Friday, March 28, 2014

Next on Inspector De Luca: Carte Blanche

The second episode of Inspector De Luca is based on the first book in Carlo Lucarelli's De Luca trilogy, Carte Blanche, and is being shown on 29 March at 9pm on BBC Four:
In April 1945, having inadvertently been credited with 'saving Il Duce's life', De Luca becomes a reluctant hero and is promoted to a high-profile job in Bologna. He heads a murder investigation which will lead him to probe the private lives of the rich and powerful during the frantic final days of the fascist regime. The powers-that-be grant him carte blanche, just as long as he arrests the 'right' suspect.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Falling by Emma Kavanagh

Falling by Emma Kavanagh, March 2014, 336 pages, Century, ISBN: 1780892020

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

An experienced pilot, Oliver Blake, takes to the skies on a snowy night in dangerous but manageable conditions. Shortly after take-off, something goes wrong and the plane crashes. Many die, but there are a few survivors and one of these is the air steward Cecilia. Just before the flight Cecilia had decided to leave her husband Tom and two-year-old son Ben, and had already packed her belongings. Lying in hospital, recuperating, Tom comes to visit, and the crash appears to be the start of Cecilia re-assessing their relationship.

Tom is a detective constable, and just after the crash, he is asked to look into the whereabouts of Libby, a police community support officer and the daughter of Jim, a retired detective superintendent. Jim has discovered that Libby is missing from her house, and there is a trail of blood in the kitchen.

In the third strand of the story, Freya, the daughter of Oliver Blake, becomes obsessed with finding out why the plane crashed. She forms an uneasy alliance with Ian, a local reporter, who tells her that the crash may have been deliberate. Is that true? Why would her father want to crash the plane?

Slowly but inevitably, the connections between the three apparently separate stories begin to show themselves. There is some nice character development that helps to explain why and how the events unfold as they do. A good mix of 'discoveries' - discoveries of past lives and how they influence the present, and of secrets and cover-ups that cannot stay hidden for ever. A little rough around the edges, but FALLING is a confident first book with an interesting set of intertwined plot lines. Hopefully a new author that is off the starting blocks, and has more to come.

Michelle Peckham, March 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

TV News: Endeavour returns on Sunday

The second series of Endeavour begins on Sunday 30 March at 8pm on ITV. The first of the four episodes, Trove, is directed by Kristoffer Nyholm, who directed The Killing.

From the ITV website:

May 1966. DC Endeavour Morse returns to Oxford City Police after a four-month absence from duty. Reunited with DI Fred Thursday, still reeling from the final moments of Series 1, the young detective's involuntary furlough has left him wounded - in mind, more than body.

Another dazzlingly complex mystery is set in motion during a Broad Street parade, celebrating the might of Britain's military accomplishments. The festivities, soured by a rash student stunt, are thrown into sharp relief when a John Doe plummets to his death from a nearby council building. A clutch of business cards bearing multiple identities suggest the death was more than just a routine suicide. Endeavour flexes his gumshoe muscles to uncover the corpse's identity - a solitary pursuit that builds to a trip to London with troubling consequences. Whilst a concerned Thursday looks on, the fractured pieces of the kaleidoscope mirror the young detective's state of mind, as he pulls two seemingly unrelated cases into the fray - an anguished father searching for a missing daughter, and a smash-and-grab robbery of medieval artifacts at Oxford's Beaufort College.

All strands coalesce around the victim's final message, scrawled on a motel notepad: D-DAY, FRIDAY, 98018. As Oxonians go to the polls in a closely fought by-election and a beauty contest builds to its conclusion, Endeavour must navigate the choppy waters of both worlds, as his investigation shakes the highest pillars of Oxford society. With the body count rising and his fierce intellect slowly drawing back into focus, the young detective risks all to bring those responsible to justice. It is a decision that will send shockwaves across the course of the series.

TV News: Grantchester (based on James Runcie's novel)

ITV released a press release yesterday about a new six-part series, Grantchester based on Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, the first in the Sidney Chambers series by James Runcie.

