem; Lady Constance to give her correct title, or Con as she prefers. Her father is Lord of the Manor in a Northamptonshire village but she is now based with the Met Police in London.

Con has just discovered her boss and good friend Detective Inspector Peter Copperthwaite brutally murdered. He was on an undercover operation and Con was his liaison. Her colleagues believe that she compromised his cover. Detective Superintendent Bailey is scathing of Con's role and immediately suspends her.

Con is desperate to clear her name but gets sidetracked when her brother Ben's girlfriend Charlotte asks her to find her sister Izzy. Izzy has gone missing from her exclusive school (Con went there and was expelled on her last day) and her parents the DeVilliers seem unconcerned. Con is estranged from her parents but is close to her father's sister, her Aunt Felicity. She moves in with her aunt when life gets complicated in London as someone wants her dead! Can Con clear her name? Can she find Izzy and why has she disappeared?

This seems like a new series for the author who is best known for his Detective Inspector McLean series which has eight books (nine in February 2019). Fast paced but at times fairly implausible, Con is a likeable character and there is more to be revealed in her background, so I will look forward to reading more about her in the next instalment. Recommended.

Geoff Jones, November 2018

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Waterstones & Crime Sections

I visited the Waterstones in Birmingham yesterday and I posted these photos on the Euro Crime Facebook page last night commenting that the crime section is separate to the fiction. My local Waterstones took the decision to integrate their crime into the fiction, quite a while back and I thought the Birmingham branch did the same. I'm hoping that the trend is to revert to separate sections. My local library also did this a few years ago but when they reopened after a refurbishment the crime section was back!

I know there is an argument that genre books will sell better/be checked out more when integrated but I find it a bit of a chore to browse as I rarely read anything but crime.

How does your Waterstones/library shelve its crime?


Thursday, November 01, 2018

New Releases - November 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in November 2018 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). November and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Abbott, Rachel - And So It Begins
• Akunin, Boris - Black City #12 Erast Fandorin, Gentleman Sleuth, Russia
• Alexander, Tasha - Uneasy Lies the Crown #13 Lady Emily
• Bird, A L - The Classroom
• Black, Helen - Bang to Rights #8 Lilly Valentine, Family care lawyer
• Blok, Rachael - Under the Ice
• Brady, Conor - In the Dark River #4 Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow, Dublin, 1880s
• Brett, Simon - Blotto, Twinks and the Intimate Revue #9 Brother and sister sleuths, Blotto and Twinks
• Bruen, Ken - In the Galway Silence #14 Jack Taylor
• Carver, Will - Good Samaritans
• Child, Lee - Past Tense #23 Jack Reacher, ex MP, USA
• Chisholm, P F - A Suspicion of Silver #9 Sir Robert Carey, 16th Century
• Crompton, Richard - Night Runners #3 Mollel, a crime-solving former Maasai warrior, Nairobi, Kenya
• Daly, Bill - Never Proven #4 DCI Charlie Anderson, Glasgow
• de Jager, Anja - A Death in Rembrandt Square #4 Lotte Meerman, a Cold Case Detective, Amsterdam
• Dennison, Hannah - Dangerous Deception at Honeychurch Hall #5 Kat Stanford
• Draper, Sophie - Cuckoo
• Farrelly, Tanya - When Your Eyes Close
• Fielden, T P - A Quarter Past Dead #3 Miss Dimont, Temple Regis, Devon
• Finley, Diana - Finding Lucy
• Fraser-Sampson, Guy - The House on Downshire Hill #5 Hampstead Murders
• Gitsham, Paul - The Common Enemy #4 DCI Warren Jones
• Gordon-Smith, Dolores - Forgotten Murder #10 Jack Haldean, 1920s
• Griffiths, Elly - The Stranger Diaries
• Hamdy, Adam - Aftershock #3 John Wallace
• Hannah, Mari - The Insider #2 Stone and Oliver
• Harris, Robert J - Castle Macnab #2 Richard Hannay
• Herron, Mick - - The Drop #1 Slough House Novella
• Holliday, SJI - The Lingering
• Horowitz, Anthony - The Sentence is Death #2 Detective Daniel Hawthorne
• Jardine, Quintin - Cold Case #30 Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Skinner, Edinburgh
• Kernick, Simon - We Can See You
• Knight, Ali - Before I Find You
• Kray, Roberta - Deceived
• Lapidus, Jens - Top Dog #2 Emelie Jansson, Lawyer & Teddy, Ex-con
• Law, J S - The Coldest Blood #3 Lieutenant Danielle Lewis, Royal Navy (ebook version; pb out in Jan 19)
• MacKenzie, A J - The Body in the Boat #3 The Romney Marsh Mysteries
• MacLeod, Torquil - Malice in Malmo #6 Inspector Anita Sundstrom
• Makovesky, Tess - Gravy Train
• Manzini, Antonio - Out of Season #3 Rocco Schiavone, deputy prefect of police, Italian Alps
• Mariani, Scott - The Rebel's Revenge #18 Ben Hope, Ex-SAS
• Maskew, H P - Innocents to the Slaughter #2 Hudson & Lawes, England,1838
• McDermott, Alan - Seek and Destroy #2 Eva Driscoll
• McPherson, Catriona - A Step So Grave #13 Dandy Gilver, Society Sleuth, 1920s Scotland
• Monge, Emiliano - Among the Lost
• Myers, Amy - Death at the Wychbourne Follies #2 Nell Drury, chef-sleuth, 1920s
• Nesser, Hakan - The Root of Evil #2 Inspector Barbarotti
• Osterdahl, Martin - Ask No Mercy #1 Max Anger
• O'Sullivan, Ronnie - The Break #3 Frankie James
• Oswald, James - No Time to Cry #1 DC Constance Fairchild
• Patis, Vikki - The Diary
• Perry, Karen - Your Closest Friend
• Pfluger, Andreas - A Shadow Falls #2 Jenny Aaron
• Phifer, Helen - Last Light #4 Detective Lucy Harwin
• Rahman, Khurrum - Homegrown Hero #2 Jay Qasim
• Rhodes, Kate - Ruin Beach #2 DI Ben Kitto
• Robinson, Maggie - Nobody's Sweetheart Now #1 Lady Adelaide, England, 1924
• Rogers, Bill - The Blow Out #4 National Crime Agency
• Russell, Leigh - Death Rope #11 DI Geraldine Steel
• Scarrow, Simon - The Blood of Rome #17 Macro and Cato, Roman soldiers
• Sefton, Joanne - If They Knew
• Staincliffe, Cath - Fear of Falling
• Taylor, Marsali - Death on a Shetland Isle #7 Shetland Sailing Mysteries
• Todd, Charles - A Forgotten Place #10 Bess Crawford, battlefield nurse, WWI
• Triggs, Robin - Night Shift
• Vallance, Jessica - Trust Her
• Ward, Rachel - Dead Stock #2 Ant and Bea

Review: Palm Beach, Finland by Antti Tuomainen tr. David Hackston

Palm Beach, Finland by Antti Tuomainen translated by David Hackston, October 2018, 304 pages, Orenda Books, ISBN: 1912374315

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

It was a misunderstanding, a delicate imbalance between push and shove. And thus the neck broke like a plank snapping in two.

Palm Beach Finland, Summer:
39 year-old lifeguard “Chico” Korhonen waits near the resort’s huge sign as agreed. He thinks the place looks great these days. Its greyness transformed by new owner Jorma Leivo; the place glows. Huts gleam with fresh paint, pink, blue, green; a shop, pizzeria, sunshades dotting the beach, a windsurfing setup. OK, the biting breeze and cold water means the deckchairs are empty but Chico enjoys walking past the newly planted row of plastic palm trees every day. Life is bright and new. The incident with the fat woman, her handbag and the lunch vouchers was tricky but the boss has told Chico that he is looking for someone with a bit of street savvy. He might be able to put “a little extra” his way. So now Chico waits for his best friend Robin (not the sharpest knife in the drawer) and their meeting with Leivo to discuss that “little extra”.

Leivo is a big man with a head-turning fashion sense and fair hair that curls upwards around his bald crown. He is sweating profusely as he explains, in his gruff teddy-bear voice, that the “little extra” he has in mind is to put some pressure on the owner of a neighbouring plot of land. Nothing serious – a smashed window, a stolen bicycle, a bit of urinating through the letterbox – but he needs that land signed over within the month, understand?
Chico and Robin stake out the neighbour’s house that evening. A ground floor light comes on. They throw stones which shatter the window. But then there is all this yelling. The pair erupt into the kitchen. There is blood everywhere, including over the woman’s face. She starts attacking them with an electric whisk, long hair flying, and it all goes west from there. They floor her. Chico grabs her feet, Robin wraps his arm around her neck and they are carrying her towards the door when Chico slips, Robin carries on moving and, crack, she goes limp. They lay her down. Definitely dead. But also … she's a he. How did that happen?

National Bureau of Investigation, Vantaa, two weeks later:
Jan Nyman’s boss briefs him on the new case, a body in a small town; local investigation, no results; regional investigation, no results. But it must be a professional job. The victim was beaten and his neck broken in a way that indicates an expert knowledge of anatomy. The woman who owns the house has an alibi but maybe she was involved, a contract hit. Jan is to make the undercover investigation; he is “Jan Kaunisto”, a maths teacher on holiday. But the boss is convinced that the woman is pulling the strings.

The woman in question, Olivia Koski, is discussing drainage issues with the local plumber. She wants to live in the house left to her by her father but it needs a lot of work, total renovation. She whittles down the plumber’s estimate. They agree an amount. But Olivia knows that her bank account contains zilch. Just as the whole town knows that this is the house where a murder took place. She’s got herself a job and her shift is starts soon. She changes into her uniform, looks at herself in the mirror, and feels just as naked as she did yesterday.

Helsinki:
Holma is dangling a man by his knees over a balcony when the news comes through on his phone that his brother is dead. He has had to release his grip on the man in order to answer his phone and hears the subsequent thump. It seems his brother died two weeks ago in some woman’s house in a small town somewhere. Holma knows his brother is – was – a disaster; they started their criminal life together. And whilst Holma has come far, his brother has not. Nevertheless, family is family. Anyone so much as touches his brother – Holma gets into his car...

Jan Nyman may be an undercover policeman but PALM BEACH FINLAND is no police procedural. Award-winning Finnish writer Antti Tuomainen takes a different approach with each novel: environmental speculative fiction; investigative thriller; psychological thriller. This latest, PALM BEACH FINLAND, brings us satire and criminal slapstick. It’s a dark farce in which a group of characters chase their dreams or rather those that money can buy. The resulting intersecting motives, misinterpretations and violent acts take place in and around an unlikely Baltic beach resort. But glimpses of Finland peek through this Americana setting: pine trees, wooden houses, a tide-less Baltic beach and the exquisite portrait of Miss Simola – an elderly, erotic Finnish earth spirit. (Well, I think so.)

Antti Tuomainen always steps into the new with each novel and PALM BEACH FINLAND, in this assured translation by David Hackston, takes a Finnish slice from the comic, crazy, greedy, crime world of the likes of Get Shorty or Fargo. Where will Tuomainen's imagination take us next?
I don’t know but before that – read this one.

Absolutely recommended.

Lynn Harvey, November 2018

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

TV News: Dark Heart on ITV


Dark Heart begins on ITV on Wednesday 31 October at 9pm, with the second part of the six-part series showing the following day. These first two episodes were orginally broadcast as a film, in 2016, on ITV Encore.

The series is based on/inspired by the books by Adam Creed.

Series overview from ITV's website:
Tom Riley stars as DI Will Wagstaffe, a man haunted by the murder of his parents when he was 16 years old.

Set in London and produced by Silverprint Pictures, the series is written for ITV by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang whose work includes award-winning drama Unforgotten, Torn, Undeniable and A Mother’s Son. Dark Heart is inspired by characters created by novelist Adam Creed, who has written a series of books featuring Will Wagstaffe.

Whilst devoting his life to his work, DI Will Wagstaffe, also known as Staffe to his colleagues, battles personal demons. He’s haunted by the unresolved murder of his parents, which affects both his private and professional life including his on-off romance with sometimes girlfriend, Sylvie (Miranda Raison). His closest relationship is with his sister Juliette, (Charlotte Riley) and young nephew Harry, who stays with him when Juliette has troubles with her boyfriend.

With no parents and no significant partner of his own, Juliette and Harry mean everything to Staffe. Determined and tenacious, Wagstaffe is an exceptionally good police officer, in spite of the fact he’s been known for pushing the boundaries of what’s considered acceptable policing.

Awards News: CWA Daggers 2018 - Winners

From the CWA's website, the winners of the 2018 Awards, which were announced last week. (Shortlists can be found here.):


Friday, October 12, 2018

Review: The Knowledge by Martha Grimes

The Knowledge by Martha Grimes, August 2018, 368 pages, Grove Press, ISBN: 9781611855029

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

Publisher's Blurb (copied from Amazon)

Robbie Parsons is one of London's finest, a black cab driver who knows every street, every theatre, every landmark in the city by heart. In his backseat is a man with a gun in his hand - a man who shot Robbie's previous pair of customers point-blank in front of the Artemis Club, a rarefied art gallery-cum-casino, then jumped in and ordered Parsons to drive. As the killer eventually escapes to Nairobi with ten-year-old Patty Haigh - one of a crew of stray kids who serve as the cabbies' eyes and ears at Heathrow and Waterloo - in pursuit, superintendent Richard Jury comes across the double-homicide in the Saturday paper.