“As a priest, isn’t everything our business?  There’s no part of the human heart which is not our responsibility” – Sidney Chambers
ITV have today confirmed James Norton (Death Comes to Pemberley, Rush) will play the role of Sidney Chambers in new six-part drama Grantchester produced by Lovely Day. 
Robson Green (Reckless, Wire In The Blood) will join him as plain speaking, over-worked Police Inspector, Geordie Keating.  
Set in 1953 in the beautiful county of Cambridgeshire, Sidney’s unlikely partnership with gruff, down to earth Geordie is central to Grantchester.  Geordie’s methodical approach to policing complements Sidney’s more intuitive techniques of coaxing information from witnesses and suspects.  
They are partners in crime and forge a true friendship as each offers a different insight into the crimes they begin to unravel.
Set against the backdrop of the real hamlet of Grantchester, the drama focuses upon the life of Sidney Chambers, a charismatic, charming clergyman who turns investigative vicar when one of his parishioners dies in suspicious circumstances.     

A tall and handsome man with a love of warm beer and hot jazz, Sidney is self-effacing, great company and a true romantic.  He conscientiously undertakes his parish duties at the church of St Andrew and St Mary’s, and has the ear of his congregation who respect his unique moral insights and dry humour.  Sidney thinks the best of people, but intuitively asks all the right questions which often results in an epiphany!  
Troubled by nightmares and recurring flashbacks to the time he served in the Scot’s Guards, Sidney is the moral compass of the drama with a desire to put right the wrongs of the past  – “we cannot erase our pasts however hard we try.  Instead we must carry them with us into the future.”
Read the whole press release here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Veronica Mars is Back

Long before the mystery of who killed Nanna Birk Larsen in The Killing, there was who killed Lilly Kane in season one of Veronica Mars. Over twenty-two episodes teen detective Veronica Mars investigated who killed her best friend Lilly. A murder which tore Veronica's family apart, lost her a boyfriend and got her ostracised from the rich-set she was hanging around with.

Along the way to revealing the killer, she solved numerous mini mysteries. Over the sadly too short run of the show, it covered, as well as murder - rape, pregnancy, abuse both physical and sexual, police incompetence and corruption, sex tapes and much more.

That first season of Veronica Mars is, I believe, almost peerless. The second season was very good too but the cancellation of the series meant that the third was disjointed and ended very unsatisfyingly. Thus I was very excited about the new film, and what it would do to resolve the loose ends, and even more so when it was to be shown in a Birmingham cinema I could get easy access to!*

I really enjoyed being back in Veronica's town of Neptune and there was a solid mystery plot which could have been extended to a (short) series; it was funny and witty plus a major source of joy for me was how many of the secondary characters from the tv show reappeared as well – Cliff! Vinnie! Leo!!!

The test though, was that my companion, who has heard me talk about Veronica Mars before but has never seen it, enjoyed it as well.

So, naturally, I can't wait to read the first in a new series of books about Veronica: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by (series creator) Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham which is out today (25 March).

In the meantime, courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley, I have been reading Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations Into Veronica Mars (edited by Rob Thomas). First published in 2007 and before the third and final season was shown, it is a collection of essays covering many aspects of the show, including: the choice of cars for the characters, realism, Keith and Veronica's father-daughter bond, Logan and Veronica's relationship. Two of the contributors are crime writers - Alafair Burke and Judy Fitzwater. Rob Thomas also comments on the essays as well as providing an introduction. Some essays are more interesting than others and there is some repetition - you can sample the essays on the Smart Pop Books website - but overall it's a worthwhile read if you've seen the show.  Which brings me to the fact that Neptune Noir does reveal who is Lilly Kane's killer plus much of the resolution to the second season so if you fancy reading it, and haven't seen the tv show yet, get yourself the DVDs/downloads pronto and have a Mars Marathon. If like me it's been a while, then after reading Neptune Noir you may just want to rewatch them!

*you can also rent/buy the film download via amazon.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

New Reviews: Brett, McNamee, Malone, Ramsay, Roberts, Siger, Welsh, Winspear, Yoshida

Here are nine reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, three have appeared on the blog over the last couple of weeks and six are completely new.

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

New Reviews

Mark Bailey reviews the latest in the Fethering series by Simon Brett, The Strangling on the Stage;

Lynn Harvey reviews Eoin McNamee's Blue is the Night, the third part in a loose trilogy;

Amanda Gillies reviews Michael J Malone's Blood Tears, the first in the DI Ray McBain series;

Terry Halligan reviews Blind Alley by Danielle Ramsay, the third in the DI Jack Brady series set in Tyneside;

Amanda also reviews Mark Roberts's What She Saw, the second in the DCI Rosen series;

Terry also reviews the latest in the Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series by Jeffrey Siger: Mykonos After Midnight;

Michelle Peckham reviews Louise Welsh's A Lovely Way to Burn, the first in the "Plague Times" trilogy;

Susan White reviews Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear

and Laura Root reviews Shuichi Yoshida's Parade tr, Philip Gabriel.