Two days previously, Jury had met and instantly connected with one of the victims, a professor of astrophysics at Columbia and an expert gambler. Jury considers the murder a personal affront and is soon contending with a case that takes unexpected turns into Tanzanian gem mines, a closed casino in Reno, and a pub that only London's black cabbies, those who have 'the knowledge,' can find.


In this absolutely fascinating story Robbie Parsons persuades a very mature child named Patty with a gift for picking people's pockets to follow the murderer to Heathrow Airport. The story continues with Patty stealing a boarding pass and befriending the murderer “B B” and accompanying him to Dubai and eventually Nairobi, Kenya.

This American author always uses the names of English public houses in the titles of her books and she seems to keep close to the British way of life in her stories, although her main readership is in the US. There are small differences in English vocabulary that cater more for American readers than this country but when compared to other American writers who set their books in the UK such as Elizabeth George or Charles Todd, she compares most favourably. The author ensures that her books do not include any extreme violence or sexual content.

I enjoyed the book, the twenty-fourth in the series tremendously as it seems to have been about four years since the last one she wrote in this series. Welcome back!! The gap seems to have been good for her as I don’t remember her previous books being as good as this one was. Detective Superintendent Richard Jury of Scotland Yard is a very engaging detective and he has some most unusual friends, Melrose Plant and Marshall Trueblood among them, who are very helpful in aiding him to solve the crime.

THE KNOWLEDGE is a really very extraordinary police procedural that was most enjoyable and I hope that this very talented and experienced author continues to write such imaginative books of this high quality. Strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, October 2018.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Publishing Deal - Lucie Whitehouse

This publishing deal for Lucie Whitehouse particularly caught my eye as her new book will be set in Birmingham. I have a very short list of crime authors writing about Birmingham.

From The Bookseller:
The first title in the Fourth Estate deal, Critical Incidents, introduces disgraced former Met homicide detective Robin Osborne, who is forced to return to her parents’ home in Birmingham to work as an insurance-fraud investigator and share her former teenage bedroom with her own teenage daughter, aged 13. Osborne then discovers that her best friend, Corinna, is dead, and Corinna’s missing husband is wanted for murder...
Critical Incidents has a publishing date of 4 April 2019 on Amazon.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Publishing Deal - Louise Hare

From yesterday's The Bookseller, details of a publishing deal for debut author Louise Hare. This Lovely City will be published in Spring 2020:
A murder mystery set in 1950s London, This Lovely City follows Lawrie, who left the Caribbean on board the Windrush. He now tours Soho’s music halls as a jobbing musician by night, walking the streets of Brixton as a postman each morning, the synopsis reads. One such morning, crossing a misty Clapham Common, he makes a terrible discovery. Face-down in a pond is a baby: swaddled in a blanket, stone-cold to the touch and with skin as dark as Lawrie’s. Far from being celebrated for raising the alarm, Lawrie finds himself swept up in the tragedy of the case. And as the police pursue the child’s murderer, dark secrets threaten the city Lawrie calls home and the people who live there – especially its newest inhabitants.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Review: A Deadly Habit by Simon Brett

A Deadly Habit by Simon Brett, May 2018, 192 pages, Creme de la Crime, ISBN: 1780291051

Reviewed by Geoff Jones.

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

Charles Paris's luck seems to have changed. His agent Maurice Skellern has got him a three-month run in a play in the West End. His estranged wife Frances is talking about them getting back together. She is going to retire as the headmistress of a school, she has come into an inheritance and the future could be good for Charles. There is one problem, however, it depends on his giving up alcohol…

Charles doesn't think he has a problem with the booze but a few late nights and not remembering what he has been doing convinces him to seek help.

The play is really a vehicle for Justin Grover who has made it big in America in TV and film. Charles's part in the play, which is set in a monastery, is a monk who rarely speaks but listens to other monks' problems. When there is a suspicious death and Charles can just remember being at the theatre at night when it happened, he realises the police are suspicious.

Can Charles get back with Frances? Will the West End run last? Is there a murderer in the cast?
This is a very reflective Charles in this book which is very much a book of the moment as you will discover. This unbelievably is the twentieth book in this series. The author, an ex-producer for radio and tv, has written three other series besides this one. A DEADLY HABIT is very enjoyable and has a likeable flawed character. I very much recommend this Charles Paris book.