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear

Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear, January 2014, 352 pages, Allison and Busby, ISBN: 0749014598

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

Maisie Dobbs is a private investigator living in London and this novel is based in 1933. Maisie brings her training and education to solve those cases often left unsolved by the police. In this case, a brother travels from India to ask her help in solving the murder of his sister who has been found shot through her forehead.

The more Maisie searches into the life of Usha, the more she grows concerned about the fate of Indian women brought to England by British families as cheap child care and domestic help who are often mistreated or abandoned when not needed anymore. The mystery of Usha's death starts in India and is a story of lost love and obsession.

This story engages on quite a lot of levels. It is based in the period building up to World War II, when a lot of people have not yet recovered from the trauma and loss of WWI and the beginning of the end of the Empire when many British families are leaving their quite privileged lives to return to a country changed forever. The story also covers the reasons that some people emigrated to England for a better life or to earn enough money to improve their families' lives in the country they have left behind - a topic that resonates with the present.

Maisie's interest in understanding the motivation of people's actions and the subsequent consequences makes this a much more interesting read than a pure mystery solving. The crimes in these books are always almost domestic in their scale - even though the consequences of them are terrible, often resulting in death.

Jacqueline Winspear reminds me of classic crime novelists such as Barbara Pym and Josephine Tey but also modern authors such as Sophie Hannah in her interest in the psychology of the crime and its participants. The author always provides a good read, but an interesting one and I always learn something new - but never feel that she is showing her knowledge off.

This is the tenth in the series featuring Maisie Dobbs.

Susan White, March 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TV News: Mammon on More 4

The latest Nordic drama to hit the UK will be the Norwegian Mammon which is being shown on More 4. The series, comprising six episodes, begins on Friday March 28 at 9pm.

From the More 4 website:

An intricate and compelling thriller about greed and the murky underbelly of finance, politics and journalism, Mammon follows six days in the life of uncompromising journalist Peter Verås who uncovers evidence of financial fraud involving Norway's elite.

Episode 1 - The Sacrifice

Journalist Peter Verås receives a tip from an anonymous source about a scandal in the financial world.
The crushing evidence incriminates his own brother, a senior director in one of Norway's leading finance companies. 

In spite of the family connection, Peter decides to let the newspaper go ahead and publish the story, and the disclosure has huge consequences for his brother. 

Subsequently, economic crime investigator Vibeke reveals some surprising information to Peter, and the hunt for the criminals begins...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

TV News: Inspector De Luca on BBC Four

Inspector De Luca
, based on the trilogy (Carte Blanche, The Damned Season and Via Delle Oche) by Carlo Lucarelli begins next Saturday, 22 March, at 9pm on BBC Four.

The first of the four episodes is Unauthorised Investigation which is based on a non- De Luca novel called Indagine non Autorizzata, with the following three episodes based on the De Luca books:
At the seaside resort of Riccione in 1938 the body of a young prostitute is found on a beach, not far from Mussolini's holiday residence. The local chief of police, terrified that the news may become public, attempts to draw the matter to a swift close by charging the woman's pimp with her murder, and earns praise from Il Duce in the process.

But Inspector De Luca, unconvinced that the case has been solved, continues to secretly investigate on his own. Set against the backdrop of sophisticated hotels and exclusive beach resorts in what was once considered to be the 'summer capital' of fascism, De Luca's investigation soon starts to involve aspiring politicians, high-ranking state functionaries, seductive countesses, anti-fascist journalists and some of Mussolini's own bodyguards.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: Blood Tears by Michael J Malone

Blood Tears by Michael J Malone, June 2012, 285 pages, Five Leaves Publication, ISBN: 1907869344

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

This book is simply amazing! It’s one of those rare gems that catches you on the very first page and doesn’t let go. Written by another first rate Scottish author, BLOOD TEARS has been awarded The Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers and it is something every lover of dark and disturbing crime fiction should be aiming to read. A crime fiction debut for Malone, as well as his first in a series to feature DI Ray McBain, this book will leave you itching to get your hands on the next instalment – which, mercifully, is already published and waiting for you.