Geoff Jones, October 2018

Monday, October 01, 2018

New Releases - October 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in October 2018 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). October and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem (with Anna Waterhouse) - Mycroft and Sherlock #2 Mycroft Holmes
• Akunin, Boris - Black City #12 Erast Fandorin, Gentleman Sleuth, Russia
• Barnes, Kerry - Deceit
• Bates, Quentin - Cold Breath #6 Gunnhildur, Police Sergeant, Reykjavik, Iceland
• Beaton, M C - Agatha Raisin and the Dead Ringer #29 Agatha Raisin, Retired PR person, Cotswolds
• Blaedel, Sara - The Midnight Witness #1 Detective Inspector Louise Rick
• Bolton, Guy - The Syndicate #2 Jonathan Craine
• Brady, Conor - Blackbird over Pimlico #4 Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow, Dublin, 1880s
• Brody, Frances - A Snapshot of Murder #10 Kate Shackleton, Bradford, 1920s
• Brown, Vivien - Five Unforgivable Things
• Burnside, Heather - Vendetta #3 Manchester Trilogy
• Burrows, Steve - A Tiding of Magpies #5 Inspector Domenic Jejeune, Saltmarsh, Norfolk
• Butler, D S - Bring Them Home #1 Detective Karen Hart
• Carter, Andrea - Murder at Greysbridge #4 Benedicta 'Ben' O'Keeffe, Solicitor, Inishowen peninsula in County Donegal, Ireland.
• Chase, Clare - Death on the River #2 Tara Thorpe
• Claverton, Rosie - Hard Return #5 Amy Lane, Cardiff
• Cutler, Judith - Head Wind #3 Jane Cowan, Wrayford, Kent
• de Lange, Louisa - The Dream Wife
• Donald, Angus - Blood's Revolution #2 Holcroft Blood, 1670
• Dunford, Caroline - A Death at Crystal Palace #11 Euphemia Martins
• Edwards, Mark - In Her Shadow
• Emerson, Tracey - She Chose Me
• Eterovic, Ramon Diaz - Angels & Loners #2 Private Investigator Heredia
• Fellowes, Jessica - Bright Young Dead #2 Louisa Cannon, Maid to the Mitfords, 1919
• Fraser, Hugh - Stealth #4 Rina Walker, 1960s
• Goldammer, Frank - A Thousand Devils #2 Max Heller, Dresden Detective
• Harper, Bradley - A Knife in the Fog #1 Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle
• Harrison, Paul - Chasing Monsters #1 DI Will Scott
• Harrod-Eagles, Cynthia - Headlong #21 Bill Slider, Shepherd's Bush CID
• Hill, Susan - The Comforts of Home #9 Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler, Lafferton
• Hilton, James - Pray for Death #3 Gunn Brothers
• James, Peter - Absolute Proof
• Jeffrey, Diane - He Will Find You
• Jennings, Luke - Villanelle: No Tomorrow #2 Villanelle, Russian Assassin
• Jones, Bill - Black Camp 21
• Kinsey, T E - A Picture of Murder #4 Lady Emily Hardcastle, 1908
• Legat, Anna - Thicker Than Blood #3 DI Gillian Marsh
• Marston, Edward - Points of Danger #16 Det. Insp Colbeck, Scotland Yard, mid 19th Century
• Martin, Faith - A Fatal Mistake #2 Ryder & Loveday, Oxford, 1960s
• Masters, Priscilla - Bridge of Sighs #7 Coroner Martha Gunn, Shrewsbury
• McAllister, Gillian - No Further Questions
• Meuleman, Sarah - Find Me Gone
• Meyer, Deon - The Woman in the Blue Cloak #1 Benny Griessel Novella
• Monroe, J S - Forget My Name
• Morgan, Phoebe - The Doll House
• Niven, John - Kill 'Em All #2 Steven Stelfox
• Raabe, Marc - Homesick
• Rankin, Ian - In a House of Lies #22 Inspector Rebus, Edinburgh
• Reed, Mary and Mayer, Eric - An Empire for Ravens #12 John the Eunuch
• Sansom, C J - Tombland #7 Shardlake, C16th
• Sherratt, Mel - Hush Hush #1 DS Grace Allendale
• Sigurdardottir, Lilja - Trap #2 Sonja
• Simpson, John - Moscow, Midnight
• Sten, Viveca - In Harm's Way #6 Sandhamn Murders
• Thomas, Sherry - The Hollow of Fear #3 Lady Sherlock
• Tickler, Peter - White Lies, Deadly Lies #2 Doug Mullen
• Tuomainen, Antti - Palm Beach, Finland
• Tursten, Helene - An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good Short Stories
• Vincent, MB - Jess Castle and the Eyeballs of Death #1 Jess Castle, academic-turned-detective, Castle Kidbury

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Award News: Petrona Award Eligibles 2019

It's the start of the Petrona Award season. Entries are now welcomed for the 2019 Award - the winner of which will be announced at next year's CrimeFest. Also, we'll soon be revealing a change in the judging panel lineup.

Here is a list* of books (40) that can be submitted for the 2019 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year ie:
  • The submission must be in translation and published in English in the UK during the preceding calendar year ie 1 January – 31 December 2018.
  • The author of the submission must either be born in Scandinavia** or the submission must be set in Scandinavia*.
  • The submission must have been published in its original language after 1999.
(E-books that meet the above criteria may be considered at the judges’ discretion (does not include self-published titles))
**in this instance taken to be Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

More details about the award and the history behind it can be found on the Petrona Award website. The winner of the 2018 Award was Malin Persson Giolito for Quicksand translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles and published by Simon & Schuster.

The award is again, sponsored by David Hicks.

Gender, country and publisher details are also included.

*This list will be updated as and when additional titles are identified.

Published in 2018

[I have tagged these titles on Goodreads.]

January

Stefan Ahnhem - Eighteen Below tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles (M, Sweden) Head of Zeus
Mons Kallentoft - Earth Storm tr. Neil Smith (Sweden, Hodder)
Anton Svensson - Made In Sweden Part 2: The Sons tr. Hildred Crill (M, Sweden) Sphere

February

Thomas Enger - Killed tr. Kari Dickson (M, Norway) Orenda Books
Camilla Lackberg - The Girl in the Woods tr. Tiina Nunnally (F, Sweden) HarperCollins

March

Lotte and Soren Hammer - The Night Ferry tr. Charlotte Barslund (M&F, Denmark) Bloomsbury
Arnaldur Indridason - The Shadow Killer tr. Victoria Cribb (M, Iceland) Harvill Secker
Ragnar Jonasson - The Darkness tr. Victoria Cribb (M, Iceland) Penguin
Leena Lehtolainen - The Nightingale Murder tr. Owen F Witesman (F, Finland) AmazonCrossing
Harri Nykanen - Holy Ceremony tr. Kristian London (M, Finland) Bitter Lemon Press

April

Kjell Ola Dahl - The Ice Swimmer tr. Don Bartlett (M, Norway) Orenda Books
Johana Gustawsson - Keeper tr. Maxim Jakubowski (F, France) Orenda Books
Jo Nesbo - Macbeth tr. Don Bartlett (M, Norway) Hogarth

May

Lars Kepler - The Rabbit Hunter tr. Neil Smith (M&F, Sweden) HarperCollins
Yrsa Sigurdardottir - The Reckoning tr. Victoria Cribb (F, Iceland) Hodder & Stoughton
Inger Wolf - Frost and Ashes (ebook only) tr. Mark Kline (F, Denmark) People's Press

June

Jonas Bonnier - The Helicopter Heist tr. Alice Menzies (M, Sweden) Zaffre
Minna Lindgren - The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency: The End of Sunset Grove tr. Kristian London (F, Finland) Pan
Kristina Ohlsson - The Lies We Tell tr. Neil Smith (F, Sweden) Simon & Schuster
Gunnar Staalesen - Big Sister tr. Don Bartlett (M, Norway) Orenda Books

July

Robert Karjel - After the Monsoon tr. Nancy Pick & Robert Karjel (M, Sweden) HarperCollins
Emelie Schepp - Slowly We Die (UK: ebook only) tr. Suzanne Martin Cheadle (F, Sweden) HQ, HarperCollins
Jesper Stein - Unrest tr. David Young (M, Denmark) Mirror Books

August

Jorn Lier Horst - The Katharina Code tr. Anne Bruce (M, Norway) Michael Joseph
Leena Lehtolainen - Derailed tr. Owen F Witesman (F, Finland) AmazonCrossing
Ane Riel - Resin tr. Charlotte Barslund (F, Denmark) Doubleday

September

Christoffer Carlsson - The Thin Blue Line tr. Michael Gallagher (M, Sweden) Scribe
Caroline Eriksson - The Watcher tr. Tara F Chace (F, Sweden) AmazonCrossing
Susanne Jansson - The Forbidden Place tr. Rachel Willson-Broyles (F, Sweden) Mulholland Books
Elisabeth Noreback - Tell Me You're Mine tr. Elizabeth Clark Wessel (F, Sweden) Allison & Busby
Viveca Sten - In the Heat of the Moment tr. Marlaine Delargy (F, Sweden) AmazonCrossing

October

Lilja Sigurdardottir - Trap tr. Quentin Bates (F, Iceland) Orenda Books
Viveca Sten - In Harm's Way tr. Marlaine Delargy (F, Sweden) AmazonCrossing
Antti Tuomainen - Palm Beach, Finland tr. David Hackston (M, Finland) Orenda Books

November

Jens Lapidus - Top Dog tr. Alice Menzies (M, Sweden) Corvus
Hakan Nesser - The Root of Evil tr. Sarah Death (M, Sweden) Mantle
Martin Osterdahl - Ask No Mercy tr. Peter Sean Woltemade (M, Sweden) AmazonCrossing

December

Lina Bengtsdotter - For the Missing tr. Kari Dickson (F, Sweden) Orion
Karin Fossum - The Whisperer tr. Kari Dickson (F, Norway) Harvill Secker
Martin Holmen - Slugger tr. Annie Prime (M, Sweden) Pushkin Vertigo

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Podcast News: Simon Mayo's Books of the Year

I used to download the podcasts for Simon Mayo's book group back when he was on Radio 5. I missed out on the Radio 2 book club,  which has now disappeared.

Simon Mayo and Matt Williams, have set up an independent podcast, called Simon Mayo's Books of the Year. It's been running for a few months and has included appearances from crime writers, Lynda La Plante, DB John and Manda Scott.

I'm enjoying it though I would like to see more women writers on the show, currently twice as many men have appeared.

You can download it via iTunes and I have been using the Acast app to listen to it on my android phone. Here's the Acast website listing all the episodes so far. The author interviews are every fortnight with a teaser episode in the gap. Also on twitter: @BooksOfTheYear.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Blog Tour: Review of The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward

I'm very pleased to have been invited onto the blog tour for Sarah Ward's latest book, The Shrouded Path. I've reviewed the previous three: In Bitter Chill,  A Deadly Thaw and A Patient Fury.

The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward (September 2018, Faber & Faber, ISBN: 0571332412)

THE SHROUDED PATH opens with a chilling premise. Six schoolgirls enter a railway tunnel but only five emerge. This event is witnessed by a younger girl and it haunts her for a lifetime.

Sixty years later, DC Connie Childs is looking into the unexpected death of a woman in her seventies. Her boss DI Sadler is on leave and whilst out walking in the nearby Peaks he meets a woman called Mina whose mother, also in her seventies, is currently dying in hospital of cancer.

Mina's mother has been agitated of late. She says she's seen “Valerie” but that she can't of as she killed her. Mina, understandably shocked by this revelation, promises to find Valerie and makes sure that she's well.

Sadler is called back to work when there is a suspicious death at the hospital and Mina sets off to find out about Valerie armed with an old photograph of five girls, her mother's school-friends.

Connie and Sadler's investigations draw closer over the book as they unearth a decades-old wrongdoing which is still reverberating in the present day. Tragedy ensues for innocent and guilty alike and the Bampton police team will be deeply affected.

From its atmospheric cover to the final page, THE SHROUDED PATH hooks the reader in and keeps them there. It sounds a deceptively simple premise however things are not what they seem and it is a knotted tale indeed. As with earlier books the narrative is told both by the professionals: Connie and Sadler, but also by a civilian, in this case Mina, a professional gardener with the excellent logo of 'The Land Girl'.

This is the fourth book in the quartet and it ends satisfactorily for the detectives we've enjoyed reading about but I do hope that they will return.

Karen Meek, September 2018. 

Saturday, September 01, 2018

New Releases - September 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in September 2018 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). September and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Adams, Jane - Kith and Kin #3 Detective Chief Inspector Henry Johnstone, 1928
• Arlidge, M J - Down to the Woods #8 Helen Grace, Southampton Police
• Benn, James R - Solemn Graves #13 Billy Boyle, WW2
• Bonner, Hilary - Wheel of Fire #2 DI David Vogel, Bristol
• Broadfoot, Neil - No Man's Land #1 Connor Fraser, Stirling
• Buchanan, Tracy - The Lost Sister
• Camilleri, Andrea - Death at Sea #2 Inspector Montalbano short stories
• Carlsson, Christoffer - The Thin Blue Line #4 Leo Junker, Police Officer
• Carofiglio, Gianrico - The Cold Summer #1 Maresciallo Pietro Fenogli, 1992
• Carrington, Sam - One Little Lie
• Cleeves, Ann - Wild Fire #8 Detective Jimmy Perez, Shetlands
• Conway, Aidan - A Cold Flame #2 Detective Michael Rossi, Rome
• Corbin, Julie - Her Watchful Eye
• De Cataldo, Giancarlo - The Night of Rome (written with Carlo Bonini)
• Diamond, Katerina - The Promise #4 DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles
• Duckworth, Charlotte - The Rival
• Edwards, Martin - Gallows Court #1 Jacob Flint, Journalist, 1930
• Ellis, J R - The Murder at Redmire Hall #3 Detective Chief Inspector Oldroyd, Yorkshire
• Eriksson, Caroline - The Watcher
• Forsyth, Frederick - The Fox
• Frances, Michelle - The Temp
• Francis, Dick - Crisis (by Felix Francis)
• Galbraith, Robert - Lethal White #4 Cormoran Strike
• Green, Cass - Don't You Cry
• Harrison, Cora - Murder at the Queen's Old Castle #6 Reverend Mother Aquinas, Cork, 1920s
• Haynes, Elizabeth - The Murder of Harriet Monckton
• Hazel, James - The Ash Doll #2 Charlie Priest, Lawyer
• Higashino, Keigo - Newcomer #8 Detective Kaga
• Hilton, Matt - Marked for Death #12 Joe Hunter
• Jansson, Susanne - The Forbidden Place
• Lemaitre, Pierre - Inhuman Resources
• Macmillan, Gilly - I Know You Know
• Maitland, Karen - A Gathering of Ghosts
• Malone, Michael J - After He Died
• McDermott, Andy - The Spear of Atlantis #14 Archaeologist Nina Wilde & ex-SAS bodyguard Eddie Chase
• Meyrick, Denzil - The Relentless Tide #6 DCI Daley
• Mitchell, Caroline - Truth and Lies #1 Detective Amy Winter
• Nickson, Chris - The Hanging Psalm #1 Simon Westow, Thief-taker, Regency Leeds
• Noreback, Elisabeth - Tell Me You're Mine
• Perry, Anne - Triple Jeopardy #2 Daniel Pitt, Barrister,1910
• Perry, S W - The Angel's Mark #1 Nicholas Shelby, Elizabethan Era
• Powell, E M - The Monastery Murders #2 Stanton and Barling
• Purcell, Laura - The Corset
• Raabe, Melanie - The Stranger Upstairs
• Redondo, Dolores - All This I Will Give to You
• Ridpath, Michael - The Wanderer #5 Magnus Jonson, homicide detective, Iceland
• Rimington, Stella - The Moscow Sleepers #10 Liz Carlyle, MI5 officer
• Ryan, Chris - Head Hunters #6 Danny Black
• Shaw, Alex - Cold Blood #1 Aidan Snow SAS
• Smith, Alexander McCall - The Colours of all the Cattle #19 Mma Ramotswe, PI, Botswana
• Southey, Roz - Scorcher
• Sten, Viveca - In the Heat of the Moment #5 Sandhamn Murders
• Tokarczuk, Olga - Drive your Plough over the Bones of the Dead
• Ward, Sarah - The Shrouded Path #4 DC Childs, Bampton, Derbyshire
• Weaver, Ashley - An Act of Villainy #5 Amory Ames
• Wood, Michael - The Hangman's Hold #4 DCI Matilda Darke