To give you a taster – a terribly mutilated body is found, bearing the wounds of the Stigmata. McBain and his team are shocked at the discovery but not as shocked as McBain himself when he discovers he has a connection with the deceased, who was a known paedophile and gardener at Bethlehem House; the Catholic children’s home where McBain had spent his formative years. For reasons as unknown to himself as they are to the reader, McBain is desperate to catch the killer. He hides the truth of his past from his bosses and carries on with the investigation, all the while haunted by terrible, repetitive dreams full of blood and floating white feathers. When the truth of his omission is found out, McBain is arrested as prime suspect but soon finds an opportunity to make his escape and flees, determined to avoid the police and catch the killer before it is too late. The truth he uncovers, about himself as well as the killer, disturbs him beyond belief and McBain is forced to go face-to-face with his own past in order to settle things in the present.

With its gripping plot, that touches on the delicate and horrific subject of the long-term effects of child abuse, this book does not let you off lightly and leaves you feeling dishevelled and exhausted. If you read just one book this year, then I suggest you make it this one. Both shocking and disturbing, while at time hilariously funny, BLOOD TEARS will have you hooked. I loved it!

Extremely Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, March 2014.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Website Updates - March 2014

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 Emily Brightwell's series which was published in the US in the 1990s (and on) is only now being published in the UK and so her books are appearing in the 2014 Historical list.

2. When a book is released "early" in ebook I am listing it for when the print edition comes out.

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 1007 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2097 authors (10421 titles of which 2743 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: Hania Allen, M J Arlidge, Andre K Baby, Jean-Luc Bannalec, Rolf Bauerdick, M H Baylis, Alex Blackmore, Cilla & Rolf Borjlind, Stephen Bywater, Helen Cadbury, Christoffer Carlsson, James Carol, Harvey Cleggett, Joël Dicker, Dominick Donald, Clare Donoghue, Vaughn Entwhistle, M J Evans, Ian Ferri, Judith Flanders, Matthew Frank, Jon Grahame, Terry Hayes, Bruce Holsinger, Linda Huber, Andrew Hughes, Philip Hunter, Dan Kavanagh, Emma Kavanagh, Claire Kendal, Stephanie Lam, Niall Leonard, Alexander Lernet-Holenia, Luana Lewis, Diego Marani, Hisaki Matsuura, Sophie McKenzie, Hiroko Minagawa, Kanae Minato, Lottie Moggach, Fredrik T Olsson, Tony Parsons, Karen Perry, Robin Porecky, Nick Quantrill, P D Viner, Gerald Woodward and Natalie Young.

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Will Adams, Alex Barclay, Quentin Bates, M C Beaton, Simon Beaufort, Parker Bilal, Benjamin Black, Rhys Bowen, Conor Brady, Frances Brody, Philip Youngman Carter, Tania Carver, Jane Casey, Joyce Cato, Kimberley Chambers, Lee Child, Nicholas J Clough, Paul Cornell, Charles Cumming, David Stuart Davies, Murray Davies, Jason Dean, Luke Delaney, P C/Paul Doherty, R J Ellory, Kjell Eriksson, Nicci French, Gillian Galbraith, Robert Galbraith, Carin Gerhardsen, Dolores Gordon-Smith, Susanna Gregory, Tarquin Hall, Patricia Hall, M R Hall, Cora Harrison, Sam Hayes, Suzette A Hill, Anne Holt, Declan Hughes, Arlene Hunt, Ewart Hutton, Arnaldur Indridason, Maxim Jakubowski, Peter James, Christina James, Hanna Jameson, Quintin Jardine, Martin Jensen, Alan Judd, M R C Kasasian, Erin Kelly, Bill Kitson, Roberta Kray, Donna Leon, Anya Lipska, Torquil MacLeod, Adrian Magson, Marco Malvaldi, David Mark, Edward Marston, Val McDermid, Louise Millar, Michael Morley, Chris Nickson, Kristina Ohlsson, Margie Orford, Mark O'Sullivan, Ben Pastor, Sarah Pinborough, Ann Purser, Imogen Robertson, Peter Robinson, James Runcie, Leigh Russell, Michael Russell, Rob/Robert Ryan, C J Sansom, Mick Scully, Mark Sennen, Zoe Sharp, William Shaw, Sara Sheridan, Roger Silverwood, Anna Smith, Alexander McCall Smith, Linda Stratmann, Lesley Thomson, Rebecca Tope, Peter Tremayne, Tom Vowler, Lucie Whitehouse, Stella Whitelaw, Kerry Wilkinson and Jacqueline Winspear.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Parade by Shuichi Yoshida tr. Philip Gabriel

Parade by Shuichi Yoshida translated by Philip Gabriel, March 2014, 240 pages, Harvill Secker, ISBN: 1846552370

Reviewed by Laura Root.
(Read more of Laura's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

PARADE by Shuichi Yoshida is the second of his books to be translated into English, following the success of cult thriller and film VILLAIN, and is a tale of Tokyo urban anomie, focussing on the lives of five young people sharing a small suburban apartment.