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Review: Zen and the Art of Murder by Oliver Bottini tr. Jamie Bulloch

Zen and the Art of Murder by Oliver Bottini translated by Jamie Bulloch, August 2018, 384 pages, MacLehose Press, ISBN: 0857057367

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

She leaped up. “I don’t booze, for Christ’s sake!” The sentence resonated in her head, just as the footsteps crunching in the snow had echoed the night before. I don’t booze.

Saturday morning, Liebau, Germany.
It’s snowing. Hollerer glances out of his kitchen window just as a shaven-headed monk, dressed only in dark robe and sandals, appears out of the driving snow and makes his way along the street. A vision sent by my wife, Hollerer thinks. Some time later he recalls that the monk had been bruised about the head – perhaps not a vision. He buttons his police uniform over his paunch, fetches his service weapon from the bedside table and sets out to find the monk. At the steps of the village church a crowd including the mayor are gathering around the young man sitting cross-legged and silent, his bowl in front of him. The villagers are unhappy and want him gone. No begging is allowed after all and he could be just a forerunner for other cult members to come. Hollerer buys food for the monk who, by gesture, insists on sharing it with him. For now, annoyed by the mayor’s insistence that he do something, Officer Hollerer retreats.

Saturday morning, Freiburg.
42-year-old Kripo detective Louise Boni wakes up to snow. She hates it. Everything bad that has happened to her has happened in the snow. Her boss rings to call her into work but she refuses. His next phone message threatens disciplinary action and Louise takes her time calling back. Something strange is happening in Liebau, no-one else is available so Louise must go and take a look. Too hungover to drive, she takes a taxi and by the time she arrives in Liebau the monk has left – with Officer Hollerer following him in a patrol car. A young patrolman, eager to display his own “rally-driver” skills, gives Louise a lift to where Hollerer is parked in a white wasteland watching a black dot moving slowly up a hill. Louise and Hollerer follow the monk on foot but soon the overweight policeman reaches his limit. Louise borrows his gun, continues alone and eventually catches up with the monk. They walk in silence and later, helped out by supplies of food and warm clothing ferried by Hollerer and the young patrolman, Louise and the monk enter the forest where they shelter for the night. She establishes that he is Japanese and can understand English but he remains largely silent. Louise, caught up in alcohol-fuelled thoughts and haunted by images of her dead brother, divorced husband and the man she killed, eventually sleeps – waking to the grey light of dawn and the sound of a man’s voice. The monk is wide-eyed with fear, gesturing for her to follow him. They hide until full daylight when the monk resumes his journey.

Louise hands over the task of following him to the day shift, Hollerer and a colleague from Freiburg. The young Liebau policeman drives her back to the Freiburg headquarters. The ensuing argument with her boss is fierce. Louise wants back-up, cars and a helicopter. He wants her on enforced sick leave, “rehab” and a planned return to a desk job. In fact he insists that calls for back-up and helicopters based on “the hallucinations of a piss-head and the wanderings of a half-naked foreigner” are out of the question. Louise returns to her desk and asks her new Liebau colleague to start compiling a list of the nearest Buddhist institutions. Her boss interrupts and orders her home: “You’re on sick leave”…

ZEN AND THE ART OF MURDER is the first novel in Bottini’s "Black Forest Investigation" series and won a Deutsche Krimi Preis when it was published in 2005. Full of psychology and a wry wit, this story deals in the dark matter of child trafficking and murder. Louise is shut out from the official investigation, but stubbornly continues to prise open the riddle surrounding the terrified monk and his pursuers. But not before another death in the snow has shattered her fragile state. In Louise Boni, Oliver Bottini has created a convincing anchor – a woman flailing around amidst the clink of empty bottles; keeping a desperate grip on her self and her career through gut instinct and persistence. In fact Louise’s interior life provides almost as much suspense as that of the hunt for the killers. Bottini’s well-written characters bring humanity to the events and the story reads smoothly in Jamie Bulloch’s translation. This edition includes a short story prequel which fills out the details of the previous case that still haunts Louise.

Greatly recommended, particularly for lovers of the uphill struggles of the lone detective. A classic Nordic Noir set in the snows of a German winter.

Lynn Harvey, August 2018

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Review: Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham

I'm focussing my reading/reviewing this summer on debuts - including first crime novels from authors known for a different genre. Mostly British but I have also reviewed one from New Zealand. My fourth entry in this feature, is Vicky Newham's Turn a Blind Eye.

Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham, April 2018, 368 pages, HQ, ISBN: 0008240671

I've been eagerly awaiting reading Vicky Newham's debut, having followed her progress via Facebook and in person at CrimeFest, and I'm pleased to report that it doesn't disappoint.

TURN A BLIND EYE introduces DI Maya Rahman, who is based in East London where she grew up after arriving from Bangladesh at a young age. The book opens with scenes in Bangladesh at the funeral of Maya and her sister's brother.

Returning to London, she is thrown into a murder case at the school she went to as a young girl. The headmistress has been killed and a cryptic message has been left. A message which indicates that there has been or will be more linked deaths.

Maya also has a new team member, a fast-tracked Australian, DS Dan Maguire, whose family is back in Australia. Chapters are told from the points of view of Maya and Dan with occasional chapters from the teacher who found the body.