The book is narrated from the point of view of each of these five people, with each section moving a little further forward in time; Ryosuke, a geeky student and part-time Mexican restaurant chef, Kotomi the lovelorn small town girl who has come to Tokyo to reunited with her former boyfriend and current TV star, waiting around to be thrown crumbs of his affection in the form of booty call, Mirai a sarcastic and cynical shop manager with a drink problem, who hangs out in the gay bars of Tokyo, and Naoki, ostensibly the most successful of the bunch, with his high powered film industry career. Into this mix comes Satoru, a worryingly young drifter of no fixed abode, who earns a living by "night jobs" and charms the flat mates into allowing him a spot on his sofa. The device of using five different narrative voices works surprisingly well, with Yoshida managing to convincingly differentiate the characters.

Underneath the sitcom cosiness of the flatmate set-up, a darker spectre lurks. Each of the flatmates has their own reasons, some of them quite sad for coming to Tokyo, and all have secret self-destructive behaviours to hide from others. And dangers lie outside the flat; a mysterious maniac is brutally assaulting women near the local metro station, and closer to home, a suspicious procession of older men and tearful young girls frequent the neighbouring apartment, no 402.

PARADE is a slow burn psychological thriller, a sort of Japanese fusion of Friends and American Psycho. The most shockingly violent crimes and the identity of their perpetrator only become evident at virtually the end of the novel. Yoshida shows that at its worst, urban alienation can lead to sinister crimes and complicity, covering similar ground to VILLAIN, but in a more opaque fashion. But these crimes don't really come out of the blue, but more as a logical end point to the fragmented society depicted by Yoshida. While the flatmates strain to hide their real selves and present a more positive social image, they are party to a lot of harmful behaviour and smaller crimes as perpetrators, victims and bystanders, ranging from breaking and entering, drug taking, prostitution, domestic abuse and to lesser misdemeanours such as obsessive romantic behaviour and infidelity. Overall I found this a somewhat unconventional thriller, and an interesting and quick read, but rather more low key than VILLAIN.

Laura Root, March 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Publishing Deal - 4 more from Ann Cleeves

I received the following press release today which contained good news for Ann Cleeves's many fans:
Catherine Richards has acquired UK & Commonwealth rights for four new novels by Ann Cleeves from Sara Menguc Literary Agent. These will be two new books in Ann Cleeves’ Vera series and two new Shetland novels.

The BBC drama Shetland, starring Douglas Henshall as Cleeves’ Detective Jimmy Perez, will begin its first full series on 11th March on BBC One, with adaptations of Raven Black, Dead Water and Blue Lightning. This follows ITV’s successful adaptation of Cleeves’ Vera novels, starring Brenda Blethyn, which enters its fourth series in late spring 2014.

Catherine Richards at Pan Macmillan said ‘I’m thrilled that we’ve signed up four more novels from Ann Cleeves. With two crime series on two prime-time channels – as well as a new Shetland novel, Thin Air, publishing in the autumn – this is a very special year for Ann.’

Sara Menguc said ‘We’re delighted to be concluding a contract with Macmillan for four new books in a year which will see publication of two outstanding new novels by Ann in the UK, simultaneously with her wonderful fictional characters DI Vera Stanhope and Detective Jimmy Perez being realised brilliantly in two very distinctive prime-time TV series. This success is mirrored by her growing international profile , with publication in many different languages and territories. ‘

Ann Cleeves said 'I'm delighted that I'll be working with the magnificent team at Pan Macmillan for the next four years.'

Sunday, March 09, 2014

New Reviews: Bauer, Carol, Hilary, James, Knox, Leather, Magson, Morris, Rankin

Here are nine reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, four have appeared on the blog over the last couple of weeks and five are completely new.

The major recent news for fans of Scandinavian crime fiction is that the shortlist for the Petrona Award, which is for the best Scandinavian crime novel (in translation), has been announced. All the details are on the Petrona Award website.