TURN A BLIND EYE is a detailed and authentic feeling police procedural. The introduction of an outsider – Dan – gives Maya a natural opportunity to expand on the history, geography and background to the case and area that they're working in. Maya comes across as a serious, capable individual and there is a mystery in her childhood which could be resolved in one book or teased out over more. I'm looking forward to finding out which.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Review: Blue Night by Simone Buchholz tr. Rachel Ward

Blue Night by Simone Buchholz translated by Rachel Ward, February 2018, 276 pages, Orenda, ISBN: 1912374013

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

“Driving through the countryside alone is like eating sellotape.”

Public prosecutor Chastity Riley’s car coughs and dies somewhere near Mecklenburgh. Since she accused her boss of corruption and shot off a gangster’s family jewels with an unauthorised firearm, Chastity has been sidelined into witness protection – and protection is all she is allowed to do, no investigating. So this country-weekend thing has been an attempt to break the monotony. It hasn’t worked. Now she has to get back to Hamburg for a case and she really needs a lift. Faller, with his big, 1970s, mid-life crisis totem Pontiac, is the one she chooses (all of her other friends being asleep, driving-license free, or out of it). She calls Faller, takes her bag out of her car and sets off down the road in the direction of Hamburg. Later, in that city’s St Georg Hospital, she stares at her unconscious client. He is smashed up badly. Ribs, arms and legs broken and a missing index finger. She holds his huge paw of a hand until night-time then takes a taxi home. Klatsche is making cheese sandwiches to go with the beer. Lifesaver.

Summer of 1982:
Faller: “I still visit Minou’s grave. A girl from the red-light district who died because I wanted her.”
Riley: “Frankfurt glows gold, orange, pink. We ride bikes. I wear my Dad’s American Army shirts. I miss my Mum.”
Klatsche: “I haven’t been born yet.”
Joe: “Hey. Hamburg.”

Hamburg, present day:
Klatsche is out shopping, stocking up his bar “Blue Night”. Chastity returns to her flat to shower then on to forensics at Police Headquarters to examine her client’s clothes: a good made to measure suit, no label; British shirt, American shoes. Upstairs she visits her friend Calabretta who has been locked into himself since his girlfriend dumped him for a Swiss professor. But now, Chastity is thinking that the life is returning to his eyes. Next, to size up the place where her client was attacked. It must have been a gang, no way could it have been a one man job. That evening, whilst baby-sitting Calabretta at Carla and Rocco's cafe, an activity which involves a lot of booze, Calabretta remarks that he thinks Faller is up to something – maybe wanting to go after The Albanian again.

1987:
Faller: “Homicide Squad. I’m new here. A lot of death since coke hit the red-light district.”
Riley: “Why is everyone falling in love?”
Joe: “I mostly work in St Pauli, quick and quiet.”

Hamburg, present day:
The hospital calls Chastity at 5.30 am, the patient is awake. Chastity however is very hungover. The police guard outside her client’s room nods her through when she presents her pass. Her client stares at her. Chastity thinks he was more charming unconscious. When he does speak, his accent is Austrian. He says his name is Joe...

BLUE NIGHT is the first of prize-winning crime writer Simone Buchholz’ “Chastity Riley” series to be published in the UK. Its lively, true-feeling translation by Rachel Ward allows this tale of bars, beers and the nightlife of St Pauli in Hamburg to read well at a brisk pace. Chastity is the daughter of an American serviceman stationed in Germany, brought up by him after her mother left them. By the time of this book she is only just hanging on to her job as a public prosecutor after having exposed some inconvenient truths in the department. She is bored, persona non grata and barred from investigating. But she is also surrounded by a network of friends with equally chequered backgrounds to buoy her up – hence the bars, cafes and beers. It goes without saying that when landed with the job of “protecting” a badly beaten giant of an Austrian who is giving nothing away, Chastity cannot resist some of that forbidden investigating. Who attacked him and why? The investigation takes her to a new contact in the old East, in Leipzig, and a glimpse of the devastation caused by the latest cheap, virulent drug heading in Hamburg's direction.

Buchholz quickly establishes her characters and their individual voices: the ex-jailbird bar owner, a broken hearted cop, an ex-cop with a vengeful eye set on the local crime boss (now “retired” and untouchable) who killed his girlfriend years ago, and an injured Austrian stoic with a missing finger. But it goes without saying that the predominant voice in the story is that of unorthodox, street-savvy and very likeable Chastity. Written with a sense of place, a fresh voice, and a fast pace.

Absolutely recommended.

Lynn Harvey, August 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Foreign Bodies: Zygmunt Miloszewski's A Grain of Truth on Radio 4


The latest endeavour in Mark Lawson's Foreign Bodies series on Radio 4, is a two part adaptation (by Lawson) of Polish crime writer Zygmunt Miloszewski's A Grain of Truth (tr. Antonia Lloyd-Jones).

The first part is avalable now to stream or download, and the second is on later today (at 3pm).
The Blood Painting
Foreign Bodies, Grain of Truth Episode 1 of 2

Taut crime thriller by leading Polish writer, Zygmunt Miloszewski, dramatised for radio by Mark Lawson. War time intrigue and modern politics mesh in a murder mystery.

The complexities and frustrations of the modern Polish legal system are the setting for this bestselling crime novel, featuring long suffering State Prosecutor Szacki who finds himself trapped in a limbo land of half-truths and secrets from post-Communist Poland. Will he prove himself to be a redoubtable seeker of the truth or will he compromise?

Episode 1: The Blood Painting
Szacki is finding small town Poland a little dull but a bizarre murder case soon throws him back into action. The crime scene is littered with grotesque clues suggesting that the murder is mirroring an infamous Jewish blood libel, drawing on historical anti-Semitism.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: Salt Lane by William Shaw

Salt Lane by William Shaw, May 2018, 464 pages, riverrun, ISBN: 1786486571

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

Publisher's Blurb (copied from Amazon)

SHE ALWAYS WENT TOO FAR

DS Alexandra Cupidi has done it again. She should have learnt to keep her big mouth shut, after the scandal that sent her packing - resentful teenager in tow - from the London Met to the lonely Kent coastline. Murder is different here, among the fens and stark beaches.

SHE WAS THE ONE WHO FOUND THE KILLERS

The man drowned in the slurry pit had been herded there like an animal. He was North African, like many of the fruit pickers that work the fields. The more Cupidi discovers, the more she wants to ask - but these people are suspicious of questions.

AND NOW IT WAS KILLING HER

It will take an understanding of this strange place - its old ways and new crimes - to uncover the dark conspiracy behind the murder. Cupidi is not afraid to travel that road. But she should be. She should, by now, have learnt.

Salt Lane is the first in the new DS Alexandra Cupidi series. With his trademark characterisation and flair for social commentary, William Shaw has crafted a crime novel for our time that grips you, mind and heart.