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

New Reviews

Lynn Harvey encourages you to read Belinda Bauer's Rubbernecker which is now available in paperback;

Michelle Peckham reviews James Carol's Broken Dolls, the first in the ex-FBI profiler, Jefferson Winter series;

Michelle also reviews Sarah Hilary's striking debut, Someone Else's Skin which introduces DI Marnie Rome;

Rich Westwood reviews Christina James's In the Family, set in the Lincolnshire fens;

I venture off-topic with Annie Knox's Paws for Murder;

Terry Halligan reviews Stephen Leather's Lastnight - is it the end for Jack Nightingale?;

Terry also reviews the first in a new series from Adrian Magson, The Watchman;

Geoff Jones reviews R N Morris's The Dark Palace, the third in the Silas Quinn series

and Mark Bailey reviews Ian Rankin's latest "Rebus", Saints of the Shadow Bible.

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

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

Friday, March 07, 2014

TV News: Shetland returns to BBC One

Shetland starring Douglas Henshall and based on Ann Cleeves's novels returns to BBC One on 11 March at 9pm with the first of six episodes. The six episodes are split into three two-parters of the books, Raven Black, Dead Water and Blue Lightning.

Raven Black also stars Brian Cox.

Episode 1:

Old wounds are painfully reopened for the shocked residents of Ravenswick, as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and his team look to a past crime to solve the present day murder of a young teenage girl.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Petrona Award 2014 - Shortlist

(Me, Kat, Barry, Sarah)

I met up with the Petrona Award judges recently to discuss the 2014 Petrona Award and I can now reveal which titles are on the shortlist...

From the press release:
The 2014 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year

 The shortlist for the 2014 award, is as follows:

CLOSED FOR WINTER by Jørn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press)
STRANGE SHORES by Arnaldur Indriðason tr. Victoria Cribb (Harvill Secker)
THE WEEPING GIRL by Håkan Nesser tr. Laurie Thompson (Mantle)
LINDA, AS IN THE LINDA MURDER by Leif G W Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday)
SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir tr. Philip Roughton (Hodder & Stoughton)
LIGHT IN A DARK HOUSE by Jan Costin Wagner tr. Anthea Bell (Harvill Secker)

The winning title will be announced at the annual international crime fiction event CrimeFest, held in Bristol 15-18 May 2014. The winning author's prize will include a full pass to and a guaranteed panel at the 2015 CrimeFest event.
More information about the judges and the judges' comments on why these books were chosen can be found on the expanded Petrona Award website.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Review: Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary

Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary, February 2014, 416 pages, Headline, ISBN: 1472207688

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

In a story that starts straightforwardly enough, DI Marnie Rome is on her way to interview a young Asian girl called Ayana Mirza, who is living in a women's refuge after her family attacked her with bleach, leaving her blind in one eye. The police want her to give a statement about what happened to her, to help show how dangerous the Mirza brothers are, and how Nasif, one of her brothers, was likely to have used a scimitar to slice off a man's hand. This is sickening violence, that needs following up. But on arriving at the refuge in Finchley, they happen upon a stabbing. Leo, the partner of one of the women, Hope Proctor, has somehow discovered the refuge, and managed to gain entry. A knife was produced and Hope then stabbed Leo in the ribs. Marnie’s partner Noah manages to save his life, with the help of Ayana. Was Hope acting in self-defence to protect herself from a violent partner? Or is something else going on? Where did the knife come from? And who is the man watching the refuge from the safety of his car? The man who writes a threatening message destined for one of the women in the refuge. Is the message meant for Simone, another scarred woman, hiding out in the refuge after a difficult childhood and a relationship with an abusive partner? And if so, why?

Meanwhile, Marnie has her own demons to contend with. A young man called Stephen, whom her parents had been fostering, after she had left home, stabbed her parents and killed them five years ago. Marnie still goes to visit the perpetrator to try to understand why he did what he did, and is desperately trying to come to terms with that horrific event.

This is a terrific first book, and one of the best first books that I've read. It explores violence, particularly against women, and its consequences with a new take on this type of violence. Marnie is an interesting, immediately likeable character and her interactions with her colleagues and friends, and reflections on her own experiences bring depth to the story. The history and fragility of the women who have experienced violence is nicely explored and with sensitivity. The plot is fast moving, and has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing, including a shocking twist that transforms the way that we think about one of the key characters. A great start, and hopefully more to come from this author in the future.

Michelle Peckham, February 2014