After the huge success of the “Breen and Tozer” series of historical police procedural mystery books set in the 1960s ended (see my earlier reviews of A SONG FROM DEAD LIPS and A HOUSE OF KNIVES I was uncertain how the author would follow that initial writing success, but I should not have worried as the first book of the new series is absolutely superb. Set on the coast of Kent it describes the daily trials and tribulations of a former Metropolitan Police detective sergeant who after a love affair with a married colleague ended badly decided to transfer to another police force outside London.

DS Alexandra Cupidi and her teenage daughter have to get used to a completely different environment after the hustle and bustle of city life and the reintroduction of a more rural setting. But settle she does although Zoe her fifteen-year-old daughter has a harder time but become very interested in ornithology and spends a lot of time bird watching with binoculars from various hides along the coast.

When Cupidi and her colleague discover a North African fruit picker apparently drowned in cattle excreta a whole new investigation is started. A lot of difficult questions need to be asked and answered before the enquiry can proceed. The story continues on and a lot of her new colleagues become involved as the investigation becomes larger than originally considered. The story ends with a very dramatic conclusion.

This book was the best one that I have read by the author to date. I thought it marvellous and so well researched it was really very easy to imagine an isolated farming community in Kent.

This is a really superbly interesting, atmospheric and deftly plotted police procedural but unlike his previous books it is set in the present day. I look forward to reading more stories about Alexandra Cupidi and the other authentic characters that inhabit the gripping police procedurals from this very talented author in the future, as I enjoyed this exciting book so much. Very highly recommended.

Terry Halligan, August 2018.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Cover Theme - Reflections

I've noticed an increasing number of covers featuring reflections, or pseudo-reflections or inversions. Here are a few examples. Have you spotted anymore?




































Added 29/09/18 - Yesterday


















Added 6/10/18 - Love You Gone, 8/10/18 - The Friend, 10/10/2018 - Little Liar, 14/10/18 - No Turning Back


Thursday, August 09, 2018

Review: The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and other stories by Teresa Solana tr. Peter Bush

The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and other stories by Teresa Solana translated by Peter Bush, August 2018, 210 pages, Bitter Lemon Press, ISBN: 1912242079

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

I’d never been held up at gun-point before or seen anyone die (in real-life, that is), let alone like that. Bang-bang, a couple of shots and you’re on your way to the other side. You’ll soon see when I put the photos on Instagram …

THE FIRST PREHISTORIC SERIAL KILLER is a collection of short stories by Barcelona-born novelist and translator Teresa Solana. It’s a lively, bizarre, witty, cruel, crude and sometimes picaresque collection. The first five tales start with the story that gives the collection its name: three dead Neanderthals found with their heads bashed in with a rock, one after the other, prompt the weakling of the tribe to find out how they died (after all he has to keep his place in the group somehow). Be prepared for an anachronistic tale with a sharp eye for social status and a sly humour. The following four stories cover motifs such as domestic murder and a solution to corpse disposal, death and satire in the art world, ghosts in a quandary – and vampires in the era of sunblock. The remaining stories in the collection make up the prize-winning “Connections”; a kaleidoscopic collection of eight crime stories involving characters and events in and around Barcelona, all touched by a shooting in a Barcelona pharmacy.

This was my first foray into crime fiction in short story form and I was worried that I would grow tired of what I thought could become a predictable format. But Solana is not predictable and the outcome was that I enjoyed these stories hugely. Translated by Teresa Solana’s husband Peter Bush, this translation must be one of the closest matches to the writer’s voice and intentions possible. Solana’s earthy, dark wit; her ability to speak through varied characters; her satirical eye for the layers and workings of Barcelona society (which speak to everyone everywhere) and her finely crafted invention that knits together the stories in “Connections” mean that I shall definitely be on the hunt for a full length Teresa Solana novel.

Very highly recommended – for those with a taste for murder, the surreal, and possibly – the stories of Saki.

Lynn Harvey, August 2018

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Who is Jack Ford?

Jack Ford's second 'Thomas J Cooper' book, Dead Edge is out this month. The first book in the series, The Killing Grounds, is 99p on kindle at the moment.

*If* you want to know who Jack Ford is/what they've written before then take a look at these two pages: 1 and 2.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Review: The Intrusions by Stav Sherez

The Intrusions by Stav Sherez, February 2018, 352 pages, Faber & Faber, ISBN: 0571297277

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

Amazon blurb:

When a distressed young woman arrives at their station claiming her friend has been abducted, and that the man threatened to come back and 'claim her next', Detectives Carrigan and Miller are thrust into a terrifying new world of stalking and obsession.

Taking them from a Bayswater hostel, where backpackers and foreign students share dorms and failing dreams, to the emerging threat of online intimidation, hacking, and control, The Intrusions explores disturbing contemporary themes with all the skill and dark psychology that Stav Sherez's work has been so acclaimed for.

Under scrutiny themselves, and with old foes and enmities re-surfacing, how long will Carrigan and Miller have to find out the truth behind what these two women have been subjected to?


Stav Sherez's third published novel, A DARK REDEMPTION, which was the first in a London-based police procedural series, was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2013. The second in the "Jack Carrigan and Geneva Miller" series, ELEVEN DAYS, was published in 2013 and I was very impressed with it. THE INTRUSIONS, published in 2017, has recently won the Theakston's Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2018.

I was also very impressed by THE INTRUSIONS, the only problem I had with it was the difficulty in remembering all that had occurred in the previous book as Detective Inspector Jack Carrigan, is still having to undergo the indignity of being investigated for apparent breaches of procedure that occurred in the previous story.

However, that is a subplot that takes away from the main investigation into the murders that happened at the Bayswater hostel. As usual, Carrigan and Miller develop their own theories behind what they think happened and investigate the facts as they feel they lead. However, the head of the department, Superintendent Branch, believes the enquiry needs outside psychological help and therefore insists that a profiler be added to the team. Unfortunately, the one assigned is a person that Carrigan has a terrible personal history with.

Carrigan and Miller, separately pursue different leads to save resources and it is very intriguing how each fact in the case in unearthed and how apparently unconnected details do eventually come together. They explore a lot of data and I particularly enjoyed the forensic intensity of this, which is normally skirted around in other books. The interaction of Carrigan and Miller is also interesting and of course there are tensions there as the chemistry between the two who spend many hours in each other's company can be problematic. Still it all comes to a most satisfactory conclusion and all the loose ends are eventually tied up. This is a very cleverly plotted book which I found most enjoyable. It was one that once you start it is very difficult to put down.

I'm really disappointed that the author doesn't release his books with the frequency of other mystery authors as the quality of the research and detail and sheer readability of his stories is really to be envied by many other less gifted writers. I just could not put this really gripping story down. Please Stav, don't leave it four years before the next Carrigan and Miller story comes out. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Terry Halligan, August 2018.